By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
FNM Chairman Darron Cash claimed yesterday that Managing Director of the Bahamas Development Bank Arinthia Komolafe, Prime Minister Perry Christie and State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis are “embroiled in an ongoing feud” over recent firings at the bank.
In a press release, Mr Cash, a former chairman of the bank, said that a number of senior managers were terminated from the BDB because “they had the courage to question” Mrs Komolafe’s new strategies. He claimed that both the prime minister and minister of state for finance have disagreed with Mrs Komolafe’s termination of the managers and have demanded their reinstatement.
“The FNM has learned and confirmed that the managing director of the BDB has become embroiled in an ongoing feud with Prime Minister Perry Christie, his Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis and BDB’s board of directors. The problem the managing director has encountered is that both the prime minister and minister of state for finance have disagreed with her termination of the managers and the ministers have demanded their reinstatement. To no one’s surprise (she) has declared that she will not follow the directive of the Office of the Prime Minister,” the statement said.
Mr Cash added that there is “division” in the bank, which he said is not good for the institution. He added that since the FNM left office in 2012, the bank’s financial position “began to deteriorate and BDB reported huge losses the following year.”
Yesterday, Mrs Komolafe released a statement in response to Mr Cash.
“The BDB is an institution that is governed by a statute and we uphold our obligations in relation to the protection of clients’ and employees’ data,” she said, in part.
“We are fully committed to complying with applicable laws and regulations, including the Employment Act and Data Protection (Privacy of Personal Information) Act, 2003. As a trained attorney and banker, I will not allow the privacy of individuals to be compromised or the confidentiality of their information breached in response to a politician. I belong to a new cadre of young Bahamian leaders that put country above political patronage. I see this as a calling and not a job.”
She also clarified any speculation over the bank’s fiscal standing.
“The former chairman is very much aware of the position that he left the BDB in as well as the associated issues. To suggest that any loss following his tenure was sudden or isolated is again misleading to say the least. In the last year, we have done the right things, including putting in formal structures and ensuring adherence to best practices. We have also doubled down on our ‘no sacred cow’ policy, including increased collection efforts and litigation in order to recover outstanding debts owed to the BDB. Our efforts have been yielding positive results as we will provide in the coming weeks,” she said.
A source close to the matter told The Tribune that Mr Halkitis met with Mrs Komolafe yesterday morning and it was agreed that the two terminated workers would be rehired, but transferred to different departments. The source said Mrs Komolafe felt the women “did not respect her” because of her age and “undermined” all of her decisions.
Mr Halkitis could not be reached up to press time.