Prime Minister Perry Christie speaks at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association seminar yesterday.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Christie administration is forging ahead with plans to construct a new House of Assembly complex and Prime Minister’s residence with recommendations for both undertakings to be made before a Parliamentary committee.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, who made the announcement yesterday, said it was an appropriate time to consider the matter especially regarding locations for both facilities as New Providence currently sees a spark in new developments.
In the infant stages of the plan and amid considerable fiscal constraints, Mr Christie said it was also his intention to ensure that the new complex allowed for each elected official to have an office. The new complex will also house the Senate among other things, Mr Christie said.
It is not yet known how much the new buildings could cost taxpayers.
Mr Christie was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Post Election Seminar - Bahamas Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The two-day meeting, which comes to a close today, was held at the Beach Towers, Atlantis Paradise Island.
Mr Christie said: “When we entertain guests on behalf of the country, we have to go, in the case of the former Prime Minister and myself either in a dining room or a hotel or a private room in a hotel. Or in the case of actual travelling, borrowing Sol Kerzner’s suite in this hotel to entertain on behalf of the Bahamian people.
“Therefore, I would like to propose before a committee of the House of Assembly as the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in as near in the future as can be constitutionally arranged, meaning that if the committee is still standing that is listed in the House (of Assembly) to look into conditions and benefits for Members of Parliament.
“If that committee is still standing then I would like to appear before the committee with a view to presenting specific recommendations about the establishment of a new Parliament that would house both the House of Assembly and the Senate that would embrace the possibility of all of the modern conveniences of the House of Assembly, inclusive of offices for Members of Parliament.”
Mr Christie said Opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis should also be in support of the move, as, if he is successful in becoming Prime Minister at some point, he would benefit from the new facilities.
“If you become Prime Minister one day it will affect you. You would be the beneficiary of it, not so much me because I am in the twilight of my political career. But these things are so serious that somehow we have allowed the political will to be lacking. We have caused there to be a feeling that the institution of Parliament must be a budgetary concern. It’s like having a cathedral.”
Last February, Mr Christie announced that despite fiscal constraints, the Government was considering a new Parliament and Prime Minister’s residence.
As a result, he faced considerable backlash from political pundits who said Mr Christie should be more focused on pressing issues, including unemployment and the national debt.