Davis: Symonette resignation a distraction
While St. Anne’s MP Brent Symonette has insisted that he resigned from his post as minister of financial services, trade and industry and immigration because he did not want to serve in Cabinet past his 65th birthday, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday said he believes there is more to the story.
“That’s what he said, but we believe there is something deeper than that,” he said.
“To me, the resignation is a distraction from the larger picture.”
Davis said that larger picture was one of “unbearable” tax increases, high unemployment, poor labor relations, unreliable electricity and high crime.
Symonette’s resignation, announced by the Cabinet Office on Sunday, came amid widespread discussion on the award of contracts to Bahamas Hot Mix.
While Davis said the PLP welcomed the news of Symonette’s resignation, he called on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to explain the awarding of government contracts to companies Symonette or his family has interests in.
Bahamas Hot Mix, which Symonette said his children’s trusts hold a minority share in, was awarded a $20 million contract to carry out rehabilitation work on a runway and taxiway at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
The company was also awarded three contracts for water improvement projects on Long Island and Crooked Island.
Last year, Symonette faced conflict of interest claims when the government announced that the General Post Office would be moved to the Town Centre Mall, which Symonette and his brother own majority shares in.
“The devil is in the details,” Davis said, “and we need to see the devil.
“We demand that this lease be made public.”
Symonette also called for racial tension to be addressed in the country, as he said he believes the issue has gotten worse in the past few years.
The youngest son of the late Sir Roland Symonette, the first premier of The Bahamas, Symonette declared a net worth of $156 million ahead of the most recent election.
These facts, along with his color, make him a lightning rod for attacks, he said.
However, Davis insisted that the criticism of Symonette has nothing to do with race.
“This is nothing about the race card,” he said.
He added, “It’s all about telling the facts. We are telling the story to ensure that we do not repeat history.”
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish