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Minnis: Abuse Of Power For Pm To Intervene For Lightbourne

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday it was “inappropriate” and an “abuse of power” for Prime Minister Perry Christie to intervene on behalf of VAT co-ordinator Ishmael Lightbourne to stop the bank from repossessing his home.

Dr Minnis said the intervention could also be interpreted by some as “bribery” and “undue influence”.

“The Prime Minister calling a bank manager is not demonstrating proper code of conduct, it is misuse of power and an inappropriate action that can be interpreted as bribery and undue influence. Think about it like this,” he said.

“From time to time banks must work along with government agencies and also require work permits and immigration statuses. So if they don’t follow through with the Prime Minister’s requests they may feel as though it may jeopardize their immigration permits and other requests they may have with other agencies. So, the Prime Minister needs to learn how to separate his role as Prime Minister from his personal life. He is the Prime Minister and needs to act accordingly.

“He should be embarrassed and all of the other PLP’s were in the House of Assembly banging on the desk as if it were a good thing. That is an abuse of power even as Opposition that would not be accepted. He is interfering with the private sector and that is not right.”

Dr Minnis said there needs to be a proper code of conduct for the country’s leaders before the Bahamas develops a “Banana Republic” attitude.

Last week, Mr Christie revealed that as Prime Minister he intervened on behalf of Mr Lightbourne to stop the bank from repossessing his home, adding that the tax consultant had once held high-level positions in the public and private sector.

Speaking out on the controversy in his closing remarks on the mid-year budget, Mr Christie said his only regret was that he “significantly” underpaid Mr Lightbourne when compared to foreign consultants.

He said: “The difference between them and Ishmael is that someone has revealed his shadow and not theirs. I will never compromise my belief in the redemptive power of a second chance.”

“While Mr Lightbourne should clearly pay his property taxes, and is under legal obligation to do so, it is obvious that the call for the Government to dismiss Mr Lightbourne is a clear attempt to discredit and shoot the messenger, because there are those special interests who do not like the VAT message he is delivering on behalf of the Government.”

Mr Christie said Mr Lightbourne has made arrangements with the tax office to settle his liabilities within a reasonable time frame.

Comments

Bahamianpride 6 years, 3 months ago

If this story is correct that's official misconduct. Furthermore, for the P.M to make personal calls to a bank using his influence on something such as friends or colleagues personal debts, its not only illegal but idiotic.

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JohnDoes 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh yes, I found it very, very disturbing that the PM insisted that he would clear all of Lightbourne's debt just to keep him on board the VAT machine. He sounded and looked so stupid saying that stuff on the News. Lightbourne is a property tax delinquent, and I dont see why the PM needs to clear his history compared to all the 'citizens' that support and pay this government. If this is the case, every last property tax delinquent Bahamian must be cleared of their history as well. Simply calling the bank and leaving a message is not enough. It wasnt even a task for the PM. He is just trying to make it seem like he is doing something. This PM is not in the realm of living for modern day Bahamians. The PM claims that Ishy was: 'significantly' underpaid compare to foreign consultants? Is he serious with that statement? You are admitting to your mistake of putting foreigners before Bahamians..? "...it is obvious that the call for the Government to dismiss Mr Lightbourne is a clear attempt to discredit and shoot the messenger, because there are those special interests who do not like the VAT message he is delivering on behalf of the Government." A clear attempt to discredit and shoot the messenger? The PM got it wrong, we aint tryna discredit him, he discredited himself when he chose to ignore paying his taxes, and thought it would go unnoticed like every other issue in this country and now that the people know this, you are going to blame us for not wanting to support him?? Damn, if this is how the PLP operates, WE ARE DOOMED. This man deserves no special requests and bribery from the PM. What a shame this man is, he is continually showing us how he is not competent enough to run this country. He doesn't act like a leader, and doesnt have a leader personality, its like he is waiting on consultants and committees to tell him how to run a country.

