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Us Warning Over Govt Corruption

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE US State Department identified the government’s ineffectiveness at implementing corruption laws as the reason officials engage in illegal practices without consequence, citing a vulnerable contract procurement process in a newly released report.

In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in this country, the US said the government procurement process was “opaque” given that there was no requirement for open public tenders or allowance for award decisions to be reviewed.

The report noted that there were “frequent” reports of government corruption during the year, but did not give specific examples.

“The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the report says.

“The procurement process was particularly susceptible to corruption, as it is opaque, contains no requirement to engage in open public tenders, and does not allow award decisions to be reviewed.

“In October the government charged a former state energy-company board member under the Prevention of Bribery Act, the first significant case brought under the act since 1989.”

Former board member of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Freddie Solomon Ramsey was charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and 14 counts of bribery allegedly committed between 1999 and 2003.

The allegations are related to a widespread scheme involving tens of millions of dollars in bribes to countries around the world. They were brought to light in late 2014, in a US Department of Justice report which said that French power company Alstom SA allegedly paid more than $300,000 to a BEC board member to influence contracts to a French company between 1999 and 2003.

On the subject of corruption and government transparency, the Human Rights Report also took issue that there was no independent verification of annual public disclosures from senior public officials, and called the annual submission rate “weak” unless it was an election year.

Financial disclosures must be turned into the Public Disclosures Commission (PDC) by March each year.

According to the Public Disclosures Act, a summary of the declarations shall be published in a gazette and any person who does not comply with the law is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than two years.

In 2014, Prime Minister Perry Christie informed the House of Assembly that the PDC had expressed concern over the widespread failure of officials to comply with legislation mandating the turnover of annual financial declarations. According to Mr Christie, the PDC reported that “a number” of present and former parliamentarians and senators, along with senior public officers, had failed to submit declarations as mandated by law.

The State Department echoed much of last year’s report, which pointed out that there was not a dedicated government agency that specifically monitored allegations of government corruption.

The 2015 report again pointed out that the government had yet to issue regulations that would implement the 2012 Freedom of Information Act or take other steps to bring the legislation into force.

The FOIA was passed in early 2012 by the former Ingraham administration, months before the last general election. However, there was no date for enactment.

When the PLP assumed office that year, it said the legislation needed significant tweaking before it could be enforced.

In May last year, the government released a draft of a revamped version of the legislation.

The new bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament by November.

This is not the first time the United States has criticised this country’s government contract bidding process.

In the US State Department’s 2015 Investment Climate Report on the Bahamas - released last June - the US criticised the Bahamas for “lack of transparency” in government contract bidding processes, with American companies complaining about “undue political interference.”

In that report, the US warned potential Americans and other investors that there are “significant challenges” to doing business in this nation.

Comments

Chucky 3 years, 10 months ago

100% accurate depiction of the sad realities of our corrupt nation! Other than the approximately 1 million other examples that were omitted!

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realfreethinker 3 years, 10 months ago

Here we go again same report different year. Don't expect any changes from this corrupt crew

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Sickened 3 years, 10 months ago

The FBI has finally arrived in full force to investigate all manner of corruption in The Bahamas. I hope they come out with their findings before the party conventions which are scheduled for later this year.

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

Good news! When was this supposed to have happened?

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DiverBelow 3 years, 10 months ago

Any wonder why US investors are reluctant? Wonder why European & Asian investors are slow, they are somewhat accustomed to some level of corruption?

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observer2 3 years, 10 months ago

even da chinesse dem slow'in down dey investments

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BMW 3 years, 10 months ago

Bradley Roberts will make his statement on this, Erry ting is above board

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observer2 3 years, 10 months ago

fred ga say dey mess'in wit we sovereignty and he parliamentary privilege, as da law don't apply to plp

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

...This report "slightly" contradicts Brave Sticky Fingers Davis recent Guardian submission...

Bradley Gargoyle Roberts will spin this report to the FNM as being the instigator of all corruption in the Bahamas and 50% of the problem.

