Brent Symonette has resigned as minister of financial services, trade and industry and immigration effective today, a statement from the Cabinet Office yesterday confirmed.
Elsworth Johnson, who has served as minister of state for legal affairs, will be assuming Symonette’s portfolio with effect from today, according to the statement.
In a statement released last night, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis thanked Symonette for “his service to the country over many years”.
“While he will no longer serve in Cabinet, his constituents in St. Anne’s will continue to have an MP who cares about them,” Minnis said.
“I wish Mr. Symonette all the best in his future endeavors.
“I have appointed the Hon. Elsworth Johnson to replace Mr. Symonette as the Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration.
“Mr. Johnson is a former president of the Bahamas Bar Association and former minister of state in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs.
“I have confidence that Mr. Johnson will serve the country well in his new capacity.”
The announcement follows controversy over Symonette’s familial involvement in Bahamas Hot Mix.
Bahamas Hot Mix Company Ltd. was recently awarded contracts by the Water and Sewerage Corporation for work in Long Island and Crooked Island, as well as a $20 million contract for rehabilitation work on a runway and taxiway at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
Symonette has said that he is not a shareholder of Bahamas Hot Mix, but admitted that his children’s trust has shares in the company.
The Minnis administration also faced public criticism last year when it was announced that the General Post Office would be moved to Town Centre Mall, which is owned by Symonette and his brother.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday said the party welcomed Symonette’s resignation.
“It is long overdue,” he said in a statement.
“There are others who need to follow him.”
In 2001, under the second Free National Movement (FNM) administration, Symonette resigned from his position as Airport Authority chairman, also due to controversy over a contract awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix by the Airport Authority.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish