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Brent Admits Talks Ahead Of Minnis Coup: ‘But I Told Rebels Not To Go Ahead’

Brent Symonette

Brent Symonette

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

ST Anne’s MP Brent Symonette yesterday admitted he was involved in “some discussions” ahead of the coup that saw then-Opposition Leader Dr Hubert Minnis ousted as leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament last term – but ultimately told the “rebel seven” not to go through with it.

Dr Minnis was removed in late 2016 following a vote of no confidence by seven of his party’s 10 MPs on December 7.

Mr Symonette did not clarify his role in those discussions, but acknowledged he later went on to support then-MP for Long Island Loretta Butler-Turner’s leadership bid.

Mr Symonette was responding to speculation that his decision to step down as minister financial services, trade and industry and immigration was part of a wider plot to unseat Dr Minnis, as a guest on radio talk show The Conversation with host Shenique Miller.

He insisted he has supported Dr Minnis “1,000 percent” since he was re-elected leader of the FNM.

“Once Hubert Minnis was elected leader of the FNM he had my full support and I continue to support him to this day,” he said. 

“We have a saying, the worst day of the FNM will be a thousand times better than the best day of the PLP. I firmly believe that and I believe Dr Minnis and his Cabinet are the clear choice, the right choice to guide this Bahamas to the next three years and beyond.”

Seven of the 10 opposition members - Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins, Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly, Mrs Butler-Turner, St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn and Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant - submitted a letter of no confidence in Dr Minnis to House Speaker Dr Kendal Major and to then Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, revealing they have voted to be led in Parliament by Mrs Butler-Turner.

Then-Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest and Leader of Opposition Business in the House Renward Wells did not participate in this effort to oust Dr Minnis.

Formerly the FNM’s deputy leader, Mrs Butler-Turner’s appointment represented the climax to years of bitter infighting over the party’s leadership and the dissatisfaction of its parliamentary caucus with Dr Minnis.

The FNM later charged the “rebel seven” parliamentarians had brought the party into “disrepute, division, rancor and dishonour,” and were given seven days to give a written response to the executive committee of the FNM, attempting to exculpate themselves. Expulsion from the party was threatened but never materialised, however the MPs did not receive nominations for the 2017 general election. 

“Let’s bring this full and square on the table,” Mr Symonette said on the ZNS radio talk show yesterday. 

“One of the twice a week papers said the other day that I was involved in a coup, Papa (former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham) and I were involved in a coup to get rid of Minnis. 

“Papa said he wasn’t involved, I said many times I wasn’t involved, matter of fact, Richard Lightbourn and those, I advised them at that time not to go ahead with it, it was wrong they should support the leader.”

Mr Symonette said: “Yes subsequently I supported Loretta Butler to become leader of the FNM, yes.” 

He was then asked by Ms Miller whether he participated in any private meetings to unseat Dr Minnis.

Mr Symonette said: “I was involved in some discussions prior to that, my view as I said, when it came for the MPs to do what they did I was totally against that and I told the MPs at that time. Mr Ingraham and I know that about each other for a fact, we’ve discussed it. 

“Dr Minnis got elected, he has my full support 1,000 percent,” he added.

Comments

joeblow 1 week, 6 days ago

Businessmen have one loyalty, to their pockets and they will do or say or support anyone for their personal objectives. That's just how it is!

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 6 days ago

True ............. Just look at US politics. The rich set up and bring down Presidents.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 6 days ago

Symonette said: "“We have a saying, the worst day of the FNM will be a thousand times better than the best day of the PLP."

But that saying was before the Bahamian people were abruptly awakened to the following facts after May 2017:

1) That they would be taxed to death by Minnis while the corrupt numbers bosses get huge tax breaks;

2) That it would be the foreign investors' time and not the Bahamian people's time;

3) That they and their businesses would experience lengthy power outages every day during the sweltering heat of summer;

4) That the web shop legislation would not be repealed so that we could get the global financial regulators off of our backs and start re-building what's left of our once thriving and envied banking industry;

5) That BoB would continue to be propped by huge injections of the taxpayers' dollars so that Minnis and his cronies could take their turn borrowering from that bountiful corrupt trough at the taxpayers'expense;

6) That instead of governing from day one, the Minnis-led FNM government would allow itself to be severely distracted by very costly investigations of the previous government that has yet to result in a single conviction of anyone of any significance in that government;

7) That has given its blessing to development projects by cruise ship companies along with extremely generous concessions even though they are well known to contribute little to our economy in relation to the environmental risks they pose from dumping on us (and in our waters) their shiit, contaminants and other waste products;

8) That customs duty would be significantly reduced or altogether done away with on washing machines for one cabinet minister with a laundromat business, and on aeroplanes, plane engines and other plane parts for another cabinet member with an ownership interest in a local airline company;

