Forbes says leader alerted CARICOM of Sands, Dames and AG’s conduct in Frank Smith’s case
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Having boycotted the proceedings of the House of Assembly and the Senate for two sessions, the official Opposition is expected to return to both the Upper and Lower Chamber when sessions resume.
The House of Assembly is expected to meet this morning at 10:00 a.m.
“The Opposition is satisfied that the point of the boycott of Parliament was sufficiently made in the public domain about the corrupt conduct of the government and, in particular, the conduct of ministers Marvin Dames, Duane Sands and Carl Bethel, whose behavior in the Frank Smith’s case undermined the rule of law and were roundly condemned by an independent and dispassionate judicial review,” outlined a statement released yesterday from Picewell Forbes, leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly.
“The public is further advised that the Leader of the Opposition, Philip Brave Davis, has written a letter to both the Secretaries General of the Commonwealth and CARICOM, formally bringing this egregious issue to the attention of the international community.
“The Opposition is fully committed to holding the government’s feet to the fire in and out of Parliament on this critical constitutional issue and any other issue of national import,” the statement concluded.
The decision to withdraw from parliamentary proceedings was announced by the Opposition on Wednesday Feb. 13, 2019.
At the time, the Opposition said the move was to “mark the seriousness” of the PLP’s concerns with what it said was the Minnis administration’s continued abuse of power.
“We will not rest until tyrannical attitudes and practices are forever vanquished from this society,” Davis told the media at a press conference shortly after the opposition walked out of the House on Feb. 13, following a brief, but heated exchange between governing and opposition members.
The verbal sparring match ensued after Davis decried the actions of the government relating to the arrests of former Urban Renewal Deputy Director Michelle Reckley and several other persons.
PLP senators followed suit and led a boycott of their own when they met in the Upper Chamber on Feb 14.
The opposition has called on Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, who both testified in the trial of former PLP Senator Frank Smith, to step down.
Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt acquitted Smith of the corruption and extortion charges levied against him.
In her ruling, the judge was critical of the conduct of Dames and Sands in relation to the case.
It was revealed during the case that Sands awarded a second contract of $1.8 million without board approval to the virtual complainant, who had accused Smith of extorting her in relation to a $516,000 contract to clean Princess Margaret Hospital.
It was also revealed that Dames met with the complainant before she made an official complaint to police.
After the judge’s ruling, Davis said both ministers should do the honourable thing and resign, and he raised concerns about the administration of justice given the magistrate’s considerations.
Attorney General Carl Bethel has labelled the PLP’s move as an “unacceptable” intimidation tactic.