BAMSI bill removes ‘undue influence’, says Sweeting – Eye Witness News

Opposition leader says current government does not understand role of BAMSI

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) Bill 2022 will give the institution greater autonomy and remove “undue influence” from parliamentarians and the government over its day-to-day operations, according to Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Clay Sweeting.

Sweeting, who led the debate on the Bill in Parliament yesterday, said he is implemented to lay the educational foundation for the future of agriculture and marine science in this country.

No more calling the MP or Minister to influence who will be accepted, hired or fired.

– Agriculture Minister Clay Sweeting

“This bill provides the legal framework and guidelines for the operation of the institution. After this bill is passed, BAMSI will be able to operate at 100% operating capacity,” Sweeting said.

“This bill will give the institution’s president and board of directors autonomous control over the affairs of BAMSI, aligning it on an equal footing with other institutions nationally and internationally.”

Agriculture Minister Clay Sweeting.

Sweeting noted that Senator Dr. Erecia Hepburn will be the institute’s first female president.

According to Sweeting, the BAMSI bill will give the institution the legal framework to solidify agreements with other teaching and research institutions, as it has attempted to do with the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School.

“BAMSI can now see these kinds of relationships established and provide the training, research and expert instruction our students need to grow this country’s agricultural and marine sectors,” Sweeting said.

He added, “This bill will legitimize BAMSI as an educational institution for science and research. It will not be a farm selling products to compete with local farmers.

“BAMSI students will, however, create marketing plans and value chains with respect to agribusiness research and planning. They will create models for Bahamian farmers that make sense.

“Through data collection, science and technology, students will be able to assign a monetary value to items grown or produced at BAMSI.”

Sweeting noted that the bill will remove “undue influence” from parliamentarians, ministers and the government on the day-to-day operations of the institute.

“No more calling the MP or the minister to influence who gets accepted, hired or fired,” Sweeting said.

BAMSI is not designed to be a net producer or a massive producer of fruits and vegetables, livestock, etc.

– Leader of the Opposition Michael Pintard

“The Board and the President can together pursue relationships with other reputable institutions to promote, position and strengthen BAMSI. They can create opportunities for BAMSI to generate revenue and expand programs.

“The BAMSI Bill, 2022 establishes the legal framework to ensure that the actions of the board and its chairman are transparent and accountable.

“The board will be required to submit annual reports on the progress of the institution. The board will be mandated to prepare a full audit at least three months after the start of each financial year.

Opposition Leader Michael Pintard, when contributing to the debate on the bill, suggested that the current administration had misunderstood the role of BAMSI.

“BAMSI is not designed to be a net producer or a massive producer of fruits and vegetables, livestock, etc.,” Pintard said.

“BAMSI has 800 acres and unless you put some of it under cultivation using hydroponics or aquaponics, you are not going to produce the required volume on an open production of 800 acres.”

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