Big row: Vaughn Miller says the former authority victimized him, I will show proofCartwright defends personal and political integrity, Ive not been about that in politics
NASSAU, BAHAMAS The government is expected to end all contracts issued with the Bahamas Public Parks and Beaches Authority and will issue new contracts in the coming weeks, Eyewitness News understands.
The move comes amidst growing concern with contractors who claimed they have not been paid by the government for work completed and their contracts have not been honored.
East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson raised that matter in Parliament yesterday which sparked a heated back and forth between Golden Isle MP Vaughn Miller and St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright, who served as chairman of the authority during the Minnis administration.
Minister of Works Alfred Sears stood to respond to Thompsons question, indicating that shortly before the General Election on September 16 all of the contracts with the authority had been renewed, even though some contractors did not perform satisfactorily.
Sears revealed that some contracts were not signed by the authority even though the contractor purported to perform work, and other contracts were issued without the boards approval.
The minister also noted that there were incidents of contracts that were not brought to the attention of the accounts department and incidents of duplication of contracts.
Im only reporting what is reported to me, Sears said.
When the board is fully constituted, it would be a matter for the bard of the authority to reconcile and then report to me as the responsible minister.
However, Cartwright also sought to set the record straight on his tenure at the authority, insisting that he strippedaway any idea of politics in his carriage of his duty and acted in a fair and balanced manner when dealing with everyone.
We would have done our endeavor best to ensure there was a balanced approach, he said.
We would have done our best to ensure that we meet the needs of every member of Parliament.
Cartwright explained that duplication of contracts has always been a challenge in government but assured that there was nothing sinister in the clerical error.
He furthered that the contracts that were issued ahead of the election were in process before former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the date on August 19.
It was not a deluge or a mad rush to assign contracts in the lead up to the election, however, there were contracts that we were in train prior to the calling of the election, Cartwright said.
This member has come into public service to operate in a certain way, it may not be perfect in terms of certain requests were made, but I want the Bahamian people to know that we operated in a way that would bring credit to the authority. There may have been things we could have done better, we accept that.
But in a shocking turn of events, Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, who crossed party lines and ran for reelection on the Progressive Liberal Partys ticket, responded to Cartwright and accused the former administration of victimizing him in the wake of the election.
I am on record of this house of sharing contrary to the member of St Barnabas, Miller began to shout.
It was low down. It was dirty. It was underhanded. It was egregious what they did to me and I will bring the evidence in this House to demonstrate it. It was very personal.
While he did not go into detail over his accusations, Miller claimed that in the lead up to the election his opponent, FNM candidate Brian Brown, was treated as a member of Parliament, and contracts were issued through him in excess of $200,000.
I will share in detail with regard to what was done to me. It was personal, he charged.
Immediately returning to his feet to deny the claims, Cartwright hit back at what he said was an attack on his personal integrity as an individual.
I vehemently resent the dispersion the member is trying to cast on this member to call my integrity into question relative to the assignment of contracts, Cartwright said.
He added that while Miller can conclude that he doesnt feel he was dealt with fairly, the PLP MP cannot suggest that he tried to personally to deprive or disadvantage him because Ive not been about that in politics.
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