NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A new minister of finance could be named as early as next week, according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who said he plans to meditate on the selection while visiting Cat Island.
“I would announce very soon,” he told reporters on Exuma when prompted on the matter.
“What I can say is that I most certainly won’t remain in [the] Ministry of Finance.
“I can say that much with certainty.
“Tomorrow, I am traveling to Cat Island and I would meditate and discuss with some of my colleagues and by the time I come back sometime next week, we would have to make announcements moving forward.”
East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest resigned as deputy prime minister and minister of finance amid mounting pressure and calls for him step down over allegations of his involvement in defrauding two companies of around $30 million.
Minnis accepted the resignation.
Turnquest said he resigned with “total fidelity and adherence to the tenets of our democracy and the Westminster conventions”.
He said as a result of the “unfounded and untrue” claims, he stepped down in the best interest of his constituency and party, to protect his family and to ensure the private dispute which he said took place prior to him taking public office, did not become a distraction to the government or the important national work ahead.
Turnquest has expressed confidence that his reputation of transparency and accountability will be vindicated once the allegations against him have been “ventilated through the courts”.
He has pledged to say more at the appropriate time about the allegations and the “actors that have perpetuated it”.
Turnquest was the third Cabinet minister in the Minnis administration to resign.
Elizabeth MP Dr Duane Sands resigned in May after accepting responsibility for a breach of protocol amid the country’s border closure.
In June 2019, St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette resigned as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration.
Free National Movement (FNM) Vice Chairman David Thompson has said he believes the prime minister is the best minister to deal with finance at this time.
He said the Office of the Prime Minister is able to “marshal resources of all of the government ministries and agencies, [and] have a command, knowledge and plan for our country fiscally going forward”.