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Plps At Odds On Storm Cash

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis and former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson.

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis and former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said he does not know what specific process resulted in Johnathan Ash’s selection to provide more than $8m worth of cleanup services after Hurricane Matthew and that former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson, the hurricane czar, was head of processes related to such matters.

Mr Davis said the first time he became aware of the matter was when it was raised in Parliament this week, saying none of it came to his attention while he served as Minister of Works. However, he said he was advised that Mr Ash’s “contract award followed the usual procedures.”

His statement comes after Mr Gibson, when asked by The Tribune Wednesday for insight into how contracts were awarded in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, said: “Those were issued by Ministry of Works. Not me.”

During his contribution to the budget debate Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Mr Ash’s requests for payments were submitted through the Ministry of Works and the National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit (NRRU) which is in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

Dr Minnis described the payments to Mr Ash as “shocking.”

On Wednesday, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works, Colin Higgs, referred this newspaper and its questions about this matter to the director of public works. That person did not return The Tribune’s call. Additionally, Jack Thompson, the permanent secretary in the OPM, also declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday. Prior to his current post, Mr Thompson was the permanent secretary with responsibility for NEMA. He was based in the OPM.

A high-level source in the Ministry of Works referred The Tribune yesterday to the OPM since it was Dr Minnis who suggested in the House of Assembly that something untoward surrounds Mr Ash’s arrangements. However, up to press time, the Office of the Prime Minister did not respond to Mr Davis’ assertion that technical officers in the Ministry of Works knew about Mr Ash’s capacity to perform the work he did and that he received his contracts following the “usual procedures” of the ministry.

Asked if he was aware of anything related to Mr Ash’s contract when he was minister of works, Mr Davis said no.

“This never came before me,” he said. “The first time I was made aware of this matter was when I heard it in Parliament. What I’m saying is hurricane relief is a special effort and has a process of its own. In an effort to facilitate and expedite the recovery efforts, Minister Gibson was appointed specifically for that. My ministry had some technical responsibilities and oversight to ensure value was being given for money. I’m advised that my ministry also would’ve been involved in the selection of contractors. That would not have come to my attention. None of it would have come to my attention.”

Senator Fred Mitchell interjected and recalled teasing Mr Gibson about his appointment as hurricane czar during a press conference last year.

“You have to find a mechanism to cut through the bureaucracy,” Mr Mitchell said. “That literally was the issue that we were trying to resolve. How quickly can we get this thing up so people would stop complaining about how quickly they could get hurricane relief.”

Value

Although he did not know how Mr Ash received his contracts, Mr Davis said during hurricane restoration efforts little bidding takes place because of the urgent need to clean up islands.

“The contractor’s work and ability to perform was, I am advised, well known to the technical officers of the Ministry of Works,” he said. “The contractor is not, as far as I am aware, connected to the PLP. I am advised the company had the equipment and in an effort to ensure that the hurricane cleanup was done quickly and more effectively, a contractor with the expertise and skills and equipment was awarded the work. That contractor was Ash Enterprises.”

Mr Davis said that some of the money paid to Mr Ash was paid to the subcontractors and suppliers who assisted him in the clean-up that he supervised.

He did not know how many subcontractors were hired by Mr Ash.

But, he said: “I am advised that there was value for money.”

On Tuesday, Dr Minnis said there were 46 transactions made to Mr Ash through several of his companies totalling $7,056,348.24 and revealed that in at least two separate instances, Mr Ash received multiple cheques in one day. He also received $151,000 on May 9, the day before the election.

Dr Minnis said overall, Mr Ash pocketed $8,113,908.24.

He said two of Mr Ash’s companies were not registered with the Registrar General and one was registered only in February.

That the companies were not registered is irrelevant, Mr Davis said yesterday, adding that Dr Minnis was “grasping at straws.”

“It’s not necessary to have a registered company to do business,” he said. “It’s necessary to have a business license and to be compliant with taxes. He has those items so he could do business.”

Mr Davis criticised Dr Minnis for bringing private people into political debates.

“I don’t think it’s right for him to get up in Parliament and spew and call people’s name without real allegations being made,” he said. “If this contract was awarded, $8m was paid, then what next? What are you saying about it? If you’re saying something was wrong then have an investigation, put it in the right hands and then those investigations would reveal insight into what happened.”

Comments

jackbnimble 3 years, 8 months ago

No surprise here but you get lots of insight as to how these shysters were running our money. You gat a PM that clearly didn't trust his DPM and takes the major building contracts from under his portfolio (I believe Bannister referred to it as PPL) and assigns them to himself, constantly overrode his DPM and MOW protocol to give major contracts to the party's cronies with no oversight or accountability and then takes the management of the clean up effort after a hurricane with millions of dollars involved and places that into the hands of Shame Gibson - proverbially allowing the rat to guard the cheese - and now all this money has been paid out and nobody knows anything. DPM clueless, Shame don't know nothing and PM who probably was behind most of the shyterism ain't come up for air since that cut hip at the polls

Boy I tell you. You just can't make this stuff up.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 8 months ago

"#Although he did not know how Mr Ash received his contracts, Mr Davis said during hurricane restoration efforts little bidding takes place because of the urgent need to clean up islands."

This is craziness..we know hurricanes can happen every year, we know the various types of damages they can result from flooding to power restoration to cleanup. You know what "reasonable" rates you are willing to pay. As part of the preparation you put out an RFP for services and you establish a queue of legitimate businesses, you also have time ton spect their operations to ensure that they can do what they say they can do. There is no need to cut through anything. Before the hurricane hits, they're on notice, if the hurricane causes damage they're mobilized, if the first guys equipment was damaged you move to the second man in the queue. If everybody's equipment is damaged we have bigger problems than red tape.

