Works Minister refutes claims made by former PLP Minister

Minister of Works Desmond Bannister.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister on Monday took issue with a recent voice note that was reportedly issued by former Progressive Liberal Party member of parliament, V. Alfred Gray, which circulated on What’s App social media over the weekend.

“Mr. Gray alleges that the Government has proposed a Contractors Association Bill for Parliament; and in his words, that the Ministry of Works is ‘putting together [a list of] who can qualify as contractors and who can’t, and you can only qualify if you have a four-storey building under your contractor’s belt’” outlined a statement issued Monday by Bannister.

Also in the voice note, Gray told small-scale contractors that they may soon be unable to qualify as a contractor because they would be edged out by large-scale construction companies.

“This is time for you small contractors to rise up, stand up and fight for your rights. You have a right to see what this Bill says before it goes to Parliament,” Gray is heard saying in the voice note.

“And if you don’t band together as a group of small contractors, you may soon not be a contractor at all. I am talking to people from Inagua to Grand Bahama, and all of the islands in between.

“Stand up now,” Gray said. This government is seeking to put the small man out of business, under the umbrella of these big brothers, so if you want a job you will work for them. If you don’t stand up now you will fall, and you will fall for the next three years, too far for anybody to save you.

“So listen, all those who are under the sound of my voice, don’t take what I say lightly, I got this from good goods, out of the Ministry, you know the Ministry’s garage can, yes, every Ministry has a garbage can and don’t take what I say lightly.

“I am no longer in Parliament, but I am going to make noise as long as the cords of my life shall lengthen, and if it isn’t true, let the Minister of Works say that isn’t true and I will be happy with that.”

Bannister, however, said the allegations made by Gray are untrue and entirely without foundation.

“For those like Gray, who may have conveniently forgotten, or who may have been asleep in Parliament, the Construction Contractors Act was passed under the blundering and disastrous PLP administration.  The restrictions contained in the Bill were voted on and passed unanimously by Gray and his colleagues,”  Bannister said.

“The untrue allegations voiced by Gray in his statement about the current administration are figments of the imagination of a failed candidate who one year after being dismissed by the people appears to have developed a severe case of Parliamentary amnesia and foot in mouth disease.

“For the record, there is no government that can match the record of support that the Free National Movement has provided for small contractors.” the statement from the Works minister concluded.