MPs & Senators Are Already Legally Required to Annually Disclose Their Finances & Debts

FACTSFor the benefit of the public who has had to listen to politicians talk about exposing who owes taxes or whether or not that information should be made public – no one should need to “expose” this for the public to know it. All MPs and Senators are required by law (The Public Disclosure Act) to declare what their debts are as part of a broader financial disclosure due December 31st of every year. The Act says that every Member of the Upper and Lower House is required to disclose their debts whether those debts exist in or outside The Bahamas. In total; the assets (including all land owned), income & liabilities (debts) of MPs and Senators as well as that of their spouses and legal dependents must be disclosed by law. These disclosures are made to the Public Disclosure Commission. Continue reading

The VAT Bill Fiasco: A Mix Of Incompetence & Fear

WRONGWAYThere are two key reasons for the egregious delay in the government’s VAT Bill at this stage – incompetence and fear. On the incompetence side in part lies the issue of customs duties. What much of the country may not have realized is that it was originally the government’s intention to start VAT and keep customs duties as they are come July 1. After they saw “how VAT performed”, then they planned to adjust customs duties accordingly. Continue reading

Voting In A Democracy And The Seriousness Of It

WAKEUPIf on Election Day the people vote a government out, but that government refuses to leave – what does it make that government? If a union holds legal elections and the union that loses refuses to leave office, what does that make the defeated union? Think about this when paid public spokespersons and members of the press seek to convince Bahamians that their vote in last year’s gaming poll is insignificant and does not need to be respected by the government of the day. The critical issue with respect to last year’s gaming poll is not about numbers houses or churches and religion – it is about what the will of the people in a national poll held by the State means in a democracy, and how backwards and defunct a “free” nation The Bahamas would prove itself to be if it does not honor what that means. Continue reading

Let’s Not Do Our Nation A Disservice Again By Holding A Referendum In The Midst Of Political Drama & Strife

ballotboxIf The Bahamas government is not serious about handling a referendum on women’s rights in our Constitution, it should not hold it. Attempting to change a nation’s Constitution is a grave and serious matter that should not happen lightly or frivolously. Gender equality in our Constitution is also a very serious and very necessary matter in The Bahamas. The last time a referendum was held in 2002, politics took precedence and Bahamians voted against their own best interests. Right now, the Bahamian people are angry at the current administration and the current administration is doing more politicking than it is governing. Against such a backdrop, a referendum put to the electorate has the likelihood of being treated like a referendum on the government itself, instead of on the ballot measures therein. Continue reading

A Runaway Parliament

ACCOUNTABILITYThe government’s Parliamentary agenda is supposed to be shaped by the country’s needs and the most pressing matters facing the nation. Among the top three categories of concerns by Bahamians today are crime, law enforcement & the judiciary; VAT & the cost of living; and jobs & the economy. Yet none of these matters are taking precedence in the Parliament. At this point, the government is using Parliament as its personal political playground; bringing forward Bills and agenda items that in no way reflect the present, pressing matters facing the nation. Continue reading

At Least The Gov’t Plans To Keep Its Promise To Convicted Criminals

handcuffsShortly after being elected, National Security Minister BJ Nottage visited Fox Hill Prison and said he spoke with convicted offenders who complained that their mandatory minimum sentences were too high. Minister Nottage said he agreed with the convicts, and said his government would be reviewing the sentences with the focus on lowering them. Now the AG confirms the government is doing just that. Continue reading