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Minnis: Why money for retirees and carnival but not for young doctors?

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday criticised the Christie administration saying it did not believe in Bahamians after young medical students were reportedly told the government had no money to employ them upon completing their exams.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Dr Minnis said it was a shame the government was re-hiring civil servants who had already retired, at a cost of around $530,000, but could not find the money to employ 17 young doctors.

He went on to criticise the government’s handling of finances related to the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) and the upcoming Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, which has a budget of $9m.

“These students would be paid an average of about $30,000 per annum. It means that if they hire these 17 students whom the government has informed that there is no place for, it would cost about $520,000 per annum to hire these students,” he told parliamentarians.

“There is $9m being wasted on Carnival. Which is more important? These young people who represent the future of our country versus the Carnival that you are trying to introduce?

“You are hiring all of these retirees when you can take three retirees and put aside $530,000 and hire these young people. The young people represent our future.”

He said there were 45 Bahamian students preparing for final medical exams expected in June this year. Of that group only 28 will be accommodated – 24 in New Providence and four in Grand Bahama.

Following the House of Assembly morning session, Dr Minnis told The Tribune that the remaining doctors were told they could complete internships at the Princess Margaret Hospital, but it would have to be free of charge.

Dr Minnis said there was a need for additional physicians in the health care system. He said the fact that the Critical Care Block at PMH is not fully open despite its commissioning last month is evidence of this.

Dr Minnis’ at times passionate communication elicited ridicule from some government MPs. Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said there was no existing challenge in the country with hiring doctors. He said to suggest otherwise was “completely ridiculous”.

Prime Minister Perry Christie later stood in the House of Assembly to refute Dr Minnis’ claims.

He said each of the 45 doctors who are preparing to sit their examinations will be accommodated, in spite of what they may have been previously told.

“He (Dr Minnis) says the country has a situation before it where it has a substantial number of young people going into medical school,” Mr Christie said.

“But the minister of education is quite correct. We have introduced now a bond system where there is a requirement when they educate, they go to rural areas of this country where (it is) necessary.”

He also defended Junkanoo Carnival as an initiative that not only gives incentives to young Bahamas but is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the country.

“Mr Speaker, Carnival has spent $1.6m to date,” Mr Christie said.

He added that Carnival spending is going towards incentivising businesses and companies.

“People who are coming in to sell costumes, they are providing seed money to incentivise new people going into business.”

Mr Christie also took issue with Dr Minnis’ assertions that the government is not investing enough in Junkanoo.

“There is no person, Mr Speaker, in this country, none who can challenge me in my cultural commitment to Junkanoo,” the prime minister said.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 7 years, 6 months ago

How can Carnival bring in more tourists and they are not advertising anywhere?

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TalRussell 7 years, 6 months ago

Comrade I have friends and family living in several of the top US and Canadian markets and while they have seen TV spots featuring actor and retired professional basketball player Comrade Rick Fox, on a sail boat and a number of ads for Atlantis Paradise Island, they have yet to spot even a single TV commercial for Carnival. And, if the ministry of tourism are running them, they must be buying cheap time slots in wee hours morning. Seems poorly organized and promoted for a whopping 9 million dollar Carnival, just 65 days away? Wouldn't you think at minimum the Carnival Committee would want to run TV spots, to rattle tourism interests to come see and take pictures of the Carnival Committees most proudest creative attraction - them specially designed 'For Tourists # 1 and #2 use only" Potty's" or as we call them - outside toilets?

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by TalRussell

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John 7 years, 6 months ago

If the government was serious about Junkanoo being a part of carnival they would have told the junkanoo groups to save what they can from Christmas and New Years parades to prepare for carnival. Then the groups should have been advised how to prepare for carnival. This would be a time for them tobreak away from traditional Junkanoo with its rigid structure and strict rules and plan a "carnival Junkanoo" that is more interactive and each person have the ability to do their own performance with limited constraints. Costumes then will not have to big big and oversized and must allow the "rusher" the ability to move around freely. Finally, has any seed money been given to Junkanoo groups that will be participating in Carnival?

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TalRussell 7 years, 6 months ago

Comrade John, surly you must at least be curious to see at minimum, the designs for the Carnival Committee's special designed "For Tourist # 1 & # 2 "Use Only Potty outside toilets? Apparently, if the media reports have it accurately, yesterday they informed certain media houses, they were to be holding a press conference for today but no location was included but would be told the location later? Talk about a poorly organized 9.5 million dollar Carnival with only 65 days to official launch? Even if the media attend they seem incapable of rattle out any uncomfortable questions. maybe it has do with fact that it was reported that a talk show host had their Carnival radio commercials pulled, because they started asking too many uncomfortable questions?

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Alltoomuch 7 years, 6 months ago

Can someone tell me again why we are bringing in people to sell costumes?? Will they all have work permits?

