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‘I Expect Contracts Will Be Honoured’

FORMER advisor and consultant Sir Baltron Bethel.

FORMER advisor and consultant Sir Baltron Bethel.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

FORMER advisor and consultant Sir Baltron Bethel was adamant yesterday his “reputation and work speaks for itself” amid backlash over the Christie administration’s decision to renew his contract a year before it expired, also increasing his salary by $60,000 annually despite him having no additional duties.

However, Sir Baltron told The Tribune he expected to have his termination amicably settled with the Minnis administration and his contract honoured.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis tabled documents in the House of Assembly last week, which revealed about two weeks before the general election, the former Christie administration renewed Sir Baltron’s contract as a senior policy advisor and consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Tourism, agreeing to pay him $800,000 over a four-year period.

When this contract was compared with an earlier three-year contract dated May 19, 2015 and effective May 14, 2015, no justification for a salary increase was apparent. The 2015 agreement showed the former advisor was initially to be paid $140,000 for the same duties outlined in the new 2017 contract.

This contract, Dr Minnis told Parliament, in addition to contracts of two others would not be honoured, adding they could “take me to court” over the agreements.

Asked about this, Sir Baltron said: “I have no comment on that. Additionally, I am not making this matter a matter of public debate and I expect that contracts will be honoured.

“I am not going to enter into a public debate on the matter. My reputation and my work speaks for itself,” Sir Baltron said when he was asked about his feelings regarding Dr Minnis making public the terms of his work for the former government.

Earlier in his interview with The Tribune, Sir Baltron said: “I have completed my work with the government and I expect that we will have the termination amicably settled in accordance with my letter of termination.”

According to Dr Minnis last week, on April 24, 2017, Sir Baltron signed a contract from Permanent Secretary Charles Albury “agreeing to extend” the current contract which was to expire May 14, 2018.

Mr Albury wrote this contract would run on for a further period of two years, effective, May 14, 2018.

The agreement read: “Additionally, having regard to the expanded services you are providing, it has further been agreed to increase your fixed salary to $200,000 per annum with effect from January 1, 2016.

“In addition, you will receive paid medical insurance for you and your spouse and have provision of an automobile. A gratuity of 15 percent of your salary is payable on successful completion of your contract.”

In addition, all expenses relating to approved travel, inclusive of air fare, hotel accommodation and per diem necessary to the successful execution of Sir Baltron’s duties were to be governed by the extant policy of the Ministry of Tourism.

Asked about this contractual agreement, Official Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said last Friday he believed Bahamians got value for money as the former advisor is a man of great knowledge and expertise.

Mr Davis further castigated Dr Minnis for making information about the increase public, insisting it was “disgraceful.”

Asked why Sir Baltron’s salary was increased despite there being no change in his job description, Mr Davis said: “Maybe those who were engaged recognised that the initial sum was inadequate.”

Despite this defence, Mr Davis pointed out this issue would have not been in his purview under the former government where he was the deputy prime minister and minister of works.

“It’s disgraceful to be exposing what technocrats and experts are making,” Mr Davis told The Tribune. “It’s not apples and apples, but apples and oranges, and it’s rather unbecoming and disgraceful to continue along this line.

“They are doing the same thing [they accuse the former government of doing], entering into similar contracts, but they are not exposing those.”

Comments

BahamasForBahamians 1 week, 6 days ago

This was a bad deal but Minnis can hoot and holler as much as he want they're still going to have to pay this old fart. No need for the public spectacle, there is no political capital to gain in delaying the inevitable.

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

Why? Does he fart gold coins?

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licks2 1 week, 6 days ago

I guess they government has enough "dirt" to sink the PLP and super cronies as Mr. Bethel is alleged to be!! The government has drawn the line in the sand. . .let Mr. B. go to our court for redress!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 6 days ago

This is one time when Minnis must stand by his word given while standing on the floor of the HOA. All contracts with Baltron "Bag Man" Bethel should have been terminated by now by the new government. A proper investigation should be commenced into the circumstances behind which these outrageous contracts with Bethel were entered into in the first place. More importantly though, Minnis should welcome any effort by Bethel to seek legal redress before the courts because this will open the door to what will surely be a most interesting discovery phase involving the bank accounts of not only Bethel (bank accounts both locally and abroad), but also of Charles Albury and others. Bethel, like Maynard-Gibson, was a central figure to many of the dastardly deeds that occurred during the corrupt Christie-led administration. We, the people, can only hope he is foolish enough to seek to have his day in court, which is where he may find himself at the end of the day in any event, but not of his own volition!

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TalRussell 1 week, 6 days ago

Comrade Your Lordship, call it a case to put the brakes to a $60,000 'sudden advisory fee creep' increase payable out the public purse, and with no 'stated' increase of services to the PMO. { Comrade Your Lordship, don't you laugh - this is a real case requiring a judgment as to, if the $60,000 does deserve goes to the hired-gun adviser, or does it belongs stay in the public purse} }. .

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

Actually Sir Baltron is the EMPLOYEE who justified his worth for a contract to reflect all imformation his EMPLOYER PRINTED IN THE CONTRACT.

