Turnquest resigns, PM accepts

Turnquest resigns, PM accepts
Peter Turnqest

PM to serve as interim minister of finance
Third Cabinet minister to resign 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has accepted the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

In a statement, the prime minister thanked Turnquest for his service to The Bahamas, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I will serve as interim minister of finance and will make a substantive appointment in due course,” Minnis said.

The statement came just minutes after Turnquest issued a statement, indicating he had offered his resignation.

An untested writ of summons filed on November 16 alleges Turnquest’s involvement in a $30 million “bogus loan” scheme, an allegation he has denied.

In his statement, Turnquest said he served with “total fidelity and adherence to the tenants of our democracy, and the Westminster conventions by which we are guided”.

“As a consequence of all the unfounded and untrue claims that that have been circulating in the mainstream press as well as in social media, to protect my family, and in the best interest of my constituency and my party, I have offered my resignation as deputy prime minister and minister of finance to the prime minister with immediate effect,” Turnquest said.

“I will continue to serve out the term of my election as the member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama for whose prayers and support, I continue to be most humble and grateful.”

Turnquest said he met with the prime minister today and informed him that while he was confident that he will be vindicated through legal proceedings, he did not want a private business dispute to impact national interests.

He continued: “I did not want a private business dispute, which occurred prior to my taking public office, to become a distraction to the government or to the important national work that lies ahead.”

According to Turnquest, he served to deepen democracy in The Bahamas through the work of his ministry.

He said that work will continue at the institution.

On the court matter, the former minister said he looks forward to putting it behind him and at the appropriate time will have more to say on the allegations and the “actors that have perpetuated it”.

Turnquest is the third Cabinet minister to resign from the Minnis administration.

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.