The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government, which was elected to office partly on a wave of patriotism of “putting Bahamians first,” has relied on foreign consultants to advise it on every major decision, according to Free National Movement (FNM) Acting Chairman Darron Cash.
Mr. Cash raised serious concerns about the Christie administration’s “continued reliance” on foreign consultants.
He said no pattern of “believing in Bahamians” seems to be emerging.
“No action appears to have merit unless validated by a foreign consultant. It appears that Bahamians need not apply,” Mr. Cash said.
He said the most recent example came during Prime Minister Perry Christie’s announcement in Grand Bahama last Thursday that his government “has hired a firm of international consultants to audit tourism spending and subsidies, with the aim of getting more value for the millions spent annually on the country’s number one industry.”
Mr. Cash said every Bahamian accounting, finance, tourism and marketing professional should be alarmed and outraged by this decision.
“It is truly unbelievable and entirely unacceptable that the Christie Government could not find a team of Bahamian professionals to undertake a meaningful cost-benefit analysis of Bahamian government tourism spending,” the acting chairman said.
“In fact, the decision to go outside and import foreign talent for this project is an insult. It most certainly does not demonstrate confidence in Bahamians. This foreigners first approach is the lazy approach to governing and nation building.”
Mr. Cash said not only does the FNM believe that the skill set to undertake such audit/analysis can be found within The Bahamas, it also strongly feels that the core talent needed already exists right inside the Ministry of Tourism itself.
“The decision to go to the foreign consultant is typical of the Christie administration; they say one thing but really believe and do quite another,” he said.
The FNM is now calling on the Christie administration to release the request for proposal outlining the description and scope of the audit.
“If, as the prime minister has suggested, they have already hired a firm, the prime minister should release the name and principals of the firm along with the company and principal profiles so that Bahamian professionals can appropriately benchmark their skills to those of the firm to whom the contract was outsourced,” Mr. Cash said.
He also wants the government to release the full contract, terms of the engagement, and fees to be paid to the foreign firm and confirm whether any Bahamians firms have been engaged to be a part of this audit prior to the prime minister’s announcement.