Government Once Again Fails To Bring VAT Bill When Promised – A Foreshadowing Of The Problems To Come

VATINFOThe government said their new VAT Bill would be tabled in June. We now know that will not happen – again. Every single time the government has pledged to table the VAT Bill by a certain time frame, they refused to do so. It is now only 5 months left before VAT is supposed to come into effect, and what is critical about that this time, is that VAT will now be charged on items and services the government originally said would not attract VAT. So the VAT Bill should have already been tabled and given to us so we can begin to prepare ourselves for the tax itself and the cost increases we originally thought we wouldn’t have to pay. Continue reading

Is The Treasury Low Or Out Of Cash & Has The Gov’t Exhausted Its Treasury Overdraft?

OURMONEYFrom early last year I pointed out that if you see the government is not making its standard payments of salaries, utilities and operational expenses which are fixed costs allocated in the Budget each year, you must ask the question of whether the Treasury is low or out of cash. If the Treasury is out of cash, that would be why the Treasurer and Public Service is unable to make these payments – payments public officers, utility companies, local creditors and service providers throughout this country know have been delinquent and/or late over the course of well over a year. This is how the process works: the government does not have to grant permission for fixed salaries and bills to be paid. Once the amount is due, the check is cut and the monies are paid – UNLESS THERE IS NO CASH AVAILABLE TO PAY OUT. Continue reading

We Are Being Destroyed Due To Lack Of Knowledge – But We Can Learn, Together

golden-keyBahamians have been taught to glorify politicians. On the flip side, Bahamians have not been taught about their democracy, what a democracy is, how we ought to function in it, or even how The Bahamas specifically became a Nation-State. Bahamians are not taught in detail about our system of governance – many Bahamians cannot even tell you the name of that system. How many Bahamians have read or even seen their Constitution? Parliamentarians today are sitting up with the title MP or Senator and do not know Parliamentary Procedure from A – Z, though they were hot up to get elected/appointed. Continue reading

The Media Is Not Supposed To Show Anyone Preferential Treatment – So People Who Are Mad Need To Get Informed, Grow Up In Our Democracy, And Get Over It

GROWUPBAHAMASI was a journalist with the Bahamian media for 5 years. I then worked with the country’s media houses in a different professional capacity for 7 years. I am sometimes openly critical of the media (The Fourth Estate) because I know the vital role the media plays in a democracy, and I see key areas where the media in general does not take that role as seriously as they ought to in my view. With that being said, people who are angry about recent stories on elected officials or high-profile political figures need to understand that the media is never supposed to show preferential treatment to anyone at any time. The media’s job is to be the watchdogs for a society and hold to the fire, the feet of all public officials. The media is supposed to report information accurately, truthfully, factually, contextually, knowledgeably, ethically, with balance, without bias or agenda and without favor or fear – no matter who the information is about. Anything less than or outside of that is public relations, propaganda or both – but it is not journalism. Journalists are not supposed to pick and choose who to either “respect” or focus on. Journalists are not supposed to show anyone preferential treatment, nor are they supposed to ride on anyone’s team. And they are not supposed to concern themselves with who will get mad, once they follow standard journalistic guidelines and ethics when reporting. Continue reading

Wake Up Bahamas Before It Is Too Late – A Vote In A Democracy Must Never Be Violated

WAKEUPBahamas, if you accept your government rejecting your democratic vote taken last January on numbers houses, you are opening the door for the government to have comfort with rejecting any other vote you make including your General Election vote. Do not allow government Ministers or people in the media who ought to know better, to deceive you or muddy the waters about how serious it is for a government to reject the will of voters in a democracy. Do not allow them to take advantage of lack of knowledge within the population, by telling you last year’s referendum was just a mistake and all the Prime Minister needs to do is apologize for holding it, and then he can go ahead and reject your vote and it will be okay. Rejecting a democratic vote is cause for removal of governments. A government must not reject your vote because they do not agree with your vote. If you accept this, you are saying “yes” to the actions of a dictatorship. Some of you are being told that since the vote was just about numbers houses, it isn’t that serious if the government rejects it. This issue is far bigger than a few numbers men. Your vote in a democracy is your will. It is never acceptable or excusable for your will at the polls to be violated by the government. Continue reading

To All Government Workers Who Are Not Being Paid…

WAKEUPWhy are you sitting quietly going to work every day and you are not being paid for months on end? Slavery is illegal now you know – so why behave as though you cannot or should not stand and speak out about the slave plantation that has become your workplace? Bahamas, you have got to get it out of your head that your government will eventually do right by you if you just sit small and wait it out. IF YOU ARE SILENT, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO ABUSE YOU. How long will you be satisfied with being too afraid to demand what is lawfully yours? Bahamians make noise about things that don’t even matter, but will be too scared to take a stand on things that matter most. For many of us, fear has now become an excuse, not a valid reason. In truth, many of us fear our own potential to create change even more than we actually fear victimization. Cut the black crab syndrome, come together and stop suffering in silence, allowing the government to break the law by not paying you what is due when it is due. This includes persons who claim their salary deductions are not going to the various institutions for which they are assigned. Continue reading

Budget Tales Part 2 – Lies They Tell & No Projects For Money

ACCOUNTABILITYTAX COLLECTION – The government said they expect to collect multiplied millions MORE in customs duties and Real Property Tax this year, claiming that the Department of Inland Revenue would be among the areas used to strengthen property tax collection measures. Well then why did the government cut both Customs and Inland Revenue by over a half-million dollars each in this budget? For Customs, the money was cut from its Management System and its computer systems and equipment, and a majority of Inland’s budget was cut from manpower. How are you going to collect more taxes through these agencies if you are cutting funding from both agencies, and in the areas the agencies need to collect the tax revenue in the first place? Continue reading

$49 Million Budgeted For New Contract Workers – But Deleted Budget Documents Prevent Us From Knowing Details About These New Contracts

OURMONEYA staggering $48.9 million EXTRA has been budgeted this year for new contracts/contract workers. Almost every government Ministry and Department has hundreds of thousands to multiplied-millions in increases for these new contracts. The highest allocations include Tourism ($6.7 million); Finance ($5.5 million) and the Ministry of Grand Bahama ($1.2 million). In addition to the staggering level of this overall increase, the other major controversy is that since the government has stripped the 2014/2015 Budget of its salary & staffing documents (Personal Emoluments documents), we are unable to know how many new people are being hired for this money, at what salaries and to which positions. Continue reading

Minister Admits To Govt’s Deliberate Removal Of Critical Accountability Documents From The 2014/2015 Budget

OURMONEYI see that Minister Halkitis finally responded to my article on the government stripping the Budget of its standard salary and staffing pages. His explanation? They removed these documents to make the Budget “more user-friendly”. Typical response from a government that believes every single Bahamian is stupid, and a government that believes the Opposition won’t do a thing. The only “user” the Budget is now “more friendly” for is the government, who removed these documents so that the Parliament and the country can no longer know and track line by line what is happening with the salaries of Ministers and public service employees, as well as the staff count in each Ministry and Department. Continue reading