Roberts slams Hubert Ingraham for ripoff at NIB
BY Bradley B. Roberts
National Chairman, Progressive Liberal Party
Dr. Minnis and Darron Cash can prance up and down and deflect all they want. The former Prime Minister can hide from the media all he wants, but the simple fact is that the findings of the NIB Forensic Audit exposed just another FNM mess that the PLP is tasked to clean up. Further, the FNM is culpable and must accept responsibility and be held accountable for this mess.
The audit findings and more importantly, the incoherent ramblings from the culpable leadership of the FNM underscore their duplicity, complicity and leadership deficit on issues on integrity in government, accountability and stewardship – all of which strike at the foundation of our democracy. There is no acceptance of responsibility or accountability; no public apology or gesture of atonement on the part of the FNM leadership, only distractions and deflections away from this major failure in governance.
It was none other than Hubert Ingraham who gloated to a Nassau Guardian reporter that the NIB scandal was the making of the PLP and washed his hands when he boasted: “I hired Cargill. I thought he did a wonderful job at NIB….We left the place [NIB] in good shape.” The jury is now in, Mr. Ingraham and his cabinet’s stewardship of the people’s monies were weighed in the balance and he and his cabinet were found to be woefully wanting.
Equally embarrassing is current leader Dr. Hubert Minnis who initially stated that the board had good reasons for approving the illegal bonuses. When the audit findings were published in the Nassau Guardian, Dr. Minnis opined to Darrold Miller that the Guardian reporter could have erred in her story and he could find the error that would change the entire character of the report (and exonerate the FNM). After the report was tabled in Parliament, the hapless and spineless opposition leader was again in the press crying about not receiving a personal copy of the report. At all material times, the facts on the NIB matter remained constant but Dr. Minnis managed to change his position three times without accepting responsibility. I have some unsolicited advice for Dr. Minnis: DO NOT CALL A CONVENTION ANY TIME SOON.
The fact is, Dr. Minnis sat around the cabinet table when the National Insurance Act was violated by the board and Director of NIB and based on the Westminster principle of collectively responsibility, Dr. Minnis is culpable and must account to the Bahamian people.
As for Darron Cash, most Bahamians by now have dismissed him as lacking credibility. It is inexcusable and unbelievable that a purported professional accountant would see nothing wrong with the obvious lack of corporate governance and wanton disregard for standard accounting practices as reported in the NIB audit.
The FNM and their apologists have no moral authority to criticize the PLP over costs because it was none other than Hubert Ingraham who in his infinite wisdom used the public treasury to finance not one but two commissions of inquiry where the FNM brought in foreign commissioners to the tune of millions of dollars.
The PLP supports the Prime Minister’s decision to engage an independent auditor to review NIB accounts, as the process was transparent and free of political interference, giving the process and results greater credibility.
We remain confident that under the leadership of both the Hon. Shane Gibson and Fr. James Moultire, the appropriate measures will be put in place to safeguard the assets of NIB and restore public trust and confidence in one of our most important institutions.