The year 1913 had produced something quite rare for the Bahamas government. The year had delivered a whopping £10,000 surplus in the country’s coffers. By 1914, the only problem the Assembly had, was to vote on how to spend it. Many things were tabled as part of the appropriations bill. In April 1914, the Assembly had decided to scrap a number of intended expenditures. They were patting themselves on the back for their prudence and austerity calling things like a Motor Fire Engine for Nassau nothing but an extravagance. Remember, in 1914, the motor car was one of the newest technologies in the whole world, and certainly for the little island of New Providence.
OF THE PEOPLE’S MONEY
Among other items dropped out of the Appropriations Bill last night and previously were for a Motor Fire Engine for Nassau £1,090. Wharf at Inagua £1,500. Wireless Station at Inagua £3,000. Extending Western Cemetery Nassau £1,500. Total £7,090 saved to the Taxpayer.
Not one of these items could claim to be necessary. There is only one word to be apply to them, and that is, extravagance.
In the debates on the several items reference was made to last years surplus of £10,000, with other items already voted, we doubt if these items had passed last nights, that there would have been any of that surplus today.
April 21, 1914
The austerity of the Governor and the Assembly on one particular item deemed an extravagance, may have been too hasty. The dismissal of the Motor Fire Engine for Nassau at a cost of £1,090, which would have enabled the fire brigade to reach fires quicker than the horse and carriage, proved to be the wrong decision for one resident. Just nine days later, a fire broke out in Sandilands Village. Fire was set to the thatched roof of the house of Mrs. Maria Cockburn, a widow. It appeared to be a case of deliberate arson.
FIRE! – On Tuesday afternoon at about two 0’clock the Kitchen with its contents of Mrs. Maria Cockburn a widow at Sandilands village was entirely destroyed by fire set to the thatched roof; no fire had been made or cooking done in the kitchen that day.
April 30th, 1914