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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Jul 4, 2019 - 4:32:07 PM

DNA Deputy: Political favors costing taxpayers under PLP and FNM
By Buscheme (Busch) Armbrister
Jul 4, 2019 - 3:30:42 PM

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  •     Appointment of new GG was unnecessary
  •     PM decisions costing taxpayers
  •     Bahamians foot more than $500,000 bill annually for 6 Governors General
  •     Minnis has poor record in supporting women
  •     DNA will end era of political favors

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) continues to observe Prime Minister Minnis and his band of merry men as they inflict suffering on the Bahamian people. This has been evident from the passage of the Commercial Enterprise Act spearheaded by former Minister Brent Symonette, to presiding over the multiple blacklisting of our financial services industry, rise in unemployment and poor labor relations, to increasing VAT to 12% when Bahamians can't pay their bills or find good paying jobs to have a decent standard of living.

Although this Minnis-led FNM administration does not fail to remind the Bahamian people that the cupboard is bare, they continue to spend Bahamian taxpayer funds like drunken sailors.  In this most recent budget, we saw an increase in food and travel expenses for this administration while the masses struggle to make ends meet. Now we learn that the government will spend $9000 per month to house the country's newest Governor General.

First of all, the DNA fails to see the need for the appointment of another Governor General. For a nation that is only 46 years old in political independence, we've already had 10 Governors General.  Our record in this regard can be attributed mainly to the handing out of political favors by the Free National Movement (FNM) and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to loyal Party supporters. This has resulted in the Bahamian people paying fixed sums for living past Governor Generals, being Sir Orville Turnquest, Dame Ivy Dumont A.D. Hanna, Sir Arthur Foulkes and Dame Marguerite Pindling. The total cost to taxpayers is some $350,000 per annum. We thank these individuals for their stellar contribution to The Bahamas; however, this cycle of appointing 'our people' to various posts is costly to the Bahamian people and shows our political immaturity.

His Excellency Cornelius A. Smith was recently appointed as the 10th Governor General of The Bahamas. The reason for his appointment is unclear and cannot be justified other than being a political payback for his loyalty to Prime Minister Minnis and the Free National Movement. Governor General Smith will receive personal emoluments of $70,000 per annum. At the minimum, his home accommodation will be $84,000 per annum. That is approximately $150,000 per annum on our 10th Governor General with no timeline in sight for the completion of renovations at Government House. As a consequence, Bahamians will pay more than $500,000 to maintain Governors General.

Why must the Bahamian people be saddled with close to $150k for one Governor General whose duties are merely ceremonial? Didn't the Prime Minister know that the quarters at Government House were unsuitable? What then was the rush to appoint a new GG and add more expenses on taxpayers?  There is no evidence to suggest that Dame Marguerite was not executing her duties well as the GG, in fact, she was most loved and highly praised.

Was the removal of Dame Marguerite because the Prime Minister has a problem with female leadership? For a professional who made his living and achieved wealth from caring and attending to women as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, we in the DNA cannot fathom why Dr. Minnis continues to exclude women at the highest levels in government. For someone who has the Bahamian women to thank for ushering him into high office overwhelmingly with their votes, Dr. Minnis has shown little gratitude to the women of this nation. His record on advancing women in our nation is poor and a sad reality to see in this 21st Century Bahamas. The clear message is that women are good enough for tokenism as we have seen with the Senate appointments and good enough to be his patients, but not good enough to make decisions at the highest levels in Government.

We are being governed by persons whose hands are in the cookie jar to live a life of comfort while ordinary Bahamians suffer.  Just as it was during the PLP administration, the Old Boys Club is alive and well during the current FNM administration. It is FNM supporters’ time. The DNA will put an end to discrimination and appointments based on political expediency in our Bahamaland. For the first time under a DNA government, all Bahamians will matter and have a fair chance regardless of party colors. We also pledge to be good stewards of the people's money.

Buscheme (Busch) Armbrister

Deputy Leader

Democratic National Alliance

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