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The_Oracle 3 years, 10 months ago

At every level, tier and position, they are collectively bleeding the country to death, graft, padded contracts, kickbacks, theft, mis appropriation, waste, excessive spending and elected/appointed lifestyle. All the while pontificating about Sovereignty, patriotism, National interests. If only lightning would strike where needed. Time for Jail and confiscation of ill gotten gains.

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asiseeit 3 years, 10 months ago

The biggest threat to The Bahamas is our corrupt government and civil service bar none. The political elite of this country are a cancer that needs to be eradicated.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 10 months ago

It is to bad that you all take this report to be the gospel from the heavens. The USA has it own problems. the Bahamas is not perfect but we strive for perfection. It is to bad the Bahamas and other Countries can not give a report on them, Just watch the docomentary . on Mr: Robinson the base ball player. take a look at Donald Trump. and the laws they have passed when they can refuse to serve persons who are gay.

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GypsySoul 3 years, 10 months ago

You're delusional! Deflect the obvious by drawing attention to ills in the U.S?. This report was about corruption here and credibility cannot be established by pointing out that the truth revealed should be taken with a grain of salt because those that revealed it, may also have a mote or two, or three in their eye. "We strive for perfection"....where are the "We" that you refer to? Why can't you embrace the imperfections and channel your energies to righting the wrongs that are so prevalent?

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 10 months ago

Yes - they have PLENTY problems - but that is no excuse for us to be stupid too. That would be like me telling my kids to go ahead and smoke pot up behind the school, because everyone else is doing it.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 10 months ago

Also - I support gay rights 100% - but I also support the new laws that allow businesses to choose not to support them. The lady who had the cake business two years ago in the USA is still having to pay legal fees - she has lost her business and everything. She did not want to make a cake about gay stuff. What's wrong with that? There are lots of cake shops - go somewhere else.

What if I go to a bakery here in Nassau and say I want a cake with a pic of Satan and saying "Satan is Great" or some garbage like that. Should the old Christian lady there be made (forced by Govt) to make that for me? I think not.

Rights work both ways.

Gays are now asking to be MORE than equal.

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

birdiestrachan...I never bothered responding to your lop sided blind worship of the PLP, and won't lower myself to do so now...But please STFU!

You and people like you, on both sides of the political fence are the reason our country is in such a deplorable state!

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Honestman 3 years, 10 months ago

Birdie - how much do they pay you to spout this drivel? Why don't you get a real job?

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newcitizen 3 years, 10 months ago

We don't strive for anything close to perfection in this country. And seriously, are you concerned about US state laws that deal with gay people, have you seen how gay people are treated in this country?

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 10 months ago

The Bahamas is not a perfect Country nor is the USA and neither will ever become perfect this side of Heaven.

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asiseeit 3 years, 10 months ago

Birdie, I used to think you where ignorant and did not know any better, now I am certain you are stupid and just can not comprehend what is being put before you. #badbahamas

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

Under the circumstances Birdie has to be Perry Christie himself to even try defending the PLP after such a damming report.

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Economist 3 years, 10 months ago

Birdie, just because North Korea has people starving to death and they have absolutely no freedom of speech doesn't mean that we can do the same.

Why are you always trying to drag everyone down to the lowest possible level?

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 10 months ago

Stupid?. TRUTHFULL . NOT ONE SINGLE LIE unlike you folks who can see nothing good about the Bahamas I am always building up my beautiful Home Land the Bahamas. We are not without faults. We are not all good. but our good out weighs our faults . May God continue to bless the Bahamas.

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asiseeit 3 years, 10 months ago

Burying your head in the sand and singing sweet songs will not move our country forward, we must face our shortcomings and overcome them. The BIGGEST shortcoming this country has is POOR LEADERSHIP. It is time to do away with the immature, selfish, unproductive, leadership we have endured for far to long. I refuse to play the violin while the ship sinks below me.

