Constituency allowances, capital grants being raised

The government is raising the monthly constituency allowance allocated for each of the 39 constituencies in The Bahamas and is also increasing the constituency capital grant provided for each constituency.

The monthly constituency allowance is being raised from $2,500 to $3,500 and the capital grant is being increased from $100,000 per year to $150,000.

The monthly allowance is intended to cover costs associated with keeping members of Parliament’s constituency offices opened, including salaries, utilities, etc.

The capital grant is allocated for each MP to undertake various projects in his or her constituency.

All grants payable under the Constituency Capital Grant Act are paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

Under the act, a capital development project includes any works carried out for the overall or partial development of a constituency; the maintenance of any roads, parks or other public facility within a constituency; the beautification of the environment within a constituency or any other work the MP considers appropriate for the development, educational or cultural endeavors of his or her constituency.

The law prohibits MPs from using any portion of the grant for any political meeting or forum, any fundraising activity for any political party, or the payment, maintenance, upkeep, salaries and other expenses in respect of the constituency office.

That act states, “No member of Parliament shall award a contract for a capital development project to a member of his family or to any business or company for which the beneficial owners of that company are family members of the MP.”

The law permits the MP to determine which capital development projects are necessary in his or her constituency.

Each MP is mandated to keep proper accounts and reports and the auditor general is required to audit such accounts at the end of each fiscal year.

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Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of The Nassau Guardian.

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