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You Have Got To Be Joking!

The Clifton Review


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires, the links to unsavory characters, the use of the courts for personal agendas, the involvement of a political party, and the attacks on the Government of The Bahamas.


We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings. This series of articles asks the needed questions and presents the arguments in full.



By P.J. Malone



Fred Smith, President of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association—aka Director and attorney for Save The Bays—really acts like a ‘wanna-be’ prime minister. Why doesn’t he run for office then? Instead, he engages in these manipulative games to exert power over our duly elected Government representatives.


Fred Smith’s latest scheme involves the proposed Interception of Communications Bill. It has been suggested that the new Minnis Administration should let the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association take the lead on this proposed legislation, which has returned to the forefront of discussion after it failed with the previous Administration.


In a Tribune article Fred Smith has threatened that if Minnis doesn’t follow his, Smith’s, prescribed steps in the proposed legislation, they will fight it to the end. Here are the steps that Fred Smith wants:


  1. The Government must produce a ‘white paper’ (a document outlining information on an issue) on the proposed bill.
  2. The Government must discuss and consult with the public on the issue for a period of six months prior to the legislation.
  3. Then the Government must produce a green paper—described as a report on policy proposals for debate and discussion.


Let us stipulate that, in and of themselves, these steps are not bad—a bit excessive, but not bad.


Here’s the thing though. The people of The Bahamas did not elect Fred Smith and the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association to govern The Bahamas. How dare they try to hold the Government hostage to do things as they would like. How dare they threaten the Government of The Bahamas if they don’t meet their demands.


Threatening the Government is the same thing as threatening the people of The Bahamas. It implies that you are against the will of the people who elected its representatives through a sound democratic process; and it sounds like a promise to subvert the will of the people to have the Minnis Administration govern on behalf of the Bahamian people.


Besides, Fred Smith is one man with one opinion. He can make suggestions to the Government of The Bahamas like everyone else. But he doesn’t get to decide how the Government should function because the people of The Bahamas didn’t elect him to any office.


The legislation is described as being proposed in the ‘interest of national security’, explained as protecting The Bahamas from ‘threats of sabotage, espionage, terrorist acts, terrorism or subversion’.


Apparently, there is “clear advice” on this from Her Majesty’s Privy Council, which is probably why the New Free National Movement Administration sees fit to bring the proposed legislation back to the floor of the House of Assembly after the previous Progressive Liberal Party Government failed to get it enacted.


Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson was quoted attesting to the need to heed the advice given: “as the excellent OAG consultants and advisors continue to say, the Bahamas cannot continue to ignore the clear advice of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. The Interception Communication’s Act is a necessary crime fighting tool and I hope that it is passed ASAP.”


Fred Smith has not been assigned the task of deciding what is best for our country. Furthermore, he is not privy to the information that our Government officials are privy to. Clearly there is some merit to the proposed legislation since the new Attorney General and the new Government is seeing fit to bring the issue back to the forefront after previously opposing it. Clearly they understand that campaigning is one thing, governing is another.


Fred Smith does not get to decide what’s best for Bahamians and what is not since he has already demonstrated on several occasions that he does not have the best interest of The Bahamas at heart when he marred our good name with international organization

Written by Jones Bahamas

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