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Minnis: Govt priority should be those who have not been paid

Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the Davis administration’s priority should be on people who have not been paid for contracted government work and not on sending a large delegation to Dubai.

Dr Minnis said there were some in the inner-city communities who complained about continuing to wait for money owed them.

Asked if this meant the government's trip was irresponsible, he said that “that is an understatement.”

He said during his administration, there was a moratorium on travelling.

“There are a lot of priorities,” Dr Minnis said in an interview. “The government made many individuals who had contracts under roads and parks, I have not said anything about but I’ll speak about it at some particular later date – there are some individuals who have not been for three months. Those individuals are hurting – they need to be paid.

“Why should they have not been paid for three months while the government is flying all over to Dubai eating steak and lobsters while Bahamians here are hungry and can’t be paid. Where are your priorities?”

More than 100 people, including Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, made up a delegation that went to the United Arab Emirates city Friday to attend a world expo that showcased the country’s cultural and technological offerings.

The size of the delegation was reduced due to the surge in cases believed to be the result of the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, OPM communications director Latrae Rahming said. He did not have a cost to taxpayers readily available for the trip at the time, but said there was sponsorship from the government of Dubai and private sector partners.

“We believe - and it continues to be our view - that we are going to give Bahamians the exposure required on the global stage.

“This group comprises of Bahamian talent and choirs and bands and musicians also the cultural artisans of our country and we want to show that we have talent in our country.

“I think that it is a justified investment when we give our people exposure on the world stage so people could see the talent and I think if this small country could produce per capita the largest amount of athletes and we could produce Sir Sidney Poitier, we could make a significant investment in letting the world see our talent.”

Despite this, Dr Minnis highlighted that his government had a moratorium on any Cabinet minister’s travelling during the pandemic

“Nobody (was) travelling, including myself,” he said. “You would note that as soon as we lost the government, the new government went to the UN. We had already made a discussion that we were not travelling to the UN, therefore, there were no bookings with respect to my government going to the UN we would involve ourselves virtual. The same thing applied to Dubai.

“We said that if tourism insisted that they wanted to go that tourism must find the money in their own established budget, but we were not, my government the FNM government nor the Ministry of Finance, we’re gonna give them any additional funds. Find it in your established budget because at this particular time there are other priorities and we were not going to spend the public purse."

“Their argument was that they would meet investors, etc, and we said fine get the private sector involved to provide you with the funds, but we were not travelling.”

He also said: “Yes, Dubai would have constructed the pavilion and, therefore, if the Bahamas needed representation there’s no reason why they could not have done everything virtually. They tried virtual Junkanoo which failed, but there’s no reason why they could not have done virtual cultural events.”

Back in 2020, Dr Minnis defended his continued travel to the Family Islands in the face of criticism that it was not safe to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls from the Official Opposition for there to be equal opportunity for inter-island travel.”

“From I came into office I’ve been travelling through the Family Islands. That has never stopped so it’s just a continuation,” he had previously said.

“When I came in, I promised the Family Islanders that I would visit them regularly and keep them abreast of what’s happening in The Bahamas, especially after budgets (and) after COVID they must be informed.”

Meanwhile, the former prime minister said there was no friction in the party despite his noticeable absences at some of the Free National Movement’s press conferences.

He went on to respond to those who criticized him for leaving parliament early on Wednesday.

Dr Minnis said this was because he went to assist people in need in some inner-city community.

“I see they accuse me of leaving Parliament. Parliament was very short on Wednesday. The tribute by my leader and tribute by the prime minister. Individuals within the Mason’s Addition and the Over-the-Hill had contacted me previously and said that they had not been paid by the government and they were having serious problems and challenges feeding their family, etc. I would’ve spoken to them previously and said immediately after Parliament I will drive down to the area. I have some food vouchers whatever else I will ensure that you get that,” he said.

“Immediately after parliament, the GPS on my car or whatever, you would have noted I went into the inner-city. I went Englerston. I went to Bain Town and I went to Centreville where I went to ensure that those who were complaining that they had not been paid, I went to ensure that they had something.”

“That should be a priority. If there are individuals who have done jobs for the Bahamian people have not been paid that should be priority, not travelling to Dubai,” Dr Minnis said.

Comments

tribanon 7 months ago

Boo x 1000.

Moronic Minnis is no doubt upset that all of those people he gave meaningless jobs to in the run-up to the national general election last September, in the hope of "buying" votes for FNM candidates, have not been paid what he promised they would be paid.

In the year before the last national general election, the very corrupt, despicable and power-crazed Minnis was desperately using taxpayer and borrowed funds in wasteful ways in an effort to remain PM while ignoring the financial needs of our public school facilities and public health facilities.

True to form, tyrannical Minnis continues to make an incredible fool of himself and the FNM party everytime he opens his mouth.

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TalRussell 7 months ago

Wasn't, *twas it Minnis who signed up de colony's government travel off to attend de 2020 Dubai Expo was originally scheduled for 2020, and everything else like this and that whilst de school lunch vendors went unpaid,― Yes?

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birdiestrachan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

POOR doc. the most honourable the competent authority is only showing how very zealous he is.

It is over for you doc. you are "The no come back Kid" Nobody wants to see you. not even members of your own party.

doc is one of the biggest liars on God's green earth. bar none. Did Pintard ask him not to speak.

What about OBAN and the ceremonial singing??

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birdiestrachan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

He did not care about over the Hill before. He made sure while he made the rich richer. the poor became poorer

Take a look at what he did first and foremost. the post office deal the cruise Port. and he locked the poor people down and imposed heavy sentences on young people selling coconut water

Heavy fines if persons were one minute over any time he set for persons to be off the street.

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birdiestrachan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

The doc is JEALOUS of PM Brave Davis. His green with envy.

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M0J0 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Lol and he didnt pay either lol

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Future 6 months, 4 weeks ago

FNM LEFT THEM UNPAID. BOTH YINNA SAME. …AND WE STUPID TO YINNA. TAKE WE 4 FOOL. TALK TO WE LIKE FOOL. TREAT US LIKE FOOL

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Economist 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Why is this paper reporting what a "no body" has to say?

Please don't waste your print.

No I have not bothered to read the article as this man has never had anything positive to contribute.

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John 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The best thing Minnis ever says is when he remains quiet!

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stillwaters 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Somebody needs to write clear guidelines and protocols for Bahamian government appointees.....we can't go through this nonsense every time a government changes....somehow, we must move beyond this. Political appointees get comfy receiving what they are not entitled to, or quality for....and then scream bloody murder when they are yanked out of that comfy place. They forget that somebody else had to be yanked out to make space for them.

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Absolutly!!! Moving old appointees is how global governments work!! Public service workers is an other story for another day!! Pintard. . .leave dat one alone nah ya hear!!

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John 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Vaughan McCartney sounds like an idiot beating Miss Daisy into the ground. Obviously he doesn’t know how these expos are structured. Some people are invited/taken . After work comes fun and play.

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Topdude 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Dr. Minnis is absolutely correct in criticizing this junket. The waste of funds is shocking. The lame rationale that Bahamian talent was being given exposure on the international stage is absolutely incomprehensible in this day and age with the ability there is to have virtual presentations and performances. By having such a large delegation during the time of the pandemic shows we are not ready as a nation. It shows we lack the sophistication of using IT for virtual presentations. And we just don’t care about international social distancing.

And to compound this waste of funds is the statement from the Office of the PM that the delegation was reduced in size and should have been larger.

In the short period of time these PLP clowns have been in power they have shown that we will have a repeat of the actions they are accustomed to : Corruption, Confusion and Incoherence.

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