0

Revealed: Names On The Elite List And What They Owe

photo

FIGURES showing the amount owed by people on the list of MPs, senators and board members as of July. A negative number in the movement column indicates a payment.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FOUR former Progressive Liberal Party Cabinet ministers owed more than $20,000 each at Bahamas Power and Light, with one former minister in arrears for some $60,000 as of July, according to a list obtained by The Tribune.

The Credit and Collections Department listing of MPs, senators and board members for the period ending July 31, revealed that former State Minister in the Ministry of Works Arnold Forbes owed BPL $62,023.14.

The list obtained by The Tribune contains delinquent accounts of six former PLP Cabinet ministers, two former PLP MPs, two private entities, and one sitting Cabinet minister: Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells.

Mr Wells, who owed $9,277.07 and $3,703.96 at two separate locations - $12,981.03 in total – did not want to comment yesterday, and the other former officials could not be reached up to press time.

According to sources close to the matter, as of Monday Mr Wells has since paid $9,000 on his accounts with an outstanding balance of some $8,600.

The source also said as of Monday Mr Forbes was in talks with the company to settle the balance over a three-month period. Mr Forbes, former PLP Mount Moriah MP, was appointed to Cabinet in January 2015, and previously served as the chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation.

Others on the “do not disconnect” list are: former Minister of Health Dr Perry Gomez, former Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, former Minister of Youth Dr Danny Johnson, former Nassau Village MP Dion Smith, former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, former South Beach MP Cleola Hamilton and former Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez.

Mr Miller, former executive chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, owed $34,909.61, and 7,310.07 – or $42,219.68 - at two separate locations. Mr Miller served as the minister of trade and industry during the first Christie administration in 2002. He revealed earlier this week that he has a payment plan with BPL for his outstanding bills.

Dr Gomez, former North Andros MP, owed $24,498.02, and Dr Johnson, former Carmichael MP, owed $24,413.16 for the same period.

Former West End and Bimini MP Mr Wilchcombe owed $4,911.04 and Mr Gomez, former South Eleuthera MP, owed $3,413.40.

Mr Smith, former BAIC executive chairman, owed $5,440.98 and $3,835.87 – a total of $9,276.85 - at separate locations; and Ms Hamilton, former parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cleola Hamilton, owed $3,546.79 and $2,572.94 - $6,119.73 in total - at separate locations.

The partial list obtained by The Tribune also contained two companies: one which owed $15,028.56 and another which owed $3,272.24. It is unclear who owns these entities.

The revelations follow The Tribune’s reporting into the existence of a special “do not disconnect” list for parliamentarians, top civil servants and churches at BPL.

One member of the special list yesterday pushed back against the assertions that elite members of society are allowed to skip out on paying electricity bills indefinitely.

That person, who asked not to be identified, said inclusion on the list was an automatic and historic courtesy and not a benefit that politicians personally advocated for. The member insisted that membership did not mean that persons were not shut off for nonpayment, only that the threshold was significantly higher.

The member acknowledged that some of the account arrears were egregious.

“I believe once you get elected they put you on that list, it’s automatic,” the member said. “Every member of Parliament is on that same list. Even though you’re on that list they still shut you off, so it’s the wrong perception, you have a grace period but you’re still getting shut off.

“It’s more of a courtesy where they will try and work it out with you. For some of those persons, like $68,000, that’s abuse but at the end of the day when you look at it in totality in terms of just the list, it’s just a courtesy,” he said.

On Monday The Tribune revealed BPL issued letters on Thursday to persons on the list noting they had seven days to pay the balance, arrange a payment plan or face disconnection.

The Tribune understands Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has called for the special list to be abolished and for an end to special treatment for officials.

Comments

jackbnimble 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Jesus C. This is ridiculous!! I'm appalled that Mr. Miller is all over the airwaves pretending like he so upfront and concerned. It's a flam. His record speaks for itself, as do the others. They do not pay bills but expect the taxpayers to pay theirs. Makes you wonder what else they got away with! SMDT!!

3

jackbnimble 3 weeks, 5 days ago

And by the way, this so-called threshold is not higher - it's over the darned top!!

3

The_Oracle 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Damned disgrace. Each and every one of these (and countless others i'm sure) should hang their damn heads in shame. That they can get so "high and mighty" on the face of the positions they held, but be skulking around doing this stuff. There are not words to assign them that would properly represent the depths of their shame. BTW, non payment of bills, does it not represent bankruptcy? could it really be a way for them to retain their seats that aught to be lost on insolvency? Endemically corrupt. Intrinsically corrupt. Uncontroversially corrupt.