Anyone who can get the gpvt, its agencies, its lawyers etcetc to pay them what they have put forward their position to be good for them. Any arguments against should be directed to the govt, agents, lawyers etc. NOT the EMPLOYEE..

We have to stop blaming the wrong parties like blaming to overloaded teller instead of management, blaming the foreigner for whatever challenges instead of going to who is in charge, blame the govt who chooses to rent , blame the govt officials who allow tinted cars to break the law, blame the bush mrchanic, blame the really cheap contractor, blame the officials for D education, blame the mortgage customers who were given marginal loans they had little chance of successfully repaying back, blame the pyramid scheme operators, blame the web shops, . etcetcetc
A proper Diagnosis is needed.

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TalRussell 1 week, 6 days ago

Comrade Bogard, and in conclusion it doesn't appear that common sense was neither common nor sense in contracts executed by the former PLP government - more so leading up to and during the rungin 2017 general election bell? Had they tried signing some the contracts the PLP entered into while managing a private or publicly help corporation - some people at the very top would have been quickly summoned to justify their actions. Are we not talking about bringing to a halt the peoples public purse being used as other peoples ATM cards - are we not?

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jackbnimble 1 week, 6 days ago

They renewed it at a higher sum so he could get a lump sum whether the PLP won or not. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. I trust he and the former PM can sleep at night.

God don’t sleep tho.

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screwedbahamian 1 week, 6 days ago

He probably also get $200,000.00 a year from NIB pension plus $300.00 a month old pension and $80.00 monthly food vouchers. That's just the way it is!!!

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

......it is democratic for anyone to ask for a pay increase as the MP Robinson is now doing within the first 6 months of a salary increase from $28,000 to around $60,000 to $70,000. A 100% increase, good for him EMPLOYEE, now its up to the govt the EMPLOYER On the other hand there are some MPs who I do not believe the nation can afford to pay them because they have given up jobs paying much more for the privilage and honour of being called by the people to serve our Bahamaland. And this is not to say that MP Robinson is not doing the same and even possibly more to serve our Bahamaland.

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jus2cents 1 week, 6 days ago

When will we learn to speak-out and call-out "Bullshit" when we see it?

This article is about an ad agency but you can compare it to many other organisations.

http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/09/21/doing-shit-work-easy-when-nobody-gives-fuck

Time for us all to start engaging and 'Give a F**K'

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 6 days ago

His work speaks for itself?!?!?

That was the most inept, corrupt, expensive government we ever had. If his work is speaking I hope its saying I'm sorry....

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

"I expect that contracts will be honoured". Just why should outrageous contracts be honoured that were made in the dark? THE PEOPLE could not and cannot afford this nonsense.

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

This greedy corrupt idiot was never ever involved in public service of any kind for the betterment of the Bahamian people. For Bag Man Bethel it has always only ever been about amassing wealth for himself and his family members off of the overburdened backs of honest hardworking Bahamian taxpayers. He knows absolutely no shame and there is no depth to the depravity he will stoop to for the purpose of unjustly enriching himself and his family.

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

And as Judge Mather would say, "Prove your claim!"

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EasternGate 1 week, 6 days ago

This is one brazen old SOB! Get your greedy ass out of the pubic view!

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 6 days ago

Does he want a nest egg for his great-grand children at our expense??????

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

Is it because he’s black?

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

You always seem overly pre-occupied with racism, as if you're expecting reparations to somehow come your way. Most of us know only too well that racism still exits today in the hearts and minds of many, but we refuse to allow ourselves to be consumed by it. Suggest you try do likewise.

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

I thought you promised not to read or respond to any of my posts. But obviously (from one racist to the other) i still know how to push your buttons.

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

You're speaking for yourself my friend, and I feel sorry for you if you're really a racist.

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

Wasn’t Vincent Vanderpool Wallace paid $1M for a similar position?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 6 days ago

There's a name from the past. Most of us had forgotten about him. Did anyone ever get to the bottom of the $5 million that went missing?

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 6 days ago

It is import to show all human beings respect. If the man is your Gardner or if he cleans the street, He is due the same respect as any other man. PM. Doctor or Lawyer, The Man is a senior Citizen show him respect.

But the utterance of many on this site show who they are as human beings, and it is not worth much.

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thomas 1 week, 6 days ago

The Man is a senior Citizen show him respect.

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thomas 1 week, 6 days ago

And this man sits on the pulpit in church on Sunday. These are the most unconscionable men and women ever. They are now taxing food and medicine to pay these exorbitant salaries.

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Economist 1 week, 6 days ago

He is a greedy old man. I saw him in action last year. He is nowhere near as sharp as he used to be.

Not worth $140,000.00 in the first place. Last government knew how to keep it all in the family. Hiring people like him who they did not need. A waste of money.

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themessenger 1 week, 6 days ago

This man was toting the bag for the PM since Pindling time he jus continuing where Mail Man left off, da bigger the contract da bigger da kickback, you could probably find plenty a dat in Perry account.

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

You're absolutely right. Bag Man Bethel took over where Everett Bannister left off.

