Categorized | National News

McWeeney: AG Did Nothing Wrong

Former Attorney General Sean McWeeney said yesterday that Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson acted within her constitutional right when she decided not to prosecute executives of Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort.

 On Tuesday, the news of Mrs. Maynard Gibson issuing the nolle prosequi on August 15th surfaced, and many including members of the government said they were unaware of the move.

 The nolle was issued on the same day that 600 Sandals employees were laid off.

 In particular, Labour Minister Shane Gibson said he was not only disappointed by the AG’s decision, but he was also unaware of it and felt disrespected by her actions.

 Mr. McWeeney, who on the Love 97 talk show “Issues of the Day” said while he sees nothing wrong with ministers expressing their objection, in the same token, the attorney general would have done nothing wrong and would only inform her colleagues out of courtesy.

 “It is certain no convention which requires the attorney general to tell her cabinet colleagues or any particular cabinet colleagues of any decision that she decides to make. It’s understandable when ministers get upset. Certainly, they have their own right to express their views and nobody can take that away from them either; but I think great care has to be taken to ensure that anybody who has a disagreement is not trying to intrude upon the attorney general’s sacred ground of constitutional responsibility,” said Mr. McWeeney.

 “Let’s be very clear on this. We’re not making up these rules as we go along. The constitution of The Bahamas says very clearly that in exercising her powers of criminal prosecution and including the power to discontinue a case by a nolle, says that she is not to be subject to the direction of any other person or authority,” he added.

 In addition to Minister Gibson, trade unionists and members of the opposition were outraged by the nolle.

 United Democratic Party Leader Greg Moss expressing his opinion on the matter during Love 97’s daily talk show, “Issues of the Day”, charged that the AG’s actions were egregious.

 “I think this is egregious what the attorney general has done, and I don’t want the public to be misadvised on this. I understand people trying to say don’t look at this funny, but there is something that’s very concerning that we can have constitutional rights in this country guaranteed to our people to balance the scale when they’re dealing with far more economically powerful entities; and that constitutional right is ignored and the bold walk to support that constitutional right is a criminal sanction for failing to negotiate in good faith, is undermined by the attorney general issuing a nolle prosequi and essentially nullifying the protection that was given by parliament to support the constitutional right,” Mr. Moss said.

 Additionally, Long Island MP Loretta Butler Turner in a statement charged that the move shows the government is putting foreign interests ahead of Bahamians.

 In the face of the controversy Free National Movement Chairman Sidney Collie called for the AG’s resignation, charging that she owes the Bahamian people answers for her decision.

 He added the whole situation is indicative of the government’s state of disarray.

 Meantime, Mr. McWeeney said the whole controversy is reason for a revamp of the judicial system.

 “It is a primitive, backward, archaic system. The Constitutional Commission recommended unanimously that we should move to the model which virtually every other country in the commonwealth has long moved to; and that is to cause the criminal prosecution powers of the attorney general to devolve to a constitutionally independent director of public prosecutions,” he said.








Written by Jones Bahamas

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