Categorized | Featured, National News

Mitchell Defends Spending For Foreign Office—Chipman calls minister “incompetent”

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell yesterday defended the government against attacks from the Opposition over the administration’s decision to open more consulate offices abroad.

Recently, the Free National Movement’s (FNM) Shadow Minister on Foreign Affairs Hubert Chipman called these openings “a waste of money” and charged that this is further proof that Mr. Mitchell’s arrogance is “matched only by his incompetence.”

The Opposition MP’s remarks came in response to comments made by Minister Mitchell last week as he defended the government’s position on opening a consulate office in Washington D.C.

Mr. Chipman said he found the minister’s comments to be “deceitful misinformation calculated to cover up and divert attention from the ill-advised and wasteful decision to use scarce financial resources to lease accommodations for a Consulate General in Washington D.C.”

“This is a classic example of bad, unnecessary spending at a time when the focus should be on fiscal prudence,” Mr. Chipman said Sunday.

“This government’s continued waste of money is particularly offensive because it comes at a time when they are trying to persuade Bahamians that it is necessary to impose even more taxes on their backs.”

Mr. Mitchell however, has dismissed Mr. Chipman’s assertions as “supercilious.”

In a statement yesterday, the Foreign Affairs minister said the decision to place a Consul General in Washington D.C. was a matter of policy intended to answer complaints of Bahamians living in the jurisdiction and the surrounding states spurred by the growing inattention of the government to their concerns.

The minister reminded that while the FNM did not favour the policy, nonetheless, they voted to support the budget for the opening of the office last June.

“Hubert Chipman, one of the FNM MPs, was amongst those who voted for the expenditure on the office,” Mr. Mitchell said.

“In our discussions with the State Department of the United States, we were advised that premises for a Consulate General could not be approved for Washington D.C. within the same quarters as the embassy but only as a distinct entity. This required separate quarters and the most efficacious result is the office now utilized by the Consul General.
“Mr. Chipman should not try to do the impossible: approbate and reprobate at the same time. In other words, in the real world, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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