Peter Turnquest Minister of Finance.
Peter Turnquest as Minister of Finance in the Minnis Administration, and as Deputy Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, has to be one of the loneliest, and yet, powerful men in Parliament. He is, today, lonely and isolated from his cabinet colleagues because he did not appreciate that all politics is local. He, secondly, does not appreciate that alliances is a critical component in any organization, and finally, that in the multitude of counselors, there is safety both professionally, and in everyday life; he does not readily accept or receive advice from Bahamians.
As Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, Turnquest has presided over an Island in decline as the exodus continues on a daily basis. He cannot name a single project started since being reelected almost two (2) years ago. Oban in East Grand Bahama, botched. West End project, botched. Sale of the Grand Lucaya, paid too much. Carnival Cruise Port still in the conceptual stage 18 months, before the first shovel hits the ground, and that is contingent upon the outcome of the negotiations. The LOI (letter of intention)
for Grand Lucaya was a premature announcement because of the sheer desperation for good news .
As Minister of Finance, his economic policies have not been coherent. Raising vat by 60%; raising taxes on the gaming houses, while excluding the casinos operators; raising taxes on Lyford Key residents, and then, reversing the decision; and reducing taxes on washing machines, and airplane parts. Capital projects were either slow moving or stalled throughout the country. A battle of massive terminations were waged in the public service inclusive of minimum wage personnel. The dismissal of the financial secretary was, yet again, an unwise decision replacing him with a novice. Turnquest policies, in attempting to balance the books, have caused social dislocations and contraction of the overall economy.
Finance Minister Turnquest, wholeheartedly, has embraced the advice of the technocrats from the rating agencies, i.e., Moody’s, S&P and IMF. He has, seemingly, turned a blind eye to the pain and suffering these austerity measures have caused. In the Bahamas, when developing public policy, people must always be more important than things, and profit.He has become a major disappointment to his once loyal supporters.
In June, during the upcoming budget debate, the country would see that the economic policy, though well-intended, have failed the country miserably. Grade D-.
Chester Cooper is the Member of Parliament for Exuma and Ragged Island, Deputy Leader of PLP, and Shadow Minister of Finance and Investment.
Cooper has a good understanding of profit and loss; or growth and contraction, of an economy. He, also, comes to the table of ideas with a clean slate: a new perspective on how the Bahamas should be developed. Cooper also brings with him, a listening ear, and the pragmatism needed in developing sound public policy.
Cooper warned the government during last year’s 2018 budget contribution that the outcome they desired were unrealistic, and could not be realized using the austerity measures implemented. One year later, his pronouncements have proven him to be correct in his assessment of the economy.
It is our hope that Cooper and the PLP will show the FNM the errors of their ways; by taking the lazy and self-serving approach to foreign direct investment, surrendering the port of Nassau into foreign control, and operations. Foreign direct investment must be the instrument that uplifts all of our people, and not only, the favored few.
For being proven right on his assessment of the economy, and being able to say, “I told you so”. Grade B+.
Brent Symonette, Minister of Immigration and Investments.
Of all mother’s children, I love myself the best!!!
Today, the Free National Movement comprises a coalition of varied interests. Theodore Brent Symonette represents and epitomizes the merchant class of the FNM party. He is shameless and his avaricious tendencies have no bounds. To describe him as the Puppet Master, in this Minnis administration, is being polite.
When the FNM attained power on 10th of May, 2017, the first order of business was for Symonette to award his late father, the nation’s highest honor along with the father of the nation ,Sir Lynden Pingling. Honoring the liberator, and oppressor, with the same honor, was a shameless absurdity.
Awarding his family business a (five) 5 million dollar rental contract from the government is par for the course, a public lesson in self dealing. Muscling in on the ferry services in Abaco is yet another instance, and road contracts yet another. In the area of immigration, a free-for-all is underway leaving qualified Bahamians unemployed relegated to positions of observers in their own land. This speaks of his vision.
Symonette’s approach to foreign direct investment is unimaginative and anti Bahamian, a good example is the port of Nassau. He sees relinquishing operation control of a very profitable and strategic port to a foreign entity as the way forward; as a development tool for our country. You can rest assure, should this government proceed with the giveaway of the port in favor of narrow self-interest, a commission of inquiry will have to be called to deal with the plunder of the country’s patrimony.
The whole sale selling of Island to the cruise lines, and licensing them in retailing, is yet another glimpse of his short sighted insight relative to his world view.
His latest intervention on immigration demonstrates that he is not answerable to any one; he, openly, contradicted a Cabinet conclusion. Clearly, it was a mistake to allow Brent Symonette, the high privilege, of being a member of Parliament.
Brent Symonette, a relic of a bygone era. Grade D-