Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said he will consult with Lanisha Rolle, who is the minister responsible for Urban Renewal.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
IN his first day on the job, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson expressed grave concerns regarding Urban Renewal in Grand Bahama and has suspended certain operations pending further review.
In addition to having full control of the day-to-day operations of the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Mr Thompson also has oversight of Urban Renewal and hurricane restoration and repairs on the island.
“Last night, I began being briefed on the status of the ministry. Needless to say, there are some matters of great concern,” he told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday at the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama.
“In particular, I am reviewing what I can only describe at this time as unusual operations of Urban Renewal in Grand Bahama. I have requested that certain operations be suspended until a further review can be performed,” he said.
While Mr Thompson did not want to disclose any further details at this time, he said that he will have more to say once the review process is complete.
The Urban Renewal office in Grand Bahama was headed by Michelle Reckley under the former administration. Mrs Reckley - the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) campaign manager in Grand Bahama - was appointed as assistant director of Urban Renewal by former Prime Minister Perry Christie in 2012 when the PLP came to office. Tirzah Cartwright, who had previously headed the Grand Bahama Urban Renewal office, was removed from the post.
When asked whether Mrs Reckley was still at the helm, Mr Thompson replied: “There are decisions that are being made with respect to the way forward for Urban Renewal. At present I have assumed responsibility for the operations of Urban Renewal in Grand Bahama.”
He said that a final determination with respect to Urban Renewal will be made by Seabreeze MP-elect Lanisha Rolle, who is the minister responsible for Urban Renewal.
“Once I have consulted with the minister, Lanisha Rolle, who is responsible for Urban Renewal and consulted with the Prime Minister (Dr Hubert Minnis), we will be able to give more direction in terms of what will happen with Urban Renewal in Grand Bahama,” he said.
Mr Thompson also revealed that the Ministry for Grand Bahama has now been incorporated into the Office of the Prime Minister.
“I want to make this point very clear, there is no dismantling of the Ministry for Grand Bahama,” he said.
Mr Thompson stated that an intentional decision was made to have it incorporated into the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Grand Bahama is very important to the prime minister who decided that he would be the substantive minister for Grand Bahama and I would be responsible for the day-to-day running of the office in Grand Bahama.
“It is also an important fulfillment of our campaign promise to ensure a smoother and more effective processing of investments for Grand Bahama. However, at all times, the prime minister has oversight of Grand Bahama.” he said.
Mr Thompson was the former MP for Pineridge in the Ingraham administration. He has also served as a Free National Movement Senator following the party’s loss in 2012.
He said it was a privilege to be appointed to the Cabinet to do the people’s business. “I again wish to express my gratefulness to God and to the Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to do the people’s business,” he said.
“I have lived in Grand Bahama all my life, went to school here and started my career here and have practised law here for 20 years. I will, with God’s help and guidance, use my abilities to perform this job with excellence and integrity,” Mr Thompson said.