June 12, 2019
During his substantive contribution to the 2019/2020 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly, on June 11, 2019, Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames announced that the proposed expenditure for the Ministry of National Security and the agencies under its remit for the 2019/2020 Budget cycle is $239,673,387.
“While this is a reduction compared to the previous budget, many of my Ministry’s initiatives started in 2018/2019 are over a three-year period with the annual payments less than the initial amount,” Minister Dames said. “Of the total allotted, $219,673,387 reflects recurrent expenditure and $20,000,000. reflects the proposed capital expenditure.
He also announced the recurrent and capital expenditures for the 2019/2020 period for the agencies under his purview. They are as follows: The Royal Bahamas Police Force has a recurrent expenditure of $123, 723,483 and a capital expenditure of $9,500,000 – which will be included in the Ministry’s budget; The Royal Bahamas Defence Force has a recurrent expenditure of $59,106,665 and a capital expenditure of $8,000,000; The Bahamas Department of Corrections has a recurrent expenditure of $28,922,266.00; and the Parliamentary Registration Department has a recurrent expenditure of $1,267,050 and a capital expenditure of $2,500,000 – which will be included in the Ministry’s Budget.
Minister Dames noted that in 2018, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis introduced the concept of a Delivery Unit commonly called PMDU. He stated that the PMDU has introduced a greater level of monitoring and accountability in a number of key ministries, with his Ministry being one.
“The ultimate goal of ‘the People’s Government’ is to ensure accountability and improve the outcomes for them by institutionalising the establishment of feasible objectives which are clearly defined and communicated in its social contract,” Minister Dames said.
“Four areas under the remit of National Security are being tracked by the PMDU and they are the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Bahamas Department of Corrections and the Trafficking in Persons Unit,” he added. “I am pleased to note that all of the priority areas and persons responsible will continue to carefully plan, measure outcomes using empirical evidence and seek partnerships to advance the safety areas.”
Minister Dames told the House that the next major undertaking for his Ministry was and still remains a 'vexing one.' He stated, “I refer to the construction of the new headquarters for the Ministry of National Security and RBDF Senior Command.”
Minister Dames went further and related that in 2014 a contractor was chosen to construct the building, and, five years later, they are still struggling to complete the structure. “When we took office and after an initial assessment by a team of experts -- it was discovered that the project was plagued with incomplete and shoddy workmanship,” he pointed out. “In 2018, a new contractor was hired to correct the work and develop the Annex at the rear of the complex.”
Minister Dames noted that those delays will end up costing the Bahamian taxpayers $40 million, with the budget for the original scope of works being $26 million.
“I am now being told that we can expect to move into the building sometime during the last quarter of this year; that is, provided the team currently working, does not encounter any additional unforeseen challenges,” he said.
Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames makes his contribution to the 2019/2020 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on May 11, 2019. (BIS Photo / Eric Rose)
By Eric Rose