Government must own its failures in Frank Smith case

SUMMARY

  • Case marred by gross incompetence

  • Perception of corruption fed by unethical conduct

  • All eyes on the Prime Minister’s response

  • Taxpayers funding inefficiencies and recklessness


Our democracy was deepened but a dangerous precedent was set in a case involving former Senator Frank Smith. The DNA had followed this matter since inception but reserved comment on the same due to the confidence we have in our judicial system. It is our view that the independence of the judiciary as demonstrated in this matter further deepened Bahamian democracy. However, the involvement and implication of two sitting Cabinet members and Members of Parliament has cast a dark cloud over the executive and legislature.

There could not have been a better description of the actions of both the Minister of Health and the Minister of National Security than that offered by the learned Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt who found their conduct to be egregious and unorthodox. On the heels of the recent lower ranking of The Bahamas on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), this comes as an embarrassment and disgrace to our commonwealth. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet must respond to these serious actions or risk tainting their administration and facing permanent condemnation before the Bahamian people.

Observers of the recently concluded legal matter would have been shocked by what appeared to be gross incompetence and clumsiness displayed by the entities involved in making and arguing the case on behalf of the Crown. It is our view that this is not an indictment on the hardworking professionals of our government departments/agencies; rather, it is testament to the unethical conduct and political interference of the executive arm of government.

Regrettably, the hard-earned funds of taxpayers have been and continues to be expended on the inefficiencies and reckless habits of an administration that is alien to good governance, transparency and accountability. We submit that it is high time that the FNM administration took ownership of its failures. They must acknowledge the error of their ways, apologize to the Bahamian people and make a true commitment to adopting the DNA’s good governance platform. The Bahamian people deserve nothing less from an administration that seems determined to tarnish our good reputation.

All eyes are on the Ministers cited in this matter as honorable men, to do the honorable thing by resigning in accordance with the conventions of the Westminster system of government. The Bahamian people and the international community are waiting and watching.

Geoffrey Deleveaux, Spokesperson for Good Governance

Democratic National Alliance