Categorized | National News

Gray Pressured Out

Political pundits on all sides of the political divide are expressing surprise that the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray has been allowed to continue as a Cabinet minister, although he has asked to be relieved of his position as minister of local government.

Minster Gray’s request to be relieved from a portion of his portfolio came after the Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson announced that the matter involving Gray as it relates to allegations of executive interference was referred to the Royal Bahamas Police Force for further investigation.

According to the attorney general, allegations of executive interference have been levied against Minister Gray in relation to a matter involving a resident of Mayaguana.

As a result, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced in the House of Assembly yesterday that with immediate effect, Minister Gray has been relieved of his portfolio as minister of local government.

Minister Gray’s removal as minister of local government comes following a call for his resignation by members of the Free National Movement, who accused him of interfering with legal affairs which relates to a matter involving the release of a man who was held in police custody in Mayaguana.

According to the prime minster, Minister Gray wrote him a letter inviting him to commence an immediate impartial and independent investigation into all allegations concerning the matter in Mayaguana.

The prime minister said after the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) completes their investigation, Minster Gray said he is confident that he will be vindicated.

“Minister Gray has invited me to relieve him of his ministerial responsibilities as local government pending the outcome of the pending investigation” he said.

“In all of the circumstances, I consider that this is the correct thing to do. Accordingly, I have advised the Her Excellency the Governor General pursuing to article 77 of the constitution, to transfer ministerial responsibility of local government from Minister Gray to Minister Hope Strachan in addition to her current portfolio responsibility of minister of financial services. This change will take place with immediate effect.”

In the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Christie commended Minister Gray for what he calls a “responsible approach to the entire situation.”

He said in comparison with cases under the Free National Movement (FNM) government, none of the ministers responded the way Minister Gray did.

Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama Peter Turnquest interrupted the prime minister during his address, seemingly disagreeing with him causing the prime minister to put his foot down.

“In none of these cases did any of these FNM ministers stand down from all or any part of their ministerial position pending the outcome of any investigation that may have taken place,” he said right before he was interrupted by Mr. Turnquest

“The prime minister is on his feet making a serious communication that has consequences to people’s lives. This is a serious matter and it is to be treated with the highest level of respect.”

However, members of the opposition spoke to The Bahama Journal following the announcement Minister Gray’s removal as minister of local government.

Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hubert Minnis and FNM Chairman Peter K. Turnquest both agreed to Minister Gray’s removal as minister of local government, but they said having him remain as minister of agriculture and marine resources makes no sense.

“I think Prime Minister Christie has insulted both the Bahamian populous and his parliament,” said Dr. Minnis.

“Mr. Gray has interfered in the judiciary which is grounds for immediate dismissal. The prime minister has insulted us by removing his local government title, but allowing the minister to still remain as agriculture minister. You cannot be half pregnant. Either you’re pregnant or you’re not.”

Peter Turnquest said, “It’s a good first step but we are of the view that you cannot be half pregnant.”

“The fact of the matter is he is a Cabinet minister who is involved in a matter that is under investigation. We believe that he ought to be removed from Cabinet period. The fact that he has asserted himself into a judicial proceeding with an administrator acting as a magistrate is a very serious matter.”

Last week it was revealed that Minister Gray intervened in a matter concerning a man who had been convicted and sentenced to prison by Mayaguana’s administrator, but it was reported that he ordered the prisoner’s release.

Mr. Gray has since denied those allegations and insisted that he had no intentions of stepping down noting that he has done nothing wrong.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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