Minnis questions PM’s decision to act for Nottage
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Oct 16, 2013
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday Prime Minister Perry Christie has enough on his plate with his duties as minister of finance and questioned why Christie would assume the portfolio of minister of national security.
Christie will act as minister of national security while Dr. Bernard Nottage is on medical leave.
“He is acting as minister of national security. Is he sending the message that he doesn’t have faith or confidence in [Minister of State for National Security] Keith Bell?” Minnis asked.
“Under the FNM when the substantive minister is out the minister of state acted in his place.
“The prime minister has challenges as minister or finance with the state of the economy. To take on another substantive ministry that is so significant and crucial to the survival of this country one has to wonder does he have confidence in Keith Bell.”
On Sunday, a Cabinet statement said Nottage is in the United States receiving medical attention.
The statement said Nottage is expected to return home shortly, but did not disclose why he was receiving medical attention.
Christie will act as the minister of national security in Nottage’s absence, the statement added.
In May, Nottage flew to Florida for an evaluation at the Cleveland Clinic, according to a press release from the government.
According to a source close to the matter, Nottage is conducting a follow-up to his initial visit in May.
Last week Minnis called on Christie to resign as minister of finance and questioned if he could handle the portfolio.
Minnis’ call came after a perceived discrepancy over figures provided by Nottage and Christie over the cost of the January 28 gambling referendum.
Earlier this month, Nottage told reporters that he believed the vote cost “around $5 million,” although months earlier Christie said the process would cost just over $1 million.
However, last week Nottage said he inadvertently said the referendum cost $5 million.
He explained that the Parliamentary Registration Department confirmed that the process actually cost $1,238,092.95.