A DAY after Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said the former government diverted more than $40m from a $150m hurricane relief and recovery loan to win the most recent election, Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis denied the allegation saying he was “confident” the Christie administration used the money for its correct purpose. To suggest otherwise, Mr Davis told reporters outside of the House Of Assembly yesterday, suggested the former government committed a criminal offence, which he called “damnable”.
Calling the remarks an “egregious assault” on not only his integrity, but that of his colleagues, Mr Davis said he was advised some were seeking legal advice, suggesting the assertion was damaging. He said he too would ensure he used every available remedy to ensure the matter was corrected.
He said Mr Turnquest’s revelations in this regard was an attempt to “vilify, demonise, and scandalise” the former administration.
However, when Mr Davis was asked whether he could give an account for how the money was spent he said this was not his job. Instead he told reporters this was a task for the deputy prime minister who had all of the documents related to the hurricane money in his possession.
In a statement Tuesday, Mr Turnquest said the government suspected the untraceable $42m from the hurricane fund was spent in a failed bid to buy the election.
He was responding to Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper who said in a statement over the weekend that Mr Turnquest was irresponsible for saying the government cannot locate $42 million of the $150 million the Christie Administration borrowed following Hurricane Matthew last year. Mr Turnquest had made that revelation in Parliament last week.
“I am confident,” he said following the morning session of the House Assembly where he attempted to raise the matter, but was unsuccessful.
“First of all monies don’t walk out of the Treasury. Once the funds are in the Treasury and in the consolidated fund there are processes that have to be employed to have it expended.
“That’s what they need to look and if they have some commentary as to how it was expended then fine, but to leave it out there as though funds were used to buy an election as to (say we) commit an offence with it is damnable.”
He also said: “The message that they were sending through the irresponsible public utterances of the minister of finance is that we misappropriated funds, diverted them for the use for which they were not intended and that is an egregious assault on the integrity particularly my integrity and all of those of us who would have served around the Cabinet table and is a breach of my privilege.
“The Speaker did not allow me to pursue the matter this morning and I am following his directions and so at the next sitting I will bring the matter and raise it as a breach of privilege.
“I am certain and have been advised that some of my colleagues are now seeking legal advice because the effect of him being able to say that we took $42 million to buy an election that suggests we have committed a criminal offence. That’s what he is saying. It cannot just be left in the minds of the Bahamian people and in the public as such and I intend to pursue whatever remedies that’s available to me to ensure that is corrected.
“In fact it was very irresponsible of the minister of finance to say those things. The minister of finance has called into question his own fitness to be minister of finance for him to be able to just spout these egregious statements without more.
“He ought to be able to say how then is he arriving at the conclusion that $42m was used for the purpose of buying the election. What are the particulars that he is looking at to inform that view? It is very irresponsible.
“He is the minister of finance that is why we are having some of the challenges from the international observers today because of his continual irresponsible utterances. They talk down the economy. Talk down the fiscal state of the economy when he knows and has the information and the material right before him and he could look at it.”
While the House was in session earlier in the day, Mr Davis stood on a point of privilege to raise the matter. When Speaker Halson Moultrie questioned him regarding the grounds for this point the Cat Island Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said he had tried unsuccessfully to reach the Speaker to inform him of this intention.
It is House rule for the Speaker to be notified of such points and to be provided with the intended communication before it is presented during the session.
A defensive Mr Davis said he took exception to the stories in both news dailies, which carried headlines from Mr Turnquest’s statement on Tuesday suggesting the former government committed criminal acts.
As he attempted to make his argument, seated MPs heckled and shouted he had no grounds for the motion and that his attempt was a show of “grandstanding”.
Responding, Mr Davis said he did not view his rebuttal as such, when he was being criminally accused.
Ultimately, Mr Moultrie did not allow Mr Davis to continue on the point of privilege because these rules were not followed. However, he said the MP would be allowed to present the matter at a later session once the Speaker is appraised prior to the commencement of the session.
Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 5 months ago
Repost: This bozo of a Minister of Finance really needs to think before he speaks, assuming he has sufficient enough grey matter upstairs to do so. He cannot say out of one side of his mouth that he did not accuse the Christie Administration of stealing or misappropriating the hurricane relief money that is unaccounted for, and then immediately turn around and say out the other side of his mouth that the Christie administration diverted $40 million plus for unauthorized expenditure on any number of things in an ultimately vain effort to buy an election win.
It is also astonishing to hear K P Turnquest (supposedly a professional accountant) claim that he cannot trace the $40 million plus that he suspects was paid into the consolidated fund of the Public Treasury. A straight forward forensic accounting exercise (often referred to as 'following the cash') should have quickly revealed whether or not the $40 million plus was paid into the consolidated fund; accordingly, there should have been no need whatsoever for K P to "suspect" that it had or had not been paid into the consolidated fund.
Because the consolidated fund is an homogenous pool of funds, obviously if the $40 million plus had indeed been paid into it then it would have been difficult (if not impossible) to trace the same $40 million plus having been paid out of it. That's just common sense! It is an entirely separate matter (and equally easy forensic accounting exercise) for K P Turnquest to say whether sums totaling $40 million plus were subsequently paid out of the consolidated fund to cronies and wasteful spending aimed at 'buying' votes for PLP candidates in the last general election.
