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Minnis: PM Must Fire Renward Wells

Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis on Sunday renewed his party’s call for the resignation of Parliamentary Secretary Reward Wells noting that the inaction from the prime minister on the issue and lack of transparency are proof that the government is trying to cover up what appears to be a ‘shady’ deal.
“As we all now know, Renward Wells has not resigned, and he has not been fired, this sequence of events reveals that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government of Perry Christie is now caught in a sordid web of conflict, confusion and cover up,” Dr, Minnis said during a press conference at the Free National Movement’s (FNM) Mackey Street headquarters.

“The prime minister, in his characteristic style, now says the government will provide answers in due course. This is insulting, were it not so embarrassing, if this Prime Minister was worth his salt, he would have fired Mr. Wells within an hour of Mr. Wells’ refusal to resign. The fact that he did not fire Mr. Wells raises more questions, but we return to the aforementioned: what did the prime minister know, and when did he know it? The prime minister must fire Mr. Wells and fully explain this sordid situation to Bahamians.”

Last week, the prime minister reportedly asked Mr. Wells to resign after it was revealed that Mr. Wells signed a letter of intent to commit the government to a $650 million contract with Stellar Waste to Energy Limited without authorisation from the government.

According to Dr. Minnis, the company would have constructed a waste-to energy facility at the dump site with plans to later sell energy to The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Phillip Davis has since commented on the issue suggesting there was some question as to whether Mr. Wells had done anything contrary to established protocols; however Dr. Minnis stressed that Mr. Wells clearly breached the Westminster’s code of conduct.

“The Manual of Cabinet Procedure which is issued to and which binds every minister and every parliamentary secretary states about the duty of a parliamentary secretary (Page 9) that: “within the ministry to which he has been assigned a parliamentary secretary may handle such matters as may be assigned to him by the minister to deal with on his behalf,” he said.

“Under the Manual of Cabinet Procedure not even the deputy prime minister could have authorised Mr. Wells to sign a letter of intent which impinged upon the portfolio responsibility of a different cabinet minister and ministry without full Cabinet approval.

“Mr. Davis is well aware of this rule of procedure which binds every parliamentary secretary. For some reason the deputy prime minister is playing cute with the Bahamian people, as if there were any real “question” whether or not the “established protocols” were violated. There is no question. The established Rules of Cabinet Government were violated; the only question is whether Mr. Wells acted alone or whether he was given instructions to act and, if so, by whom?”

Dr. Minnis added that the issue also reveals an ‘embarrassing’ conflict between the plans of two separate ministries and foreign companies for the use of the dump site.

“Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett announced in June of this year that the government had agreed to a deal for a previously unknown foreign company, Renew Bahamas, to manage the dump site and to set up a waste recycling facility,” he said.

“After the revelation of the letter of intent Minister Dorsett stated to the media that, despite the letter of intent, the deal with Renew Bahamas was “still in force”. In the same article, the owner of Stellar Waste to Energy contradicted the minister and said that he would move ahead, based on the letter of intent, and that Renew Bahamas conflicted with his plans.”

Overall Dr. Minnis maintains that his party will not be intimated by the government and will continue to demand answers in this matter.
“In the event that the government, as it has done all too often in the past, thinks that they can use their parliamentary majority to crush and to stifle debate and full disclosure on this embarrassing instance of “lack of transparency” , “government interference” and conflicts of interest, then they are sorely mistaken,” he said.

“The opposition will not let the matter rest because it may be indicative of larger issues that are being kept from the sight of the Bahamian people.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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