‘BAMSI was not created to turn a profit’
While defending the budget for the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) yesterday, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said the institution was not created to turn a profit but rather conduct research.
In the 2018/2019 budget, BAMSI was allocated $7 million. Its budget was increased to $8 million in the 2019/2020 budget.
Asked why the budget was increased when the institution was not turning a profit, Pintard said, “I’m surprised to hear the discussion about BAMSI’s profitability because that’s really not the objective of BAMSI. BAMSI is an institution designed to conduct a variety of studies in agriculture, marine and life sciences.”
Pintard said the institution deserved more funding than it received.
“We ought to dramatically increase the amount of funds we put into research and development [and] in this case that means there is a need for us to produce value added products,” he said during a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Science.
“BAMSI should be concentrating on that. It should not be in the business of large-scale agriculture production. The only case it ought to be in that business is, one, so that you can have studied plots of land so that those students that are there are able to learn in real time good agriculture practices.”
When he served as minister of agriculture and marine resources, Renward Wells said the previous administration spent more than $80 million on BAMSI with $10 million on annual operational costs.
In February, when asked if BAMSI was turning a profit, BAMSI President Tennyson Wells said, “Oh, no, nowhere near to it. This is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as a result of all the people that they, the previous government, hired and this government hired.”
He said recent revenue reports show that the institute was making roughly $12,000 weekly.
Wells said it is “unlikely [BAMSI] will show a profit for a couple years”.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice