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Minnis Calls On PM To Step Down As Finance Minister


Opposition Leader Warns Bahamas Could End Up Like Greece

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday suggested that the prime minister should give up his finance portfolio, adding that the Christie administration’s mismanagement of the country’s purse could have disastrous implications.
During an interview with the Journal at his home on Sunday, Dr. Minnis warned that The Bahamas could end up in a financial crisis similar to the one facing Greece.

In recent years, Greece has experienced one of the sharpest economic downturns in Europe as a result of the Great Recession and the country’s government-debt crisis, forcing the downgrade of its government debt to junk bond status.

“Where you are spending a lot more than you have and the minister of finance is not watching the budget very closely – it is very very dangerous,” Dr. Minnis said. “In a case like that I think the prime minister should remove himself from finance so somebody can watch the people’s money closely.”

Dr. Minnis said the Christie administration’s spending and lack of accountability make it very likely that The Bahamas will see its economy spiral further down. He also asserted that the prime minister, who is also the minister of finance, has demonstrated a lack of interest in ensuring there is accountability.

“I think the prime minister should remove himself from finance so that somebody can watch the people’s money very closely. Especially at these very trying times, you need to watch the people’s money very closely,” he said.”

“You also need to improve on accountability so that there is an improvement in collection – individuals who owe monies for various taxes etc. We must improve our efficiency and the prime minister has not demonstrated that… the minister of finance has not demonstrated that. It’s a complete disconnect and that’s very frightening.”

Dr. Minnis also commented on recent remarks made by Prime Minister Perry Christie, who hinted during an address at an Inter American Development Bank (IDB) conference that there may be some people being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the public treasury with no documentation stating the reason for such payments.

Further, the prime minister said neither he nor the Ministry of Finance were aware until recently.

At the time, Mr. Christie noted that there would be trouble if this is in fact the case.

But Dr. Minnis insisted that if Mr. Christie were efficient in his duties as finance minister, this type of mismanagement would not happen.

“It shows that this administration is not managing the people’s coffer properly,” Dr. Minnis said. “The minister of finance has the responsibility – he signs off, he must watch the money very very closely.

“You are going to have a rogue ministry out there spending a lot more than what was budgeted to them or spending early and if they do that don’t be surprised because of mismanagement and the minister of finance not keeping his eyes on the coffer, don’t be surprised if very soon they come back to Parliament asking for more monies because they have wasted and mismanaged what was allotted to them initially. So don’t be surprised if the government comes back requesting another $50 million, $100 million or $150 million because they mismanaged the money that was budgeted to them earlier.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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