Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis defended the appointment of Omar Archer as registrar under the Construction Contractors Act, though he did not explain what qualifies him for the role.
Archer was a controversial political activist in the lead up to last year’s general election and has a conviction for threats of harm. In 2015, he was taken to hospital after he jumped from a second story window of the South Street Magistrates’ Court Complex and broke both legs.
“As far as Omar Archer, he is a Bahamian like everyone else,” Minnis told reporters on the sidelines of the State of the Tourism Industry conference at Atlantis resort on Tuesday night.
“Is he not entitled to work? Is he not entitled to eat? Is he not entitled to sleep?”
Questions surrounding Archer’s appointment arose after Leonard Sands, who resigned as president of the Bahamian Contractors Association, expressed concern that Archer lacked the experience and skills suitable for the position.
Sands claimed he was pressured by the political directorate to step aside to avoid repercussions for the BCA and its members.
When asked whether he believes Archer is qualified to be registrar, Minnis sidestepped the question and said his ability as prime minister has also been called into question.
“So, that is nothing new,” he said. “They question everybody’s, so that is nothing new.”
When Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister was asked about Archer’s appointment, he simply said that his duties are defined by law and “his appointment is in line with the requests that Mr. Sands has made for us to bring all the provisions of the act into effect”.
The Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Anthony “Ace” Newbold was also asked about Archer’s qualifications.
Although he could not speak to Archer’s qualifications, Newbold suggested the appointment was not payback for his role in the 2017 election.
“…I am sure whatever those qualifications are he must have met them,” Newbold said.
“Nobody is going to be hired and not meet the qualifications for a specific job….”
Archer, who often makes controversial social media statements, backed the FNM in the last election cycle.