Dames: I did not enter politics to play games

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Davis called on Cabinet ministers to resign over Frank Smith case

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Amid calls for his resignation by Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Philip Brave Davis, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday that he will not respond to “nonsense” and suggested that the leader of the opposition was playing “political antics and games”.

“I did not enter politics to play games,” said Dames, when contacted for comment.

“If games are what he wants to play, then let him have fun playing it.”

During a press conference at PLP headquarters, Davis said Dames and Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands should resign for their role in the extortion and bribery case of former PLP Senator Frank Smith, who was acquitted last Friday.

Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt determined there was no case for Smith to answer.

Following her two-hour ruling, Ferguson-Pratt said the award of a second contract of $1.8 million by Sands after the complainant, Barbara Hanna, made the extortion allegations, raised a “specter of impropriety”.

Ferguson-Pratt noted that Sands awarded the contract without the approval of the PHA board.

As it relates to Dames, Ferguson-Pratt said the minister’s meeting with Hanna before she made her official complaint, was “unorthodox to say the least”.

Davis called on both ministers to “do the right thing”.

He said if they failed to resign, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis should fire them.

“I described this earlier as an abuse of process,” Davis contended.

“I repeat my deep concern about, and fear for the poor citizens among us who do not have the resources to meet the full weight of the state in these situations.”

Speaking to Eyewitness News Online, Dames said he did not wish to speak to the specifics of the case as it was still active.

“I am certain the DPP would have something to say to it if he hasn’t already done so, but let’s push that matter aside, and speak to the political side of it,” he said.

“When I decided to enter frontline politics I did not intend to come into it to get caught up in these political antics and games, and so, [the] press conference — I did not get the opportunity to see it, but you know, maybe the leader of the opposition should spend more time trying to defend those poor persons in those very tough communities Over-the-Hill who go to court on a daily basis; that’s who he ought to be protecting.

“Persons are sick and tired of the level of corruption in this country, the level of crime and corruption in high places as well. We’re always quick to run to the defense of persons who are well off and who can defend themselves.

“Who runs to the aid of the poor man: the persons in those communities who stand before the courts on a daily basis?”

Dames said he remains focused on improving the lives of Bahamians, assisting the disenfranchised and putting the country back on a path where it is respected; “not to play games”.

The minister added that he does not look at matters individually.

“I have lived my life doing this job,” he noted.

“And I have committed myself to it and… I have spent my life investigating matters.

“I was not the investigator or the prosecutor in the matter. I was a witness and I will continue to provide wherever necessary for the betterment of this country, myself and my service, and that can be compared to anyone, anywhere.

“And so, let’s stop from focusing on individuals and start focusing on this country and how we can move it forward, together, collectively.

“That ought to be our focus; [not] playing games on who won and who lost, and all of this nonsense.”

Attorney General Carl Bethel indicated yesterday that he was made to understand the director of public prosecutions intends to appeal the decision.

He also said he believes as an attorney that the commentary of the judge about Dames and Sands will form part of the submissions for the appeal.