March 02, 2015

A US court judgment, made public in December of last year, confirmed what Bahamians have known to be true for many years. That systemic government corruption at all levels has slowly eaten away at the fabric of our national development. The judgment against French Industrial firm Alstom pointed to countless cases of foreign bribery including that of a Bahamian official at BEC who was reportedly paid up to three hundred thousand dollars to influence the awarding of a BEC contract. The payments, which were recorded as commissions by the company’s records, were paid through a consultant with whom the reports say the unnamed official had a close relationship. To maintain that relationship and secure monetary gain, that unnamed official – referred to only as official 8 – sold out the Bahamian people to a foreign company whose intentions were not to better the lives of Bahamians but rather to improve their profit margins.

In the years since that contract was executed, we the pubic have lived the consequences of that decision. We the public, have all witnessed the deterioration of the BEC’s facilities and equipment to the detriment of residents and businesses alike.

More than 2 months after the troubling revelation of bribery and corruption at BEC grabbed headlines however, Bahamians across the country have yet to receive the answers that were promised by this Christie administration. More than two months later, we are still left asking: WHO IS OFFICIAL 8? 

Even as our nation’s leaders pledge their commitment to addressing high levels of crime in the country, it appears that this government, like others before it, is content to overlook criminal activity when it occurs in the upper echelons of our society. 

The government should have moved by now to send a strong message to the people of this country that it is serious about addressing corruption at all levels and further, that no man or woman, irrespective of their political connections or influence is beyond the reach of the law. 

According to published media reports, the incident occurred under the former Free National Administration however the government’s handling of the news has left much to be desired. In the days immediately following some PLP politicians including BEC’s former chairman Bradley Roberts have called for a Parliamentary Review and even a Commission of Inquiry, none of which have actually occurred thus far and none of which will carry any real legal ramifications for official 8.
The Democratic National Alliance repeats its call for that individual to be named and made to feel the full brunt of the law. The Commissioner of Police must intervene in this obviously criminal matter and bring the individuals at the center of the allegations to justice.
Henry Kissinger once said: “Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad”. For far too long now, government officials, their friends, family members and cronies have been allowed to embarrass our country. No longer can these corrupt individuals be allowed to get away with bending the laws to suit their personal agendas. The time has come to end the years of ingrained corruption and restore the reputation of our beautiful country.
Branville McCartney
DNA Leader
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Democratic National Alliance - Bahamas

The mission of The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is to ensure that the needs and aspirations of Bahamian people - to be owners with the government in the political, cultural, and economic development of the nation - are met. The DNA is devoted to upholding, protecting, and deepening the democratic rule of law in society by promoting openness and accountability in governmental affairs, social justice and equality, and the right of the people to self-governance and authority in determining their own destiny.