National Security Minister Marvin Dames and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine butted heads as they exited Parliament yesterday.
The exchange quickly escalated.
As Dames walked down the stairs into the nearby men’s bathroom accompanied by Yamacraw MP Elsworth Johnson, he repeatedly shouted that he didn’t want to be “buttered up”.
Moments later, a calm Dames emerged from the bathroom and explained that he was tired of the “sideshow” that has progressed surrounding his and Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands’ involvement in the recent corruption case of former Progressive Liberal Party Senator Frank Smith.
“Listen, I’m here to represent the people of Mount Moriah and as the minister of national security, the people of this country,” Dames said.
“We made a promise to the Bahamian people when we took office that we would do our endeavor best to clean up corruption within this country and bring back some level of respectability.
“I’m not going to turn that into a political charade.”
Progressive Liberal Party members have continually called on Dames and Sands to resign.
Smith was charged in 2017 with abusing his position as chairman of the PHA 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 both ministers.
The incident yesterday occurred two days after McAlpine, an FNM MP, blasted Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis after he failed to fully address calls for the ministers’ resignations.
However, McAlpine told reporters outside Parliament that he had no intention of antagonizing Dames and was taken aback by his reaction.
“I tried to greet him because I want him to know that at the end of the day [there are] no hard feelings and nothing personal,” McAlpine said.
“I wanted to greet him and speak to him and say as a colleague no hard feelings, nothing personal, but of course it escalated to maybe something else,” McAlpine said.
“…I’m not trying to butter him up or anybody else up. The reality is he’s my colleague and again I’m also a Christian so I think the proper thing to do is to let anybody know, if I’ve offended you, I’m not trying to offend you, I’m just stating the facts as they are, [and] not to take it personal.
“And I still remain and even more resolute to say this isn’t nothing personal; it’s just that the prime minster perhaps needs to address this issue because the behavior is escalating into something else.”
He continued: “I don’t call the judgment or rapport or what has been said by the judge a sideshow.
“This is serious business. This is the people’s business and when justice has spoken, we ought to be adhering to the law. And I’ll say this once again, those of us who speak against corruption should not have the perception of corruption.
“This is all about perception. Nobody is calling any of my colleagues corrupt, but we were the preachers of anti-corruption and so we need to deal with the matter at hand.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications