Arinthia Komolafe

Campaign finance reform long overdue

  • PLP and FNM have avoided reform for decades

  • Curious timing following NPO Bill backlash

  • Robust legislation will reveal special interests

  • No further delay to passage of legislation

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) notes the comments attributed to the Attorney General that a draft bill seeking to regulate the financing of campaigns for political parties in The Bahamas.

This announcement comes on the heels of significant pushback and backlash following the tabling of the Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) legislation. The legitimate concern of the populace that political parties just like NPOs should not be exempt from scrutiny seems to have forced the Government to finally propose campaign finance legislation.

We believe that it is extremely important that the Bahamian people are aware of the sources of funding for political organizations. The legislative and policy priorities of successive administrations upon assuming office point to an obvious need for transparency and accountability in the campaign finance process. An effective campaign finance legal framework will reveal special interests and groupings that may seek repayments in favours, contracts and appointments from political parties following election victories.

The discourse on campaign finance regulation has been taking place in The Bahamas for decades without any meaningful progress by the Progressive Liberal Party and Free National Movement administrations to date. Campaign finance reform in The Bahamas is long overdue and should not be delayed any further.


While it can be argued that the Government’s recent pronouncement is only an attempt to placate the Bahamas Christian Council, NPOs and the Bahamian people, we are hopeful that this is not another grandiose announcement without any intention to implement this vital framework. The Bahamian people deserve and urgently demand good governance from an administration that promised that it would be “the people’s time”.

We implore the Government to proceed with completing the drafting, tabling and passing of the legislation without any further delay and pray that this crucial legislation does not meet the same fate as the Freedom of Information Act, which has been put on the proverbial backburner. Campaign Finance reform has been at the heart of the DNA’s platform for good governance and the DNA looks forward to providing valuable input into the draft legislation and working with the Government to complete this process as soon as possible.

Arinthia S. Komolafe

Deputy Leader, Democratic National Alliance

DNA extends condolences on the passing of Bradley Roberts

We are saddened to hear of the passing of the Honourable Bradley Roberts.

Big Bad Brad as he was fondly called in the political arena was an astute politician who served as a Parliamentarian, Cabinet Minister and National Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party. He also served in various capacities on statutory boards and government agencies.

Mr. Roberts was also a historian in his own right and no doubt contributed to the development of our nation and democracy. Many regarded him as a repository of Bahamian political history and a political strategist. While many viewed Mr. Roberts as a polarizing figure in Bahamian politics, he will be remembered as a courageous and passionate wordsmith who loved his country


We salute him for his national service and dedication over the years.

On behalf of the Democratic National Alliance, we offer our deepest condolences to the Roberts family, friends and former colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

May his soul rest in peace.

Arinthia S. Komolafe

Deputy Leader, Democratic National Alliance



Government Urged: Release Fiscal Forecast Details

  • Fiscal projections were in jeopardy before legal challenges

  • Budget impact analysis remains a secret document

  • Transparency and accountability continue to elude us

  • Details of projections should be released

  • Actions fuel suspicion that no financial modeling done prior

 

It was recently reported that the Minister of Finance believes that the legal challenges by the web shop industry will put additional pressure on the Government’s 2018/2019 fiscal projections. This is bearing in mind that the Government had supposedly anticipated an increase in revenue of between $30 million and $40 million based on changes to the taxation system for this industry.

The Minister further suggested that a cutback in the form of more austere measures may be on the horizon should the Government be unable to meet its revenue targets. This is unacceptable; the Bahamian people should not be subject to additional hardship and suffering due to the lack of proper analysis, planning and consultation prior to the implementation of new fiscal measures by the Government.

The Government has ignored repeated calls for the release of the economic impact assessment conducted to justify the significant hike in the VAT rate, other taxes and fees. Rather, the modelling and forecasts document that was referenced remains shrouded in secrecy and away from the Bahamian people. The Government has effectively chosen to ignore the people’s demand for transparency, accountability and good governance while seeking our empathy for potentially missing their revenue targets.

We note that there was significant resistance to the proposed revenue measures in the lead up to the budget debate. The duplicitous actions of the current administration in increasing the VAT rate after opposing the implementation of this tax while in opposition has been highlighted on numerous occasions. The Government was advised that an increase in the tax rate will not necessarily translate into a corresponding increase in tax revenue with potential consequences in the form of reduced consumer spending, confidence and purchasing power. The reality is that the risk of missing revenue projections was always present prior to the legal challenges referenced by the Minister.

The adhoc policy decisions on certain tax measures fuel the suspicion that no proper financial modelling was done by the Government prior to the preparation or implementation of the national budget. We are hopeful that this is not the case and urge the Government to dispel this notion by releasing their detailed projections to the public. The revised projections will ideally factor in the purchase of the Grand Lucayan, the tax revenue forgone for breadbasket items, VAT exempt implications for insurance products and medicines, the increase in the VAT exempt minimum threshold for BPL customers and reversal of the tax treatment for owner-occupied dwellings.

In releasing the economic impact analysis, the Bahamian people will be better informed on the anticipated impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment, the poverty index, inflation and consequently economic growth projections. The Bahamian people are intelligent and can decipher information for themselves. This is the least that we can expect from the people’s time government.

 

Arinthia S. Komolafe

Deputy Leader, Democratic National Alliance

Moody’s: Government must address fiscal policy credibility

Moody’s: Government must address fiscal policy credibility

In the absence of an articulated economic growth plan, a robust national disaster risk management framework and demonstrated commitment to fiscal prudence, it is difficult to envision how the current administration will be able to address the concerns raised by Moody’s. Further, the absence of these vital elements undermines the ability of the Government to reverse the negative outlook, stave off any further downgrades of our sovereign rating or improve our existing rating.

Government Urged: Disclose strategy for Grand Lucayan

Government Urged: Disclose strategy for Grand Lucayan

Grand Bahamians holding on to a glimmer of hope based on this resort have been placed on an emotional rollercoaster plagued with uncertainty and cloaked in political rhetoric. On the other hand, Bahamians are puzzled by the contradiction in the Government’s approach to the country’s fiscal predicament.