Categorized | National News

MP Blindsided

Former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services Vaughn Miller says his confidence remains with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, despite being terminated from his position as a parliamentary secretary after voting against the  increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

The member of parliament for Golden Isles  said that he took full responsibility for the position he took and even though he said that he felt  blindsided when the increase in VAT was introduced in the 2018/2019 budget about two weeks ago.

“It’s my responsibility, I will be held accountable”, Mr. Miller said. 

Appearing as a guest on Love 97’s radio  show ‘On Point’, when asked by the  host  Wendall Jones  if he will continue to follow his leadership, he responded with an affirmative. He also affirmed that he would continue to be a part of the Free National Movement.

“If circumstances change, presently as we speak, yes, but of course I can’t speak to the future. I didn’t think I would have been terminated Tuesday past, so if you had  asked me this question the last time (I was on the show) I didn’t foresee that. 

“So, in the predictable future, my answer to you is yes. If circumstances arise to make me second guess  what  I think then,  I’ll deal with that at that time, but presently, emphatically, yes,” Mr. Miller said. 

Asked if he had difficulty in following Dr. Minnis’ leadership as leader of the FNM and prime minister , Mr. Miller said “as of now,  as  of  today, in this date and time, no sir”.

When asked if he felt blindsided, yet obligated to support the government, not knowing that there would be an increase in VAT as a member of the government, nor not knowing what the budget contained Mr. Miller said he did feel offended.  

“Obviously, I didn’t know before everyone else knew; was I offended? Yes. 

“Offended to the extent that I was upset and felt insulted and humiliated and wanted to just do a protest vote against it? No sir, that’s not the case at all. 

“I’ve always been against VAT,  as I feel it is oppressive, it’s regressive and the brunt of it is borne by the poor, middle class and small and medium sized businesses. I knew that.  

“It  wasn’t until after speaking to persons in and out of the constituency; interestingly they did not oppose an increase; they opposed increase to 12 percent. They thought it was too much, it was too soon, it was too fast, it was too aggressive. Some of them actually told me ‘Miller, you need to convey the message tell them slow  down,” Mr. Miller said. 

As for whether he agreed that the Prime Minister  did what he was supposed to do in the course that he took in firing him, Mr. Miller lamented that the Westminster System is selective and needs reform. 

“My position on that is that it’s very selective in terms of in the past, not just the present Prime Minister, but in the past. They are very selective with their use with cabinet policies, procedures or Westminster policies and procedures. It’s not across the board, it’s not absolute, it’s very selective, sometimes even emotional.

“That’s why my position on that is, as I’ve said to you, that’s nothing short of dictatorship in disguise. I’m an advocate for political reform, policy reform. There is the  demand of the general Bahamian populace,  the majority of the voting electorate is [for] more transparency. 

“They want their politicians to be more accountable to them, because obviously under the system really, how they feel, what they think is secondary to whatever the cabinet thinks,” Mr. Miller said. 

“I’m not complaining that I was treated in any way unjust or there was some level of injustice towards me or towards us, all of us knew.

“We were very knowledgeable, we were aware of what we were doing. But I’m saying to you, as countries grow, as countries develop, as the populace becomes more mature, there has to be some adaptations, some adjustments; we’ve never done that. 

“If I opt to stand on the side of the people who elected me, and who hired me to represent them, so be it.  I’ll have to suffer the consequences and I am. I could’ve resigned or be terminated,  I chose the latter over the former,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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