PM, DPM LEAD VERIFICATION PROCESS FOR CABINET MINISTERS
By MATT MAURA
Bahamas Information Services
NASSAU, Bahamas – Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Kevin Peter Turnquest, led the verification process for Members of Parliament prior to participating in the weekly Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
Prime Minister Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest were two of 15 Cabinet Ministers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by officials from the Public Treasury Department who were on hand at the Cecil V. Wallace-Whitfield Centre to conduct the verification process for public service employees there.
Other Cabinet Ministers undergoing the verification process included: the Hon. T. Brent Symonette, Senator the Hon. Carl W. Bethel, the Hon. Desmond T. Bannister, the Hon. Jeffrey L. Lloyd, the Hon. Marvin H. Dames, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, the Hon. Dionisio J. D’Aguilar, the Hon. Michael C. Pintard, the Hon. Darren A. Henfield, Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes, Senator the Hon. James Kwasi Thompson and the Hon. Elsworth N. Johnson.
Cabinet Ministers the Hon. Romauld S. Ferreira, the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle and the Hon. Brensil D. Rolle were off island. Health Minister Dr. the Hon. Duane E.L. Sands had already completed the verification process.
The verification of the Cabinet Ministers/Members of Parliament is part of an ongoing national verification exercise for Government Monthly and Weekly Employees and Senators and Members of Parliament.
Verification Centres were established at Ministry of Education schools in New Providence and at Government/Administrator’s Offices in Grand Bahama and the Family Islands since the process began on Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Verification ends Thursday, August 31, 2017.
The five Verification Centres in New Providence — H.O. Nash High School, T.A. Thompson Junior High School, C.C. Sweeting High School, C.R. Walker High School and Doris Johnson High School – will cease operations as of the close of business on Friday, August 18, 2017 in preparation for the upcoming school year. Operations will be relocated to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
Treasury officials say Public Officers who are assigned to the Ministry of Foreign and the Ministry of Tourism overseas offices, are expected to verify at their respective locations, “following the procedures that have been forwarded directly to them by the Treasury Department.”
Persons who fail to present themselves to be verified will have their salaries interrupted – not ceased — beginning September 2017, until such time as they comply with the verification and reinstatement process.
Treasury officials further say the 2017 Verification Process is not new in Government, as “some form of the process has been undertaken by all serving Treasurers.”
“The verification process actually protects the public service employee because in addition to ensuring that they are legitimate public service employees, it also ensures that we have the correct data on each employee,” officials say.
Officials also noted that not having up-to-date data can, for example, affect employees’ current and future National Insurance benefits and also their Treasury Pensions.
Allowances have been made for public service employees on vacation within and outside of The Bahamas. Those traveling outside of the country whose return date will not allow them to return to The Bahamas ahead of the August 31 deadline can verify at any Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO) or Foreign Affairs Mission abroad while those within The Bahamas can verify at the Administrator’s Office in any Family Island, along with the Public Treasury (Central Abaco and Freeport, Grand Bahama).
Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest participating in the verification process.
Attorney General Carl W. Bethel (left) and Minister of Works Desmond T. Bannister participating in the verification process.