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Senate president steps down to head disaster authority

Lisa Bostwick-Dean to be appointed to Upper Chamber

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday announced Kay-Forbes Smith will step down as president of the Senate to take up her new role as managing director of the Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority.

In mid-September, Minnis appointed the senate president to act as lead coordinator for the Hurricane Dorian restoration efforts in Grand Bahama.

During a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minnis thanked the Forbes-Smith for her service as president and reposed confidence in her ability to serve as managing director of the authority.

“Kay has demonstrated a commitment to public service,” the prime minister said.

“She is a former local government councilor and served as a member of the board of the Public Hospitals Authority. Because of her background and professional experience, she also appreciates the importance of communicating the work and progress of the authority to the Bahamian people, various stakeholders and the press.

“I thank her for taking up this very important role following the worst hurricane ever to strike The Bahamas.”

While it remains to be seen who the Senate will vote on to succeed Forbes-Smith as senate president, Minnis also announced that upon his advice the governor general has appointed attorney Lisa Bostwick-Dean as a senator.

She is the daughter of Dame Janet Bostwick, the first woman elected to the House of Assembly, and former Senate President Henry Bostwick.

Minnis said Bostwick-Dean will be sworn in at Government House today at 11 a.m.

In a statement yesterday, leader of opposition business in the Senate Senator Fred Mitchell said the appointment of Bostwick-Dean took the axiom of “friends, family and lovers” to new heights.

“Her father, Henry was president of the Senate; her mother, Janet was recently made a Dame and given Order of The Bahamas this year; her brother, John also served in the Senate and now the daughter, Lisa is appointed to the Senate,” Mitchell said.

“How much more does this Bostwick family need and want from their party and the state?”

Mitchell said young, aspiring FNMs should ask their party’s leader “how much for the Bostwick’s?”

When asked why Bostwick was selected yesterday, Minnis said she was the best choice after a diligently review of potential candidates.

“We had looked at quite a number of individuals,” the prime minister said.

“We had done our due diligence, both men and women and Lisa obviously came out top — [she’s a] very intelligent individual, a lawyer; understand politics; understands debate; interested in her country; wants to serve; and I think she will do an excellent job moving forward. She will help to build a Bahamas that we and our future generation want to see and I think she is an excellent choice.”

In recent weeks, the opposition was also critical of Forbes-Smith remaining as senate president, given her dual role as lead coordinator of post-Dorian recovery efforts in Grand Bahama.

The opposition said it was improper for her to preside over the legislative body while working directly for the executive.

The PLP also called on the senate president to resign in May, asserting it was a conflict of interest for her to act as the local consultant for Carnival Cruise Line after the government announced the company will be building a new cruise port in Grand Bahama.

Authority executives

The prime minister also named Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Committee Chairman John Michael Clarke as chairman of the new authority, while hurricane relief coordinator for Abaco Algernon Cargill was named as vice chairman.

Minnis said the other members of the authority will soon be announced.

The prime minister again pledged the restoration and recovery process will be accountable and transparent.

He reiterated the authority will provide proper reporting to Parliament, including how money is spent and disbursed from the Bahamas National Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund, which the authority is empowered to establish.

Minnis has pledged the Trust Fund will be an independent, non-political body that will help fund home and building repairs.

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