Categorized | National News

Political Prosecutions

Fear has settled among Bahamian political pundits and politicos as the government has embarked on political prosecutions in order to satisfy supporters of the Free National Movement.

Over the weekend, The Bahama Journal learned that some officials of the former government are being invited by police to explain various transactions they have been involved in.

It has been confirmed that another Cabinet minister in the Christie administration is to be questioned by police today in connection with a public-private sector initiative that was launched by the Christie administration.

Senior police officers said they are operating under strict instructions from the political directorate and not necessarily the commissioner of police.

The Bahama Journal further learned that political campaign contributions by certain contractors are also being reviewed by police to see if there were quid pro quo arrangements or bribery involved.

On Friday, former Minister of Environment Kenred Dorsett was granted $50,000 bail with two sureties after he was charged in the Magistrate’s Court last week with four counts of extortion, four counts of bribery and one count of misconduct in public office.

Following Dorsett’s arrest, Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts said yesterday that the Free National Movement (FNM) government is using its power to persecute members of the PLP.

“The arrest and detention of the former Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett is a continuation of the FNM’s practice of political vilification and demonization,” Roberts said.

He noted that Senator Fred Mitchell told a group of Liberal Caucus members last week that the FNM is exercising its brand of political power and the leader of the PLP characterized it as “victor’s justice.”

“The actions of the FNM government have absolutely nothing to do with justice or cleaning up corruption in government because the prime minister is a self-dealer. His tourism minister confessed to defrauding the Customs Department,” Roberts said.

“Minnis claimed the LOI scandal was a game changer. His culture minister resigned from the Senate after being caught in a murder for hire plot and the Florida State Supreme Court ruled that the FNM member for Golden Gates was guilty of impropriety in the handling of his client’s funds.

“How does Prime Minister Minnis propose to reconcile his anti-corruption stand with the number of ethically challenged and compromised characters that comprise his Cabinet and parliamentary caucus?  I propose that he simply cannot so this exercise at great taxpayer expense is a farce designed only to achieve a decidedly narrow, selfish and partisan political objective.”

The PLP chairman further explained that what the FNM government is doing in terms of political prosecution is similar to what was done with the commissions of inquiry, held after the 1992 and 1997 general elections, where great state resources were used to vilify the PLP and no evidence of wrongdoing was discovered.

Roberts also pointed out that with the tepid announcement last week that the police found no evidence of wrongdoing in what was widely described as a corrupt and an abuse of state power by the FNM government in the arrest and detention of over eight BAIC (Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation) employees, including its chairman, there are talks that the commissioner of police did not authorize the arrests – that the order of intimidation came from the political directorate.

“This is odd because there was no minister of national security on May 11, 2017 so who in the FNM was giving orders and who on the police force were accepting these orders?” he said.

“It is important and instructive to point out yet again that it is corrupt to use official agencies of the state to execute the political prosecutorial activities of the political directorate of any government.”

Roberts also reminded that former National Security Minister Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt preached the doctrine of neutrality on the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

He said there are indications in the public domain that the Minister of National Security is interfering with the day-to-day operations of the police force and as a result, the public cannot afford to lose confidence in its principal law enforcement agency.

“Law enforcement officers are to resist any and all appearances of political interference and instructions contrary to the Police Act and force orders. The social stability of a nation is predicated to a great extent on a neutral law enforcement agency and a neutral judiciary,” Roberts explained.

The PLP chairman expressed that with the injury done to the reputation of those wrongly accused, arrested and detained there is no apology forthcoming from the FNM government.

“The prime minister insisted he had nothing to do with the arrests and that he presides over an honest and transparent government. The national security minister was mute and the media was disinterested in investigating this unusual and irregular use of state power,” Roberts said.

“The handling of the BAIC matter was political intimidation, pure and simple. That is not the manner in which reported theft by reason of employment is handled. There is no precedent for it.”

In the midst of all of the political prosecutions, Roberts is questioning the whereabouts of former Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer, the clergy, the media, talk show hosts and political pundits who he said were all clamoring for former Prime Minister Perry Christie and the PLP to apologize “to the nation for everything under the sun.”

“Apparently, they all lost their collective voice so their call for the PLP to apologize was driven strictly by politics and not based on principle. Ah well. Do we have that many cats in The Bahamas? Nobody standing up on a point of principle anymore? Go figure,” Roberts said.

“Many of these same people are participating in some big-time conference on ‘good governance’ yet could not recognize good governance if it stared them in the face.

“Is the FNM government arrogant? You bet they are very arrogant because in their minds, they are never wrong and when things go horribly wrong in the country under their watch, it is never their fault, just read the finance minister’s response to Moody’s downgrade notification.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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