STOP THE NONSENSE EXCUSES AND FOLLOW THE LAW

Sep 20, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hon. Michael Pintard

Leader, Free National Movement

NEW PROVIDENCE, BAHAMAS – The Opposition joins with all Bahamians in condemning the utter contempt that this Brave Davis led government continues to show for the Bahamian people.

The Bahama Journal on Friday, August 4 reported that the Ministry of Finance was still peddling nonsense excuses to seek to explain why the government has continued to break the law for almost two years now. For no good reason whatsoever, the government has refused to publish the legally required information on the hundred of millions of dollars in contracts that it has issued since coming to office.

The Public Procurement Act came into effect September 1, 2021. In that act and the 2023 version brought by the PLP, the government must provide public with key information on the contracts it awards within 60 days of signing these contracts. By law, the public is entitled to know the names of the contract winners, the nature of the contract, and the value of the contract. The public corporations and authorities have a similar requirement for all contracts over $25,000.

After nearly two years in office, this hapless and wholly unaccountable PLP government is – according to the Ministry of Finance – still not ready and to provide this information to the Bahamian public.

It is contemptible nonsense because for decades all government agencies have been publishing information through regular public notices in the various newspapers. This is routine administrative work that our public officers have been doing for years.

The only reason the public is not getting this information is because the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are intentionally hiding information from the public. They clearly do not want Bahamian taxpayers to see how their hard earned money is being spent. What is the big secret? What is the PLP trying to hide from the Bahamian people – so much so that they are happily prepared to break the law to do so? Are they embarrassed to reveal to the Bahamian people how they have abused and ignored the procurement processes to reward political cronies and hangers-on? This PLP led government violated the Procurement Law they met in place and they are violating the law they amended. No excuse!

The Prime Minister, despite his busy international travel schedule, is keenly aware that he is breaking the law. As Minister of Finance he was to have provided an annual report to Parliament last year October outlining all the contracts his government gave out. Earlier this year, he stated that a company was engaged to complete the report and that it would be provided soon. Six months later, we realize that it was clearly all idle talk. That is the PLP way. Long on talk but short on action. It is one law for them and another law for other members of public.

One of the many things that is worrisome about this continued law breaking is the fact that when the public examines the contracts where the details are in the public domain serious concerns and or irregularities are discovered. This fact makes us wonder- what else we will find once the secret and unreported contracts are thoroughly examined.

August 7, 2023

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