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Seven Absentees Away On Government Business

From left, Central and South Abaco MP James Albury, South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, pictured with an official, West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and Tall Pines MP Don Saunders were absent for the VAT vote on Monday due to the obligations in the Cayman Islands for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association forum.

From left, Central and South Abaco MP James Albury, South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, pictured with an official, West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and Tall Pines MP Don Saunders were absent for the VAT vote on Monday due to the obligations in the Cayman Islands for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association forum.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE seven parliamentarians absent from Monday night’s vote to increase value added tax from 7.5 percent to 12 percent were all out of the country on government business, according to multiple sources yesterday.

Free National Movement Chairman Carl Culmer confirmed the absence of Works Minister Desmond Bannister, Water and Sewerage Chairman Adrian Gibson and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works Iram Lewis was due to obligations associated with the Ministry of Works.

It was later specified by Cabinet Press Secretary Anthony Newbold that Mr Bannister was in China attending an Urban Planning Construction forum, while Mr Gibson had travelled to London for a water conference.

Mr Lewis reportedly travelled with the minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Culmer said the absence of Deputy House Speaker Don Saunders and Parliamentary Secretaries in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and James Albury, was due to the obligations in the Cayman Islands for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association forum.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mrs Parker-Edgecombe praised her parliamentary colleagues for their support of the government’s vision.

The West End & Bimini MP said she believes the 2018-2019 budget aims to provide a foundation from which The Bahamas can positively build into the future, while addressing the issues it now faces.

She added: “This budget is not meant to burden the Bahamian people. I am confident that my constituents along with others will find innovative ways to lead better lives and fully take advantage of all the budget has to offer.”

In a separate interview, Progressive Liberal Party South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, also on assignment at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association forum, asserted that the government’s move to increase VAT was unconscionable and showed little to no thought for the everyday struggles of hardworking Bahamians.

He told The Tribune his record on the proposed increase has been clear.

Mr Forbes insisted: “I said I didn’t and wouldn’t support the egregious increase In VAT to a burdensome 12 percent.”

Beyond the seven absent parliamentarians, FNM Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine, Bain and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson and Centreville MP Reece Chipman joined opposition members Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin, Cat Island MP Philip “Brave” Davis and Exuma & Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper in voting “no” to the increase.

All other MPs voted in favour of the bill, except the Speaker of the House who does not cast a vote.

The VAT amendment passed by a vote of 24 to seven. The 2018-2019 budget was also passed Monday night. The budget and VAT amendments must now be debated and passed by the Senate.

Comments

birdiestrachan 3 months ago

Ms Parker speaks "This budget is not meant to burden the Bahamian people" Is she serious ?? This tax will hurt poor people the people who voted for her. she is not to bright for sure. But the peoples time voters put her there Now they will pay the price.

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DDK 3 months ago

Pass the VAT hat to pay for the trip! Don't suppose they brown-bagged it!

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DDK 3 months ago

"Obligations in the Cayman Islands for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association forum"' "a water conference in London "; "an Urban Planning Construction forum in China"; OH, PUHLEEZE!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

They're spending the additional VAT dollars before they even get them!

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Greentea 3 months ago

Did ALL have to go? ALL?

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DDK 3 months ago

Like kids in a candy store. The VAT is their candy!

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TalRussell 3 months ago

Ma Comrades, the four red MP's of "Independent Thought on behalf their Constituents" were neither attempting take down Minnis and KP government with all characteristics of authoritarian regime- nor was the government ever under threat of "Vote No Confidence."
The red government not only has to always act on behalf the PeoplePublic but remain answerable to the House of Assembly as well.... which means, Minnis's red MP's should have held the prime minister in contempt of House for failing to disclose the full financial details of the OBAN signing - along his knowledge FAKE signature..... that my comrades is the Westminster system. Reds cant selectively pick when act by colonial cabinet and parliamentary rules.... am I right?
If on vote money bill I would think the seven marked absent by speaker on 12%VAT vote - would had to have requested and received advanced written permission from the "Experienced Crossover" Red Renward - then produce the evidence?

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birdiestrachan 3 months ago

doc went to GB and then on to Jamaica .IS there a office of the spouse hidden in this budget some place. for the government in the Sunshine, There is a whole lot being done in the dark. They said really it was "Small things" who said they meet with some one from the web shops Who??

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Porcupine 3 months ago

Many people on Andros haven't seen Picewell Forbes do anything for their communities anyway. That he is missing in action again is no surprise. All the more reason for "the people" to finally come to their senses and realize that their is little to no true representation of the working people and poor.

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The_Oracle 3 months ago

I see no value for money in all these conferences and Ex-jurisdictional meetings, especially for a broke nation. Get the details/summary faxed to you! The day I see motorcycle helmet laws, seatbelt laws, littering laws, bicycle licensing laws enforced, is the day I will believe we have elected a non selective Government. Cherry picking laws to throw at you but ducked by him is what undermines the rule of law and their very authority. None of them, I repeat none of them, retain their credibility for very long.

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sheeprunner12 3 months ago

THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND SENSIBLE AND EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE WILL BITCH ABOUT NOT ATTENDING CONFERENCES WHERE WE HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME ..... SMH

MINNIS IS NOT DOING WHAT PERRY & FWEDDY DID .......... WASTE MONEY

CERTAIN COMMONWEALTH OBLIGATIONS MUST BE MET, AND GAINING ANY ADVANTAGES IN MOFA & MOPW MUST BE WELCOMED, BASED ON THE STATE OF OUR INFRASTRUCTURE ........... SO STOP WHINING, PLEASE.

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