By KYLE WALKINE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Perry Christie must tell the country whether he has been up to date with filing his public annual financial disclosures, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney said yesterday.
Mr McCartney, once again calling for Perry Christie’s resignation, said the fact that all the prime minister can do is encourage all delinquent MPs to file their public disclosures and not say if he has done the same says a lot about him as the leader of the country.
“I’ve asked the prime minister to do his job,” the DNA leader said. “We know that the leader of the opposition has disclosed. But we are not sure if the prime minister has and he’s been sitting in the House for years. It would be interesting to know for what years he disclosed and for what years he did not. It shows that we have a lack of law and order in this country. There is a major void of transparency and accountability to the country.”
“The Democratic National Alliance demands that members of the government and opposition reveal to the public the state of their real property taxes, NIB payments, electricity payments and their public disclosures in compliance with the law or resign immediately.
“The behaviour of this government, their failure to govern in a transparent and accountable way, and their obvious lack of respect for the law, endangers the country’s democracy and jeopardises the country’s international reputation as a jurisdiction.”
Last week, The Tribune revealed that only a fraction of the 38 members of Parliament said they were up to date with filing their public disclosures. The others said they either were about to file, were unsure or had no comment.
Mr McCartney said he interprets “no comment” by some of the MPs to be “No, I did not file. But I can’t tell you that.”
“The fact that our minister of national security is basically telling us he didn’t file is frightening,” Mr McCartney said.
“Here is he is running the Ministry of National Security that has responsibility for all the criminals. But look at him. He’s unable to say whether or not he’s acting within the law.”
He was referring to Dr Bernard Nottage, who refused to comment when asked by The Tribune last week about his disclosures.
Some of the other MPs that responded to The Tribune by saying “no comment” were Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn and Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant.
“The Public Disclosures Act was created to prevent people from stealing,” the DNA leader said. “We’ve had MPs, some of whom are still in Parliament, come into politics as broke as the day is long and now they are millionaires. That cannot be right. Something is drastically wrong there.”
Opposition Leader Dr Hubert Minnis recently called for all MPs that did not disclose to be arrested.
However, Mr McCartney questioned whether Dr Minnis knows his rights as leader of the opposition.
“Under section eight of the Public Disclosures Act, when persons have not disclosed the public commission must file a report to the prime minister and the leader of the opposition,” he said.
“So Dr Minnis should know. If he didn’t know, then he should have caused it to be sent to him. Then the procedure would then be for him to forward it to the attorney general or the commissioner of police. There is a responsibility for him to put it before the attorney general. It’s really up to her to determine whether or not penalties will be passed down.”
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.