WATCH YOUR WORDS: FNM MP hits back at AG’s ‘political prosecutions’ comment about PLP corruption trials

WATCH YOUR WORDS: FNM MP hits back at AG’s ‘political prosecutions’ comment about PLP corruption trials
St Anne’s MP Adrian White speaks in the House of Assembly on Monday, November 1, 2021. (BIS/YONTALAY BOWE)

White argues administration of justice under Minnis administration was fair

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — St Anne’s MP Adrian White, the opposition shadow minister of legal affairs and works, yesterday hit back at suggestions that the Minnis administration’s legal cases against former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MPs were “political prosecutions”.

The comment made by the honorable attorney general…is both unfortunate and a grossly untrue characterization.

– St Anne’s MP Adrian White

White was responding to comments made in the Senate on Monday by Attorney General Ryan Pinder, who revealed that the former Free National Movement (FNM) government spent some $1.1 million in legal fees with foreign law firms in its ultimately failed attempts to charge former Cabinet Ministers Shane Gibson and Frank Smith with corruption.

Pinder slammed the efforts as “political prosecutions” that were “more politics” than “justifiable actions”.

But in a statement yesterday, White charged that the attorney general “should more carefully weigh the vast difference between party-political rhetoric and good governance”.

Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

“The comment made by the honorable attorney general, Senator Ryan Pinder, in the Senate yesterday (Monday), that the prosecutions of Shane Gibson and Frank Smith were ‘blatant political prosecutions’ is both unfortunate and a grossly untrue characterization,” he said.

He added: “The record of the administration of justice under the Minnis administration was one of fairness. The scales of justice were held in balance by a constitutionally independent Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“Former PLP parliamentarians were charged, indeed, but also a former FNM parliamentarian was charged, all with alleged criminal offences.”

Former Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson (center) leaves court after he was found not guilty.

White further suggested Pinder’s “unfortunate assertions” were “destabilizing to the very administration of justice”.

“Ordinary citizens and residents of The Bahamas must have the confidence that if they were to make a legal complaint that some person in high office had committed a crime against them, that complaint would be fairly and impartially investigated by the police and, if the evidence is sufficient to bring criminal charges, then the alleged malefactor would be charged; the same as any other person,” he said.

“If persons ever come to feel that the legal system is biased against them, and willing to turn a blind eye, depending on the importance of the person, things will not go well in The Bahamas, as it could lead to persons taking the law into their own hands and resorting to vigilante justice.”

Gibson was found not guilty in court and Smith was acquitted; and the newly-appointed attorney general has recently confirmed the contracts of the foreign lawyers engaged by the Minnis administration will be terminated.

About Rayne Morgan

Rayne Morgan is a copy editor at Eyewitness News. As a former reporter, she has amassed several years’ experience in the mass media field, writing for both local and international publications, and continues to lend her expertise in grammar and editing to the industry.