Former Cabinet minister commends Turnquest for commitment to “values of public service”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While a former Cabinet minister commended East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest’s resignation as a Cabinet minister as “commendable”, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said the move was “inevitable”.
“The allegations in the lawsuit are too serious and too scandalous for him to remain in such an important position,” Davis said in a statement.
“However, the position of minister of finance remains essentially vacant.
“Bahamians are looking at the thinness of the Free National Movement bench and worrying there is no one of sufficient competence to lead that ministry.
“Who will speak about whether the state of the country’s finances has been truthfully represented?
“Who will give confidence to Bahamians and international financial institutions that the public finances of the country are in safe hands?”
In separate statements, Turnquest said he offered his resignation to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who accepted and announced he will act as interim minister of finance before naming a replacement.
Turnquest has denied the “unfounded and untrue claims” and expressed confidence that his reputation of accountability and transparency will be vindicated once the allegations become ventilated in the courts.
In his statement, Turnquest said he will serve out the term as the representative of East Grand Bahama, but resigned to “protect my family, and in the best interest of my constituency, and my party”.
He also said he did not want a private business dispute, which occurred prior to him taking public office, to become a distraction to the government or the important national work that lies ahead.
An untested writ of summons filed on November 16 alleges Turnquest’s involvement in a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme.
The official opposition called on the minister to resign or be fired.
Yesterday, former Cabinet Minister Damian Gomez, who had called on Turnquest to resign last week, said the former minister did the “morally right thing”.
“He is to be commended for conforming to the obligations of public office,” Gomez said.
“I salute his commitment to the values of public service.”
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Arinthia Komolafe also welcomed the resignation.
She said while Turnquest was not named as a defendant and remains innocent until proven otherwise by the courts, his decision to step down was the right one as it “preserves the integrity and reputation of the Office of DPM and minister of finance for the time being”.
However, the DNA leader opined the Bahamian people have no confidence in the prime minister’s move to appoint himself interim minister of finance at a time when The Bahamas needs “competent, stable and qualified individuals to oversee our economy”.