Categorized | National News

How Will They Explain The Millions?

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a bi-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires, the links to unsavory characters, the use of the courts for personal agendas, the involvement of a political party, and the attacks on the Government of The Bahamas.

We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings. This series of articles asks the needed questions and presents the arguments in full.

 

By P.J. Malone

Save The Bays, like the other more than one hundred nonprofit organizations in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is required to account for the money—the reported millions—being funneled into its account. In the Registrar General’s Department’s (the Department) efforts to enhance their oversight of non-profits in The Bahamas, all nonprofits are required to account for whether or not “the funds of the organization have been used in a manner consistent with its objective and activities”.

Earlier this year when the Department requested the financial information from Save The Bays, Save The Bays filed court action to block the Department’s request.

In a press release entitled “Registrar General’s Department Responds to Save The Bays Filing to Block Release of Financial Records” in April of this year, the Registrar General’s Department stated the following:

“On April 19th 2017, The Tribune newspaper published an article detailing the contents of an application in the Supreme Court by The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, also known as Save The Bays, to block a request from the Registrar General for its financial records. The article suggests that Save The Bays is being specifically targeted by this request which has be [sic] ‘driven by the government’s animosity.’”

It’s true; a Save The Bays’ article, entitled “Frantic Government Comes Unhinged”, published on their website, affirms the Department’s statement. The article quotes Save The Bays’ Director and attorney as stating this:

“’Now, on the eve of an election, an extremely unpopular government is frantic to appease Nygard, presumably to gain access to campaign funding, so they have taken the reckless, extremely dangerous decision to officially accuse us of being terrorists,’ said STB legal director, Fred Smith, QC.”

It never ceases to amaze us at the convoluted twists and turns of Fred Smith’s mind that allows him to create the most ludicrous of arguments.

Fred Smith went ahead and filed his charges in court against the old Government, but the new Government he self-admittedly supports—and self-admittedly has given money to—is backing its Registrar General’s Department’s requests from non-profits, so that they are able to align with international standards and enhance its oversight of nonprofits in The Bahamas.

A Tribune article quoted the new Attorney General’s response to the complaints of some nonprofits to this Registrar General’s Department’s steps to comply with new legislation:

“Attorney General Carl Bethel, when contacted yesterday, said churches are not being targeted.

“’This is the registrar general exercising the powers of her office and taking action in her discretion,’ he said.

’This is not aimed at Christian churches or any particular entity. The next step is to issue a notice directed at friendly societies who are apparently not well regulated and are by virtue of their status able to obtain bank facilities. There has to be oversight of these as well. Going forward, steps will be taken to address institutions that may have an incorporated or parliamentary basis to ensure they too are in the same position. There can be no institution that is free from legitimate oversight of its financial arrangements. We’re not interested in how much it is making but that what it is applied for accords with the proper purposes of the institution.’”

So now what? What does Fred Smith have to say about this? It’s now his own party supporting the Registrar General’s Department’s demands that he comply with the new law.

I think the part Fred Smith, as Save The Bays Director and Attorney, will have a problem explaining is the part of the Registrar General’s Department’s request that says,

“…any financial records that show the source of the gross annual income of the organization, explain the transactions within and outside The Bahamas and that show that the funds of the organization have been used in a manner consistent with its objective and activities.

How does Fred Smith begin to explain the reported millions of dollars coming from their chief funder, hedge-fund billionaire Louis Moore Bacon, without the environmental projects to show for it?

One is tempted to think that this is the real reason why they ran to the courts to block the Registrar General Department’s request.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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