Outgoing Public Utilities minister Robert Le Hunte says a “professional conflict on policy positions” taken by Government led to his resignation.

Le Hunte said due to this conflict, he felt his resignation would give the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley the opportunity to move ahead in a manner he (Rowley) saw fit for the Government.“In these circumstances, I gave our Prime Minister the opportunity to proceed in a manner which allows the Government to achieve its objectives,” Le Hunte said in response to questions from Guardian Media yesterday following his surprise exit. “My resignation as Minister of Public Utilities was accepted by Dr Rowley on May 16, 2020,” he confirmed.Despite this, Le Hunte, who was made a senator in 2017 in order to be appointed to the Cabinet, said he was still a member of the People’s National Movement executive.

“I remain committed to the People’s National Movement and continue to serve as party vice chairman,” Le Hunte added.Le Hunte’s decision to quit comes at following a tumultuous two weeks in which Rowley, Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses have come under fire for allowing Venezuela Vice President Delcy Rodriguez into the country for a meeting on COVID-19 despite the fact that she and two other members of her party, as well as the plane they came on, were under US sanctions. (See editorial on Page 12)

Rowley did not respond to questions about the resignation or whether he would assume the role as Minister of Public Utilities or appoint another person to replace Le Hunte. According to Le Hunte’s documented biography, prior to his appointment as minister and senator, he was a career banker with over 30 years’ experience in the field. The majority of his time in the banking sector was spent at senior levels. He was the executive director at Republic Bank in 2016 and was in charge of executing the bank’s African continent expansion strategy. While at Republic Bank, Le Hunte served as managing director of the then Barbados National Bank (now Republic Bank Limited —Barbados and managing director of HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited.Le Hunte holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Manchester and a Master of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of the West Indies, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

He has also participated in the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University.Le Hunte has also served on a number of boards, including the National Flour Mills, National Feed Mills, Environmental Management Authority and National Initiative for Service Excellence, Barbados. He also served as president of both the Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks and the Barbados Bankers Association.