DPM remains focused on work ahead

DPM remains focused on work ahead
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest

Opposition has called for Turnquest to resign or be fired

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said he remains focused on the work of the Bahamian people amid calls in some quarters for his resignation.

An untested writ of summons filed on November 16 alleges Turnquest’s involvement in a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme, an allegation the minister has denied.

The official opposition has called on the minister to resign over the “scandal” or be fired.

Outside the Churchill Building, Turnquest told the media the Bahamian people know him and his reputation as a disciplined person.

“I think you guys have known me for at least eight years now, most of you, and I think that you know I am focused on what I do,” he said.

“I am very disciplined about what I do.

“The matters that are circulating out there are unfortunate.

“They will be dealt with in the due course of time.

“But again, I am focused on working for the Bahamian people while I have the opportunity to do so, and I will do my best to ensure that we get through this crisis (pandemic).”

Pressed on the calls for his resignation and whether he will step down, Turnquest said: “You know, again, we’ll see what happens. But as far as I’m concerned, I am focused on the work of the Bahamian people.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Cabinet will deliberate on the matter and advise the public.

In the writ filed by law firm Scott & Co., 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.

Butler has also denied the allegations.

When contacted yesterday, Michael Scott of Scott and Co. said there was no conflict of interest.

Scott is the chairman of the government-appointed special purpose vehicle Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited.

“There is no concern because I am representing Kaiser against Randy Butler in a professional capacity

“I have no personal dispute with the DPM (deputy prime minister). Why should there be a conflict?

“That’s just ignorance on the part of the leader of the opposition and the chairman of the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party), both of whom are lawyers.”

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.

But another senior Queen’s Counsel has opined that Turnquest has no reason to resign at this stage over what has been labeled as untested and unproven allegations.