Bannister gets DPM; Thompson to serve as junior finance minister

Bannister gets DPM; Thompson to serve as junior finance minister
Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister will be appointed deputy prime minister.

In a national address, Minnis said because of Bannister’s experience, portfolio and his “good counsel”, the minister will also be part of a special advisory economic team in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The prime minister said Senator Kwasi Thompson, the minister of state for Grand Bahama, will be appointed minister of state for finance.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson (FILE PHOTO)

Meanwhile, Minnis said he will retain the post of minister of finance for the remainder of his administration’s term.

He said to help guide The Bahamas’ economic recovery, he will be guided by an economic team that will continue to consult widely with business, labor, religious leaders and civil society.

Minnis was sworn in as interim minister of finance last week, replacing East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest, who resigned as minister of finance and deputy prime minister amid allegations of his involvement in a “bogus loan scheme”.

Turnquest has denied the allegations and previously said court proceedings will vindicate him.

Today, Minnis pledged to continue the prudent management of the country’s finances.

The prime minister said job creation and economic recovery will be a critical focus, adding that structural reform and bold ideas are needed.

Minnis also announced the appointment of Nathaniel Beneby Jr as a special advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister.

He said Beneby will help to drive the recommendations made by the Economic Recovery Committee and focus on the ease of doing business.

Minnis noted Beneby was the first Bahamian to be appointed managing director and chairman of the board of RBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Ltd.

Economist Wendy Craig, a former governor of the Central Bank and economic advisor in the Ministry of Finance since May 2016, will join that economic advisory team, according to the prime minister.

Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson and Kenneth Kerr, both of whom co-chaired the Economic Recovery Committee, will serve on the special economic advisory team.