Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday made a string of serious allegations against the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), claiming that it received election campaign funding from drug dealers, owners of illegal number house operations and seedy foreign investors seeking to influence the government for personal gain.
However, the Opposition leader offered no hardcore evidence to support his many allegations.
It has been nearly a month since the PLP swept to victory at the polls, ousting the Ingraham administration and still the FNM continues to offer up suggestions as to what led to the then Opposition winning the general election.
“We are also in receipt of allegations that the PLP election campaign received generous financial support from owners of illegal numbers operations, persons known to the police for dealing in or being associated with illicit drugs operations and seedy foreign personalities who seek to influence the formulation of Government policies and decisions for their personal financial gain,” Dr. Minnis said.
The FNM held a news conference yesterday at its party headquarters on Mackey Street.
Dr. Minnis was flanked by Deputy FNM Leader Loretta Butler-Turner and FNM Chairman Charles Maynard. Former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette and FNM Senators Zhivargo Laing and Heather Hunt also attended the news conference.
During the news conference, the FNM leader also said his party has received widespread reports from “credible poll workers” and a number of the party’s candidates that the PLP engaged in vote buying leading up to and on election day.
“As proof of such illegal activities would require the cooperation of individuals involved in the offending action, cooperation is unlikely to be achieved. We do not expect that those paying or receiving bribes to acknowledge doing so, even if brought before the courts to account,” Dr. Minnis said.
“But we do believe and call upon the PLP to come clean with the Bahamian public and acknowledge the source of the funding of their well-oiled campaign machine. This might go a long way in explaining why having won the election the PLP is displaying an almost paranoid fear of the Bahamian people.”
Dr. Minnis claimed Prime Minister Perry Christie’s security team has been bolstered from the six officers deployed to protect former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in teams of two officers per shift to 24 police officers – six per shift.
The FNM leader said the PLP should also explain why three other of its cabinet ministers –Deputy Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson and National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage feel it necessary to have police security, drivers and aides – some of whom are retired police officers engaged on contract.
“One report suggests that both the Minister of National Security and his Minister of State
Keith Bell, are personally armed with police issued weapons,” he said.
“Could it be that certain promises were made during the campaign – promises that certain elements in the society now expect to collect on. Mr. Bell and his government owe the Bahamian people an explanation. They might begin by stating what their position is on private citizens being licensed to carry concealed weapons.”
A team of election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) recently recommended improved transparency in campaign financing.