PM: $200m lost a year to corruption
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said The Bahamas loses over $200 million a year due to corruption.
Minnis, who spoke on the sidelines of his trip to Lima, Peru, said his administration must put an end to this.
“Corruption itself accounts for about five to 10 percent of loss of GDP revenue,” Minnis said in a recent interview.
Minnis did not say how he came across that figure.
He continued, “…You’re talking about over $200 million possibly lost in the Bahamian populace as a result of corruption. It is a form of taxation on the poor to benefit a few. So it is an illegal taxation on the poor to benefit the few and it is something that has to be stopped.
“That $200 million that is lost in revenue, in the Bahamian system annually, represents road repairs, schools, hospitals [and] education. We can correct a lot of things but instead it continues to basically hemorrhage away.”
In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) explained that The Bahamas incurs a cost of 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) because of crime, and ranks third among 17 countries in the region in relation to the cost of crime, behind Honduras and El Salvador, “where crime is recognizably widespread”.
The IMF said The Bahamas incurs the highest crime-related costs within the Caribbean.
Minnis was in Peru last week to attend the eighth CEO Summit of The Americas. The summit focused on transparency and combating corruption.
Minnis traveled to London yesterday to attend the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Tackling corruption was a major theme of the Free National Movement (FNM) ahead of the 2017 general election.
In his first national address as prime minister, Minnis said he was “disturbed” that some people believe politicians in The Bahamas are above the law and should not be held accountable for alleged misconduct while in office.
“It is unfair and unjust for politicians to accumulate considerable wealth from corruption, while the citizens of a country, especially the poor, are left behind,” he said. “We need a new era of public integrity and reform. This era is upon us.”
Last year, three former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) parliamentarians were arrested and charged on counts of extortion, bribery and misconduct in public office.
The men pleaded not guilty to all charges.