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Sir Franklyn To The Us: ‘Cure Yourself’

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A well-known businessman yesterday said there was less corruption per capita in the Bahamas and English-speaking Caribbean than the US, and told the Obama administration: “Cure yourself.”

Sir Franklyn Wilson, hitting back at the allegations levelled against the Bahamas in the US State Department’s recently-released human rights report, told Tribune Business that the US lacked “clean hands” when it came to corruption and inadequate transparency in public life.

The Arawak Homes and Sunshine Insurance chairman said the US report again showed Bahamians how the country was forced to complete on an ‘uneven playing field’, with “one law” for the US and large nations, and another for their smaller counterparts.

To support his case, Sir Franklyn pointed to financial services, branding the US as the “world’s biggest tax haven”, where investors were able to enjoy levels of secrecy that the Bahamas and other international financial centres (IFCs) are no longer able to provide.

He added that the State Department’s report again showed why it was vital for Bahamians to unite to defend the country’s national interests, regardless of political affiliation and allegiances.

“My point to them in America is: Look inside,” Sir Franklyn blasted in response to the 2015 Human Rights report. “I think strong language is needed to the government of the US at the highest levels: Cure yourself.

“I am positive that on a proportionate basis, there is less corruption in the Bahamas or any English-speaking country in the Caribbean than there is in the US.

“I think of the Americans; when you want to lead the world on these matters, you need to come with clean hands,” the businessman added. “People will not do it on the basis of what you say, but what you do.

“The level of corruption in the US is such that they are not good leaders for anybody in the world, including the Bahamas. I encourage all Bahamians to say to the US: Thank you, but mind your own business. I say that without regard to the party in power.”

The concerns voiced in the latest US State Department report largely echo what was contained in its ‘Investment Climate’ reports on the Bahamas for the past two years. Both those documents expressed similar concerns about public sector contract tender/bidding processes, and the associated lack of transparency.

However, the human rights report’s language is much stronger. It said: “The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. However, the Government did not implement the law effectively, and officials engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were frequent reports of government corruption during the year.

“The procurement process was particularly susceptible to corruption, as it is opaque, contains no requirement to engage in open public tenders, and does not allow award decisions to be reviewed.”

The report has produced sharp reactions from all sides of the political divide. Branville McCartney, the Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) leader, described it as “a damning indictment” of the Bahamas’ governance, which threatened to “sully” this nation’s international reputation.

However, Tall Pines MP, Leslie Miller, echoed Sir Franklyn by describing the US report as “baseless”, adding that it was Americans who taught Bahamians “how to be crooked”.

He then described the Bahamas’ system of patronage, and the awarding of government contracts to family and political supporters, as the most natural thing in the world, asserting that it will “never stop” because politicians must “do what they have to do” to win elections.

Sir Franklyn, meanwhile, acknowledged that it was impossible for the Bahamas to ignore the report “because the US is the US”.

Yet he added: “It’s important for the people of the Bahamas to understand that the US operates to different rules, one for them and one for the rest of the world...

“The US is becoming one of the biggest tax havens in the world because more and more investors can do in the US what they cannot do in the Bahamas, Panama, Turks & Caicos and Cayman.

“The fact is that the US uses its might in ways which places like the Bahamas cannot.”

A key factor behind the accusations of hypocrisy levelled at the likes of the G-7/G-20, and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), in their anti-IFC offensive is that they have done nothing to deter the activities of US states such as Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming.

These states offer clients levels of secrecy that the Bahamas and IFCs were forced to give up back in 2000, and still allow investors to use bearer shares - the same instrument this nation abolished at the turn of the century.

“Simple things like opening a bank account; the OECD put all those rules on us,” Sir Franklyn told Tribune Business. “Is the US in compliance with OECD rules? That’s the question.

“Tell the OECD to go and deal with the US, and the US will tell them: Go to hell. They don’t go to hell: They come to countries like the Bahamas and beat up on us.

“I want the Bahamian people to understand they have certain rights to be in the world, and operate without fear. It should be fair, and today there’s so much lack of fairness. They [the US] can ignore the OECD because they’re big and powerful. We can’t, and that’s not fair.”

Sir Franklyn called on Bahamians to set aside partisan politics and realise there was a “Bahamian national interest” that needed to be defended.

“It’s my hope that more and more Bahamians understand the concept of national interest, and we stand up and defend it as best we can without regard to the party in power,” he told Tribune Business.

