By: Lindsay Thompson/Bahamas Information Services
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper has assured that the Bahamas Government is resolute in delivering good governance on the pillars of integrity, accountability and equity. He was addressing The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) Symposium 2022 held at SuperClubs Breezes on Friday, February 25, 2022 under the theme: “The Culture of Governance in The Bahamas.” And he thanked the team at ORG headed by Executive Director Matt Aubry in partnership with the United States Embassy for organizing the one-day meeting.
In quoting former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stance that “good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development,” the deputy prime minister agreed that the essence of good governance is to improve
“The fundamental nature of governance at the micro level is for fewer instances of corruption and more development outcomes. At the macro
level, governance improves per capita income; better governance may also increase development,” the deputy prime minister said. He added, “The adoption of the position of good governance by the government of The Bahamas in relation to the political, institutional processes and outcomes will result in the continual forward trajectory and development of the citizenry.”
According to the deputy prime minister, apart from political will, and given the complexity of the relationships of actors involved, good governance requires many elements that need to come into play. He then threw out four ways in which good governance can come about.
Firstly, there must be accountability by changing the way the government manages finances. Secondly, access to information, which would include full implementation of the Free of Information Act. Thirdly, to facilitate the ease of doing business in The Bahamas, which is a goal of his ministry. And fourthly, “this government of transparency is committed to political reforms with a legislative agenda that includes the full implementation of Campaign Finance Reform and Electoral Reform Acts.”
The deputy prime minister said however that good governance is also needed to manage and respond to change. He cited the COVID-19 pandemic which countries globally, and The Bahamas, have been battling for nearly two years, and that all civil society stakeholders have risen to the challenges thus far; including new formats for hosting conferences like the ORG’s. He called on all to get involved to find solutions that will translate into action for a more robust governance of the country. But he also pledged that the government will do its part in the process.
“The Bahamas Government is resolute in delivering good governance which equates to integrity, accountability, and equity.
This stance fosters a disciplined civil service and ensures access to information; the enforcement of laws and policies; oversight to monitor official actions; transparent budget processes that allocate public funding on a priority scale; and the ability of individuals to seek effective redress when fairness and equity are not observed.”