Categorized | National News

McCartney Insists AG’s Conflict of Interest

Although Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson has vehemently denied that there is any conflict of interest with her negotiations at Baha Mar, Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Branville McCartney has joined the list of politicians who beg to differ.

Last week, the AG defended herself against claims that she was involved in conflict of interest because her daughters own stores in the beleaguered $3.5 billion project on Cable Beach.

In a statement Mr. McCartney sent to the media yesterday, he said the revelation about the attorney general’s daughters’ business endeavours at Baha Mar is “the latest in what has become a long list of ethical violations on the part of members of this Christie government whose tenure in office has become synonymous with favouritism, cronyism and nepotism.”

“As a successful and tenured attorney and a veteran on the local political landscape, Mrs. Maynard-Gibson is all too aware of the need for all publicly elected officials to remain free from the perception of wrong doing,” the DNA leader said.

“In the case of the Baha Mar development, it is imperative to the ongoing negotiations that no government official – especially officials who represent the government in those negotiations – has direct or indirect ownership ties to the development.”

Mr. McCartney noted that since negotiations with the principles at Baha Mar began in July, Mrs. Maynard-Gibson has led two delegations to China and served as the government’s lead negotiator.

“It is therefore both inappropriate and disingenuous for the AG to feign bewilderment as to where the conflict exists. Firstly, her revelation raises questions about her children came to obtain those licenses in the first place,” he said.

“When pressed by the media, the AG insisted that her children did not benefit from her position and that she also received no benefit as a result of the lease held by the children. As a cabinet minister with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of that development and its principles though, how can the public be sure that she, at no point, used her political influence to secure those leases for her children? The truth is, we cannot know for sure and therein lies the conflict.”

Mr. McCartney also bashed Prime Minister Perry Christie, who he claims knew about the conflict of interest and did nothing.

“His inaction represents a complete desertion of the 14-point Code of Ethics, which he devised back in 2002 to govern the behaviour of government ministers and other high ranking officials; one of which called for ministers of government to divest themselves of any holdings or assets, which could potentially create a conflict of interest while in office,” he said.

“In the wake of Mrs. Maynard-Gibson’s disclosure, the public is now left to wonder, are there other members of the Christie Cabinet with similar business interests in Baha Mar and were those interests afforded to them purely because of their political influence? That said, it is incumbent on the PM to reveal that information sooner rather than later.”

The DNA leader said sadly this is not the first time members of the Christie administration has been a part of some form of conflict.

He pointed to the issues with Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries V. Alfred Gray and his alleged interference of a court matter of one of his constituents; and the issue with the former clients of Mrs. Maynard who received a Nolle Prosequi.

“Over the past three years, there have been countless instances where members of government simply failed to do the ethical thing. Based on their track record, we simply cannot ignore the implications of the disclosure in the context of the already tumultuous Baha Mar negotiations and the thousands of Bahamian workers whose lives still hang in the balance,” Mr. McCartney said.

“It is imperative now more than ever that any and all personal interests be set aside in the interest of the whole.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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