NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said today leaders who had the opportunity to make change should not come to Parliament and postulate on what should have or could have been.
It appeared to be a reference to former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands, though he did not name him, and his recent public criticism over the handling of Hurricane Dorian deaths and the register of missing people.
“We can come into this place as his…,” Dames trailed off while pointing toward Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
“That’s what’s been going on for decades. We can postulate; we can make up, but at the end of the day Bahamians know best.
“This generation can see beyond the fluff and the nonsense and the waste of time. They can see beyond that. And each and every one of us will be measured.
“Don’t come in here and say what you could have done or what should have been done. The question is, when you have an opportunity to effect change, did you do it? And if you didn’t, why?”
On Monday, Sands told The Nassau Guardian he will hold the Minnis administration to account.
During the budget debate last week, the former minister asserted the government mishandled the identification of those missing from Hurricane Dorian last September and had yet to reconcile how hundreds of names were excluded from an earlier missing person’s list.
Sands said responsibility for missing people and the dead was spread across multiple government agencies to ensure clarity, but instead this “proved a recipe for disaster”.
He called for a coroner’s inquest to bring closure to families.
In response, Dames the number of missing stood at 279, although a senior police officer confirmed just weeks before, the missing stood at 34.
In January, the then commissioner of police advised 54 people remained missing — 32 in Abaco and 22 in Grand Bahama.
In an earlier statement, Dames said he was shocked and “profoundly disappointed” in Sands.
Today, the national security minister said he holds no grudge against anyone.
Dames maintained that he was accountable to his constituents, the Free National Movement, and to the prime minister, who selected him to serve.
He underscored his commitment to representing the people of The Bahamas to the best of his ability and believes his stewardship will be judged favorably.
However, he made clear that if at any time he felt the Cabinet took a course of action that went against his principles, “you need not worry, I will tender my resignation”.
“I carry no one’s bag,” Dames continued.
“The person who you see out here today; the person you see in Cabinet or anywhere else, you see who I am. That’s how I was brought up and I will never change for anyone.
“My obligation as the minister of national security and as the member of Parliament for the great constituency of Mount Moriah is to the people of this country — not to any one individual.
“Whenever I see wrong, whether it’s in Cabinet; outside of Cabinet; inside the bathroom; outside, I am going to express myself the only way I know how to.
“And so, I say on closing on this chapter Mr. Speaker, this is who I am.”
Holding up his contribution, Dames said he wishes to be judged on what the Minnis administration promised to deliver related to the ministry within his portfolio.
Sands resigned from the Cabinet in early May over a breach in protocol related to the COVID-19 emergency orders.