Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Christie administration approved $200m in untendered contracts each valued at roughly $3.5m, according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
During his contribution to the 2019/2020 budget debate yesterday, Dr Minnis directly accused the Christie/Davis led Progressive Liberal Party of handing out untendered contracts like “candy…on Halloween” via various government agencies. Dr Minnis noted the Ministry of Works, which was managed by current Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis, and the National Sports Authority played prominent roles the scheme.
While Dr Minnis stopped short of identifying any specific deals, he did reveal that Mr Davis’ Ministry of Works oversaw $200m in untendered contracts being handed out for scopes of work valued at around $3.5m.
“On the member of Cat Island’s watch as minister of works… untendered contracts were given out left, right and centre, up, down,” Dr Minnis told Parliament. “Mr Speaker, it was raining untendered contracts.
“Mr Speaker, today accountability has replaced deals that hurt the people, but benefited the chosen few and special interest. And now, every tax dollar is accounted for unlike the hundreds of millions of dollars our predecessors budgeted over the years. During the Christie/Davis government smudgy and funny things were happening at places like the National Sports Authority.”
Responding directly to challenges put forth by the opposition on the accusation, Dr Minnis continued: “Tendering is transparent contract; not tendering is a non-transparent contract. At the National Sports Authority, let me say this again, in the Christie/Davis government, smudgy and funny things were happening at places like the National Sports Authority.
“The leader of the Opposition was refusing to look into as chair of the Public Accounts Committee,” Dr Minnis contended.
He added: “The PLP inflicted great trauma and damage on our country. We are still trying to account for millions that went missing, I have been advised.”
Dr Minnis has long accused the Christie administration of being corrupt.
In comments to wrap parliamentary debate on the Proceeds of Crime Bill and the Financial Transactions Reporting Bill in March of 2018, Dr Minnis referred to corruption under the PLP as a “national disgrace” that should never be allowed again.
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Davis said Dr Minnis’ speech did not address concerns of regular people but focused on the Progressive Liberal Party.
“While Bahamians hoped against hope for a budget presentation by the prime minister that would address their disappointment in his government and their increasing misery, like his national address, the prime minister flubbed it again, making his presentation more about his obsession with the PLP than the concerns of ordinary Bahamians,” Mr Davis said.
He also said: “Obviously lost on this prime minister in the midst of his political bluster was the judicial condemnation of two of his ministers; growing unemployment; stagnant wages; the increasing cost of living and the fact that his policies of tax hikes, mass separations, cronyism, self dealing, refusal to pay contractors and a dogged pursuit of an elusive fiscal deficit target have all contributed to misery, discontent and dissatisfaction Bahamians have with this administration.
“None of these critical issues that are important to everyday ordinary Bahamians were resolved or for that matter adequately and directly addressed by the prime minister.”