OPPOSITION Leader Hubert Minnis has called for Prime Minister Perry Christie to fire Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell from his Cabinet.
Speaking at a press conference at FNM Headquarters, FNM Leader Mr Minnis called on the PM to ‘dismiss Fred Mitchell from his Cabinet forthwith,’ adding: “It has now become clear that Minister Mitchell has exhausted every ounce of credibility as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The FNM is appalled at the dismal mismanagement of our country’s foreign interests by Minister Mitchell.”
He called on the government to release the ‘full and unedited’ reports of all investigations that have been conducted to date into Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
He said: “To date, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has not given a full account of what took place at the detention centre on May 20, 2013.
“The FNM has been advised that several senior government officials and ministers became aware fairly early that a major instance of abuse had taken place.”
Mr Minnis said the FNM had found out that in the early hours of May 20, there was an attempted escape from the detention centre by seven Cuban detainees.
This escape was prevented, he said. As punishment for the attempted escape, at least five detainees were physically abused to a severe degree. The abuse was so significant that three of the detainees had to be taken to PMH for treatment. One person was detained and two others returned to the detention centre.
Following the beatings, the remaining detainees performed and videotaped a reenactment of the earlier beatings.
Minnis said: “Our information is that the reenactment was facilitated with the assistance of one or more Defence Force officers who provided the fatigues for the actors in the performance.
“The FNM has been further advised that several senior government officials and Ministers became aware fairly early that a major instance of abuse had in fact taken place. There was at least one major meeting of senior law enforcement officers and cabinet ministers who were briefed as to what had transpired. As a result of that briefing, a more intensive investigation was ordered.
“We are now aware that the report of the government’s preliminary investigation has been completed and is in circulation. This has been completed from as early as late June. It is now late August.
“Minister Mitchell continued to use strong, combative and undiplomatic language intended to deflect attention from the underlying legitimacy of the issue raised by demonstrators. He had multiple opportunities to tell the Bahamian people and the international community the full truth of what had transpired.”
Mr Mitchell said tonight: "With regard to their allegations about the video tape, how many times must you tell these people that an investigation is still on going into this matter and when the matter is done the government will follow the results of the investigation.
"That is no cover up. That is clear, pellucid, easily understandable and verifiable. Only the FNM cannot understand.
"It is simply unimaginable that we have today something which is so simple and direct be twisted into some vast political conspiracy. I will say it slowly this time: the government has indicated that there is an investigation into the allegations made at the detention centre. This will mean a review by a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal and a leading cleric. Those are my instructions. That has been my consistent public statement. The statements have been in the public domain for weeks. Until the time of the completion of the investigation, the FNM can spin what spurious lines it wishes, the facts are stubborn on this matter. When the investigations are complete, the government will act and the chips will fall where they may."