NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis thanked Governor-General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, on May 12, 2017, for appointing K. Peter Turnquest as Minister of Finance and Carl Bethel, Q.C., as Attorney General; and said that his Government began the formation of “The People’s Government” by swearing them into office that day.
“In order to best serve the Bahamian people, my cabinet will blend experience with new talent and faces in government,” Prime Minister Minnis said at their swearing-in ceremony at Government House. “Today’s appointments reflect this goal.”
Prime Minister Minnis added that Minister Turnquest will also serve as Deputy Prime Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest has had extensive experience in business, having worked mostly in Grand Bahama and New Providence, Prime Minister Minnis noted. He also had international business experience and served as President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Prime Minister Minnis added.
“Mr. Turnquest is a Certified Chartered Accountant in The Bahamas,” he added. “He served as Shadow Minister of Finance during the past five years.
“He also has experience in a number of professional organizations including as a Member of the Inter-American Development Bank Civil Society Group.”
When speaking about financial issues, Prime Minister Minnis stated that transparency and accountability in public finances were often absent by the former government in the past five years. He said in the administration of public finances, his Government would adhere to the Constitution and to the 2010 Financial Administration and Audit Act.
“We will adhere to other relevant laws and best practices of financial administration,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “We will also improve the administration of public finances through legislative and regulatory reform and modernization.”
“My government will ensure that the Public Treasury is utilized for the public good rather than directed toward private interest,” he added. “I will ever remind my ministers to avoid conflicts of interest in the exercise of their public duties.”
Prime Minister Minnis then noted Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest’s “extensive” community service, highlighting his serving as Chairman of the Grand Bahama Scout Association, being a Rotarian and serving with the Anglican Church Men at the Church of the Ascension in Grand Bahama.
“Community and voluntary service will be an essential theme of my administration,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “The cultivation of the common good should inspire in us all a commitment to serve our fellow-citizens, especially the least among us.”
While speaking about Attorney General Bethel, Prime Minister Minnis said he was pleased to have advised his appointment to the Senate, where he will serve as Leader of Government Business.
“Mr. Bethel brings enormous experience to government,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2002. He also previously served as Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, and as a Member of Parliament for three terms.
“Mr. Bethel served as Minister of Education, Youth and Sports from 2007 to 2009; as Minister of Economic Development from 2000 to 2001; and as Minister of State for Economic Affairs from 1997 to 1999. He also served as Chairman of BAIC from 1995 to 1997.”
Prime Minister Minnis noted that Mr. Bethel has had an extensive background in the law and what members of the legal profession describe as “a love of the law.”
“He has been a lawyer for three decades,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “In 2015 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel.
“Mr. Bethel has a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the Constitution. He was a member of the Constitutional Commission from 2012-2013.”
Prime Minister Minnis noted that Attorney General Bethel had served the country’s community as a Kiwanian, and served as a Past-President of the Kiwanis Club of Fort Montagu.
Prime Minister Minnis reiterated that his Government “will respect and will be guided” by the Constitution and the conventions of The Bahamas’ parliamentary democracy.
“It is essential that The People’s Government respects and is seen to respect the rule of law,” he stated. “We cherish and will protect the rights and freedoms of the Bahamian people.”
To the two newly-elected Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister Minnis pointed out that fidelity to the oath they swore that day was essential in order to provide the Bahamian people with a government of integrity.
“Good and open government demands transparency and accountability,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Good governance demands being responsible for our actions.
“Accordingly, I will hold my minsters to the highest standards of ethical conduct in the performance of their public duties.”
Prime Minister Minnis said that he looked forward to working with them in a spirit of collegiality and collaboration, in a government which adheres to collective responsibility.
“In congratulating you on your appointments, I commend to you the values of honesty, hard work, sacrifice and an abiding commitment to the dignity of the Bahamian people,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“We must never forget that we serve as The People’s Government,” he added. “The spirit of democracy must be our constant companion and guiding light.
“May God bless The Bahamas. God bless you all and thank you very much.”
Pictured at the Swearing-In Ceremonies for the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General at Government House on Friday, May 12, 2017 from left: Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, centre; Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis and Mrs. Patricia Minnis, centre left; Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest and Mrs. Sonia Turnquest at right; and Attorney General the Hon. Carl W. Bethel, Q.C. and Mrs. Lisa Bethel at left. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)