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Minnis demands audit of BAMSI

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday demanded a fiscal audit of the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Sciences Institute (BAMSI) after it was revealed that the government has spent nearly $50m on the project.

Dr Minnis questioned whether the more that $20m surplus from the government’s previous estimation on costs had been “pocketed”. The government has said it plans to invest $100m over the course of BAMSI’s development.

He renewed concerns over the lack of transparency in the project in an interview with The Tribune, adding that the government has yet to reveal its master plan for the institution.

“The minister of agriculture said they spent almost $50m,” Dr Minnis said.

“We would like to know where was that $50m spent? From our tour (of the BAMSI site), it was not spent there and from what we’ve seen they would need an additional $20m to complete what was there.

“We still need to see the plan. Where is the master plan so that we know what the intent was?”

During a press tour of the site on Monday, Agriculture Minister V Alfred Gray said the government had “spent almost $50 million already and we’ve just begun”.

However, Dr Minnis said this revelation on expenditure only raises more questions about the government’s fiscal management of the project.

Dr Minnis said: “The government needs to explain to the Bahamian people, how is it that $20 million was initially budgeted, they mentioned going back for another $7 million, and now they’ve spent nearly $50 million?

“Where is the other 30 odd million dollars, was it placed in someone’s pocket, and if so, whose? The Bahamian people want a breakdown of the money supposedly spent that the Ministry of Agriculture is talking about.”

He added: “We need to know where that money was spent and we need to account for that.”

In February, the government signed 14 contracts worth more than $20 million for the construction of five main buildings at BAMSI.

Although classes are expected to begin on September 29, construction of major buildings on the project have been hit with delays, according to BAMSI officials.

Mr Gray led a contingent of several government officials, BAMSI officials and media on a tour of the BAMSI site in North Andros on Monday, beginning at the Protected Agriculture and Greenhouse Department and ending at BAMSI’s commercial farm and main campus.

According to Livingston Forbes, chief architect for the Ministry of Public Works, the “major buildings” are 65-70 per cent complete and workers are now in the process of “installing windows and doors.”

A contractor for the site told The Tribune that construction is not expected to end until December or even January.

A little over a week ago, Dr Minnis led the media of a tour of the site and criticised the government over the construction delays.

Dr Minnis called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to reveal the “master plan” for the research institute amid claims of unpaid workers and victimisation.

At the time, he also forecast that the project would not bolster Mr Christie’s legacy as hoped, but further destroy it.

Comments

TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Move over Minnis and Loretta? Just maybe common sense is coming to the red shirts? Comrade Tribune reporters, time comes to forget reporting on some Minnis rambling on BAMSI story. all to be ducking the more juicy story readers really wants read, like what Papa's former DPM Brent, really thinks about him and his failed leadership? I been saying for some 2 years Brent should enter the red shirts leadership race - as the frontrunner? Oh boy will be interesting see how the Tribune handles the return of Comrade Brent? What will happen to their Papa loyalty?

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PKMShack 7 years, 11 months ago

@ tal in HAI worst days it is still better than PGC best days. In times like these the country needs a leader not what we have now , THE I DONT KNOW NOTHING PM

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TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Comrade hold your excitement for Papa cause Brent, all but for the official announcement has now entered the red shirts leadership race. Minnis and Loretta are leadership finished. Unlike Minnis and Loretta, the $650 million "Baron" Brent ain't got's no intentions play footsies with Papa Hubert. He ain't no longer prepared to hide his disgust with Papa and is willingly entered leadership witness program. - to talk all he knows. For damn sure, "Baron" Brent ain't ever going trust Papa to keep his promise to stay put fishing up in Cooper's Town. Come on Tribune, deal with the only juicy political story needing coverage. The Tribune can act like they is a deep freeze to protect papa but the talk radio shows will be talking it.

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Reprecussions 7 years, 11 months ago

This isn't a gossip blog, always going off on a tangent. A topic could be about music and some how you would figure out a way to bring up PLP FNM DNA. The sad part is, it's always irrelevant information.

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TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Comrade had the PM's DPM "Brave" said about his PM what Brent is saying about his former PM boss, you ain't no fool, so we both know the Tribune's lead story would have been bold print spiked to highlight the troubled waters between the PM and his DPM? I just happen tell it like it is between Papa and "Baron" Brent. One them has to leadership drown, trying swim them troubled waters. It ain't going be pretty for Minnis, Loretta or Papa.

