301 total votes.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Free National Movement yesterday demanded the immediate resignation of Minister of Works Philip “Brave” Davis after he “misled” Bahamians as the party revealed plans to request a nationally broadcast Public Accounts Committee hearing into matters related to the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute.
If Mr Davis does not resign or is not fired by Prime Minister Perry Christie, the FNM threatened to march through the streets of New Providence in the name of democracy.
This comes in the aftermath of several revelations that suggest “malfeasance” during the contract awarding process of the $2.6m BAMSI dorm that was damaged by fire two months ago, party leader Dr Hubert Minnis said.
The matter led Mr Davis to make two conflicting statements in the House of Assembly. Mr Davis told Parliament on February 25 that contractor’s all-risk insurance had been engaged at the start of the project, but because of negligence by the contractor the policy had lapsed.
However, last Wednesday Mr Davis admitted that the building was never covered by insurance, a fact he said he did not learn until receiving the contractor’s file on March 2.
The contractor, Audley Hanna, president of Paradigm Construction, had only provided an insurance quote for coverage to the Ministry of Works.
The differences in the two statements, Dr Minnis said during a press conference at the party’s headquarters, warrants recourse.
“By High Parliamentary Convention,” Dr Minnis said, “there is only one recourse when a Cabinet minister misleads Parliament – he must resign.
“The FNM hereby demands the immediate resignation of Mr Philip Davis. Prime Minister Christie’s entire government and leadership are called into question if he does not.
“There can be no excuse-making. There can be no distorting of the issues.
“...This saga further reveals Prime Minister Christie’s weak leadership in allowing an inexcusable pattern of mis-statements and untrue comments on the part of the minister of works which warrant and demand his resignation from office, or his being fired.”
Dr Minnis said to mislead the House deliberately, or to come to the House and make a false statement knowingly or unknowingly is the same thing. He told party supporters that it was a fundamental breach of the standards of conduct and the duty of a Cabinet minister.
He insisted that his party was concerned about the way the Christie administration will allocate and spend the public’s money on BAMSI.
“BAMSI is projected to consume $100m of the public’s money. To date, the country is unclear on how much of this money has been spent and exactly what the balance will be spent on.
“Furthermore, Parliament has not had site of the business plan to get a sense of how the Bahamian people will recoup such a hefty investment in an initiative that competes with the very commercial and educational enterprises it vows to assist.”
The government now projects that it will cost $5.5m to reconstruct the damaged dorm, which will be reconfigured from single occupancy to double. Mr Hanna has said he is willing to rebuild the dorm without cost to the government if he is re-engaged.