Categorized | Featured, National News

Davis Chides PM

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Opposition Leader Philip Davis yesterday chided Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and called for the prime minister to provide an answer for the millions of dollars in government contracts awarded to companies in which former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette or “his children have significant financial interests”.

Mr. Davis’ comments came during the Progressive Liberal Party’s monthly meeting, where he also refuted claims that the PLP is playing the race card when it comes to Symonette’s resignation as minister of financial services, trade and industry and immigration. 

Recently, the opposition charged, in the House of Assembly, that Bahamas Hot Mix, which has links to Mr. Symonette, was awarded the contract to upgrade two runways at the Lynden Pindling International Airport. 

Last year, the government moved the General Post Office to the Town Centre Mall, which Mr. Symonette acknowledged he owned shares in. 

Mr. Davis said, “These are the kinds of deals that the phrase, ‘conflict of interest’ was invented to describe.  It is the prime minister who must answer for these inside deals from the Town Centre Mall’s lease to the mailboat services to the Milo Butler Highway and on and on it goes, adding up to an excess of $53 million.”

He added, “Following Mr. Symonette’s resignation, the prime minister offered him only praise and warm wishes, so we can assume that the two remain on the best of terms. 

“It is not surprising since the prime minister and Mr. Symonette are business partners. Perhaps Mr. Symonette believes he can just as easily be the beneficiary of this government’s generosity from outside of Cabinet as in. 

“Perhaps he and the prime minister have some sort of agreement. We cannot know, as they have not chosen to share the thinking behind the resignation with those of us who are mere citizens and taxpayers.”  

Mr. Davis said he finds Mr. Symonette’s resignation nothing more than a distraction from much larger issues, charging that conflicts of interest extend beyond Cabinet members to wealthy members of the governing Free National Movement (FNM) party. 

“Time after time, members of the Minnis Cabinet demonstrate they believe the rules apply to everyone else, but not them,” Mr. Davis said. 

“The conflicts of interest and self-dealing extend out from the Minnis Cabinet to include the wealthiest members of the FNM elite. 

“This is what Bahamians see when they look at this new arrangement to transfer public assets to private interests. We are reliably advised that as of today, the government has agreed to transfer at least six public properties into a fund owned and operated by the Holowesko family. 

“In this arrangement with the government, the fund managers are denying small contractors empowerment opportunities.  Instead, it is they who will gain a huge financial windfall in fees and interest payments from this deal.”

Mr. Davis maintains it is not about race, but rather equal opportunity and that all Bahamians should have access to taxpayers’ fund in a very transparent and accountable fashion. 

“This whole matter that we are talking about is corruption and greed that this government and its insiders, and the insider dealing all influence by greed. It is not about the race card. In fact, I don’t know why Brent would continually push this race card because as far as I know, he is a quarter black, he’s more than that,” Mr. Davis said. 

“Every time there is any conversation or dialogue on the premise where we black people would have come from and what we would have done in this country the issue of race arises. 

“Why? It’s all about telling the facts. We are telling the story to ensure that we do not repeat history.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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