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Minnis: We Will Fight Corruption

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday called Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller’s comments over the government’s procurement process a brazen admission of the government’s role in the endemic corruption that plagued the country.

Mr Miller told The Tribune on Sunday that the granting of government contracts to political supporters will “never stop” because politicians must “do what they have to do” to win elections.

He was responding to the US State Department’s scathing report pinpointing the government’s feeble implementation of anti-corruption laws, which is exacerbated by a vulnerable contract procurement process.

Yesterday, Dr Minnis said it will be up to his party to fix the country’s social and economic ills.

“Sadly MP Miller’s remarks come as no surprise to Bahamians,” he said.

“For too long, the people of the Bahamas have been victim to a PLP government that only looks out for their own.

“Brazenly, admitting to handing out lucrative contracts to their supporters, while dismissing reports of their growing number of abuses.”

Mr Miller, former minister of trade and industry, was questioned about the implications of the US State Department’s 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in this country.

When asked about the government’s bidding process and several instances that have gone public where contracts were given to party supporters, Mr Miller said he viewed it as “political patronage”, but not corruption.

He added that the American government often made statements arbitrarily and without proof.

Mr Miller also said: “If Bahamians are crooked, most people who make you crooked are the damn Americans who you deal with. They are the ones who teach you how to be crooked.

“The US just arbitrarily makes these statements and then people ask for them to show proof and there is none. It is just observations made generally by companies that didn’t get contracts when they felt they should have gotten them.

“Even though a lot of times they insist that the process is being rigged to make sure they get the contract. This is a two-sided affair.”

In a press statement yesterday, Dr Minnis said Mr Miller’s comments were unsurprising.

He said that while Prime Minister Perry Christie has publicly denounced corruption, his government embraced it.

Dr Minnis noted that Mr Christie “all but ignored” reports that the construction contract for the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute had been given to a former PLP Cabinet minister.

“It is disappointing for our people when their leader is . . . telling us one thing as his own government [allegedly] embraces corruption,” he said.

“The only way that we will stop corruption is with new leadership.

“Leadership,” Dr Minnis added, “that will bring true accountability, including enacting new anti-corruption laws that establish an independent agency with no ties to the Office of the Attorney General.”

He said: “Our economy is in ruin, crime is rising and the people have lost faith in this government. The prime minister should know that corruption plays a big role in this and it will be up to the FNM to fix it.”

The report, released last week, noted that there were “frequent” claims of government corruption during the year, but did not give specific examples.

“The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the report said.

“The procurement process was particularly susceptible to corruption, as it is opaque, contains no requirement to engage in open public tenders, and does not allow award decisions to be reviewed.”

On the subject of corruption and government transparency, the Human Rights Report also took issue that there was no independent verification of annual public disclosures from senior public officials, and called the annual submission rate “weak” unless it was an election year.

Financial disclosures must be turned into the Public Disclosures Commission (PDC) by March each year.

Comments

Economist 4 years, 7 months ago

You are making a 'press statement' on what Leslie Miller says? Keep to the important facts man.

The US has reported corruption. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to fix the problem?

Stop the blah, blah, blah and say something for a change, like "I resign as Leader of the Opposition".

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 7 months ago

When Bahamians (We the People) have all 38 MP (and all senior government officials)assets/liabilities for the past FIVE years on public record (fully disclosed) ...... then we should led our support to any politician asking us for support or VOTE (including the referendum) ......... it is time that Bahamians start to play hardball with these slickers who call themselves our "leaders" .............. We (citizens) have one main source of power (our Vote)

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 7 months ago

Minnis can't oppose the worst government in our independent history but he's going to fight corruption?

Can we please get rid of this man?!?!?!?!?

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 7 months ago

A am beginning to believe that the PLP has planted Minnis inside the FNM to destroy it ...... can't the practical, sensible, educated, concerned FNMs see that Minnis is a political LOSER?????

