Minnis pledges to disclose ministers’ travel costs
Charging that he has nothing to hide, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday said every penny that his government spends on travel will be accounted for.
Minnis, who returned from a three-day trip to Texas yesterday, was asked if he would be transparent and make public the cost of the trip.
“We were very transparent,” he said.
“You were able to see me leave the plane, by what’s happening now (pointing to a camera recording him).
“You were able to see me go into the meetings. You knew exactly what was discussed. You knew when I went to [Texas] Governor Greg Abbott. The only part you did not see was the visit to the port. I did not visit their port, Minister [of State for Grand Bahama] Kwasi Thompson lead that delegation visiting the port there.”
While in Texas, Minnis also met with members of the Austin Technology Council and the Texas Association of Business, which included representatives from the ridesharing company Lyft, Dell, Google, Providence Energy, Silicon Labs and gaming company Gearbox Software, among others.
Minnis said his trip was very successful and said he is hopeful that it will spark new investment in Grand Bahama.
He continued, “So we have been very transparent. You can see. The world is watching me now. That’s transparent.
“We don’t hide anything. I don’t know how more transparent you can be.
“We are being streamed. The only thing she (a BIS employee) did not stream was when I walked into my bedroom. I told her, ‘Cut that off.’”
The Guardian reminded Minnis that the Free National Movement was very critical of the former administration’s “wasteful” traveling and again asked him for details regarding how much that three-day visit cost Bahamian taxpayers.
“There is a difference between spending and no results and spending and results,” he said.
“Every penny we spend we will account. I have a minister of finance who doesn’t allow us to spend one dime without being results oriented.”
When asked if he was satisfied that his administration is being transparent across the board, Minnis replied, “If you want the Cabinet to report on the ministers’ travels that is not a problem.
“What I can say is all their travels are within budget.”
When asked if he will release that information, Minnis said, “We don’t have a problem. We have absolutely nothing to hide.”
Last year, Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Anthony Newbold said the government was looking into the travel expenses of government officials under the Christie administration with a view to providing a report on it.
Newbold said that the Minnis administration did not feel that there was “enough accounting for the travels by the previous administration, or there was enough demonstration of the benefit of those travels”.