Categorized | National News

Gov’t Boards In Limbo

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash on Tuesday blasted Prime Minister Perry Christie for dragging his feet in appointing the heads of important statutory boards and committees whose positions he said expired on June 30, leaving the key positions vacant.

In a press statement issued Tuesday, Mr. Cash said it has been more than a month since new members should have been appointed – or reappointed and added the fact that that these posts are not filled leaves the members “powerless to act.”

After the expiration of those positions, by law, this leaves a number of key positions vacant in important agencies like the National Insurance Board (NIB), the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) and the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) vacant.

“Thanks to a prime minister already predisposed to taking his own slow time to do anything, government has slowed down even further,” Mr. Cash pointed out in another critical release on Prime Minister Perry Christie’s governing style, which he said demonstrates he is unable to keep up with the demands of his dual jobs – prime minister and minister of finance.

“At a time when most government agencies are grappling with a number of significant national issues—youth empowerment, small business development, trade and global competitiveness, energy reform, overhaul of the financial services industry, tax reform, healthcare reform – this failure to empower boards is nothing short of dereliction of duty on the part of the prime minister.”

Mr. Cash yesterday insisted that Mr. Christie’s “lackadaisical and disinterested” approach to governing cannot be good for the country or its image in the international community.

“It sends the wrong message to Bahamians and to prospective domestic and foreign investors,’’ he said.

“The message is that under Perry Christie and the PLP, the Government of The Bahamas cannot be relied upon to be a partner with them in their fight for global competitiveness when competitors in other nations are assisted by their governments in their efforts to move quickly and take advantage of new opportunities. The Christie government gives the impression that unless it is serving the needs of special interests, it moves in its own sweet time and at a snail’s pace when it does move.”

The FNM Chairman added that even when the statutory boards are reappointed, the Opposition will be watching carefully to see what is done with three of them in particular – NIB, BOB and BEC.

Mr. Cash claimed that at NIB, “no-bid inflated contracts to special interests and friends of Perry (FOP) and friends of Shane (FOS) have been the order of the day due to “an overly intrusive minister.”

He further scolded the government for using the BOB as a slush fund for well connected PLP cronies.

“The PM has refused to act due to his close familial ties to the bank’s incoming and outgoing managing directors. More than a year after BOB’s fiscal year ended on June 30, 2013, it has not held an annual general meeting of shareholders due to the bank’s fear of having to face angry minority shareholders,” Mr. Cash said.

“The BEC board has been missing in action as the Executive Chairman Leslie Miller, has controlled the ebb and flow of the corporation as if it was his personal business to do as he pleases…On top of the BEC board’s absence on policy and operational matters, the current BEC Board has been completely left out of the loop on the Christie Government’s plan to privatise BEC. This leaves a lot of unanswered questions about whether there will be proper coordination of overall government policies across agencies by the people who know energy best.”

According to the FNM chairman, it is clear to even the casual observer that the underlying cause of this “dysfunction” is the fact the Prime Minister Christie is simply not up to the big job he has.

It is time, he said, for a regime change.

This is not the first time Mr. Christie has failed to appoint statutory boards by the required deadline.
He did so two years ago, shortly after assuming office.

When asked to comment on the issue, the prime minister told the Bahama Journal “I’m not doing interviews at this time.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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