Categorized | National News

Small Business Contracts Promised

Moving forward, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government will focus on ensuring that smaller companies have access to contracts that were previously monopolized by larger companies.

Dr. Minnis made this comment following his return from the Caribbean Community’s 40th annual Heads of Government Meeting in St. Lucia.

“The only way smaller companies can grow is if they are given the opportunity to bid for larger contracts,” Dr. Minnis said.  “This is necessary if our people are to advance from poverty, to middle class, to wealth.”

The prime minister’s comments also follow the controversy surrounding former Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette’s resignation, as many believed he resigned because of a contract awarded to his company.

Recently, the government has been under severe criticism over a number of contracts that companies in which Symonette is a shareholder would have received.  

According to the Progressive Liberal Party, the contracts total approximately $53 million.

Among them are the new General Post Office at The Town Centre Mall and a number of contracts that have been awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix, including one for the resurfacing of runways at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Since Symonette’s resignation, he explained publically that his decision to resign wasn’t because of the contracts awarded. 

Symonette said his decision to resign was a simple issue, as he wanted to resign before his 65th birthday.

However Prime Minister Minnis agreed that governments must find ways to empower people, by improving access to capital and assets.

“[The Bahamas] is on the right track when it comes to providing free education at the tertiary level, but we must find a way for smaller companies to access more opportunities to grow their businesses,” the prime minister said.

PM Joins CARICOM’s Mission to Haiti 

Also following the Caribbean Community’s Heads of Government Meeting in St. Lucia, Dr. Minnis announced that he will be a part of a CARICOM prime ministerial fact-finding mission to Haiti to inform regional leaders on the situation in that country.

CARICOM leaders are concerned about the escalation of violence in Haiti. The fact-finding mission will also include the prime ministers of St. Lucia and Jamaica.

Dr. Minnis returned to The Bahamas on Saturday following discussions with regional leaders that covered such issues as tourism, finance, blacklisting, the Caribbean economy and the Small Island Development States (SIDS) Resilience Foundation.

On the issue of blacklisting, CARICOM leaders agreed to refine their strategy and approach by making greater efforts to secure a more collaborative relationship with the European Union and the United States on tax governance and related matters.

Caribbean leaders heard from chairman of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy (CCE) Professor Avinash Persaud, who stressed the need for CARICOM countries to develop more sustainable, resilient, inclusive and equitable development.

The prime minister also held bilateral talks on climate change and early education with the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, who also addressed CARICOM leaders as a special guest of the meeting. 

The prime minister took part in a working dinner between heads of government and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who addressed the opening ceremony on July 3, and Prime Minister Solberg.

The Prime Minister’s Delivery Units of The Bahamas and St. Lucia also took part in a learning exchange.

Prime Minister Minnis led a delegation to the conference which included Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, The Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM Reuben Rahming, Water and Sewerage Corporation Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson, Senior Policy Advisor Joshua Sears, COO of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit Viana Gardiner and Ministry of Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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