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Poitier Speaks On $1 Million Consultancy Debacle

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

THE consultant whose $1m contract with the Ministry of Tourism has come under public scrutiny yesterday responded to assertions that he was being paid an “outrageous” sum for having done little work, as he rejected the suggestion of being involved in anything “crooked or underhanded”.

Ian Poitier, a Bahamian engaged by the previous Christie administration for culture related consultancy services, released an 11-page response to Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar who on Thursday told parliamentarians that he discovered that the consultant was paid over $400,000 a year, “more than the combined salary of over seven Cabinet ministers”.

Mr D’Aguilar said the issue “smells fishy,” adding that he has ordered that no further payments be made to him. He did not disclose Mr Poitier’s name when he made the remarks.

Mr Poitier has a law degree from Oxford University.

He has co-written and directed musical productions in the United Kingdom, and has directed the Cacique Awards ceremony in the Bahamas for a number of years.

Mr Poitier yesterday clarified that his expertise and credentials were solicited by the previous government as he defended his reputation.

He also claimed that what he was paid as a consultant was lower when compared to other consultants paid to do similar work in the Bahamas, in the Caribbean region and globally.

Mr Poitier said he finds the dilemma to be “truly bizarre” but admitted that his singular mistake “has been in not absolutely insisting that I was provided with a signed contract before starting the work.”

“Although he (Mr D’Aguilar) did not mention me by name, taking together all the details mentioned, I surmised that he was referring to me. Others have clearly concluded the same,” Mr Poitier’s statement noted.

“In his remarks relating to me, the minister made the following allegations: That there was something ‘fishy’ about my consultancy with the government; that executives at the Ministry of Tourism think that whatever work I’ve done doesn’t represent value for money; that the minister couldn’t find any evidence of what I’ve done; that I have been paid outrageous sums of money (and) that the minister could find no evidence of a signed contract, implying that no contract exists.

“Because of the damage that the minister’s remarks have had on my reputation, in this statement I wish urgently to refute each of these allegations in turn. Taken together, the minister’s statements paint a picture which is inaccurate, incomplete and misleading,” Mr Poitier continued.

He said he was due to meet with Mr D’Aguilar at 4pm on Thursday, only to have the meeting cancelled abruptly.

“That said, even though the minister has not extended the courtesy to me of speaking with me or meeting me once since his appointment, I feel constrained from entering into too much detail in public at the moment, as I still have an effective consultancy agreement with the government. And I will continue to offer the minister all the respect and courtesies and discretion due to him, as I did to members of the previous administration.

“At the outset, I should emphasise that I am an independent person, a private citizen. As such, I will continue jealously to guard and defend my reputation, by whatever means necessary. Also, I did not hire me. If the minister’s quarrel is with the previous administration, then it is regrettable that he did not make that clear. I hope that members of the previous government will issue appropriate statements setting out the facts for the minister.”

On the issue of the amount of money he was paid, he noted: “One of the most egregious allegations is that I have been paid outrageous sums of money to do this work. Before I go further, I must emphasise that I have been providing consultancy services to the government of the Bahamas, not working as an employee. As such I am responsible for all the costs arising out of that consultancy.

“These include payments to other people, third-parties, for all the work they do to support me, as well as all other business expenses. The negotiations regarding the work I was to deliver, was predicated on me setting up a separate company to carry out the work. I set up a company for this purpose, at some cost. I was told in the meantime to invoice the Ministry of Tourism in my own name, and that once the contract was fully executed, the paperwork should be transferred to the company. This I did, and I named the consultancy in memory of my sister, who had recently passed away. As the contract was not executed, I have allowed the company to go dormant.

“I will not engage in a discussion regarding my personal finances.”

Background

In his statement, Mr Poitier recalled leaving the Bahamas in 1980 at the age of 15 and “living and working abroad mostly in London, for 34 years.”

In his formative years, he attended the Lester B Pearson United World College in Canada for his International Baccalaureate before proceeding to Oxford to undertake training in law.

He then went on to train in musical theatre at The Arts Educational Schools in London and after this worked on numerous projects in the United Kingdom.

“At the invitation of the government, I returned home in October 2014 to undertake a three-year consultancy,” he noted.

