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DNA: Govt House rejected attempt to pay FNM bill

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 18, 2013

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The Democratic National Alliance claims that Government House yesterday rejected it’s effort to pay the Free National Movement’s outstanding $2,500 bill for a recent event at the facility.

DNA Interim Chairman Andrew Wilson, Deputy Leader Chris Mortimer and candidate for Montagu Ben Albury appeared as guests on Guardian Radio 96.9 FM’s Darold Miller Live, where host, Darold Miller, challenged the party to foot the bill.

It was a challenge Wilson took on with very little hesitation “to demonstrate to the Bahamian people the type of opposition we have”.

“When we look at the declarations of these men at the last election, they are all millionaires,” Wilson said.

“Some of them are the wealthiest people in The Bahamas.

“For them (the FNM) to go to Government House to be wined and dined like kings and queens... and refuse to pay the bill in these hard times when mothers can’t afford to put bread on the table is a disgrace.”

He said he would deal with any political consequences of his decision from the DNA.

Mortimer immediately chimed in that there would not be any.

DNA Leader Branville McCartney, who was contacted for comment, said he fully supports Wilson’s decision.

“As opposed to just bickering over this $2,500 we want to take it off the table so we will pay the bill,” he said.

“Let’s get back to the peoples’ business. We’ve got issues of VAT (value added tax) coming up. There is still this issue of crime.

“[There should not be] this back and forth as to who is going to pay for a party by our leaders.”

The reception followed the appointment of Carl Bethel as the FNM’s new senator.

Minnis has said the FNM will not pay the bill and called the incident a “slap in the face” to the party and democracy.

In Wednesday’s House of Assembly sitting, Prime Minister Perry Christie told Minnis not to expect the government to pay the bill either.

McCartney said he signed a check for the full amount and it was delivered to Government House around 1 p.m.

However, McCartney claimed a representative, who he did not name, later informed him that Government House could not accept the DNA’s check unless Minnis agreed to allow the party to pay his bill.

Attempts to contact Secretary to the Governor General Irene Stubbs were unsuccessful.

Asked whether the DNA would reach out to Minnis, McCartney said, “We made the gesture. We do not see any reason why after we paid. We are satisfied.”

The check was issued to the secretary to the governor general in the amount of $2,474.26.

When informed of the DNA’s commitment to pay the reception bill yesterday, the opposition leader laughed.

He said he is focused on holding the government accountable to the Bahamian people and did want to comment of the DNA’s decision.

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