Komolafe: The Bahamas does not need another PR nightmare
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Arinthia Komolafe has added her voice to those calling for the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest due to allegations of his involvement in a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme.
“The DPM occupies a major office in the current administration and has oversight of the country’s finances. Our number two industry, financial services, also falls under the portfolio of the DPM in his capacity as minister of finance. It is therefore important that the character and reputation of the holder of this office remains untainted,” said Komolafe.
“At a time that our nation is facing an economic and health crisis, we cannot afford to have this albatross around the neck of our country. Our efforts to bring about economic recovery must not be derailed by a legal matter that could take some time to conclude.
“The DPM should not want his personal affairs to serve as a distraction to the nation and negatively impact The Bahamas’ reputation globally. He should step down or take a leave of absence for the sake of our nation until the case is concluded.”
Turnquest and Sky Bahamas Principal Captain Randy Butler were accused of defrauding a company in a writ of summons that was filed by the law firm Scott & Co. on November 16.
While Turnquest is not listed as a defendant in the matter, the court documents allege that he was a director and manager of Alpha Aviation Ltd. and Advanced Aviation Ltd., while Sky Bahamas and Aviation Oversight were at all material times, owned, controlled and/or managed by Butler.
Both Turnquest and Butler have denied the allegations, with Turnquest telling reporters yesterday that he remains focused on doing the work of the Bahamian people.
However, the allegations have caused controversy, with various prominent members of society calling for Turnquest’s resignation while others come to his defense.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and former Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez, QC, were recently among those calling for Turnquest’s resignation, while Attorney John Wilson, QC, was among those coming to the DPM’s defense.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Monday said Turnquest’s fate could be determined following Cabinet deliberations.
Komolafe, in the meantime, said, “The DNA is hopeful that the DPM’s claim of innocence will be upheld by the courts; any other outcome will be detrimental [to] our reputation as a nation.
“We do not need another public relations nightmare as we have witnessed under successive PLP and FNM (Free National Movement) administrations based on the actions of their Members of Parliament.”