Categorized | National News

“Ingraham Should Be Censured”- Says Labour Minister

If a senior Cabinet minister has his way, a select committee will be formed to look into censuring the former prime minister in the wake of the country’s dire financial straits.

The GFS deficit in 2011/2012 is now projected at $504 million, up by $256 million from the Ingraham administration’s estimate of $248 million while government debt is forecast to stand at $4.6 billion or 54.5 per cent of GDP at the end of the upcoming fiscal year; “forcing the new government to act fast.”
“In an effort to thoroughly fix this leak and similar ones created under the former FNM administration, consideration should be given to the formation of a select committee to look into censure the former prime minister and to examine all matters surrounding the accumulation of this historic deficit,” Labour and National Insurance Minister, Shane Gibson suggested Monday while contributing to ongoing debate on the 2012/2013 budget in the House of Assembly.

“We will look into the role of the Cabinet, the government’s bankers – RBC and the Central Bank of The Bahamas to make note of any payments that would have left the country.

Minister Gibson also suggested the committee determine whether the former prime minister exceeded Parliament’s authority “and became a Parliament to himself.”

“These monitors should come into play to ensure that this type of questionable governance never surfaces in The Bahamas again,” he said.

“The cantankerous actions of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham had the propensity to damage the finances of the entire country for years to come. With so much power being vested in the prime minister, if cabinet ministers were not prepared to hold the office of the prime minister accountable, then they should have resigned. As a country, we should and must learn something from this financial escapade.”

But when asked yesterday by the Bahama Journal, the minister refused to further explain what a censure would accomplish.

“At the time, if would decide to do it, we would then outline why we want it done. This is only a suggestion that we consider it. But the fact that we haven’t considered yet, we shouldn’t go any further than that. I don’t want to speak hypothetically,” he said.

But, a part from focusing on how Mr. Ingraham spent the country’s finances during his last five year term in office, Minister Gibson also believes the select committee should look deeper into the circumstances surrounding the 51 per cent sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to foreign owned Cable and Wireless Communications.

“Specifically for those hundreds – if not thousands – of individuals who were able to have their families survive by selling phone cards. They practically wiped out all of them,” he said.
“If you remember, at one time, you had them on practically every street corner. They reduced their commission significantly and my understanding is that they’re now anticipating reducing the commission even further and so I think effective August this year, BTC is contemplating, they have decided to reduce the commission paid even further. What they want to do is wipe out all the phone card street vendors and they only want to have electronic top up, that’s it.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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