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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Feb 7, 2019 - 8:50:03 PM


Glenys Hanna Martin on Fiscal Strategy Report 2018 in HOA
Feb 6, 2019 - 9:45:10 PM

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Rise Englerston
EP Roberts Primary – Ms Moss, transformation, momentum, high performance
Bright eyed children in the Englerston constituency – become national leaders movers and shakers to take country to new levels.

Proud to represent the fine people.

Mr Speaker,

It is amazing to watch (and if you don’t laugh, you will cry)  how members of this administration use language and fancy words to describe their actions but which do not comport in any shape or form with the meaning of their actions

It is shameless and bogus and audacious and in our face
Words like “transparency” and “accountability” have been ringing in this Parliament especially today, all day from side Opposite, in bellicose tones with puffed up chests, but every day in this country we learn that this administration is the most duplicitous  yea even diabolical administration we have ever seen post 1967.

They are far from transparent, in fact they are the opposite to transparent  and they are  nowhere near accountable to the Bahamian people, in fact they defy accountability with straight faces and most boldly

In the interest of transparency which you hold like some gaudy giant  trophy –
Tell us, the Bahamian people How much is the Office of the AG and the Bahamas Govt paying for foreign QC’s to pursue prosecutions involving former political opponents?

Tell us now how much of our tax dollars is being paid out in this exercise?
Stand and have the courage
Be transparent and accountable
You say you are accountable and transparent so  why have we not yet seen the travel report detailing expenditure from the public treasury for travel of the Prime Minister and Ministers for the past almost 2 years
which was promised to be published repeatedly and most recently promised to be disclosed last December by the Prime Minister?
You tell us you are transparent and accountable
So..Why were not the Bahamian people told that this government created new executive Chairman Posts for boards where no executive chairman existed before now?

Mr Speaker you will recall the budget debate where the Prime Minister was asked precisely how many such posts have been created and you will recall he said he was not sure and would get back to us.

He should have now inquired of the person who had the authority to make such appointments and be in a position to advise the Bahamian people in the interests of transparency and accountability  as we continue to wait to know what is the increased cost in government by way of political appointments  to the Bahamian people
As this government is so committed to  transparency  Why were new  perks and/or  benefits  given to  Cabinet Ministers  from the public purse but no accounting as to  this added  burden on the Bahamian people
Because you are committed to transparency, you say  and despise secrecy.

where is the EIA report for the Oban project in East GB?

And where is the  transparency in  the shifting narrative of the Heads of Agreement and who signed what and who is really who – musical chairs?
Now we are hearing the deal is “nonsense”?

If you are so transparent and accountable in our beautiful democracy why have you been so amenable  served the interests of the wealthy and powerful as when we saw the capitulation to Lyford Cay on the issue of taxation and the change of law to accommodate multi billion dollar foreign oil companies but you  cut back on assistance to the poor including children living in poverty conditions?

Why have you increased tax burdens on the heads of struggling Bahamians when you claimed in Opposition you were fundamentally opposed to such measures, you spoke of the pain and suffering and so how very very wrong it was and yet.. you came within 12 months and completely reversed you principled position.

If you are so transparent and accountable..why  are the  allegations of corruption which you levied  against the previous administration and which every day is coming under scrutiny and proving over and over to be false and malicious?
I heard the member for freetown repeat allegations of corruption. I only say to him, be careful what you say before scrutiny changes course.

That Minister today touted the successes in Tourism and the positive impact on our economy but he knows that the Bahamar project is a significant contributor to expanding capacity in our tourism project.

It is that same project that the member for Freetown who beams so proud  when he recites the statistics of overnight visitors etc.

But it was that same project which he said was  horribly undesirable for The Bahamas.

Referenced Bahamar and Hilton and decried Chinese involvement
Of course at the time he was on the Board of the former owner and singing that tune but like he advised us he now works for a new employer the Bahamian people and so he is singing a new tune.

At least he confessed it. I guess you can say that is being transparent and accountable.

Bahamar has been critical to this economy  but you misled the Bahamian people in your public pronouncements in Opposition trying to scuttle the deal
it was Killarney said opening was fake  (see ) and boycotted the Hyatt Opening but in a flash was there ringing the SLS bell, beaming broadly.

The duplicity is transparent and there will be accountability.

We recall the shifting narrative – in the first budget speech where it was clear that the impact of hurricanes had a deleterious and dramatic impact on our economy (see A B C D E)
We were criticized for shifting policy on the CRIF policy.

