Crime is one of the most vexing problems facing our society today. It is threatening our way of life, our culture, our economy, our very existence.
Bahamians everywhere are crying out to our leaders to address this scourge, to rescue our society from its downward spiral. And who better to turn to then our leaders, right?
Unfortunately, it turns out our esteem leaders are also among the epidemic of law breakers . Yes, the very people tasked with making laws have as a matter of routine been breaking those laws.
What Is The Public Disclosure Act
According to the Public Disclosures Act, public officials must disclose their financials documenting assets and liabilities of the previous year to the Public Disclosure Commission by March 1st each year.
In summary the public disclosure should work like this
- All Senators and MPs disclose their financials by 31st of December for current year or no later than March 1st of the next year
- The Public Disclosure Commission examines their financial status and publishes a summary in the gazette for public record
- If the commission is not satisfied with the disclosure, a complaint was made by someone in the public or no disclosure was made the commission reports the matter to the PM and Leader of the Opposition
- The leader of the opposition or PM can then publish the report by communicating it to the HOA & Senate
- They can also provide the information to the Police or Attorney General for further investigation
- If they are found guilty of an offense, they can be fined up to $10,000.00, up to 2 years in prison or both
Download The Public Disclosure Act Here
Are Politicians Above The Law?
Violation of the law is supposed to be an offense punishable by a $10,000 fine, up to two years in jail or both. In addition a member who does not disclose his property, can have it confiscated by the Government.
Despite the fact that most of our politicians fail to comply with this law every year, this law has never been enforced.
A 2014 Nassau Guardia article by Candia Dames entitled Above The Law observed that
Adhering to the Public Disclosure Act is not the priority of many parliamentarians. Their flagrant disregard for the law often goes unreported and unchallenged….In fact, information on filings in recent years is not available. The last disclosures published were done on November 7, 2011. However, that information was only current up to 2009.
The article goes on to quote some alarming stats
- In 2007 only 3 MPs disclosed
- In 2008 again only 3 MPs disclosed
- In 2009 only 12 of 41 Mps and only 2 Senators disclosed
Most troubling was that the disclosures are not even being published in a timely manner! So the commission that is responsible for monitoring MP finances have also failed to do their job.
This is a serious breach of the law that every Bahamian should be upset about. Is there any wonder why our country is in the state it is? How can these people be our leaders, call themselves honorable and say they are concerned about crime, while breaking the law?
The biggest problem we have in our society is not crime, immigration, unemployment or anything else. It is lack of accountability that inevitably leads to slackness and corruption. It permeates our entire society and is at the root of all of our major issues.
Until we address this head on I don’t see any improvement for The Bahamas.
Are You Sick Of The Slackness & Corruption In This Country?
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Every MP & Senator Must Disclose or Be Charged – Tweet This