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Ferreira: Portfolio responsibilities sorted out

Romauld Ferreira.

Minister of the Environment Romauld Ferreira yesterday broke his silence over an official document that was initially characterized as “fake news”, charging that there was nothing secretive about it.

The document, an official gazette dated August 22, 2017, revealed that seven portfolio responsibilities were transferred from Ferreira to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

“It’s sorted out now,” Ferreira said outside the House of Assembly, when asked about the issue.

“The Office of the Prime Minister has spoken. It’s a done deal.”

This is the first time that Ferreira has addressed the issue.

On November 24, a document began circulating on social media purporting to show a transfer of seven Cabinet portfolio responsibilities from Ferreira to Minnis.

When the prime minister was asked about the document on November 25, he called it “fake news” and something he knew nothing of.

The document was later discovered to be an official gazette that can only be directed by the prime minister.

Press Secretary Anthony Newbold later noted that six of the seven portfolio transfers were done in error and would have to be corrected.

When asked why he never addressed the issue, Ferreira said yesterday that he wasn’t in the country.

The Guardian pointed out that the gazette was dated August 22, 2017.

Ferreira asked, “Are you sure about that?

“In any event, I wasn’t here. You are talking to me now.

“The Office of the Prime Minister has addressed the issue. I’m perfectly satisfied with that.”

Pressed on why the matter was never made public by the government, he said, “Well it’s been sorted out now.

“The prime minister has spoken to it. All interactions like that have to be gazetted.
“There is nothing secret.”

On Tuesday, during his weekly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Newbold said that Minnis has transferred the six portfolio responsibilities back to Ferreira.

However, as of Tuesday, the official gazette was not at Government Publications.

According to Newbold, the prime minister decided to take responsibility for the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST), however, six other Cabinet portfolio responsibilities were also transferred from the minister of the environment to the prime minister in error.

Newbold has said that the error was only noticed after the document began circulating on social media.

Ferreira reiterated during the interview that the matter has been sorted out.
“We’ve moved on,” he said.

Asked if he has any legal concerns regarding conducting affairs that were no longer a part of his portfolio, he said, “The Office of the Prime Minister has cleared that up.

“There is nothing further I can say.

“We are working in the Ministry of Environment on behalf of all the Bahamian people.
“I think at the end of the day the Bahamian people will be satisfied with our performance.”

The six responsibilities transferred from Ferreira in error were: relations with national and international organizations on matters relating to the environment; international convention, treaties, protocols and agreements relating to the environment; reefs and blue holes; Plant Protection Act; wild animal and bird protection, and natural history specimens.

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