Tuesday, April 13, 2021

OK, Turnquest Resigned. Now What?

By now we are aware of Peter Turnquest’s resignation as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister as Finance following allegations of fraud when he served as a manager and director in two aviation companies. The writ filed in the Supreme Court does not name Turnquest as the defendant in the case, but mentions him in his role as manager of the company responsible for the “bogus loans” that totaled nearly $30 million.

Turnquest in his resignation letter maintains his innocence, calling the matters “unfounded” and “untrue.” However, in the court of public opinion, some have found him guilty. It is important to remember that these allegations are simply accusations that need to be proven by the court system.

However, Turnquest saw it necessary to resign considering his post as Minister of Finance, and determined that the allegations will distract the work of government as it seeks to maneuver the country’s economy through the pandemic.

Who will replace Peter Turnquest?

Turnquest was second in command to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and rose to the position in 2014 when other party members opposed Minnis’ leadership. He eventually became finance minister in 2017 when the Free National Movement won at the election poll.

Under Turnquest’s watch, we have seen an increase of Vat from 7%– introduced by the Progressive Liberal Party, to 12% and a number of downgrades. But all in all, Turnquest has handled them decently, while remaining steady-handed and committed to public finance reform.

Minnis said he will become interim Finance Minister and will make an appointment in “due course.”

Scanning the Cabinet, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar will make a superb minister of finance considering his background in accounts and the many successes he’s had in the country’s primary industry, tourism, and his shrewd business skills.

Agriculture Minister Michael Pintard is well suited for the position of Deputy Prime Minister. He is young, articulate, thorough, and well-liked. Pintard is a man of few words in the House of Assembly, but when he speaks, it’s substantive. In addition, heading into the 2022 general election, Pintard is best suited to go head-to-head with PLP’s Deputy Leader Chester Cooper, who may change voters’ minds at the polls if they reconsider Minnis as prime minister.

Pintard can be to Minnis what U.S Vice President Mike Pence is to President Donald Trump. Pintard balances Minnis in every way.

For now, it’s a waiting game to see what happens next.

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