Some express shock at Symonette resignation
While expressing shock by the announcement of St. Anne’s MP Brent Symonette’s resignation from Cabinet, some Bahamians said they believe his departure will lead to the elimination of questions regarding conflict of interest within the Minnis administration.
Lorenzo McKenzie, a native of Grand Bahama, described the resignation as “abrupt” and “shocking for everybody”.
“I don’t think he made a decision just off a whim. I think he thought of the long-term effect of it and he just made a smart decision.”
On Sunday, the Cabinet Office announced that Symonette had resigned as minister of financial services, trade and industry and immigration.
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 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.
Keith Reid, a father of three, said Symonette’s resignation will act in the favor of the government.
“This won’t reflect on the government in a negative way, more like a positive way because there is no more conflict of interest,” Reid said.
“Everybody looking at the pavers that are paving the road, the equipment and who it belongs to and why certain things are going on; and so, he took that problem away by stepping down.”
Ali Knowles, a photographer, said Symonette’s resignation has left him questioning the criteria for Cabinet appointments.
Eleanor Austin, a straw vendor for more than 20 years, said the prime minister owes the public an explanation for the cause of the St. Anne’s MP’s resignation.
“They have to talk first,” she said.
“[Symonette] and the prime minister have to talk first, and the prime minister needs to look into things and to know whether it’s right or wrong then you make a public statement.”
On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis thanked Symonette for “his service to the country over many years”.
Symonette, speaking to The Nassau Guardian yesterday, insisted his resignation had nothing to do with any controversy related to Bahamas Hot Mix contracts. He said he had always intended to leave the Cabinet at 65. He will turn 65 in December and said he wanted to give the new minister an opportunity to start at his ministry at the beginning of the fiscal year today.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice