Still, Time to Correct the Ship?

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The Treasury Building on East Street Hill North.

The Editor
Bahamas Press
3 rd July 2024

Dear BP,

During Tony Blair’s first term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he adopted a cautious approach to tax and public spending. This was partly due to Labour’s commitment to tight Conservative spending limits for the initial two years. This careful approach also included not removing rabidly partisan public service members and ignoring their blatant actions to frustrate the new government’s policies.

If this cautious approach seems familiar, it certainly is. The New Wave PLP government adopted the same approach. This approach meant reaching across the political divide and inviting Bahamians, notwithstanding their obvious political leanings and biases, to work towards the nation’s continued prosperity and growth. It also meant deferring bringing members of the previous administration to book for some of the most egregious acts of wrongdoing and maladministration ever witnessed by Bahamians.

Those watching political developments will see that this “softly, softly” approach has failed miserably, and the impact on our society is profound. Rather than joining in building the Bahamas, these malcontents have worked and continue to work assiduously to wreck and frustrate every PLP plan to uplift and improve the lot of all Bahamians.

For instance, one of the PLP’s foundational programs is the extension of contracts to small businesses and contractors, a segment of our society that was previously ignored and marginalised by the FNM administration in favour of their friends, family, and lovers. These programs are not jus initiatives; they are lifelines. If fully realised, this change holds the potential to uplift and empower these businesses, instilling hope and optimism in our society.

Yet, these persons are frustrated and alienated and blame non-payment of their legitimate claims for payment on their MPs simply because the Public Treasury refuses to process payment requisitions, especially those evidenced by Cabinet Conclusions. There are continuous complaints about people being turned around by Treasury staff for reasons that are not clear and, in some cases, violate Treasury rules. A rumour making the rounds is that Treasury workers are going on holiday and leaving many
payments unprocessed in a drawer.

That’s a rumour, but here is a verifiable instance of the political mischief that Treasury staff get into. The cabinet approved a payment in early 2023.

The concerned ministry sent the requisition to the Treasury two weeks after receiving the Cabinet conclusion. More than fifteen months after the request was made, the matter is still outstanding. Indeed, because of the Treasury’s slothfulness, it needs to be allocated to another budget head.

    This is just one example of the damage that unrepentant, seemingly entrenched FNM political operatives are doing to the PLP programs as they are allowed to benefit from the compassion of a government they secretly and publicly despise and seek to undermine.

    It is hard to say how long the minister concerned will allow these blatant, destructive, and partisan obstructions to continue. However, what is clear is that they intend to undermine PLP policy aspirations and will continue to do so as long as the nest of vipers is not cleaned out. The urgency of this situation cannot be overstated.

    Sincerely,

    Michael J. Brown