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Mitchell turns on ‘slow’ civil servants

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Public Service Fred Mitchell. Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Public Service Fred Mitchell. Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

FOREIGN Affairs and Public Service Minister Fred Mitchell has lamented the slow response of certain civil servants to instructions given by the new government.

Mr Mitchell, who is also the chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party, made the remarks yesterday, saying the government system’s response is like a “slow march into hell”.

“It takes a year and a Sunday to move a pen from here to there,” Mr Mitchell said. “It takes months to get bills paid, to get people on the payroll and to make sure they are adequately compensated in time for Christmas.

 “A creaking government administration which, so far, refuses to bend to the will of the new administration.

 “You can be forgiven for being totally paranoid or conspiratorial in that three months into the administration, you ask yourself why if an instruction is given, that instruction cannot be carried out with dispatch. Instead, it just seems to be a slow march into hell.”

 Addressing the state of the country’s economic status as Christmas approaches, Mr Mitchell said: “It’s Minnis’ fault.

 “As Christmas Day grows closer and closer, the reality of economic hardship and distress becomes more real in the public imagination. All the theories espoused while we were on the campaign mean nothing if there is not a chicken in every pot on Christmas Day. Or put another way, if there’s no money on the ground.

 “How did we get here? We got here in part because the FNM, under Hubert Minnis, put us in a set of stupid, short-sighted policies which led us to the graveyard of twice the national debt in four years and a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 100 percent.

 “We joke about it, but ‘IMF’ – It’s Minnis’ Fault. He came to office with a messianic complex and pretty soon sent Simon Wilson, the man who knew how to pay the bills and keep the creditors at bay, they sent him home packing, with false allegations of wrongdoing.”

 Mr Mitchell pointed out the countless ways in which many Bahamian people are hurting and expressed empathy towards them.

  “When I wake up each morning I’m assured to meet scores of emails, impossible to answer (all), with the missed phone calls saying that they need a job, there’s no food to eat, the rent needs to be paid, the school fees are overdue and the mortgage is behind,” he said.

 “Yet in the face of all this desperation, we have banks in our country, flushed with money, paying no interest and spitting out dividend cheques to their shareholders like there is no tomorrow.

 “This is the fundamental irony of life in The Bahamas today – rich country, poor government. Land of plenty, but too many have no food to eat. Surrounded by wealth and majesty, but the mortgage is overdue.”

 Still the member of Parliament for Fox Hill remains optimistic that circumstances will turn around for many.

 “Ninety days into the Davis government with 57 months to go before the general election, the children of Israel are not beginning to say, ‘It looks a lot like Christmas’ but instead, ‘Let’s go back to Egypt,’” he said.

 “I, of course, have remained optimistic. This will be solved in a little while, so we ask people to hold on.”

 Looking at the state of Grand Bahama, Mr Mitchell said the recent fire at the International Bazaar paints a clear picture of how bad things are on that island.

 “The burning of the International Bazaar in Freeport, shows you how far Freeport has fallen and the Grand Bahama Port Authority does nothing,” he continued.

 “Yet the people there chose to vote FNM. Obie Wilchcombe and Ginger Moxey, have a huge task to bring this sad city back from under FNM control.”

Comments

Sickened 6 months, 3 weeks ago

LOL. As if the PLP could have done better. They still don't realize that the money they squander and bury away somewhere is gone forever and only ends up in the hands of very few. They think handing out turkeys at christmas will satiate the populous for the upcoming year. You can't steal the money and still have it in the consolidated fund.

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TalRussell 6 months, 3 weeks ago

De Guardians all talkie radio station's On The Clock's Comrade Sister Erin Greene, claims has her constituent Snitchers on de ground and everything else like this and that ― Yes?

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ohdrap4 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Reminds me of the testimony of a civil servant during the treasury robbery trial. The lawyer kept asking her of ther whereabouts at 2pm, she was out to lunch, 3pm, still out to lunch, I think the robbery took place at 4.30, she saw nothing because she was still out to lunch.

And, many years ago, I had to return to Road Traffic to pick up my license because the printer went down the day before. All i had to do was to pick it up, as they promised to print when the printer came back on. i gt there really early to beat the line and was the first one in the door. They told me to have a seat, and i thought they were booting the computer up, ok. then some one came in to order the breakfast, he then left and came back with everyone's breakfast. they ate before printing my license and serving those lining up after me. this was at the old clarence bain building.

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Topdude 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr. Mitchell is out of his area of competence. The PLP are out of their area of competence. Where in the world have you ever seen a politician holding a combined portfolio including Foreign Affairs and the Public Service? This is akin to having one person serve as a Police Commissioner and Commander of the BDF. Foreign Affairs is to focus on external issues while the Public Service is to focus on internal issues.

Each portfolio requires a separate Minister and it is abundantly clear that Mr. Wilson does not have the intellectual capacity or professional experience to handle either of these critical portfolios. And to assign him responsibility for both is an insult to the Public Service workers specifically and citizens of our nation generally.

With all that is going on globally who is focusing on them? And with all that needs to be done to transform the Public Service to meet the numerous challenges facing the nation , who is focusing on them at a Ministerial level?

Clearly it cannot be Minister Mitchell. As a first step, the Prime Minister should decouple these two portfolios so proper attention can be focused on each by separate Ministers.

If this is not done we will continue to have public servants continuing to sense a visionless direction and a climate of administrative and political disrespect for their needs and aspirations.

The PLP is carrying out their own version of throwing out the baby with the bath water Come on Mr. Prime Minister correct this monumental error before it is too late.

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Fweddy needs to remember that it was the PLP during better times (2002-07, (2012-17) that continued to borrow and run up the debt.

The FNM were in power for all three financial shocks to our economy in the past 20 years. What did the PLP do in their 10 years when they continued to run up the debt?

Will they run up the debt in the next 5 years, even though the FNM had to weather Dorian & Covid? We shall see ......

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TalRussell 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Still hopeful Abacoians goin' get to see who, what, where, when and why, they're the ones, still left homeless to weather Hurricane Dorian & Covid, despite de hundreds million dollars dollars in Relief, Recovery monies.
And, Comrade Sheeprunner, what youse think, came of so many millions Minnis spent on de much promised but never arrived, constructed nor livable has been spotted anywhere on Abaco?
Where exactly is de 250 Domes millions
and everything else like this and that ― Yes?

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Maximilianotto 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This is soooo true! Kudos Mr.Mitchell for saying the truth!

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themessenger 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Bahamians gat short memory including Fred, anybody ever tried to renew their passport when he was runnin' tings??

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The_Oracle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Surely he misspoke, surely he meant Poor country rich politicians! Such a walking, talking oxymoron. Government departments while still sometimes slow move at light speed compared to the years before. You cannot expect stellar and prompt service when the Government is the catch all for hiring, Especially pre election. With more than half unaware of the laws and rules for their dept, instead being politically instructed, which is what he here seems to admit. There should be no change from government to government.

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DWW 6 months, 3 weeks ago

wow, how do you say im taking your money without saying i am taking all your money?

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