Bahamas Prime Minister Elect May 11th 2017
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WE , THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS, DEMAND better governance to promote economic prosperity, and to preserve the rule of law and our democratic freedoms. Better governance requires robust transparency and accountability in the public sector.
WE BELIEVE that those who choose to serve in public life must not do so for personal gain. They must abide by the laws, regulations and procedures which have been developed over time to ensure a just, equitable and free society.
WE ARE CONVINCED that this general election must produce a clear break with the past in terms of the way we deal with widespread abuse of the public trust. There can be no return to business as usual this time around. True accountability and transparency require a reckoning.
In the words of the American founding statesman James Madison, “...a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” IT MUST BE THE SOLEMN DUTY OF THE NEXT GOVERNMENT TO FACILITATE THIS PROCESS.
In the interest of our democracy, and for the future of our nation, WE HEREBY DEMAND that the next government establish independent public inquiries and initiatives to address the following key representative matters:
1. Mismanagement of the Bank of The Bahamas: THE NEXT GOVERNMENT MUST COMMIT to an investigation of the extent to which politically connected individuals or groups have received inappropriately favourable treatment at the expense of the bank’s shareholders, customers and taxpayers in general. Since the bank is majority owned by the government and backed by public funds, the people have a right to know the facts and are entitled to seek proper redress.
2. Baha Mar Agreements: THE NEXT GOVERNMENT MUST COMMIT to a full review of the series of agreements and investments surrounding this multi-billion-dollar development, with particular reference to the bankruptcy and receivership process and the subsequent sale or potential sale of the resort - including the involvement of government officials and their families. This project benefitted from significant government concessions and the people have a right to know exactly what transpired in order to ensure that public funds and resources have been used effectively and appropriately.
3. Auditor-General Reports: THE NEXT GOVERNMENT MUST COMMIT to a review of key findings of the Auditor-General over the last 10 years, with the aim of making recommendations to strengthen the office’s capacity to provide independently derived audit information about the executive branch of government. As one of the few independent oversight agencies provided for by the constitution, the Auditor-General's office must receive the necessary resources to perform effectively.
4. National Integrity Commission: THE NEXT GOVERNMENT MUST COMMIT to the immediate appointment of a bipartisan parliamentary select committee to pursue the establishment of a high-level integrity commission to combat cronyism, nepotism, conflicts of interest, theft and fraud in the public sector, and to act as a corruption watchdog on behalf of the public interest. The commission must be expeditiously legislated and led by an executive officer appointed by an independent process involving civil society.
5. Freedom of Information: THE NEXT GOVERNMENT MUST COMMIT to amending the recently passed Right to Information Act to ensure that the information commissioner is appointed by an independent process similar to the appointment of judges, or by a bipartisan parliamentary select committee which incorporates the input of civil society.
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