Categorized | National News

Observers Selected To Monitor Marine Hearings

The three independent observers who will monitor the internal hearings of five Defence Force marines accused of assaulting Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre have been selected and revealed.

According to a government press release issued Wednesday, Retired Justice Cheryl Albury, Retired Commander Leon L. Smith and Bahamas Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson have been appointed independent observers to observe the conduct of proceedings.

Last week, National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said the observers will be permitted to attend the hearings in order to assure the public the proceedings are transparent and just.

On Monday, five marines – one petty officer, two leading seamen and two able seamen – were charged with causing harm or wound, bringing discredit to the force and failing to follow commands.

Their attorney Wayne Munroe said it makes no sense even having independent observers sit in on the matter.

“You have to be either fish or fowl,” he said. “Either it’s a closed hearing, in which case only the people involved are present, or it’s a public hearing.”

“If you have three people there they are not going to direct the captain at the base as to what he should or shouldn’t do; he is in charge. No civilian is going to tell him what to do. If that’s the proposition then the minister clearly doesn’t understand how the military works. If they are there just to watch what’s that purpose? If someone has to be there to watch, then open it to the public.”

He said he is confident that his clients acted in accordance with the rules and is calling for the matter to be made public.

“The defence force marines are soldiers,” he said. “They put their life on the line for the public and so the public should be made to see what happens to the soldiers who are here to protect them.”

“When you expect men to fire shots in anger on your behalf and potentially kill people and you send them out with that, it’s not just a show. So when we train our soldiers to kill and tell them to risk their lives, if something happens and we don’t stand behind them the next time they have to act they will think, ‘Should I do this, do I have my lawyer money, or should I just sit and watch.’ That’s a very dangerous circumstance to create and the minister of national security doesn’t have a clue how to keep men loyal who you’ve already asked to fight and die for you.”

It has not yet been confirmed when the hearing will begin.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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