PLP leader Philip Davis. (File photo)
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis' "vague" commitment to campaign finance law is the latest sign his party's election victory was built on "empty promises and political expediency," Opposition Leader Philip "Brave" Davis said yesterday.
After Dr Minnis rushed with the Saxons Superstars in Wednesday's Junkanoo Parade, reporters asked him about campaign finance legislation which was a major promise of the FNM in the lead-up to the 2017 general election.
"I got seven more years," he replied. "We're working on it. What I am concentrating on now is to close that gap in income inequality and to allow more to share in the wealth."
Not bringing campaign finance legislation before the next election would be irresponsible of the government, Mr Davis said.
"Again this demonstrates and shows what their campaign was all about," he said. "That he's saying we have seven years in which to bring the legislation speaks to his hypocrisy and his true ways. It shows his presumptuousness as well. Every time they open their mouth you really can't listen to what they say, just watch they do. What could you believe coming from them at this point?"
The Nassau Guardian reported yesterday the administration is unlikely to fulfil its fixed election date pledge this term, according to Attorney General Carl Bethel who spoke about the need for a referendum. In May 2018, Mr Bethel told The Tribune public consultation on bills establishing term limits for prime ministers and a fixed date for elections would begin before the end of that year but that never happened.
"These are low hanging fruits," Mr Davis said. "You don't need nothing complicated or great hurdles to cross but again, as is typical, they had a campaign about things they thought people wanted to hear to get elected, they didn't truly want to implement transformative policies."
Yesterday Matt Aubry, executive director of the Organization for Responsible Governance, said Dr Minnis' answer to reporters "seems very non-committal".
"Unfortunately it speaks to the fact that it doesn't seem to be a priority," he said.
Good governance reforms were central to the FNM's 2017 election run but the party has fully implemented few such promises since winning the election.
Mr Aubry said: "There are a number of priorities we have been calling for that speak to the fundamental transparency and openness of the government, the Integrity Commission Bill, full Freedom of Information Act enactment, issues like public procurement and campaign finance which open up the door toward restoring public trust in government, all of which are in critical need. It needs to be taken seriously that these are not to be cast aside but addressed. Seven years is way too loose a timeline to say when these things will get done. We saw some movement on fiscal responsibility and FOIA but it's now been over 800 days since the Ombudsman and Integrity Commission bills were tabled with no movement has happened since then and there is no clarity on when movement will occur. The Integrity Commission Bill, for instance, includes a revamp of a public disclosure law which would speak clearly to our interests and establish an independent body that would vet allegations so we don't see even a hint of partisanship, be they real or imagined, in the cases."