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Dupuch Hits Govt With $28m Writ Over Debt

By Nico Scavella

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A PROMINENT Bahamian publishing company - which is in no way connected with The Tribune and its affiliates - is suing the government for $28.8m with interest to secure payment for the production of more than five million publications promoting and advertising The Bahamas.

Etienne Dupuch Jr Publications Limited, also known as Dupuch Publications, is suing for $28,875,061, which it asserts is the amount due and owing to it for producing 1.7 million magazines, books and maps per year and circulating them throughout The Bahamas and in 11,000 hotel rooms at a price of $6.7m per year for three years.

Dupuch Publications alleges that the $28.8m it seeks is the end result of a breach of contract by Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar and his ministry concerning an agreement his ministry entered into with the latter on or about November 26, 2014. Dupuch Publications is also seeking damages against Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest in particular for what has been claimed is “unlawful interference” in the contractual agreement between itself and Mr D’Aguilar and his ministry for the production of the publications in question.

Dupuch Publications alleges that Mr Turnquest induced, incited, procured, persuaded, encouraged, facilitated, and advised Mr D’Aguilar to not only breach the contract, but to misrepresent to Parliament the nature of the contract and the time of his knowledge of the contract.

Furthermore, Dupuch Publications asserts that Mr Turnquest’s “unlawful interference” extends to his alleged refusal to pay it for the work done, which was in breach of the “fully performed contract” for the production of over 5.0-million publications.

Dupuch Publications is also seeking damages against Mr Turnquest claiming misfeasance of public office, as well as aggravated and exemplary damages for misfeasance of public office. It is also seeking aggravated and exemplary damages against Mr D’Aguilar claiming breach of contract.

Dupuch Publications is also seeking an injunction or order restraining Messrs D’Aguilar and Turnquest, whether by themselves, their servants, agents or otherwise, from inducing or procuring breaches of or unlawfully interfering in the contract between itself and Mr D’Aguilar and the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

Dupuch Publications is also seeking costs for the legal action, and such further or other relief as the court deems fit.

Accordingly, Mr D’Aguilar and his ministry, as well as Mr Turnquest are listed as the defendants in the matter. Attorney General Carl Bethel is also being sued in his representative capacity to the other three defendants.

According to the writ, filed May 31, the agreement was made on or about November 26, 2014 under Section 3 (e) of the Promotion of Tourism Act, 1963. It was made partly orally, partly in writing and partly by conduct and/or as a result of a course of dealing between Dupuch Publications and the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

According to the writ, the agreement called for Dupuch Publications to produce 1.7m magazines, books and maps per year for three years that promoted and advertised the Bahamas, and to subsequently circulate those publications throughout the Bahamas and in 11,000 hotel guest rooms in Nassau, Cable Beach, Paradise Island, Freeport and Lucaya in Grand Bahama at a price of $6,700,000 per year.

The plaintiff is represented by Sears and Co.

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