NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Attorney John Wilson, QC, opined yesterday that he sees no reason for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest to resign over what he called untested and unproven allegations contained in a writ of summons regarding a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme.
“I really see no justification why anyone should resign over simple allegations in a writ of summons, because that is all it is — allegations,” he told Eyewitness News.
“It has not been tested in a court of law and it has not been subjected to any sort of proof; not to mention the fact that from what I have seen, and I can only opine as to what I have seen and circulating on social media, so I say this with this caveat.
“The minister has not been named in these proceedings at all.
“And having not been named in the proceedings, I don’t quite understand why his name featured so prominently in the allegations in the writ itself.
“One would have thought that if there was a case to be made against him, he ought to have been made a party to proceedings.”
In the writ filed by law firm Scott & Co on November 16, Turnquest and Sky Bahamas Principal Captain Randy Butler were accused of defrauding a company.
Turnquest is not listed as a defendant in the matter, but the court documents allege 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 and controlled and/or managed by Butler.
Turnquest and Butler have denied the allegations.
Former Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez has called on Turnquest to resign, asserting his resignation as a Cabinet minister would be in accordance with the convention of the Westminster system of government.
He also said the prime minister has an obligation to dismiss the minister in the public interest.
Wilson, senior partner at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes, said the primary objective of the Westminster system as it relates to ministers speaks to them taking ultimate responsibility for what occurs in their respective ministries.
He said ministers should remain cognizant of inspiring the confidence of the public in their integrity and avoid doing anything that would give rise to public distrust.
Wilson, who said he wished to be careful on opining on the validity of a matter that has been filed before the courts, added: “Insofar as it simply relates to the question of whether or not the deputy prime minister should resign simply because of allegations in a writ of summons, especially not these allegations, I don’t see why he should resign. The matters have not been proven.”
Wilson also encouraged the public to exercise some restraint before coming to judgments on the contents of the untested writ.