Categorized | National News

DPM: FNM Should Call Police If They Want Transparency

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis says the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and the entire Free National Movement (FNM) party should consider calling law enforcement to settle their claims of the Progressive Liberal Parties(PLP) lack of transparency in government spending.


“This government has always administered public finances according to settled law. If anyone in the FNM knows of any violation of any law governing the administration of public finances, they should stop talking to the press and start talking to the police,” Mr. Davis said yesterday.


“Ingraham used to remember just how these things work – and this is a matter of law and fact – real facts, not FNM alternative facts.


“The Constitution of The Bahamas requires that all revenue sources, whether from VAT or other taxes or duties or fees, must go into a general fund called a Consolidated Fund.

Every year, the government holds a budget debate that is televised live, and then puts the budget online. The process is open and transparent,” Mr. Davis said.


The Deputy Prime Minister gave his response in reaction to the former Mr. Ingraham’s suggestion that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is using Value Added Tax (VAT) as a “revenue raising exercise” during a sit down interview with hosts Anastarcia Palacious and Philip Simon.


Mr. Davis said he recalls the former prime minister lamenting in the House of Parliament saying, “When we left office, we faced with the worst recession, we left the Bahamian economy in a wheelchair.”


Mr. Davis says the former leader must have regret for those expressed words as he says the PLP has now “cleaned-up” their mess.


“He must be missing the spotlight, and must find it painful to watch his successor wander around in a fog of incoherence, to chime in with his own dispatch from an alternative universe.


“He mismanaged the economy into a wheelchair, and then has the nerve to complain about how it was rescued?” Mr. Davis said.


“They are supposing that in this new world of fake news and alternative facts, they can get away with fake accusations.


“The reality is quite simple: the FNM left the economy on an unsustainable path.  In 2012, the government was spending over $500 million more than it was collecting. Without the implementation of VAT, billions would have been added to the national debt – an unmanageable amount, which would have left our country unstable and vulnerable to requiring IMF bailouts and restructuring, like Jamaica. Ingraham knows this better than anyone – it was his Cabinet who was told so by the IMF.


“So it was left to the PLP to clean up the mess.  Only the PLP had the courage, maturity and capacity to do the right thing. The VAT rollout has been one of the smoothest on record.


“This government’s plan reduced the deficit by 80 percent by the 2016/2017 fiscal year. The government’s current fiscal setback is due mainly to expenses associated with two devastating Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew, costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars in post hurricane repairs, financial assistance to those affected and temporary suspension in taxes, including VAT, on a number of items.


“Bahamians can see for themselves: how much is spent on salaries of government employees; how much is used to pay on the nation’s debts; how much is used to improve infrastructure – like upgrades to roads, docks, and airports.


“The reporting of public finances is a matter of public record, through the independent Central Bank of The Bahamas. All public finances are subject to audit by an independent Auditor General,” Mr. Davis said.


“The stability from VAT has put The Bahamas in a position to borrow when we need to, so we can help people after disasters like hurricanes.


“And VAT has allowed The Bahamas to do new things that couldn’t be done before, like add hundreds of NEW officers to our police and defense forces.

“To quote the sum of VAT collected with absolutely no reference to the other 18 revenue sources and the expense line items is disingenuous and hypocritical. The Central Bank does not only report on VAT revenue – it reports on all revenue collected and on all expenses by the government. This institution has provided this public service for more than forty years,” Mr. Davis added.


“It cannot be that the Central Bank was transparent up until December 2014 and for some mysterious reason, it ceased to be transparent on or after January 2015 when VAT was implemented. That is an illogical and deceitful proposition of the worst kind.


“VAT continues to be instrumental in financing many of the public institutions, policies and programs that collectively form this firm and solid foundation the Christie administration built to move this Bahamas forward together.”


Written by Jones Bahamas

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