Former DPM condemns tabloid attacks

Former DPM condemns tabloid attacks
East Grand Bahama MP K Peter Turnquest (BIS/YONTALAY BOWE)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest today hit back at tabloid attacks he claims have persisted against him since the government dismissed a private loan offering.

The former deputy prime minister and minister of finance resigned from Cabinet last week after he was included in an untested writ of summons alleging his involvement in a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme.

At the time, the East Grand Bahama MP said he made the decision to resign to protect his family, and in the best interests of his constituency and the Free National Movement, citing “unfounded and untrue claims” in the mainstream press as well as in social media.

In a statement today, Turnquest said: “Ever since the government of The Bahamas dismissed a private loan arrangement with a foreign finance firm in favor of an international bond offering, the bi-weekly tabloid, The Punch, has launched a relentless attack on me and the Ministry of Finance.”

In October, the government secured US$600 million in bond financing at 8.95 percent interest from international capital markets to help finance its 2020/2021 budgetary needs and repay debt.

The transaction will add an additional $352 million to the debt level of the country and falls within the $1.334 billion in approved financing for the current fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The proceeds of the issuance will be used to finance the government’s general 2020/2021 budgetary needs and to repay its indebtedness of US$248 million under the 2020 Bridge Facility.

“The rationale for the decision made, following extensive analysis by technical experts at the ministry, were fully and objectively explained in Parliament,” Turnquest continued.

“Yet the personal attacks continue. One has to wonder why. What motivates or is the publisher’s special interest in this particular transaction above all of the other financing transactions the government has issued since coming to office?

“The front-page story in today’s edition of the tabloid is a continuation of that attack. The allegations contained in the article are false and completely misleading and I condemn and deny them in the strongest terms.”

Turnquest said: “Today’s attack article and false claims follow an equally damaging article printed in the Thursday, November 26th, 2020 edition of the tabloid, which reported that I purchased two apartment units in Bayroc Condominiums, Nassau, Bahamas, and received allowances from the government of $10,000 per month for living accommodation in said units.

“This allegation was intentionally placed to cause public speculation, ridicule and to further damage my reputation and integrity. These allegations are equally false and easily disproved.”