Categorized | Featured, National News

Secrecy on Government Contracts Concerns Pintard — FNM Leader wants Government to “Stop Nonsense Excuses”

Hon. Michael Pintard, Leader of The Official Opposition

By Licec Bastian

Journal Staff Writer

Free National Movement Leader (FNM) Michael Pintard said the Davis administration is intentionally hiding information from the public.

The Official Opposition Leader called out the government for its continued disregard for the Public Procurement Act, in a response to Financial Secretary Simon Wilson’s comments, back in July, when he asserted that the government is still not ready to comply with the act that was put in place in by the previous government.

Mr. Pintard challenged the Davis-led administration, to follow the law, and “stop the nonsense excuses.”

“The opposition joins with all Bahamians in condemning the utter contempt that this Brave Davis led government continues to show for the Bahamian people,” Mr. Pintard said in a statement this past Monday.

“The Bahama Journal on Friday, August 4 reported that the Ministry of Finance was still peddling nonsense excuses to seek to explain why the government has continued to break the law for almost two years now. For no good reason whatsoever, the government has refused to publish the legally required information on the hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts that it has issued since coming to office. 

“The Public Procurement Act came into effect September 1, 2021.   In that act and the 2023 version brought by the PLP, the government must provide the public with key information on the contracts it awards within 60 days of signing these contracts.  By law, the public is entitled to know the names of the contract winners, the nature of the contract, and the value of the contract.   The public corporations and authorities have a similar requirement for all contracts over $25,000.”

Since the Davis-administration took the helm of the country, the opposition has called on the government to release information on contracts awarded under its leadership.

Financial Secretary Simon Wilson, last month, told reporters that there is no definitive date as to when the government would comply with the Public Procurement Act’s requirement to disclose contracts; however, he acknowledged that great strides have been made.

“We are doing more public procurement than ever before,” he said. “If you go on our portal, you’ll see many opportunities that were never there, so we do everything that we should be doing. It’s always a work in progress. Yes, we can improve. The publication of contracts is a long-standing item that we’re working on, but we are actively working,” Mr. Wilson said.

He also noted thatthere is still a wait for some government agencies to upload their last contracts awarded to the Bonfire Procurement Portal. Mr. Pintard contended that after nearly two years in office, the government is still not ready to inform the Bahamian people.

“This hapless and wholly unaccountable PLP government is – according to the Ministry of Finance – still not ready and to provide this information to the Bahamian public.  It is contemptible nonsense because for decades all government agencies have been publishing information through regular public notices in the various newspapers,” Mr. Pintard said.

“This is routine administrative work that our public officers have been doing for years.  The only reason the public is not getting this information is because the prime minister and his Cabinet colleagues are intentionally hiding information from the public.  They clearly do not want Bahamian taxpayers to see how their hard-earned money is being spent.  

“What is the big secret?  What is the PLP trying to hide from the Bahamian people – so much so that they are happily prepared to break the law to do so?  Are they embarrassed to reveal to the Bahamian people how they have abused and ignored the procurement processes to reward political cronies and hangers-on? This PLP led government violated the Procurement law they met in place and they are violating the law they amended. No excuse!”

Mr. Pintard asserted that the Minister of Finance, Prime Minister Philip Davis is keenly aware, despite his busy international travel schedule, that he is breaking the law.

As minister of finance, he was to have provided an annual report to Parliament last year October outlining all the contracts his government gave out,” Mr. Pintard said.  

“Earlier this year, he stated that a company was engaged to complete the report and that it would be provided soon.  Six months later, we realize that it was clearly all idle talk.   That is the PLP way.  Long on talk, but short on action. It is one law for them and another law for other members of public. 

“One of the many things that is worrisome about this continued law breaking is the fact that when the public examines the contracts where the details are in the public domain serious concerns and or irregularities are discovered. This fact makes us wonder- what else we will find once the secret contracts are thoroughly examined.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook