The duplicity of the Minister of Works Desmond Bannister

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Minster for Works Desmond Bannister and former PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.

By Bradley B Roberts
Former National Chairman and Cabinet Minister

3rd December 2017

The Hon. Desmond Bannister Minister of Works, authorized or sanctioned a forensic audit (by Ernst and Young) of the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL) in August. We know that the BPL board suspended, fired, then exonerated specific staff members in the wake of the audit over millions of dollars reported missing at the beleaguered power plant.

Of particular interest was the communication Minister Bannister made on his feet from Parliament on this matter. He said the following:

“First, Sir, there are a number of BPL employees who, by virtue of their jobs had to be investigated. I am pleased to say that though their names were mentioned in the report, most of them were subsequently exonerated of any wrongdoing whatsoever. They continue to be highly valued team members at BPL. In this respect I wish to expressly thank:

Mrs. Cecile Greene
Ms. Ene Maura
Ms. Garnell Sheppard Ms. Chrislyn Dean and Mr. Kevin Bowleg.

BPL values their service, and we look forward to many years of continued productivity and goodwill.”

Without notice and suddenly on 1st December, a memorandum purportedly authored by BPL’s CEO Whitney Heastie made the rounds on social media announcing that Cecile Greene, the CFO that Bannister just praised and thanked in Parliament, had stepped down along with Marisa Mason and Deepak Bhatnagar.

Was Minister Bannister being truthful to members in the Honourable House and Bahamians at large when he thanked Cecile Greene, characterized her as one of the “highly valued team members at BPL” and that BPL valued her service and was looking forward to “many years of continued productivity and goodwill?”

And what about this new culture of transparency at BPL he spoke of?

I submit that Minister Bannister knowingly misled the House and the nation and was being neither truthful nor transparent in his communication. He spoke platitudes out of the left side of his mouth whole secretly ordering and sanctioning the dismissal of the very staff he praised and thanked.

If anybody believe that these staff members were not forced out but stepped down willingly, then those persons must also believe in the existence of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.

Remember when Minnis said that if you are doing your job, you had nothing to fear?…then the firings started. Remember Turnquest saying that $42 million was missing from the treasury? Remember the FNM saying the VAT money was stolen? Remember the three rationales given for the Commercial Enterprise Bill? Every week a different Minister had a different reason and rationale for this bill.

One thing is constant and certain about the FNM though. You could count on them to rewrite history and you could count on never getting the truth or straight answer from this FNM crew.

The duplicity of the Works Minister is abundant even to die-hart FNM’s. Bahamians beware.