(CMC) More than 55 millionaires are seeking a seat in The Bahamas Parliament in the September 16 general election, according to the full list of 2021 financial declarations published in the media on Monday.
According to the list published in the Tribune newspaper, the list makes The Bahamas the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country where so many millionaires are seeking to enter Parliament in a general election.
In the last general election, the Free National Movement won 35 of the 39 seats with the others going to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
According to the published declarations based on the financial disclosures submitted to the Parliamentary Registration Department, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar tops the list of millionaire candidates with a total net worth of US$37.9 million.
D’Aguilar, who lists himself as a business executive, has total assets of US$36.8 million, an annual income of US$1.4 million and liabilities of US$345,013. He lists among his assets more than US$32 million in securities and investments and an estimated US$3 million in real estate.
The second highest millionaire candidate is Chester Cooper of the PLP, who is estimated to be worth US$14.8 million with an income of US$370,000. The bulk of his assets is investments and in real estate, worth US$11 million and US$3 million, respectively.
Both leaders of the two main political parties are millionaires.
According to the declared financial declarations, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who is seeking a second consecutive term in power, is worth US$14.04 million. In 2017, Minnis, a prominent medical practitioner, was worth US$12.6 million.
The PLP leader, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, has listed his assets at US$4.1 million, down from the US$4.3 million the Queen’s Counsel had filed in 2017.
The leader of the small opposition, Democratic National Alliance (DNA), Arinthia Komolafe, has assets worth more than US$1 million while her net worth falls short of the millionaires club at US$640,900.
Kevin King of the newly formed Kingdom Government Movement (KGM) lists his net worth as US$53.1 million, making him the wealthiest person on the list. The physician and political newcomer said his assets include US$35 million in securities and US$8 million in real estate. However, his total income is listed as US$38,500.
Another KGM candidate, Rollington Cooper, Jr, lists himself as a multimillionaire with a net worth of $13.4 million with the bulk of these assets, estimated at US$13.9 million, being in real estate. He said his total income is only US$500, however, with US$588,000 in liabilities.
Among the others listed on the millionaire’s club are former health minister, Dr Duane Sands, Stephen Greenslade, Michael Foulkes, Adrian Gibson, Minister of Environment Romi Ferreira, the Minister of Agriculture Michael Pintard, the Minister of National Security Marvin Dames and Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd.
The Tribune newspaper reported that officials from the Parliamentary Registration Department and Public Disclosure Commission said they were not responsible for verifying the data put forward by candidates, insisting that responsibility lies with other government agencies.