Barbara Hanna, who was the main prosecution witness in the failed Frank Smith bribery and extortion trial, will not have her contract to clean Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) renewed, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands confirmed yesterday.
Hanna’s company had been the recipient of a $1.8 million contract to clean the hospital after she had been identified as the key witness in the Smith trial.
Sands was also a witness in that trial where that contract came under intense scrutiny from Smith’s legal team and Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, who dismissed the charges against Smith in a no-case submission ruling.
Hanna’s contract expired in late 2018, according to Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows.
Burrows said Magic Touch Cleaning, Hanna’s company, has been cleaning the hospital on a month-to-month basis since the last contract expired.
It was unclear up to press time if Hanna submitted a bid for the new contract.
Sands said the contract to clean PMH, now worth $2 million, will likely be awarded to two companies.
Sands said he was not involved in the process of recommending who will get the new contracts.
“PHA recommended that Ebco Cleaning Company be awarded the contract to provide cleaning services for the food department in the amount of $422,216.55, and Cartwright Enterprises be awarded the contract to clean A&E (Accident and Emergency), the Dialysis Unit, the main public corridors and the critical care block at a rate of $1,512,496.30 for the period, first of April, 2019 to 31st of March, 2020,” Sands told The Nassau Guardian.
He added, “…This time, like the last time, PHA would have made recommendations and the ministerial role is for all intents and purposes…the last step.
“Just like I didn’t decide who got the contract the last time, I didn’t decide who got it this time.”
Sands said that although recommendations have been made, the tender process is not yet complete.
“The procedure for the award of cleaning contracts at Princess Margaret Hospital has been followed inclusive of the hospital tender process and everything subsequently,” he said.
“That process is not yet complete, when it is complete, a new contract will be awarded to the winning bidders.”
Smith was charged in 2017 with bribery and extortion but was acquitted in January of this year.
Prosecutors in the Smith trial alleged that Hanna had to pay Smith $5,000 per month after he helped her company get a $500,000 contract to clean the critical care unit at PMH in 2016.
At the time, Smith was the chairman of the PHA and a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) senator.
During the course of the trial, it was revealed Hanna’s company was awarded the $1.8 million contract three months after Smith was charged.
In her ruling, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt said the circumstances of the award of the contract raised a “specter of impropriety”.
It was also revealed that National Security Minister Marvin Dames met with Hanna before she made an official complaint to police that she was being extorted.
The magistrate said that this meeting with the complainant was “unorthodox, to say the least”.
Following Smith’s acquittal, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis called for the resignations of Dames and Sands.