Prime Minister Perry Christie.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Christie administration failed to uphold its pledge for transparency several times in 2016, from failing to account for money given to the YES Bahamas constitutional referendum campaign to not tabling audits for several government institutions.
Following the June referendum on gender equality, Prime Minister Perry Christie suggested that his administration would report how much money it gave to the YES Bahamas campaign.
The payments were criticised as unfair by some, since taxpayers’ monies were used to fund only one side of the debate.
“We just finished and we have to make that (financial) assessment moving forward,” Mr Christie said earlier this year about expenditure, adding that after the mid-year budget debate had ended his administration would have “further time to reflect” on the matter.
However, as 2016 draws to a close, the Christie administration has yet to give an account of its referendum expenditure.
Peter Turnquest, Free National Movement (FNM) deputy leader, said yesterday that his party plans to press the issue.
“The Prime Minister and the government have an obligation, as it does with any number of expenditures it makes, to report to the Bahamian people what their spending was,” he said.
“All these expenditures they have been making and have refused to be held accountable for is very arrogant with respect to dealing with the Bahamian people. We as the FNM do continue to ask the Christie-led government to be accountable to the Bahamian people and advise us on this referendum.”
Furthermore, several ministers in 2016 once again failed to table audits for government institutions, ensuring that the law continued to be contravened.
Legislation for various institutions mandate that the relevant minister hire an auditor every year and table a report in Parliament within a set period of time.
The Tribune reported in May that it has been years since an audit has been tabled in Parliament for the Public Hospitals Authority, the Water & Sewerage Corporation, the Bahamas Broadcasting Corporation, the College of the Bahamas (now the University of the Bahamas) and the Hotel Corporation of the Bahamas.
That status quo continued for all five institutions in 2016.