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Senate President’S Carnival ‘Conflict’

OPPOSITION leader Philip Davis and Senate president Kay Forbes-Smith.

OPPOSITION leader Philip Davis and Senate president Kay Forbes-Smith.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION leader Philip Davis yesterday called on Senate president Kay Forbes-Smith to choose between her political appointment and private practice as he characterised her engagement by Carnival Cruise Line as “influence peddling”.

Mr Davis acknowledged there were no laws blocking parliamentarians from working, but noted when it came to entities doing business with the government, “it’s a matter of principle”.

Mrs Forbes-Smith declined comment on the matter yesterday.

“I think in the context of influence peddling,” Mr Davis said, “it has always been frowned upon in our political regimes and so those of us who hold elected or appointed office ought not to be putting themselves in the position where obvious conflicts between the role that you hold publicly and the discharge of any private interests. 

“Where that happens one has to choose between private life and public life. You can’t hold onto the two. I call upon her to decide whether she wants to continue holding public office or pursue her private interests.”

Mrs Forbes-Smith confirmed her engagement with Carnival as a local consultant and advisor during an interview with The Tribune earlier this month.

Mrs Forbes-Smith explained she was retained last year as a part of a team of people, and defended her right to continue her private practice. During the interview, she also noted that she did not participate in debate as Senate president.

Yesterday, Mr Davis said it was not a responsible position because as Senate president she is called upon to exercise her entitlement to vote in the event there is a tie.

“I’ve always been working in PR and comms [communications] strategy,” Mrs Forbes-Smith said on May 5. 

“I would not take a contract with any government entity, I think that would be a conflict. But anything I do in my private life in the private sector is different.”

The revelation prompted the Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG) to renew its call for the government to pass the Integrity Commission Bill. 

ORG Executive Director Matt Aubry noted there were no laws preventing parliamentarians from engaging in private work, but underscored the law would facilitate the independent and objective review of ethical concerns. 

In a press statement, Progressive Liberal Party National Vice Chairman Obie Roberts said it was not an issue of the law.

“The issue is whether or not it passes the test of propriety, the proverbial smell test,” Mr Roberts said. 

“In other words, would an objective observer say that there is no conflict? Would a PLP supporter feel assured that in a competition for work on the Carnival site believe that he has a fair chance given the connection between [Carnival], the FNM government and the Senate president who is an FNM politician?

“The matter must be reexamined in that light and the appropriate action taken by the president to correct it. She must resign as a senator or give up the consultancy,” Mr Roberts added.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 days, 3 hours ago

Bahamians need to wake up and ask themselves why so many in the corrupt Minnis-led FNM government are so eager to peddle their influence for the benefit of foreigners while doing little if anything for the Bahamian people. Minnis should have long ago given Forbes-Smith a date by which to either sever her business ties with Carnival or resign from the Senate. The fact that he hasn't done this yet, speaks volumes about the character of Minnis himself!

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licks2 5 days, 1 hour ago

Stop acting stupid. . .only our cabinet ministers are required by law to leave their jobs in escrow or trust. . .STOP FOLLOWING DAVIS FOOLISHNESS. By the same reasoning you used. . .your nonsense reasoning show that you are dumb and stupid? How the hell Mr. Davis wants to be PM and he don't even know something like this. . .SOMETHING HE ALLOWED AS DPM FOR FIVE YEARS!! Man just act like ya have some sense or excuse yasef from around reasoning common sense folks!! By the way. . .Mr. Mitchell is a senator. . .and a practicing lawyer. . .Hanna Martin still (she just had a case from a friend of mine about 2 months ago). . .Frank Smith was Chair of hospital authority. . .and lending money to Ms. Hanna. . .a woman he was negotiating a government contract with. . .ALL WITH FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF MR DAVIS. . .THE COURT INFORMATION SHOWED!! IF YOU WANT TO BE STUPID BEHIND MR DAVIS. . .GO RIGHT AHEAD. . .BUT KEEP IT TO YASEF PLEASE!!

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DWW 4 days, 23 hours ago

stop playing party politics. you are saying that a conflict of interest is not a conflict if it is an FNM doing it. i think not. we need to move this country forward and hold all accountable.

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Hoda 4 days, 22 hours ago

I think you are playing politics.

The conversation needs to be what carnival can contribute to GBs economy

The PLP making videos about how GB is dead and then in the paper talking about how can a PLP supporter be assured a fair shot on the site?

Let's pray there is a site to have hypothetical arguments about. Carnival has not even gotten started. Let's pray we all stop being black crabs from behind the screen, then perhaps progress will have its day.

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 20 hours ago

No the question needs to be why is the FNM auctioning us off? This is unseemly. When Fitzgerald did it me and you was screaming from the rooftops. This is no different. These guys are using their position to sell access. How in heavens name Adrian Gibson get to chauffeur a potential investor to Bannister's office? The FNM needs to call wrong wrong. Because when you lose the next election and the POP in power they gonna up your game and what will you be able to say?