Truth be told, K P Turnquest should not have to suspect anything, unless he is indeed a grossly incompetent professional accountant. The people are interested in knowing the facts of the matter and not his convenient conjecture about what did or did not happen for the purpose of him scoring cheap political points with those less au fait about accounting generally. As Minister of Finance, K P Turnquest is tasked with giving us the facts - we could not care less about his disingenuous conjecturing for the purpose muddling matters to score cheap political points!
proudloudandfnm 5 years, 5 months ago
All I want to know is which PLPs got the 42 million...
Reality_Check 5 years, 5 months ago
What we all really want is a competent Minister of Finance capable of getting and giving us the facts rather than preferring to engage in mere conjecture and speculation in an effort to score cheap political points based on his own personal suspicions that aren't worth a hill of beans in a court of law or the court of public opinion.
BahamaPundit 5 years, 5 months ago
I have no idea what the hell is going on with this money. More facts please. If it is truly our time, we deserve a better explanation or at very least a full report of the steps that have been taken to trace the money by the Ministry of Finance and a list of possible explanations and how evidence is being gathered to verify those explanations.
SP 5 years, 5 months ago
Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis denied the misappropriation of funds allegation Pillage Loot Plunder committed a criminal offense OUTSIDE of the house, however, Davis was not "brave" enough to stand and debate the matter when PM Sheriff Minnis urged him to and gave him multiple opportunities to do so INSIDE of the house!
PM Sheriff Minnis also plainly articulated why Pillage Loot Plunder is identified as a criminal organization. Again, Davis, Hanna, Forbes and New Boy Chester could not find the fortitude between them to stand in defense of Pillage Loot Plunder!
bogart 5 years, 5 months ago
Not thrilled that 42 million cannot be found by both sided sitting in the peoples house while they ate getting paid.
The hourly rate in listening ehile all parliamentarians are in the house must be phenomenal.
It does not look good in the eyes of the finsncial world given that we arr ghe largest global ofgshore centre.
Actually the past govt official(s) did good in fixing homes damaged by hurricane. Someone acrually whether any realizes tried creating jobs particularly when the private sector was not. Over the hill Contractors Building Supplied stores were patronized when Contractors given Contracts to repair Hurricane damages. Many Contractors were hired possibly up to 500 I understand and who also hired workers. Funds to fix damsged and missing shingles blown off could have also need additional work especially if the underlaying plywood was damaged and further if the rafter was rotted by termites and replacing the sheetrock ceiling when the rainwayer dripped through. Also in fixing hurricane damaged roofs could be more extemsive if the electricals was damaged, sheet rock walls, doors was damaged. Hurricane roof damage repairs could have also repairs to damaged blown out windows and flooded houses. What would be of concetn is the waste, fraud and incompetant Contractors and what the homeowners had to say.. To anyone missing shingles is only part. Any home builder will know better.
If these funds cannot be accounted for quickly it really is costly.
Perhaps Branville McCartney should be called in to offer his assistance.as he did say yhat both of these parties of the same coin. Too bad he resigned at this time.
TalRussell 5 years, 5 months ago
Comrades! Despite the public face being showcased - things are not exactly cool and collective within the PLP as a party!
There are some 123 government boards of which a reasonableness in math estimate would put political appointees to the various boards at a low 1230 warm bodies.
Who exactly was it in the former PLP administration that should be prepared to answer some serious questions about how the public purse monies were spent - often on board members? Some very bad things happened during the PLP's 2012 - 2017 governing mandate and some people need to start answering some serious probing questions? Somebody needs came out from behind the PLP's curtain and start talking some sense.
hnhanna 5 years, 5 months ago
I blame the former Minister of Finance who did not leave a correct accounting how they spend 150 million dollars borrowed for hurricane repairs.
bogart 5 years, 5 months ago
But isnt the former State Finance Minister an Accountant?
42 million could buy a BodyCamera for every policeman...could buy a drone surveillance system to patrol our territory to save on time and money spent on patrols....dialysis equipment.....create an independent agency of the Central Bank to supervise and audit banks.....definitely a bigger prison... more judges and fsstrr courts....investigation and jail time for whosoever has caused mortgage banking disaster and incalcuble suffering as the recession was not solely to blame or the mortgage customer...Ombudsman....creating an over the hill shopping Market place.... creating national Majority Rule Park with Museum....area exclusicely Bahamians....more attractions for tourists...dropping the Privy Council for the Caribbean Court (if their hurricane insurance policy is good for us then thier court should too)....sinking fund to pay gor disasters...start move towards becoming a Republic....more courts and stronger punishments for white collar crime....reviving outsode of Freeport....court and prison for illegals who breach our sovereign territory....climate change preparations etcetc
Money should be left over to have a better national accounting sysyen. Bizzare if it isnt working now then how could it have been working since 1967 ?
SP 5 years, 5 months ago
Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis claimed total ignorance about having any knowledge about anything at all. Now he thinks he can sit there and adamantly say ‘We Didn’T Misuse Funding’?
How would he suddenly know ‘We Didn’T Misuse Funding’ when he didn't know ANYTHING ABOUT NOTHING ELSE before??
Lol.....This clown calls himself a "good" attorney?
Naughtydread 5 years, 5 months ago
Can we stone this man?
baldbeardedbahamian 5 years, 5 months ago
Good enough for Zuma, good enough for Christie. Prosecute.
sealice 5 years, 5 months ago
Good... per his words find the money and arrest them all....
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