Election 2017

The Unfulfilled 100 Days

On May 10, The Free National Movement secured a landslide victory at the polls. Armed with a myriad of pre-election promises on how to improve the lives of Bahamians, the Minnis led opposition rode a wave of anti-PLP sentiment into office and declared that after 5 years of lackluster governance it would finally be The People’s Time. Unfortunately, more than 100 days into this term, it has become painfully clear that the FNM, though clearly capable of winning the election, was not prepared to govern.

On the campaign trail, the party’s leadership unveiled a substantial list of promises which they pledged would be part of an immediate plan of action designed to improve the lives of Bahamians. Since then however, the Minnis administration has offered no detailed plans on the way forward, an admission which came from the party’s own chairman who conceded that there have been no “earth shattering accomplishments” made by the government in its first 100 days. Instead, the Prime Minister and his cabinet continue to speak in the vague generalities usually reserved for the rally stage; but the time for rally talk is OVER!

While the government has been consumed with the arrests of former politicians – a move which in isolation is an important part of efforts to root out corruption – they have ignored the needs of the persons who voted them in. Families being crushed by the weight of the oppressive Value Added Tax and who were promised a repeal of that tax on popular bread basket items, continue to suffer. Business owners and budding entrepreneurs who have, over the years found themselves buried by miles of red tape, and who were promised a greater sense of ease in conducting their affairs, continue to face challenges. Similarly, Bahamians in over the hill communities who bought into the Prime Minister’s promised initiatives for the revitalization of those areas have been left with absolutely NOTHING to show for all the PM’s grandiose promises.

Though on the front line of the issue while in opposition, the government has yet to unveil any plans to address the longstanding issues at the New Providence landfill resorting instead to the exact same rhetoric used by the administration before them. Even with an environmental activist at the helm of the Ministry responsible it appears that the government is equally ill equipped to finally fix the dump.

Equally disappointing to the DNA has been the total lack of movement by this government to fully implement the Freedom of Information Act. Though extremely vocal while in opposition the government has made no effort to fully enact the legislation. In the interim, the country continues to be denied the benefits promised by a government who swore a commitment to true transparency.

Since taking office the FNM has resorted to using much the same tired political rhetoric we have become use to. Like the Christie administration before it, this Minnis led government has spent considerable time lamenting the situation left behind by those before. They have publicly decried the deficiencies in governance but have taken little action to address them. While bemoaning the state of the country’s finances they have taken no definitive steps to address the situation. While the DNA and voting public is not so naïve as to believe that the country’s current economic situation is not a hindrance to the execution of some of the promised initiatives it is equally important to note that many of these necessary changes require no actual funding to execute.

Ahead of the May 10th general elections Bahamians were promised visionary leadership and good governance. Since then however, we’ve gotten much of the same old same. We hope that this administration will finally take the necessary steps to live up to its many promises and work to create A Better Life for ALL BAHAMIANS AND THOSE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE!

Branville McCartney
DNA Leader

DNA urges Minnis Administration to Implement Good Governance Platform

For Immediate Release
21 May, 2017

The Leaders, Executive Council, Officers, and Members of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) extend congratulations once again to the Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis and the Free National Movement (FNM) on winning the 2017 General Elections. The DNA looks forward to working with the current administration to restore our nation to the economic and social prosperity that we are accustomed to as Bahamians in this great Commonwealth.

In this regard, the DNA welcomes the Minnis administration’s commitment to eradicating corruption, wastage, inefficiency, and partiality in our governance structure and request the said administration to commit to the timeline on the following 10 points, some of which are outlined in both the DNA and FNM’s platform for good governance. We request the Minnis administration to:

1. Bring into force the Freedom of Information Act within the first 60 days of office. The DNA also invites the current Minnis administration to consult our organisation with respect to the DNA’s Right to Information Bill as a source and guidance for amendments to the said Act.

2. Draft, consult and table a Fiscal Responsibility Bill in Parliament within the first 120 days of office.

3. Draft, consult and table a Whistle blower’s Bill in Parliament within the first 120 days of office.

4. Prepare and issue a white paper on National Procurement within the first 90 days of office to be consulted with by relevant stakeholders for effective implementation by fiscal year 2018/19.

