Loretta Butler Turner, the former MP, warned us that Hubert Minnis was not who we thought he was. It turns out to be true. So Chester Cooper, the Deputy Leader of the PLP, made a simple request of the Parliament. He asked that they waive the provision in Article 49 of the constitution which prohibits Members of Parliament from being interested in a government contract. It was done for Leslie Miller under the PLP. It was done for Brent Symonette under the FNM. Neither Mr. Miller or Mr. Cooper were cabinet ministers at the time of the requests. Instead of simply passing the damn resolution, the Prime Minister had to get up and say how the FNM is different than the PLP. He said the PLP supported the resolution on Mr. Symonette but then went out every day attacking the FNM on the matter. He called the PLP nasty. He wouldn’t want to know who is nasty. But we digress. The resolution for the waiver was passed by the House unanimously. But the PLP responded to the stupid, gratuitous attack by a man who you just can’t dress him up and take him anywhere. Here is the PLP’s full statement:
For Immediate Release
22nd July 2022
The PLP roundly condemns the Prime Minister’s comments in his mischaracterization of the PLP as ‘nasty’, made in the House of Assembly this evening. He did so during his contribution to the House Resolution to accommodate an article 49 request from the Deputy Leader of the PLP. The Prime Minister sought to equate that request with that of the action the FNM took to protect former FNM Minister Brent Symonette to get the post office lease.
The PLP points out that there is no moral equivalence between the Town Centre Mall lease and Cash and Go agreements with the Government.
Firstly, the Town Centre Mall lease may cost Bahamian taxpayers some $17 million in penalties because the FNM government terminated an existing contract between the government and a Bahamian businessman to accommodate its Minister’s interest. This decision was craven, unethical, reprehensible and a wanton waste of public funds with no accountability.
Secondly, Brent Symonette was a Minister of the government at the time who not only gained an unreasonable advantage, but publicly admitted to participating in the Town Centre Mall negotiations. This lease created a fundamental conflict between Mr. Symonette’s personal business interests and his duty to protect the public interest. Gaining almost $1 million in revenue from this lease while costing taxpayers $17 million in penalties is selfish and is not protecting the public interest. Add to that the expense in acquiring Phil’s Foodstore for the Post Office and then abandoning it.
The Deputy Leader is not a sitting Cabinet Minister.
Thirdly, the Prime Minister was accused of misleading Parliament on the resolution to lease space in the Town Centre Mall for a post office. Westminster conventions dictate that he should have resigned in the face of that allegation.
If the Prime Minister wants to know what nasty looks like, he need only look in the mirror.