Opposition leader Philip 'Brave' Davis pictured speaking in the House of Assembly recently.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis is frustrated that members of the governing party have been allowed to make claims in Parliament about the former Christie administration that paints it in a negative light without tabling proof to substantiate their claims.
Mr Davis expressed his frustration in the House of Assembly yesterday after allegations were made that the former administration entered into numerous contracts and deals just before the May 10 general election.
The local dailies reported Thursday that, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, the former administration signed off on “millions of dollars” in contracts within two days before the election and that hundreds of people were employed days before the vote.
“The headlines in The Tribune and most of the dailies this morning,” Mr Davis said, “speaks to the granting of contracts just before the election. Knowing how these things work moved me to ask (Wednesday) for particulars of these contracts so we could better able to respond to it. We do not expect from this side that the dailies will be fair in their commentary or investigative work with respect to our response, but we wish to ensure that the official record would be able to have us respond to them.
“You will recall yesterday (Wednesday) following the conclusion of the contribution of the minister (of finance), the minister made some allegations, one of which concerned the granting of contracts on the 8th and 9th of May. And I wanted to be specific. I made my notes of what he said and got a copy of his contribution and what he said was off script, not a part of his written contribution. I ask that he provide us with the particulars of these contracts. In the course of his discourse he mentioned contracts in Acklins, giving particulars of those contracts which the member for Englerston was able to demonstrate was patently false because the contracts that were issued did not accord with the comments he made about those particulars.”
If “particulars” aren’t given when allegations are being made, the Official Opposition is placed in an unfair position, Mr Davis said.
Ultimately, House Speaker Halson Moultrie ruled that Mr Davis should address such concerns during his budget speech.
Mr Moultrie suggested that the PLP was not the only party that may have been unfairly affected by negative stories Thursday.
He said: “Having also examined the headlines in the newspaper today (Thursday)…we can also consider that there were allegations headlined in the newspaper against the member for East Grand Bahama where no particulars were provided and certain allegations were made that could have the effect of affecting his character particularly with respect to conflict of interest. In fairness of both sides, this matter should be reserved.”
Mr Moultrie was likely referring to a story in The Tribune about a spat in Parliament on Wednesday between Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin and Mr Turnquest.
So far during the budget debate, the governing party has frequently accused the former administration of entering into deals and employment arrangements with people close to the election and of having paid out large sums of money under dubious circumstances during the past five years.
The governing party has not, however, provided specifics relating to a number of its most explosive claims.
For example, Mr Turnquest said during his speech in the House Wednesday that the former administration paid $20 million to a single consultant over the past five years.
It has not been revealed who the consultant was nor what services were offered.