Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday lashed the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for its failure to grow the economy and provide Bahamians with job opportunities in the wake of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projection that unemployment levels will increase.
“Instead of growing the economy and providing good jobs as they were elected and as they promised to do, the PLP has sat idly by and allowed the Bahamian economy to fail,” Minnis said in a press release yesterday.
“Baha Mar still sits vacant; an empty hulking testament to the PLP’s many broken promises, this one being their promise of 5,000 good paying jobs.
“And thanks to the empty rhetoric and broken promises from this PLP government, the International Monetary Fund projects that The Bahamas’ unemployment rate will increase to 15.6 percent.”
The IMF staff projected The Bahamas’ unemployment rate to be 15.6 percent for 2016, retreating to 14.9 percent in 2017, in its Country Report on The Bahamas published this month
The unemployment rate rose in The Bahamas from 12 percent in May 2015 to 14.8 percent in November 2015, according to the Department of Statistics.
At last report, unemployment among people 15 to 24 was 30 percent.
Minnis castigated the government over its handling of the Bahamian economy.
“The PLP government continues to fail the Bahamian people at every turn,” he said.
“We continue to receive reports from independent agencies that our economy, and especially the tourism sector, is contracting. This report comes on the heels of Moody’s review of a likely credit downgrade.
“This failure is unacceptable with so many families struggling and communities in economic distress– but unfortunately not surprising. This PLP government is failing to do everything they can to help our people find employment and get the economy growing again. This is their main mission and they are failing miserably at it.”
The Department of Statistics is expected to release new employment figures this afternoon.
Earlier this month, international credit ratings agency Moody’s put The Bahamas on notice, indicating that it will likely downgrade the country’s sovereign credit rating as the agency takes a detailed look at the nation’s credit worthiness over the next two months.
Minnis pointed out that in a recent Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report on a $20 million initiative to reform The Bahamas’ job training and matching system, the IDB said the Department of Labour only found work for two percent of its registered job seekers.
Minnis said the PLP is driven to enrich itself at the expense of the country and its citizens.
“What is this government doing besides working to enrich itself?” he asked.
“The report confirms that they certainly are not working for the unemployed as only 2 of every 100 persons who apply to the Department of Labour will be offered a job.”
Minnis added that Bahamians deserve a government that will look out and work for everyone and not just the chosen few.