As he lambasted the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) record in education, calling it a “betrayal” of children throughout The Bahamas, former senator and Minister of Education Desmond Bannister took aim at current Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald for “chiding” members of Parliament over their donations for school computers.
“It’s his job to provide the money to meet this critical need,” said Bannister on the second night of the Free National Movement’s convention at Melia Nassau Beach resort.
“After all, he’s the minister of science and technology.”
Fitzgerald admitted in Parliament during the budget debate that the Ministry of Education does not provide computers to public primary schools in the country.
In response to Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, who raised the concern, Fitzgerald said that over the last two years he has made MPs aware of the deficiency and many of them have stepped forward to supply primary schools in the country with computers.
He charged that the majority of MPs contributed a combined $150,000, but Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins did not make a contribution, a point Rollins strongly refuted.
Last night, Bannister said an FNM government will embrace technology in schools and ensure “our children are technologically savvy”.
Bannister, the FNM’s candidate for Carmichael, also berated outgoing Carmichael MP Dr. Daniel Johnson.
“Carmichael, I’m back home, so we will build the badly needed Carmichael Road Junior High School to ease overcrowding in the southwest,” said Bannister, who represented the constituency between 2007 to 2012.
“As you all know, Carmichael matters most of all.
“Why else would they fire a whole MP before the election is even called?
“And then the fellow say [he’s going to] run some place else where he could win just after he got run out of Carmichael.
“Carmichael is serious.
“If you don’t believe me, just wait till they ring that bell.”
Bannister ran on the FNM’s ticket in North Andros in the general election.
He lost to now Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez.
Speaking of his record, the former minister said over the FNM’s three non-consecutive terms in office, it built 17 new primary schools and 15 secondary schools.
“In contrast, the current prime minister cannot truthfully say that his government has built a single primary or secondary school in his two terms as prime minister,” Bannister said.
“He and his party have failed our children.
“They have failed our families.
“They have failed our communities.
“Despite our hard work and outstanding accomplishments, however, in 2012 that other party convinced the Bahamian people that they would, and I quote ‘double the investment in education and training’.
“You can all laugh now, but that’s the promise that they made.”
Bannister resigned from the Senate in September, 2013.
The move was perceived by many as a decline in support for Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis.
However, Bannister said he only intended to remain in the Senate for a 12-month period to provide guidance and leadership for the FNM’s young Senate team.