Friday, June 8, 2018

242newsbahamas: A Budget For The People? (Weekly Highlights)

Your Weekly News & Updates delivered by
Get more news whenever you want, like us on Facebook.
Like us on Facebook
A budget for the people?

Dear Readers,

Last week, the Minister of Finance unveiled the government's plans for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. Dubbed the "People's Budget", this would be the Minnis administration's first REAL crack at managing the country's finances, because as the new Deputy Prime Minister explained their first budget was based on meeting fiscal obligations left behind by the last administration. So, this budget planned and plotted out after a year of governance was highly anticipated.

The Budget debate kicked off in parliament this week and like all of you, our readers, we here at 242 news have a lot of opinions! And we're not all in agreement. So this week, we wanted to give you two differing perspective, the for...and the against.

The Argument Against:

This budget was a total slap in the face served up with a side of politricking and a heaping helping of hypocrisy. I listened quite intently as the DPM, who was adamantly against the introduction of VAT in the first place, attempted to tell an already struggling populace that not only would VAT remain, but the rate of VAT would go up. Not to 8% not to 10% but to a whopping 12%.

Now the funny thing for me is, I'm not opposed to paying any taxes...that is as long as I can see that my tax dollars are being effectively managed and that the country is better for my contributions to the public purse. Have you seen your money at work for you? Because I haven't. In fact, for 4 years, we heard the FNM in opposition demand an accounting for how VAT money was being spent - an explanation which the then PLP administration did not adequately answer. Since taking office, however, this government has offered no explanation for that either. We as a country still have no idea WHERE DA VAT MONEY GONE!! And now without providing that very important information, the government wants to collect EVEN MORE VAT MONEY! That does not sit well with me. 

But the increase in VAT isn't just a transparency/credibility issue for the government (even though that is a big deal); it is really about how the least among us will suffer. For those of us who are considered middle-class or upper-middle-class families just think about all the sacrifices that you and your household already make just to keep the lights on (literally and figuratively speaking). Think about the things you already go without so that you can care for your children, pay school fees, and just LIVE. Now think about those persons who are less well off than you, persons who have to meet all the obligations that you do; but on a minimum wage salary. Single mothers, pensioners, HOW are they going to survive when the cost of living INCREASES again? 

But you may be asking: Did you not see they removed VAT from bread basket items? They also increased travel exemptions and reduced the duty rates on a number of items. And exemptions on electricity bills up to 200 dollars!  Did you miss that part? The answer to that is NO! I'm simply not impressed by these minuscule changes. They seem very much like cheap distractions.

Again I'm not so naive as to believe that some level of austerity isn't required. But I also firmly believe in governing with COMPASSION and this budget does not do that!

The Argument For: 

On first hearing the news that VAT would increase to 12% I was saddened, but as it had been clearly told to us in the former FNM administration in 2008-2012, it was originally going to start at 15%.  Not there yet - amen.

I was under the impression that in order to sign on to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) we would have to end our duty collections and switch to a VAT tax. (Of course, we also must have equal rights for women - a miracle if we ever get that.) So, the plan is duty will eventually go away and VAT will be our main revenue source, as we know the correct duties don't always get to the treasury.

Please do not think I want to pay more taxes, no one in their right mind wants to do that. Unfortunately, ridiculous over spending and mismanagement of our finances by multiple governments has put us in a serious financial dilemma. And don't let the rhetoric that our dollar value will not change if we continue to borrow and not pay back our loans! Just ask Barbados.  More Christie government BS!

We are in debt, we are severely over-staffed in every government agency, we have paid ridiculous consulting fees to retired persons and friends for way to long, we've let buildings burn down and rebuilt them for millions as we had no insurance, and the list goes on and on and on and on....  - NOW, you and me and the rest of the country have to bear the brunt and pay off this debt.

For the first time in our country's existence our Minister of Finance is an Accountant and not a lawyer!  Someone who knows how to balance a budget and understands that you can't spend what you don't have. Ending the belief you can just CREATE funds, and spend it on high-end travel, throw huge street parties, and live large  - as you see fit!

Though we are not of one accord on the budget, we all know that unchecked spending has got us here.  We welcome you to weigh in.

Prime Minister visits families of victims of the Labour Day Parade tragedy; and visits survivors in hospital

Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis spent a good portion of Saturday visiting the families of those who died on the Randol Fawkes Labour Day Parade on Friday. He also visited the survivors who were hospitalized as a result of injuries sustained in the unfortunate mishap. Read More
DPM Turnquest: National budgets have presented a far rosier picture of national finances

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest said for too long, national budgets in The Bahamas have presented a far rosier picture of national finances than was actually the case.

"Worse still, the unpaid bills and unfunded obligations have kept appearing," DPM Turnquest said during a press conference to provide supplemental details for the Budget Communication at the British Colonial Hilton, Thursday, May 31, 2018.  Read More
March Organized Around Ocean Protection

Oceans are the lifeblood of planet Earth. Covering nearly three-quarters of our planet, the oceans of the world hold up to 97% of the planet's water, produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and absorb the most carbon from it. As an archipelagic nation, The Bahamas has and continues to rely heavily on the bounty of our oceans for food and sustenance. Read More
GIBC Digital hosts officials to office tour

One month after announcing their presence on the island, GIBC hosted Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, and other officials to a tour of their offices in the Jasmine Corporate Centre on Monday, June 4. Read More
Minister Thompson optimistic about the future of GB

"I am optimistic for the future of Grand Bahama, even in the face of the recent announcement on the increase of Value Added Tax," said Minister for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson.

