PLP leader Philip Davis. (File photo)
By SYANN THOMPSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION leader Philip “Brave” Davis called the national security minister’s comments on Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson’s future “inappropriate”.
During the RBPF’s annual church service on Sunday, Security Minister Marvin Dames said Commissioner Ferguson as well as his executive team should “know by name” the next generation of leaders, adding his focus should be on preparing the “next crop of leaders” ahead of his inevitable departure.
Mr Dames told reporters that when that time comes, the police chief, who has served as commissioner for more than two years, should ideally be “ready and excited to move on,” because he, like many others in the RBPF are “all just passing through”.
Yesterday Mr Davis said the minister was out of line saying those comments publicly.
“He is not fit to have the post of minister of national security. I’ve called for him to be fired over a year now and again his inappropriate comments in dealing with a person of that level just demonstrates his unfitness,” said Mr Davis, pictured right.
Mr Davis also hit out at recent comments from Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, who recently accused previous administrations of “taking advantage of the Bahamian people” by entering into contracts “nobody in a commercial sense” would agree to.
Declining to speak to particular examples, Mr Turnquest told this newspaper earlier this week: “It’s unfortunate that we have not used more discretion, more responsibility, in terms of entering into contracts where there’s absolutely no need for them, in some instances, and the commercial terms – or terms – are not ones you would usually see in a commercial lease.
“It’s not just about the government. It’s about taking advantage of the Bahamian people and backing them into a circumstance that’s clearly not in the best interest of the Bahamian people long-term.”
In response, Mr Davis said: “It was he who dismantled the Revenue Enhancement Unit and cancelled agreements with contractors to collect outstanding tax revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That was a bad policy decision. The decline in revenue resulted in a 60 percent hike in VAT which took advantage of the Bahamian people.”
The Cat Island MP outlined what he called bad decisions by the current administration, including the purchase of the Grand Lucayan hotel and cancelling the contract for the post office at the former Independence Shopping Centre.
“The $65 million capital outlay to flip the Grand Lucayan hotel in six months was another bad deal,” Mr Davis said. “The flip has not occurred. The hotel was valued at less than $65 million before it sustained hurricane damage and the government said that scores of potential buyers were lined up to purchase the property. Where are the potential buyers today or again…was this another lie? The price tag to the Bahamian taxpayers to date is well in excess of $100 million with no economic benefit to Grand Bahama.”
He added, “Cancelling the initial contract for the post office at the former Independence Shopping Centre will cost the Bahamian taxpayers conservatively $20 million. Tampering with the lease at the Summer Winds Plaza could cause the Bahamian people as much as $66 million ….Other contracts tampered with will cost the government in excess of another $100 million dollars.”
Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister told The Tribune recently that $40 million is needed to get through the year as infrastructure has been left in a deplorable state. In responding, Mr Davis said it was an admission by the minister that “the government was starving infrastructure and refusing to put money on the ground, pay contractors and civil servants.” In doing this, Mr Davis claimed the government is attempting to achieve a deficit target at the expense of national development.