AG defends PM’s call to commissioner

Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, as a Bahamian citizen, is entitled to make a complaint to the police, noting that there was no political interference in relation to a recent matter of alleged corruption in hurricane relief efforts because the prime minister did not tell the police how to conduct an investigation.

Last week, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis accused the prime minister of political interference after Minnis said he called the commissioner of police and asked him to call in a man for questioning after that man alleged corruption in relation to hurricane relief efforts.

“The prime minister is entitled to make a complaint and ask the police to investigate someone or something that has been said,” Bethel said.

At a town meeting last week, Ian Goodfellow, a Bahamian who volunteered on Abaco following Hurricane Dorian, suggested that there is alleged corruption in relation to rebuilding an Abaco school impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

“Cooper’s Town school, this is a typical situation where corruption is taking over now,” Goodfellow said on December 16.

He said a company involved in the rebuilding efforts wanted a meeting with the government.

“Well, if you bring a suitcase with $30,000, you can have that meeting,” Goodfellow added.

“Well, you know, I know how Bahamians work. I know how we do business in our country.”

When asked about Goodfellow’s comments, Minnis said, “I have already spoken to the commissioner of police and asked him to call Goodfellow in for questioning and to substantiate those [comments] so that they can investigate and arrest and follow through on whatever Goodfellow is accusing them of.”

Speaking to the matter, the attorney general said, “It shows the prime minister’s serious with his intent. It’s a comment that is directed either at an official or someone in his government and he has asked the police to investigate it. What is wrong with that? That shows the seriousness in which the prime minister takes all matters of public uprightness and public conduct.”

He added, “Any citizen has a right to make a complaint to the police if they have just cause to do so, including the prime minister. Okay? A comment was made by somebody on a newscast. He simply asked the police to investigate.

“He isn’t telling the police how to investigate it. He is simply making a complaint so that the police will act on it and conduct their own investigation. And the prime minister is as entitled as any other citizen of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, if they have any information, to ask the police to look at it.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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