The DNA Demands Transparency

It appears as if the Free National Movement government has embarked upon a policy of score settling, political victimization and alienation of competent Bahamian professionals.

The whole exercise of summarily dismissing eight senior police officers, virtually all at the same time reeks of victimization.  Every time the government changes in The Bahamas, successive administrations play favorites with the public service, promoting their cronies and firing perceived enemies. The police force and the country at large is fed up with this disgraceful behavior. If there were legitimate reasons why these officers should have been dismissed in this manner, the Bahamian People deserve an explanation. It has been almost two years since this administration has taken office so if this was normal attrition it would have already commenced long before now, and been a more gradual process. Done in this manner makes it difficult to believe the Government’s explanation of excessive accumulated vacation days and not some other reason. The public needs to know.

What makes the government look even worse is the loss of Bahamian talent across  the board.

This administration must explain the reason why the talented, competent and celebrated Bahamas Power and Light Chief Operating Officer, Christine Alston abruptly left  the corporation particularly after they embarked on a campaign to bring qualified Bahamians home to build the country? What is the reason this government cannot keep proven competent professionals in their employ?

At this very moment the Minister of Works, the Hon. Desmond Bannister is embroiled in a law suit regarding his treatment of former BPL board Chairperson Mrs. Darnell Osborne.

What has happened to the FNM's promise of transparency?

The DNA demands that the government:

  1. Give the reason why so many of the top brass of the Royal Bahamas Police Force were made to leave in the manner in which they were?

  2. What is the reason for the abrupt departure of Ms. Alston from BPL?

  3. What is the status of the probe that the Prime Minister promised into the issues related to the Minister of Works Desmond Bannister and the former BPL board?

It seems more so than ever that an investigation needs to be done at BPL.

The FNM promised transparency, but so far all the people have received are cover-ups.

“It’s the people’s time” for answers!

Omar B. Smith, National Chairman

Democratic National Alliance


Government must own its failures in Frank Smith case

SUMMARY

  • Case marred by gross incompetence

  • Perception of corruption fed by unethical conduct

  • All eyes on the Prime Minister’s response

  • Taxpayers funding inefficiencies and recklessness


Our democracy was deepened but a dangerous precedent was set in a case involving former Senator Frank Smith. The DNA had followed this matter since inception but reserved comment on the same due to the confidence we have in our judicial system. It is our view that the independence of the judiciary as demonstrated in this matter further deepened Bahamian democracy. However, the involvement and implication of two sitting Cabinet members and Members of Parliament has cast a dark cloud over the executive and legislature.

There could not have been a better description of the actions of both the Minister of Health and the Minister of National Security than that offered by the learned Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt who found their conduct to be egregious and unorthodox. On the heels of the recent lower ranking of The Bahamas on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), this comes as an embarrassment and disgrace to our commonwealth. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet must respond to these serious actions or risk tainting their administration and facing permanent condemnation before the Bahamian people.

Observers of the recently concluded legal matter would have been shocked by what appeared to be gross incompetence and clumsiness displayed by the entities involved in making and arguing the case on behalf of the Crown. It is our view that this is not an indictment on the hardworking professionals of our government departments/agencies; rather, it is testament to the unethical conduct and political interference of the executive arm of government.

Regrettably, the hard-earned funds of taxpayers have been and continues to be expended on the inefficiencies and reckless habits of an administration that is alien to good governance, transparency and accountability. We submit that it is high time that the FNM administration took ownership of its failures. They must acknowledge the error of their ways, apologize to the Bahamian people and make a true commitment to adopting the DNA’s good governance platform. The Bahamian people deserve nothing less from an administration that seems determined to tarnish our good reputation.

All eyes are on the Ministers cited in this matter as honorable men, to do the honorable thing by resigning in accordance with the conventions of the Westminster system of government. The Bahamian people and the international community are waiting and watching.

Geoffrey Deleveaux, Spokesperson for Good Governance

Democratic National Alliance

International report confirms FNM has failed in anti-corruption

Summary:

  • Administration marred by scandals and conflicts of interest

  • Minnis administration no different from predecessors

  • Corruption perception ranking comes as no surprise

  • Cease political rhetoric and demonstrate true commitment to good governance

  • Government should embrace DNA good governance platform


After the nation’s Prime Minister embarked upon a world anti-corruption crusade and promised to stamp out corruption at its core, recent reports that The Bahamas has moved down to 29th on Transparency International’s corruption ranking is an indictment on the Minnis administration. The Bahamas’ recent ranking on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows a lack of true commitment by the Minnis Administration to transparent and accountable governance.  Even though the current administration had campaigned on transparency and accountability in governance on the 2017 campaign trail, their governance to date has been marred by scandals, conflicts of interest and inaction; proving that they are no different from their predecessors in government.

Bahamians will recall the tragic case of the OBAN deal and the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of ineptitude and fraud as well as the subsequent admission by the Minister of Education that the government breached the law in the handling of the matter.

The Minister of Health also publicly acknowledged approving a contract without the requisite Cabinet approval while two senior Cabinet Ministers were also implicated in matters before the court. The conflict of interest and lack of transparency that plagued the relocation of the main Post Office remains fresh in the minds of the Bahamian people.  We are still awaiting the probe into the BPL ordeal as promised by the Prime Minister and when one considers the ineffectiveness and political stifling of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament as a check and balance to government spending, The Bahamas’ ranking on the CPI comes as no surprise. The government should be aware that its actions are being monitored by both domestic and international observers.

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) implores the government to fulfil their campaign promise of good governance, transparency and accountability.  They should go beyond the political rhetoric and wage war on corruption and the perception of corruption in our nation. On behalf of the Bahamian people, we demand the full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and the Integrity Commission Act. We encourage the government to fully embrace the DNA’s platform for good governance by enacting and enforcing Whistle-blower and Campaign Finance legislation among others without delay.


Geoffrey Deleveaux, Spokesperson for Good Governance

Democratic National Alliance