Categorized | National News

Wiping out stigma of corruption

During debate in the House of Assembly yesterday Foreign affairs Minister Darren Henfield said he supports the bill for an independent director of public prosecutions because it is a move to wipe out the prevailing stigma of endemic corruption from the country.


He said the government is attempting to break the monopoly of the unfettered power by the Attorney General and ‘put it firmly in the hands of a public servant who is empowered to operate outside of the arch of political authority in the exercise of his duties.’


“We seek to put the power in the hands of the people, by placing it in the hands of an independent director of public prosecutions who will be clothed in the power of his own office to conduct the affairs of the people without fear,” Henfield said.


He added that the amendment requires that specific directions given to the director of public prosecutions by the attorney general be put in writing and published in the Gazette in the House of Assembly at the earliest opportunity.


“As such, this bill brings a level if transparency and accountability to the prosecutorial process as relates to the exercise of the nolle prosequi or discontinuance of a criminal proceeding, such has never before been realized in this country,” Henfield said.


The debate continued yesterday on the bill for the establishment of the independent office of the director of public prosecutions (DPP).


The bill which was tabled September 20th of this year would free the DPP from the influence of the attorney general and or other cabinet positions.


The attorney general would however be allowed to give specified directions to the DPP in any matter involving “public policy, national security or the international obligations of the Bahamas”.


Responding to critics raised by the official opposition, Henfield said that to say the bill does nothing is dishonest, disingenuous and duplicitous.


Also adding to the debate was member or parliament for Southern Shores, Frankie Campbell who said offered a personal scenario from his time as a police officer.


“A police colleague made a certain recommendation, but the recommendation had to go to the AG’s office, the AG had to make a final determination against a colleague of the AG. It could have been that the AG made the right decision, but owing to the fact that the AG and the person concerned had such close connectivity, there will always be that doubt,” Campbell said
He added that the DPP bill is seeking to remove that sort of doubt or lack of confidence in the office.


Campbell said this bill will benefit both the person who is suspected and the person who is making the complaint concerning a matter.


He said that fair play is what the country needs and among the other things, that contributes to crime. It is of course the public seeing high officials getting away with embezzlement and that is the sort of corruption they’re working to eradicate.


MP for Marathon Romauld Ferreira also gave his views, stating that if the country is ever again run by a political party, who would be willing to allow the political ambitions of a few men to dash the political aspirations of a whole people, there would be a law in place to prevent them from committing heinous crimes.


“If this nation is ever again mislead by the PLP; described by one of their very own as a party overcome with envy, consumed with jealousy, and stung by greed, at least it would be that much more difficult to manipulate the strings of justice with arrogance and impunity; they would have to gazette their reasons and do something which makes them very uncomfortable, engage and answer to the Bahamian public,” Ferreira said.





Written by Jones Bahamas

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