Categorized | Featured, National News

DPM Under Fire For Airline’s Debt

DPM Turnquest

Former Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament Bradley Roberts yesterday questioned Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest’s influence on financial matters regarding Sky Bahamas Limited, that  has been threatened  to have its operating license terminated due to funds owing to  Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD).

Mr. Roberts revealed to reporters a letter dated the 29th of June addressed to Chief  Executive  Officer  Captain Randy Butler from NAD’s Vice President of Finance and CFO Paula Rigby.

She cautioned the airline to pay NAD a total of $454,015.06. The letter states that $114,887.14 is the amount in arrears as of December 31st, 2017. An additional $239,611.98 in arrears are due immediately, and $99,515.94 was due on July 11th.

The letter also warned Mr. Butler that failure to comply will result in the termination of Sky Bahamas’ operating license,  meaning that the airline will no longer be allowed to operate within the terminals of the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).

Since the latest deadline has past and the airline is still operating out of LPIA, Mr. Roberts wants to know if the company paid its bills.

He said, “NAD falls under the portfolio of the Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar. Has Minister D’Aguilar  taken the necessary steps to terminate the operating license of Sky Bahamas for bill ducking if these sums remain unpaid pursuant to Article 9 of the agreement?”

He added, “has the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister conspired with the Tourism Minister to politically interfere with the work of NAD to protect Turnquest’s personal business interests over the public interest?”

If this is the case, Mr. Roberts said, “This is rank and corrupt abuse of political power and the prime minister must intervene, but then again, this is the big bad FNM who believe they are above the law.”

The former PLP Chairman said, “ Bahamians remember very well that within the 2017/ 2018 national  budget, Mr. Turnquest  gave duty free concessions on maintenance parts and aircrafts that are Bahamian owned and registered in the Bahamas, in addition to giving his company a big fat lease contract from a government corporation. One year later, Minister Turnquest gave duty free concessions on helicopters and airplanes. Was this decision made to give duty free concessions to aid Sky Bahamas that is in deep financial problems and cannot pay its bills owed to NAD,” asked  Mr. Roberts.

He  said, “ Peter Turnquest gave himself and his business interests every  opportunity for successs by feathering his  nest while saddling a VAT increase to 12 per cent on the backs of poor Bahamians and vigorously defended this decision in the Church and at school graduation ceremonies. For the past year, Mr. Turnquest was over the  place in righteous indignation- accusing others of mismanagement, corruption, stealing public funds and bill ducking.

“On  the issue of VAT payments, I have another pertinent question for the Finance Minister and DPM:  Is Sky Bahamas up to date with VAT payments to the  Department of Inland Revenue? I know the airline is collecting huge sums of  VAT money from the travelling public, but is Peter’s company turning these funds over to the government as required by law?” asked Roberts.

He said he hopes for  the  DPM’s  sake that the provernial chickens have not come home to roost.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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