PM to define ‘special interests’ in his budget communication

PM to define ‘special interests’ in his budget communication
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Says govt’s priority is ‘young people’ and ‘women’

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Wednesday refuted assertions that the government’s 2019/2020 budget was devised to meet the needs of ‘special interest’ persons or groups.

“One of the words they used is that this is a government of special interests. I will address that next week and I want you, in particular, to be there to listen to me.

“I will define what special interest is and I will show you where our priority lies,” the prime minister told reporters on the sidelines of the official swearing-in ceremony for Chief Justice Brian Moree at Government House on Wednesday.

While giving his contribution to the budget debate last week, Chester Cooper, the Opposition’s shadow minister of finance lambasted the government’s 2019/2020 budget, charging that it  only benefitted the rich, the connected, the powerful and special interest groups.

“There are those of us in here who will sit idly by and thunderously applaud the application of even more pressure to the poor and working class, yet say nothing when asked why we do not tax the wealthy, because clearly we give tax breaks to  the rich in The Bahamas,” said Cooper while giving his contribution.

Cooper referred to the government’s 2019/2020 budget as a failure and claimed that it was clear that there was ‘heavy lobbying’ for and on behalf of special interest groups and their negotiators won.

The same sentiments were echoed by Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine during his contribution to last week’s debate.

But yesterday, the prime minister said he wanted to assure Bahamians that the government’s priority lies with ‘young people’ and the ‘women’, which he said were the future of the Bahamas.

“We believe in succession planning. We believe in transparency. I will demonstrate to you that our priority is with the development of this country and having a better future, and the young people represent the future and that is what I would demonstrate,” the prime minister said.