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Hoda 4 days, 20 hours ago

Foreign investment is auctioning off now? Well what investments and jobs will make you happy.

The former minister was a sitting minister who - the leaked emails, I believe, suggested he directed the hotel give somethin to a certain co. Carnival has not even started to do anything and you are suggesting that something unseemly is at hand - without evidence.

You sound insecure and damaged.

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 15 hours ago

It would make me EXTREMELY happy if there is a strategic plan for skills training. I believe the Bahamas' growth and success is tied a professional well trained workforce, and not training people to answer the phone. And it can be done. We remain stagnant because a few people want to control the wealth, keep the majority of the popluation dependent and sell access and resources as their main source of revenue

How does anything I've said lead you to an "insecure and damaged" assessment? For mentioning what every honest Bahamian knows? That 2017 governance een no different than 2012. Just a different interest group benefitting.

As to Fitzgerald vs Smith, it don't matter what steps happen between A and Z. The end result is the same. "Access for sale"

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Hoda 4 days, 14 hours ago

Insecure and damaged people try and suggest things about people that they do not know.

You clearly are not familiar with this person and what they have contributed to their community.

Let's take skills and training - google GirlCon Bahamas. Ask anyone who was in the program at the GBSY - when she was their she got the co to educate and pay the welders with official certifications from COB as it then was and to accept credits towards degrees. I wonder if they still doing it? Ask anyone on GB who she has assisted when FNM was in or not.

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 14 hours ago

I made comments about actions in the public. What is an MP doing chauffeuring an investor to a cabinet ministers office? Those "actions" don't seem strange to You? No of course not. The FNM is in charge now.

As to Mrs Smith what is described in this story has nothing to do with how "good" she is. You're making a straw man argument. There is a well known biblical saying "never let your good be spoken evil of". If she wanted to keep the Senate position she should have refused the carnival offer. If she wanted to take the carnival offer she should have resigned her post. Another well known saying, no man can serve two masters.

This is not rocket science and has nothing to do with what she's contributed to the country. If that were the case we'd ALL be talking about Pindling as the greatest leader ever And a man to be emulated, INSTEAD even though we recognise his contribution we acknowledge his special interest mistakes.

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Hoda 4 days, 13 hours ago

The described story addressed the statement that persons can't have a private life and a public life.

It has already been confirmed that there is nothing other than your belief that someone will act untoward makes having a private and public persona unseemly. My point is that then all person who have a part-time or full time govt job should not be allowed to have a private persona. Because it seems that the divide is only up for scrutiny when the person might be well known. Be fair, analyse and test - everyone on every level for the things you fear. Part of that is a track record. Thats not rocket science either.

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Hoda 4 days, 14 hours ago

What have you contributed?

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 14 hours ago

You will see in short order. I hope yours in on display

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licks2 4 days ago

Not. . .I am not saying conflict of interest is not conflict of interest. . .JUST THIS CASE IS BULL DROPPING!! Orga. . .why I am I responding to your nonsense. . .you just carry on smartly with ya dumbness. . .

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birdiestrachan 5 days, 2 hours ago

Seems as if she is getting fat of the spoils. I am wondering what was she telling roc wit doc ? was she the go between doc and Carnival, and they talk about corruption, How much money changed hands and is she also a consultant for OBAN??

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realfreethinker 4 days, 22 hours ago

I never read shit that bwave write. I do recall PM Christie being the Lawyer for the oil company. Or was it Christie/Davis and Co.?

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 20 hours ago

Exactly. That was unseemly too.

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licks2 4 days ago

You forgetting that as sitting PM Christie was the consultant for the oil exploration company. . .he was lawyer for them as MP. . .I would waste the time and talk about Mr. Davis. . .child please. . .the PLP getting dumber and dumber as the days go by. . .childish as yard chicken-like just like petty Fred Mitchel!!

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Hoda 5 days ago

Mr Leader of the Opposition should reveal his clientele. Let's see what in his closet.

Did he just say that how can a observer be assured a PLP supporter can be sure they would receive a fair shot ? The PLP clearly campaigning.

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proudloudandfnm 5 days ago

If Kay was PLP he'd be defending her.....

PLP is so full of crap...

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TalRussell 5 days ago

Sad but so true can only hold faint hope that the warning message of a reoccurring constance amongst elected and appointed Imperial red shirts now issued by the comrade leader Queen's official opposition, does resonates out there amongst populace, yes, no?

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DWW 4 days, 23 hours ago

Pot calling kettle black? ...... anyone?........... anyone? no, oh just me then.

