Radical change in the way our finances are conducted needed

Dear Editor,

Greetings and I appreciate not only the opportunity to write, but the awesome need to have this article go to the appropriate government entity for redress, it’s vitally important to citizens here and those to come. Thank you.

For the last several weeks, we the Bahamian voters have been bombarded by scores of complaints in the media, about the anticipated new electricity tax coming for customers of Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) and how the corporation has sought to restructure $650 million in debt and hire the services of Citigroup. The ill-advised commentary by Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, that the Bahamian people will have to pay to fix BPL, whether by way of more borrowed money or taxes, well I am lost for words. Does he not know that more borrowed funds means that we are more likely to see our dollar devalued?

Our national debt currently stands at $8.2 billion. Turnquest has said that with the ballooning deficit the government is looking to borrow an additional $507 million. Many Bahamians are now convinced that it is only a matter of time for either a full-blown recession and/or a complete collapse of the Bahamian economy, for the signs are all around. The finance minister is hell-bent on spending money that we do not have and all he seems to know is loans, more loans and no matter what, the people will pay it. No Turnquest, you borrowed it and you should pay it. What also makes the situation scarier is the two remaining years in this term for the Free National Movement (FNM) government, meaning that they may seek to borrow money during those remaining years.

Madam Editor, we need a radical change in the way our finances are conducted. I call on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to remove the finance minister, for the sake of saving what is left of our economy and the futures of generations of Bahamians unborn. Appoint a three-man committee, whether former governors of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, whose qualifications and experience are battle-tested and known, to help right the ship. Allow the chamber of commerce and its hierarchy to offer up suggestions on the way forward, by allowing them in on the discussions. After all, they have enormous expertise and want to contribute to the further development of their country, as we seek to stave off a possible recession.

Correcting the deficiencies and the economic woes of this country is not difficult at all. Our population is only 500,000 people. We must focus on small businesses, that sector provides the economic backbone needed and causes countries to succeed.

Finally, we need to hold a referendum directed at the sale of public corporations. This will enable the government to divest itself of these financial headaches and free up much-needed capital to aid the agenda of the government.

– Frank Gilbert

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