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Emac 7 years, 11 months ago

The saying "Bad habits die hard" is true indeed. Some people are habitually hooked on this corrupt government no matter what. How can anyone in their right mind compare the former government to this government? Sure both parties screwed up. But how can any SANE individual look beyond the blatant disregard and disrespect brought on by this government for the people that elected its dishonourable members? Only a person hooked on crack keeps going back to the same bad habits, even after admitting that the thing that they keep going back to over and over again is not good for them.

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B_I_D___ 7 years, 11 months ago

Brent would be an excellent PM...but alas, he needs a SERIOUS tan and some curly hair to qualify...this country is too backwards and racists to elect another white PM, even if it is the best choice.

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TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Comrade you sound like Papa. Both you and Papa is forgetting all that Current Eleuthera bloodline Brent had passed down from his Pop Symonette. Brent's bloodline gave birth to the Nassau Sailing Club.

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The_Messenger 7 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately with the Freedom of Information Act being purposely delayed the 30 million dollars and hundreds of millions of more dollars will continue to be "unaccounted" for.

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asiseeit 7 years, 11 months ago

BAMSI= SLUSH FUND! If the FNM has the fortitude to follow the money BAMSI will bring this government down and should put people in jail. How in the hell can they have spent 50 MILLION dollars on that crap? No way, someone is getting rich off of money The Bahamas does NOT have. We are broke right? BAMSI is rotten, you can smell the stink from Nassau! The "All for Me" crew is in full force, they just can't help themselves' it is in their makeup to steal from the Bahamian people. Follow the money and do not let up! We need INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS to get on this I.E> The Fleecing of The Bahamas, do a series, there is plenty of material!

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TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Comrade AsiSeeIt you are right, if any of the taxpayers $50 million spent is questionable as is being alleged, it is indeed a serious matter that needs answering. But the problem many see in Minnis is his inability to stick with issues. He head ain't hardly hit the pillow and he done become unstuck and ready move on to yet another press release over some new issue he has with PM Christie's administration. Numbers mens's will give attractive odds based on 24 hours to 14 days, before Minnis reaches his unstuck mode. Bran and Minnis sound like political press releases cousins.

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BSObserver 7 years, 11 months ago

Much press interaction is needed because every where you turn this government's illicit agenda is doing the Bahamian people in.

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birdiestrachan 7 years, 11 months ago

BAMSI will not fail it is a good thing. I tried catching a goat pepper plant from the peppers seeds purchased at the stores never could do so. I bought peppers from Cat Island I was able to grow many plants. The sweet potatoes in the stores are not good. I am sure there are many persons in the Bahamas who love to farm, BAMSI will do well. In spite of those who will want it to fail...

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asiseeit 7 years, 11 months ago

Birdie, no Bahamian wants BAMSI to fail. What we are talking about is the cost to the Bahamian people, 50 million so far. You may have no clue but take a look at what is there and I am sorry there is no way they have spent that amount on that foolishness. You. I, and every other Bahamian is getting ripped off. I don't know but I make noise when I think someone is stealing from me and I most certainly do not praise the people that seem to be stealing from me. WAKE UP, your children's future is at stake!

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asiseeit 7 years, 11 months ago

Tal, I do not care who does it as long as it gets done! This is why I am looking for a reporter to step to the plate. Remember CBS or one of them did a series called "The Fleecing of America", we need that here! NOW! These guys seem to be in a sort of wild west land grab except instead of land it is the Bahamian peoples money. We are being destroyed from within. I can not just up and leave, I am stuck here, I do not want to live in another Haiti!

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TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Comrade you badly behind the land grab times. I'd support Minnis is he stayed on the government's case to release the names of all Crown "peoples" Lands transferred to anyone, regardless price paid, covering the past 20 years?

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birdiestrachan 7 years, 11 months ago

Doctor Minnis talks about some 30 odd million in some ones pocket. To begin with Minnis can not count, and he is paranoid. Because he believes persons of certain hues are thieves. Now if they were a different hue Minnis would not even notice. has The Doctor remembered the few rich persons for whom the container port was built. I am sure there will be an accounting of all of the money spent. And he will find out that in spite of how he thinks. our hue does not make us thieves.

