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Legal threat: PM tells FNM ‘bring it on’

PRIME Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis speaking during yesterday’s parliamentary luncheon at Atlantis. Photo: Austin Fernander

PRIME Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis speaking during yesterday’s parliamentary luncheon at Atlantis. Photo: Austin Fernander


IN response to the Free National Movement’s threat of legal action against the government over its failure to follow the Public Procurement Act, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has challenged the opposition to “bring it on”.

On Wednesday, FNM Leader Michael Pintard warned that the party intended to take legal action against the government to initiate a judicial review targeting its refusal to follow the Act.

Mr Pintard added that he had already spoken with two attorneys and got a quote for a retainer for one of them in relation to this matter.

He said the party planned to take the legal route after having tried “every avenue” to get the government to reveal this information.

Yesterday, Mr Davis addressed Mr Pintard’s threat while heading to a parliamentary luncheon at the Grand Ballroom of Atlantis’ Convention Centre for the 293rd anniversary of the establishment of the Parliament of The Bahamas.

Mr Davis said that just as the FNM will do what it must, so will his administration.

“Bring it on,” Mr Davis said. “They do what they have to do. We will be correcting the flaws of that bill and then when we do so we’ll be complying with that bill and make it more workable for our circumstance.”

Mr Davis said that the previous administration passed the Act for this administration, but not their own.

“They passed the Act in April of 2021 and they never brought it into force until September when they knew that they would not be in administration, because they knew it was an unworkable piece of legislation,” he said.

The Public Procurement Act was passed under the Minnis administration last year and requires the government to publish details of approved contracts and procurement activities within 60 days of the award of the contract.

Mr Pintard also said the FNM’s intended legal action will also seek to make public the settlements the government has reached with people who sued the state for various reasons.

Since assuming office last year, the Davis administration has not complied with the reporting requirements of the current Public Procurement Act, but instead called for the Act to be fully rewritten for transparency, ease of administration and the ability to be able to govern with immediate priority in instances that require it.

In May, Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis told reporters the government was hoping to amend the Public Procurement Act in the 2022/23 budget period with a view of making it “user friendly” to ensure better compliance and greater transparency.

On August 10, Mr Davis added that before the legislation was brought to Parliament, officials would want to publish the proposed changes and seek public feedback.

Last month, Attorney General Ryan Pinder said the Davis administration planned to rewrite the Public Procurement Act as opposed to amending portions of it to allow for greater transparency and ease of administration.

At the time Mr Pinder told reporters the legislation in its current format had several “material issues” that restricted the government’s ability to govern effectively.