“Throughout my entire career, never once, not once, has my integrity ever been called into question. I have worked on projects for the British government, Buckingham Palace, the European Commission and some of the largest corporations in the world eg, the BBC, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Sky Television, American Express, GlaxoSmithKline etc. I have also worked for some of the smallest start-ups, and have my own established entrepreneurial ventures. I have sat on the boards of charities, and been engaged in a number of non-governmental organisations. Never once has my character been called into question. I don’t tell lies. I have never defrauded anybody. I treat people with courtesy and respect. I work hard, and always above and beyond the call of duty. I produce work that is world-class and of the highest quality. I deliver.

“The suggestion that I would be involved in anything crooked, or underhanded, or not above-board, or in any way dishonest, is profoundly upsetting and offensive. I reject it in the strongest possible terms. My reputation is spotless, and having been drawn into this kind of scandal, deeply saddens me.”

He further wished to correct the “false impression” left by the minister that he was merely a cultural consultant to the Ministry of Tourism.

“This ignores the substantial body of work that I have delivered over the past two and a half years which does not relate to culture or to tourism, work considered by many to have been of high quality.

“It is extremely disingenuous of the minister to claim that he could find no evidence of what I’ve done. He could have asked his permanent secretary, who I recently updated several weeks ago with a full list of my accomplishments and achievements. He could even have asked me!”

Among other contributions, Mr Poitier claimed to have led the creation of a National Cultural Development Strategy (incorporated into National Development Plan); led development of new National Centre for Performing Arts; authored a creative industries strategic framework which is in progress; authored a downtown and cruise ship development strategy and served as an advisor to a Bahamian music song competition.

He also claimed to be a general policy adviser to the prime minister and said he would review and comment on third-party proposals for minister of tourism.

Mr Poitier also said he wrote, produced, choreographed and/or directed national, international events namely the Bahamas independence celebrations; Exuma Heritage Festival; Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival opening ceremonies among several other events.

Mr Poitier said that notwithstanding the last few days: “I don’t regret coming home. It has not always been easy, but it is still home.”

“It will probably be more difficult now to persuade others to follow me, once they hear of my experience. To be attacked by a minister in Parliament, and then by members of the public, when you have just always tried to do your best...it’s upsetting, an aspect of life in the Bahamas that is not better. Thankfully my work is still highly-valued in the UK and the United States. If the minister specifically, and the new government generally, wishes me to continue to help, then I remain ready to work on behalf of the country.”

Comments

sheeprunner12 4 days, 3 hours ago

Well ........... If he is so "hurt" about being mis-characterized by DD ........ then publish his $1 million contract and his detailed records of income collected from the Treasury and his expenditures to the vendors ......... And show us where you got paid from the PLP to showcase their convention.............. Until that is done, sit small or just go away!!!!!!!!! Perry and Obie were just "pissing away" our money ....... Shame!!!!!!!!

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banker 4 days, 3 hours ago

Right on -- let's see the body of his work. It could have been sent out to tender, and done for a fraction of the price.

I laughed out loud when it was reported that he had written that he is not and employee but a consultant and needed the money to support his activities. How about a work breakdown structure (WBS) of the things that he claims to have done with milestone and milestone payments. That is how truly professional consultants operate. Show us the Gantt charts, milestones and work breakdown structures. Are they part of the 11 pages? I doubt it !!

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yari 4 days, 1 hour ago

I couldn't have said it better. We want to know what work he did and not see a list of his accomplishments and achievements which might have nothing to do with his consultancy.

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gbgal 4 days, 3 hours ago

The lessons learned here: ensure the paperwork is in place to leave the legitimate paper trail. Act like a businessman as well as a creative consultant!

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CatIslandBoy 4 days, 1 hour ago

I don't understand why everyone is upset with Mr. Poitier. The anger, if necessary, should be directed at the PLP government who made the arrangements with him, and paid the money to him. Come on Bahamians, we are better than that. In my professional experience, most creative artist are not very good businessmen. They are usually too consumed in their work. I have never had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Poitier, but I have seen his work, and would readily attest to it being first-class, on par with anything I have seen in the U.S. or Europe.

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jackbnimble 4 days, 1 hour ago

"most creative artist"??? I do believe he said he had a law degree. Surely he was taught in law school to cross his "t's" and dot his "i's". Because the big wigs in the Government did not find it fitting to put a proper contract in place which detailed what nearly half a million of taxpayers' dollars was being spent on, does not in any way exempt him just because he didn't see fit to insist on it. Mr. Poitier was at the very least complicit in this matter. He is by no means innocent!

I'm also glad that you had had the benefit of seeing his work and can vouch that it was worth $400,000 per annum. I wish that the taxpayers had this benefit because I can't think of anyone outside of you and former Minister who agree with this. It's bullshi*!!

