RECUSED TO AVOID CONFLICT: Sears says any deliberations on former BPL board matter would be left for AG – EyeWitness News

Posted: October 24, 2021 at 10:55 am

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Minister of Works and UtilitiesAlfred Sears said yesterday that any report related to the disengagement of the former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Board would be passed onto Attorney General Ryan Pinder and he as minister responsible for BPL would recuse himself of any deliberations concerning the matter to avoid a conflict of interest.

According to Press Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister, Clint Watson, the report was completed and turned over to the government last November.

He said he was contacted on Wednesday about asked by a reporter whether he has received a report on BPL that was commissioned by the Office of the Prime Minister under the Minnis administration.

Sears said he had not up to that point.

And any report that would come to me would be sent to the attorney general because clearly in that matter I would be conflicted

I could not deliberate over a matter in which I was the lawyer outside of the government.

And certainly, I have made and had no deliberation in this matter.

The matter is in the hands of the attorney general and any issue that would come to me and my substantive position as minister of works, I would have to recuse myself.

Asked about the completion of the report and its release, Sears deferred the question to the Office of the Prime Minister.

He said it commissioned the report and is in possession of the same.

As has been reported, former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis commissioned an independent probe into the 2018 controversy surrounding the replacement of Bahamas Power and Lights, including then chairperson Darnell Osborne.

At the time, then Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister told the media he intervened in the management of the power company after the relationship among board members had deteriorated with members locking horns on almost every critical issue at great cost to the company.

The then minister also claimed Osborne used BPLs funds for personal items such as makeup and a home security system.

Osborne denied the claims and sought legal action against the government on the grounds of wrongful dismal and defamation, along with two other board members Nick Dean and Nicola Thompson.

She said the makeup bill was covered by the company and related to public relations for BPL and the home security system was approved due to an internal matter that concerned her safety.

Sears represented Osbornes legal matter.

During his press briefing on Wednesday, Watson referred to the report as an interesting read that had been sent to the minister responsible for BPL for review.

He said: You want to read this and it may share a very clear picture as to why we never heard about this report which was presented in November of last year to the government.

It explains a lot. Ill say it and leave it as that.

While Minnis confirmed in mid-2019 that he had engaged a foreign entity to review the BPL board matter, he released no substantive details on the investigation since then.

It is unclear how the Davis administration or Attorney General Ryan Pinder intends to proceed with the matter.

Minnis engaged foreign management consulting firm FTI Consulting for the probe, which included interviews of BPLs former board, BPLs CEO and executive director, among others.

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RECUSED TO AVOID CONFLICT: Sears says any deliberations on former BPL board matter would be left for AG - EyeWitness News

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