Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis delivered the annual budget communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday where he outlined this administration’s plans for the next fiscal year.
Davis told Parliamentarians about new initiatives to benefit the uniformed branches and national security efforts. He said, “funding will be provided the renovation of community centers in the inner city areas of New Providence. In order to better serve those involved in the administration of justice the premises and facilities of the courts will be renovated and a new judicial complex built. We will continue to invest in technology such as CCTV and body cams for the Royal Bahamas Police Force as well as acquire additional vehicles and hire more new staff. We have allocated funding to build a women’s shelter and we are increasing legal aid support for victims of domestic violence both within the social services framework and with a victim care fund within the Office of the Judiciary.”
The new budget also makes new investment in the Education. A new school for creative and performing arts is planned as well as increased funding for the Bahamas Technical & Vocational Institute, teachers are set to receive a 15% raise in salary along with a retention bonus. The government also intends to recruit 200 teachers, teachers aids and guidance counsellors. A new free breakfast program for students was also announced.
On the issues on health and wellness Davis said, “I wish to make clear that members of the uniformed branches of our services will continue to benefit from insurance coverage and new members, who are joining, will still be eligible for subsidized dependent coverage. In a first for The Bahamas we will be supporting the creation of the first ever national organ transplant program.”
The House of Assembly adjourned until next Wednesday when they will pay tribute to the late parliamentarian George Smith and begin the budget debate.