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Wilson: I thought I was the model public servant

Financial Secretary Simon Wilson said yesterday that he thought he was the model public officer after devoting his professional career to the public service, but said he was “shocked” when the Minnis administration leveled allegations of “impropriety” against him in 2018.

Wilson was directed to vacate his post as financial secretary and go on leave shortly after former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis took office.

At the time, Wilson said Minnis asked him to leave, so he could bring his own person on as financial secretary. Wilson said he was supposed to take up a position at the Central Bank.

As he was awaiting word of his new position, Wilson said he received a letter from the government asking him to respond to “allegations of impropriety”.

He said he responded but never heard anything back.

“They detailed what the improprieties were,” he said while appearing as a guest on the Love 97FM talk show “Issues of the Day” with host Wendall Jones.

“One of the improprieties was that I pretended to be a lawyer. That I provided legal advice to somebody. Everybody know me. I’m not a lawyer. I asked the persons, did I provide you with legal advice? They were like, ‘No. We came to you as financial secretary. We asked you a question and you answered.’”

Jones asked Wilson if he thought the allegations were “frivolous”.

“This was my career,” Wilson replied.

“I joined the public service very young. I worked very hard. I worked under [four] different ministers of finance.

“I always had a good relationship with them. I worked under three different prime ministers. I always had a good relationship with all of them.

“I thought that I was the model public officer. I wasn’t political. I did what was required of me and asked of me to get the job done. To have this happen to me was a shock.

“There was no conversation. There was no meeting to say, ‘Simon, we see this transaction, explain this transaction to me, please. Oh, Simon we have a concern with this.’

“It was just, I’m home waiting to get a call to go to Central Bank and I get a letter.”

Shortly after receiving the letter in 2018, Wilson sued the government, alleging that he was treated unfairly and defamed.

Marlon Johnson was appointed acting financial secretary and Wilson, the lawsuit claims, was immediately denied access to the ancillary benefits of the office, including honoraria for various boards, invitations to public and official events, and access to his email.

Wilson was never fired as financial secretary.

Shortly after being elected to office, the Davis administration returned Wilson to the Ministry of Finance.

Johnson is now working at the Central Bank.

Asked about that, Wilson said, “Mr. Jones, I am Simon Wilson. I was born and grow up in Nassau. I grow up in Gibbs Corner in Yellow Elder Gardens. My mother was a domestic worker and my father was a porter. I am an ordinary person. By all accounts, I should not be financial secretary.”

He said, “I’m just an ordinary person. I work hard. I do my job.”

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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