PLP GOVERNMENT MUST CANCEL REPORTED JDL ARRANGEMENT

Dec 18, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hon. Michael Pintard

Leader, Free National Movement

December 14, 2023

 

THE BAHAMAS – The Opposition strongly condemns the plans by the Davis Administration to outsource airfreight arrangements at LPIA, and to add yet another additional tax on Bahamians, as was highlighted yesterday in Parliament by FNM MP, Dr. Hubert Minnis, and confirmed by the Financial Secretary as reported in The Tribune of December 14, 2023.

Clearly what is reported cannot be defended. It simply cannot be that the government has signed on to a $25 million plus arrangement outside of its own procurement law that would require an undertaking like this to go to competitive bidding.

It cannot be that the Customs Management Act is being breached by allowing an entity to manage landed goods outside of the prescribed legal framework.

It cannot be that there is a January timeline to implement this arrangement when the government has given the public no notice and has not said anything about the initiative, the vendor or its ownership. Who will be taking home millions of dollars with this no-bid contract?

Most importantly, it simply cannot be that the Davis Administration is imposing a brand new tax on every single package or item brought into New Providence by air, with the proceeds to be handed over to a private company without bringing this multi-million-dollar proposal to the Parliament for approval. We shouldn’t have to remind the Prime Minister that only Parliament has the authority to impose new mandatory taxes and fees.

All Bahamians who use air couriers to bring in items will face increased prices, even though they are already paying burdensome Customs processing fees to manage all related public facilities.

We in the Opposition categorically reject this arrangement and we demand that it be cancelled immediately. Any necessary upgrades to the airfreight facilities should be funded from the fees Bahamians already pay.

It’s bad enough that this PLP government is using your money to fuel their lavish and wasteful spending – it’s worse that they expect you to give up even more of it to undisclosed private interests in what may very well be an illegal arrangement.

The Davis Administration must come clean to the Bahamian people on this matter.

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