By Krystel Rolle-Brown
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie on Monday suggested that the authors of a US Department of State report that was critical of the government went too far and it was a “mistake on their part” to do so.
However, former deputy prime minister Brent Symonette said if the government doesn’t like what was contained in that report, it should make an effort to fix the problems.
Christie and Symonette were responding to questions related to a US Department of State report that highlighted the Christie administration’s failure to fulfill many of its “ambitious campaign promises of economic and fiscal reform”.
Prime Minister Perry Christie
Christie said the report delved into areas where it ought not to have gone.
“I’m always surprised when [the Americans] set a standard that they would not want anyone else to go,” he told reporters.
“For example, should I be talking about how many failed promises President Barack Obama had? It just doesn’t make any kind of sense to me that I should go there.
“…I was astonished that they would allow themselves to go that far. And so I think the author was sort of personalizing it. Whatever the author’s personal view was, he or she sort of put it there and that view was jaundiced.
“And sadly to say they interfered where they ought not to, no matter what they say on that. It was a mistake on their part to do that.”
This is the second time that Christie addressed the matter. Initially he said that the Americans likely received their information from opposition sources.
The report, titled “2014 Investment Climate Statement – The Bahamas”, was released on June 26 and was written by Washington-based diplomats assigned to the US Embassy in Nassau, according to a statement from the embassy.
The report pointed to some of the promises the ruling Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) made ahead of the election.
“Proposed initiatives included the creation of 10,000 new jobs, the implementation of a national mortgage bailout plan and returning the majority shares in the national telecoms company to state control,” the report read. “Two years later, many of these campaign promises remain unfulfilled.”
It also stated that the US Department of State said it received a number of reports of impropriety surrounding the issuance of contracts by the government.
Christie said the report did not reflect the conversations he had with outgoing US charge d’affaires John Dinkelman.
He added that he would speak to US officials about the report.
Christie said he doesn’t expect the conversations to be adversarial.
Symonette, who also spoke on the matter on Monday, said the information contained in the report reflects the feelings of the Bahamian people. He added that American officials are free to make such criticisms of the government.
“The United States has a right to comment on our country the same way we have a right to comment on theirs,” he said.
“I don’t think we could sit here and accept OPBAT (Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos), the coast guard, pre-clearance and all the other things that the United States does for the people of The Bahamas and then when something comes out that makes us look [bad], we say ‘you can’t do that’. It doesn’t fly.
“You take the good, you take the bad.”
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said last week that he called Dinkelman to discuss concerns raised by the US Department of State.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian