Now it’s contracts under govt review

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation Chester Cooper.
Photo: Donovan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation Chester Cooper. Photo: Donovan McIntosh/Tribune Staff


Tribune Staff Reporter


TOURISM, Investment and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper said yesterday the government is currently reviewing contracts awarded to Kanoo Pays, an electronic retail payment provider hired by the former administration to process travel health visa payments.

The digital provider came under heavy scrutiny in June after there were claims about Dr Nigel Lewis’ association with the company. It was claimed that Dr Lewis was the Free National Movement’s national campaign coordinator for the general election and also a director of Kanoo. A company official later told Tribune Business that Dr Lewis had less than one percent stake in the company.



Kanoo was further embroiled in controversy after it was revealed that the company had won multiple other government contracts.

The Progressive Liberal Party had heavily criticised the contracts and even went on to accuse the Minnis administration of helping FNM insiders with its contract awards.

However, responding to the claims back in June, former Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the identity of those behind the company was never considered when the company was selected to process visa payments.

He also insisted the digital provider’s fees were in line with other companies and the quality of its services were high.

Asked yesterday if the Davis-led administration had planned to review the contracts in view of the Progressive Liberal Party’s stance in opposition, Mr Cooper, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said the matter was already being looked at.

 However, he did not offer any additional details.

 “We have made some changes to the travel visa process as you are aware. We have streamlined the process for inter-island travel. We are eliminating the fees on international travels for Bahamians,” he said before going to a Cabinet meeting.

 “At the moment, we are retaining the travel visa for international persons coming to The Bahamas. We are reviewing and we are going to streamline the process as best as possible. The data being received on the international side is critical to the development and advancement of tourism and I anticipate that that will remain for some time.

 “As it relates to contracts, we are reviewing the entirety of the arrangement. I don’t wish to comment further on that at this time, but suffice to say we are looking at it.”

 In July, Kanoo executive Nicholas Rees hit out at the PLP’s criticism, saying Kanoo’s contracts were “above board.”

 Shifting focus to the nation’s tourism industry, Mr Cooper said reviving the country’s leading economic driver was a top priority for the government.

 He said tourist arrivals, inclusive of bookings, were looking “very positive” so far for the year and appeared to have significantly improved when compared with last year’s numbers.

 And to help the country return to its former glory days, the Tourism Minister added that officials were working on a new business strategy, which he says will soon be released to the public.

 “The reality of the moment is that we are looking to get back to pre-COVID numbers. Our main priority will be to restore tourism numbers from those centres in northeastern American states and to ensure that our stopover visitors, that those numbers get back to pre-COVID levels,” Mr Cooper added.

 “That’s priority number one so rest assured that we are focused on the spending of tourist (dollars) in our economy and that’s our primary focus and we are going to be working on that diligently. I will have more to say about the overall strategy, but priority number one is getting an increase in the number of stop over visitors coming back to our shores.”

 “We’re looking pretty good so far compared to last year which was a horrid year. We’re well in advance of that when we look at the bookings over the next few months, we’re looking very positive so that is the primary focus of the moment.”

 Asked if the government plans to continue with the cruise home porting initiative, he replied: “The Ministry of Tourism is very positive on home porting.”


bahamianson 1 year, 11 months ago

Two words, Jerome Fritzgerald. Is it trhe ghav government hired him?


SP 1 year, 11 months ago

Typical PLP to keep people like this troll well hidden prior to being elected.

If your gonna tief big bucks you need experienced big thieves to get the job done!


Dawes 1 year, 11 months ago

Wonder if we will soon see Cash N go doing a lot of these services


Proguing 1 year, 11 months ago

Any news regarding the VAT reduction? I thought that was the priority.


KapunkleUp 1 year, 11 months ago

Pre-election promises are like mosquito farts during a hurricane.


stillwaters 1 year, 11 months ago

I thought the plan was to govern from day one......the declaring of the obvious, consulting, inspecting, photo ops, reviewing, blaming......is taking up too much time .....start governing please. Any planes to Haiti left this morning yet?????????


Sign in to comment