But Turnquest says GG must be “safe” and “comfortable”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Philip Brave Davis on Tuesday slammed the government for reportedly paying $9,000 in rent for His Excellency C.A. Smith – the newly-appointed governor general – until renovations at Government House are completed.
“Government House was only being used over the last four years for ceremonial and state functions. The opportunity was there to repair it,” Davis told Eyewitness News Online yesterday.
C.A. Smith was officially sworn in last week as the country’s 11thgovernor general.
Following the swearing-in, the Governor General is usually expected to take up residence in Government House. However, following the swearing-in, it was revealed that Smith would reportedly move into a residence in Port New Providence, rented by the government for $9,000 per month.
“They could have saved this $9,000 if they had done [renovations] when they ought to have done it,” Davis said.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest defended the government’s decision, noting that their overall objective was to ensure that the Governor General would be comfortable.
“Nassau is a hot market and this is the best that we could find that is appropriate for him,” Turnquest said. “So, certainly we understand, but by the same token we have a duty and responsibility to ensure that the governor general is comfortable and most importantly safe, and that is overriding responsibility.”
Former governor general Dame Marguerite Pindling did not reside at Government House. As a result of this, Davis questioned why the government did not renovate the residence as it was not being used. But yesterday, Turnquest said that there was no better time than now for renovations to commence in order to restore Government House to its former glory.
“Hopefully in doing that we will avoid having to do this patching, patching that we do everywhere,” he said. “We have to look beyond these issues and look to the overall objective of what we are trying to do.”
No official timeline was given on when renovations at Government House would be completed. When asked, Turnquest said, “hopefully soon”.