by Larry Smith
Here’s a story that needs to be re-told in full. I knew the protagonist as a high school student at Queen’s College more than 40 years ago, but have had no substantive dealings with him since then.
After studying engineering in the US, Steven Wrinkle, now 63, eventually took over his father’s construction company in Nassau. And for several years in the 2000s, he was the chief voice of the Bahamas Contractors Association - pushing for legislation to regulate the industry and decrying the lack of transparency in government tendering.
The contractors legislation has been drafted for years, but neither PLP nor FNM administrations will bring it to parliament. Most observers attribute this to the law’s potential impact on the handing out of political contracts to cronies.
Wrinkle’s family is from Harbour Island. His great grandfather, Charles Eugene Albury, went to Miami in 1917 to organise a government shipping service to Nassau. He later set up his own shipping business and was a key player in the early development of Miami’s cruise port.
In 1937, the Albury’s built the Parliament Hotel in Nassau. And after Wrinkle’s mother married his father, Skip, in Miami after the Second World War, the couple moved to Nassau to operate the hotel. In 1964, Skip launched Wrinkle Construction.
The story that needs to be told begins five years ago - in late 2010 - when a Bahamas Electricity Corporation inspector visited the BayParl Building, a small office block on Parliament Street opposite the House of Assembly. One of the meters he checked had no active account, so it was disconnected.