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Pm Confirms A Number Of Mps Have Failed To Disclose Assets

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Prime Minister Perry Christie

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE PUBLIC Disclosures Commission has expressed concern over the widespread failure of officials to comply with legislation mandating the turnover of annual financial declarations, Prime Minister Perry Christie told the House of Assembly last night.

According to Mr Christie, the Public Disclosures Commission (PDC) reported that “a number” of present and former parliamentarians and senators, along with senior public officers, have failed to submit declarations as mandated in the Public Disclosures Act.

While he did not confirm whether or not he was compliant with the law, Mr Christie urged members of Parliament to prioritise submissions during his closing budget contribution in the House of Assembly.

It is unclear on whether there would be any penalties levelled for non-compliance. 

He added that the government may give future consideration on how the matter of public disclosures is handled in Britain and adopt some of those measures in a bid to reduce unnecessary public embarrassment for local politicians.

Mr Christie said: “I just want to be able to say that this is a requirement, that I will be causing those persons who have not yet disclosed to know that it is expected and to make every effort to submit their disclosures to the Disclosure Commission. It is an important requirement. 

“A few years ago the clerk of the House pointed out to me the disclosure provisions of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and it is worthy for us at some stage or the other to see in fact how they go about with their public disclosures, so as to minimise the extent to which there could be public embarrassment unnecessarily by provision in the law.”

To date, 11 of 38 members of Parliament have confirmed to The Tribune that they filed all their annual disclosures.

At least nine government ministers have not filed their public disclosures for this year as mandated by law, according to their own admissions.

The Tribune has been unable to contact Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Southern Shores MP Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Environment, as both men are reportedly out of the country on government business.

South Andros MP Picewell Forbes has also not been reached as yet.

In an article published by The Nassau Guardian earlier this week, Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller said that he had not yet filed his declarations.

Disclosures must be turned into the PDC by March each year.

According to the Public Disclosures Act, a summary of the declarations shall be published in a gazette and any person who does not comply with the law is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than two years.

Last night, Mr Christie said that he received a letter from the PDC on June 10.

Mr Christie said: “The laws of public disclosure requires the members of Parliament and senior officers by classification in the public service to make disclosures. At a certain stage, the law requires the Public Disclosures Commission to write to the Prime Minister and, I think, copy the leader of the opposition.

“I would have received a letter that there is difficulty with obtaining declarations for the year ending December 31, 2011 from public officers listed on the attached schedule. I won’t read the schedule but members of the Public Disclosure Commission have noted the concern the number of senior public officers who have failed to submit their declarations as required under section 9 of the Act. 

“In a similar letter dated the same day members of the disclosure commission have noted their concern the number of parliamentarians and senators, former parliamentarians and former senators, who have failed to submit declarations as required under section 8.1 B of the Public Disclosure Act.”

In an interview with The Tribune last week, Opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis said he had yet to see a single report from the PDC this term. At a public demonstration over Freedom of Information last week, Dr Minnis said that anyone who had not filed their declarations should be jailed.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 5 years, 2 months ago

Does this mean he received similar letters between 2002 and 2007? So he came into power knowing that this was an issue, did he work this into his highly touted Code Of Ethics that every member would "strictly follow". The Yeah That Sounds Good They'll Swallow it, Second Chances government.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 2 months ago

well I think MPs should be publicly embarrassed for not complying and I don't think it is the PMs call about criminal charges and/or fines should be levied. I am glad that the public discussion has brought the sitting ducks of the Public Disclosure Commission back to life.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 2 months ago

to my knowledge NOT A SINGLE MP apologized for non-disclosure. Says it all.

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Cobalt 5 years, 2 months ago

This is truly outrageous. How do government officials expect the citizens to be compliant with the law, when they themselves are not. It is beyond me how we continue to vote for these two political parties. They are a dishonorable lot.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 2 months ago

And everyone who hasn't declared should be made to give historical independently verified financial accounts of their income for all years they were in violation

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TalRussell 5 years, 2 months ago

Comrades maybe something good can evolve from all this talk. Open discussions with NO political divide about not allowing politicians to ignore the laws and rules of Bahamaland's society are particularly necessary right now. The Governor-general should appoint a special prosecutor to conduct an audit on each and every Parliamentarians (MP's and Senators) Financial Disclosure Statements filed by ALL parliamentarians in office from the years 2007 to present. If following audit, ANY Parliamentarian are found to have failed to disclosure any and all taxes or financial obligations outstanding to the government, they should be subjected to prosecution. Your declared wealth is not accurate, maybe fraudulent, if you failed to disclose all your indebtedness. And, yes, including owing to the government of Bahamaland. Comrades are we really prepared to dig deep into ALL politicians and not leave our own kind ... untouched?

