The controversial Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) is thriving and expected to rev up commercial production of crops, according to North Andros Member of Parliament Carlton Bowleg, but he said its financial structure will be revamped.
He said BAMSI – located on North Andros – will help to stem the tide on imports and reduce the country’s food import bill.
While in opposition, the Free National Movement (FNM) committed to broadening the scope of BAMSI, but also criticised the development following a fire in 2015 that destroyed the male dormitory.
It was later revealed that the contractor did not have the all-risk insurance to cover damages. The incident was characterized as a “teachable moment” by the Christie administration.
Yesterday during the debate on the 2018-2019 budget in the House of Assembly (HOA), Bowleg said there will be greater oversight of “the people’s money”.
“The people of North Andros and the Berry Islands have been asked to increase fiscal responsibility as we try to right so many wrongs,” Bowleg said.
“BAMSI likewise will face increased management controls to reduce wastage during the upcoming fiscal period and beyond.
“It is anticipated that going forward each year of successful operation will see a decrease in the need for external funding and allow for BAMSI to become increasingly economically self-sufficient.”
Bowleg added that BAMSI is preparing to take on its largest cohort of 100 students in the fall and the school has had 39 graduates in its three years of existence.