Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019
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Private attorney to defend minister in BPL case

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister will have private legal representation in the civil case filed against him by former board members of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday.

He will be represented by Rolle & Rolle.

“It is a very basic retainer and basic retainers are between $5,000 and $10,000 so somewhere in that region for every case you would have to pay that,” Bethel said.

He added, “Litigation costs money but not an inordinate amount of money. Ms. Rolle received a basic retainer to conduct litigation. It’s a basic amount. It is not an extraordinary amount and successive governments at different times have paid big money for foreign lawyers to come and represent their interests.”

In May, a statement of claim was filed in the Supreme Court by former BPL Chairman Darnell Osborne and former board members Nicola Thompson and Nick Dean, claiming that they were wrongfully removed, against the provisions of the Electricity Act, from their posts on August 14, 2018.

They’re suing for a specific total of $1,164,933.33 in special damages and unspecified exemplary damages.

The writ detailed the tumultuous time the three had since they were appointed to the board for five-year terms.

When asked yesterday what led to the change in counsel, Bethel said, “Quite frankly, we felt that the matter is sufficiently urgent and my herd of attorneys are sufficiently busy with all sorts of other things. So, we’ve agreed to engage private counsel and it’s happened before in any number of cases.

“The PLP engaged private counsel and or I’d say funded (former Education Minister) Jerome Fitzgerald’s defense for the Save The Bays matters. You know, it’s a question of just trying to allocate resources.

“We need to ensure that we have maximum efficiency in litigation matters and it was felt that it was better to farm that one out. It is a practice that has occurred any number of times in civil matters that are important. It’s not the first time that it has happened and it will not be the last.”

In April, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government signed a contract with a company to commence a probe into the matters that led to the removal of the former board.

Osborne, Thompson and Dean were replaced by a new board amid a series of allegations against the old board.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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