Categorized | National News

PLP Politicians Dominate Gov’t Boards

Eighty per cent of the 20 “most influential” boards are either chaired by active or former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) parliamentarians, according to data provided by the Free National Movement (FNM). The Opposition says the statistics signal a return of the “all-for-me-baby” politics.

FNM Chairman Darron Cash said this return to political domination in the boards’ leadership represents “a step backward” in a 21st Century Bahamas.

On Wednesday, Mr. Cash provided a chart that compares the former FNM Government’s board appointments with that of the PLP’s.

The 20 boards include: the National Insurance Board (NIB), Bahamasair, Water & Sewerage, Airport Authority, College of The Bahamas (COB), Compliance Commission, the Gaming Board, Hotel Corporation, Hotel Licencing Board, the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC), Nassau Flight Services, Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), Road Traffic Authority, Air Transport Advisory Board, Clifton Heritage Authority, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Bahamas Development Bank (BDB), the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB) and UNESCO Commission.

By contrast, only 40 per cent of active and former FNM politicians chaired those same 20 boards during the Ingraham-administration’s last term in office.

Mr. Cash said what is “abundantly” clear from the recent board appointment is that politicians are playing a dominate role on the boards.

“This is a throwback to those heady days of the PLP when such appointments were part and parcel of a pervasive patronage system and one intended to disempower the citizenry by limiting their involvement in government by controlling every aspect of decision-making,” he said.

The FNM chairman said by having high-level politicians lead most boards, the PLP ensured that its political wishes and patronage were “exacted with impunity.”

“Very often, favour and fear dominated the work of boards with the ultimate aim of keeping the PLP in power,” he said.

“Note should also be taken of the fact that the critical Central Bank Board has on it the spouse of a sitting cabinet minister. One has to question what difficulties this can raise for the Bank’s Board in discussing matters related to the work of the Bank, given that it is supposed to be independent of the government. It is a known fact that the minister, whose spouse sits on the Central Bank’s Board, once applied to the Central Bank for a bank licence and was refused.”

He added, “Does this create any sensitivity for the spouse sitting on that board, especially considering the nature of the bank’s refusal of the application? It is also interesting to note that the same cabinet minister whose spouse is on the Central Bank Board has two brothers and a daughter appointed to the boards; one family with four members on boards and a member in the Cabinet of The Bahamas. It seems like a return of the “All-for-me-baby” politics. Were there no other Bahamians who could have been appointed to these boards to make their contributions and enjoy the benefit of serving their country?”

PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday blasted Mr. Cash for his “latest feeble attempt to manufacture the facts” and “whip-up hysteria” within his party’s base.

“The last person to be talking about approaches to governance and its effects on the Bahamian people should be Darron Cash or anybody connected with the leadership of the FNM for that matter,” Mr. Roberts said.

“Firstly, lest Mr. Cash forgets, the FNM has not been the government for almost two years and does not call any shots or make any decisions in the governance of this country. Secondly, lest Mr. Cash forgets, Prime Minister Christie is responsible and legally empowered to make decisions in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”

Mr. Roberts said the former Ingraham administration made many decisions as the government that turned out to be “disastrous” for The Bahamas.

“Left in their wake was an economy in shambles where not one job created; our fiscal situation was left in dire straits where an additional $2.0 billion was added to the national debt; crime spiralled out of control as experienced and competent senior police officers were sent home and the FNM’s public works programme was poorly managed and executed with hundreds of millions in cost overruns and airport terminals that cannot be occupied,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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