When the House last met on the 20th May 2015, debate on the Petroleum Act was suspended pending the addition of amendments the opposition claimed were necessary to facilitate a full and proper debate on the bill. The amendments were delivered to opposition members but they claimed that they did not have sufficient time to review the amendments so debate on the Petroleum Bill was deferred.
The existing bill, number 138 on the House agenda, was withdrawn by its sponsor, the member for Southern Shores and the newly amended bill was introduced and read for the first time effectively paving the way for a full House debate on the Petroleum Bill. The long title of the bill reads as follows: “A Bill for an Act to provide for the exploration and production of petroleum and for matters incidental thereto.”
The State Minister for Finance and member for Golden Isles the Hon. Michael Halkitis tabled a resolution for a government guaranteed loan in the amount of $35 million for the Public Hospital Authority to improve the country’s health infrastructure in preparation for the introduction National Health Insurance (NHI). The first phase is scheduled for introduction in January 2016.
The member for Englerston paid tribute to the life and work of former Senator Mizpah Tertullien. Her body will lie in the foyer of the Senate on Thursday, 28th May 2015 and her remains will be funeralized and interred at St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on Friday, 29th May 2015.
There was an animated exchange in the House during a presentation by the member for St. Anne’s and PAC chair Hon. Hubert Chipman. He accused the government of breaking the law, said the judgment of the chair was in error and bogus. His assertions were challenged by the member for Fox Hill who referenced the Privileges Act or the Immunities Act as support. The speaker characterized the presentation as contemptuous to the chair; disrespectful to the chair; ultra vires the rules of the House and that the presentation did cast aspersions on the chair.
The House was suspended until 10 am on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 where the Honourable member for Centerville and Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie delivered the budget communication for the government’s 2015/2016 fiscal year.
PM Christie delivers 2015/2016 budget communication
The highlights of the two and one half hours budget communication delivered by Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of finance the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 are as follow:
The GFS (Government Financial Statistics) deficit was reduced by $342 million or two thirds over the past three years from a high of $539 million during the 2012/2013 fiscal year. The Prime Minister stated that the Government will borrow only $182 million in the 2015/2016 fiscal year compared to some $670 million during the 2012/2013 fiscal year.