Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Branville McCartney, along with Chairman Andrew Wilson and other members of the party came to Abaco on October 31 through November 2, holding a town meeting as well as visiting several communities.
During their trip they visited Hope Town, Cooper’s Town and Green Turtle Cay and held a town hall meeting in Marsh Harbour where they shared their plans and sought to hear from the people.
At the town hall meeting Mr. McCartney spoke on issues relating to Abaco and The Bahamas, including the shanty town and immigration issues, the fast approaching VAT, Tourism, resources for law enforcement and autonomy for out islands among other issues.
Mr. McCartney said that the laws of the country must be enforced when it comes to immigration, but noted that it must be carried out in a humane and organized manner.
He, and Chairman Andrew Wilson, outlined their alternative plan to VAT, which include ensuring proper collection of taxes, openness and transparency and reducing Customs Duties and introducing a GST (Goods and Services tax) instead of VAT, among other points. He said that VAT would only make things harder on the already struggling poor and middle class of the country.
Mr. McCartney also spoke of revitalizing the tourism sector of Abaco by making connections to other international airlift hubs such as Atlanta and New York, while reducing costs to cruisers to restore the prominence to Abaco as the Cruising Capital of The Bahamas.
He said that recent events highlighted the need for Abaco to be properly staffed as he noted the Royal Bahamas Police Force on Abaco has only about 60 officers to cover the second largest island in The Bahamas.
Mr. McCartney said that Abaconians should be in charge of Abaco and said that starting with this island the DNA would give more autonomy to islands to run their own affairs, including being responsible for collecting taxes on their island which would be put to use on their own island.