Categorized | National News

FNM Demands Proof of BAMSI’s Insurance

Member of Parliament for Montagu Richard Lightbourne demanded that the government presents its proof that The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute’s (BAMSI) male dormitory building was insured.

While addressing what he described as a lack of transparency over the issue in the House of Assembly on Monday, he said Bahamians ought to be concerned about what exactly the government is doing with tax payers’ monies.

He minced no words in slamming the Christie administration over the uninsured BAMSI building that was destroyed by fire.

“The members opposite some six weeks or more after the incident still fluffing around and trying to find out whether the property was actually insured, whether it was ever insured. The information received at this point seems to suggest that there was never any insurance in place and that’s a very serious concern to the country when they realize that this government has been that negligent to allow this to happen,” he said.

“The member for Cat Island (Minister of Works Philip Davis) did indicate that he was led to understand the policy has lapsed. Well, if it lapsed then it would suggest that there was a policy in place at some point and I would have expected the government at this point to produce proof of this to us in parliament and the country. When we are going to sit here and talk about banks and trust and yet we’re prepared to fiddle away money without the concern for the welfare or the finances of this country, it is outrageous. This government talks about transparency. I don’t think they understand the meaning of transparency.”

He also urged the government to reveal those individuals or businesses who have received contracts for BAMSI.

“When you have buildings which are constructed in BAMSI without tender for millions of dollars and then you hear rumours that the contracts were given to persons some of whom were previous members of this parliament and have no connection whatsoever with construction you can appreciate the concern which the country feels when that type of situation is allowed to happen,” he said.

“If there were any semblance of transparency by this government then we would have known who these contracts were given to.”

The building was destroyed by fire on January 15 and this led to the revelation that the contractor’s insurance had lapse.

Although there have been talks about repairing the dorm, Mr. Lightbourne said it is quite clear that the male dormitory will have to be demolished.

He added that the government has reportedly been seeking bidders to carry out this task.
In response, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Philip Brave Davis reminded that the government will address this matter soon.

“All the matters in connection to BAMSI, I hope to deal with that in short order once we are at that point in the agenda. I don’t march at their (FNM) drum,” he said.

A local daily reported that a file at the Ministry of Works revealed that a quote from a local insurance company was provided, but an insurance certificate was never issued.

Although Minister Davis had said the policy was with Summit Alliance, the company is not listed in the phone book and it is also not listed on the website of the Insurance Commission of the Bahamas.

Last week Thursday Prime Minister Perry Christie assured that further investigations will have to be conducted before the government addresses the issue.

Mr. Christie said the investigations will aid in the government’s response to the matter.

His comments came while responding to Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis who recently blasted the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for being negligent.

“The leader of the opposition has the right to make such an observation, ordinarily in terms of contracts there is a requirement on the part of the contractor, on the person awarding the contract for full compliance, so that is a matter that is subject to further investigation and determination as to how we will respond to it,” he said.

“Whether people pay national insurance, whether they have their insurance policies in place all of that is a part of ensuring full compliance with the terms of the contract so I don’t have a problem with the leader of the opposition making that point.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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