1

Loretta: Retract Or Quit Over Sarkis

Loretta Butler-Turner in the House of Assembly.

Loretta Butler-Turner in the House of Assembly.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to make his Cabinet ministers retract their “extremist” statements against Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian or resign.

Mrs Butler-Turner said the revelation that Mr Christie did not sanction comments made last week by Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell and Minister of Labour Shane Gibson indicated that the nation’s leader was not respected and too weak to “rein in” his “out of control” Cabinet.

In a statement yesterday, she said it was “nonsensical” for Mr Christie to suggest that the senior ministers were speaking in their personal capacity on such a high-profile issue. She added that their actions demonstrated his party’s contempt for the country’s system of governance.

“Collective responsibility is a cornerstone of our system of Cabinet government,” she said. “It is now being supplanted by selective responsibility in which ministers can say whatever they want in an out of control Cabinet with a prime minister too weak to rein in his ministers.

“Various members of Mr Christie’s Cabinet clearly have little fear of facing the consequences of their actions from a prime minister whose office they no longer seem to respect. It appears that the extremists in Mr Christie’s Cabinet are now in charge with the prime minister being effectively sidelined.”

Mr Mitchell has repeatedly chastised Mr Izmirlian both locally and internationally over the resort’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and what he termed as numerous “attacks” on Mr Christie’s handling of the Baha Mar debacle.

Last week, Mr Mitchell warned the developer that his permanent residency status could be revoked, and suggested that Mr Izmirlian consider living elsewhere if he could not conform to the expected conduct of “economic guests.”

Mr Gibson has defended Mr Mitchell’s warning and suggested that the government should now begin performing “psychological evaluations” on all foreign developers seeking to do business in this country.

Mr Christie has since explained that the comments by two of his Cabinet ministers are not the position of the government. He said he accepted their remarks as personal and emotionally motivated, adding he was not forewarned that the ministers were going to say what they did.

Yesterday, Mrs Butler-Turner said that under British ministerial code, government ministers were barred from speaking in their personal capacity on public affairs, and should ensure that their statements are consistent with collective government policy at all times.

The Bahamas’ system of government is based on the United Kingdom’s Westminster model.

Pointing to the UK’s Cabinet Manual, she added that ministers should resign when they are unable to continue to accept collective responsibility.

She argued that there was “no such latitude” for Mr Gibson and Mr Mitchell within the Westminster system to speak in extreme terms about Mr Izmirlian in their personal capacity.

Mrs Butler-Turner said: “Prime Minister Perry Christie’s recent nonsensical statement claiming that Minister Gibson and Minister Mitchell were speaking for themselves and not the government on a matter relating to a foreign investor is yet another example of the PLP’s contempt for certain constitutional practices and democratic traditions in general and collective responsibility in particular.

“With the prime minister publicly stating that neither Mitchell nor Gibson spoke for the government, certain consequences must follow.”

She added: “He cannot simply seek to distance himself from his ministerial colleagues. They should be made to retract various statements, resign or be fired.”

Last week, in a letter to Baha Mar staff, Mr Izmirlian lamented that in his 13 years working on the project he never imagined that he would be “fighting” with the government. He added that the project had been “usurped” for political reasons.

The resort CEO has been at odds with the Christie administration since Baha Mar and its affiliated companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a US court on June 29.

Mr Christie has said the move came “without notice” to the government.

Comments

TruePeople 5 years, 1 month ago

Bey, TruePeople, MP for the Poor People, say to all of y'all in gov't " resign and let us use the money saved by not paying y'all salaries for the endless non-sense y'all produce go toward paying off the STUPID national debt you same guys created for the people of this country while y'all is winein' and dinein' and liein' " LGBT looking more fat while people round here stravin

0

TalRussell 5 years, 1 month ago

Comrades, while voters may have gone to the polling stations to elect a democratic government in 2012, they elected a dictatorship.

1

Wideawake 5 years, 1 month ago

Tal, sounds like you swapping shirts!!

0

TalRussell 5 years, 1 month ago

Comrade this is not a knock on any personalities of the present government, nor have I ever worn such a shirt to swap.

0

sheeprunner12 5 years, 1 month ago

Loretta is quite correct .............. every day beyond NOW that the PM does not retire/resign and call a general election will make it more difficult for the PLP to ever govern this country again ........... so Perry, either take the advice or pay the ultimate political price in 2017

3

DDK 5 years, 1 month ago

Hear! Hear! Ms. Butler! Very Prime-Ministerially (if you will pardon the liberty taken with the word) put!

5

DillyTree 5 years, 1 month ago

It's clear Perry Christie lost all control of his government and his ministers a very long time ago. The whole lot of them need to resign before they destroy what little we have left. The Bahamas is a laughing stock with this crowd in charge. It will take years, if not decades, to fix the mess this government has made.

5

sheeprunner12 5 years, 1 month ago

But we saw this in Perry's first term (2002-2007) ........ he had all kinds of embarrassing situations to deal with then .......... and we put the same group back in with a few rookie "New Generation" fellas ...... same bad result

4

DillyTree 5 years, 1 month ago

Sheeprunner12, i don't know about the "we" part -- I didn't vote for them!