“It’s my hope that by 2040, more Bahamians will be prepared to stand up and tell big countries that it’s not fair.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 2 months ago

Snake is about the last person we should want speaking out in defense of the extraordinarily high level of politically connected corruption in our country today. Snake oozes corruption as a long-time crony of the PLP party, especially under Christie, but his grossly inflated ego, shamelessness and loud boisterous mouth allow him to carry all of the corruption on his shoulders so well!

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 2 months ago

We will do well to put in place some anti-trust laws like the USA to curb the greed of Snake and his Sunshine Boys ........... I will bet my last dollar that the Numbers Boys are allied with the Sunshine Boys in these webshop & TV business ventures

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justthefactsplease 4 years, 2 months ago

Sir Frank (snicker), while the US may be corrupt, they have often locked up high profile persons who have been caught and convicted of corruption. Name ONE Bahamian who has been convicted of corruption in your lifetime Sir Frank. There in lies the REAL difference. I really didn't expect a different response from Frank though because he has benefited greatly from the corruption here at home...such as $1 land in Eleuthera.

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MonkeeDoo 4 years, 2 months ago

The Webshop boys are the new Sunshine boys. Snake crying now because he can't sell houses but he don't want to call a spade a spade and blame the webshops so he says it is Commonwealth Bank lending for fridges and stoves and front-room-suites.

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Clamshell 4 years, 2 months ago

Maybe Sir Frank can explain where all his investors' money disappeared to at his bankrupt development on Eleuthera. Spent tens of millions of $$ on a hole in the ground. In the US, he would be in prison.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 2 months ago

I am not going to bat for Mr. Wilson or the PLP but you'll miss the whole point. What he is saying is "take the log out of your eyes and then you will be able to see more clearly to take the speck out of someone else's eye".On human rights, no other country have a prison full of alleged terrorists who have not seen a judge to determine innocence or guilt. We have an extradition law that works in one direction. Numerous Bahamians have been extradited to the USA but not one US citizen extradited to the Bahamas. We were pressured to do away with our bank secrecy laws when the same laws exist in the US. On corruption, a former speaker of the House was charge with violating Federal Banking Laws paying hush money to a young man whom he molested. Yes he is on his way to jail but you'll need to remember that a 200 plus year old democracy is more mature than a 43 year old democracy.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

Yep, and those laws were passed here in 2006 under secrecy during the time when the cameras were banished from the House. Remember when Perry showed up and found out that everyone knew the cameras were gone but him - and he was upset?

Ingraham passed 6 secret finance laws that same week. What a coincidence. All under orders to Cabinet from the US I am sure.

There is nothing we can do because we can't have any farms in the Bahamas. Anytime we try - they are magically burned down or suffer some other strange malady.

The US does not want us to be able to feed ourselves - that way they can keep us under their thumb.

Kids today don't even understand this. They believe food comes from McDonalds.

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abacobandit 4 years, 2 months ago

This is so ridiculous it is embarrassing - What a hypocrite he is to think Bahamians can tell anyone about healing themselves from corruption. I have traveled this whole world, and The Bahamas is the most corrupt country without doubt.

Everyone from Customs officers to MPs to the Police has their hand out, you see the rampant corruption on nearly every corner, and every walk of life.

Bahamas heal thyself first!

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 2 months ago

The USA write these reports because it is their job to do so, they are powerful, so they beat up on small Countries. oh should i say some small Countries. Mind you they alwyas did business with China, but Cuba was a black sheep. which of the two was worst?. Abaco Bandit you night have travelled the world who knows?. but to say the Bahamas is the most corrupt Country is an outright lie, and I hope you know when you are telling lies.

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abacobandit 4 years, 2 months ago

birdiestrachan,

Not a lie at all: The Bahamas is the only place I have - with my own eyes watched candidates for MP pay voters cash for a vote. The Bahamas is the only place I have seen Police turn loose a criminal for cash. The Bahamas is the only place I have seen a poor man become MP, and be a multi-millionaire 5 years later on an MP's pay? You are a coward, and a liar to try to deny the truth, and defend the indefensible.

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SP 4 years, 2 months ago

.... Da Official Front Man, Sir Jackass Snake is attempting to defend the indefensible ....

This is a very short and easily settled argument.

Records confirm as of 1777 hundreds of American federal politicians were convicted of crimes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...

Now we simply compare the number of corrupt Bahamian politicians who were convicted of crimes.

"Crickets chirp...None!

The only “Bahamian national interest” that need to be defended is those of us vehemently opposed to decades of entrenched systemic and endemic corruption decimating our country and people would LOVE to see the US bitch slap the PLP and FNM out of existence.

