By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement leader Michael Pintard says Works and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears is “unsuitable” for his portfolio.
During a press conference outside the Ministry of Public Works, Mr Pintard spoke on topics such as the “mismanagement of roadworks” and the “disastrous situation” residents on Family Islands are facing as a result of the “dereliction of duty” by this administration.
The call for Mr Sears’ resignation was repeated as the FNM leader rehashed the BPL fuel cost issue.
“The public would recall that we have called for Alfred Sears’ resignation for two things,” Mr Pintard said.
“One, failure to make sensible decisions, even though he was given sound advice by those persons who put in place the hedging programme, who also shared with him the possibility of raising a substantial amount of money in order to help the further development of BPL. His bad decision has led to 163 percent increase in fuel costs over a 13-month period,” Mr Pintard told reporters.
“He has denied that he received sound advice more than eight separate times and we have found footage with him admitting now fully that he did in fact know, but it wasn’t just him. It was also the prime minister who got the same advice and failed to act. Alfred Sears having not resigned should be fired by the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister should then clarify why he went, he got the advice that he did not. He has claimed that it wasn’t him.
“The reality is we know that the technical people gave him advice as well, he should start his penance by first firing Alfred Sears. Alfred Sears is unsuitable for this portfolio.”
The Marco City MP also mentioned roads being in a “state of disrepair” and brought up the matter concerning project timelines.
“Alfred Sears’ words cannot be taken seriously. So we don’t know when he projects a timeline for roadworks whether we can believe it’s going to happen – he has no credibility to continue to preside over this massive amount of infrastructure works – roadworks, sea walls, bridges, docks.”
After Press Secretary Clint Watson announced that work on Village Road should be completed by December 12, Mr Sears later said paving of the road is actually expected to last through the end of this month, but should be “substantially” completed before the start of the new year.
Prime Minister Davis has also announced major road works for 2023.
In response to that, Mr Pintard answered: “We believe it when we see it. The bottom line is Alfred Sears is his primary act on these matters. So we know that that’s dead on arrival. This is the same Prime Minister who announced that there will be investigations into the Ministry of Transport with respect to whether the minister hit an officer.
“We haven’t heard anything else about that investigation. In fact, he had denied initially there wasn’t an investigation until the commissioner confirmed there was an investigation that he said they will follow up on the investigation. Nothing has happened. It’s the same the Prime Minister who intervened and several persons were suspended from the Ministry of Transport around the taxi plate issue, but we’ve heard nothing else.”
“So when the Prime Minister makes an announcement, unfortunately, he is going into a dangerous zone where the public will begin to doubt whether or not he is speaking candidly, accurately, or truthfully.”
Meanwhile, Mr Pintard criticised the handling of some Family Islands’ water supply. There has been a huge outcry over Central Eleuthera’s disruption of water experienced a number of times this year.
The opposition leader claimed not only Eleuthera is challenged with regular supply of water but so is San Salvador and Abaco.
Bacchus Rolle, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, responded to the insinuation of a water challenge in San Salvador which he said is not true.
He said water production has got better not worse on the island, thanks to the presence of Club Med.