2

Wideawake 5 years, 1 month ago

And look what happened to the rookie "New Generation" fellas!!! Frustrated with the "Post Independence PLP" they spoke up and are now relegated to the sidelines. How sad; they may have held the best hope for turning the PLP into something of value!

1

Emac 5 years, 1 month ago

Ahhh...Now there's the leader needed for the opposition. Elect her and I would jump back on the FNM bandwagon.

5

MonkeeDoo 5 years, 1 month ago

I want Loretta to put the BIG question to PGC on Wednesday. Did you ( PGC ) arrange for a contract to be given to a US Company of which your son had a financial interest. If yes, does your son have the cognitive capacity to understand what he was doing ? If No, then did you do it in his name acting as a guardian ? If no, did your wife do it. ? Have you been questioned by the FBI on this matter ? Has your wife ? Loretta, it may only be you on the team but the time is now to show Sir Milo's Colours.

5

TalRussell 5 years, 1 month ago

Good Lord, Comrades, you don't even haves be no fan of your leader to know what is wrong with all y'all's, just replace Minnis with Loretta political instincts, is there are not enough words to that red dictionary to even begin to assemble the words together to even begins to coherently explain this foolishness.
Seems lost on some you reds, how just months back this same Minnis, trounced all hell out this meddling woman, with four times her red reds.
The red party may have some hope come 2017 but it needs a new leader and most definitely, NOT from that stale ideas people's list of House MP's. That would be the political mistake of 2017. And not Bran either.
Oh yes, Comrade Tal done has a front-runner in mind?

0

akbar 5 years, 1 month ago

Why the Opposition always talk about quitting when they was doing s bunch of nonsense like destroyingnour offshore banking system none of them quit.

0

Cobalt 5 years, 1 month ago

Destroying our off-shore banking system????

The global banking system was restructured in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Under pressure from the US government the Bahamas was forced to conform to the new system of banking or face "black-listing." This, of course, we couldn't afford. Under these new practices, US citizens could no longer evade taxes and launder money thru an international monetary network. An investigation by the CIA revealed that terrorist funded much of their organization thru money and legal-tender "washed" thru the various off-shore banks.

Some conspiracy theorist even believe that the US government initiated and allowed the terrorist attacks to occur just so they could influence the global banking system and irradiate tax evasion throughout North America. The modification of the off-shore banking system went FAR beyond the powers of the little Bahamas. We are "small fish" on the global scale.

Stop talking foolishness, man!

2

birdiestrachan 5 years, 1 month ago

Butler Turner must have forgotten what she had to say about Ruffin. She must know that Mr: Sarkis has also said things he should not have said . But what about her Papa calling Bahamian Lawyer crooks.?

0

sheeprunner12 5 years, 1 month ago

What LBT says about Ruffin pales in comparison to the love affair between Perry and Ruffin ................ or HAI and Kerzner

0

jackflash 5 years, 1 month ago

Bahamian Lawyer crooks.?

No way, really??

1

John 5 years, 1 month ago

FOOD For Thought: Donald Trump admitted that he used US bankruptcy laws four times to walk away from his creditors. In 2009 he walked away owing creditors more than US $1 billion. Trump, who is now worth $10 billion sees nothing wrong with this. He says many companies including the largest U.S. Airlines file for bankruptcy that allows them to stay in business. He referred to his creditors as "scum" and says the law allowed him to keep thousands of persons employed. He says if elected as president of the USA he will use similar laws to cut the country's $83 trillion debt.

0

John 5 years, 1 month ago

In the main time China has agreed to a one-time devaluation of its currency to help stop its economy from slipping and preventing it from becoming another Greece

0

Wideawake 5 years, 1 month ago

Ms. Butler Turner has thrown down the gauntlet to Messrs. Mitchell and Gibson!! Good job! But initiating this process is just the beginning of what could be a long drawn out battle. Press releases, challenges and criticisms made across the floor of the House of Assembly are one thing; making any progress in having offending Ministers removed, or having them apologize and withdraw offensive remarks is quite another.

The same can said regarding Mr. Minnis' challenge to Attorney General Maynard Gibson; the remarks were justly made, but what happens next is far more difficult and much more important.

Empty rhetoric bouncing around the H of A changes nothing. We wait to see whether or not our Opposition is determined, persistent and skilled enough to achieve any meaningful changes.

2

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 1 month ago

We haven't heard Minnis or LBT state for the public record that an FNM government would immediately repeal the legislation passed that purports to 'legalize' the corrupt racketeering and other criminal activities of the foreign mobsters and their Bahamian front men (like Flowers and Bastian) who operate the illicit gaming houses now found on just about every street corner. Here's a question to be put to Minnis and LBT: "How much money did the FNM party and/or any of its candidates receive in the last general election from enterprises connected to Flowers and/or Bastian or the gaming houses run by them and how much more money does the FNM party and/or any of its candidates expect to receive from these same 'illicit' sources in the run up to the next general election?"

2

sheeprunner12 5 years, 1 month ago

The present Bahamian/Nassau population doesn't have the guts to do that ...... sorry

0

Sign in to comment