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GrassRoot 3 years, 10 months ago

This has nothing to do with how we feel about the report. Of course it is political. However it will impact how foreign investors perceive the investment climate in the Bahamas. Perception is reality, this Government can not be trusted with information, it literally nationalizes assets from private investors, it is prone to corruption, labor cost is high, skilled labor scarce, unions all over the place, import duties, cost of living for foreign key personnel is high, immigration and work permit issues, volatile political environment, currency exchange restrictions. what else you need to know as an investor?

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Economist 3 years, 10 months ago

No Birdie, you do not build up you just make excuses for a subpar performance. The rest of us know we can and should be doing better.

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

............................. Flowers and Island Luck are taking 10 to 1 bets .............................

The bet is PLP will not respond to the report in hopes of it becoming obscure, same as the FNM never responded to the IMF and Moody's report just before 2012 election that Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie were the worst leaders in the hemisphere.

Tip: Block the four ball X3 and double your bet!

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GrassRoot 3 years, 10 months ago

Things will take care of themselves. Look at how the financial industry in the Bahamas is shrinking, sales of real estate is shrinking. This is all driven by foreign money - or not. We are the frogs in the pan not realizing that the water will boil soon.

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

I beg to differ on "things taking care of themselves". Haiti was once a prosperous country and is a perfect example of how systemic political corruption and friends, family and lovers governance will destroy a country.

We need to act, and act now to remove both PLP and FNM before they take us the point of no return with Haitian style governance.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

Haiti was never a prosperous country .......... it was a prosperous French colony ............ but the revolutionary ex-slaves were ostracized by the white countries of the world ......... like what happened to Castro's Cuba

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Observer 3 years, 10 months ago

Corruption is the chief commodity of the USA. They still haven't told the true, whole story of their involvement in Central America re Sandinistas, etc, etc, etc. And Noriega.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

CORRUPTION is the number one threat to our national security and sovereignty ......... everything that happens in this country today is connected to dirty politicians, their financiers, party cronies, civil service posse, street goon squads, social friends, family and lovers ............ that is why there is so much fiscal wastage in the Budget, so many people doing nothing in the civil service, why no crooks get fired or jailed, and why so many HOA deals stay hidden from the public

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

.... "Piracy Revixit, Commercii Extinctus" (“Piracy Revived, Commerce Extinguished") ....

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

CAN THE USA OFFICIALS REALLY POINT FINGERS WHEN THEY ARE NOSE DEEP IN THEIR OWN STYLE OF GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AT FEDERAL, STATE AND COUNTY LEVELS????? ............ IF EACH BEFORE HIS DOORSTEP SWEPT ...... WHERE DOES THE THE USA RANK IN GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION ON THE WORLD STAGE ...... TOP 10????....... ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!!! ................ NOT GOOD EXAMPLES FOR BAHAMAS

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SP 3 years, 10 months ago

...................No such thing as an "honest" government anywhere in the galaxy...................

There is no question that corruption exists in the US and indeed every government. The question is "what levels of corruption and what vehicles and measures are in place to fight corruption".

This take all you get without fear of consequences level of corruption in our country is totally unacceptable, has decimated our country and people to the point of near total dysfunction, putting us on a fast tract to a failed state Haiti like status.

Regardless of whether or not the US is also corrupt or not, shouldn't be our focus. We need to focus on saving OUR country before hitting rock bottom and ending up like Haiti or several other once prosperous now destroyed countries.

It is time to clean house, implement first world anti-corruption standards, prosecute those found corrupt and put our country on a totally different projectory.

Singapore is prime example of a country decimated by corruption that fought their way out of the clutches of a corrupt two party system, prosecuted and jailed corrupt officials, implemented iron clad anti-corrupt policies, totally turned their country around, is now a very prosperous country and the envy of the world!

We need to simply follow their model to right our country.

http://livelystories.com/2011/08/26/h...">http://livelystories.com/2011/08/26/h...

Alternative becoming a failed state is inevitable, as we have already regressed to 1980's level as reported last week and the only possible "future" under the PLP or FNM is more of the same.

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