STATEMENT ON BREACH OF PRE-ELECTION FISCAL UPDATE LAW CHESTER COOPER, PLP DEPUTY LEADER AND SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER AUGUST 26, 2021
In the early days of the Minnis administration, when it still operated under the pretense of wanting fiscal transparency, the Fiscal Responsibility Act was passed.
Included in that act is the requirement to report the state of government fiscal affairs prior to a general election.
Section 11 (1) of the act states: “The Minister shall, not earlier than 30 working days, nor later than 20 working days, before the day appointed as polling day in relation to any general election of members of Parliament, arrange to be published on an official website of the Government, a Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update which shall include the information specified in the Third Schedule.”
There are 15 working days left before the polling day, including today.
The Minnis administration is yet again in breach of the law.
For the record, the Pre-Election and Fiscal Update is required by law to include government revenue and expenditure outturn for the current year; approval of new spending since the annual budget, including contracts and service projects and policies; and the outstanding stock of arrears for all government entities, including showing separately all new unpaid invoices since the stock of arrears was last reported, among many other critical things.
We call on the Minnis administration to come into compliance with the law and publish the Pre-Election and Fiscal Update so the Bahamian people can be clear on how their tax dollars are being spent.
Meantime, we still await the report from the Fiscal Responsibility Council and the legally mandated report on vendors who received pandemic funds.
This government has broken so many promises to the people, but perhaps none bigger than their promise to be transparent and accountable.
Instead, they have routinely violated their own laws to avoid sharing the details of how they are spending the money they have borrowed in the people’s name.