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Govt defends reallocating $25,000 from a disabilities commission to an Obie Wilchcombe memorial

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

OFFICE of the Prime Minister director of communications Latrae Rahming yesterday defended the government’s decision to reallocate $25,000 from the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to memorials at Baha Mar for the late Obie Wilchcombe.

He claimed the money budgeted for the commission was never intended for disabled people but rather to help the commission generate policies.

The reallocation of funds was noted in the book about the government’s mid-year budget performance.

Mr Rahming said the disabilities commission has the budget to do its job. “There have been criticism that the government is removing funds for persons with disabilities like this was a fund to provide assistance to those who are disabled,” he said. “The work of the national commission is to ensure that the provisions in the Disability Act and the rights of the disabled in The Bahamas is protected and carried out. So their work has not been impacted.”

“When there are circumstances where any government agency or entity have a very important policy item, policy initiative to the interest of Bahamians, particularly those who are vulnerable, there’s never a time they aren’t able to get the kind of funding assistance they need to execute that assistance.”

Nonetheless, critics, including Free National Movement Senator Maxine Seymour, expressed outrage that the government would take “scarce resources” allocated to a “vulnerable population” to pay for a memorial.

“Yes, we respect and honour our leaders, but not by robbing those in dire need,” she said. “Social Services should have requested an extraordinary budget from finance instead of reallocating sums approved by Parliament for the specific purpose of assisting the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Those funds need to be returned immediately and in excess.

“Of all the places to confiscate money from, why deprive this group of citizens instead of cutting another budget line? The commission was only allotted $267,284 for this fiscal year, which was already insufficient and now we learn that ten per cent of it was wasted on decorations and hors d’oeuvres at a hotel.

“This administration proves every day that while they mouth principles, like compassion and integrity, their actions say something else. Persons with disabilities need more support, not less. We need to amend legislation to allow for the enforcement of disabled parking infractions, increase parking signs, retrofit government buildings to make them accessible, construct an assisted living facility for adults with disabilities, among other priorities.”

Comments

themessenger 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, didn't know foot in mouth both feet interchangeable disease was spreading so quickly in The Office of The Prime Minister and Rahming has developed a severe case! A Monument to Obie Wilchcombe, of all people, at the expense of Bahamians with disabilities no less? Any wonder why we have become what we are with Leadership like this? This is reaching even for the PLP. You can't make this stuff up, the next monument will no doubt dedicated to his onetime business associate Pleasant Bridgewater for services rendered to the Grand Bahama expat community. They won't disappoint you, they won't let you down!

stillwaters 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh goodness.....these politician think....they actually think that they are royalty now. Holy moly

TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm running with it. --- Either the premiership --- Must [stop listening] to his communications peoples; ---- Or his 'disorder', has all the symptoms and causes from having too frequently traveled across many time zones. --- Yes?

trueBahamian 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The answer is ridiculous. He confirmed it was taken from the budget. The optics of this is really bad. If you take the money out it has to have an impact otherwise there would be no need to allocate any funds. I wouldn't say they shouldn't have something for the late Obie Wilchcombe, it's just of all the places to get the funding you go to that allocated to the disable. Wow! These guys ain't checking.

thomas 3 months, 3 weeks ago

If there was no need for the money to be used by the Commission as per the Act then there should be no need for the Commission and they should all resign.

stillwaters 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Sounds like that money was just a handy slush fund

hrysippus 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Obviously to spent 10 of thousands of tax payers dollars celebrating the passing of a prominent plp politico is much more important than helping disabled Bahamians. I heard that the champagne and hors de oeufs were really excellent. Much better than you voters had for supper. LOL.......

DillyTree 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Why bother even trying to defend the indefensible?

This is an outrage and an insult to the many with disabilities in this country who get very little from Social Services as it is, and rely on other private organizations to fill the gap. These are amoung our most vulnerable citizens - many of whom are't looking for a handout, but support services to enable them to work, play and raise their families as the rest of us do.

Why couldn't this money have been taken from Mr. Davis's travel budget? $25.000 is roughly a few nights in a 5 star hotel for him and his cronies. It would be nice if he was home more often to see what is going on in THIS country.

DWW 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Not surprised in the least. Par for course for the PnoP.

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