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‘We Were Sacked For Being Plp’

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

DANIELLE Gibson and Holly Barrett were fired as assistant managers of the North Eleuthera and Governor’s Harbour airports Tuesday, months after they warned Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis and former Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin that their jobs were under threat, allegedly because of their political leanings.

In their time as senior airport officials, neither woman ever received a verbal or written warning nor were they subjected to disciplinary action, they said. Both served as the top official at their respective airports with no manager ranked above them. As such, they were responsible for all airport operations, from managing the fire department to managing security and dealing with air traffic control.

Their only crime, they said yesterday, appears to have been their unquestioned support of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

Since Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis vowed victimisation would not occur on his watch, both women said their experience proves the hollowness of his pledge. 

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar nor Airport Authority officials could be reached yesterday for a response to the women’s allegations, claims which were first expressed by Mrs Hanna Martin in the House of Assembly Wednesday. Her remarks were stricken from the record after House Speaker Halson Moultrie determined she could not prove her claims. 

The women’s stories and background are dissimilar in some key ways. Ms Gibson was appointed assistant manager of the airport in North Eleuthera in 2014 and said her contract was renewed for three more years in November 2016. She said she has a bachelor’s degree from Oakwood University in biology and a minor in chemistry. Prior to her appointment at the airport, she spent nine years as a health inspector at the Department of Environmental Health before becoming director of government relations and outreach at Cape Eleuthera Island School. 

On the other hand, Ms Barrett applied for her job in 2015 and was appointed assistant manager of the Governor’s Harbour airport March last year. She said she does not have a college degree, adding she previously worked for five years in the human resources office and as an administrative assistant at Holland America Line. Her training for “handling hazardous cargo, aerodrome safety management systems and responding to unlawful interference,” among others, were all obtained on-the-job, she said.

The assistant manager positions were not publicly advertised to potential applicants, Ms Hanna Martin confirmed yesterday. Ms Gibson and Ms Barrett were both “identified” for the jobs, she said.

In a “four minute” meeting between her and several officials on Tuesday, including ex-officio Airport Authority Director Milo Butler III, Ms Gibson was handed a letter. It read: “I am to advise that the Airport Authority will be ending your term of employment as assistant airport manager effective immediately. Please consider today your last day of work.

“Additionally, you are required to surrender to the director of security, or her designate your Airport Authority employee identification badge, the keys and other items. We would like to thank you for your contribution to the Airport Authority and wish you all the best for the future.”

Ms Barrett didn’t ask for an explanation for her firing. “I felt I deserved the respect to be told why without having to ask,” she said.

Neither woman was surprised by their firing. Both said rumours swirled for months that top Free National Movement (FNM) officials on the island wanted them gone. The women say they are vocal and longstanding PLP supporters. In fact, Ms Gibson recently became a national vice chairman in the party. 

“I believe it was my political preference that cost me,” she said.

She said she is not interested in returning to the Airport Authority, adding: “I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted.”

However, she is considering legal action against the government. 

Without a job lined up, hardship is a concern for both women and their multiple children. They say jobs are hard to find in their respective communities. Ms Gibson said both women received severance pay, but she claimed her contract was not fully paid out.

In a statement to the press yesterday, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said their termination was “nothing more than a naked exercise of political power for no good reason against people who were perceived to be supporters of the PLP.”

Comments

ohdrap4 1 year, 9 months ago

ssome people look good on paper, but still are incompetent in their positions. It is the Peter Principle at work.

I would never call attention to my PLP affiliation, because that might have been the grounds for my appointment in the first place, and if i were to leave the postion, i would have a hard time fifinding another job anyway.

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HonestTruth 1 year, 9 months ago

To be fair, being a PLP should be considered a criminal offense. I want no members of the PLP affiliation in any capacity with government, their top priority from inception has always been to enrich themselves.

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BahamasForBahamians 1 year, 9 months ago

The irony behind this statement.

Lol being a PLP is a criminal offense but the only conviction of corruption in the history of The Bahamas rests on the record of an FNM Meritorious Council Member.

The irony of the statement is baffling.

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CatIslandBoy 1 year, 9 months ago

Don't worry, the list of PLP crooks awaiting trial is long and deep. We'll just await the outcome.

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BahamasForBahamians 1 year, 9 months ago

IF Frank Smith's trial is the precedent for PLP's prosceution,

FRED RAMSEY - FNM MCM MEMBER will in the near future - remain the only parliamentarian in the country's history ever convicted of corruption.

Must stink for the party he represents.. especially seen as past FNM Deputy Leaders were also implicated in the trial - barely missing prosecution.

May the real Frank Watson please stand up and be recognized.

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Sickened 1 year, 9 months ago

The irony is that your name suggests your support of BahamasForBahamians but yet you defend the PLP. Didn't ya ma ever tell you that you best watch who you associate with???

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licks2 1 year, 9 months ago

Bouy you really "don't know nuttin". . . Simeon Bowe, Wilbert Moss, Kendal Knotage, Brave Davis can't go to the USA etc. . .and them are the ones that could "be touched" by the police them!! I suggest that you "don't go there". . .if you do. . .you will go "get some of the PLP" who got away with their crimes and "deal" with them yasef. . .if it is ever possible for you to become "clean" when it comes to the PLP skulduggery!

