Categorized | National News

“Don’t Trust Gov’t with the Public’s Purse,” Says Mortimer

According to Deputy Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Christopher Mortimer, the current government cannot be trusted with the “public’s purse.”

In a recent statement, the DNA deputy leader said since the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) took office in 2012, the members have proved themselves to be inconsistent as he says they have failed to meet self-imposed deadlines, defaulted on several election campaign promises and have been dishonest.

“Over the past several months, diligent members of the press have uncovered countless instances of misconduct on the part of government officials,” he said.

“Grabbing headlines most recently have been the breaches taking place at BAMSI, where millions of tax payer dollars went up in smoke as a result of the failure of officials at the Ministry of Works to execute the necessary checks and balances, and recently, allegations of cronyism and reckless spending within Urban Renewal’s small home repairs programme. According to the auditor general, millions of dollars from the public purse were spent for work to homes which were only half done or never completed at all.”

Mr. Mortimer said rather than take responsibility for the fallout, government appointed officials instead launched a savage attack on the Auditor General Terrance Bastian and have even refused to cooperate with an investigation by the Public Accounts Committee.

He said such behavior, while appalling, is by no means surprising as the past three years of PLP governance are filled with examples of government officials who have, in the face of insurmountable evidence of their wrongdoing, become defensive and combative proving once again the “arrogance of members of this Christie government.”

Mr. Mortimer said as the country’s economy continues to stagnate and debt issues spiral out of control, the government’s record of fiscal mismanagement gives way to new concerns about future plans for public funds, more specifically funds collected via the introduction of value-added tax (VAT).

“In the run up to the January implementation of VAT, the government had suggested that the funds collected would be used to pay down the government’s debt and fund other social programmes,” he said.

“Four months since the launch of the new tax regime, the government has collected more than 10 million dollars. So far however, this Christie led administration has given no account of how that money is being used if at all. Instead we have been presented with countless examples of government wastage. In the face of the latest government scandals however, Prime Minister Perry Christie has offered no indication about how, if at all these matters will be addressed.”

Mr. Mortimer pressed that the government and Prime Minister Christie continue to refuse to implement acts that will better the country.

“Despite numerous calls from various quarters of the country for the implementation of a viable Freedom of Information Act, the government continues to drag its feet on this key piece of legislation, which was recommended by the government’s own tax consultants,” he said.

“While paying only lip service to the idea of transparency and accountability, the absence of that legislation is merely an excuse for this Christie administration to continue to keep the facts from the Bahamian people.”

Mr. Mortimer said the DNA is calling on the government to state definitively how much has been collected in the way of taxes and give an account to the public on exactly how the government has spent and will spend that money.

He urged that no government should be allowed to spend recklessly without being made to account for its spending because in The Bahamas’ economy, Bahamians and their future depend on it.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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