April 24, 2017
Former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette came roaring back to top the list of wealthiest candidates seeking election to the House of Assembly, with a massive fortune of $156 million, according to his financial declaration filed on Nomination Day.
To put in perspective the vastness of Symonette's wealth, his declaration, as of the end of 2016, amounts to more than those of the next nine people on the 10 wealthiest candidates list combined.
Symonette tops the list of the 51 millionaires who nominated out of a field of 175 candidates.
And while that's fewer than the 56 millionaires who nominated in 2012, the fortunes involved are much greater.
The bulk of Symonette's fortune is in securities. He listed $140 million in that category, claiming he derived an income of $6 million from that portfolio last year.
Among his assets are listed $10 million in real estate, $2.125 million in his current account, $10,000 in a savings account, $5 million in mortgage receivables and another $1 million in property.
With assets totaling $158,835,000 and liabilities of $2,600,000, he lists his net worth at $156,235,000.
Symonette, who last nominated for elected in office in 2007, has seen his wealth increase by leaps and bounds.
He listed his net worth at $58 million at the end of 2011, a difference of just under $100 million.
When contacted by The Nassau Guardian about the dramatic uptick in his fortune, Symonette did not explain why his net worth has skyrocketed, but said it is a true representation.
"I accurately reflected my net worth as of December 31, 2016," he said.
"I'm comfortable that is accurate.
"But I'm not so sure that applies to some others who have declared."
Symonette is one of the heirs to a fortune that includes shipping, banking, construction and other concerns.
He previously served as deputy leader of the Free National Movement and is seeking return to public office by vying for the St. Anne's constituency, a seat he walked away from when he "retired" in 2012.
Though Symonette stands above the pack, there is no shortage of wealthy candidates seeking election on May 10 from throughout the political spectrum.
The next wealthiest candidate is James Alexander Darling, a bishop offering for Centerville, who has listed a net worth of $48,042,600.
It is unclear where Darling's net worth, which includes $40 million in securities, is derived from.
He lists no salary and only $5,760 in income from his multimillion dollar securities portfolio.
He is running for the Bahamas Constitution Party.
Superwash owner and first time front-line politician Dionisio D'Aguilar is the next wealthiest candidate.
He lists his net worth at $29 million.
The Free Town candidate cites over $25.8 million in securities and nearly $3 million in real estate.
Free National Movement Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is next on the list, with a net worth of $12.6 million.
Minnis has also seen his fortune rise over the years.
When he nominated 10 years ago, he declared a net worth of $7.1 million.
In 2012, Minnis, the former minister of health and the current Killarney MP, declared a net worth of $10.9 million.
Minnis also declared his commercial contract with the Public Hospitals Authority to rent one of his buildings, an arrangement that his opponents have used against him for political mileage.
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate for South Beach and Sky Bahamas CEO Randy Butler is next with a net worth of $12.4 million.
Real estate and securities constitute the bulk of his fortune, which has also grown dramatically since he last nominated.
In 2012, Butler declared a net worth of $3.7 million.
Not far behind is DNA Leader Branville McCartney, who, since entering frontline politics in 2007, has seen his wealth grow as well.
McCartney, the former Bamboo Town MP looking to regain his seat, declared a net worth of just over $10.6 million when he nominated last week.
Entering the House in 2007, McCartney declared a net worth of $2 million. In 2012, he declared a net worth of $6.5 million.
Real estate makes up the majority of McCartney's holdings.
Political newcomer and BAF CEO Chester Cooper is the wealthiest candidate vying for a Family Island seat this election.
The insurance mogul, seeking a seat in his hometown of Exuma and Ragged Island for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), declared a net worth of $7.9 million.
FNM Deputy Leader and current East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest is the wealthiest candidate seeking a seat on Grand Bahama.
He has declared a net worth of $7.4 million.
An accountant, Turnquest has gained momentum financially; he declared a net worth of $5 million in his 2007 declaration.
Minister of National Security and Bain Town and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage has declared a net worth of $7.2 million, down from the $7.8 million declared when he nominated in 2012, and the $8.18 million he declared in 2007.
Nottage, a gynecologist, has considerable securities holdings ($6.8 million).
Entrepreneur and Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, rounds out the list of the top 10 wealthiest people nominating.
He listed a net worth of just over $7 million.
Real estate accounts for nearly all Miller's fortune, one that has grown over the past decade.
In 2007, Miller declared a net worth of $4.5 million.
In 2012, Miller declared a net worth of $6.5 million.
Those 10 are among the many millionaires who are hoping to secure seats in the House of Assembly.
Other notable millionaires are Prime Minister Perry Christie, who lists his net worth at just over $2 million, virtually the same as it's been listed for the past decade.
Long Island MP and former FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner, the first female leader of the Official Opposition, is running as an independent in Long Island.
She listed her net worth at $3.1 million. It was unclear up to press time what she listed as her net worth when she declared in 2007.
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News date : 04/24/2017 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories