Says 2019/2020 budget is not a ‘people’s budget’
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Opposition leader Philip Brave Davis on Monday lambasted the government’s 2019/2020 fiscal budget, charging that he did not trust the government’s intentions as they appeared to be governing a select few instead of many.He said while Bahamians are being asked to cut down on excessive and unnecessary spending, the government was not doing the same.
“Everyone in The Bahamas is being asked to tighten their belts, but not the prime minister. In fact, he better loosen his, given the more than $100,000 increase in his food budget,” said Davis in his contribution to the 2010/2020 Budget in parliament yesterday.
Davis said while there are generous budget increases for the prime minister’s office, the food assistance budgets at the Ministry of Social Services are nowhere near enough to address hunger and poverty in the Bahamas.
Davis highlighted that the Government increased the budget for food for the Office of the Prime Minister from $10,000 in last year’s budget to $115,000 in the 2019/2020 budget.
But that’s not all.
He said the cost of domestic travel for the prime minister to travel throughout the Bahamas increased from $74,000 in last year’s budget to $256,000 this fiscal year.
“This is an increase of about 350%,” Davis lamented.
“Is there an explanation for this increase? Is the Prime Minister asking Bahamians to fund his political campaigning?”
The Opposition leader further highlighted that supplies for the Office of the Prime Minister increased from $73,000 in the last budget to $1.3 million.
“Why the $1.227 million increase over last year’s budgeted amount? Where’s it really going,” Davis asked, adding that it is not the “People’s Time” as the FNM had constantly touted during its 2017 election campaign.
He said the 2019/2020 Budget was also not a people’s budget.
According to Davis, the only time the government thinks of the Bahamian people is when they are inventing political slogans while the “special interests get special privileges, special access and special favors.”
“It’s not just that after Oban we don’t trust your signing ceremonies, or that after the Grand Lucayan, we think you don’t know what you’re doing, or that after years of missing your deficit targets, no one believes you anymore,” Davis noted.“It’s worse – we don’t trust your intentions. We think you’re governing for the few instead of the many.
“And there’s nothing in this budget that proves otherwise.”
Davis said the biggest ‘tragedy’ of the 2019/2020 budget is that it does not meet the challenges Bahamians face as a nation.
“There is a lack of vision, a poverty of ambition, no innovation, no big new ideas,” Davis said.