Categorized | National News

Butler-Turner Slams Ministers

Free National Movement (FNM) Member of Parliament (MP) for Long Island Loretta Butler-Turner has again lashed out on the government but this time, for recent comments made my cabinet ministers Shane Gibson and Fred Mitchell.

Shane Gibson, the Minister of Labour and National Insurance on Wednesday in the House of Assembly said it may be a good idea to carry out psychological investigations on foreign investors at Baha Mar.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell lashed out at Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian for his “offensive” comments made against Prime Minister Perry Christie in relation to the Baha Mar dispute, and suggested that the Swiss-Armenian investor and his family should consider leaving The Bahamas and move elsewhere if they cannot conform.

The prime minister later announced that both ministers were speaking from their personal views as citizens of The Bahamas and not as representatives of their ministries or the government.

This did not sit well with Mrs. Butler-Turner as she said both ministers’ comments proved the lack of respect or fear of being reprimanded by the prime minister.

“Prime Minister Perry Christie’s recent nonsensical statement claiming that Minister Gibson and Minister Mitchell were speaking for themselves and not the government on a matter relating to a foreign investor is yet another example of the PLP’s contempt for certain constitutional practices and democratic traditions in general and collective responsibility in particular,” said Ms. Butler-Turner in a press statement.

“Collective responsibility is a cornerstone of our system of cabinet government. It is now being supplanted by selective responsibility in which ministers can say whatever they want in an out-of-control cabinet with a prime minister too weak to rein in his ministers. Various members of Mr. Christie’s cabinet clearly have little fear of facing the consequences of their actions from a prime minister whose office they no longer seem to respect. It appears that the extremists in Mr. Christie’s cabinet are now in charge with the prime minister being effectively sidelined.”

The Long Island MP suggested that the minister should either retract their statements resign or be fired. According to the ministers and the Cabinet Manual of the United Kingdom, ‘speaking on national issues personally does not exist.”

“In the United Kingdom Ministerial Code, published in 1992, it clearly states “… Ministers cannot speak on public affairs for themselves alone,” she said.

“In all cases they speak as ministers; and the principle of collective responsibility applies. They should ensure that their statements are consistent with collective government policy and should not anticipate decisions not yet made public.

“There is no such latitude on a matter of this nature in our form of government. With the prime minister publicly stating that neither Mitchell nor Gibson spoke for the government, certain consequences must follow. He cannot simply seek to distance himself from his ministerial colleagues. They should be made to retract various statements, resign or be fired.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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