A delegation of Free National Movement (FNM) representatives headed to Moore’s Island for the launch of its FNM Headquarters on April 8. Supporters from various South Abaco communities including Sandy Point, Spring City and Marsh Harbour also travelled to Moore’s Island either by boat or airplane.
Moore’s Island resident Alvin Laing was the moderator for the occasion, and his gut-busting comments and humourous antics onstage kept everyone in high spirits.
Devoted FNM supporter Gene Ferguson kicked off the event with a solo performance, leading up to the opening prayer by Rev. Nathaniel Hield. Before his prayer, however, Rev. Hield raised concerns felt by the people of Moore’s Island in terms of if the FNM as a new government would impede or continue the progress taking place on the island. He also requested that sand be transported from a nearby bank to beautify the front section of Moore’s Island.
Returning to the task at hand, Rev. Hield prayed that those in leadership would have a heart for the people, for every Bahamian, and that God would bless them and help them to become committed as they work together.
The first speaker to bring remarks was FNM Torchbearer Vandea Stuart. In her speech entitled, “If You’re Sad, and You Know It,” she told the crowd that it would not be long before they see the slogan – “It’s The People’s Time” – come to past. Stuart spoke about the missing VAT money, and the unprecedented corruption that exists in the PLP. She noted that young people are not being given the chance to prove themselves, and are therefore unable to make contributions to Abaco and The Bahamas.
“Look at the number of young people who have been ratified as candidates for the FNM’s Change Team – our very own James Albury for Central and South Abaco; Mr. Adrian Gibson of Long Island; Travis Robinson from Bain and Grants Town – then compare them to the tired, recycled candidates of the PLP who refuse to retire…
“It’s time to give the young people a chance Bahamas – vote FNM! If you are sad about the level of crime in The Bahamas, and you know it, vote FNM!”
Next up in the line of speakers was James Albury, the FNM’s South Abaco Candidate. In his remarks, Albury acknowledged FNM Party Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and his wife, Patricia Minnis, Moore’s Island residents and all Abaconians in attendance.
“It’s so great to be out here with all of you today. There’s nothing more that I like than spending time in the sunshine, and soon we will have a government that operates in the sunshine: transparent, accountable and for the benefit of all Abaconians and Bahamian people.”
Albury said his heart went out to the people of Moore’s Island because of the neglect they have suffered under an administration that claimed to be the only party that matters on Moore’s Island.
“They claimed that they believed in you, that relief and good governance would soon follow. Would someone who believed in you wait almost five years before trying to deliver anything at all? All around Abaco, we can see and feel the failings of this current government – our schools, clinics, roads, docks and other facilities and responsibilities have fallen by the wayside.
“Instead, our government has decided that things like Carnival are more deserving of their time and our money, which they are great at collecting and wasting, but just can’t seem to tell us exactly where it’s gone.”
Albury said that although he is not from Moore’s Island, he knows about the hardships and struggles they have faced with their school, clinic, torn-up roads, and busted-up dock that people have had the misfortune to fall through while standing on. Additional concerns voiced by the audience were the promise of an air strip, airport terminal building, track facility and dormitory for the athletes that the PLP “is late again” on delivering.
Albury warned that in the PLP’s desperation to hold on to power they will continue to give the people of Moore’s Island sweet words and sell them false promises.
“We’re here because we care for you, we will not abandon you, we will not stop developments that are going to benefit your island and your community, you will not be left in the dark, [and] we will continue to work with you to get the job done.
“Moore’s Island what I believe you really need is a government that will be there for you, that will listen to you, and work with you, not just give you sweet words and hot air, a government to find solutions, come to compromises and make things happen, and I know that government is the Free National Movement,” Albury emphasized.
Dr. Hubert Minnis was the final speaker. He had flown directly from Inagua to speak to the people of Moore’s Island.
“I came here today to ask you to give me James Albury,” Dr. Minnis said. “I need James in Parliament because he can make a great difference for Abaco and the future development of this country, so I want to ask you Abaco and Moore’s Island, will you give me James?
“James is a part of our Change Team, and I need him sitting in Parliament.”
He further advised the supporters to fire all of the PLP.
“They have collected over $1.4 billion in VAT money, and they’ve borrowed over $1.8 billion. All in all, they have collected over $3 billion, and we’ve asked them over where has the money gone? Well, I can tell you where the VAT money didn’t go. The VAT money did not go into Family Island development, it did not go into your schools, it did not go into your infrastructure, it did not go into your healthcare system, and it did not go into the National Health Insurance Comprehensive Program of which they spoke about.
“But I can say where some of it went. We know that it went into contracts for their friends and cronies – contracts that were never tendered. We know that it went into travel expenses, lavish travelling throughout the world. When the FNM comes in, you will know exactly where the money goes.”
Dr. Minnis said that once in power the FNM will remove VAT off of bread-basket items, healthcare, utilities like electricity and water. He assured the people of Moore’s Island that the FNM government under the leadership of him as prime minister, and supported by James Albury, will complete the work.
“The PLP promises, but we deliver,” he responded. “I call him ‘Cotton Candy Christie’ because he likes to sweet talk. Cotton candy is sweet, but there’s no substance.”
Dr. Minnis added that all students accepted to the University of The Bahamas will attend free of charge, they will be provided with free accommodations, and they will receive a monthly stipend to assist them with their living.
As for the millions of dollars wasted on Junkanoo Carnival, Dr. Minnis said he would give money to the Bahamian people instead to create entrepreneurs and to create employment for others.
“For this to happen, we need your support. To move forward, we need James. We cannot win unless you register. You must register and you must vote. Take all of your friends, your sisters and your brothers and register,” Minnis put forth. “When election is called, each and every one of you must go to the polls early, look for the torch and cast your vote for the next Member of Parliament for South Abaco, and I invite him to the stage, Mr. James Albury.
“Abaco I know that you will give me James. I know that you are a part of change, and as we move throughout The Bahamas, I know that a red tsunami is coming through – and as we say in Andros – it’s not a tsunami, it’s a salami, and that salami will come through.”
The crowd dispersed to mix and mingle with Dr. Hubert Minnis and James Albury while enjoying the food and drinks provided for the opening of the headquarters.