Case closed.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 2 months ago

Wrong SP. There was one conviction and jailed Bahamian politician. If we were to use the link you prescribed it shows 1 US politician conviction in the first 20 years of the US becoming a nation with a population of 4 million at the time. The Bahamas showed 1 conviction with a population of 200,000 in the first 20 years of it becoming a nation. Do the math.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

and now what. does that make the Bahamas a corruption-free country?

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Clamshell 4 years, 2 months ago

Really, Deddie, comparisons between the 1700s and the modern era are pointless. You're overlooking the reality that when the Bahamas became a nation, it inherited a fully formed justice system from the British.

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SP 4 years, 2 months ago

DEDDIE.......... "Doing the math" is not nearly as much fun as a fishing expedition..........

Eureka,....Caught one! The gullibility of corrupt friends, family and lovers of corrupt politicians renders them easily recognizable and trapped. These are the people quick to defend their pirate captains and crew, waltzing around trying to convince others that "all is well" in Bahamas under their tribal pirate leadership.

I am well aware of former Trinidadian Justice Alfred 1989 conviction of then Acklins and Crooked Island MP, the late Wilbert Moss, for attempting to bribe a magistrate on behalf of a constituent. Mr Moss was accused of offering a $10,000 “advantage” to the magistrate.

You swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker that exposes the classic example of highest level of corruption rampant in Bahamas with politicians and the Judiciary!

However, this one "accidental conviction" by a foreign Justice, even when coupled with the Eisel Sherman passport selling scandal (which you somehow missed) pails miserably to compare with the US conviction record, especially considering the massive scale of corruption well known to exist at highest levels in Bahamas for eons. Brush up on your ciphering.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 2 months ago

Your emphatic "none" written above states otherwise. You knew the truth but to boost your argument your provided some intellectual fallacy to support your lie. Even when caught, you gave voice to the description, "the truth is not in him."Nevertheless, you still miss my point.In other words,don't expect the same level of judicial prudence from a 43 year democracy when compared to a 240 year old democracy.

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SP 4 years, 2 months ago

........................................... 43 year democracy my foot! ........................................

Governor Woodes Rogers‘ slogan when he became governor of the Bahamas in 1717 was certain, CLEAR and swift, “Piracy Expelled, Commerce Restored,” (Expulsis Piratis/Restituta Commercia). Which remained the national motto of the Bahamas until independence in 1973 when your crew of pirates changed it to .. "Piracy Revived, Commerce Destroyed!" ( Piracy revixit commercii conterentur)..

Only a graduate of Zhivargo Laing's 49% is the same as 51% school of deception could equate 1717 to 1973 as 43 years.

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avidreader 4 years, 2 months ago

It is with amazement that I read what "Abacobandit" wrote about The Bahamas being the most corrupt country in the world. Apparently he/she knows nothing of Mexico, Turkey, Nigeria, Iraq, Malaysia, etc. Corruption in any country on any scale is a negative influence but to say that this country excels in this area of criminal activity is ridiculous. Perhaps his/her opinion reveals a lack of a wider world view/perspective or a downright lack of even basic loyalty to their country. I was taught that one may disagree with the government of the day but not to carry this feeling so far as to turn against their own country. In 1991 at the beginning of the First Gulf War to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait an American reporter was interviewing an Iraqi student in Paris. When the young man was asked if he would reveal the position or presence of certain weapons in Iraq (if he had such information) his reply was "Iraq is my country, not Saddam Hussein". I have always wanted to shake his hand.

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abacobandit 4 years, 2 months ago

I have actually visited most of the countries you reference, while you without doubt have not.
It is not lack of loyalty, or turning against the country to tell the truth, it is however cowardly to deny the truth, and continue to ignore the problem. You are part of the problem when you refuse to admit the truth, and effect change. Corruption in Government is rampant in many places, but in the Bahamas it permeates everything - top to bottom. Show me one single segment of Bahamian life not affected by corruption?

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MonkeeDoo 4 years, 2 months ago

Does Frankie think that RBC in Canada were happy to be forced to convert their loan to Cotton Bay to EQUITY !!!! I don't think so.

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Reality_Check 4 years, 2 months ago

Any banker who extends credit facilities to Sir Snake or his wife deserves the massive credit loss provisions that will eventually follow. Sir Snake has swindled more foreign investors, local banks and Bahamian property owners then virtually anyone else in our country today. And he's not a smart or shrewd businessman at all; quite the contrary, he's a con artist and bully rolled up in one (the worse kind) who is willing to spend some of ill-gotten gains to buy political favours and protection from our legal system. Yes, he does throw the occasional bone to a charitable organization, usually for the benefit of younger members of our society; but only because he believes it will help paint over his unsavoury character, especially in the eyes of those who don't know much about Sir Snake's legacy of dastardly deeds.

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