‘Thank you’: Sylvanus Petty breaks silence after resignation as WSC executive chairman

North Eleuthera MP Sylvanus Petty remained mum when news circulated that he would be fired after he revealed in a court case that his daughter was granted a maintenance contract with the Water and Sewage Corporation where he served as executive chairman.

However, when the Office of the Prime Minister accepted the resignation at the request of Prime Minister Philip Davis, Petty took to social media. “Thank you all for the tremendous amount of support, the calls, texts, messages and most importantly the prayers.

“It is much appreciated.”

Prior, local dailies reported he was unreachable for comment and may have turned off his phone over the last few days. Now, this recent posting on social media may be an indication he is ready to talk.

Since he took the stand on Monday to testify in the Adrian Gibson court case, Gibson’s lawyer Damian Gomez KC hit him with a cross-examination, asking an unexpected question about a contract granted to his daughter, to which Petty said, “None of my family ever came to the board for a contract for us to vote on.”

Gomez then revealed that his daughter Sylatheia Gierszewsk was granted a contract of $26,000 for her company Mainscape Maintenance, which never came to the board’s attention.

Sylaleia Gierszewsk, owner of Mainscape Maintenance, was granted the $26,000 contract at WSC where her father serves as chair.

Petty responded, “They are of smaller value. They don’t come to the board.”

Petty then doubled down that he does not frown upon nepotism because “everyone in the Bahamas was family.”

The Free National Movement Chairman Duane Sands then called for his resignation, prompting Davis to respond, who said he would review the claims. Days later Davis then requested a resignation letter from Petty.

On Wednesday, he posted to Facebook, a scripture verse from Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

Others responded, “Be encouraged Syl (his nickname.) No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”

Another supporter Jerome Deleveaux added, “Fret not thyself of evildoers, my friend.”

Petty remains the deputy house speaker.

Adrian Gibson Bribery Allegations: What We Know about the Charges

Long Island MP Adrian Gibson was among six people charged in the Magistrates Court on Monday. He faced multiple charges of bribery, which come as no surprise following weeks of questioning by the Central Detective Unit.

Adrian Gibson heading to court to face charges

The Free National Movement Member of Parliament was the former Chairman of the Water and Sewage Corporation under the Minnis-led administration. Gibson was a constant critic of Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis, who served as Minister of Works with responsibility for the water company under the Christie-led administration.

Though the FNM was ousted at the polls, Gibson managed to hold on to his seat in a constituency known for its support for the party. After the Progressive Liberal Party was elected, questions arose about Gibson’s conduct and affairs at the corporation.

An audit of the corporations revealed that questionable contracts were issued and Ministry of Works Minister Alfred Sears revealed that the matter was turned over to the police.

What are the charges against Gibson?

Adrian Gibson faces 56 charges. These include:

  • One count of false declaration which allegedly occurred on August 23, 2021
  • Conspiracy to commit bribery which allegedly occurred between June 23, 2020 and July 7, 2021
  • Dishonestly receiving more than $1.2 million for a landscaping contract issued to Elite Maintenance
  • Multiple counts of money laundering with a cousin and his campaign manager.
    • 5 counts of conspiracy to commit bribery
    • 6 counts of money laundering with cousin Rashae Gibson
    • 16 counts of money laundering with Campaign Manager Joan Knowles, among others.

Bail was granted at $150,000. He and the others will return to court on September 14 for the Service of a Voluntary Bill of Indictment.

What the FNM says after the charges

Leader of the Free National Movement Michael Pintard says his party stands with Gibson who remains in “good standing” with the party and is “an active and important member of our parliamentary caucus.”

Pintard says Gibson is innocent until he is proven guilty and the party will ensure his rights are not abused. “We remain resolute in our position that at the end of this process, justice and truth shall prevail.”

Union Leader: We Are Not Greedy

Bahamas Utilities Service and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) President Dwayne Woods pushed back, saying line staff of the Water and Sewerage Corporation “are not greedy”  for demanding Christmas bonus payout this month.

Why it matters

  • Based on the workers’ industrial agreement, they were to be paid Christmas bonuses but Water and Sewage Corporation General Manager Elwood Donaldson said the bonuses would be deferred because of the negative effects of COVID-19 on the country.

What Union Leader Woods says

  • Workers are asking for what is written in the agreement. “Please oblige and pay the Christmas bonus as contractually agreed to.”
  • The decision to defer the payout should have been discussed with the union.
  • He is asking for executives to meet the union to work on a solution.
  • He said executives have not mentioned when the money will be paid to workers.
  • “We tried our best to negotiate when payment could be made and the corporation failed to negotiate in that vein. And we view that as total disregard and disrespect for union and its membership.”

What WSC General Manager says

Elwood Donaldson told staff in a letter, that the deferment was necessary and signed off by the government.

He states, “As you are aware, our nation is facing very difficult financial times within our current economy. The Water and Sewerage Corporation plays an integral part in the fight against COVID-19. Our services remain essential and currently given without financial conditions to ensure that the entire nation receives potable water.”

“…Notwithstanding that, we have maintained our staff complement and continued to meet monthly salary payments. This month is no different as all staff will be paid their salaries in full. Due to this current dire financial environment, we are advising that Christmas bonuses…for the year ending 2020, will be deferred until further notice.

Featured Image: The Nassau Guardian