5

242gyal 3 weeks, 5 days ago

And these are the same people who will take office under the guise of "serving their country". This is among the top DISservices that a public officer can commit - holding the people's money, contributing to the exorbitant cost of electricity and cronyism. Disgusted...

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 5 days ago

The Tribune readily admits that the list they received is only a partial list, i.e. not the full list. It is beyond comprehension that many on the list are saying they did not keep their electricity bills current because they were somehow led to believe that they were/are entitled to a privileged amount of credit from BPL/BEC as a matter of courtesy in recognition of their 'elitist' stature as active politicians or politically well-connected individuals. These political buffoons would have us believe that we, the hard working honest Bahamian taxpayers, are somehow privileged to have them serving as our political elite and that they have no duty as elected officials to lead by example and pay their utility bills and taxes. What poppycock! Most of these imbeciles are corrupt to the core and should not in anyway be involved with our government and certainly should not be receiving a penny of compensation or benefits paid from our Public Treasury. Now let's just sit back and see if Minnis has the balls needed by a true leader to do something about all of this in a transparent way. Or will he once again be all bark and no bite as is the case for the many former and current MPs who have yet to comply with the deadline he set (that long ago passed) for them to submit their statutorily required financial disclosures that should have been made public years ago.

2

John 3 weeks, 5 days ago

BPL destroyed all the electrical appliances in my house since October of last year. Cordless a/c phones, tv's , internet routers and the fridge. Fast as you replace one thing another gets hit. They deny there is a problem with the electricity but neighbors havin the same problem. So now we live with just the lights and tv.. no fridge even....the new BPL elites..no high light bills to worry us.

4

DDK 3 weeks, 5 days ago

BEC IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE!

3

TalRussell 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Comrades! It would be unfair if there are other red shirts MP's - silently sitting up in the House of Assembly, alongside their colleague Renard Wells - if their light bills are also NOT paid up to date? This should not be a case of only allowing Renard to ride the public's heat?
Every single sitting MP, filed their 2017 Genera Election Candidates Financial Disclosures - so any amounts owing to BPL/BEC, "both current and past due," should have been disclosed? And, if not disclosed - wouldn't they have to forthwith, be required by the Speaker to resign their House seats? Senators, also included. Comrades, exactly how accurate were those 2017 General Election Candidates Financial Disclosures...... who looks at them or are they just another political JOKE pulling on an gullible electorate?

1

birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I could not care less who is on the list. Those who care so much can take it to the food store to buy food and to the bank to pay mortgages, or to their rent man, or even to BPL. to pay their power bills. enough already.

0

ohdrap4 3 weeks, 5 days ago

you do not care because you do not pay your own bills.

2

ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I believe the ministers should be granted a courtesy monthly non accumulative credit for all utilities. The amount should be stated publicly and based on reasonable usage for a family of four if married and reasonable allowance for a family of two if not married. The amounts should not exceed 1000 covering ALL utilities. That is fair for anyone who is giving themselves to serve the country. I am ignoring for a minute who is corrupt and who een doing no work etc. this is just an approach to a standard policy covering anyone in office.

This would do two things, it would give a clear message to the politician on what would be considered excess usage it would give a gauge to the public for ministers who blatantly abuse the policy. There would be no guessing by the minister, or "I thought's"on what amount was covered.

0

Greentea 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Are you serious? Get outta here with this BS. No one asked them to serve and they knew the salary. If they can't be fiscally responsible for themselves- how can we expect them to lead the country out of financial ruin? This is why we are in the position we are in now- Though this reporting is one sided and reeks of bias- the ones named are a disgrace.

0

ohdrap4 3 weeks, 5 days ago

they should make a law saying that the disclosures to run for parliament must include up-to-date utility bills for their homes and businesses, condominium maintenance fees, property tax and an all-clear from customs.

that way these get paid every 5 years.

also former politicians on pension should have property tax and public corporation utility bills verified once a year.

0

Craig 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Surely these "elites" have the capacity to settle these bills with no problem. That being the case they must therefore think that they dont have to pay due to their status as elites in society. It surely pays to be a politician in this country. They make a mockery of all those hard working small business folk who wouldn't dare not pay their electricity bill

1

ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Secondly, exactly what kind of due diligence did the FNM perform on their candidates??? Adverse circumstances can occur in anyone's life, but you CANNOT have a man who is deep in debt controlling a budget of millions or having any authority in the contracts award process. That would be temptation for Saint Peter.

This is now the THIRD minister or senior official who has been caught out in questionable personal circumstances in under SIX month!!!???. This should not be. These people should have been disqualified at the get go. Another red flag is large loans to the webshops guys.

