Hon. Philip Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Yesterday in Parliament, I pointed out to the Prime Minister that he stands in breach of the law decreed under the Emergency Regulations, which he himself has imposed on the Bahamian people, as the sole Competent Authority.
This breach, which is clear and unambiguous, exposes him to the same liabilities which he has imposed on the Bahamian people, namely a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a sentence of imprisonment of up to 18 months.
Twice the Proclamation of Emergency has expired – at the end of June, 2020, and in November, 2020, – and neither time did the Competent Authority, in his role as the Minister of Finance, and neither time did he comply with that requirement.
The law requires that, within six weeks of the expiration of a Proclamation of Emergency, the Prime Minister (Minister of Finance) is required to bring a report before Parliament detailing:
1) what public money has been spent;
2) who were the suppliers of the goods and services procured;
3) and the reasons those suppliers were chosen.
These obligations were clearly set out in Section 11.2 of the EMERGENCY POWERS (Covid-19 Pandemic) REGULATIONS, 2020).
Why has the Prime Minister so callously disregarded a law which he so enthusiastically enforces on ordinary Bahamians? What does the Prime Minister not want the Bahamian people to know about how he is operating behind closed doors? Which expenditures, and which suppliers, are so controversial that he cannot disclose them to the public, as he is so required?
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Every promise ever made to the Bahamian people about transparency and accountability is sitting in the dustbin.
Even if we aren’t surprised, we should still be shocked – because it should be shocking to us to see a Prime Minister treat the law — and the Bahamian people — with such disdain.