Mitchell Responds On Criticism On PM’s Chamber Address

The content originally appeared on: ZNS BAHAMAS News

Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party, the Hon. Fred Mitchell responded to criticism by the Freeport Licencee Association (FLA) of an address delivered by Prime Minister Davis on the deficiencies of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) on Monday

Mitchell said, “the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce invited the Prime Minister to come to speak to their meeting, which included the business community and I gather the Grand Bahama Port Authority shareholder was present as well, to simply outline what the government’s was and is and that’s what the Prime Minister did.”

In their statement that FLA said it had requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the deteriorating relations between the government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority since last June 2023.

The statement also said, “we had anticipated a collaborative dialogue aimed at charting a path forward for the benefit of our island community. Instead, the discourse lacked critical details on any tangible solutions and remedial action. It failed to establish any forum for the genuine engagement and participation of licensees as those most familiar with and affected by the current and future state of Freeport.”

The FLA also addressed the recent demand by the government for reimbursement by the GBPA for services rendered in the city of Freeport per a clause in the Hawksbill Creek Agreement saying it lacked clarity “especially considering the significant contributions the GBPA has made to the public treasury of the Government of The Bahamas and to Freeport’s development, particularly in the aftermath of natural disasters.”

The PLP Chairman’s response was, “there’s no inaccuracies in it, the history is what it is. The position is what it is and the Grand Bahama Port Authority has one simple thing to do is to respond to the legal position and that’s not a matter for argument in the public.”

He also suggested that the FLA’s position may be politically motivated. “This organization which calls itself the Licensee Association and nobody knows what standing they have, who these members are, what they are. It just seems like a group of people got together to do this. But none of them have the responsibilities that the government has and they need to understand that and the best thing for them to do is to draw back from this public posturing.”

Mitchell also hinted that the FLA’s release may have come from the GBPA.