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DNA releases national platform

Pledging to focus on “decreasing crime, growing the economy, and ending corruption”, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) yesterday released its plan for governance — ‘Vision 2017 and Beyond’.

The 70-page document, which was distributed electronically, promises the DNA will have commissions of inquiry on the sale of Baha Mar, the state of the Bank of The Bahamas and how value-added tax (VAT) revenue was spent.

“If it is determined that there was wrong-doing, people will go to jail — everyone must be equal under the law, especially our government,” DNA Leader Branville McCartney said at a press conference at DNA headquarters yesterday.

The party promises to tackle crime by helping to spur job creation through a $500 million economic stimulus and liberalizing the energy sector.

The party also pledged to reduce the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ lending rate by two basis points, to make owning a home and borrowing in general more affordable.

McCartney said by the end of the DNA’s first year in office, it will “properly liberalize exchange controls, enact Marco’s Law, implement anti-corruption legislation, move toward a national lottery, legislate the platform where capital punishment can be enforced, privatize Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival and re‐direct funding to our established Junkanoo festival and other cultural festivals, revise the National Health Insurance Act to allow for more insurance company participation, and reduce penalties for the possession of small quantities of marijuana, as well as initialize the pilot program for town councils for New Providence”.

“Unlike the FNM (Free National Movement) and PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) who have released similar manifestos, and failed to deliver for us, this is not just campaign talk — this is what we will accomplish,” McCartney said.

“Our aim is to meet achievable goals that we will measure ourselves by the end of five years — we don’t have aspirations as a political dynasty and if we can’t deliver in our first five years then we don’t belong in government.”

McCartney said, “At the end of five years, the DNA will have expanded opportunities in the financial services sector, diversified our tourism product, added a one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) surplus to our annual budget” with a view to putting GDP on track to grow by 10 percent over the next five years.

The DNA leader also said at the end of five years the party will have reduced unemployment to eight percent; created new industries in technology; restructured the Department of Immigration, cutting wait times for permits and visas in half; decriminalized marijuana; created universal healthcare coverage; put in place a comprehensive mortgage relief and distressed property program; increased the number of mobile service providers; increased the number of broadband service providers; as well as created more sustainable jobs in banking and tourism.

“These may seem like lofty goals, and they are,” said McCartney.

“The Vision 2017 and Beyond provides the road map and strategy to make these things happen.”

The document covers seven areas that encompass the party’s comprehensive national strategy: good governance; the economy; national security; youth development, education and culture; energy and the environment, healthcare and social policy; and Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.

“For too long we’ve been inflicted by self-interested governance by the legacy parties,” McCartney said.

“Both parties have lined their own pockets while Bahamians have suffered.

“The DNA is the only way to move The Bahamas in a different direction.

“We in the DNA propose bold change and transformation for The Bahamas, to redirect us from our current trajectory toward ruin.”

This document is available on the party’s website, Facebook page and mobile app.

The party will hold a forum to breakdown the Vision 2017 at BCPOU at 6:30 p.m. today.

“We invite you to read this document and come out to our forum to understand how a vote for the DNA is a vote for a better life,” McCartney said.