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AG defends Bethell’s appointment to high court after objection from Davis

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis has objected to the appointment of Carolita Bethell as a justice of the Court of Appeal, but the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said in a statement on Sunday that Davis’ statement is “abusive” of the constitution and is nothing more than “a malignant, politicized abuse of the justice of appeal”.

In a statement dated August 8, Davis said, “I learned, to my dismay, that earlier this week Carolita Bethell had been appointed a justice of appeal. I had several consultations with the prime minister and indicated there is widespread, strong and fervent opposition to this appointment, with which opposition I concurred.”

Davis did not outline any specific reasons for the objection, but claimed “they are cogent and should not have been dismissed by the prime minister”.

He claimed the consultations were not complete, and added that there should be a more transparent process on such appointments.

In a statement on Sunday, the Office of the Attorney General called the opposition leader’s statement “unfortunate” and added it “appears to seek to besmirch not only the process of appointment, but also to besmirch the learned justice of appeal”.

“This is unworthy of a person holding the constitutional office of leader of the opposition,” the OAG said.

“As to the process of appointment. The leader of the opposition is aware that all the mandates of Article 99 of the constitution were strictly adhered to.”

It noted that Bethell has held high judicial office as a Supreme Court justice for many years, and has fully satisfied the constitutional qualification for appointment as a justice of appeal.

“The prime minister, in accordance with Article 99(1) of the constitution, duly consulted with the leader of the opposition,” the OAG statement added.

“His statement can only be viewed as a highly politicized attack aimed at the constitution itself and the learned justice of appeal personally.

“Similarly, the learned justice of appeal has never been accused of any ‘misbehavior’ or ‘inability’ in the performance of her judicial responsibilities throughout the decades of her service to the judiciary and the Bahamian people.”

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