Newly-appointed Attorney General Ryan Pinder said he is ready to hit the ground running with advancing the country and ensuring that it has the perception of being an honest and transparent jurisdiction.
Pinder was responding to questions from members of the media as to whether he would lead investigations into the procurement of government contracts issued during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency orders.
Last month, Auditor General Terrance Bastian revealed that the Minnis administration did not disclose the names of the beneficial owners of companies that received more than $63 million of the pandemic contracts.
“I think it’s very important, especially as attorney general, but as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and this new incoming government to govern in a way that is transparent and accountable, we cannot tolerate any kind of perceived corruption whether it exists or not and we cannot tolerate the appearance of impropriety whether it exists or not. We have to operate in a fashion where we are conducting ourselves in honest and transparent ways,” he told reporters following yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony of the first nine cabinet ministers of the newly-elected Davis administration.
“We live in a global village right now and people outside of these borders look at us as a country and make judgments on whether we are a serious country to do work and do business with them or if we’re not a serious country, and we have to demonstrate to the world community that we are a serious country. I’m sure that in time, we will have to take a look at almost probably everything to make sure that the perception exists that we are a clean and honest country looking to participate and advance our people.”
Pinder, a practicing financial services and tax attorney, before his appointment, was sworn in as attorney general as well as minister of legal affairs, having previously served as minister of financial services and investments in the last Christie administration.
Speaking to the appointment, Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said Pinder will bring a wealth of expertise to the portfolio.
“At a time when we need to negotiate and renegotiate a variety of complex and multifaceted legal, commercial, and financial obligations, I have invited Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder to act as our nation’s attorney general. As a renowned tax attorney and as the former minister of financial services, he brings valuable expertise to the role of the government’s chief legal advisor,” he said.
“In particular, I will be asking him to focus on ensuring that our proposals to encourage and support Bahamian entrepreneurs, businesspeople and investors, are translated into effective legislation, and to review existing legislation to understand the impact on the business community and make amendments as necessary to support kickstarting our economy and job creation.”
Pinder said there is much to do and there is little time to pause and celebrate.
“I’m very excited to get to work, I’m very excited to advance this country, but we don’t have a lot of time. We have to hit the ground running and my focus is to advance it with the Bahamian people and part of that is ensuring that we are viewed as a transparent and honest jurisdiction,” he said.
Pinder said after he has been briefed by his ministry and departments, he will present a clearer agenda for his new purview.