FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis has urged the government to explain what it has to hide over a gun case that was dismissed under unusual circumstances.
In a statement issued yesterday, Dr Minnis noted that repeated requests from the Opposition to see “the mysterious files” have gone unanswered.
“I have today dispatched a second formal letter to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie, formally requesting that I have unfettered access to the files in connection with the nolle prosequi issued by Acting Attorney General Jerome Fitzgerald in the matter of George and Janice Hayles,” he said.
“In customary delay, delay, delay style, the Prime Minister says one thing with great fanfare, and then is notoriously slow to live up to his word.”
Dr Minnis noted that in a contribution in the House of Assembly on January 9, Mr Christie said the Leader of the Opposition would be granted access to the files.
The FNM particularly wants a full explanation of the facts behind Mr Fitzgerald’s claim he dismissed the case for “national security” reasons.
Particularly, Dr Minnis said, as the defendants had been former clients of the Attorney General.
“To date, the Prime Minister has yet to be true to his word. He has yet to give the officials within Cabinet Office approval to accommodate my review of this file for the purpose of determining whether the Opposition can support the conclusion arrived at by the Attorney General and/or the Acting Attorney General,” he said.
“My colleagues and I in the Free National Movement are greatly concerned that the Prime Minister is grossly underestimating the extent to which this matter continues to significantly erode the reputation of the Bahamas’ judicial system in the international community in general and public confidence in his government in particular.
“Final resolution of this matter cannot be delayed. The currently available facts suggest that the Acting Attorney General — by some miraculous stroke of coincidence — was able to identify and act upon this particular file while the Attorney General was off the island, and the Minister of State in the Attorney General’s Office, Damien Gomez, was not available.
“The Bahamian people are deeply suspicious about this matter and the Prime Minister should move with dispatch to allay their concerns and put this matter behind him and the country.”
The FNM also noted with great concern the statement in yesterday’s Tribune by former PLP Attorney General Sean McWeeney, who said Mr Fitzgerald “did not perform out of line with the law.”
Dr Minnis said: “How exactly was Mr McWeeney able to arrive at such a firm conclusion? It is one thing for a former Attorney General to inform the public generally about the constitutional power of the Attorney General and an Acting Attorney General; it is altogether another for him to make a finding of fact without having seen all the evidence or the file in the matter.
“If he did, indeed, have access to the file, how did this occur? This is especially troubling in that the leader of the Opposition, the holder of a constitutional office, continues to be denied access to the file, despite the assurances given to the Bahamian people, on the floor of Parliament, by the Prime Minister.”
Dr Minnis urged the Prime Minister to “put down his fiddle and extinguish this fire.”