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 3 months ago

Doctor Minnis talking foolishness again, he has to oppose everything. even if it makes no sense. I trust he will not oppose the one million dollar cheque given to Urban Renewal By Albany, All those happy beautiful people receiving that cheque. I am sure . he does not like that and he will have to find fault with it.

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JohnDoes 6 years, 3 months ago

If you think Minnis talking foolishness in opposition to what the Prime Minister is doing in this regard, then you sir are oblivious to the seriousness of what the PM is doing for Lightbourne.

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newcitizen 6 years, 3 months ago

Regardless of how foolish you believe Dr. Minnis to be, it doesn't excuse what Mr Christie has done. He did abuse his power. What he did was unethical and corrupt. Forget your hatred of the messenger for two minutes and have a good look at what the Prime Minister is actually doing.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 3 months ago

@wonder how many young girls can be bunked up in a nice hotel in miami w/ the urban renewals chair person share of that million ,and i,m not talking bout Brother Allen ,,,,,,,,,,,,birdie somethings are not defendable even if it is your party ,,,,,,

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242smt 6 years, 3 months ago

become a Banana Republic?? The Bahamas already is?! It is actions like this that will drive away investment.

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newcitizen 6 years, 3 months ago

He doesn't even try and hide it either. He actually thinks it's ok to be corrupt.

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spoitier 6 years, 3 months ago

Isn't that part of Bahamian culture? We vote Shane Gibson in, even though he went through all of that scandal little more than five years ago, also, his account increased exponentially during his time in the immigration department. Drug dealers and numbers bosses are revered, We cheat on the custom line and don't feel the least bit guilty about it, we allow cronyism to go on even though there is more qualified individuals applying for the job, I can go on and on about the culture and most of us will laugh about it like it is some kind of joke. The truth of the matter is the Bahamas is a corrupt country and most people only see a problem with it if they get the wrong side of the stick.

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CANDACESCOTT 6 years, 3 months ago

According the Principle of Corporate Governance: Culture is established at the top. that being said we should not be surprised by crime in this country!

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Honestman 6 years, 3 months ago

What causes me most concern about this story is the fact that the PM doesn't see why his actions were a complete abuse of power. He genuinely doesn't appear to get it.

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realfreethinker 6 years, 3 months ago

Honestman you are absolutely correct. This is madness

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thomas 6 years, 3 months ago

He is completely off his rockers

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spoitier 6 years, 3 months ago

Because most Bahamian don't see it either, we are a corrupt country. Don't get me wrong, I believe what he did was wrong, but most Bahamians who notice it are FNM, and if HAI had did it then the PLP would have notice it is wrong. Bahamians only notice right and wrong along party lines and when it directly affect them.

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 3 months ago

Abuse of what power? the bank manager could have said no. The PM was trying to help another Human being. I have not had such luck in my dealings with the bank. But my appeal was to the God of Heaven and Earth. He helped me . Why do you people insist on putting your feet on a person when they are down.. Reach down and pull them up. The *Banks said no to the mortgage plane the PLP had in place. Person from other Nations help each other. Have you noticed that persons from over the hill have no economic power. ..Watch the Chinese they work together. while Bahamians say of other Bahamians "They have to much" when you try to keep others down you have to stay down yourself to hold them there.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

You have completely missed the point in your rush to call out "jealous FNMs". Anyone who uses their position to get someone under their influence to do something against an established policy or ethical standard is abusing their power. That is what the PM did. It cannot be debated. That IS what he did. If he wanted to save Mr Lightbourne's home, he should have made his way to the bank and paid down on the debt, he has no ethical or legal right to willy nilly select who the bank will move or not move against. All those persons who voted for him in hopes that he would forgive their mortgages should be up in arms. Why is Lightbourne better than them? Does Bahamianization really mean "My Bahamian Friends get a Job or Contract"?

I say no to people who have more than enough, steal to get more, get fired for stealing and then ask for pity. Too many of them in this country.

