PLP renews call for Dames, Sands’ resignation

PLP renews call for Dames, Sands’ resignation
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Fred Mitchell.

Also queries if Dames was armed during interaction with McAlpine


NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Progressive Liberal Party  (PLP) on Sunday renewed their call for Minister of National Security Marvin Dames and Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, to either resign or be dismissed.

“In the case of Mr. Dames, the evidence against him is even more compelling, given the public meltdown in the House of Assembly last week,” outlined a statement issued Sunday by PLP Chairman Senator Fred Mitchell.

“He denies that this has happened, even when PLP Members of Parliament were there, including the Leader of the Opposition who saw what happened before their very eyes.”

Last week, national security minister Marvin Dames labelled reports, which suggested that he angrily stormed out of the House of Assembly last week Wednesday, Feb 27, and had to be restrained from attacking his fellow colleague, Frederick McAlpine, as “sensationalized news.”

The national security minister also described the reports as laughable.

Dames reportedly shrugged off McAlpine and shouted that he did not wish to be “buttered up,” as he walked away from the Pineridge MP.

Last week, Dames told the media, “I made my point and left the floor and went to the restroom and when I was done, I walked out, came back upstairs and answered questions from the press.”

He also shot down claims that his colleague, Ellsworth Johnson, had to drag him to the men’s room so that he could regain his composure.

But on Sunday, the PLP said ‘the truth is clear’ and alleged that Dames ‘lost control’ during his encounter with McAlpine.

“We call specifically today for Mr. Dames or the Prime Minister to say whether or not Mr. Dames was armed in the House of Assembly on the day of his outburst.  Did he have a gun on him” the PLP queried, adding that his denial of the incident itself is worrying, given that not only MPs but the press witnessed and reported what had happened.

“Mr. Dames has a serious problem,” the PLP said.

The  PLP initially called for the resignations or firing of both Dames and Sands following the February 1 acquittal of Frank Smith, a former Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) chairman under the PLP administration.

Smith was charged in 2017 with abusing his position as chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority after the award of a $516,000 contract to the virtual complainant, Barbara Hanna, the owner of Magic Touch Cleaning, to clean the critical care unit of Princess Margaret Hospital.

At the close of Smith’s trial, the judge, Joyann Ferguson-Pratt called into question the ministers conduct in the matter.

The judge said there was not a scintilla of evidence that there was a meeting between Smith and Hanna prior to the awarding of the contract.

It was revealed during the course of the trial that Sands awarded a second contract of $1.8 million to Hanna, three months after Smith was charged.

The magistrate said the circumstances of the contract raised a “spectre of impropriety”.

It was also revealed that Dames met with Hanna before she made an official complaint to police.

Of that meeting, Ferguson-Pratt said it was “unorthodox, to say the least”.

Meanwhile, the PLP on Sunday said Dr. Sands is ‘lost’ when it comes to public ethics.

“The devil, whose name Dr. Sands called for aid and comfort [in] last week when challenged is not the issue.  The issue is Dr. Sands’ conduct,” the PLP said.

“When a gift of a 1.8 million dollars is given to a contributor to his campaign, shortly before that individual became a material witness in the case of the COP (Commissioner of Police) vs Frank Smith,  and then his action is subsequently judicially condemned, Dr. Sands must go,” the PLP said.

“We call again on both men to resign or be dismissed.”

Up to post time last night, attempts to reach both men for comment proved futile. However, Dames has told media in recent interviews that he was tired of the “sideshow” that has emerged since the magistrate’s ruling in the Frank Smith case.

As for Sands,  “in terms of a call for my resignation, the devil is a liar,” he told the media last month.