Bahamas to Focus on Urban Renewal Programme, Mulls National Lottery
Above: Perry Christie (centre) and other MPs head to Parliament ahead of the Budget Communication (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamian government is planning to revive the country’s Urban Renewal programme and is considering a national lottery, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.
Christie’s administration is “immediately following up in its commitment to reinstate and reinvigorate the Urban Renewal Programme to foster a beneficial and effective relationship between the police and the community,” Christie said Wednesday.
The Prime Minister was speaking during his presentation of the 2012/2013 Budget Communication, calling the plan one of the ways the government is looking to tackle incidents of crime in the country.
“Within the fiscally responsible budget allocations presented in the budget, we will begin to develop and implement the many legislative, policy and programme initiatives in our agenda to combat crime,” he said.
The so-called Urban Renewal programme was a major initiative of the PLP prior to Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s government.
In August 2011, the then-opposition Progressive Liberal Party said the FNM had not made the country’s Urban Renewal Centres a priority, in fact closing some locations.
At the time, the FNM said it had not closed any locations.
Christie’s government is promising a number of other initiatives on the crime front, including what it calls the reintroduction of the Witness Protection Programme and the creation of a National Intelligence Agency, among others.
The Prime Minister said the government would also determine the extent of interest in a national lottery or in decriminalizing the web shop gaming business.
“It is estimated that this area holds the potential to make a significant financial contribution in support of government expenditures on the nation’s economic and social priorities in the years ahead,” he said. “Accordingly, we will soon present the details for a national referendum on the issue. Should it be deemed that it is in the national interest, development work on the necessary legal and administrative framework will be finalized.”