AMATEUR HOUR: Minnis chides ‘rookie politicians’ over public comments; tells PM to ‘call them in’

AMATEUR HOUR: Minnis chides ‘rookie politicians’ over public comments; tells PM to ‘call them in’
Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks to reporters outside Parliament on Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday urged Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis to speak to his “rookie politicians” about their public commentary.

Minnis was responding to suggestions from Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Chairman Alex Storr surrounding his administration’s “mismanagement” of post-Hurricane Dorian recovery and the Dorian pledge conference being nothing more than a publicity stunt.

The chairman must be very careful when he denigrates the government. He’s slapping the UN and I think it’s stupid.

– Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

He hit back at Storr for the comments, asserting that while the chairman was trying to denigrate the Free National Movement (FNM) government, he was actually attacking the United Nations, which assisted the government in organizing the event.

“It’s the UNDP that introduced the pledge conference. They managed the pledge conference, they were instrumental and they were supporting the government,” Minnis said.

“Those are programs that they do throughout the world when there’s devastation, so it’s not the government.

DRA Chairman Alex Storr.

“The chairman must be very careful when he denigrates the government. He’s slapping the UN and I think it’s stupid.

“You don’t do that to an international organization.

“So, the prime minister needs to call these rookie politicians in so they can understand what they can say and cannot say.

“But you don’t attack an international organization like the UN believing that you are attacking The Bahamas when The Bahamas was not the one who set the program.

“The Bahamas was not the one who was monitoring the programs.”

More than 300 local and international delegates attended the pledge conference at the Baha Mar resort in January 2020.

Pledges totaled some $1.77 billion, including initiatives in home-building and repair; educational assistance; renewable energy partnerships; relief aid; grants; direct assistance to storm victims; parks restoration; loans; and financing.

However, just two months later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of a novel coronavirus as a global pandemic, with the Bahamas seeing its first case on March 15.

The government had yet to collect on pledges from individuals, organizations and countries, who had now prioritized the pandemic,

The issue of the pledge conference was once again raised amidst an ongoing audit into the DRA due to what has been labeled “mismanagement” under the former administration.

During last week’s press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Storr advised that UHY Bain and Association has been asked to perform a forensic audit into the authority, as the firm had already been performing an operational audit on behalf of the authority.

He said extremely high salaries of former executives, apparent “conflicts of interest” and the way storm contracts were handled necessitate the forensic audit.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.