The inaugural meeting of the Cabinet was held this morning at the Cecil Wallace Whitfield Centre and the people’s business was begun. All Cabinet Ministers were present, except Hon. Desmond Bannister, Minister of Works, who is out of the country.
The Cabinet established under Article 72 of the Constitution of The Bahamas, is a collegiate body with collective decision-making and collective responsibility. It decided that all Ministers would conduct an audit within his Ministry (including departments and agencies funded by the public purse) of persons hired on contract, their job title/position, salary and period of contract. It would also be determined whether there are also contract persons attached to a project or projects funded by an International agency.
It was agreed that where persons were hired with specialty skills who have been performing needed services, that every effort would be made to retain their services.
Forensic audits will also be conducted on the Urban Renewal Department, the Bank of The Bahamas and BAMSI, among others.
The Internal Audit of the Ministry of Finance will also be reviewing processes within Ministries and departments to bring about greater efficiencies.
The government is seeking to curtail unnecessary expenditure and the results of these audits will assist it in determining the way forward.
Where persons are found to be in breach of the Financial Administrative & Audit Act, to have misappropriated public funds or engaged in unlawful activities, the law will take its course.
The Cabinet also held Preliminary discussions on the budget exercise as the budget must be presented to parliament and come into effect by July I, 2017.