Categorized | National News


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest fired back this on the weekend  accusing    Exuma and Ragged Island Member of Parliament Chester Cooper of amnesia  after the PLP MP   said the present  government “simply does not know what it’s doing”. 

In a statement, Mr. Turnquest said, “he persists in his amnesia regarding the four consecutive downgrades occasioned when his party was in government. He seems willfully and blissfully ignorant of the dire state of affairs this government inherited when it came to office.”

He added, “as Minister of Finance, I am exceedingly proud that – unlike the previous administration – this government kept its promise to implement Fiscal Responsibility Legislation and with it, this Fiscal Strategy Report which – for the first time – provides all citizens with the plans for how the government will spend its money.”

“It is because of this report that for the first time in living memory, Bahamians have been informed formally of the provisional outturn of the prior fiscal year within five months of the end of the year”, he said. 

This is something, he said, that used to take 11 months or longer, adding that the government has officially set out to rectify the years of “fiscal imprudence” by the previous administration. 

Mr. Turnquest also touched on the former government’s revenue enhancement team, which he said was staffed and set up with no Cabinet or legal authority to do so.

He said, “it engaged a foreign consultancy firm at $900,000 per month,  with no evidence of Cabinet approval. It engaged a foreign team of accountants with no plans whatsoever to recruit and train a Bahamian audit team.”

He added, “most of all, there was nothing in the contract or in any documented work plan to have the foreign firm and foreign auditors transfer the training and know-how to the Bahamian counterparts. And seeing that the former administration missed every revenue target they set for themselves, it is difficult to understand the Member’s claims for their success.”

Mr. Turnquest expressed that he found it strange that Mr. Cooper openly endorsed the very Christie/Davis leadership that “drove the country off a fiscal cliff”. 

He said,  “where was his care and concern for fiscal matters then? Or is it

that he only speaks up when he finds it politically convenient to do so?”

In Mr. Cooper’s statement, he mentioned the 33 per cent overrun of the deficit, but Mr. Turnquest said that while he intends to give full account for this outcome during his contribution to the Fiscal Responsibility report, he pointed out the former PLP government’s performance during their tenure in office. 

He said that last fiscal year “saw a reduction in the deficit of $246 million from that of the final year of the former PLP government (FY 2016/17). That is a 37 percent reduction that finally reversed the continually rising deficits of the previous government.”

He also pointed out that the former PLP administration missed its deficit target in that year by $561 million.

“From the fiscal year 2014/2015 through to 2016/17, the former administration missed its deficit targets by 33 percent, 120 percent and 561 percent respectively. In none of the five years of its term did the former administration meet its budgeted revenue targets.”, he said. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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