By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
ATTORNEY Michael Scott has rejected assertions he is in a conflicted position after his law firm filed a writ alleging Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest “conspired” to defraud Sky Bahamas’ financier of almost $27m by way of sham loans.
Mr Turnquest has called the allegations “categorically false”.
Mr Scott, who is chairman of the Hotel Corporation and Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd, has faced calls from the opposition to resign or be fired from his government posts as a result of “clear conflicts” between his private duties and public appointments.
The Progressive Liberal Party has also called on Mr Turnquest to resign.
Yesterday, Mr Scott was asked to respond to questions over his own role in the matter and said he was simply acting in a professional capacity.
“First of all it is not a conflict,” Mr Scott explained. “If I was a government minister I wouldn’t be able to practice law, right? I am a part-time government appointee and I have a practice and I intend to go there every day.
“There is no conflict between me and doing that work and acting in a professional capacity as a lawyer. It’s ridiculous! It’s absurd!”
Appearing upset at the line of questioning, Mr Scott also pushed back at speculation that his law firm was being used to push an agenda.
“I’ve heard the story that I was acting as an agent of (an official) to take out Peter Turnquest,” he continued. “That is so ridiculous that it isn’t funny! I am not anybody’s prophylactic, all right! Quote me directly on that! I am no one’s prophylactic!”
Earlier yesterday in the Senate, leader of opposition business Fred Mitchell once again raised questions regarding the court saga involving Mr Turnquest.
“I wish to renew all those (questions) standing in the name of the opposition and I have a further question that I wish to give notice of at the next meeting having regard to what I saw in the press this morning about the Cabinet deliberating on the last questions that I asked,” Senator Mitchell said.
“The Prime Minister is quoted this morning as saying that the Cabinet was deliberating on the question of this writ that was filed against the Deputy Prime Minister and he would be informing the public. So I ask these further questions for their deliberation.”
Senator Mitchell asked if the government was aware that the law firm Scott and Co filed the writ in question in the Supreme Court, and if the government knew that Scott and Co is Mr Scott’s firm.
He also asked the government to confirm that Michael Scott, QC, was the same Michael Scott who chaired the Hotel Corporation and is responsible for the sale of the Grand Lucayan Hotel in Grand Bahama.
Attorney General and leader of Government Business in the Senate Carl Bethel answered “yes” to all three questions.
The allegations in the writ are levied by two companies controlled by Fred Kaiser, a Canadian businessman with whom Mr Turnquest previously enjoyed a long and close relationship.
Last week, the East Grand Bahama MP said he was “appalled” his name had been dragged into a dispute with another “former business partner”, Captain Randy Butler, chief executive of Sky Bahamas.
Mr Turnquest has stressed that he is not named as a defendant in Mr Kaiser’s statement of claim – only Captain Butler. Capt Butler has strongly denied the allegations.