NASSAU – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has named two members of a 16-member Cabinet that he says will “blend experience with new talent”, revealing a first for any Bahamian leader: He will not be taking responsibility for the Ministry of Finance.
Dr Minnis has chosen certified chartered accountant Peter Turnquest, who has served as Shadow Minister of Finance for the past five years the Free National Movement (FNM) has been in Opposition, to fill that role.
Turnquest will also serve as Deputy Prime Minister. He has already been sworn in along with Attorney General Carl Bethel QC, who has been named to the Senate where he will serve as Leader of Government Business. Bethel previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2002 and in other ministerial posts between 1997 and 2009, as well as Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, and as a Member of Parliament for three terms.
The other Cabinet members are expected to be named and sworn in today.
Prime Minister Minnis said that with the appointments of Turnquest and Bethel, his administration had begun the formation of “the people’s government”.
He promised to return transparency and accountability in public finances – which he said were often absent under the former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration – to government, and said his administration would adhere to the Constitution and to the 2010 Financial Administration and Audit Act.
“We will adhere to other relevant laws and best practices of financial administration. We will also improve the administration of public finances through legislative and regulatory reform and modernization,” he said.
“My government will ensure that the Public Treasury is utilized for the public good rather than directed toward private interest. I will ever remind my ministers to avoid conflicts of interest in the exercise of their public duties.”
The FNM won last Wednesday’s general election by a landslide, taking 35 of the 39 seats in Parliament. The PLP took the other four.