Dr Minnis better have a formalized one on one with each of his ministers, perform the due diligence KYC checks he didn't before the election before more embarrassing details come out. This does not fit the message of transparency and change and peoples time.

1

sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 5 days ago

How much does this "elite list" owe ......... Bahamasair, BTC, Cable Bahamas, Water & Sewerage, BOB, NIB, PHA, Mortgage Corporation etc.?????????? .......... That too needs to be revealed ........ This is a national embarrassment for so-called leaders of our country

2

Greentea 3 weeks, 4 days ago

so-called is the operative word. Would you let any of these fellas near YOUR checking account?

0

TalRussell 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Comrades! Not once since May 10,2017, has the red shirts governing regime aimed their big guns squarely to embarrass PLP politicians that it hasn't backfired to expose their own kinds. Let's wait to see if Renard's red shirts colleagues, leaves him left hanging by he lonesome low branch self? I thinks more red shirts are in debt hock to BPL/BEC, BTC, Property Taxes, Work Permit Fees, Bank of Bahamaland, Customs, Crown Lands, Ministry of Works, etc, etc?
Comrades, have you heard that the works Minister Desmond Bannister, does his revelations during his mornings “Meet The Minister” Power Breakfast at the British Colonial Hilton..... all of course at the expense of a broke public treasury! { No, not making this up }.
Does PM Minnis, needs fire, then hire a new "ACE" or what?

0

sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 5 days ago

That revelation shows that accountability has no party lines ........ smh

0

screwedbahamian 3 weeks, 5 days ago

It would appear that the same names of persons who have screwed the Bahamian people under the pretense of serving the people in government keep popping up in these unethical, immortal and corrupt revelations. The cost of these revelations like all the others will be borne by the people through increases in the costs of services. Imagine if they were allowed to do this with government agencies what have been done to individuals businesses. We are experiencing some of it now with the Banking high fees and the unwillingness of the Banking Industry to grant necessary loans. REAL BAHAMIAM PATRIOTS. It is more interesting that the Media seem to seek these individuals out for their opinions on pressing national events and News.

0

proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 5 days ago

This is all the PLP ever does. Rip us off. And when the PLP get back in the list will start up again...

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 5 days ago

One thing is for sure....Minnis is either a very poor judge of character or is no different than his predecessor, Christie. His apparent willingness to accept the appointment of Marlon Johnson as Financial Secretary has raised eye brows and complete bewilderment by many prominent Bahamians who are "in the know".

0

Reality_Check 3 weeks, 5 days ago

KP Turnquest (Minister of Finance) is the real problem here for having allowed, and possibly endorsed, Marlon Johnson's appointment as Financial Secretary.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 5 days ago

No need for you to try excuse Minnis's poor judgement. As PM, he had to have had final say in approving this most absurd appointment! And one can only assume Minnis is aware of Marlon Johnson's background and associates. No great secret here!

0

OldFort2012 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I guess that after seeing these mug shots, the ZNS won't be showing repeats of Roots for awhile.

2

TalRussell 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Comrades! Does it not bother you that for some, prosperity seems come and goes with political office?

0

concernedcitizen 3 weeks, 5 days ago

won , not one of them would be paying their bill ,including Wells .Back in the day E Bannister PO Box and mine were next to one another or perhaps he put the wrong PO Number down .For fifteen years he never paid light or water ,even a condo he owned on PI where he was to pay Resorts and then Atlantis for water was never paid . The real big crime was what Power Secure had to kick back ,most likely in U S in a U S bank , to the top of the PLP to manage BEC .Where ever Baltron Bethel is there is a bagman ,skim , usually in Foreign currency .

0

sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Not one of them on that "Elite List" should get any form of government pension or funeral ............. that should be their punishment until they pay the Public Treasury every frigging cent they owe any public entity

0

concernedcitizen 3 weeks, 5 days ago

if the PLP won they still would not be paying

1

DDK 3 weeks, 4 days ago

UNTIL they pay their bills? If they DO pay their debts and stay out of jail they are already ahead of the game. Certainly no pensions or other stipends should be forthcoming or forthgoing.

0

Gotoutintime 3 weeks, 5 days ago

So this is the way business is done in the Bahamas now----Thank God I'm gone!

0

DDK 3 weeks, 4 days ago

It did not happen overnight. It was decades in the making!

0

MaLambee 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Shame Shame shame... So I have to save and scrap to pay college tuition for my children...etc and pay my bills on time and these people are are making much more money than most of us dont? How could this be... This is sick and taking advantage of the poor man whose electricity gets shut off and has to resort to using a candle and be in fear of burning his family down... .