9) That government contract after government contract would be granted for the benefit of the political elite, FNM party financial backers, their cronies, their family members and their friends, (many of whom are totally incompetent and/or highly paid unnecessary intermediaries;

10) That more unnecessary civil servant hirings would occur throughout our already grossly over bloated and unaffordable government plus a dizzying array of costly giveaway programs in a failed effort to compensate for poorly thoughtout and failed social and economic programs...nothing but the taxing of Peter to give to Paul because of local private sector businesses closing their doors in droves and exacerbating an already very gloomy and strained unemployment situation;

11) And so on and so on.....the level of corruption is only escalating with each and every passing day. Soon we will be a country without potable water!

Many of us will soon be longing for anarchy over this grossly incompetent FNM government led by the dimwitted Minnis who will never know whether he's headed east or west.

What a blithering joke!

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

.....Excellent, you is on a roll. On the above point 5 Tribine Tuesday, July2, 2019 article inner page 4 "BOB: $80min deposits lost if it collasped" by Neil Hartnell Article quote "The fund added: 'A second transfer of $176m in gross book value of problem assets (purchasing distressed assets of gross book value is not in line with good international practicewas initiated in August 2017, similar in terms to (the first time).'"

NOONE... absolutely noone...should be dipping into the COOKIE JAR to take taxpayers public money to prop up private shareholders of this bank and shareholders list examined if shareholders politicians MP's also stitting in Parliament propping up their shares.

BAHAMAS used to be a top sovereign nation as an INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE with legislated recognized ACCOUNTANTS who should have raised questions over thE goings on of BOB. Operators and contrallers of BISX should be asking questions, Central Bank as national BANK REGULATOR should be investigations but who seems to inform individual bank customers they do not represent individual customers who are wronged... AND THERE ARE NO FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN .

BOB IS A LISTED BANK ON THE BISX among many othersOTHER BANKS COMPETING AGAINST OTHERS INCL BOB...OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS WHOSE OWNERS ARE OVERSEAS SHAREHOLDERS IN PARENT COMPANIES... representing hundreds of millions of PENSIONS FUNDS, investors who buy an sell shares operating EXPECTED in FREE ENTERPRISE...LAISSEZ FAIRE...FREE MARKET...and yet the persons responsible for propping up were not called out and inquiry started. If an International Agency and world connections can recognize issues and recent well agitated legally blessed customer can win $6m lawsuit then a full COMMISSION INQUIRY INTO BOB be started.

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

11/11. Every one on point!

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sealice 1 week, 6 days ago

you mean that nothing would change because there's no real substantial difference in ideology or principles between the PLP and FNM??

As far as the historical cycles of government go to change back into a democracy anarchy is part of the process but that's a few steps away and you know how so tings dus roll around here......

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Fitmiss 1 week, 5 days ago

You came with the receipts. There are some sad truths that you have listed here.

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BahamaPundit 1 week, 5 days ago

Add to this list: 12. Running on a platform of anti corruption legislation and not passing a single piece of said legislation: No Freedom of Information Act, no Campaign Finance Reform Act...

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licks2 1 week, 6 days ago

Kicking rocks. . . . .zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Mudder-take-sick gone yet?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 6 days ago

There's one thing I will never grow tired of....and that's kicking the wutless butts of the likes of you lick2. ROWL

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bogart 1 week, 5 days ago

Kicking rocks .......kicking rocks right out of the Bahamas is another thing... for INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AGENCY....CONNECTED TO ERRY 189 COUNTRIES...FINANCIAL AGENCIES...everyone knows......BAHAMAS DOES NOT OPERATE IN A VACUUM.....

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 6 days ago

MR Symonette "We have a saying the worst day of the FNM will be a thousand times better the best day of the PLP"

No doubt he is thinking his property and the post office added to that all the contracts He can safely say he has become richer under the FNM so it is all good for him.

He and his Family have all done well under the FNM Government. while the poor people suffer. "its the peoples time". good for them all.

He came for his things and doc gave him all he wanted.

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TalRussell 1 week, 5 days ago

Believe me now strong suspicions a second coup eject comrade Minnis from PMO, didn't exactly end with Brent's resignation, yes, no.........

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jujutreeclub 1 week, 5 days ago

Brent and his family does even better under the PLP. Ask perry and brave. No conflicts of interest when the PLP is government for brent and crew.

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John 1 week, 5 days ago

So Brent Symonette’s election and appointment to cabinet was nothing more than a smash and grab. He used his money to smash his way in to government, grabbed what he wanted and running away. Laughing at the Bahamian people’s dem. SJust like the John Bull robbery. SMASH-GRAB-RUM no RUN AWAY!

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