THE WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS
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cialis times;”>Monday morning of this week was scheduled for the House to commence debate on the mid-year budget statement delivered by Prime Minister Christie one week earlier.
The salacious stories published in the local dailies late last week and on Monday of this week about the contents of sworn affidavits in the Supreme Court – murder for hire and the relationship between the government and a foreign investor/permanent resident – took center stage and cast a shadow over the budget debate.
Prime Minister Christie announced to the House that he had asked the Commissioner of Police to cause for an investigation to take place into these allegations and called for the full cooperation of the official opposition. Opposition Leader the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis supported the call for a police investigation and pledged the full support of his caucus.
Later in the week, a press statement was released from Peter Nygard, the subject of the sworn affidavit, suggesting new evidence that will clear his name while implicating FNM Chairman Michael Pintard. The affidavits were not filed and could not be commented on.
Tall Pines Leslie Miller listed a number of Bahamians involved in the Save the Bay organization and the huge sums of monies they were being paid for services rendered.
There was an exchange in the House about two affidavits – one redacted and one un-redacted that the Opposition wanted tabled. The government side argued that tabling the affidavits would prejudice the case before the Supreme Court and the House speaker deferred his ruling for Monday.
Fox Hill MP the Hon. Fred Mitchell requested a referral to the standing Committee on Privilege to investigate the matter of the affidavits and to investigate accusations made by Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins about his (Mr. Mitchell’s) conduct as Minister in connection with the two Cuban detainees released by the Supreme Court.
Marathon MP the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald suggested that the FBI, the IRS and the US State Department could get involved in this matter because it involves the transfer of millions of dollars to a charitable organization, Save the Bay, when in fact the organization and money are being used to destabilize and overthrow the duly elected government of The Bahamas. Fitzgerald charged that Save the Bay is nothing more than a front to finance political activities.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis insisted that as far as he is aware, Save the Bay is an environmental group whose sole objective is the protection of the environment and the FNM supports the work of that organization.
Debate on the mid-year budget resumes in the House on Monday, 21st March 2016.
Prime Minister Christie argues for liberalization in the legal fraternity
Prime Minister Christie delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremonies of the Global Business Financial Summit held at the Atlantis Resort on Wednesday, 16th March.
This annual event is hosted by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB); this year’s theme is “The Bahamas’ Value Proposition in Financial Services.”
Asserting that the country’s chosen economic services model has an international business component, Prime Minister Christie suggested that the sector cannot operate effectively without openness with the requisite expertise to fully support the sector.
He therefore urged delegates to “explore how they can get the requisite expertise to fully support the financial services sector as it evolves.”
Prime Minister Christie established a timeline to address this long standing and vexing issue of openness.
“In this regard, we will over the next year work with the BFSB to conclude a number of issues to ensure that we preserve the international nature of the offshore sector while strengthening opportunities for Bahamians.”
On the issue of competitiveness, Mr. Christie proposed the establishment of a competitiveness council via the Economic Development and Planning Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister.
“We will have a Competitiveness Council, a center of government approach which focuses on ensuring the execution of government priorities and delivery-focused approach to government services” said Prime Minister Christie.
Christie told delegates that in addition to perfecting what we do best, The Bahamas must seek out new and niche products and services, much of which could be facilitated through the attraction of “front offices” to The Bahamas.