Author: Bahamas Post

Parliaments “Achilles Heel”: No Accountability

By Rick Lowe Last week, in the wake of what could be the biggest governmental scandal to ever reach the press in this country, MICAL MP (PLP) V. Alfred Gray countered by suggesting some MPs are collecting $2,500 a month from the public purse to maintain a headquarters and Constituency offices and might not be using it for the purpose intended. Or “stealing” as he put it. The sad reality is Parliamentarians now receive $30,000 each year, called a Constituency Office Allowance, without reporting how it was used to their constituents or the general public who are taxed for...

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The Fight for Our Future: Politics, Law and the Environment

By Sam Duncombe The government of The Bahamas is increasingly dysfunctional and perverse. They continue to wilfully ignore, downplay and reframe the very serious matters and concerns that have been raised by Save The Bays (STB) and others: oil pollution at Clifton, the Rubis fuel spill, the burning dump, and unregulated and unlawful development, for starters.  And even after a Supreme Court judgement, Prime Minister Perry Christie and the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Alfred Gray have failed to close the illegal facility Blackbeard’s Cay  notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s order requiring them to do so.   Invasion of...

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Freeport and Tax Concessions: The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (“HCA”)

By Terence Gape I have read with interest Carey Leonard’s Article which appeared in the Tribune of the 11th and the Guardian of the 12th instant. In his Article, Carey espoused the immediate extension by Government of the expiring Tax Concessions under the HCA in order “to create Bahamian jobs.” While we all agree that the creation of jobs is the ultimate and immediate goal of any negotiations or consideration over the renewal of the Tax Exemptions, it must also be agreed that because of the ineptitude and/or gross mis-management by the Families and DevCo (Families and Hutchison) over...

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Citizens for a Better Bahamas Recommendations for Freedom of Information Bill

A committee formed by the non-partisan civil society organization, Citizens for a Better Bahamas, has reviewed the government’s proposed Freedom of Information Bill and recommended a score of improvements. The draft Bill was published in May by Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, the cabinet minister who is responsible enactment. The Bill will supersede the 2012 Freedom of Information Act passed just before the general election, but never put into force by the current government. Freedom of Information laws seek to give citizens a legal right of access to government information, subject to certain qualifications. Most countries in the region already have such laws in place, which experts say help to improve trust in government by ensuring transparency and accountability. A previous critique by the Centre for Law and Democracy based in Halifax, Canada, said that while the revised Bill had some modest improvements, it still failed to meet international standards in many respects. One of the key recommendation in the CBB review is to strengthen the independence of the information commissioner, who will administer the Act. The draft Bill outlines a familiar process, with the commissioner appointed to a five-year term by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the opposition leader. The CBB review says the information commissioner “should be appointed through measures independent of the government as far as possible, such as the...

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