Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
LEADERS of the opposition political parties accused Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday of being “afraid” to make the tough decisions, calling his decision to reassign Keith Bell instead of firing him “cowardice”.
“If Keith Bell was in my Cabinet, Keith Bell would’ve been a backbencher but the Prime Minister is scared to make decisions,” said former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
“Once you accept the job of Prime Minister, you must also accept the responsibility that goes with it meaning that you must make difficult decisions, decisions that are in the best interest of the country and not yourself.”’
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Independents leader Lincoln Bain said he was disappointed the Prime Minister didn’t take more “decisive action” against Mr Bell.
Their comments came a day after Mr Davis announced changes to his Cabinet, including seven new ministerial appointments and portfolio adjustments.
Mr Bell, who has faced controversy for overseeing a citizenship swearing-in ceremony at a funeral among other actions, was among those moved to new ministries. He will become the new Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, while Alfred Sears will take over the Ministry of Immigration and National Insurance.
“To take Keith Bell after all of what has been out there against him, to remove him from immigration and put him to another place that is contract intensive. That’s very concerning to a lot of Bahamians,” Mr Bain added.
“To put him in charge of housing whether its a serious area of trust and also with urban renewal where there’s a situation of a lot of contracts that are issued for urban renewal. Quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of people trust him to be in such a area.”
“It seems like a furtherance of his agenda to one do a lot of things that he did in immigration and two, is he going to be getting housing for these people who he did favours for in the last years.”
Other notable changes include the re-assignment of Clay Sweeting, who will now become the Minister of Works and Family Island Affairs and Jomo Campbell who will take over the role of Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources.
Pia Glover-Rolle, the Minister of State for Public Service, has been promoted to Minister of Labour and Public Service, while Transport and Housing Minister JoBeth Coleby-Davis will serve as Minister of Energy and Transport.
Dr Minnis criticised the new appointments yesterday, saying it “will do nothing to help improve the lives of Bahamians.”
“We’ve simply moved around a group of failed ministers and the prime minister still has no plan to reduce crime. He still has no answer to the sky high electricity prices and he has no solution to all those Bahamians who would’ve lost as a result of the prime minister’s fault with BPL,” he said.
FNM chairman Dr Duane Sands echoed similar comments, likening the shuffle to “putting lipstick on a pig.”
“The two most disappointing moves have to be Coleby-Davis and Bell. Coleby-Davis is well known as legal counsel to an oil drilling scam. She has been at the centre of controversy and scandals at housing and transport. BPL is a disaster so perhaps Prime Minister Davis’ plan is to make it even worse,” Dr Sands.
“Certainly Bahamians have no reason to believe that she having created chaos everywhere else will bring relief to BPL.”
He said “only time will tell” if the ministers were set up for failure.
The government also issued a statement yesterday to say that the changes in Cabinet will take effect once ministers receive their official letters of appointment, and that a revised portfolio list will be made available by the Cabinet Office.