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TalRussell 4 days, 22 hours ago

Yes, yes wouldn't the energies the elected and the politically appointed Imperial red shirts guard, not be better directed at answering why the Imperial red shirts keep claiming that there’s not growing poverty out there Colony among Colony of Out Islands populace when there sure is stretching from out Nassau and Freeport to Out Island to Out Island, yes, no....... something both these two comrades might want find time to seriously address, yes, no...... too much becoming a 'Me, Me society" - yes, no tis no wonder increasing number aspire live behind walls in gated communities be's away from populace, yes, no?

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DDK 4 days, 22 hours ago

The PLP represent The People so well WHILE IN OPPOSITION!

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 20 hours ago

True I've heard Mr Davis put forward sensible reasonable arguments to some very strange positions by the FNM. Unfortunately even though his position is sound his record is so tarnished that people see him before they hear what he's saying.

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realfreethinker 4 days, 20 hours ago

I would be one of those people. He has a very recent track record for me to follow. That's why what he has to say is gibberish to me

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 15 hours ago

Yeah the sad part is, after years of witnessing the back and forth, I'm almost certain if he were put in charge tomorrow it would be the same special interests story all over again....and the FNM would be pointing out how its all wrong.

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licks2 4 days ago

Name one. . .and he could NEVER REMEMBER A DANG THING WHEN IT COMES TO HIM AND HIS PARTY DOING NONSENSE!! Now don't go on about the PAC. . .he supported the same position that makes him focus on house matters. . . he supported when it was trying to get him to account for BAMSI and the no insurance builder. . .when he lied to the house and said that the builder had insurance. . .he made sure that he did. . .he supported Speaker Major's ruling then. . .now he is playing the fool!!

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 14 hours ago

It's clear that Professional Ethics training is sorely lacking in this country. We cross these lines so often with the reason, if money being made its ok. And "good" people fall into the thinking as well.

This is no different than the BEC chairman who said he has a RIGHT to sell his product to BEC. And the Deputy Chairman agreed with him. He had "an obligation to his shareholders".

No different than Frank Smith entering into a loan agreement with someone he was awarding a contract to

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killemwitdakno 4 days, 10 hours ago

Was something concerning Carnival going through the senate?

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 6 hours ago

If you believe these investors just randomly chose the firms they work with, think again.

Carnival is clearly smarter than us because a very big case was going through the US courts when they contracted Mrs Smith. They would have known that there would likely be some blow back and local follow on legislation to that. And im certain they would have researched her and known she was president of the Senate where all our laws are reviewed. Also we literally have no idea when they informed Dr Minnis of the court case, has the FNM been open about It?

When you in the seat of power YOU have to be wise to the fact that you're in a sensitive position and investors and foreign govts may try to cultivate you for future purposes. Our officials seem to welcome the compromise. As soon as the issue came up Mrs Smith should have informed carnival I can't continue to work on this because it MIGHT cause a conflict, she did the opposite, she said I have a RIGHT to make money. Noone is saying she is a "bad" person, or that she can't make money, ethically holding onto both is just a no no.

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ThisIsOurs 4 days, 6 hours ago

And shouldn't our negotiating teams be asking these investors if they have any pending legislation in any court that could negatively impact their proposal? That seems like a must ask question...

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licks2 4 days ago

What are you saying. . .our senate don't make or approve laws. . .they review them. . .they have as much power as Laura to sell mango on a corner that the government says it wants to put a road there! Our constitution, the USA, CA, UK, FRANCE, THE WHOLE EU FOR THAT MATTER HAVE THE SAME LAWS IN PLACE. Holowesko, Sharon Wilson. . .all had their business portfolios up and running while serving as senate presidents. . . their families and friends were dealing with government as well. . .there were no problems because our constitution allows them to continue to do so. . .so change the law or grow a pair of brain cells and reason with common sense!!

We are entitled to our opinions. . .but not to our own little bottle of "jack-up" reasoning. Ethic come from what is right. . .she is breaking no law. . .I suggest that she DON'T pay most of yinna no mind. . .especially since we know how yinna go with politics. . .yall like to hide yinna brains behind one big rock when yall want to support yinna team or beat up on the next team!!

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 23 hours ago

I was referring to when Dr Minnis and team would have been made aware that carnival had this big court case. I don't think it was the same time as it appeared in the media.

And exactly, the senate doesnt write laws. They review and they provide suggested changes. You're intelligent. You know exactly what thst means. If the PLP were in power and this was Fred Mitchell with the contract you woukd have a huge problem.

Ethics have nothing to do with "law". It's "ethics" a way of conducting your business in a professional, honest and transparent manner. You know that too.

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birdiestrachan 3 days, 22 hours ago

The people at Carnival are very smart. they knew Kay Forbes Smith is a member of the FNM Government that is why they choose her. Did OBAN choose her also??

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