"This was necessary to avoid downgrading, necessary to avoid mass firing of employees and necessary to avoid the devaluation of our dollar. After years of kicking these problems down the road and trying to borrow our way out of trouble, it was time to make the hard, but necessary decisions." Read More
Statement from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition
On the real impact of the 2018/2019 budget 

As we prepare for the second reading of the Budget this week, it is clear that last week's budget exercise was a disaster. It was filled with inconsistencies, rash decision making, unsubstantiated claims and questionable projections. The budget was evidence of incompetence and failure of the Ministry of Finance. It is nothing more than poor management - especially when you take a closer look at the numbers and the unjustifiable amounts borrowed over the past fiscal year. Read More
Conservationists alarmed by plans to increase fish harvest in The Bahamas
Conservationists in the Bahamas are pushing back against plans to double Bahamas' seafood exports.
Bahamian Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Renward Wells told local media in April he wanted to double Bahamas' fisheries exports to USD 200 million (EUR 171.5 million) from the current figure of around USD 100 million (EUR 86.8 million) annually. Read More
Government to depend on communities to promote health outcomes
Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said the Government is launching an initiative to increase community engagement for better health outcomes.
"There is no one who better knows what a community needs than those who make up that community. The Ministry of Health is only there to assist and guide," Dr. Sands said at a press conference to announce the initiative at his office, Thursday, May 31, 2018. Read More
Get daily updates, like our page on Facebook.
National Exposure on Deck for Freeport Rugby Football Club
Though their Heineken Cup season ended with a bitter defeat to Baillou, Freeport Rugby Football Club will join forces with their Bahamian rugby rivals in a highly anticipated showdown with a Texas all-star squad in Nassau on SaturdayRead More
The Holy Hook Up On Full Blast

One thing's for certain, if you didn't catch The Holy Hook Up when it landed on stage as a teaser last year, you're bound to fall in love hook, line and sinker when it returns full blast at the Regency Theatre on Friday, June 8th.

When the play first debuted, it lasted all of 30 minutes and shared the stage with two others. This time around, Shauna Joseph Productions promises it's returning with all the bells and whistles, additional cast members and a whole lot more laughs. Read More
Grand Bahama Regatta is Set for July

"We clear the harbor and the wind catches her sails and my beautiful ship leans over ever so gracefully, and her elegant bow cuts cleanly into the increasing chop of the waves" a quote by L.A. Meyer that describes his pure joy of sailing, a joy which many Bahamians love and enjoy too. Read More
Oasis offers unique finds for June's shopping season

What do Dads, Grads and brides have in common? They all celebrate in June.
"Shoppers looking to make Father's Day special, show love to a newly minted college graduate, or discover a wedding gift sure to please make cash registers sing this month," said the proprietor of a store that specializes in the unique, chic and contemporary in furniture, gifts and accessories from across the globeRead More
Click Below for this week's weather in The Bahamas:
Upcoming Calendar
New Providence
  • June 9th, 2018 
    • U23 Rugby: Bahamas U23 v LSC Rattlesnakes 3:00pm at Winton Rugby Centre
  • June 16th, 2018 
    • Men's Rugby:  Nassau Renegades v LSC Rattlesnakes 3:00pm at Winton Rugby Centre
  • June 30th, 2018 
    • Furniture Plus Art Competition: "Art from the Heart" 6:00pm 
  • June 25th - July 13th, 2018 
    • The NAGB Mixed Media Art Summer Camp 
  • July 16th - August 3rd, 2018 
    • The NAGB Mixed Media Art Summer Camp 
Grand Bahama
  • June 7th, 2018

    • 7th June to 19th August 2018: DENALIS RIGBY's Tennis Camp 8:00am - 1:00pm
  • June 23rd - 24th , 2018

    • Bahamas Dance Theatre 22nd Annual Dance Performance 7:00pm 
  • June 27th , 2018

    • Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce Monthly Business Meeting 12:30pm at Delphine Room,Pelican Bay Hotel
  • June 30th , 2018

    • Bahamian Farmers and Crafts Market at The Rand Nature Centre
Family Islands
  • June 8th, 2018

    • Abaco Beach Blue Marlin Invitational at Marsh Harbour 
  • June 15th, 2018

    • All Andros Crab Fest at Queen's Park, Fresh Creek
  • June 22nd, 2018

    • 42nd Annual Five Towns Regatta Time in Abaco at Green Turtle Cay
  • June 22nd, 2018

    • "Bimini Regatta Bimini C Class Regatta" in Alice Town
  • June 28th, 2018

    • All Eleuthera Regatta at Governor's Harbour, Central Eleuthera
For More Abaco Events click the photo below
Want to see your news or event listed, send to