NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer yesterday praised East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest’s performance as deputy prime minister and minister of finance, thanking him for his “service to the country”.
“When the FNM came to office in May 2017, it met the country in a critical condition due to PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) waste, mismanagement and corruption,” Culmer said in a statement.
“As finance minister, Mr Turnquest went to work to help restore the country’s finances. He did a commendable job during his time in office in the face of unprecedented, back-to-back crises.
“Mr Turnquest was minister of finance when Hurricane Dorian struck in September 2019. It was the worst storm to hit The Bahamas. His ministry led the effort to provide funding for thousands of Bahamians to get critical assistance to survive and to begin to restore their lives.
“Just as The Bahamas was making progress with its Hurricane Dorian response, the COVID-19 pandemic began, causing the worst health and economic crisis in modern Bahamian history. Mr Turnquest was instrumental as finance minister, helping to coordinate the Minnis administration’s response to the crisis.
“The Minnis administration has provided Bahamians in need with record amounts of National Insurance benefits and food assistance, along with tax benefits, credits and grants to businesses to help them make it through the tough times.”
Turnquest resigned on Wednesday amid untested allegations of his involvement in a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme, with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis accepting his resignation shortly after.
In a statement, Turnquest said at the time he resigned to “protect my family, and in the best interest of my constituency, and my party”.
Culmer said he respects the former Cabinet minister’s “decision to abide by the conventions” of the Westminster system of governance.
“On behalf of the Free National Movement, I thank Mr Turnquest for his service to the country in Cabinet the past three and half years,” Culmer said.