From The Office Of The Chairman Of The Progressive Liberal Party
On The Comments Of Parliamentary Secretary Vaughn Miller
For Immediate Release
14 March 2018
In the House of Assembly on Tuesday 13 March, Tribune said that the MP for Golden Isles Rev. Vaughn Miller said the following:
“Mr Speaker I remind you that we’ve made a commitment. The Speech from The Throne, I repeat it: ‘my government will review legislation to ensure that adequate provisions exist for the protection of homeowners with respect to foreclosure, mortgage protection.’
“The pain, the anguish, the mental (and) emotional (stress) . . . sometimes they cry and my brothers, I cry with them. What else can I do? Imagine working most of your adult life, acquired your dream home and now you are about to lose everything?
“Mr Speaker, we promised to bring them solutions and relief. They need it now. Too many people, hard-working Bahamians are losing their greatest lifetime investments. How much longer do we intend to watch them suffer and lose it all?
“I understand the challenges, but we are dealing with an angry and impatient electorate. There seems to be a disconnect and they are not feeling us. The language we are speaking they are not understanding. There is a disconnect.
“We are in the Easter season and as a pastor, as a church leader and going through personal conflicts we always talk about those on the way to Jerusalem who said ‘hosanna, hosanna.’ Three days later as they exit, they hear ‘crucify him, crucify him.’ We have had our hosanna and now are beginning to hear the cry of crucify. Why? Because there’s an impatient, there’s an unforgiving, there is an electorate who wants it now and that is the reality of the situation that we are facing.”
Regarding the proposed Oban oil refinery and storage facility, he said: “I know of the talk of Oban and we can’t get into it for obvious reasons, but Mr Speaker fossil fuel is a dying energy form. We have the ability (and) the capability. Under the last administration I heard a part of a presentation referring to a marvellous most wonderful form of technology available to us. We have an opportunity. We have been elected to lead this country in a different direction, a different path and to empower a generation of Bahamians.”
I understand that the FNM believes that with its 35 to 4 majority they can throw the rule book out of the window but I remind all Parliamentary Secretaries including Rev. Vaughn Miller and it appears we have to remind the Prime Minister himself of the following in the constitution in Article 81. (1) The Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may appoint Parliamentary Secretaries from among the Senators and the members of the House of Assembly to assist Ministers in the performance of their duties.
By that device, the Parliamentary Secretary becomes bound by the conventions of Cabinet Government which means inter alia that he is not supposed to disagree with the Cabinet consensus on matters of policy in public.
Rev. Miller has voiced in public his disagreement with the mortgage policy of the Government, the Oban Energy deal. Further, he indicates his belief like that of opposition PLP Colleagues that the Government is ineffective and as a result the electorate is angry at the Government.
There are consequences by convention when a Parliamentary Secretary or a Minister has such views and openly breaks with the Cabinet on those policy issues.
It only takes a piece of paper, even toilet paper as a former Prime Minister is once said to have said, and a signature and the deed is done. Either the Prime Minister can act or Reverend Miller might do the appropriate thing. The system demands no less.