Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020
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PM does right thing in calling for an investigation of NSA report

The witch hunt tag has been applied to investigations ordered by the current Free National Movement (FNM) government. Hierarchy members and supporters of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) that was ousted at the national polls in May of 2017, have chafed. They have resented the strong focus on some associated with the PLP.

Investigations have led to court charges, and a bitterness has set in with the official opposition, the PLP. The claims of being unjustifiably targeted have resulted in sympathy on the part of some. Others have settled for letting the chips fall where they may.

However, when earlier this week FNM Leader Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis informed of having given the recent damning audit report on the National Sports Authority (NSA) over to the police, he was well within his rights.

I wholeheartedly support an investigation of the NSA, but challenge the authorities to be thorough. They ought to function in a manner that proves beyond any doubt that they are not carrying out a witch hunt. The investigation of the NSA was called for from this very space, just a few columns ago.

It is imperative that an official report which indicates that over one million dollars was paid to a company, and work not done in kind, be looked into, closely.

The view here though is that the investigation should not center only on the report. As investigations go, wide sweeping interrogations should take place, inclusive of the ongoing role played by the NSA management in its day-to-day functioning. It must not appear to be simply the FNM Government seeking to paint a negative picture (once again) of the PLP while in government.

An investigation would also determine whether the Auditor General’s office operated efficiently in compiling the report and releasing it. Heads should roll in any event. If former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Danny Johnson (responsible during the bulk… May 2011- May 2017 …of the report period covered – July 2011 – December 2017), and NSA management were party, directly or indirectly, performed out-of-order activities, a comprehensive investigation will expose such.

On the other hand, if the investigation shows that the audit report was short-sighted and did not examine all of the factors, tangible or otherwise, then such incompetence should be dealt with by Prime Minister Dr. Minnis.

“I would have spoken to the commissioner of police. I would have spoken to the attorney general and I have spoken to the auditor general, and I informed the commissioner of police that I am sending the report to him so that they can do a proper investigation and deal with the matter appropriately.”

So said Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Minnis.

A “proper investigation” and the matter being handled “appropriately” were the right kinds of emphasis for the PM to make.

His request ought to be responded to, seriously and meticulously. Yes, Dr. Minnis has done right, in this instance.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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