Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Fred Mitchell yesterday accused Attorney General Carl Bethel of being “unable to win a case” as he criticized the government’s handling of an ongoing case to lift an injunction for the demolition of shantytowns.
“You need to control this madman who is going around talking about ethnic cleansing in The Bahamas,” Mitchell said in the Senate.
“Why you don’t get up and control him, talking about traitors?”
Mitchell added, “You lost all the cases before.
“I’ve never seen a fellow just making money off the government, off slackness.”
Fred Smith, QC, who represents shantytown residents in an ongoing legal battle against the government in its bid to rid the country of shantytowns, has argued that the government’s attempt to eliminate shantytowns in The Bahamas is “nothing short of ethnic cleansing of Haitian ethnic communities”.
Kayla Green-Smith, of the Office of the Attorney General, denied Smith’s claims, noting that the United Nations’ Commission of Experts defined ethnic cleansing in its interim report “as rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of a given group from that area”.
Bethel said yesterday that Smith’s comments have been “adequately refuted”, as he accused Smith of using “invective”.
“We are advancing our case in court,” he said.
“He made those comments in court and we have adequately refuted them by reference to the proper definition of this and we are dealing with him. But what we do not do is we do not deal with invective against anybody.
“It is unfortunate that certain persons, in terms of what is commonly called the shantytown case, particularly their lead council, used invective.
“We have answered them in court and in the public sphere.”
Bethel also noted that the former PLP administration lost cases that cost the government large sums of money.
Acknowledging that to have been the case, Mitchell said Bethel has been “studying failure”.
“You have studied failure and you continue to fail,” he said.
“You’re a good study, a very smart study, in failure. Can’t win a case, can’t win one case.”
The government announced in 2018 that shantytowns will be demolished.
It gave residents of most shantytowns on New Providence until August 10, 2018, to leave before demolition.
Residents in shantytowns on Abaco were to be given until the end of July 2019 to leave. However, in August 2018, Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson granted an injunction blocking the demolition and service disconnections pending a judicial review.