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2003-03-06 02:43:06

Stubbs Says Truce With Miller Is 'Genuine'

"...in six months to a year, will show you the fruits of this relationship"

The months of acrimony and potshots are really over at the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, according to the principal players.

BAIC's executive chairman Sidney Stubbs said he and Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller decided to call a truce and genuinely bury the hatchet, not in an act to delude the public.

"In six months, you watch, you wait, you see. You will see that it is not only genuine, but you will also see that we both have the will and the desire to put BAIC and the country first and we will do that. You will also see that we, in six months to a year, will show you the fruits of this relationship," he said, adding that he and Minister Miller are a team and they are "going all the way."

Mr. Stubbs's comments came in the conference room of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, after the appointment of the corporation's new general manager. He also fielded questions about the buildup of tension at the Corporation that began shortly after the May, 2002 general election and his appointment as chairman.

Asked whether he was stripped of his authority to sign checks at the corporation, Mr. Stubbs said that as chairman, he hadnever signed checks.

"People who do sign checks are the general manager, the financial controller and others, but as executive chairman, I have never signed checks." The protocol of check-signing, only allows the executive chairman to sign checks in "rare instances," if and when such individuals are not in place, he said.

Mr. Stubbs also denied "rumors" of a downsizing exercise to be carried out at BAIC, in which he was to be included. Mr. Stubbs said the corporation is restructuring and its future is being examined. "There is no firing of anybody as we heard in the press," he said.

Deputy chairman of BAIC, Godfrey Eneas, agreed with Mr. Stubbs. He said there was some realignment of responsibilities in consultation with the Minister and thec hairman, but there was never a "stripping" of any authority and the board did not have the power to carry out such actions.

Mr. Eneas said, however, that there would be a number of "realignments."

"We will be creating new departments and the corporation will be taking a new emphasis and a new thrust. We will try to change the direction and the culture of BAIC. The whole objective is to make BAIC a professional organization free from political interference at the operational level," he said.

According to Mr. Eneas, the board, in consultation with the Minister, the chairman and Cabinet, promote from within, because they want to "de-politicize" BAIC.

"We wanted to have a BAIC where an individual could come in and find a career path for himself and herself and this is the focus of BAIC, to build a professional organization."

The new general manager, Troi Ferguson said of the recent controversy at BAIC, that he is not concerned about the many negative reports in recent months.

"I know what the corporation can do. I know that it can function despite whatever the public might perceive what goes on within the corporation because I have clients who can attest to the fact that we have produced results despite what the public perception might be."

Mr. Ferguson said once proper systems and procedures are in place, the controversy t "perceived" by the public will not interfere with the work that needs to be done.

"We will be focused and we will be determined to assist the Bahamian businesses in raising themselves to the level where they can compete and The Bahamas can benefit from our collective energies. Therefore, there is no fear and no concern, because I know that with this team, the board of directors, minister and management team will get the job done," he said.

By Tamara McKenzie, The Nassau Guardian 

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