By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
DESPITE a wave of positive reviews from Cabinet ministers of the Minnis administration’s first two years in office, opposition member of Parliament Glenys Hanna Martin says this government’s performance has been “abysmal”.
In an interview with The Tribune, the Englerston MP pointed to several issues of national interest, insisting there was major concern among Bahamians regarding the country’s future.
Chief among these, she claimed were matters related to Bahamas Power and Light.
The power provider has seen some dark days, brought on by frequent power outages, boardroom divisions, a period of elevated electricity costs last year and the more recent resignation of Christina Alston from the post of chief operating officer.
And there was also the Oban Energies debacle, which Mrs Hanna Martin said showed irregularities in procedures in the processing of foreign direct investors.
“They’re in one reality and the rest of us are in another and this is cause for concern when your government is so out of touch with what is happening,” Mrs Hanna Martin said.
“When you analyse the last two years I think they have been abysmal. They’ve been marked by a number of very fundamental missteps.”
“We saw it at BPL. There was something very bizarre when an entire board for some reason was gone and where the chairman indicated that it was her insistance on transparency, which led to her departure.
“Of course we recall the comments by the minister which were in a most vitriolic fashion targeting her and then of course you had the issue of the fire. We have yet to get a report of that, which is in hand and which the minister said he would bring and the union has a view of what led to that fire and said it publicly. Then you’ve now had the COO resign and we still don’t understand that. Then there was the issue with the hike in cost. This is a state owned enterprise. It’s our energy company and has been totally inundated by questions and queries.”
Regarding Oban, she said: “It is important not just for its own sake but because it highlights the lack of integrity of the procedures in government processes under this administration, where someone of that nature that company with principles with questions surrounding them could make their way all the way up to the top floor of Cabinet and then thereafter be so discredited in terms of their history.
“Then of course you had the debacle of the gentleman signing someone else’s name and the file has gone missing. But what is important is that’s a major concern for us as a people.”
Mrs Hanna Martin further pointed to the value added tax increase last year as not being properly executed and contrary to the promises of the Minnis administration.
“It was done without consultation and superimposed on the Bahamian people and against the advise of Chamber of Commerce and others which seemed to be relevant. They’ve done what I consider the inverse of turning water into wine.
“They have increased taxation and reduced revenue that is quite amazing that they could not achieve at such a bizarre way.”
The handling of the domestic gaming industry has also contributed to the disaster that has been the government’s first two years in office, the former Cabinet minister insisted.
According to Mrs Hanna Martin, the Minnis administration has handled operators with a “native hostility”.