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DaGoobs 1 year, 9 months ago

Not true. You forget about the conviction of Wilbert Moss the PLP MICAL MP.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

Any one remember the 1984 and 1993 Commissions of Inquiry??? .. Awwwww

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm ok with firing PLPs. Incompetence and corruption is the party's dynamic.

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12345 1 year, 9 months ago

These comments are pathetic. Immature bloggers that add nothing to the national dialogue except crass stupidity.

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stillwaters 1 year, 9 months ago

No degree, but running an airport? Degree in biology, but running an airport?

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ohdrap4 1 year, 9 months ago

when they retire, they will pilot charter planes to andros.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

BOL ......... It is called PLP SLOP-style entitlement.

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stillwaters 1 year, 9 months ago

No degree, but running an airport? Degree in biology, but running an airport? People who accept political posts gracefully, must also accept losing the post once the government changes.

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TalRussell 1 year, 9 months ago

Ma Comrade Sisters, rightfully raise all hell if fired knowing you both were not hired on politics but resume merits. It should be mandatory for ALL if politically appointed government positions to resign on the very day an new general election writ is dropped. Few realize it but once the general election bell gets rung - constitutionally, except in case emergency, every cabinet minister are left no power to act as members of the cabinet... in fact they also lose the right to continue the use their vehicles or to show up for work. The only exception is the PM and even his/her authority becomes restricted. Unfortunately, no one ever seemed have reminded former cabinet ministers of both major parties of this important constitutional provision.

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sealice 1 year, 9 months ago

this is easy - anyone who has ever flown through one of those shitholios would wonder if anyone besides airline representatives were employed to work at the airport.. And that fact that they supposedly have sterling records is easily attributed to hands free operations Hanna. Everything else in her portfolio was turned to Schite.... it's logical that all the airports besides Nassau and Fre (the only ones she didn't really run) are shiiteholes.....

Really both were identified for the job.???.. because they were cronies.....otherwise no real reason to hire them to work at airports?

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Seaman 1 year, 9 months ago

Mr Chairman Mitchell......sit small and shut up.....this happens under all Governments when elected to office....His dumb ass was also fired to for being a PLP. It goes with the times.

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Sickened 1 year, 9 months ago

Lol! These women acting like PLP's - no shame. I wonder if they even know where the airports are where they work. PLP's aren't known for showing up on the job very often - here, punch my card for me!!!

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joeblow 1 year, 9 months ago

Why would a person make their political affiliations known on a job they are qualified for? The advantages of making those affiliations known if you are NOT qualified and the party you support is on power are obvious!

No news here!

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ykpbs 1 year, 9 months ago

I have never traveled through that government facility to cast judgement or bias statement like the other commentators. However, when it comes to being fired, a reason should be clarify to the individual, a reason that shows the employee is not producing to the organization goals and foundation. As Bahamians we should be seeking the same information these ladies are seeking, cause any day ...it can also be you... Stop being blind by political racism and inequality because of who and what you support. The Time is UP with that foolish. Bahamians suffered this same mentality from Black and White..... Male and Female..... and now this, base on a corruption assumed but not as yet confirmed through the law of The Bahamas

MFJ

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licks2 1 year, 9 months ago

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. . .PLPs were picked for the job. . .nobody else was told about the need to filled posiyion. . .

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SP 1 year, 9 months ago

More than likely these people were the typical unqualified political appointees. If so, then they should be replaced with qualified individuals capable of enhancing operations regardless of political affiliation.

On another serious note, as a frequent interisland visitor, family Island airports leave much to be desired. Most that I have seen are inadequate, poorly maintained and a major embarrassment!

If funding is the issue, why not attach a small "service fee tax" to each passenger ticket towards the upkeep of family Island terminals.

A simple $2.00 fee per traveler would be painless, and go a long way in generating funding for the upkeep of buildings, bathrooms, landscaping etc.. Upgrading our tourism product starting with visitors first and last impressions cannot be overstressed!

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realfreethinker 1 year, 9 months ago

Man I can't stop laughing. What a joke. And these plps don't have any shame.

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DaGoobs 1 year, 9 months ago

I lost my job because my bosswanted to replace me first with his cousin and then with a PLP minister's wife. Happy to have had the job but when they don't want you then you move on and find another. What's the old saying: "As one door closes another opens". Bottom line when you work in any job it's yours for a time, not a lifetime. Under employment law, you can be let go at any time for a reason or for none, the only issue being whether you are justly compensated in notice pay or its equivalent at the time of termination.

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jcmorgan 1 year, 9 months ago

once you are enployed in a government entity,you are first and foremost a civil servant,and there are rules to conduct yourself,and there should be no discussion in your mouth about ppolitical parties while you are on the job.people do a lot of things politically that they should not ddo

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licks2 1 year, 9 months ago

The lady who was elected to a political position in the PLP party clearly knows that she is prohibited by GO from doing so. . .in fact it is expected that all CS who aspires for political offices are expected to resign or be removed from the service.

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