Categorized | National News

Minister Accused Of Breach

National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson was yesterday accused of using his “privileged” ministerial position to reveal private information on Free National Movement (FNM) North Abaco candidate, Greg Gomez.

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash yesterday said the minister “shamelessly” breached professional ethics by revealing information contained in Gomez’s National Insurance Board (NIB) files.

Controversies have ensued ever since the prime minister announced the date for the upcoming bye-election and the mudslinging between the FNM and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has only intensified.

The PLP has charged that Mr. Gomez is unemployed – something FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis only recently confirmed.

The ruling party has also said it was “improper” for Mr. Gomez, who is 39, to take part in the government’s job training programme, as he is over the age of 30.

The FNM camp had been silent about Mr. Gomez’s unemployment until pressed by the media.

A Nassau Guardian article, which was published yesterday, quoted Minister Gibson admitting certain details about Mr. Gomez’s NIB records.

He said the records show that contributions were made for Gomez in February 2012 for one month by a plumbing company.

“Without question, Minister Gibson used his office to obtain information that is not readily available to members of the general public. Not only did he access this information for purely political purposes, but he also chose to disclose that privileged information to the public without the consent of Greg Gomez and in furtherance of no public policy objective other than to promote the political aims of the PLP candidate in North Abaco. This is highly unethical and is a clear breach of trust,” Mr. Cash said.

“This ethical breach and abuse of power was foreshadowed early in this administration and is not terribly surprising. In a report in The Tribune on Thursday, May 9, 2002, the newspaper noted that in announcing the appointment of the last members of his first cabinet, Prime Minister Christie said in a national address that his ministers would ‘formally adopt the strictest code of ethics in the political life of the country.’ Ministers, he said, will be considered to have ‘flagrantly breached’ the Code of Ethics if insider information is used to make speculative investments or obtain any advantage from such and, in general, are required to avoid any form of ‘ethically improper behaviour.’

But, when The Bahama Journal contacted Minister Gibson for comment yesterday he said, “I have no idea what he’s [Mr. Cash] talking about.”

The FNM chairman said following this “breach of public trust and ethics,” members of the public are left to wonder who else the PLP Government and their political operatives are spying on.

“Whose files are being looked into and whose telephones are being tapped for purely political purposes? Recently, Prime Minister Perry Christie chose to wash his hands of the charges of inappropriate conduct by Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Nassau Village,
Dion Smith. He cannot be permitted to once again turn a blind eye to such a blatant unethical behaviour and abuse of power by a senior member of his cabinet,” Mr. Cash said.

The FNM is now calling on Prime Minister Christie to step up and account for the “troubling trend of ethical breaches” by members of his government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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