But here we are so much emphasis on hurricanes, so much talks about effect on economies severe is langrage used in this report.

Were you transparent about the real impact of natural disasters on national economies when you brought the first FNM budget to this House?

Were you being transparent and accountable when you diverted public funds and resources to help a sister nation down South but have turned your face away from our own people in Ragged Island?

Then we remember talk of the missing VAT money and the $42 million that could not be found (see waffling)
Were you being absolutely transparent when the story waffled all over the place?

They put out into the public domain the spectre of a devaluation of currency insinuating it was the actions of prior administration which led to this  possibility and horrifying spectre and used as a rationale to increase VAT
See MINNIS

And later when social media rumours
Turnquest talk about Patriotism
Are you really Accountable and transparent?

They chastised the prior administration for making policy decisions contrary to the referendum result on gaming
SEE Gaming.

Now we hear them floating possibility of a national lottery also voted down and the coy responses when asked directly by media.

Gender equality political hay shift in policy.

We need  this lovely  accountability and transparency on the Our Lucaya purchase.

What is the cost to the Bahamian people?

Where is the accountability and transparency when this government awarded a lucrative contract to a company in which a  sitting cabinet minister is a major shareholder having failed  to procure unanimous approval of this Parliament?

So many questions..
What we do know, however,  is that this administration will not know transparency if it kicked them in the backside and we do know that accountability is out of  the window. It doesn’t live here anymore

The member for Freetown called my name a lot today. I want to thank him for keeping my name in the public domain but I must remind him that he is the one who holds the office of public trust.

And so the Bahamian people were disappointed that in several interviews he seemed to not be aware of important matters in his portfolio. The nation and especially Abaconians were disappointed that the Abaco runway could not be used after sunset because the lighting was defective and for so long…


The Minsiter of Tourism and Aviation is in here blowing hot air when the Abaco runway has been destabilized due to defective lighting for weeks
of course we have yet to receive a proper report on the Arthur’s Town airport runway.

And with all the continuing international audits and the recurring pressures , we know the member understands  that Public life is hard work not braggadocio and bluster, and by the way, we are watching the PGD

We are also watching the debacle in Abaco –  with the ferries  and the recent environmental concerns of the Abaco Chamber of Commerce and the upsetting of local industry and the use of public facilities. Where is the transparency and accountability?

As the member for Exuma and Ragged island said so forcefully today on our behalf.. you are off track in your projections, your revenues are underperforming, you are not meeting your financial  obligations and multiple vendors await payment. You have not invested in infrastructure and so it is crumbling all around and today we have a crisis at CW Sawyer (brings to mind an exchange last week with East GB relative to the Black Point School and his subsequent assault on the people of Englerston)  there are complaints at that Mount Moriah School of mould, structural uncertainty including  the stairwell which children , teachers and others use daily, sink hole etc.

It is ironic that you would come in here and boast of your books and macroeconomic statistics  when unemployment is growing and, the cost of living is skyrocketing and the gap between the rich and poor is growing .

This is not a strategic plan at all.

This debate this is a waste of parliamentary time and a reflection of a Government without any real parliamentary agenda except to perpetuate a false perception of transparency and accountability.

The six month report is now out and in two to three weeks the mid year budget would be presented. A true fiscal debate could have taken place during the mid -year on current information rather than debate 4 month old information.

The report although pretty is not aligned in the format of the budget so it prevents parliamentarians from during comparisons to see how any agency is executing its budget.  For example, what percentage of the Social Services Uniform allowance was used?  It is impossible to determine from this budget.  So in essence the Ministry of Finance has just taken the normal report of the Central Bank on the fiscal outcome and published it as its own report.  So no great stride has been made in fiscal transparency but rather a step back.

The numbers are out of date but they reflect underperformance in revenue, a direct result of questionable decisions in the last fiscal period.  

The underperformance is further manifested in the half yearly fiscal report.

It is clear that the Government needs to make dramatic adjustments to meet its fiscal goals.  

This is not unexpected given the number of measures it was forced to pull back or delay in the current fiscal year because of their lack of understanding about fiscal management and its relationship to the economy.

I end by saying that no lie lasts forever. Time has the uncanny ability to pull back the curtain of deception. We are seeing as we speak.

What you see is not what you get. The Bahamian people must be vigilant and prepared to stand.

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