Mitchell counters Scott claims of no conflict over Turnquest case

PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell. (File photo)

PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell. (File photo)



PLP chairman Fred Mitchell has chided Hotel Corporation chairman Michael Scott on his claims of “no conflict” regarding the explosive writ filed in the Supreme Court featuring allegations against Finance Minister Peter Turnquest.

Mr Mitchell said Mr Scott must have missed the lessons on conflict while he was in law school.

Mr Scott’s law firm, Scott and Co, filed the writ last week which alleges that Mr Turnquest and his Sky Bahamas business partner Captain Randy Butler, “dishonestly caused” Alpha Aviation and Advanced Aviation to “pay away” $20.68m and $5.917m respectively to the airline via “some kind of bogus loans”.

Mr Turnquest is not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit and no details were given describing how the alleged scheme worked. Both Mr Turnquest and Captain Butler have denied the claims.

Mr Scott, who is also head of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd which is responsible for the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort, is being accused of being conflicted as he holds a government appointment and has filed a writ with allegations against a sitting Cabinet minister.

Speaking to The Tribune on Monday Mr Scott denied it was a conflict of interest and said he was “no one’s prophylactic” when asked if a government official is propelling him to push the issue with Mr Turnquest in court. He also said his position as Hotel Corporation chairman is a part-time government appointment and he is still allowed to function in his law firm.

“There are some bothersome unwritten rules called conventions of the constitution,” Senator Mitchell said yesterday. “They are really common sense when you think about it. One such convention is that a minister and a public official must not have a conflict between their private duty and public duty. Another is that a minister is responsible to Parliament for his personal conduct and that of his department or ministry.

“Where and when the two clash, the official must choose his public duty over his private interest. If he chooses his private interest over his public duty, then he must give up the public duty. Mr Scott seems to have missed that lesson in law school.”

He added: “The minister is the Minister of Finance who writes inter alia the cheques to keep the Hotel Corporation going. So the chairman of the Hotel Corporation in his supposed private character has said in discharging his duty to the courts that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance is (facing allegations). How, pray tell, tested or not, are these two public officials to coexist side by side with each calling the other a prevaricator?”

Senator Mitchell noted the Prime Minister has the right to overlook conflicts.

“This I submit is unsustainable,” the senator continued. “Now in our system the Prime Minister has the power to waive these obvious conflicts of both men between their private interests and their public duties.

“It will be interesting to see how the conflict is resolved. Given the Prime Minister’s previous sanctimonious comments about ethics in public office, it seems to the PLP that the honourable event must happen.”

The PLP has called for Mr Turnquest to resign.


tribanon 2 years, 6 months ago

Michael Scott is perhaps too tipsy to realize he's standing in the middle of the train tracks with a very large freight train speeding his way. Mitchell should be the least of Scott's worries right now.


themessenger 2 years, 6 months ago

Davis and Mitchell wouldn't know anything about honor even if it bit them on the ass...........


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