EDITOR, The Tribune.
BAIN and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson’s decision to vote against the Free National Movement’s (FNM) VAT Amendment Bill in order to please his Over-the-Hill constituents came at a hefty price tag. Robinson argued that a 12 percent VAT would be too onerous on his poverty stricken constituents.
After all the euphoria over his daring defiance of the FNM has faded, I hope Bain and Grants Town re-elects him in 2022, due to the enormous financial sacrifice he has made on their behalf. When Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis terminated him as parliamentary secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Tourism, Robinson saw a salary of $45,000 go up in smoke. That is no chump change for an MP whose net worth was declared to be a meager $7,300 in 2017. In addition to his PS salary, Robinson’s MP salary is $28,000. Altogether, Robinson was earning an impressive $73,000 per annum. Not bad for an individual in his early 20s. Knowing the bad habit Bahamians have developed in begging these MPs for financial assistance, Robinson will hardly be in the position to render assistance, if that was what he was doing before his firing.
It remains to be seen if his constituents will still support him in the months and years ahead, especially now that he is saddled with a mere MP salary. This should never be a factor in determining if an incumbent is re-elected. But unfortunately this is what Bahamian politics has come to. It has become extremely parochial. At the very least the Bain and Grants Town MP can commiserate with many of his lower-class constituents.
Robinson knew the consequences of his actions under our Westminster system of government and decided to side with Bain and Grants Town. He seems to be a very informed young politician. Bain and Grants Town is a traditional Progressive Liberal Party stronghold. This is a quintessential blackbelt area. No one in that area can rightly accuse Robinson of being aloof. After all, he is one of them.
Today, Robinson is being hailed a hero by many Bahamians of all political persuasions who are upset over the increase of VAT. Time will tell if he will be rewarded by his constituents in 2022 for taking a pay cut of $45,000. Time will tell if the FNM’s VAT projections materialises.
June 21, 2018.