PM officially sworn in as minister of finance
Salary increases for MPs not on agenda
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said on Friday that his first order of business as finance minister is to stabilize the country’s finances and identify how a debt management strategy can be implemented as soon as possible.
Davis was sworn in as minister of finance and received his instruments of appointment from Governor General CA Smith during a private ceremony that day.
His appointment is in addition to the 20 Cabinet ministers who were sworn in earlier this week, along with the deputy prime minister, who was sworn in on September 18.
Davis said he has also asked former Financial Secretary Simon Wilson to return to the office.
“We are now talking about ways and means of stabilizing our economy [and] at the same time bring relief to our people that are hurting at this time,” Davis said.
The prime minister said his administration will seek to keep promises made on the campaign trail.
As part of the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) 10-point economic plan to “Recover, Rebuild and Revolutionize” the Bahamian economy, the party promised that if elected to govern, it would recommend the country’s minimum wage be increased to $250 per week and reduce value-added tax (VAT) to 10 percent “across the board” for 12 months.
Davis said the new government will seek to move of these matters once Parliament resumes on October 6.
While the former Minnis administration had signaled raises in salaries for parliamentarians, Davis said yesterday that it is not on his administration’s agenda.
He added that he has not considered whether he would give up his parliamentary salary, as was done in the last term by Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper.
Davis noted that his government still has to look at where the country is in respect to its finances, adding that the ultimate goal is to “bring relief to the vulnerable and young amongst our people”.
Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is the only prime minister who did not take a Cabinet portfolio initially and served as minister of ministers during the first three years in office.
Minnis temporarily served as minister of health and then took the minister of finance portfolio after former East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest resigned from the position.
Davis will follow the trend of all other former prime ministers who served as finance ministers.