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Where did govt shares in GBPA go?

EDITOR, The Tribune. 

The recent brouhaha between the government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority that has found its way onto the front pages of your newspaper reminded us of another controversial subject involving these two protagonists.

In what appeared to be one of the most amazing feats of prestidigitation in the country’s history becoming almost a third rail of local politics, 7.5 percent of shares in the Grand Bahama Port Authority reportedly owned by the Bahamas government seemingly vanished sometime between 1980 and 1982. That is according to a 2008 BIS interview with then prime minister Hubert Ingraham.

According to Mr Ingraham in that interview, “The government of The Bahamas owned 7.5 percent of the shares in the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Up to about the year 1980, it was clear that government continued to act as though it owned those shares.”

Mr Ingraham continued: “The government continued to appoint directors and continued to appoint proxies to represent it at shareholders meetings. The company continued to put in the public record and in its internal record that the government owned 7.5 percent of the Port Authority. The government, for some reason, discontinued sometime between 1980 and 1982, acting as though it owned any shares.”

Mr Ingraham further stated: “It is believed that the government sold the shares. There is a mystery about how that sale may have taken place. The government is not now asserting its right to the ownership of the shares. But the government has said in court that it is the ‘owner of record’ of 7.5 percent of the shares of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

“The government reserves its position with respect to that 7.5 percent position, and the extent to which the owners of the Port are unwilling or unable to settle their dispute as between them being the registered owners of 92.5 percent of the shares, will help to influence and determine at what point the government asserts what it considers to be a legal right.”

Sixteen years on, the mystery of the missing shares is second only to the enduring Bahamian whodunnit, “Who really killed Sir Harry Oakes?”

We will resist the urge to speculate about ministers of finance, financial secretaries and permanent secretaries and leave any further revelations in this matter to your team of reporters and/or the government.

We implore the government as it seeks to get redress for a wrong that it believes has been done to the Bahamian people, to uncover the whereabouts of the missing shares and account to the people, minus the snarky comments and ambiguous non answers so typical of today’s politicians.

ED MORROW II

April 14, 2024

Comments

hrysippus 1 month ago

A great letter. It is good that not everyone has forgotten this. Most us who know about it also have our suspicions as to who ended up with money. One day it will come out as transactions like this leave a paper trail that is almost impossible to hide.

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DiverBelow 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Wonder what those shares are worth today? Obviously a fair value, as the Families are not willing to give these up. ;) Where or where could they ever be...

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