Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) sunk to a new low over the weekend when Mitchell sought to hawk jobs for votes, according to Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, who called the minister’s actions a demonstration of “desperation” as the PLP’s “time in office winds down”.
“It has clearly abandoned any pretense of shame,” Minnis said in a Facebook post.
“At a PLP rally on Claridge Park Saturday night, soon to be former minister of foreign affairs and immigration Fred Mitchell told PLP supporters that should they want to continue on in the Christie administration’s jobs program introduced last year, they must vote PLP,” Minnis said.
“This is the same man who has been naturalizing foreigners left and right in recent days, so that they can immediately make their way to register to vote.”
That is a claim the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already shot down, although it has not revealed any numbers on citizenship grants.
Minnis claimed, “…Mitchell’s bold-faced hawking jobs for votes is a new low, even for him and the PLP.
“This jobs and training program that Mitchell referenced was announced last year at a cost of $22 million to Bahamian taxpayers, and is run directly out of the Office of the Prime Minister.
“[Prime Minister Perry] Christie promised certification on completion of the apprenticeship period.
“Christie has yet to provide any accounting or update of this program, knowing full well it was an election ploy from the start.
“The year before, Christie allocated $20 million for another jobs program for young people.”
Minnis asserted that PLP leaders are only interested in keeping Bahamians beholden to them.
But he said few are surprised by this.
Addressing a PLP crowd, Mitchell said some of his constituents have asked him what will happen to them once the 52-week job training program comes to an end.
“First of all, the PLP has no 52-week program,” Mitchell said.
“That’s number one. Number two; it’s (the PLP’s jobs program) an empowerment program.
“You were hired by the government and the only way that will change is if you elect the FNM to be the government.
“So, what you need to do on Election Day is make sure the PLP is the government.
“Then, you don’t have to worry about losing no jobs.”
The 52-week jobs program was an initiative that started under the FNM in 2011.
Mitchell pointed out that Christie pledged last year to make 3,500 civil servants permanent and pensionable, and “that is happening right now as we speak”.
He continued, “So, the only thing you have to worry about is if the FNM takes over in May.
“If you vote PLP you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to lose your job after the election.
“So, don’t come asking us what’s going to happen after Election Day.
“You have that power in your hands.
“Vote PLP; you don’t have to worry.”
Minnis said the Christie administration wants the small man to work for crumbs while it “raids the treasury, giving out contracts to their cronies”.
He said an FNM government would hold “this failed administration to account for its deeds”.
He added, “cotton candy Christie, the swing king, is at it again”, accusing the PLP of having a record of controversy, failed promises, and neglect of good governance over the last five years.