And you certainly don't give the entire contract to one man who will take months to complete

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sealice 3 years, 8 months ago

This is getting funny they all trying toss each other under da jitney, like a bunch of potcakes running from a cat.....

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TalRussell 3 years, 8 months ago

Comrades! Look, Brave and Shane are not the only two politicians at odds..... We see PM Minnis and his Minister Finance "KP" - walking back on not only many of their campaign promises - but backing off of Budget commitments........ including promises remove VAT from bread basket items....how cruel is that on the thousands citizens who were most relying on taking advantage more affordable basic food items for their grocery cupboards.

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OldFort2012 3 years, 8 months ago

I have absolutely no doubt that the “contract award followed the usual procedures.”. We all know those procedures under the PLP: 20% kickback.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 8 months ago

No one has stolen anything and no one will go to jail. Because there is no proof. There has to be evidence .a police investigation and a case presented to the courts. many will be disappointed. This is Trump all over again, "Lock her up"

All of the constructed buildings in Freeport and Abaco were built by FNMs. The FNM IS guilty of everything they accuse the PLP off.

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banker 3 years, 8 months ago

Look at the two PLP fart-catchers here twisting themselves into pretzels either by trying to divert attention (look at the red shirts) or complete denial. They do not realise that the rest of us are not as stupid as them, or the PLPtards that they are used to lying to.

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TalRussell 3 years, 8 months ago

Comrade Banker, what no personal attack smear campaigns can ever paint over - is how the Red Shirts are finding it difficult to explain why their first order governing business is to lower taxes and costs for their own business types.... whilst refusing to help the many thousands left struggling to afford the most basic of 'bread basket' items. Under Minnis and KP - the families the dead - still have pay VAT bury their loved ones. Why not make 'Graveyard Plots' free for all citizens?

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Naughtydread 3 years, 8 months ago

You love this Bread Basket phrase boy looooooool. Someone of your intellect should be supervised when using the computer at all times.

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TalRussell 3 years, 8 months ago

Comrade NaughtyDread, I knows you thinks it's a bold statement to remind PM Minns and KP, about their often repeated 2017 campaign promises to reduce the costs on items which are 'important to the stomachs of thousands of our citizens - the most basic of the store shelves 'bread basket' items. Who could've even suspected how quickly cruel this red regime is demonstrating their lack passion for many of our society's most financially challenged. But then again, after reading over the 'declared net worth's' of the 2017 red shirts candidates - is it any wonder why they seldom have a need to shop for the most basic 'bread basket' of items off the food stores isles.

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 8 months ago

Perry (I couldn't manage a terlit) Christie better be seen in handcuffs before the end of this term....

The man is a traitor and a criminal. We need to treat him as such.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 8 months ago

Ah well the FNMs spew venom. The A students, the Rocket scientist, The Rhodes scholars. who wish to spite on human beings. the "D" graders know better. Our parents brought us up well. We know that we can respectfully disagree. If it means we are PLP more power to the PLP

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Porcupine 3 years, 8 months ago

birdie, right is right and wrong is wrong. Get this PLP and FNM thing out of your mind. It is hurting the country, as if this isn't abundantly clear from the failed state status we are in. Quit tilting at politicians. You have as much culpability as anyone for the sorry state of this nation, because instead of ideas, you grasp on to a party.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 8 months ago

And if no one ends up getting prosecuted for all of the outright fraud and theft that occurred during the five-year term of the last government, then perhaps it is Minnis who should be.......well, you can fill in the blank for yourself!

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 8 months ago

And I don't believe a word Shame says. The czar knows just who got what, from Ministry of housing to NIB. It's his job to know

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Reality_Check 3 years, 8 months ago

Davis and Gibson remind me of Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. The first line of defense for the Nazi war criminals was: "Yes I was in charge, but I had no way of knowing, and therefore did not know, what was going on!" The second line of defense was: "Hitler {Christie} made me do it or face certain {political} death!"

In the court of public opinion, both Davis and Gibson are guilty as sin for having abused their public office and the public trust for their own self-gain at great expense for all honest and hardworking Bahamian taxpayers. They must rightfully be made to pay for their crimes after full and proper investigations have been conducted to gather the actual evidence of their criminal conduct. As a lawyer, you would think Davis would at least know that dereliction of sworn duty as a cabinet minister is certainly no defense under the law!

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Porcupine 3 years, 8 months ago

Davis uses his law degree as a weapon against the rest of us.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 8 months ago

Perry was the PM who did not trust or like his Deputy (Brave) ......... Perry had a loyal inner circle of Three (Shame, Allyson & Fitzie) who knew how to make the big money deals for the PLP elite ......... then Perry had the "others" (like Fweddy, D.D, Obie & Gray) who were also enjoying the joy-ride ...... Finally, there were the starving underlings who were just hanging on to the side of the boat (some got kicked off)

This stink revelation will expose all of the vicious PLP inner conflicts ........ CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 8 months ago

...and right here lies the problem...any HONEST individual will get the runaround, have to present all articles of incorporation, tax compliance certificates, etc, etc, to be eligible to conduct business for or on behalf of the government...but then you have this...

"#He said two of Mr Ash’s companies were not registered with the Registrar General and one was registered only in February.

That the companies were not registered is irrelevant, Mr Davis said yesterday, adding that Dr Minnis was “grasping at straws.”

“It’s not necessary to have a registered company to do business,” he said. “It’s necessary to have a business license and to be compliant with taxes. He has those items so he could do business.”"

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SP 3 years, 8 months ago

“You have to find a mechanism to cut through the bureaucracy,” Mr Mitchell said.

The "mechanism" they found is called Teiffen!

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