FNM is pot calling kettle black,
Both parties guilty of untendered contracts,
PLP and FNM competing for lesser evil title,
Unanswered questions remain for government,
Where is Whistleblower, Integrity Commission and FOI legislation?
In an article entitled “Minnis slams PLP over ‘untendered contracts’”, the Prime Minister was quoted as slamming the current leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and former Minister of Works for overseeing the granting of $200 million in untendered contracts worth only $3.5 million.
As the PM did his best to convert the parliamentary caucus into a circus, he compared the awarding of those untendered contracts to “the handing out of candy on tables at Halloween”. While the performance was comical and animated, it was a continuation of the lowered standard of debates that we have been subject to within our halls of parliament.
The Bahamian people are well aware of the misdeeds of the PLP while in office. These are adequately documented, and no doubt were responsible for their devastating loss at the 2017 general elections. The question on the lips of Bahamians is whether this Free National Movement (FNM) believes that the electorate are blind to their actions since assuming office in May 2017.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) wishes to remind the FNM administration of the popular Maxim of Equity that states that “he who comes into equity must come with clean hands”. Their hands are not clean, and they need to be reminded that questions regarding the BPL tender remain unanswered. In adopting a self-righteous posture on transparency and accountability, the FNM should produce the tender document or Request for Proposals for the relocation of the General Post Office, a report on the transfer of the BEST Commission to the OPM, the details surrounding the firing of the AMMC Chairman, the current status of the missing OBAN files, an update on the BPL investigation, evidence of meritocracy in appointments to public offices and the travel report promised for December 2018 just to mention a few.
Recently, the current Minister of Works was quoted as saying that the contract for the renovation of Government House will not be put to tender and they will select a contractor of their choice. This comes on the heels of public outrage over the alleged $9,000 monthly rent incurred by taxpayers for the Governor General’s accommodation and unknown timeline for the completion of renovations.
On behalf of the Bahamian people, we ask that the government provide a listing of and tender documents for all contracts issued since the FNM assumed office in May 2017. As the PM stated, “tendering is a transparent process; if it’s not tendered, it’s not transparent”. They should put up or shut up while taking a seat alongside their twin – the PLP. The Bahamian people can see through their grandstanding and hypocrisy. It is clear that what we have experienced is the case of the proverbial pot calling the kettle black and the PM will do well to heed the wise saying: “physician heal thyself”.
Transparency and accountability can only be achieved with the enactment and enforcement of the necessary legislation as well as the implementation of systems that put checks on the political directorate. Grandiose pronouncements without the full implementation of Whistleblower legislation, the Integrity Commission Bill and Freedom of Information Act amounts to nothing more than political rhetoric and bantering.
The DNA calls on the government to stop insulting our collective intelligence and govern in the best interest of all Bahamians. This is the least that they can do in the aftermath of the financial hardship they have imposed on the populace and their recent lackluster budget presentation.
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Democratic National Alliance