A couple of months ago when four Free National Movement (FNM) Members of Parliament refused to support the budget, that was largely because they were not brought into the picture regarding the intention of the government to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by 4.5 percent to 12 percent.
Clearly when they made their presentations, it seemed the first time they knew that the People of The Bahamas would be saddled with the additional VAT financial burden was when Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest made the startling declaration in the House of Assembly.
It appeared, based on the contributions to the budget debate by others in the FNM, that they also were left out of the loop, not included in any discussions regarding the heightened tax plan. What had been rumored, became evident.
There existed a huge communication gap between Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, his primary Cabinet circle and the rest of the government parliamentarians. It appears nothing much has changed.
We come to the Grand Lucayan purchase issue, once again.
Just 24 hours after the new spokesperson for the government on the Grand Lucayan Issue, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, publicly announced that the FNM Administration would buy the property for $65 million but just hold it and not spend funding on renovation, a party parliamentarian colleague voiced the exact opposite.
Indeed, Central Grand Bahama Member of Parliament and Ministry of Works Parliamentary Secretary Iram Lewis called a press conference in Grand Bahama and gave a significant summary of the responsibility, or obligation, the government in fact has, to proceed with renovations once the hotel has been bought.
“Once the asking price is paid the government must then take on the responsibility of renovating the resort in order to make it fully operational. The government will then assume the added cost of the day-to-day operations of the resort as well as paying salaries, insurances etc. This additional cost will possibly exceed the cost of the purchase based on the length of time the government remains owners of the resort.”
We are in total agreement with Lewis and venture to say that most well-thinking Bahamians would be supportive of such a proposal, upon the purchase of the Grand Lucayan. That’s the way to go.
We think it ludicrous for the government to spend $65 million that the taxpayers would have to cover, just to sit on the property.
An equally as large point that is evident though, is the disconnect within the wide body of the Government of The Bahamas.
It seems, Cabinet Ministers are speaking out on very important national issues, without other parliamentarians whom they wish to get support from, having full knowledge, so that they could be on the same page.
There is surely a major communication gap within the FNM.