TOO KIND: Bannister downplays PM’s “co-prime minister” suggestion

TOO KIND: Bannister downplays PM’s “co-prime minister” suggestion
Minister of Public Works and Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister yesterday downplayed the prime minister’s suggestion that he would serve as “co-prime minister” if the Minnis administration is given a second term.

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said if the Free National Movement (FNM) is successful in being re-elected to office, he and Bannister would “split” the leadership of the government. Minnis said he would concentrate on the poor, granting land and Bahamian ownership.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis (standing, right) gestures towards Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister (seated, left) during debate in the House of Assembly on Monday, March 1, 2021. (FILE PHOTO)

In an interview with reporters outside Cabinet yesterday, Bannister said he would be honored to carry out the duties of the prime minister.

“I’m the deputy prime minister; I have no pretensions about his job. He’s the prime minister,” Bannister said.

“He assigns jobs to ministers, so if he assigns certain things to me in my portfolio, there are things I’d be honored to carry out, but he’s the prime minister.

“There’s no co-prime minister and if the prime minister said that, he was just trying to be kind to me.”

Minnis explained that he wants to “confine” himself as prime minister in the next term just to deal with specific components of governance, while the deputy prime minister would run the rest of the government.

Upon coming to office, the prime minister indicated he would not take on any ministry, but would be a “minister of ministers”.

However, several Cabinet shuffles over the past four years have landed Minnis with the position of health minister briefly and now finance minister.

Bannister was recently appointed deputy prime minister following the resignation of former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

The Carmichael Road incumbent has not yet been ratified in the upcoming general election.

However, Bannister advised yesterday that he is seeking to be re-elected in the Carmichael Road constituency in the upcoming general election.

“The people of Carmichael are my people and there’s no question that I’m going to be applying to my party to be nominated as the candidate for Carmichael. There’s no question about that,” he said.

In the last general election, in 2017, Bannister won the Carmichael Road constituency with 3,073 votes against Keith Bell, who received 1,595 votes.