Top FNMs appointed after major scandals
How quickly FNMs forget!
Three former Free National Movement Cabinet Ministers who were caught up in corruption scandals later returned to key Cabinet posts.
For those too young to remember, the FNM had a leadership battle in 2001 after then-Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced plans to step down following two terms in office.
Cabinet Ministers Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes were respectively elected as the party’s leader and deputy leader but it later emerged that both men had abused their positions in awarding contracts to cronies during the leadership battle.
As Tourism Minister, Turnquest, awarded a contract to Smith’s Air Conditioning against the advice of the Ministry of Works. The owner of that company Cecil Smith was a delegate to the leadership convention. He also spent $31,000 on a party for Turnquest.
Turnquest lost his seat in 2002 but was appointed Minister of National Security when Ingraham returned as Prime Minister in 2007.
More recently, Turnquest
served as chairman of Bahamasair from 2017 to 2021.
Foulkes was embroiled in scandal too. As Minister of Education, he was accused of awarding padded contracts to delegates in the leadership convention. This scandal definitely didn’t disqualify Foulkes from getting Cabinet posts in 2007 and 2017.
Before the 2002 general election, PM Ingraham forced Brent Symonette to resign as chairman of the Airport Authority after he gave a contract to his company Bahamas Hot Mix without the approval of the board of directors but all was forgiven in 2007 when Symonette became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Symonette was appointed Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and immigration after regaining his seat in the 2017 general election but he quit Cabinet two years later following numerous conflict of interest scandals.
Let’s not forget FNM MP Michael Pintard who received FNM nominations in the 2017 and 2021 General Elections and was appointed to the Minnis Cabinet despite resigning as FNM chairman and as a senator in 2016 over his involvement in the lawsuit against Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard.
Pintard was mired in controversy after he was named in a lawsuit filed against Nygard and his lawyer Keod Smith by four Save The Bays (STB) directors - Joseph Darville, Romauld Ferreira, Fred Smith and Mr Bacon - and Reverend CB Moss.
The lawsuit alleged that Nygard engaged in a murder-for-hire scheme with criminals Livingston “Toggie” Bullard and Wisler “Bobo” Davilma, and paid them to stage several hate rallies and commit such criminal acts as arson and harassment. It was revealed that the criminals were tracked down with the help of Pintard.
Then there is current Director of Aviation Algernon Cargill who was appointed to the senior position by the Minnis Administration despite controversy surrounding the National Insurance Board during Cargill’s time as chairman under the last Ingraham Administration.
Cargill was fired from NIB in 2013 following a forensic audit by Grant Thornton which determined that bonuses appeared to have been improperly paid to him and contracts were awarded for various projects that featured irregularities.
Cargill’s salary and benefits totaled just under $400,000 while other NIB executives were awarded a total of $723,333 in six payments.
Now, the FNM, the party of hypocrisy, has the nerve to criticize the appointments of formerm PLP MPs to non-Cabinet positions.