MP says his stance is “nothing personal”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In a move that stunned some observers, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine’s attempt to gain an audience with Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday following the sitting of the House of Assembly, ended with the minister storming down the stairway of the House loudly telling the outspoken MP not to “butter me up”.
In an interview with reporters in Parliament Square, McAlpine explained that he sought to speak to Dames to explain his statements concerning calls for the prime minister to address the opposition’s insistence that Dames and Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands resign or be fired.
“I tried to greet him because I wanted him to know at the end of the day this is no hard feelings and nothing personal,” McAlpine said.
“Regardless, you are still my colleague and I wanted to greet him and speak to him, and say to him as a colleague, no hard feelings: nothing personal, but of course it escalated into maybe something else.”
He continued, “I am not trying to butter him up or anyone else up.
“The reality is, he is my colleague. And again, I am also a Christian, so I think the proper thing to do is let anybody know if I have offended you, I am not trying to offend you.
“I am just stating the facts as they are — not to take it personal — … and I am even more resolute to say this is nothing personal.
“It’s just that the prime minister, perhaps needed to address this issue because now the behaviour is escalating into something else.”
The opposition has demanded the Cabinet ministers to resign or be fired after a judge called into question their conduct relating to former Public Hospitals Authority Chairman Frank Smith’s extortion and bribery trial.
Smith was acquitted of all charges.
In a separate interview, Dames said he is focused on his constituents and the security of the country and its people, and will not be dragged into a political charade nor derailed from his commitments to serve.
“I don’t know what he (McAlpine) is trying to do,” Dames said.
“I am not here to play games.
“We are here to run a country and things are moving in the right direction and we will continue to do that.
“This is not about politics. This is about making this country a better place for all Bahamians, not about you say and I say, alright.
“We have a lot of work to do in this country and we have to bring back a level of respectability.
“We have to change the status quo.
He continued, “When we chase behind this nonsense that we see every day with this and that, you know, [we’ve got to] look at the facts.
“I am not going to get involved in any of this sideshow.
However, McAlpine said he does not consider statements made by the judge to be a sideshow.
“This is serious business,” the MP said.
“This is the people’s business and when [the judiciary has] spoken, we ought to be adhering to the law.
“I’ll say this once again; those of us who speak against anti-corruption should not have the perception of corruption.
“This is all about perception. Nobody is calling any of them — my colleagues — corrupt, but we were preachers of anti-corruption, and so, we need to deal with the matter at hand.”
Smith was charged in 2017 with abusing his position as chairman after the award of an over $500,000 contract to Barbara Hanna, the owner of Magic Touch Cleaning, to clean the critical care unit of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
It was revealed during the course of the trial that Dames met with Hanna before she made an official complaint to police.
To this, the chief magistrate said the meeting was “unorthodox to say the least”.
It was also revealed during the course of the trial that Sands awarded a second contract totaling $1.8 million to Hanna, three months after Smith was charged.
In her ruling, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson Pratt said the circumstances of the contract raised a “spectre of impropriety”.