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 2 months ago

2007? You gat to be joking. 2002. Remember that administration was rejected for their alleged corruption. Only God knows how people forgot so quickly and didn't demand better, I'm talking about both PLP and FNM supporters.

There is no way a criminal should be allowed to screw the Bahamian people royally in 2002 and then feign respectability come 2007.

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TalRussell 5 years, 2 months ago

I agree. This is what opening a public dialog is all about. Works out that both the PLP and FNM's two terms in office would be subject to an audit.Let's make this a condition of the new Governor-general's appointment?

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 2 months ago

As more and more is revealed the stink of the cesspool in parliament square is truly alarming. Raise? New parliament building?

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asiseeit 5 years, 2 months ago

These people are BREAKING THE LAW, strait, plain, and simple. The P.M. says he does not want to embarrass them, what the hell, THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW! If Broke Q Public breaks the law they go to jail. Does the P.M. live on the same planet as the rest of we Bahamians? There is no excuse except that the POLITICAL CLASS is out to lunch, they can afford it!

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Sickened 5 years, 2 months ago

"so as to minimise the extent to which there could be public embarrassment unnecessarily by provision in the law." What nonsense is this? All the MP's have to do is make the necessary filings in order to avoid embarrassment. It is that simple. No need to change the rules.

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Publius 5 years, 2 months ago

The Prime Minister has yet to say whether HE has disclosed - it is because HE HAS NOT DONE SO.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 2 months ago

of course not. and they are stifling to pay their Property taxes and BEC bills before someone leaks their account to the public.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 2 months ago

Perry is a public embarrassment............. every time he opens his mouth these days. Just listen to his dumb rambling speeches on the Budget................. SMDH. Its clear that he doesnt know whats going on in our economy......... he even admitted last night that he is going to turn over the Ministry of Finance to Halkitis ????????????? IDK

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 2 months ago

There is now clear and compelling evidence that Christie himself has aided and abetted numerous instances of corruption that have over the years robbed our Public Treasury of many millions of dollars of funds it should have received, thereby imperiling the financial condition of our country today. NO ONE OF SOUND MIND SHOULD PAY ANOTHER DOLLAR OF TAXES OR FEES OF ANY KIND UNTIL CHRISTIE AND HIS COHORTS IN THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND SENATE ALL DEMIT OFFICE AND ARE REPLACE BY ELECTED INDIVIDUALS THE PEOPLE/VOTERS CAN TRUST!

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Tarzan 5 years, 2 months ago

These people openly and arrogantly refuse to pay their real property tax obligations or their BEC bills with a haughty noblesse oblige response of "no comment", and we are supposed to be shocked that they serially fail to file their financial disclosure forms?

You have to be kidding me. This is a cabal of crooks who feel completely entitled to pick and choose what laws will be enforced and based on political expediency, to whom the law will be applied.

In this open "pay to play" system, watch what happens with Peter Nygard's current request for building permits. His government cronies are going to give him Crown Land worth millions, while the country's budget is balanced on the backs of poor working people, and sanction his twenty years of open, notorious law breaking and they won't even be embarrassed about it.

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SP 5 years, 2 months ago

We need to bring back the "little naked emperor"...At least we know not to expect anything sensible out of him!

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 2 months ago

HAI had his faults.... but he never showed the type of spineless leadership that Perry exhibits every day and in the most embarrassing situations since 2002. He was hailed as a great leader .......... a collaborator and man of a second-chance .......... but that has all faded into a mirky quagmire of corruption, deceit and betrayal of the common man.

Perry and the PLP are not believers in the common Bahamian .................. BETRAYERS

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Reality_Check 5 years, 2 months ago

Remember: generalcrazy = Freddie Boy!

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