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xtreme2x 6 years, 3 months ago

You just don't get it....birdiestrachan... Any of those other persons you talking about are Prime Minister?

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spoitier 6 years, 3 months ago

Prime example of my two earlier post.

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 3 months ago

"ZEALOUS FNM' s ?? I never said that. Those are your words apparently you know more about "Zealous FNM'S than I do.. If you know persons who have broken the law to become rich. bring your evidence. How do you know Mr. Christie did not go to the bank to help Mr. Lightboure, PMs do have friends. My Friend is Jesus.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

"Jealous FNMs", is a characterization, if anyone speaks out against any unseemly act this government performs they are characterized by your words as jealous? Ungrateful? Complainers? Whatever you want to call it.

if Mr Christie went to the bank to pay down Mr Lightboune's debt there would be no need to ask any bank manager for compassion, it would be a straight transaction, I owe you, I pay what I owe, you don't take my house. Simple.

I made a general statement, if someone shout "OW" that's on them.

Ask your friend Jesus what he say about stealing and read what he said in 1 Samuel 8:11-18

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Birdiestrachan I can't believe what you just implied as a "better" / "acceptable" alternative???? i.e. The PM wielded undue influence and attempted to cover it up by going through a friend???? Cover ups are always worse, come again.

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CANDACESCOTT 6 years, 3 months ago

additionally, he boast about it which is the stupidest damn thing in the world. Perry idle bad!

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EasternGate 6 years, 3 months ago

birdiestrachan. u r most illogical. Only the Lord can help u

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 3 months ago

You used the word "Jealous FNM's" you are quite right. and it starts with the leader. He can see nothing good in the Bahamas or in the Bahamian people. If they were "Zealous that would have been a good thing; It is all about jealous FNM's I am happy you mentioned that.

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

The only word to describe the likes of "birdie"........................ PATHETIC

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ohdrap4 6 years, 3 months ago

she must have received that frost-free refrigerator in 1992!!!!

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Reality_Check 6 years, 3 months ago

Notice how not a single QC has a word to say in public about the PM's self-confessed outrageous abuse of power. Cat got the tongue of the likes of Sean McWeeny, Brian Moree, Brian Simms, Sir Orville, et al. We are now truly doomed as this means the Bahamas Bar Association/Council are apparently comfortable with the PM's trangressions as a lawyer, no matter how egregious they may be. It could also mean being a QC today has little significance in terms of one's stature, principles, professional decorum, etc., unlike the days of yore.

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Bahamianpride 6 years, 3 months ago

using ones official compacity to gain personal financial favor is illegal no matter which public official does it.. The P.M.is the top executive for the Bahamas with the full power of the Bahamas government at his control.. His call on a personal matter to a bank is not only influential, its could be percieved as intimidation... He should have just paid the bill & avoid this b.s. if its true..

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 3 months ago

Birdie you are an idiot...OK...let's change scenery a bit...President Obama has a friend in Miami who is defaulting on his loan...he goes out of his way to call the local bank manager at the Wells Fargo and say...'Good afternoon, this is the President of the United States of America...you are about to foreclose on a dear friend of mine...I would like for you to reconsider'...that carries weight...as much as an idiot that the PM is, that still carries weight. The bank manager is put on the spot and knows that if he says sorry, can't help, that his little bank will be under the nastiest of scrutinies and ridicule. Now, if the President...or the PM turned around and said...what could I pay towards his bill to keep him in his home, that is a different matter...so long as it is not coming out of the governments cash...if he does that, then he needs to do that for all those that are being foreclosed upon. When you take the title and position of Prime Minister or President or King or whatever, the rules change for what you can or cannot due, you are in a place of power and influence and abusing that is wrong.

