Davis claps back at DPM
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Opposition Leader Philip Davis said Sunday that Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest blaming Ministry of Finance’s debt on the PLP administration from the previous fiscal year, is false and his narrative to the Bahamian people is “misleading”.
In a statement released to the press, Davis indicated that Turnquest was making the statements in vain, while using it for political reasons and said, “the aim was to blame the PLP for the high deficit.”
“As to the substantive matters raised by the deputy prime minister, there will be no apology from me and none is required,” Davis said.
“He cannot escape responsibility for the confusion over the country’s finances. The confusion is entirely of his own making, by falsely accusing me of attacking public servants and the Central Bank. There was no attack on the Central Bank or the Department of Statistics by me. That is fiction and a further attempt by the deputy prime minister to cause confusion.
“I repeat, he will go down in history as the worst Minister of Finance ever.”
According to Davis, the issue of accounting methodology, either cash basis or accrual, was introduced by Turnquest following last year’s budget in a “vain attempt to justify paying off bills he said were left by the PLP from the previous fiscal year.”
“Identifying and paying off hundreds of millions in bills, only as a pretext to come to the House to point finger, lay blame and level accusations of mismanagement, wrongdoing and a sinful use of public funds, were pure political theatre, not sound fiscal practices and good governance,” he said.
“The theme of supposed PLP malfeasance, connected to a high deficit, was entirely the invention of the FNM and their propagandists. This was unbecoming and inappropriate. If there was a desire to change the fiscal policy from a cash-based accounting system to accrual based, then he need only announce the policy change, plain and simple.”
According to Davis, Turnquest’s actions were imprudent and the country’s finances are worse off because of him and the Minnis administration.
“For the record,” he said, “when you disaggregate the actual figures, the only difference between the PLP’s deficit predictions and the actual outturn, was the unanticipated emergency spending because of the hurricane. The PLP did not mismanage the economy. That claim by Turnquest was an utter falsehood.
“The Central Bank agrees with those facts and so does the Department of Statistics. In fact, the minister’s own budget communication agrees with those facts.”
Davis said he hopes Turnquest stays true to his word in the future and fully cooperate with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).