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Ministers Miss The Disclosure Deadline

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TOURISM and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

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SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell.

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Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THREE Free National Movement parliamentarians - two of them Cabinet ministers - were granted more time to file their public disclosures, The Tribune was told.

Tourism Minister and Free Town MP Dionisio D’Aguilar, Social Services Minister and Southern Shores MP Frankie Campbell as well as West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe did not meet the March 1 deadline.

The MPs all requested extensions, and to date, only Mr Campbell has submitted his declaration.

Yesterday, Mrs Parker-Edgecombe told The Tribune she was given until March 15 to file but did not do so. She said she planned to “deliver next week”.

The Tribune was told Mr D’Aguilar was given until the end of the month, but planned to file within the next two days.

The Public Disclosure Act empowers only two people to act on delinquent filings: the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. Either of them can publish the information through a communication in the House of Assembly or cause for it to be laid in the Senate. Either can authorise that the information be presented to the attorney general or commissioner of police so those who failed to disclose could face a penalty.

The penalty for not disclosing is a $10,000 fine and/or up to two years in prison.

Last year, the deadline for filings was delayed until the end of March.

Despite this, three people, two senators and a parliamentarian, still failed to make their disclosures by that date.

Those outstanding filings were submitted in the lead up to the PDC’s much-delayed meeting to discuss filings, so they were ruled to have been in on time.

When asked earlier this month, Attorney General Carl Bethel said there was no set deadline for the PDC to report outstanding filings, adding it is up to the “discretion” of the committee.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months ago

When asked earlier this month, Attorney General Carl Bethel said there was no set deadline for the PDC to report outstanding filings, adding it is up to the “discretion” of the committee.

The laws/rules need to be changed so that the so called "discretion" factor is taken out of the equation. Until this is done, instances of non-compliance will be a perennial problem. Minnis promised to take a tough stance with offenders, but he has already broken that promise like so many of his other promises to the Bahamian people. The three non-compliant parliamentarians should be fined and should not be allowed to take their seat in the HOA until such time that they have fulfilled their financial disclosure requirements. MPs who do respect our country's laws or rules are not worthy to represent either their constituents or the Bahamian public at large. And excuses about their inability to comply because they have been so busy attending to the business of the Bahamian people should simply fall on deaf ears.

Frankly, this is just another shining example of our government giving lip service to a problem when it's politically expedient to do so, without taking any concrete measures to fix the problem once and for all. We see this time and time again with so many other vexing issues that come up year after year. Can't wait to see if Minnis has the cahoonas to once and for all fix this problem so that discipline will be instilled where it properly belongs. I'm not gonna hold my breath though!

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licks2 6 months ago

I suggest that you first read the law (get to know about exceptions and or extensions allowed) and you cannot on one hand row for staying tot he law (letter) and on the other hand advocate for responding ad hoc. . .your response must also follow the law as written!! The law is written. . .by HOA. . .TO PUNISH THEMSELVES. . .YET AT THE SAME TIME ACQUITS FOR CONTINGENCIES. . . the three who did not comply were given redress through some contingency in the same law!! To respond as you suggests will find the government with serious liabilities. . .based on contingencies allowed in that same law!! So. . .your suggested responses are WRONG AND HOT HEADED. . .which can only result in actions take in court against you!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months ago

Repost from yesterday

The loud mouthed obnoxious Hanna-Martin would be holding her tongue on this matter if a single PLP parliamentarian had not met the disclosure deadline. And let's not forget that while she was a sitting MP under previous governments led by Christie, she kept her big mouth shut when many parliamentarians had entirely ignored their financial disclosure requirements. Bottom line: Hanna-Martin is just being what she has always been - nothing but a hypocrite with a loud uncouth mouth.

That said, those FNM parliamentarians who are still non-compliant should be called out and made to suffer an appropriate fine of increasing amount until they are compliant. The laws/rules should also be changed so that no non-compliant parliamentarian may continue receiving their parliamentary pay until they become compliant.

Frankly, the easiest way to fix this recurring problem going forward is for the rules of parliament to be amended such that an elected and/or appointed parliamentarian cannot take their seat and/or vote or otherwise participate in any parliamentary proceeding unless and until such time that they have complied with their financial disclosure requirements. The Speaker of the House should also be duty bound to have removed from the House, by force if necessary, any non-compliant MP no matter what reason he or she may give for their non-compliance. Believe me when I say this would fix the problem overnight. These grown children, when they don't behave and abide by rules and laws to which are subject, should be made by rule-of-law to face very real and appropriate consequences; and no PM or Speaker of the House should be able to exercise any discretion whatsoever in the matter.

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licks2 6 months ago

Well reasoned. . .but I think that GHM behaviour is no different than any other politician the world over. . .they are quick to condemn the other side but slooooooooooow to do the same to their peoples!! Quite frankly, they all are lousy like that. . .so I wold not even waste a minute on that with any of them. Just look at Davis, he is allowed to submit names for prosecution as well. . .he is not! Why? He knows that they are still within the parameter of protection for that particular law's requirements!!

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TalRussell 6 months ago

Yes, yes and yes, comrade Commish, dispatch your policeman's to enforce the same law you use lock up ordinary citizens, to lock all 'em's comrade red high powered elected's and appointed asses up, and do it today, and swoop up any PLP's caught in net equally needing be arrested as financial disclosure offenders, yes, yes....... ordinary offenders are not given 'catch up law" grace periods against being charged and made answer before courts for their "jail-able offenses against Out Islander citizens of Colony of Out Islands, yes, no?

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sheeprunner12 6 months ago

The Parliamentarians DELIBERATELY make laws that apply to them vague or unenforceable so that they can get away with this kind of thing ....... now the AG is putting the onus on the PDC Chairman to do what the PM/LOO will not ever do ....... and when the PDC Chair call them out, then he will be sacked or silenced or vilified by the politicians ....... A classic Catch-22 situation.

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licks2 6 months ago

Doc would not dare "go after" the Chairman if he determines that all contingencies of the law has met their limitations and he apply law to offenders!! That would be like the numbers referendum. . .special interests above the rule of common law. . .if not the letter of legislated law!

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sheeprunner12 6 months ago

Those Statutory Boards are generally toothless and are always been interfered with by the Almighty MP bosses & PM ........ They are politically appointed and have NO real power ........ My God, if the PAC is toothless, what do you think about the others?????? ......... The Auditor General is the only person who seems to have some ONIONS ........ But he is fighting a losing battle.

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TalRussell 6 months ago

Yes, yes and yes - comrades PM Minnis, KP and Carl Wilshire, just can't rely the charging, arresting exclusively PLP's take the heat off the own offending red shirts by parading exclusively PLP's down Bank Lane in front notified in advance slew awaiting media photographers to take they pictures. Yes, no, tis time red leaning media photographers commence with the taking some red shirts pictures too?

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