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CatIslandBoy 3 days, 20 hours ago

No where did I say that the work I saw was worth $400,000.00 per year. I simply said that the productions I saw was first class, on par with anything I had seen in Europe or the USA. My focus in all this is on the PLP Cabinet ministers who were responsible for approving and paying him. I honestly don't see how the fault lies with Mr. Poitier. If it is proven that he did no work for the money received, then yes he is complicit in a scheme to fleece the public treasury. Until then, I will shine the spotlight on the public officials who authorized the payments.

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 12 hours ago

" don't understand why everyone is upset with Mr. Poitier. "

I think it's because he's black and Bahamian and wth is "culture". I haven't heard anyone accuse him of being crooked in his past business dealings. Seems like an above intelligence guy paid to oversee and advise on general policy (not culture).

No one's asked what the Nhi consultants did for millions of dollars even though Dr Sands basically said they have to start over, ....that's "start over". No ones gone as far as to question their "supposed" degrees yet, guess it could start anytime soon. Why hasn't anyone asked about the 500,000 to clean the abaco unopened clinic? Probably because professing to know how to "mop" doesn't really incense anyone.

Daguilar has a lot to answer for. No one finds it troubling that he did this in just 30 days? it took Fitzgerald four years to believe he could say whatever he wanted to in Parliament. Wonder if he'll be censured for misleading parliament. Would be a good example for Minnis to set, let his ministers know that it's a serious matter when they present partial incorrect information as the whole truth

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 12 hours ago

The issue doesn't seem to be that a 400,000 contract was awarded, that would have put pressure on the persons who awarded the contract. The issue really seems to be that Mr Poitier got it.

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CatIslandBoy 3 days, 6 hours ago

I couldn't agree with you more. Bahamians really eat their own alive!

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licks2 3 days, 6 hours ago

Mr. Poitier is a trained lawyer. . .he lived in London and other places. . .1st world nations I assume. . .HIS NONSENSE COULD NOT TAKE PLACE IN ANY OF THOSE NATIONS. . .no scope of works. . .little paint here and little there. . .or none at all. . .how are we to know? Smells like friends, family and lovers. . .vintage PLP skulduggery!

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Regardless 4 days, 1 hour ago

.....what amazes is that these gaysters claim to have the monopoly on anything creative. Too many creative endeavors have been left in a loss situation when they have been " produced" by gaysters. How would a UK resident gayster know anything about contribution to culture over these many decades? This whole thing reeks of nepotism and gayster network nonsense.

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Reality_Check 4 days ago

Re-post: So Fat Head Obie thinks this fella Ian Poitier is the greatest thing since sliced bread just because he claims to be the first Bahamian to have graduated from Oxford with a law degree. Now that's a real joke if ever I heard one! Let's just think for a brief moment how truly dumb, deceitful and conniving this Ian Poitier must really be. Poitier acknowledges having received large sums of money from the Bahamian government (i.e. from us, the people, as taxpayers) without a signed contract of any kind, purportedly for having rendered valuable services to the Bahamian people. No normal right thinking smart and honest person would ever have done this against the backdrop of the many well publicized allegations of massive corruption made against the Christie-led PLP government throughout its five-year term. Poitier smugly and contemptuously now suggests he had every right to take the very large sums of money paid to him because it was the PLP government's fault (specifically the fault of Obie as then Minister of Tourism and Christie as then Minister of Finance) that no contract was ever properly approved and put in place. Clearly Poitier, with the Oxford law degree he claims to have earned, is not smart enough to appreciate that honest and decent people do not do what he has done......Poitier's actions alone in this matter make him no different than most of the low life thugs (like Sebas Bastian) that Fat Head Obie and Crooked Christie have had many corrupt dealings with at the expense of honest hardworking Bahamian taxpayers. Frankly Ian Poitier is a disgrace to Oxford and that venerable institution of higher learning should strip him of whatever degree(s) they may have awarded him.

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Baha10 3 days, 23 hours ago

As an Oxford Graduate, this "Consultant" should have no issue Accounting in Detail by way of Verifiable Work Product for this $1mil. per year Contract, nor for that matter, any issue with publishing it in The Tribune for all and sundry to see, as after all, it was "the People's Money" from which he was paid and as a Patriotic Bahamian who claims to be of the highest integrity, he should welcome such opportunity to restore his much maligned reputation.

