Dames understanding of ministry’s reduced allocation
While he was not completely satisfied with this year’s budget allocation for his ministry, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said yesterday that he understands the need to restrict spending amidst the government’s austerity efforts.
The government has allocated approximately $6.7 million to the ministry’s recurrent expenditure – a decrease of $465,200 compared to the 2018/2019 fiscal period.
Additionally, the ministry will receive $12 million for capital expenditure, which represents just five percent of the government’s overall capital expenditure.
Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Dames was asked whether he was pleased with these budget allocations.
“I don’t think you will ever get a ‘yes’ answer from any minister, not only in these times that we’re in but in previous times,” he said.
“You always want more. You always wish you can have everything, but the fact of the matter and the reality is, these are the times that we are living in and as a government we say and we preach, we have to get our fiscal house in order.
“If you look all around us and compare us to other nations, and see what’s going on throughout this region, you will clearly understand the position that we all find ourselves in and it cannot be a free-for-all anymore.
“We cannot continue to practice the same fiscal strategies that previous governments have been doing in the past.”
Dames said when the Minnis administration took office, the country, which he likened to a house, “was in total disrepair [and] was destroyed to the foundation”.
“Now we have the responsibility to rebuild that house, to build a trust of the Bahamian people, to get our economy back in shape,” he continued.
“It’s not an easy task. It’s a difficult task. We have to be meticulous. We have to be responsible. We have to regain the trust of the Bahamian people. We have to regain the trust of our neighbors and those nations that we engage in commerce with.
“It’s not easy, but one thing that I will assure you, it is getting better and all of the indicators are pointing to that.
“Yes, we all wish that someone could wave a magic wand and we will have feasting almost immediately but unfortunately that’s not the way economies work.”
Asked whether there were any initiatives he had hoped to engage this fiscal year but had to delay due to budget cuts, Dames said, “There are a lot of things that I hoped that I could do, but there again we will have to work with what we have until we can do better.
“From our ministry’s perspective, all signs indicate that we are certainly trending in the right direction and we will show that come budget time.
“But these are the times that we’re living in and we have to exercise resistance. We have to be responsible. We promised the Bahamian people prior to coming into office that we would be and we have to do it until we can do it better, incrementally, a little piece at a time.”