Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019
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Davis: Minnis govt doesn’t appreciate separation of powers

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the Minnis administration does not appreciate the importance of the separation of powers among the three arms of government.

“Their response clearly is further evidence of the view that they don’t appreciate governance and their role as government and the distinction between and the importance of the separation of powers between the three arms of government,” he said. 

This comes after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands responded to the PLP’s calls for the resignations of Sands and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames over their involvement in the Frank Smith bribery and extortion trial.

Davis called for the resignations or dismissal of the ministers after the acquittal of Smith, who is a former PLP senator and Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) chairman.

Sands, when asked for a response to those calls on Wednesday, said, “The devil is a liar.”

Minnis referred to the resignation calls as nonsense.

Davis said, “This is a clear indication of interference by the executive in the prosecutorial process.”

He continued, “For them to say it’s nonsense, the fact of the matter is no outrage comes from that quarter, even in the face of two glaring factors.

“One is that evidence was manipulated.

“Two [is] that days before the principal witness was to go on the witness stand, she was given a contract for $1.8 million, despite the fact, if they believe what she was saying, they would have to believe that she was participating in criminal activity, and that it was okay for her to do and okay for her to be further rewarded for her criminal conduct by increasing the contract that was expiring almost fourfold.

“How could you defend that?”

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

In her ruling on the matter, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt decried the “egregious” conduct of Sands and Dames.

Ferguson-Pratt found: “There is not a scintilla of evidence to support the fact that there was a meeting between Barbara Hanna and the accused prior to the award of the contract.”

During the course of the case, it was revealed that Sands awarded a second contract of $1.8 million to Hanna, three months after Smith was charged.

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

Rachel Knowles

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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