Categorized | National News

“A Perverse Decision”

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a bi-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

Our constitutional governing system is in crisis. We have a lower court judge’s ruling, that upends our parliamentary privilege governing system, being allowed to stand because the new Minnis Administration has dropped the Appeal in this legacy defining matter.

Former Minister and current Senator, Fred Mitchell, has described the lower court judgment as “wrong, badly written, and full of errors”.


Say what you like about Fred Mitchell the politician, but he has always been seen by many as one of the Bahamas’ brilliant minds, who excelled academically and comported himself impressively over the years representing our Commonwealth.

Mr. Fred Mitchell has had much experience liaising with regional nation organizations and providing great insights into those policies impacting the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. His perspective is relevant on a matter that, if left unchallenged, has dire consequences on our governing system and those of other Commonwealth nations.

Senator Mitchell has described the decision by the Government to stop the Appeal of a parliamentary privilege case that is of national and regional import, “stupid and perverse”.

On the Love 97 radio show, “On Point”, Senator Mitchell provided the following perspective:

“Enquiring minds have to make an objective assessment as to how such a decision could be taken, and then announced by the person, who was a donor to the Free National Movement in the last election campaign, and not announced by the Government itself.

“We had this issue throughout the time we were sitting in office. People didn’t seem to understand what this issue is really about. The issue has nothing to do with emails or people improperly procuring emails; this is simply about people, when they speak in Parliament, having a right to speak; and, can a court injunct a Member of Parliament or Senator from speaking in Parliament on any subject they wish to speak about.

“The judgment is wrong, badly written, full of errors and should be set aside. It should not stand.

“It is just unfortunate that the government has taken this position, but I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised at all. It is a bad decision and I think we have to explore ways to limit its effect.

“I said from the very beginning I really didn’t care which judge ruled what with regard to that. It had no impact or affect on me whatsoever because whether I’m in Parliament or not in Parliament, I believe in free speech and I say what I want to say.

“The point is we are a country of laws, and if a judge makes a ruling that Members of Parliament can be injuncted, then that is quite a serious matter.

“It seems to me that the policy court, that is the Privy Council, ought to have a chance to review that and set it aside; because it is a error in law, no question about it, an error in law. But now with this decision, it appears that that is going to stand.

“Fortunately, it’s a lower court decision so it does not have the broad affect a policy decision would have had had it reached the Privy Council. So that ‘s the best we can say about it at this time.

“But certainly, I shall be studying this decision and seeing what steps can be taken if any to ensure that the public’s interest is protected and to ensure that Parliamentary Privilege is protected.

“I think it’s a live issue, I think it’s a Freedom of Speech issue, and I think it’s a human rights issue. I think it is important for it to be properly prosecuted and properly aired as to how such a decision was procured, and who is responsible for it.”

A perverse (“rejecting what is right, good, or proper”) decision indeed!

Written by Jones Bahamas

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