1

truetruebahamian 3 weeks, 4 days ago

And they wish to repeat their thievery into future terms? book the lot of themand lock their sorry selves up.

0

Reality_Check 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Faced with the looming risk of Federal charges being filed under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act against PowerSecure and its parent company (including their senior officials involved) for de facto bribery of certain elected officials of a foreign government (our government), it is no small wonder PowerSecure is now walking away from its contractual obligations and undertakings to BPL under the terms of the five-year management agreement. The current Board of BPL should be looking at BPL's legal options for pursuing claims for damages against PowerSecure and the previous directors of BPL who had to be involved in this de facto bribery scandal.

It is now quite clear that key senior officials of PowerSecure were engaged in serious illegal acts to the extent the secret list of "do not disconnect" elites has on it Bahamas government officials responsible for negotiating, entering into and later varying the terms of the BPL/BEC management contract. PowerSecure's misconduct in this matter is tantamount to having bribed various officials of a foreign government by wrongfully and illegally granting them outrageously generous credit and other privileges they should not have received under the terms of the contractual relationship. The quid pro quo was PowerSecure's ability to maintain and occasionally vary for its benefit its highly lucrative contractual relations with BPL/BEC. Carl Bethel as our Attorney General should be filing a formal complaint under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with appropriate officials of the U.S. Government - The Department of State and the Office of the U.S. Attorney General . It is unfathomable that any reputable U.S. corporation in its dealings with a foreign government would allow such a "secret list of elite", largely comprised of politically exposed persons, to be kept.

Bottom line: PowerSecure effectively had day-to-day operational control of BPL through the terms of its contractual arrangements with BPL and the Bahamas government. PowerSecure did nothing to do away with the "do not disconnect" list because it did not want to jeopardize its lucrative contractual relationship. It seems PowerSecure knowingly participated in the wrongful and illegal granting of financial favours to officials of a foreign government via BPL, an entity that it managed, in order secure and maintain that lucrative business relationship. Under U.S. law, that could be a big problem for the officials concerned at both PowerSecure and its ultimate parent company.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 4 days ago

You would think senior U.S. diplomats and officials posted at the U.S. Embassy here in The Bahamas would be obliged to refer these matters involving PowerSecure and its ultimate parent company (both U.S. corporations) to The U.S. Department of State and the Office of the U.S. Attorney General.

0

ashley14 3 weeks, 4 days ago

If they don't, do it yourself. A bunch of crooks.

0

DDK 3 weeks, 4 days ago

You would think..... Wonder if the new Ambassador reads The Tribune?

0

BahamasForBahamians 3 weeks, 4 days ago

None of our dailies have any credibility due to political bias so any balanced government knows this is not the arena to obtain factual information.

The Tribune is as red as an FNM manifesto and the Bahama Journal is the PLP's mouthpiece.

Maybe before Christ or Allah's return we will have fair, balanced, journalism and reporting here in the Bahamas.

0

ashley14 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Now that this is out in the open are they going to be made to pay up like everyone else. If not I can't imagine living with this regime. No wonder crime is so high. People are bitter. You can only hit a dog so many times before it bites. People are being made to live in poverty with no hopes of change. It's cruel. Parents are watching their children go without while these idiots live high on the hog. Get rid of them now.

1

Socrates 3 weeks, 4 days ago

2 doctors can't pay their light bills?

0

OMG 3 weeks, 4 days ago

When you consider that taking just one example (Damian Gomez) , that he could pay his light bill with just a couple of hours legal work. Also one Minister said "I didn't ask to be on the list". fair enough but by the same token if he had a conscious he would have asked to be taken off the list. How does any MP rationalize the Bahamian public struggling to pay bills and acutely aware that there are thousands of disconnections and accept such generous terms himself. Expose them all by name including persons who ae not MP's. They are disgusting. I especially am disgusted by Fitzgerald who made the excuse that he was trying to get contracts with Bahi Mar because of his fathers medical bills. Guess he forgot the 2 million + contract daddy Fitzgerald got without tender. And this is the man/thug who preached to kids to work hard, study hard to get ahead all the while doing his level best to take all for himself.

0

sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 4 days ago

This list guarantees that you will not see them in public life or position anymore ........ smdh

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Minnis should be removing Reward Wells from his cabinet post-haste! If Minnis fails to do this, it will tell all of us Minnis is no better than Christie in which case we had better start focusing careful attention on what foolishness Minnis and his cabinet members have been up to since May 10. Symonette is definitely one to be closely watched!

0

Sign in to comment