Nassau – Against advice from his technocrats … without his Minister for Financial Services Brent Symonette at his side or his Minister for Finance Peter Turnquest on the trip … the Prime Minister, Dr. the Most Hon. Ever Hubert Minnis, and delegation left for Brussels, Belgium, this morning to hold bilateral talks with high-ranking officials of the European Commission.
Now get this: The PM has NO APPOINTMENT with EU Ministers! NONE! And get this – with much of the attention by the EU on the decision of BREXIT by the British Parliament on Tuesday, all we say to the PM is best of luck if he even catches one EU Minister in Brussels.
The PM hopes to have discussions that will focus on matters relating to the fulfillment by The Bahamas of its commitments to the EU, and how those commitments will be implemented by the financial services sector of The Bahamas – remember now, he left that Minister home.
Prime Minister Minnis, in his own head and stubbornness, hopes to promote recent initiatives by the Government in the financial services sector, and will outline recently passed legislation and a new framework aimed at strengthening industry regulations and protecting the financial services’ competitive edge as a leading international financial centre. We at BP say it’s too late.
EU Ministers are expected to hand down a decision on the Bahamas this week and, boy, this is not looking good.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Carl Bethel, QC; Viana Gardiner, COO, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit; Stephen Coakley Wells, advisor to the Minister of Finance; Wendy Warren, CEO, Caystone Group all are on the trip. Bethel hurriedly went to Europe in October and didn’t say why. Ya think the EU Ministers were interested in seeing him – and he had an appointment!
Meanwhile, you should remember how back in March last year both Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest and Minister of Financial Services/INVESTMENTS, Trade & Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette travelled to Brussels ahead of an EU meeting in an effort to engage the Code of Conduct Group and the EU Council directly. Well, all they got was a reception and a handshake – the next thing we knew the Bahamas was on some list and then early in the New Year’s like a holiday present another blacklist appeared.
Back in early December 2018 a compendium of bills essentially aimed at ensuring The Bahamas is not again blacklisted were passed in the Parliament and new rules which engaged financial services without advice from that sector were introduced.
The PM was greeted at the airport by the Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson as he left the country.