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Disclosures Left ‘In The Air’

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A document supplied by Rodney Moncur showing the receipt of declaration form.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

DESPITE his critical role in an ongoing process to have delinquent parliamentarians and senators file their outstanding disclosures or face prosecution, Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda said yesterday that his appointment has expired, leaving aspects of the process “up in the air”.

Today was supposed to mark the turnover of Mr Laroda’s finalised list of delinquent officials to Attorney General Carl Bethel, however, with this surprising announcement, there is no clarification on how the process will continue in the coming days.

Asked of the status of his operation prior to the expiration of his appointment, Mr Laroda said he and members of his team convened their final meeting Thursday, June 29, and concluded with several disclosures still outstanding and a report not finalised.

In an interview with The Tribune on Thursday, Mr Laroda said in his discussions with some persons who are required to make the disclosures, they expressed certain challenges, which he suggested delayed the submission of documents.

He also said on Thursday that there were some challenges with obtaining financial records from spouses, particularly in situations where they may have operated bank accounts prior to marriage.

He also said there was some unwillingness and apprehension from these spouses to have their private information in the public domain.

Speaking on the matter on Sunday, Mr Laroda maintained that no resolution was achieved as of Friday, and due to the end of his appointment as chairman, he was unaware how those matters were concluded.

“Limbo,” he told The Tribune when asked for an update. “These disclosures will be in limbo until a new commission is appointed, whether that is me or someone else.

“A unit can be in place for up to five years, with appointments being renewed annually. June 30 marked the end of my appointment and those assigned along with me.

“I can’t tell you what will happen from this point going forward,” he said.

When contacted on the matter yesterday, Mr Bethel said he was unaware of the end of Mr Laroda’s appointment, and needed to “review their file” to determine how to proceed on the matter.

On June 6, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said delinquent former and sitting members of Parliament were given three weeks to file disclosures or face the court for breaking the law.

The deadline was imposed by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and affects more than 20 MPs. It followed a report in The Tribune earlier this month that revealed a handful of parliamentarians did not make a single disclosure last term.

Yesterday, former Senator Rodney Moncur said he was among the politicians who were sent letters by Dr Minnis on June 9 and provided The Tribune with a copy of this letter.

However, Mr Moncur claimed that his declaration forms were current, telling this newspaper that he filed his documents on March 31 of this year and also produced a copy of a receipt from the Public Disclosure Commission.

The talk show host said he feels he is being “targeted” by Dr Minnis, adding that he is contemplating court action to prove that he is not delinquent and to clear his name.

“I am being targeted,” Mr Moncur said. “If you are the prime minister and under the law you are required to write me because you feel I didn’t comply, what would you send for? My file. Then with my file, you would examine the file and say I am not signing this letter. He has complied.

“He (Dr Minnis) has targeted me. Secondly when I filed, if I didn’t give sufficient information the law makes provision for the commission to write me and say ‘you didn’t give enough information.’ I have received nothing formal from the commission and I have complied with the law.”

Mr Moncur also took issue with the fact that the letter was not hand delivered by a police officer but sent by post. He said his mail is delivered to his brother’s post office box, adding that he did not receive the letter until last Thursday.

He added: “Minnis has targeted me, normally the prime minister does not sign letters. He chose to sign it, he is very incompetent; how many letters has Minnis sent out erroneously having not looked at the file?”

Failure to file disclosures can result in a fine of $10,000, or two years in prison, or both, or confiscation of land if land is involved, Mr Newbold has said.

Comments

B_I_D___ 2 years, 2 months ago

Homeboy jumping ship...afraid to name them and shame then and put them before the AG...

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sealice 2 years, 2 months ago

These sexist fluckers are trying to use their wives as a shield? What a crock of BS. LOCK THEM ALL UP, anyone who helps manufacture a lame ass excuse that is nothing short of a LIE (thanks for holding their feet to the fire BCC) for a crooked politico should be sent to the Hill with their cronies.......

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

Laroda reflects everything that is wrong with the bureaucracy of Bahamian government ...... These Cabinet-appointed Boards are nothing more than pawns to be manipulated ..... Now that the PDC Board has reached its expiration date, we must wait around until Minnis appoints a new Board for the next term .......... and what will be their excuses pertaining to the outstanding disclosures and reports from the Laroda Board??????? .......... Or will Minnis give this existing Board a 30-day extension to complete their report on the Minnis mandate???????

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screwedbahamian 2 years, 2 months ago

If the law provide that the PM can set a date for all delinquent or incomplete disclosures from past and current MPs and Senators in this case June 30 2017 and irregardless if the chairman just remembered that his term expired 0n June 30 2017, if the disclosures have not been received and completed, then the names need to be disclosed and sent to someone other that Carl Bethel to be prosecuted period. PM Minnis need to establish now and here that what he says what he means Period.

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DDK 2 years, 2 months ago

WHAT A LOAD OF POPPY COCK!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

Here's where FNM supporters find out whether Minnis is a man of his word. It's also where we find out whether he commands any respect as PM.

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TalRussell 2 years, 2 months ago

Comrades! Don't fool yourselves. Even the 98.76% Red Shirts who has long disparaged Minnis's leadership skills, still won't go public to say if he is not good at keeping his election promises.

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The_Oracle 2 years, 2 months ago

Who is running this Shyte show? I question whether anyone in the civil service will ever run their dept or portfolio according to the rule of law. Are they all Compromised? Wasn't so back in the early 70's, quite a few civil servants stood up to the Elected.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe so Oracle .......... but this is institutional rot based on antiquated laws that were given to us by Britain e.g. General Orders, Westminster, Privy Council etc.

BTW ............. Minnis haul ass and gone to Grenada with his inner circle

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Baha10 2 years, 2 months ago

Even though we are only half way into the First 100 Days, the optimism for the future has already evaporated, so unless Prosecutions now follow to justify the focus of the First 50 Days, we have all been sold a "false bill of good", to which I expect the disillusioned reaction to be justifiably extreme.

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