Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis dismissed concerns that the controversy involving the alleged misuse of donor money by a former co-founder of the HeadKnowles Foundation will impact prospective donors from offering hurricane relief to the government of The Bahamas.
HeadKnowles made headlines after Gina Knowles filed a lawsuit in a Florida court against her former partner, Lia Head-Rigby.
That lawsuit alleges that Head-Rigby “helped herself” to funds raised from a GoFundMe page meant for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. Head-Rigby has denied the claims.
Asked if he was worried that this dispute would hurt The Bahamas, Minnis said, “No.”
“The Bahamas has been extremely transparent,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We’ve involved the international organizations. We’ve involved the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). So, we are very open in terms of transparency.
“The money that we would have collected, we’ve reported to you. I’ve said repeatedly that the minister with responsibility will make a report to Cabinet and to Parliament very often, so that you would be updated [on] what monies the government itself may have received and how that money is being spent. So, we will be very, very transparent.”
Last month, during a pledge conference, the government received $1.5 billion in pledge donations for Hurricane Dorian relief.
The UNDP is managing the spending of Hurricane Dorian recovery pledges to ensure transparency. However, the government will have some say in how the funds are used.
The lion’s share of the pledges was a $975 million loan offer from The P3 Group, Inc., a U.S. company. The money would be repaid with interest if accepted.