The Department of Statistics (DOS) currently has no way to measure how much money the country loses due to corruption, according to DOS Assistant Director Clarice Turnquest.
At a press conference on Friday, Turnquest said, she was unsure if facts of corruption are even able to be accounted for.
Her sentiments were echoed by DOS Acting Director Leona Wilson who said, while she is not in a position to comments on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ corruption figures, if there is corruption that involves missing money, “the funds would show up somewhere”.
“Like Miss Turnquest said, if there is activity happening from whatever source, we would see it somewhere. Either the households would be spending money or the government would be spending money,” Wilson explained.
“It will show up somewhere. It isn’t as if the persons who are doing this activity are hiding it under their bed or taking it out of the circle of economic activity. So, it will still show up somewhere. We are not in a position to comment on what the prime minister said but if it’s an economic activity, even if it is an underground activity, it is going to show up somewhere.”
During the Summit of Americas in Lima, Peru last week, Dr. Minnis said, the country’s revenue losses due to corruption are estimated at $200 million. When he returned to the country a few days later, Dr. Minnis said that $200 million was modest and estimated the number to be closer to $500 million.
“It was pointed out that five to 10 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) is lost to corruption, in some cases as much as 30 per cent,” Dr. Minnis said.
“When you look at The Bahamas with a GDP of $10 billion, the lower end of the world’s figure, which is five per cent, would mean that The Bahamas loses approximately $500 million per year as a result of corruption, according to world figures. I was very conservative when I said that the Bahamas loses probably $200 million which was below the world figures.”
Members of the Official Opposition took issue with the revelation and criticized Dr. Minnis for “bad mouthing” The Bahamas and asked the prime minister to provide evidence of this corruption.
“This bad mouthing of our country shows that common sense is not common,” said Opposition Leader Phillip Davis in a statement.
“To support his unfounded allegations of a corrupt country, he claimed that $200 million was lost to corruption. The prime minister cannot make such an assertion without saying on what empirical data he bases this statistic or assertion. I ask him to provide the evidence.