Minnis says FNM won’t pay Govt House bill
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Oct 15, 2013
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday the FNM will not pay a bill it was charged for a reception at Government House last week.
The reception followed the appointment of Carl Bethel as the party’s new senator.
Minnis said the incident was a “slap in the face” to the party and democracy.
He said he was drafting a letter to the minister of finance, Prime Minister Perry Christie, asking for an apology.
“It was a state event,” Minnis said. “We are constitutionally entitled to so many senators and their being sworn in. That is a tradition.
“Now the government has sent us a communication insisting that we must pay for such a function when individuals would have come there to wish the new senator well in his defense of democracy.
“We feel that that is a new form of victimization against the entire party machinery.
“I’ve informed the party that we will not pay that. That has always been the responsibility of the state.”
Minnis said the party was never given a reason as to why it had to pay for the event, but said he understood that there was no money within the budget for Government House to pay for a such a function.
According to a copy of an invoice from Government House given to the FNM, the food charges totaled $1,022.46; rental charges totaled $500; beverage charges came up to $876.80 and per diem charges totaled $75.
In total, the charges came up to $2,474.26.
Minnis said the party was verbally informed that it would have to foot the bill if it wished to have a reception.
He said following the verbal communication and the reception, the party was sent an invoice.
When asked if the party had communicated that it would pay the bill, Minnis said: “It would have been done on our word and our commitment.
“We wanted the process to continue, and we said that we would deal with that (the bill) afterward because we need our senator to be sworn in, and we will deal with that afterward.
“We had told them to proceed, and we would deal with that afterward.”
When asked why he is now instructing the party not to pay, Minnis said he feels the incident was “overt victimization”.