Cooper cautions govt. against using public purse for campaign travels

Cooper cautions govt. against using public purse for campaign travels
Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper yesterday cautioned the government against using public funds to travel to the Family Island for political campaigning.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis recently announced that he will be embarking on another tour of the country to gauge the public’s input on the national budget.

Minnis did a similar tour to explain the 2018/2019 budget and the reasoning for the government’s increase in value-added tax (VAT) from 7.5 percent to 12 percent.

Cooper made the comment in Parliament on Wednesday as he criticized the prime minister for staging a town hall meeting in Black Point, Exuma without advising him.

“The former prime minister [Hubert] Ingraham and former prime minster [Perry] Christie never went to the constituency of one of their colleagues without advising them,” he said.

“And I know prime minister [Philip] Davis will not do this as well after 2022 because there’s something called decency in public life.

“That’s something I know the next prime minister will abide by.

“This is the election season, so we expect anything.

“I would caution this administration to be sure that the public can discern what is campaigning versuss what is legitimate official business, so that we can properly account for the use of public funds.”

Back in 2018, the opposition made similar comments, insisting at the time that the prime minister’s travels were a waste of money and only served a political agenda.

The prime minister traveled to Blackpoint, Exuma on Tuesday to give a progress report of the government’s work.

Minnis told those residents that the government is in the process of starting the budget, and he wants to hear from them about their five priority items.

He said those suggestions will be discussed and he will later inform which of those suggested would be accommodated and why the government is unable to accommodate the others.