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Minnis Hits Out At Commissioner

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The Free National Movement (FNM) is calling on the commissioner of police to obtain search warrants to close down all illegal gambling and lottery operations in The Bahamas.

FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis made the call during a news conference at the FNM headquarters.

“We urge a forthright and immediate curse of action by the police to obtain search warrants; to close down all illegal gambling and lottery operations and to confiscate all computer terminals, servers, and the ATM machines which are being used to facilitate illegal gambling and illegal money transfers, whether that gambling takes place in the web shops themselves or in private homes so that the law of The Bahamas, the sound and well-considered ruling of the chief justice and the administration of justice generally are not brought into disrepute by what appears to be lame excuses and no action by the police and the minister of national security,” Dr. Minnis said on Sunday.

Last week, Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett lifted a conservatory order, which gave web shops in The Bahamas the legal protection to stay open.

It also gave the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) the power to shut down web shops.

But officials of the Attorney General’s Office have said that they would not move forward with the shut down because web shop bosses have immediately appealed the chief justice’s decision.

Dr. Minnis said this is no excuse for Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade not to carry out the law.

“This cannot be the same commissioner of police who boldly assured the Bahamian people in the run-up to the failed gambling referendum that the police were ready to enforce the law. On January 7, 2013 Commissioner Greenslade assured the people through a press interview that, ‘I cannot tell a lie to the Bahamian people. For us as an organisation, it is a real issue. I’ve been very, very patient for a long time….I’ve been far too tolerant,’” he said.

The FNM leader also said the commissioner went back on his word to launch a plan that was “already developed”.

“If that was so, how is it that only now the police are beginning to launch an investigation? How could the police have had any kind of realistic plan, which was ‘already being developed.’ This sad scenario is utterly unacceptable and the commissioner of police must immediately correct for the Bahamian people the apparent inaction which seems to be a dereliction of duty,” Dr. Minnis said.

“The chief justice has plainly stated that no one can prevent the police from enforcing the law, while the law is on the books and remains valid. It is now the job of Mr. Greenslade to do his best to enforce the law to stop making what sounds like lame excuses and to stop trying to anticipate the legal challenges which people who are breaking the law may try to raise. Let the lawyers do the job of lawyers while you, Mr. Commissioner, do the job for which we believe you to be fully qualified and capable, namely preventing crime including white collar and computerised gambling crimes.”

Dr. Minnis also blasted National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage, who claimed it not his job to shut down web shops.

“Well minister, as minister of national security, it is in fact you job to ensure that the police have the resources and necessary support to enforce Bahamian law,” the FNM leader said.

“It is your job to ensure that the leadership of the police force has the necessary will and determination to enforce the law. It is your job to see that the police do enforce the law. While the minister cannot lawfully instruct the police on how to do their duty, it is his job to ensure that the police do in fact, do their duty.

“It is a gross dereliction of duty for the minister of national security to shrug his shoulders and pass the buck to some lawyers in the Office of the Attorney General’s Office. The minister is presumed to know Bahamian law; the police know Bahamian criminal law.”

Kendea Smith

Written by Kendea Smith

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