Categorized | National News

PM Challenges Gov’t Officials

Prime Minister Perry Christie challenged scores of government officials to voice their opinions in their various ministries even if it contradicts his views or that of any other cabinet minister.

Mr. Christie was speaking at the 2012/2013 Fiscal Position Seminar at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Hotel.

“I hope the record reflects – because it doesn’t in many instances – that some of you have the courage to write your opinions as to what ought to be happening to your ministers. And so when we make the final judgments, if it flies in the face of your opinions, you would have done your job because you have too much invested in you to conform to what you think is politically right,” the prime minister said yesterday,” he said.

“You are no good to me if you just listen to what I say. I told the commissioner of police that even on these matters I am the maker of policy and you are the interpreter, but the one thing that I expect from you is that if you think it is the wrong thing to do, you must tell me. That’s what I expect of each of you.”

Prime Minister Christie said his administration is in the midst of one of the most difficult and challenging fiscal periods in the nation’s history.

But he told the public agency heads to look beyond the expenditure and revenue accounts and look at the social aspects of the country.

“You simply do not know the extent to which Bahamians in this country are suffering. The public administration of our country does not yet facilitate that for you. Because of the demand every day for your time just to keep things going and current and because of the necessity for you to put all of your time and energy into that, you do not have the time to look beyond your ministry,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“All of you in this country have an obligation to understand the policies of the new government. Our democracy enables change to take place. A new government comes in with policies and programmes and you have a duty to inform yourself of what those things are.”

The nation’s chief said the biggest problems in the country are crime and unemployment.

“Young men can’t walk around this country knowing that they won’t be prosecuted if they rape a woman and they cannot believe that it is acceptable to kick down doors and kill,” he said.

“You must know that in order to succeed today the expenditure outstrips the revenue in this country and we therefore must necessarily work towards balancing the recurrent budget. Cut the cloth to suit the circumstances.”

Mr. Christie said the government must focus on tourism, agriculture and fisheries to garner revenue.

He said the government will also follow through with establishing a referendum on a national lottery and exploring alternative means of taxation.

But he admitted that he is challenged.

“Do you know what it is to have to make judgments on how money should be spent? To have such a disproportion share of New Providence at the same time and that you have to say to people out there, you just don’t have it,” the prime minister asked.

“Contradictions must be challenged by you. You have an obligation to recognise what is happening in our country and when the systems that we have do not allow that to happen you know they are deficient and therefore make recommendations for them to change.”

Kendea Smith

Written by Kendea Smith

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