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BahamaPundit 3 days, 21 hours ago

Excellent point Baha10. Oxford is all about integrity and transparency. A true oxford grad who represented the spirit of Oxford would do this right away in mind numbing detail.

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 20 hours ago

Wow, he's a "thief, dumb,deceitful, conniving and he really didn't graduate from oxford". Also heard that he's not a "real" Bahamian, how could he leave for 30 years and just want to come back like that taking jobs from ..Bahamians

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 19 hours ago

The weird thing is if any one of these people had an opportunity to sign a 400,000 contract they'd take it. Heard someone say he should have refused it if he really loved the country...BOL

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Reality_Check 3 days, 6 hours ago

Now you're flying your true colours @ThisisOurs. Suggest you don't for a moment deceive yourself into thinking most of us are like you and Ian Poitier when it comes to succumbing to the temptation to take something for little or nothing from known corrupt individuals like Wilchcombe and Christie. Just speak for yourself and what you would do and don't assume the rest of us are like you and Ian Poitier!

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realfreethinker 3 days, 3 hours ago

Thisisours there was NO CONTRACT,and I beliveve that was intentionally done so that he can put any old shit on paper now and say this what I was paid for,without anything to compare it to.

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 20 hours ago

Haven't heard anything about daguilar using parliament to report incorrect information ...but that's ok, he didn't go to oxford and he never left...

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ohdrap4 3 days, 9 hours ago

gee, relax, this thing hit a never, didn't it?

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 9 hours ago

Actually thought I was pretty calm, I reexamined my approach when I read the vitriol in the other posts, I actually said to myself "gee, did I sound like that?". People seem pleased to tear this man apart...I'm trying to figure out for what??? But yes, I'm sorely disappointed in daguilar I thought he would be one of the shining stars...but he keeps making oddball statements and now this...the contrast between him and sands is amazing, I would never have expected such a large difference in professionalism.

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themessenger 3 days, 9 hours ago

Completely irrelevant to this discussion of course, but those pictures on the front page of the Punch yesterday were hysterical, LMAO.

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concernedcitizen 3 days, 9 hours ago

This is the same old ,family ,friends and lovers ,,I will bet dollars to donuts he does not keep the whole 400,000 k ,,,he splits it w his lover ,,you figure out who that is

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licks2 3 days, 6 hours ago

Mr. Poitier, as a lawyer would never have enter into a legitimate work. . .with such heavy risk for liabilities unless there is a contract with any person. I did some search on his history. . .as a professional culture expert. . .law. . .cinematography. . .writer. . .MP Wilchcombe 1st. cousin. . . and the only person in his company in London. . .no other record of any other endevour any where else in the world that gives him claim to fame to demand his price from the government! Now we can't tell what he did. . .nothing in writing for us. . .just his word!! This case is just like the Bamsi crap. . .PLP family, friends and lovers getting a big ride at the expense of the people! MR POITIER SEEM SHODDY AS HIS BENEFACTORS IN THE PLP. . . HIS CASE IS JUST LIKE MR. DAVIS GIVING HIS BOYS THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT WITHOUT AN INSURANCE. . .MR. POITIER COULD CARRY HIS BACKSIDE FROM AROUND HERE. . .HE MAKES NO SENSE. . .AND ANY PERSON WHO JUSTIFIES HIS SKULDUGGERY IS NOT BEING HONEST. . .THEY CAN'T SAY BECAUSE HE IS A BAHAMIAN WE SHOULD ALLOW HIS BULL PIES TO SLIDE. . . THIS THE SAME KIND OF NONSENSE THAT ALLOW THE PLP TO DO SO MUCH FOOLISHNESS!! THIS CASE SHOULD BE TURNED OVER TO THE POLICE FOR THEIR INVESTIGATION!! TIME FOR THIS KIND OF THIRD WORLD THINKING IS OVER. . .GET THEM SLIMES!!!

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CatIslandBoy 3 days, 6 hours ago

I will never understand why some of the bloggers on this page have to be so mean-spirited in their comments directed at Mr. Poitier. Someone even have him being paid a million dollars a year. Are you that self-hating, or Jealous? Typical Bahamian traits, I know. What does his possible lifestyle have to do with the conversation? Can't we simply remain focused on the malfeasance of the PLP administration?

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realfreethinker 3 days, 3 hours ago

Catislandboy he is a part of the malfeasance of the plp. Don't think for a second the lack of a contract is an oversight.

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