|Controversy in the PLP|
Published: Jul 06, 2012
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis obviously takes issue with statements that were made by Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) member of Parliament for Tall Pines and Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC ) Chairman Leslie Miller regarding the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).
Miller told a Nassau-based radio talk show host that he would not support any further funding to the Argentinean firm Jose Cartellone Contrucciones Civiles (JCCC). Prime Minister Perry G. Christie has stated on numerous occasions that his new government would have to borrow an additional $63 million from a foreign bank in order to complete the road project.
The original price tag of $119.9 million has mushroomed to nearly $200 million because of a number of difficulties that were encountered by the foreign road building company. Undoubtedly, the costly road project was the Ingraham administration’s Waterloo. According to a Nassau Guardian article, Miller said that JCCC should bear any additional costs. However, it is very unlikely that JCCC would dig into its own pocket to finish the job. In fact, that Miller would even suggest such a thing is breathtakingly unreasonable. Granted, Miller was right when he said that JCCC could have carried out the project more effectively. No sane person would deny this. But I think we have already reached beyond that point.
The people of Nassau have already chastised the previous administration at the polls for the way in which the road project has been managed. Now they are expecting the new PLP government to get the project done. To continue griping over the way in which the project has been managed will not accomplish anything. That is now water under the bridge. How long does one beat a dead horse? Davis told a Nassau Guardian reporter that Miller did not follow protocol by expressing his position on the matter in public. Miller was adamant that he would oppose any move to borrow additional funding for JCCC. From what I have read, he seems determine to even vote no on this issue in the House of Assembly, notwithstanding the official position of his government. That puts him in direct conflict with the leadership of the governing PLP, particularly Christie. It now remains to be seen how this latest political soap opera will play out in the PLP. Will the prime minister exert his authority by disciplining his political underling? Or will he allow a maverick, as The Nassau Guardian called the Tall Pines member of Parliament, to openly defy the official position of the PLP government? Time will tell. One thing is for certain, though, the prime minister knew exactly what Miller’s position was on this issue before he was nominated to run in Tall Pines. With Miller, what you see is what you get. At least he is consistent with his position on JCCC and the road project.
The current position of the Christie administration on the road project, however, is somewhat different from what was preached on the platforms of the ‘Gold Rush’ rallies. I recall hearing several PLP candidates promising to get rid of JCCC and hold a commission of inquiry into the management of the road project. Now, it appears as if the PLP government has backpedaled from that campaign promise. In fact, the PLP government has backpedaled on several major campaign promises. Reality has set in. Still, I think it would have been foolish and counterproductive to run JCCC out of the country without them completing the road works.
For what it’s worth, this interesting story concerning Miller will give the FNM plenty political fodder to chew on. If Miller keeps his word and votes no in the House, then we will have a political civil war between the Tall Pines representative and the governing PLP.
Such a development could spell disaster for Christie. A Miller revolt may expose a chink in the armor of Christie’s fledgling government. He must deal with this issue quickly before it causes his other members of Parliament to lose respect for him as their leader. As Christie should remember, that was his undoing in his first administration. I don’t think he would want that to happen again.
– Kevin Evans