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TalRussell 7 years, 6 months ago

Comrade read da labels: "Made in China'. have you ever seen such a 9.5 million dollar hunk of mismanagement, with only 65 days to go on clock, before you get wear your costumes? it ain't like we ain't got 1000's out of paychecks workers willing to sew, or that we have a shortage of sewing machines and sticky costume pastes in Bahamaland. I wonder more, who was the person who ot only paid to make them KKK costumes but who was it that paid them black jackasses to Junkanoo around in them? Wouldn't/t you have thought the media would have also been curious?

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duppyVAT 7 years, 6 months ago

This Junkanoo Carnival will die like a still-born ...................... another skeleton in Perry's closet

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The_Oracle 7 years, 6 months ago

Carnival is just a localized filter mechanism for the money. It will filter down through the crony's and ranks with major dilution at each stage, Until very little is spent on the actual hair brained scheme called "Carnival". It is getting harder and harder to filter kickbacks internationally, too many eyes watching. The traditional Bahamian scam and flam is coming to an end, along with the money unfortunately.

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duppyVAT 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes .............. a $9 million windfall for the politically-connected to be distributed by the bag-man Paul Major

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TalRussell 7 years, 6 months ago

Comrades I am not vouching that the talk on the streets like true, true, that even if you were to dispatch the top detectives from the CID division, they will have to search Little Nassau Town, far and wide to uncover visible proof, there is about to be a 9.5 million dollar Carnival in just 65 days? Where in hell is that Carnival Village, them specially designed Potty's - outside toilets are to be placed? I know you think I made the Potty's up but no that one is true, true -so help me Carnival Committee.

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by TalRussell

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duppyVAT 7 years, 6 months ago

YES.......... GOOD POINT ......... WHERE WILL CARNIVAL BE HELD IN NASSAU???????

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TalRussell 7 years, 6 months ago

Comrade wherever it is, that's if it even it exists at all, it sure as hell ain't where it can be seen. Finally, the government is capable of pulling off a top secret project? I am counting on Ministers Obadiah and Danny to make damn sure the contractor does have theft insurance on them designer outhouses potty toilets? They are not even embarrassed reveal the 9.5 million dollars Carnival cost. And, still with only 65 days to go theys on they cell phones doing the late hustle trying to sign some foreigner performer for $2 million. I vote change the name to somehting more reflective how this is all 'falling apart," like:: Bahamas Carnival Comedy Junkanoo ers.

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Alltoomuch 7 years, 6 months ago

How so very sad is all this? - but, at least we're not talking about things that really matter.... like BoB & Nygard Cay to name just a couple...... too many others to count!!

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gbgal 7 years, 6 months ago

Besides being concerned about the colossal waste of money for carnival, there is greater concern about our young doctors not receiving payment for their valuable services! Who made this decision? Appalling!

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TalRussell 7 years, 6 months ago

Who are the Comrades, as of February 9, 2015, were listed as the registered owners of: BAHAMASJUNKANOO.COM Updated Date: 2014-09 ”Creation Date: 2011-12” And also; BAHAMASCARNIVALJUNKANOO.COM Update Date: 2014-08 ”Creation Date: 2014-08”

Oh yes, I know the names but have any red shirts politician, or Tribune reporter, including your “News Editor,” even bothered to check?

News Flash. Carnival's news conference ended short time ago in chaos, after they refused to reveal the name of the foreigner Star Act, they have signed and for how much. Why the need all the closely guarded secrecy? Don't you even want to promote their name to the world? is there another hiccup, you don't want the 9.5 million dollar foot the Carnival bill taxpayers to know about?

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asiseeit 7 years, 6 months ago

Come on Doc, the simple answer is "it's all about the Votes, the votes". 15 doctors just out of school might account for 20-25 votes while the retires and carnival croneys will account for thousands of votes. Do the math, the political elite are about votes and retaining power so they can enrich themselves and their ilk. It's all about the votes, the votes! The few will benefit as usual while the country as a whole gets a kick in the teeth, that's how the political elite roll!

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vigilant_citizen 7 years, 6 months ago

You don't know anything about the system but yet like an empty barrel you're making the most noise. No.....new doctors cannot just find a job in the private sector if they are good. You have to work in the public sector and complete requirements before being given a private license. And the government doctors save more lives with minimal resources working 90+ hours a week without overtime or compensation. But no you would expect them to be paid less than a garbageman, taxi driver or teacher? So would you work 90+ hours a week for 30K having to deal with ungrateful persons like yourself who are in hospital mostly because they don't accept their diagnosis, don't even know their medication much less take the medication? And then there are persons who would spend 200 dollars on a hairstyle for a party/wedding but find it hard to pay the $15 a visit to see the doctor if they're sick or $<200 surgical fee if they need it. Educate yourself before you become vocal about things you don't know. Because all you do is confuse the issue.

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