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Bahamas Opposition Leader calls for resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Davis
Mar 18, 2015 - 9:16:49 PM

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From left Senator Lanisha Rolle; Secretary General, Michael Foulkes; Chairman, Senator Michael Pintard; Party Leader, Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis; Deputy Leader, Peter Turnquest; Hubert Chipman, MP, St. Anne’s, and Richard Chipman, MP, Montague.

Christie Must Demand Philip Davis’ Resignation

(March 15, 2015)

It is with regret that the Official Opposition must address this matter of National Importance at a time when Deputy Prime Minister Davis is experiencing a personal loss.   I take this opportunity once again to extend my party’s heartfelt condolences on this sad occasion. However, we are duty bound to ensure that the government make decisions that do not adversely impact the lives of thousands of Bahamians who are directly and indirectly affected by such decisions. It is also our duty to demand accountability when such adverse decisions are made.

Prime Minister Christie is aware that the Honorable Phillip Davis misled the House of Assembly when he told the House several weeks ago that the BAMSI contractor Audley Hanna had ‘contractors’ all risk insurance’. It was only after an being exposed  that, more than a month after the BAMSI insurance scandal broke, Mr. Davis finally “came clean” to the House of Assembly and the Bahamian People, and confessed the truth.

From left Senator Lanisha Rolle; Secretary General, Michael Foulkes; Chairman, Senator Michael Pintard; Party Leader, Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis; Deputy Leader, Peter Turnquest; Hubert Chipman, MP, St. Anne’s, and Richard Chipman, MP, Montague.

By High Parliamentary Convention there is only one recourse when a Cabinet Minister misleads Parliament, he must resign.

There can be no excuse-making. There can be no distorting of the issues. Mr. Davis specifically told the House of Assembly on the 21st February, 2015 that: “At the contract’s signing, the contractor had everything that was required to contract work with my Ministry, including contractors’ all-risk insurance”. He then specifically informed the House, that the contractor’s insurance “had expired” due to delays.

Yet, when the truth was exposed in the news media, he came to the House of Assembly and admitted that the contractor never had insurance.  That all there was on the file was an invoice or quote which offered insurance coverage to the contractor. The mythical Southern Alliance insurance coverage was nowhere to be found!  In fact, it was revealed to the public some time ago that the company identified by the contractor, as his insurer, did not appear on the Register of Insurers in the Bahamas.

Senator Michael Pintard; Party Leader, Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis; Deputy Leader, Peter Turnquest; Hubert Chipman, MP, St. Anne’s.

This saga further reveals Prime Minister Christie’s weak leadership in allowing an inexcusable pattern of mis-statements and untrue comments on the part of the Minister of Works which warrant and demand his resignation from office, or his being fired. Cabinet Ministers are directly and personally responsible and accountable to Parliament. The Cardinal Sin of Ministerial office is for a Minister to in any way mislead Parliament. He must always speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in any statement to parliament. Plainly, Philip “Brave” Davis, DPM and Minister of Works has woefully failed to meet this standard of conduct. His lapses in this BAMSI insurance scandal are an affront to the standards of personal conduct and accountability which Parliamentary Convention, and the Manual of Cabinet Procedures, demands of Ministers of the Government.

Either Mr. Davis deliberately misled the House on the 21st February, when he communicated to the House that the contractor had all-risk insurance at the signing of the contract, which then lapsed due to delays, or he misled the House by Gross Negligence, in that he communicated false information without having read the files in his Ministry and verifying the information before he spoke. Ministers owe a duty of care to Parliament and the people, which Davis breached either by deliberate dishonesty or lack of competency. The very definition of gross negligence is to say or to refrain from saying something without the slightest concern as to whether or not his audience will be misled. Mr. Davis has plainly shown that lack of concern.

To mislead the House deliberately, or to come to the House and to make a false statement knowingly or unknowingly (having turned a “blind eye” to the facts, by not reading the files in his Ministry’s possession) is one and the same thing: it is a fundamental breach of the standards of conduct and the duty of a Cabinet Minister.  It cannot be ignored that this insurance scandal will cause the Bahamian people to lose millions public funds.

By every precedent in the history of the parliamentary system, Mr. Davis must resign and Prime Minister Christie must ensure that he resigns.

When John Profumo, the British Defense Minister misled Parliament, about a personal matter involving a young lady, he was compelled to resign. Mr. Davis, perhaps concerned about the very real public perception of negligence and graft in his Ministry, or for whatever reasons, has misled Parliament. He must do the honourable thing and resign forthwith.

The FNM hereby demands the immediate resignation of Mr. Philip Davis! Prime Minister Christie’s entire government and leadership are called into question if he does not.

The FNM vows to protect and defend our Parliamentary democracy from the blatant and patent abuse of power, contempt for established Parliamentary norms, and breach of the Manual of Cabinet Procedures. Therefore, when the call is made, we urge all Bahamians to join with the FNM and take to the streets, to defend our democracy.

BAMSI is projected to consume $100 million of the public’s money.  To date, the country is unclear on how much of this money has been spent and exactly what the balance will be spent on.  Furthermore, the Parliament has not had site of the Business Plan to get a sense of how the Bahamian people will recoup such a hefty investment in an initiative that competes with the very commercial and educational enterprises it vows to assist. In light of the recent revelations surrounding the uninsured male dormitory, we are deeply concerned about how the Government will allocate and spend the people’s money.

As an important nation operating in the international community, we cannot afford for Bahamians or expatriates to lose confidence in the credibility of our words or systems.  However, the Progressive Liberal Party continues to cause cynicism in our government.  Even as we deal with this vexing matter of the loss of the male dormitory and the approximately $2.5 million which went up in flames, we are hearing the government outrageous claim that the replacement cost of the building will actually be $5 million.  The PLP led government would begin to take a step in the right direction to rehabilitating its image and restoring much needed trust in government by accepting Mr. Davis’ resignation or firing him if he refuses to offer it.  

The lack of leadership by the Prime Minister, who has remained out of touch, has resulted in the PLP inflicting pain and suffering on the Bahamian people. This incompetent government has allowed scandal after scandal and blunder after blunder. We demand accountability!!

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