Photo Credit: The Nassau Guardian
Government must provide explanation
Minister has resigned under multiple administrations
Resignation too late, not enough and will not pacify Bahamians
FNM perpetuates Super Minister role
Dark cloud of cronyism, nepotism and conflict of interest over administration
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is in possession of an official communication from the Cabinet Office announcing the resignation of the Hon. T. Brent Symonette as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration effective July 1, 2019.
According to the Cabinet Office, the Hon. Elsworth Johnson will assume the same portfolio effective July 1, 2019.
The Government of The Bahamas provided no explanation or reasons for the abrupt and unceremonious resignation of this high ranking Cabinet Minister who had been described as the Super Minister due to his multiple portfolios and responsibilities. Many will recall that this is not the first time that Mr. Symonette has been fired or forced to resign under questionable circumstances. However, we demand a thorough account from an administration that pontificates transparency and accountability but has failed woefully in this regard.
The unexpected resignation of a key member of the current administration and major financier of the Free National Movement should not be swept under the proverbial carpet. The Bahamian people will not be pacified by an arranged resignation or gentleman’s agreement between the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Minister following serious allegations of conflicts of interest, political favoritism, cronyism and nepotism in the awarding of contracts to the detriment of ordinary Bahamian businesses and the struggling masses. We demand retribution and repayment of all taxpayers’ funds that have been siphoned into the coffers of cronies and party loyalists.
We submit that the FNM continues to look after special interest groups and party elites that financed their election campaign. While Bahamians are struggling to make ends meet under a regressive tax system and exercise of austerity for the masses, the privileged few are setting up multiple generations in their lineage with taxpayers’ funds and at the expense of the populace.
At the time of Mr. Symonette’s appointment by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, the DNA had expressed serious concerns that important sectors of our nation’s economy had been placed under the control of one individual. The appointment of Mr. Johnson as Mr. Symonette’s replacement perpetuates this bad decision and imprudent practice.
With no delay, the DNA calls for the full scale implementation of the following:
1. Campaign Finance Legislation
2. Freedom of Information Act with the authority to investigate deals
3. Whistle-Blower Legislation
We call upon the people to hold this government accountable to its supposed commitment to accountability and transparency. If they have nothing to hide, they should prove it. The resignation of Brent Symonette is too little too late.
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Leader, Democratic National Alliance