CHILL, MR. PINTARD, AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE

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By OSWALD T. BROWN

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 26, 2022 — It is the epitome of hypocrisy that Free National Movement leader Michael Pintard demanded that the administration of Prime Minister Philip E. Davis “be transparent and reveal the documentation” that shows who paid for the Prime Minister’s recent trip to Bermuda, according to an article in The Tribune on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

Clearly, Mr. Pintard, who is known to be an excellent speaker, would not be engaged in this disgraceful display of hyperbole if he were not consumed by a desire to “score political points” at a time when the Opposition FNM is struggling to find a way to be relevant in the aftermath of four-plus years of inept and incompetent governance of The Bahamas, under the leadership of former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, whose political mismanagement of this country ended with the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) landslide victory in September 16, 2021, general election.

Meanwhile, the new PLP Government, led by Prime Minister Philip E. Davis, after a year in power continues to solidify its restoration of good governance to The Bahamas, a fact that may be responsible for Mr. Pintard grasping at straws as he wallows in the cesspit of misinformation to find ways to criticize the excellent job the PLP has done to restore good governance to The Bahamas.

According to The Tribune, Mr. Pintard in a press release said that like “many Bahamians, including the press, the opposition party is unclear on whether the government or the PLP” paid for the trip to Bermuda.

The Tribune noted that Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell “had earlier said there was nothing unusual about his and Mr Davis’ recent trip to Bermuda.”

“The minister (Mitchell), over the weekend, said the trip was a standard official visit to another country at the invitation of the Premier of Bermuda E David Burt, who is also leader of Bermuda’s Progressive Labour Party,” The Tribune noted, adding that Communications Director Latrae Rahming “also said Friday the travel costs were covered by the Progressive Liberal Party, adding any further questions should be directed there.”

In the meantime, Mr.  Rahming, Director of Communication at the Office of Prime Minister Bahamas, confirmed on Friday that the trip would be paid for by the Government, and the Prime Minister further clarified the circumstances surrounding the trip while speaking in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

According to an article in The Nassau Guardian, Prime Minister Davis explained that he and a “delegation of PLP and government officials went to Bermuda last Wednesday and returned Thursday.”

Davis said he was invited to Bermuda by the premier earlier this year. “The Office of the Premier of Bermuda was in contact with the foreign affairs ministry to ensure that I would still come,” the Prime Minister said. “I then said I would go – travel as prime minister. They cannot separate the two,” according to The Guardian article.

The prime minister said a couple days before the trip, the Office of the Prime Minister chartered a Western Air flight at a “reasonable cost”. He said that had he traveled on a commercial flight, he would have had to spend a night in New York on each leg of the trip.

“So, that’s how it evolved,” the Prime Minister explained the House.

Noting that he was going as ‘the prime minister of the country,” Mr. Davis explained that because of the historically close ties between Progressive Liberal Party of The Bahamas and Bermuda’s Progressive Labour Party (PLP), the Premier of Bermuda also invited representatives of the PLP to come as well and a 50-seater plane that was being chartered.

“I said we will reckon,” Mr. Davis said.  “By the time that was done, I had already made the arrangements. Once I decided that the PLP would join me on the trip, the arrangements for the charter had been paid for by the government.”

According to The Guardian, “I left instructions for my senior policy advisor, because of the fact the PLPs would be on the flight, to make sure that we will pay for that charter at least and make the arrangements when we get into Bermuda [to] pay for the hotel.”

Declaring that the decision was made for the PLP to reimburse OPM after all the receipts came in, the Prime Minister added: “That’s what the question was. That is what was done. At the end of the day, the question is who paid for it. The government will not pay for it. In fact, I’ve decided that they will not take care of whatever I went for. I will pay for myself. We will do the reckoning and at the end of the reckoning, you will see.”

As The Guardian article noted: “The PLP made public pictures of a check and a receipt showing that it reimbursed the Office of the Prime Minister for the Western Air flight. The receipt is dated October 21, the day after the prime minister and his delegation came back. The check, drawn from a FirstCaribbean International Bank account, was in the amount of $24,750.”

Obviously, that conclusively answers the question of who paid for the trip to Bermuda. Rather than criticize Prime Minister Davis trip to Bermuda, at the invitation of Bermuda’s Premier David Burt, Mr. Pintard and his FNM advisers should be proud of the high esteem in which Prime Minister Davis is held not only in neighbouring countries, but internationally.

Here’s some unsolicited advice for Mr. Pintard: As the Jamaicans would say, “Chill, my brother and enjoy the benefits of good governance.”