By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
WHILE Senator Jerome Gomez yesterday insisted that he received no campaign donations from the Bahamas Petroleum Company, he refused to disclose how much he was paid as their resident manager.
When asked by The Tribune how much his privately owned financial and corporate service company – Global Corporate Management Ltd – was contracted for, Mr Gomez said the firm was compensated in line with what their services were worth. He did not give a dollar value.
That agreement, he said in a press statement, commenced in October 2006. On April 30, 2012, just one week before the May 7 general elections, the contract expired. Mr Gomez ran for the Killarney seat against Opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis, but was not successful.
He said both entities were in the process of severing ties since January of 2012.
Mr Gomez was responding to FNM Chairman Darron Cash who on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Perry Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis and himself to make a full public disclosure of their dealings with BPC.
Mr Christie admitted last year that he was contracted to consult with BPC about oil exploration in the Bahamas on behalf of Davis & Co before coming to public office.
“Mr Cash no doubt,” Mr Gomez said, “wants to create the perception that there was something unscrupulous or corrupt in this affair. I wish to assure the Bahamian people that there was nothing underhanded in this matter.
“My firm was chosen because I was a former executive at Shell and had some insight of the oil industry.
“I believe that BPC choose Davis & Co because that firm had the most experience with oil companies that had an interest in exploration in the Bahamas. Nothing untoward there.
“I have not now or in the past owned shares in BPC. I hold no brief for BPC. It does not matter to me, which oil company drills for oil in the Bahamas as long as the Bahamian people benefit greatly from the activity.”
As resident manager for BPC, Mr Gomez noted that he hosted meetings with several political figures and operated with high ethical standards.
“I was privileged to sit in meetings with ministers Leslie Miller, Marcus Bethel, Phenton Neymour and Earl Deveaux. None of these good gentlemen, can accuse me or BPC’s executives of unethical business behaviour or practices.
“Never during my tenure as resident manager did I sit in meetings with Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham or Prime Minister Perry Christie, so I had no influence on the approval process. BPC’s licenses were renewed under the Ingraham Administration,” Mr Gomez said.