Categorized | National News

DNA Leader Calls for DPM to Step Down –“PLP Cronyism Alive and Well in North Andros”

Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Branville McCartney called for the immediate resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis following Mr. Davis’ public confession of allowing Paradigm Construction to build a dormitory at the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) without possessing an insurance certificate.

“In the wake of this shameful admission, the deputy prime minister must now do the honorable thing and immediately step down from his post as minister of works, taking with him his team of technocrats who illegally mobilized money from the treasury to satisfy a partisan agenda,” Mr. McCartney stated in a press release.

“After encouraging the younger members of his party to step down following their own public misgivings, it would be hypocritical for the DPM to remain in that post having been responsible for overseeing the loss of millions of dollars in taxpayer money. The question is not whether the DPM should resign but when,” he added.

Mr. Davis’ admission came during his communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday when he noted that Audley Hanna, the contractor, breached his contract and provided all of the required documents except a certificate for All Risk Insurance. According to Mr. Davis, there was only a quote from Royal Star Insurance on file.

Mr. McCartney, who renewed calls for the implementation and enforcement of a Freedom of Information Act, also criticized Mr. Davis for asserting that the insurance policy merely lapsed and noted that the contractor’s failure to pay the workers on time resulted in the arson attack that destroyed the male dormitory earlier this year.

According to Mr. McCartney, the fire was “merely the catalyst which unearthed an even more destructive truth that PLP cronyism was alive and well in North Andros.”

“Rather than simply accepting responsibility for the shameful mismanagement of that project, the minister dismissed public concerns as nothing more than a distraction, encouraging Bahamians to see the big picture. The big picture is that this administration which consistently bemoans the state of the country’s finances has consistently shown itself wasteful with the public funds while overtaxing an already burdened electorate,” Mr. McCartney said.

He added, “The big picture is that $2.6 million has literally gone up in smoke because of government ineptitude. The big picture is that this government cannot be trusted. The big picture is that Bahamian people must not be made to pay for PLP cronyism.”

The DNA leader also condemned the deputy prime minister for offering a solution to his administrative error to reconstruct the building at a cost of $5.5 million, which Mr. McCartney said is “more than double the initial estimate”.

Mr. McCartney stated that the Christie administration’s handling of the BAMSI project “raises some key concerns” and indicates the need for “an overhaul of the public procurement processes in this country.

He added that the current government should submit to “a detailed independent audit of all its government contracts, the details of which should be tabled in Parliament.”

“As with countless other government contracts, the Christie administration failed to hold a transparent bidding process, instead, awarding the $2.6 million contract to long time party supporter Audley Hanna. Hanna is president of Paradigm Construction but also serves on two government boards and is currently a Stalwart Councilor within the Progressive Liberal Party. Just last year, the US government expressed its mistrust of the procurement process citing concerns raised by potential US investors. At the time, the Christie administration dismissed those apprehensions, however their handling of the BAMSI contracts prove just how well placed those concerns were,” Mr. McCartney said.

Mr. McCartney said this incident raises questions about the insurance status of other buildings that are currently under construction at BAMSI and leads to questions about the practicality and legality of other contracts awarded by the PLP administration during their time in governance.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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