|PLP leader says country needs 30,000 new jobs|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Apr 12, 2012
The country needs 30,000 new jobs over the next three to four years in order to lower the record levels of unemployment, Opposition Leader Perry Christie said yesterday.
While he did not commit to creating that many jobs if elected to office on May 7, Christie said it is something that has to be done.
“The PLP created jobs in its last term... and in that same way, we have to do it [if elected to office]. Unemployment is an incubator for crime.
“No matter where we are in The Bahamas right now, we have to be fearful in our country with regard to our personal safety.”
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian at his Cable Beach home, Christie maintained that his administration created 22,000 jobs
during its term, despite the fact that job statistics compiled by the Department of Statistics show that Christie’s jobs claims are inflated.
In February, The Nassau Guardian revealed that between 2002 and 2007 — the PLP’s last term in office — 18,800 new jobs were added to the economy.
However, Christie claimed yesterday that his administration created even more jobs than he originally said.
“We argue on the basis of the statistics. We had research teams who did it for us,” he said.
“The best advice I got was that we created 22,000 jobs. In fact, I argue that we created more because of the jobs that were indirectly [created].”
Christie said his party has policies for job creation and the diversification of the economy.
“We need jobs,” he said. “We have a plan for job creation; that plan is being able to consolidate the tourism industry and financial services and a major approach at diversifying the economy.”
He said his party sees potentially thousands of jobs in fishing and agriculture.
“The world has a shortage of fish and we have an abundance of water,” Christie said. “Our water lend itself to being able to [sustain] fish farming to be able to create a viable export market on it.”
According to recent figures released by the Department of Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate was 15.9 percent as of November 2011.
The unemployment rate for young people was 34 percent and the unemployment rate in Grand Bahama stood at 21.2 percent.