Official Opposition postpones no-confidence vote

Official Opposition postpones no-confidence vote
Philip Davis, Opposition Leader

Draft resolution: Dr Minnis “knowingly and deliberately misled Parliament” on post office deal

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Official Opposition will delay tabling its resolution of a vote of no confidence in the prime minister when Parliament resumes this week.

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis told Eyewitness News Online that his party wanted to prioritize discussion on disaster response and recovery following the deadly passage of Hurricane Dorian.

If tabled, the motion would take precedence over all other business in the Lower House.

“We want to have the opportunity to discuss everything related to Dorian, the preparations, response and recovery so that Bahamian people can get a fuller picture of what is happening,” Davis said.

“We want that to take precedence before moving forward with the motion, but we are still focused on bringing that.”

Davis declined comment on the draft resolution on Sunday; however, a copy of the document was obtained by Eyewitness News Online.

The draft resolution makes its case for a vote of no confidence on the controversial Town Centre Mall lease, and accuses Prime Minister and Killarney MP Dr Hubert Minnis of “knowingly, intentionally and deliberately” misleading parliament over the deal.

The resolution to lease the mall – partly owned by St Anne’s MP and former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette – to house the General Post Office was passed in the House of Assembly on October 24, 2018.

Symonette declared his interest in Town Centre Mall to Parliament the same day.

At the time, Symonette was the Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration. The government has maintained he had no involvement in Cabinet discussions surrounding the matter.

However, the deal came under renewed scrutiny when Symonette stepped down from his Cabinet post in July, and in a subsequent interview revealed Dr Minnis called him to discuss the deal.

Symonette was a guest on ZNS radio show “The Conversation” with host Shenique Miller when he revealed Dr Minnis called him while he was out of the country on government business.

Dr Minnis has not answered questions about Symonette’s claim, and critics like former Attorney General Alfred Sears, QC, have suggested the revelation undermines the legitimacy of the parliamentary resolution permitting the lease.

Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis.

The draft motion further stated that Dr Minnis knowingly and deliberately violated at least two of the principles of the FNM’s adopted and paraphrased Seven Principles of Public Life.

“Specifically,” the draft read, “on the principle of integrity, holders of public office “should not act or take decisions to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

“Additionally, on the principle of honesty, “holders of public office should be truthful” and on the principle of openness, “holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing”.

The draft resolution added: “…given the foregoing, that the Member for Killarney knowingly, intentionally and deliberately misled this Honourable House. We ask that in their deliberations, House members uphold ancient tradition, convention and precedent of these hollow chambers by placing the honour and integrity of this Honourable House above partisan politics and cult of personality.”