EDITOR, The Tribune.
I took note of a September 20 article on the front page of The Nassau Guardian concerning allegations made by the Free National Movement party that the Davis administration is currently facing a cash crunch crisis. The Nassau Guardian was careful to add that the official opposition offered no proof to substantiate its explosive claims. Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis is the substantive minister of finance. Prominent Progressive Liberal Party supporter Simon Wilson is the financial secretary in the Ministry of Finance -- a post I believe is really a de facto state ministerial position without the said title. Wilson, for all intents and purposes, is a technocrat who, I believe, is running the show in Finance.
Based on the rosy picture Davis painted for the nation in his budget communication in May, it would be downright demoralising if there’s even a grain of truth to what the FNM is alleging. While certain political operatives are acting as if The Bahamas has entered the Millennium promised by the Book of Revelations chapter 20, many Bahamian families have been hard hit by the current inflation crisis. Whatever prosperity brought on by the ongoing economic boom spurred by the robust tourism sector has been offset by the rising cost of electricity, oil, building supplies and food. If you earn, say, $2,500 per month, chances are your living expenses exceeds $3,000- plus. The current dilemma has eroded the middle class and has plunged poor Bahamian families deeper into poverty. Individuals who are singing another tone are living in a bubble and are totally oblivious to the extent of the suffering on the ground. Obviously, these are external factors that the PLP government cannot control.
Yet we must bear in mind that the former Minnis administration was held accountable by the media, the political opposition parties and thousands of Bahamians for Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic. But I digress. The point I am clumsily attempting to make is that the FNM might have sympathetic individuals within the Ministry of Finance who are ratting on the Davis administration. This is a possibility, considering all that has transpired over the past twelve months. I call them whistleblowers. They’re not necessarily FNM supporters. For all we know, they could be disgruntled PLPs or individuals who are politically neutral, but have reached out to the official opposition to voice their concerns. Going to the Coalition of Independents, to them, is a complete waste of time, as this upstart political organisation has no presence in the House of Assembly.
These moles within the public sector might be afraid to approach the prime minister, as any negative report regarding the financial state of the Public Treasury could be perceived as an attack on his administration and its handling of the public purse. This is all speculation. Maybe the FNM has made up these allegations to gain political traction. Or maybe they are telling the truth, but will not divulge its source of information in order to protect its whistleblowers. I for one do hope that these allegations are patently false, and that the state is able to meet its financial commitments in a timely manner. As a Bahamian, I am rooting for the Davis administration to succeed in managing our financial affairs.
September 20, 2023.