Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Who Is Desmond Bannister and Why Is He Deputy Prime Minister?

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced that Desmond Bannister will be his new deputy prime minister.

This announcement comes after the resignation of Peter Turnquest on November 26th from the position after allegations of fraud were filed in the Supreme Court by a former business partner.

Bannister, a senior member of Minnis’ Cabinet will fill that position.

What did Hubert Minnis say?

At the national address on Sunday, the prime minister officially revealed the pick, touting Bannister’s “experience and good counsel.”

“The Hon. Desmond Bannister, the Minister of Works, will become Deputy Prime Minister.
Because of his portfolio, which includes capital works and infrastructure, and because of his experience and good counsel, he will be a part of the economic team.”

What did the governing party say?

In a statement, the party released a statement in support of Bannister, stating that his appointment as deputy prime minister “demonstrates the FNM’s continued commitment to populating the government with leaders focused on serving the people. Bannister’s dignity and relentless effort to solve problems are well known. He will make an excellent governing partner to our Prime Minister.”

The party says Bannister has shown strong leadership “as a steady hand with a measured temperament working for and on behalf of the people” while praising his leadership at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

“His boundless determination working to resolve decades-long problems that plagued BPL shows his skill and commitment to tackling challenges while getting results. Because of his leadership, load-shedding has been eliminated and BPL is now better equipped to produce more affordable, cleaner and reliable energy for generations to come.”

Who is Desmond Bannister?

The 62-year-old  was first appointed as Senator in 2002, then elected to Parliament in 2007 as a representative of Carmichael. He served as minister of state in the Attorney General’s Office and as education minister

He is described as a sports enthusiast, elected as President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations in 1999.

Bannister received his LLB degree from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados and completed his Legal Education Certificate at the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, Jamaica.

He was called to the Bahamas Bar in 1988 and served as Crown Counsel in the Office of The Attorney General between 1988 and 1991.

Bannister has served as a part-time lecturer for the Bahamas Bar, at the Bahamas Institute of Bankers and The College of The Bahamas, as well as having previously served as Stipendiary & Circuit Magistrate.

Desmond Bannister’s role

As Minister of Public Works, Bannister led and oversaw a host of infrastructure developments:

  • Reconstruction of the of Bulkhead Government Dock and New Dock at Clifton Pier
  • Replacement of the Government Dock in Barraterre, Exuma
  • Construction of the Port Nelson Dock at Rum Cay
  • Stabilization of the Coast Road in Elbow Cay, Abaco that had deteriorated
  • Replacement of Newton Cay Bridge, Long Island
  • Construction on the Smith Point Seawall, Grand Bahama
  • Repaired the Glass Window Bridge, Eleuthera
  • Construction the new Fishing Hole Road Causeway Project
  • Repairs and Renovations to the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre in Grand Bahama
  • Demolition of the Clarence Bain Building
  • Construction of the South Andros Gym, which is nearing completion

During Minnis’ official opening of a dock in Exuma about two weeks ago, he mistakenly referred to Bannister as “deputy” before correcting himself, which drew laughter from onlookers.

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