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asiseeit 7 years, 11 months ago

Sorry dear, thieves come in all colors and your "they did it so it is OK for Us to do it" thought process is childish. Grow up and wake up, this is about the future of OUR country. Time to realize this is 2014 not 1967, the country has changed one set of masters for another.

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 11 months ago

Steve Jobs once said the secret to Apples success is, they don't invest in every good idea. They invest in great ideas

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 11 months ago

@birdie ,so your saying its alright if a black man steals from other blacks ??Birdie get your facts straight ,the fill from dredging the harbour was used for the port and the shipping boys had to put up a million each ..Or would you rather like the Deans they get a 'no pay back loan ' from the development bank to go into shipping .Also the port had to be centralized to cut down on all the duty cheats ..Bringing up race and hue is so 1970,s this is a black country run by black people ,all the 10%white do is run successful business ,pay their NIB and electric bills ,,

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asiseeit 7 years, 11 months ago

The Freedom of Information act needs to be made retroactive by ten years. There is no doubt that there are a number of politicians and their cronies that should be behind bars! Corruption is killing this country, it is time for it to STOP! If I was in control I would bring in a FOREIGN anti-corruption team and weed them all out. We would need to build a new prison but with the money that would be saved and reclaimed that would be easy!

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BahamaPundit 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm writing to ask a question. Please answer. I want to know why Mr. Minnis has to beg the Government of The Bahamas for an audit of BAMSI. Is it not standard practice for each member of parliament (both PLPs and FNMs) to automatically be provided with a breakdown of the funds spent on any given project. If not, this is (bleeping) crazy and us Bahamians deserve to be (bleeping) (bleeped). Do you mean to tell me, a cheque for 50 million dollars is written by the PLP Government and they are not held accountable for the manner in which it is spent? Are there no checks and balances in our governmental system? If not, we must be the craziest (bleeping) people on the (bleeping) planet. Please enlighten me.

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birdiestrachan 7 years, 11 months ago

I have never said it is all right for any one to steal.. What I have said, it is wrong to assume that persons are thieves due to their hue. Also the Doctor should know that there has to be an accounting of all monies spent on BAMSI. The DR. knows that..So why does he even suggest that some persons are stealing? Besides if one watches the BAMSI reports those persons are all of the same hue.

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 11 months ago

"Has to be an accounting" what Bahamas you living in? The Annual Budget format was just switched to a board game of cloak and daggers, still waiting to hear about the probes at BEC, PHA, Blackbeard's Cay, Renew Bagamas, Stellar Waste, Ishamael Lightbourne still the tax czar? 2nd audit at NIB. detailed costs from 1 million (or was that 5million) gambling referendum. They don't know what accountability means.

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asiseeit 7 years, 11 months ago

Hue the hell you talking about? He suggests that 50 million dollars seems like allot for one little farm school. I guess now you will point to some FNM expenditure as an example of their waste/corruption, we get it, Bahamians should not trust ANY politician. Head back in the sand, nothing to see here!

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NoNoNo 7 years, 11 months ago

What a big crazy mess. http://s04.flagcounter.com/mini/kfoW/..." style="display:none" />

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 11 months ago

Can someone take a series of pictures of the construction so everyone can see why these buildings cost 50 million as opposed to one million? It seems to defy belief that so many ill conceived schemes could have been undertaken in just two years...

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The_Messenger 7 years, 11 months ago

Here you go, I managed to find some pictures which were taken a few days ago according to the website. I am not a contractor but if that has cost them 50 million dollars so far something is very wrong.

http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publi...">http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publi...

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BahamaPundit 7 years, 11 months ago

That looks, at most, around 2 to 3 million worth of work.

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 11 months ago

Yep, with the 12 goats maybe 3.5. But seriously, I don't understand a representative who refuses to show how the money was spent on a project like this ..50 million and they're RENTING space??

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themessenger 7 years, 11 months ago

Any competent INDEPENDENT committee comprised of engineers, contractors and quantity surveyors provided with a set of the approved drawings could very quickly report on what the construction should cost, but would the government be prepared to stick their collective necks out that far??? I think not. Birdie, everybody knows they're 'tiefin, did the DPM himself not say recently with respect to our MP's that "More pay would remove the temptation for politicians to do things that are not right." Well something at BAMSI is definitely not right and most of us don't have your ostrich like view of the government nor your appetite for the horse peaches they're shoveling.

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