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Emac 6 years, 3 months ago

After reading Birdie's comments, I have come to one conclusion: There are two types of Bahamians; The PLP corrupted or hooked on the Pindling era crew-These are the ones who have been living of the fat of the land since the drug trade first started or ignoramuses who just don't seem to want to grow and are complacent with the same bullshit that has been going on for decades. The other small percent are Bahamians who have some form of dignity and are frustrated by the majority’s backward thinking. Unfortunately the Bahamian masses see nothing wrong with this picture. That is scary and it only shows how much our education system has failed! The problem is further compounded when these politicians play on the ignorance of the gullible Bahamians.

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spoitier 6 years, 3 months ago

That is the exact thing I'm talking about, Bahamian culture is corrupt and being tricky would get you brownie points. If you think about our folk tales that was told to us, it was about being slicksters: Bookie and Ber Rabbi, Anansi, Shine, and others. All of these stories are about being slick and I can't recall hearing a folk tale about someone working hard by the rules and making it. These stories and other factors only add to the influence of being trickers

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Emac 6 years, 3 months ago

Hmm... Very interesting theory.

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thomas 6 years, 3 months ago

How is it that the thousands of Bahamians whose homes were foreclosed on couldn't be saved by a phone call from the PM hmmm

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CANDACESCOTT 6 years, 3 months ago

why didnt he used is position as Prime Minister to get the Mortgage Releif he promised thousands of Bahamians. and he told on himself...UN-FLIPPIN-BELIEVABLE!

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jackbnimble 6 years, 3 months ago

Or better yet, help all those poor peole in HIS consituency get proper homes!

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pablojay 6 years, 3 months ago

This" birdiestrachan " just doesn't get it , just like most of the PLP diehards, saying that the banker could have said no. CWS wanted to say no but couldn't .Do you think an individual banker could? We always think of ourselves as the best, in worldly standards,but we never apply those standards to ourselves.Could you imagine if President Obama had made a similar call and proceeded to go on television and boast about it? Please send me some responses fellow bloggers. .

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Pablojay, the scariest part of this saga is, I don't even believe he realizes what he admitted to...

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CANDACESCOTT 6 years, 3 months ago

MY POINT...you can be that farway remove from reality...this is so friggin scary

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spoitier 6 years, 3 months ago

America is a capitalist country, meaning that people will take advantage of you legally, It is like being a crook legally. Bahamas is a corrupt country meaning people just do what they wanted to do because they know someone who will get them off the hook or their in a power position where they could get away with it. Also, the Government and uppity people look at the rest of the population as peasants, even if they have rights they don't know it and if they do know it there is so many obstacle in their way to impede them from doing something about it. Lastly, since the culture is corrupt, there is a part of most of us who understand and condone this type of behaviour.

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

Anyone heard of Rehoboam........ King David's grandson????? Thats Perry!!!!!!!! LOL Sad case of leadership................... a case study in ineptitude

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WaterBaby 6 years, 3 months ago

The only action the PM can take is as a member of society and that is offer to cover Lightbourne's debt, other than that he has no power (other than the abuse of) to sway the bank to forgive the default on the mortgage!

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bonnieval 6 years, 3 months ago

It's really something when we have the leader of our country breaking the laws and we hear nothing from those who make the laws or are suppose to enforce the laws. Why do you think this is? It's because the majority of them are compromised. They dare not say anything about the PM, because like some of you previously stated, this is a corrupt little country. It is so sad, sometimes I grieve about what I see happening. I'm away from home at this time and when I read the news, I really wonder whether I want to to return. I am torn by my desire to return and try to help, but things like this makes me wonder if it would make any difference. Bahamians, we really need to let our righteous indignation rise up, and change the direction of our country. A friend, once said to me that our country has been headed in this downward direction for so long, that he wonders if it is possible to return. I give the example of a huge ship that is unable to spin around on a dime, but it can change directions. It may take more time, but it is possible for our little, beautiful nation to change the direction it has been going in these past 40 years. I also believe that in order to change anything we must begin with the first step, "the desire to change!"

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