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Post office lease unsigned up to last week

A five-year lease for the relocation of the General Post Office to the Town Centre Mall was forwarded to the treasurer last week for signature, Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday.

Bethel, however, was unable to confirm whether the lease has been signed as yet.

“It’s just a process. Everything was finalized late last week and it was forwarded for signature,” he told The Nassau Guardian.

“It could have already been signed; I don’t know. [But] everything takes time.”

Last October, Parliament passed a resolution for the government to enter into a lease agreement with the landlords of the mall for the relocation of the post office.

The mall is owned by St. Anne’s MP Brent Symonette and his brother. Symonette recently resigned from Cabinet for reasons he said were unconnected to the matter.

 The original plan was for the post office to be open by Christmas 2018, but it opened in late May 2019.

The decision to relocate the operation has been met with controversy with Symonette facing conflict of interest claims, despite the fact that he declared his interest in Parliament.

Last week, he said that as of July 2, the lease had not been signed because “it’s between the attorney general’s office to sort out the square footage and everything else like that”.

Symonette also revealed last week that he and the prime minister discussed the terms of the lease when the prime minister called him on the matter. He did not say when the call was made, but indicated it came ahead of that resolution.

The revelation about the phone call intensified the controversy with some critics suggesting that the phone call contradicted the prime minister’s statement that Symonette had not been involved in any discussions regarding the Town Centre Mall decision.

“He was not allowed to participate in the discussions or the decision to lease space within the mall for the General Post Office,” Minnis said in the House of Assembly last October.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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