Well, who are voting on this FNM Council?????? Can someone publish their names on this thread???????? ........ that should not violate any secrecy laws (LOL)

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 7 months ago

Minnis is all about corruption......you only have to look at who he has brought into the ranks of the FNM party and the thugs who he is quite comfortable associating with. Christie is bad enough as it is, but Minnis would take corruption and unbridled greed to a whole new level which most of us hard working honest Bahamians can ill-afford to be burdened with.....our backs are already broken and the last thing we now need is for an FNM party under Minnis to come along and bash in our skulls to serve their needs as opposed to the needs of our country and its people.

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Taurusbull 4 years, 7 months ago

What is he going to fight it with his mouth ?

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MonkeeDoo 4 years, 7 months ago

The disaffected FNM's have to form another party with LBT at the helm and whoever wants to get on board. Maybe a four party election would be a good thing and after the election a coalition of the best will form a government. Right now we are going downhill into the Killarney swamp. By September we have to be ready to roll. Lots to do. Not much time.

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Chucky 4 years, 7 months ago

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis : I challenge you to draft and introduce new "freedom of information" and "anti corruption" legislation.

You claim you will fight corruption; well then introduce a bill now! Prove it!

Let the Bahamian people read the proposed legislation; i.e. publicize it!!!

Then let us see which members vote against it. This will identify the crooks!!!

Any member can introduce legislation!

I challenge you, Do IT, DO IT NOW; if you really want to fight this corruption!

I

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BaronInvest 4 years, 7 months ago

Looks like the upcoming election will be a choice between Pest or Cholera...

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Emac 4 years, 7 months ago

How can you fight something when you yourself is seeped in it???

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bogart 4 years, 7 months ago

OMG!!!! It clearly seems that after all these years this is a completely new and alien concept despite the fact to all bible readers, church goers that corruption must be eliminated and do what is right. It is horrifying that it seems as of today this anti corruption fight will start. Why don't they start a petition to recall politicians so we the people can get some value for money instead of endless yadda, yadda, yadda. It is time we did the buck crack man gone thing and get someone in there who can cut bait or fish or... Americans are complaining of unfair competition and soon Bahamians will be complaining of de-risking in return. We are not a country operating in isolation to the world but severely dependent on Uncle Sam who supports LGBTI and trades with nations who follow similar ideology which should prove interesting for these politicians or hand go hand come.

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SP 4 years, 7 months ago

......................................... Indeed mouth could say anything ....................................

For Dr. Minnis to be even remotely taken seriously, he must start "fighting corruption" within his own party by exposing the missing $5 million that disappeared with his former colleague Cabinet tourism Minister just before 2012 elections!

Otherwise STFU!

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licks2 4 years, 7 months ago

This anti-minnis group can't see past their hate for this man . . .every topic is Ad Homanized to Minis this and Minnis that!

But LBT was in that same cabinet as was Minnis. . .and it happened with Hubert Ingraham as PM! One who is touted as the best PM we ever had! LOL!

Why not ask Papa. . .LBT. . .Frank Watson. . . et al. . .and yes. . .the good Doc. . .he was a part of that group as well!!

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licks2 4 years, 7 months ago

WOW! The corruption case in court alleges that them French "backdoors" people were dealing with PAPA AND WATSON!!

JUST KEEP WATCHING YALL. . .THAT AMERICAN KNOWS THAT IF HE DO NOT TELL "THE WHOLE TRUTH" UNCLE SAM WILL DEAL WITH HIM WHEN HE GETS BACK HOME!!! YINNA THINK THIS ONE IS "JUICY". . .WAIT UNTIL THE TOGGIE AND BOBO MATTER COMES UP!! NOTICED HOW QUITE THE "GET MINNIS AGENDA" GONE? ALL OF THEM ARE CURRENTLY TRYING TO "DIRTY" DOC UP WITH THE REST OF "THEM". . .Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahaha! All doc gatta do now. . .as advised I am sure. . .KEEP QUITE AND LET THEM RUN-ON. I WONDER WHY LBT DON'T COMMENT ON THE MATTER. . .IS IT BECAUSE SHE HAS READ THE FULL DOCUMENT TOO. . .AND IS NOT "TALKING FOOL" LIKE HER SUPPORTERS AROUND HERE! FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN IN THE DOCUMENTS. . .SHE IS OH SO WISE TO KEEP SHUT. WORD TO THE WISE!! Lol!

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