PLP theatrics over the top
Everyone on these islands is subject to Bahamian rule of law. If complaints arise, police have the duty to investigate. If they think there is sufficient evidence to bring charges, they could do so alone in most cases. With certain crimes the consent of the attorney general is required.
Once charged, individuals have a right to representation and a fair hearing before the courts. If convicted, there are levels of appeal.
Members of the Free National Movement (FNM) are subject to the rule of law. Members of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) are subject to the rule of law. Independents are subject to the rule of law. Non-voters are subject to the rule of law.
Yesterday, a day after PLP MPs walked out of the House of Assembly, the party’s senators did the same in the upper house.
“The senators of the Progressive Liberal Party withdrew from the chamber today in solidarity and in support of our colleagues in the House of Assembly, who took a principle position yesterday… that we must all protest the persecution of our PLP supporters by this government, and the resulted breakdown in democracy as we see it,” PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said.
PLPs in the House flew into a rage after the arrests this week of former Urban Renewal Deputy Director Michelle Reckley and three others. Reckley is a known PLP. We assume the others are, too.
Since the FNM took office there have been four indictments of high-profile PLPs. Frank Smith, Shane Gibson, Ken Dorsett and Reckley were all charged with corruption-related offenses. These cases resulted from alleged conduct in offices held during the last PLP administration.
The charges against Smith were thrown out by the magistrate. The Crown has appealed that decision. The cases against Gibson, Dorsett and Reckley are pending.
It is unclear to us why the PLP is whining and complaining. During the last PLP administration two high-profile FNMs were prosecuted, convicted and punished. Former Senator John Bostwick was convicted of ammunition possession and fined. Former FNM Senator Fred Ramsey was convicted of accepting bribes and fined. Ramsey likely only avoided prison due to his age and poor health.
When these FNMs were arrested, prosecuted, convicted and punished, the FNM did not whine, fuss and complain as the PLP is doing. The men presented their defenses in court, and the court made its decision.
Being a member of the PLP does not grant any person immunity from investigation and prosecution. The PLP must accept this.
There is no need for histrionics. Allow the matters to be judged by the courts. If the accused or Crown were to disagree with the decision, then the option of appeal would be available.
Each of the matters regarding the four high-profile PLPs is an individual case. They will be evaluated separately by the courts and individual decisions will be rendered.
We all should await and respect the court process. There should be no rush to judgement.
And, the PLP should calm down. It is common in democracies around the world for politicians and political appointees to face investigation and prosecution if authorities think malfeasance occurred.
Let’s just let the justice system take its course.