NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest defended recent comments on a local talk show, telling reporters he did not intend to be insensitive or disrespectful and he did not plan to apologize.
In a 24-second video recording with talk show host Steve McKinney, Turnquest appears to ridicule the spending habits of Bahamians in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Turnquest can be heard saying, “…all their money on food then found out they couldn’t pay the rent, couldn’t pay the mortgage because it was all tied up in the cupboard”.
However, Turnquest said it was unfortunate that some “sick mind” had sought to make politic mischief as he was just providing “good, sound personal financial advice”.
“It’s unfortunate that some person saw it appropriate to cut up a statement or a sentence to make it appear as being something that was not intended,” he said outside the Cabinet Office this morning.
“The host and I were having a conversation about long lines and persons gathering at food stores and hoarding supplies. The basic comments I was making was that persons have no need to hoard or stand in long lines because as the Prime Minster has indicated there is adequate supply and so it was basically financial advice.”
Turnquest said: “Do not spend all of your money at once, budget, stay within your normal spending pattern because we do not know how long this is going to take and we will need money to take care of all the necessary commitments that we have.
“It is very unfortunate that some sick mind would seek to do something like that but unfortunately it is where we are today with persons who just want to try and make political points. There was no disrespect and certainly no attempt to tell people how to spend their money or to criticize anybody. It was just good sound personal financial advice.
“Take your time. It is going to be a bit longer than we would like and we want to make sure we have resources available to meet all of our commitments for the long haul.”
Turnquest was asked whether he would offer an apology for anyone that may have been offended by the comments, whether intentional or not.
Turnquest added: “I don’t think there is any apology necessary. This is not about accusing anyone of anything bad or wrong, it’s personal financial advice that we should all heed in this time or all times that is fix a budget, live within that budget so you can take care of all the commitments you have.”
Turnquest emphasized that he was not suggesting that persons pay their mortgages or rent over purchasing food.
“That is a silly thing. I never said that. Hopefully the host has agreed that he will address that issue on his show and hopefully the full clip and the discussion will come about and people will understand.”
The original article has been edited to reflect Turnquest’s direct quote stating his comments were “good sound personal financial advice”. The quote in the earlier article stated, “good sound financial advice”. Turnquest later released a written statement on the matter.