13 th August 2021
Despite being sanctioned by URCA for allowing defamatory political messages directed at the Leader of the Opposition the FNM trolls and paid propagandists are still posting lies and distortions. Unsurprisingly, all the quotes contained in their messages come from either the Nassau Guardian or the Tribune, two biased,
discredited newspapers which have made its raison d’etre the destruction of the PLP and any social, political and economic gains fostered by them.
As usual, FNM scandals are barely commented on, and the media continues its deafening silence on its multiple questionable and some say criminal decisions made by them. But for their information, the fire storm of bad news for the FNM will not end. Not a day passes when some underhanded, disgusting action by them is not exposed for us to see and watch with wonderment. As an example: The recent disclosure by the Auditor General’s Office that “The Government has failed to meet the Auditor General’s demand to provide ownership details on all the companies awarded COVID-related contracts despite this being deemed “pivotal” to good governance.
The revelation, contained in the Office of the Auditor General’s report on how the Government used the proceeds from last June’s emergency $250m International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan that kept the country and government afloat during the pandemic’s peak, reveals its request for information on who beneficially owns these entities remains “pending”. Drawing on this, the Office of the Auditor General said:
“We note that beneficial ownership full disclosure plays a pivotal role in the good governance in governmental financial affairs with respect to transparency and accountability; integrity and law enforcement; and mitigating the risks associated with abuse of public funds, corruption and financial fraud.”
This sorry, chaotic situation is emblematic of the way that the FNM has managed our affairs. They do not feel that there is a need to account to the Bahamian taxpayers for anything relating to the financial health of our country. This is not new behaviour on the part of the FNM. This has been their modus operandi from the start and, despite all the excuses for nondisclosure and issues of privacy it will be interesting to see if they can persuade the Governors of the IMF to buy this line of reasoning especially when it comes to future borrowings.
And this is not the first indication that the FNM policies of awarding contracts was headed for problems. As an example,” THE Department of Transformation and Digitisation’s vendor management assessment from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, has been given a rating of “unsatisfactory” by the Office of the Auditor
General. “Overall, we noted that there is a lack of governance surrounding the vendor and contract management process,” the OAG said in an audit tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday. During their review, auditors made ten major findings.
Their report says management were unable to provide documents related to policies and procedures for vendor selection. There is a risk that the lack of accessible and inadequate policies may result in the vendor selection process not being conducted in accordance with the written policies,” the report said. “This can result in inappropriate vendors being selected to supply goods or services without appropriate documentation and approvals.”
So, this cavalier attitude by the FNM to transparency and good governance goes back to 2018.The implications of this non-disclosure given the continual blacklisting of the Bahamas and rampant allegations of cronyism, nepotism and corruption are serious and raise troubling questions such as. Were contracts
awarded to politically exposed persons (PEP,s); are these vendors established companies or shell companies; were the goods and services fit for purpose; were the contracted prices competitive; who is behind these companies and were they properly vetted and why not disclose the beneficial ownership of companies benefitting from taxpayer funds.
As the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out repeatedly, “The disclosure requirement is in Section 11.2 of the regulations. Philip Davis, PLP leader, said at the time: “Twice the proclamation of emergency has expired – at the end of June and in November – and neither time did you comply with that requirement,” he said.
“Neither time. You are in breach of the law, sir. Why? What do you not want the Bahamian people to know about how you are operating behind closed doors?
“Which expenditures and which suppliers are so controversial that he cannot disclose them to the public, as he is so required? Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Every promise ever made to the Bahamian people about accountability is sitting in the dustbin.”
In my opinion, this report and any subsequent effort to cover up any untoward behaviour in our procurement process by the FNM spells trouble for them. Not only politically but also on the international financial markets. But how far is the Office of the Attorney General prepared to go to ensure transparency and accountability?
From the statements coming out of the OAG not very far but Bahamians should not be discouraged or lose heart; in time all will be revealed, and persons made to account for their actions or inactions. And the
current nasty, negative campaigning by FNM says more about the sorry state of their support than they would like us to know. And it appears that their overpaid propagandists and hired poison pen writers don’t know either. If they had, they would have remembered the first rule of political campaigning. “Only Go Negative When the Race is Close, Tied, or You’re Behind”