PLP candidate for the West Grand Bahama and Bimini by-election Kingsley Smith and FNM Chairman Dr Duane Sands.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DR DUANE Sands ripped into Kingsley Smith’s financial declarations for the West Grand Bahama and Bimini by-election, insisting the PLP’s candidate has “absurdly” implied that he does not have a bank account.
Candidates must accurately declare their assets, income and liabilities before elections, according to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
They are expected to reveal what they have in savings accounts, current accounts, securities, salaries, properties, other income and debts.
Mr Smith declared $200k in securities, $65k in accounts receivable, automobiles worth $52k, property worth $60k, a salary of $34,750, other income of $25k and debts of $243k.
Notably, he was the only candidate not to declare anything related to savings or current accounts.
“It is difficult to believe that an acting chief passport officer, as I believe was his substantive role, doesn’t have a bank account because I don’t know how he would get paid,” Dr Sands said on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Mr Smith told The Tribune to call back to discuss the matter, but he did not respond to repeated calls before press time. A source in the PLP, unauthorised to speak publicly on Mr Smith’s behalf, told this newspaper the candidate stands by his declaration.
“What person in the world would have security of $200k and a liability of two hundred something thousand dollars but don’t have a bank account?” Dr Sands asked.
“What we suspect is he has taken note of the debt that secures money loaned to him in order for him to not be bankrupt. That’s the only way we could see it, but nobody has considered that these documents ought to mean something.”
“You have no savings accounts, yet you gon’ tell me you have $200k in securities and you owe $243k? How you paying the friggin debt? You putting it in a brown paper bag and taking it to the person?”
Dr Sands also questioned the declaration of Coalition of Independents leader Lincoln Bain, who declared no debt and a net worth of $1.8m.
Mr Bain claimed in a social media broadcast earlier this month that he is one of the country’s biggest producers of mobile apps and websites and that The Tribune is among his biggest clients. However, in an editorial, the newspaper said an app Mr Bain’s company produced for Jamz –– a separate entity from The Tribune –– amounted to $600 per year.
“If that’s his biggest client,” Dr Sands said, “then how the hell he get a net worth of $1.8m?”
The Bahamas does not have a robust system surrounding public disclosures. In its annual human rights report, the United States has repeatedly noted that no independent verification of the information public officials submit exists.
Dr Sands said the Public Disclosure Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act must be updated with more “teeth” to ensure all candidates forward complete and accurate information.