Response to the PM’s mischaracterization of the PLP

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Statement by Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party

The PLP roundly condemns the Prime Minister’s comments in his mischaracterization of the PLP as ‘nasty’, made in the House of Assembly this evening. He did so during his contribution to the House Resolution to accommodate an article 49 request from the Deputy Leader of the PLP. The Prime Minister sought to equate that request with that of the action the FNM took to protect former FNM Minister Brent Symonette to get the post office lease.

The PLP points out that there is no moral equivalence between the Town Centre Mall lease and Cash and Go agreements with the Government.

Firstly, the Town Centre Mall lease may cost Bahamian taxpayers some $17 million in penalties because the FNM government terminated an existing contract between the government and a Bahamian businessman to accommodate its Minister’s interest. This decision was craven, unethical, reprehensible and a wanton waste of public funds with no accountability.

Secondly, Brent Symonette was a Minister of the government at the time who not only gained an unreasonable advantage, but publicly admitted to participating in the Town Centre Mall negotiations. This lease created a fundamental conflict between Mr. Symonette’s personal business interests and his duty to protect the public interest. Gaining almost $1 million in revenue from this lease while costing taxpayers $17 million in penalties is selfish and is not protecting the public interest. Add to that the expense in acquiring Phil’s Foodstore for the Post Office and then abandoning it.

The Deputy Leader is not a sitting Cabinet Minister.

Thirdly, the Prime Minister was accused of misleading Parliament on the resolution to lease space in the Town Center Mall for a post office. Westminster conventions dictate that he should have resigned in the face of that allegation.

If the Prime Minister wants to know what nasty looks like, he need only look in the mirror.

End