5. Within the first 90 days of office, prepare and release a white paper on the establishment of the office of the Ombudsman, wherein the said entity will serve as a watchdog of the government on behalf of the Bahamian people.

6. Within the first 120 days of office, strengthen and enforce the Public Disclosure Act and create and enforce a Code of Conduct Act for Public Officials.

7. Prepare and issue a white paper within the first 90 days of office to limit the term of the PM to two terms, limit the powers of the Prime Minister, create a recall system for non-performing Members of Parliament and to set fixed dates for national and local elections.

8. Within the first 120 days of office, prepare and release a white paper on electoral reform inclusive of matters relating to electoral finance reforms, automation of the electoral process and voting participation by the Bahamian diaspora.

9. Within the first 120 days of office, prepare and release a white paper on the introduction of Local Government to New Providence inclusive of the strengthening and empowerment of the current system of Local Government in the Family Islands.

10. Within the first 90 days of office, prepare and release a white paper on Public Sector Reform. The DNA is also prepared to sit in consultation with the current administration and its agents to discuss the particulars of our white paper released regarding the same.

While the DNA recognizes the constraints that the government may be under in the Attorney General’s Office and Ministry of Finance among others to accommodate the DNA’s 10-point request, the DNA proposes request for proposals be sent out for Public Private Partnerships to expedite the same as well as to embrace the vast professional expertise within the Bahamian public. The fundamental question is not whether we can afford to bring about these much needed reforms, but whether we can afford not to implement these long overdue initiatives at this critical juncture in our nation’s history.

As concerned citizens in our Commonwealth committed to advancing a stable democracy that is both transparent and accountable, we in the DNA look forward to a positive collaboration with this current administration in government to the benefit of the Bahamian people and those who have chosen to make The Bahamas their home.

Democratic National Alliance
Opposition Party

The Way Forward

Today, the Democratic National Alliance marks 6 years of service to the people of this beautiful country. Since our inception, the DNA has worked to be an advocate for ALL Bahamians to ensure the government of the day puts the needs and aspirations of our people ahead of their own. We have been committed to upholding, protecting, and deepening the democratic Rule of Law in by promoting openness and accountability in governmental affairs, social justice and equality, so that generations of Bahamians born and unborn can reap the benefits of effective and transformative governance.

On this anniversary, we once again find ourselves on the outside of our parliamentary democracy having conceded defeat in the 2017 general elections for the second time since we started this journey in November of 2011. Let me first begin by offering heartfelt congratulations to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis for a resounding victory at the Polls. I wish he, and his new administration great success over the next five years. It is my hope that they can live up to the mandate given to them by the people of this country and truly create better lives for all Bahamians.

Secondly, I would like to thank all Bahamians who came out to exercise their constitutional right to vote, and congratulate our beautiful country on once again going through the process without violence.

And finally, I would like to personally thank the hundreds of Bahamians who stood with the DNA then, and now. Your unwavering support, even in difficult times has been the glue that has kept this organization together. I thank you for believing in the dream of the DNA and for making the often-unpopular choice to be different. You have affirmed my belief that a third party can and will have a place in our country’s political story. Have we always gotten it right? Perhaps not, but Bahamians can be certain that every action, every plan and every policy position taken by the Democratic National Alliance has been in pursuit of an ideal which I believe most Bahamians believe in.

Now, we move forward. The people have spoken through your showing at the polls. Bahamians have made their choice and as leader of the DNA, I fully accept and respect that decision. Our defeat however does not mean that the DNA will fold. The men and women who form this organization continue to believe in the unending potential of our people and will continue to hold this government accountable for the promises they made to you. In the coming weeks, months and years Bahamians who have supported us, and those continuing to seek a viable alternative to our current two party system will witness a re-engineering of our organization in order to become the kind of real change which Bahamians demand and deserve!

 

Branville McCartney

DNA Leader