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

Prime Minister Minnis needs to know when to wear a coat suit and when to put on jeans and t-shirt. Sir Baltron Bethel is a decorated and long serving Bahamian and obviously his time served in public office is testament that he has made significant contribution to the growth and development of this country. If Minnis and his administration feel that his contract was renewed prematurely and that the consideration in his contract for his services was mismatched, in Bethel's favour, then Minnis. or his appropriate staff should have gone to the negotiation table with the intention of resolving that matter and/or terminating the services in an amicable manner. His actions must be seen to be fair. Minnis is wrong for making a political football out of this issue and further threatening to terminate other employees of the government in the public arena. This "Trump style" of governance is an example of what not to be like, as prime minister. Even though many considered Hubert Ingraham to be harsh (and sometimes brassy) he exercised more diplomacy than this. Let's hope that power is not going to Minnis' head so soon. Not only is his ratings as prime minister at the lowest levels since taking office, but these type of undiplomatic and confrontational actions send shock waves through the economy causing even more contractions. Like everyone is left with the jitters and wondering "who's next?' These government firings weaken consumer confidence so they cut back on spending. (except in Miami for Thanksgiving and on line for Cyber Monday and Black Friday) In medical terms if the patient is already in a difficult labor, you try to keep them as calm and comfortable as possible, and if the birth is a still one, you have to choose the appropriate time and proper manner (proper manners, get it?) to break the news.

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TalRussell 1 week, 6 days ago

Comrades! Here's questions totally unrelated to Baltron's deserving or not of his $60,000.
Minnis, KP and a number of other red shirts ministers have been in the news for having sent home a number of government workers for a variety of reasons... so my questions is:
1.How many government workers are there currently on suspension but still receiving their full salaries and full benefits?
2. How long can an government employee remain on paid leave during a suspension - including while under suspension criminal matters?
3. Will they be paid their full salaries and benefits for 12 months, or more?
4. Does the cabinet have to approve their being on the public purse's paid leave?
5. What is the total cost to the public purse to cover all the government workers who are not allowed to report to work?

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TalRussell 1 week, 6 days ago

Comrade Economist, it can be quite costly to the pubic purse to have government workers sitting at home. In fact don't be surprised to learn that it's quite possible some government pay-rolled individuals haven't had to report to work in years? I still don't think the red shirts cabinet has yet to explain the full details that led to that one consultant who was/is being paid $400,000 out the public purse- each and every 365 days?

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licks2 6 days, 2 hours ago

Those are not good question. . .those are questions of a deceiver or one that is ignorant to public services policies of processes! For one. . .NO PUBLIC SERVANT WAS SENT HOME EXCEPT THOSE UNDER SUSPICION OF CRIMES. . . persons on contracts are NOT PUBLIC SERVANTS. . .OR NON-P&P! And each P&P on administrative leave will and is being paid while their cases are ongoing. . .it is cheaper to have them away because their presence can compromise their case. . .but they must be paid. . .they are just suspects! If crimes is proven. . .they are automatically interdicted on half pay until after their trial and court decision. . .guilty they are fired or jailed. . .case dismissed. . .or no case to answer. . .go back to their jobs and all half pay is returned.! And ALL of those who the PLP GOVERNMENT sent into the services without the knowledge or permission of Depart. of Public Serv. are NOT GOVERNMENT WORKERS!! That group of persons who were sent home is the stupidity of the PLP government and the duplicity of those who went. . .or plenty of them any how!!

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

It is the people of the entire Bahamas who suffers. We expect by the choice of the people in elections that we have a very capable Opposition to investigate and fight for the very very best arguments and fierce challenges that HER MAJESTY LOYAL OPPOSITION must give. There are ways and means that ony Opposition who feel that something is not right can take. The Democratic system that has served us so well cannot be said to not have the means to prevent any abuse of power. We the people should not have to wait 5 years later and suffer when we have an Opposition to stop any abuse of powers by any government. Why wasnt the Opposition not able to do its opposing at that time. Something is wrong constitutional flaw if we the people have to be paying all MPs does nott matter which political party for how many years and wrongdoing continues and only known only if and when another party comes into power. We the people should not have to wait 5 years which seem to be happening and costing us.

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John 1 week, 5 days ago

I wish when I turn 80 plus I can garner contracts for 1/2 million a year. I would consider that a great accomplishment.

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Porcupine 1 week, 5 days ago

A pretty sad state of affairs, eh? This situation is a national disgrace and allows the rest of the world to see clearly who we are. It ain't pretty, is it? Just a different set of masters.

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sealice 1 week, 5 days ago

How does anyone of these bloody crooks think they are a distinct individual that had nothing to do with the corruption??? Once again this fool bagman thinks he somehow is innocent....it's call ed Guilt by Association and you buddy stink bad of it....

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sealice 1 week, 5 days ago

trust me Brave we all agree = everything coming out regarding the actions of the PLP is disgraceful, they disgraced themselves and the country for far far too long, and now we have to deal with the disgrace and try to clean up the disgraced reputation of our country.

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