By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
WITH respective elected officials set to begin debate today on the Minnis administration’s 2019/2020 budget, one Cabinet official says it will be evident that things are “getting better”.
Despite suggesting his ministry did not receive what he considered an ideal financial allocation, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said yesterday the government is doing well all things considered.
The ministry will receive $6,653,923, which is less than the $7,455,580 it was given in the 2018/2019 budget.
“I don’t think you will ever get a ‘yes’ answer from any minister, not only in these times that we’re in but in previous times,” Mr Dames said when The Tribune asked him if he was pleased with his budget allocation.
“You always want more, you always wish you can have everything. But the fact of the matter and reality is these are the times that we’re living in and as government we say that and we preach that we have to get our fiscal house in order.
“If you look all around us and see and compare us to other nations and see what is going on throughout this region you will clearly understand the position that we all find ourselves in and it cannot be a free for all any more.
“We cannot continue to practice the same fiscal strategies that previous governments have been doing in the past and you see that throughout this region. There are a lot of lessons now to be learnt because many nations now are feeling the full brunt of poor fiscal management and so we’re a government of transparency and we are going to put out there for the Bahamian public to see where we are and where it is that we need to go.”
He continued: “I liken it to a house. You have a home the Bahamian people have entrusted you to manage and unfortunately when we took over that house was in total disrepair and destroyed to the foundation.
“We have a responsibly to rebuild that house, to rebuild the trust of the Bahamian people (and) to get our economy in shape. It’s not an easy task it’s a difficult task. We have to be meticulous. We have to be responsible. We have to regain the trust of the Bahamian people (and) we have to regain the trust of our neighbours and those nations that we engage in confidence with. This is not easy.
“But one thing I will assure you that it is getting better and all of the indicators are pointing to that. Yes, we all wish that someone could wave a magic wand and we will have feasting almost immediately, but unfortunately that’s not the way that economies work.”
Mr Dames said there are a lot of things he could not do this year due to budgetary constraints, but did not say what they were.
“There are a lot of things that I hope I could do but then again we will have to work with what we can until we can do better.
“From our ministry’s perspective all signs indicate that we are certainly trending in the right direction and we will show that come budget time, but these are the times that we are living in.
“We have to exercise restraint. We have to be responsible. We promised the Bahamian people prior to coming into office that we would be and we have to do it until we can do better and so its incrementally little piece at a time.”