PM initiates Dorian corruption probe

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday he called Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and asked him to question a man who alleged corruption in relation to disaster relief efforts on Abaco.

During a town meeting on Monday night, Ian Goodfellow, a Bahamian who volunteers with 25 United Disaster Relief, said an organization on Abaco had requested a meeting with government officials.

Goodfellow suggested a culture of corruption in the country and alleged corruption with relation to rebuilding an Abaco school impacted by Hurricane Dorian in September.

“Cooper’s Town school, this is a typical situation where corruption is taking over now,” Goodfellow said at the town meeting.

“And really, I don’t want to get into this, Mr. Minister (Iram Lewis), but the problem here, you know, the other day Ceres wanted a meeting. Well, if you bring a suitcase with $30,000, you can have that meeting. Well, you know, I know how Bahamians work. I know how we do business in our country.

“But this government ran, and I voted on this government, ran on a no corruption basis and I have to tell you that what’s going on in Abaco is really (expletive).”

Yesterday, the prime minister responded to Goodfellow’s comments, which were initially carried by Eyewitness News Online.

Minnis told The Nassau Guardian, “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.

“I’ve already called the commissioner of police myself and asked him to call Goodfellow in and reveal, according to [the] Eyewitness report, who has requested $30,000, so that we can bring the law with its might on such individuals because we will not tolerate corruption.

“And any information Goodfellow has, he must kindly give to the police so that we can deal with those individuals because we will not tolerate corruption.

“In the absence of that, it’s an irresponsible statement and…Goodfellow needs to apologize to the Bahamian populace.

“And if he has information and he does not give it to the commissioner of police, then it’s individuals like him who are condoning and supporting corruption.”

Ferguson confirmed that police are “looking into” the matter.

Last night, Goodfellow said weeks ago, he approached the Anti-Corruption Unit over the matter and that it is clear elements of the force are not in communication with each other.

He said the police interviewed him over the phone yesterday as he is out of town and he is due to go in to the police tomorrow for a sit down interview.

He declined to go into whether he is aware of anyone demanding bribes in relation to hurricane relief efforts. 

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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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