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Chipman calls for consistent  treatment of MPs

Centreville MP Reece Chipman yesterday joined Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller in his call for the fair and consistent treatment of everyone who serves in the Minnis administration.

But Chipman stopped short of calling for the resignation of Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Both Sands and Dames have come under heavy fire over their involvement during the corruption trial of former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Frank Smith.

In her ruling in that matter, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt decried the “egregious” conduct of those ministers.

“The Westminster system is a noble system and it’s a model that I believe reflects the integrity not only of a country, but of a system and so if we are going to follow the Westminster system, I think we ought to respect the consistency in the way we interpret the system,” Chipman said outside the House of Assembly.

“And so yes, I agree with him (Miller) that what is good for one should be good for the other and we ought not to be interpreting the Westminster system differently at different times. It is what it is.

“It’s a noble model and it’s a model I think reflects on adequate and proper governance.”

Asked whether that means Dames and Sands should receive consequences for their conduct during the course of the case, Chipman said, “For me, if the model is the Westminster model, then we follow the Westminster model.”

Asked specifically whether they should be relieved of their posts, he continued, “Well I’m saying whatever the Westminster model is and based on looking at being consistent with regards to our interpretation of the model, I think we should be consistent with the Westminster model.”

On Wednesday, Miller said, “I simply ask that the same manner in which we were treated under Westminster, that other persons, if in fact it happened, would be treated in like manner.”

Last year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis fired Miller from his post as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development after he voted against the government’s plan to increase value-added tax (VAT) from 7.5 percent to 12 percent.

He also fired Travis Robinson, who was parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, and Fredrick McAlpine, who was chairman of the hotel corporation, for voting against the measure.

Chipman voted with those ministers as well.

Minnis later said he was acting in line with Westminster protocol.

Speaking in the House yesterday, Chipman said that Ferguson-Pratt was chosen as his constituency’s person of the month.

“Every month, Mr. Speaker, Centreville acknowledges Bahamians that in our judgement took a course of action that transcends politics and taps into a benefit to the next generation,” he said.

“And our thumbs up award for the month of February will go to Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.

“Centreville wants her and the judiciary to know that we appreciate those of you who continue to do what you need to do to make this Bahamas a better place.”

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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