Roberts: Minnis must have bit tongue during LOI comment

PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts....

By Bradley B Roberts
National Chairman
Progressive Liberal Party

I hope Dr. Minnis bit his tongue during his media comments about the Prime Minister’s decision to enforce discipline regarding Renward Wells and the LOI.

The record clearly shows that Minnis was confronted with tough decisions time and time again both as a minister and as the leader of the opposition and each time he either failed to make a decision or he made the wrong decision.

For five whole years he failed to make a decision or act as the substantive minister of Health where repeated systemic failures, irregularities, risks and vulnerabilities plagued the Public Hospital Authority (PHA), costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

Addressing this PHA matter to protect the people’s money and the public’s interests was a no-brainer, but Minnis did not see his way nor did he care enough to make any decision in the public interest. His deafening silence during that period and in the wake of the audit findings indicate that he was asleep at the wheel, clueless or just did not care about what was going on under their nose.

It was the PLP government who commissioned the forensic audit substantially covering the period 1st July 2006 to 30th June 2013. The audit results revealed systemic challenges and irregularities or a mess that this PLP government will have to clean up. The action the PLP government is now taking in this matter to protect the public’s interest is a no-brainer.

His bluster and hyperbole in the media cannot deflect from his culpability in this matter as it exposes his leadership deficit and poor decision making skills, if any at all.

Maybe Dr. Minnis was too busy padding his pockets by awarding himself a lease contract involving the former Stat Care Clinic on corner of Nassau and Delancy Streets, a clinic in which he had substantial financial interests. This placed him in a fundamental conflict between protecting the public’s interest in his capacity as Minister and looking after his personal business and financial interests. This strikes at the foundation of Minnis’ credibility as a leader and the FNM as an organization and government.

Where was the voice of Dr. Minnis and his fake and duplicitous outrage when his FNM cabinet was guilty, responsible and blamable for a pattern of behavior involving the mismanagement and reckless handling of the people’s money by the FNM government? The mismanaged public road works that was over budget by some $100 million; financial abuses at NIB; the give-away of BTC; the so called fifty-two weeks jobs training program that was $25 million over budget and the small business assistance program are just some of the examples of waste, mismanagement and recklessness on the part of the FNM. He obviously thought that silence and complicity in the face of waste and incompetence equaled governance that was accountable.

All of the above decisions and the failures to make decisions have hurt this country in immeasurable ways and Dr. Minnis was part of the executive when these terrible decisions were being made. He is now telling the Bahamian people to pretend none of the above ever happened and that he could make the right decisions for them. But where is his record?

Minnis opposed stem cell research and therapy after as Minister of Health gave approval for Stem Cell Facility in Freeport Grand Bahama; he opposed tax reform; he voted against the National Budget; he opposed gaming reform and half stepped on important national initiatives such as the transition of the College of The Bahamas to a university and BAMSI, a mechanism to create food security and economic diversification. Each decision was a no-brainer, each decision was in the best interest of the country and each decision was led by current Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie.

For Minnis’ benefit, The Bahamas was in a terrible state in May 2012 and he admitted this, conceding that the FNM left the country “in a wheel chair,” but it was Prime Minister Christie and his team that is turning this country around.

Some advice for Dr. Minnis: when you call for an investigation into the Letter of Intent (LOI), also call for an investigation into the PHA inventory management and make yourself available to answer questions about what you knew, what you did and did not do during the time you served as minister of Health.