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Symonette Had No Conflict Of Interest, Says Turnquest

Brent Symonette

Brent Symonette

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday defended St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette against conflict of interest claims he says are unfair and baseless.

Underscoring a lack of maturity, Mr Turnquest said it was very unfortunate the country could not celebrate the advancement of successful people regardless of their background as speculation over Mr Symonette’s shock Cabinet resignation went viral.

“As far as I am aware,” Mr Turnquest said, “there was never any instance where former minister Symonette made any intervention or asked for any favourable consideration with respect to any project that has been awarded.

“I think that is a very, very unfair label that has been put on him. It is not backed up by any shred of fact, and again it is very unfortunate that we as a community have not grown or matured to the point where we can see successful people advancing and celebrate that success, regardless of the background is.”

Mr Symonette resigned two weeks after it was announced that a company with ties to his family - Bahamas Hot Mix - was awarded a contract to upgrade runways at Lynden Pindling International Airport.

LPIA’s announcement set off a social media firestorm, and renewed longstanding claims of self-dealing leveled by the Official Opposition.

It follows the government’s decision to rent the Town Centre Mall at a cost of around $900,000 per year to house the General Post Office. The building is partly owned by Mr Symonette.

Mr Turnquest continued: “The fact of the matter is, these companies employ Bahamians and the suggestion that because he has decided to enter public life, that his family ought to suffer, or the employees of these entities ought to suffer, I think is a very disingenuous and a dangerous position for people to take.

“Again as far as I am aware, never once has former minister Symonette asked any minister or prevailed on any decision with respect to any of these contracts. They’ve won them as far as I understand, fair and square.”

Mr Turnquest spoke with reporters on the sidelines of Yamacraw MP Elsworth Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony as the new minister of financial services, trade and industry and immigration.

The East Grand Bahama MP said Mr Symonette spoke often about his plans to retire at the age of 65 in personal conversations, adding he wished more Bahamians would think about succession in this manner.

He thanked Mr Symonette for his “tremendous contribution” to the government and people of the Bahamas.

“His record of service is certainly one that is marked by advancement and process, innovative and creative ideas,” Mr Turnquest said.

“Certainly, he and his entire family have a made a tremendous contribution to the development of this Bahamas and I think, certainly on behalf of myself, we are grateful for that service and the sacrifice.

He continued: “Being in public life is not easy. You are subject to so much unfair attacks and criticism, which I think in his case, is the epitome of what can happen and is unfortunate.

“But be that as it may, he has remained dignified and above the fray and I think that’s to his credit and to his family’s credit.

“We certainly wish him well as he continues to represent the people of St Anne’s and contribute to the public life and private sector of this country,” he added.

Comments

TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade Populaces says, there's lots 'quo' being made by minister KP, yes, no......... However, the 91,,409 Populaces voting in the 35, hadn't expected for Imperialists red shirts maintain the status 'quo' be's cabinet colleagues speaks out keep the things the way they were under Bay Street Boys, UBP's, the PLP's, and presently are under. It's the 35 elected sit up in House "quo's' time red shirts, yes, no.............

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Really would anyone expect Turnquest to say anything different? I am still waiting to hear what contributions he has made to the Bahamas.

Turnquest means to the FNM party. not to the Bahamas for sure.

Turnquest had to spin a tale. which few will believe.considering his record of telling lies all the time.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This is why Turnquest must go.....he will say and do just about anything to endear himself with our very arrogant and most nasty PM.

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Turnquest is 100% right. There are no conflict of interest issues... None.....

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The only problem people have with Brent is racism. Nothing else....

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CatIslandBoy 3 months, 2 weeks ago

So true! If Brent was black these would be a non-issue.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow! Now skin colour rather than the facts determines whether a conflict of interest situation actually exists or appears to exist. Now that's a truly novel way of looking at these situations.

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Like the fact that Brent DOES NOT own Hotmix? ANd has no say in what they do or where they go? Or maybe it's the fact that Hotmix is the only company in the country capable of doing the work they were contracted for? Or maybe it's the fact that the PLP gave Hotmix 86 million in contracts when they were in power?

Them facts?

Racism is a bitch hey?

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Voltaire 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Exactly. Brent didn't "give" himself or his friends or relatives contracts, as the PLP like to do. He is not the minister of works. He did not make the decision. Bahamas Hot Mix was chosen, as it often is, because it is an EXCELLENT company which just happens to have some shares that benefit Brent's children. They do great work, that is why they are chosen repeatedly and there is no other reason. Should we follow the PLP logic and give the contract for paving the runway instead to Bobo and Toggi's newly established paving company, with zero experience and no skills whatsoever? Should we just look the other way when the planes start sliding off into the bush? Seriously we have to stop this nonsense. If a company is the best for the job they should get the contract, regardless of who the owners are. That is how you create benefit the Bahamian people, not by "spreading" the contracts evenly among the very qualified and woefully unqualified alike. That is just stupid. It is a dead philosophy and it has to stop.

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