By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
FNM Deputy Chairman Dr Duane Sands is calling for Police Commisioner Ellison Greenslade to comment publicly on the raid of Darron Cash’s home and for National Security Minister Bernard Nottage to confirm or deny whether those under his command played a role in sanctioning the raid.
His comments come after Dr Nottage denied on Saturday that he was personally involved in the raid of the home of the FNM chairman. Dr Nottage said he did not have prior knowledge of the search warrant executed at Mr Cash’s Cable Beach home, nor did he inquire about the incident.
“As trained officers in law enforcement, the police were simply discharging their duties under the law and the person of Mr Cash is immaterial to the job of the police as nobody is above the law,” Dr Nottage said. “For the record, as the substantive Minister responsible the Ministry of National Security, I take the lead in setting government policy. I do not interfere with the operations of the Royal Bahamas Police Force as that is the responsibility of the Commissioner of Police and his executive team according to the dictates of the law.”
Analysing Dr Nottage’s statement, Dr Sands said the minister “was clear to make it personal. He didn’t specifically include his junior minister or any of his agents. He made it very clear that he did not have anything to do with it. Inquiring minds want to know if he will speak for everybody under his command with the same degree of categorical denial as he spoke for himself.”
Dr Sands added: “Given the appearance of this, this requires some comment from the place where the buck stops. Notwithstanding the fact that the Commissioner (of police) was out of town on vacation, it’s his organisation. A serious allegation has been made and it deserves a response from him.”
Mr Cash filed a constitutional motion seeking redress for the violation of his constitutional right to privacy on Thursday, through his attorney Carl Bethel.
Earlier that day, police raided his home, seizing two laptop computers and a cellular smart phone belonging to him.
The actions by the police, according to Mr Cash’s statement, was an unreasonable, unconstitutional and unlawful seizure and search of his personal property.
Police seized items containing personal, business and general political information, e-mails, and communications, which relate to his profession as an accountant and generally to his political activities and responsibilities as the national chairman of the official Opposition as well as personal family communications and information, he said.
The police action came as a result of an ongoing investigation into operations at the Bank of the Bahamas (BOB).
Over the last few months, Mr Cash and other FNMs have been critical of the government and its handling of the various concerns that have come to light over the management and lending practices of the BOB.
On Friday Mr Cash denied any link to the alleged leaks of confidential information at the bank. In a radio interview, he said: “I never have and never will disclose private and confidential information.”
“My wife, whose name they have taken through the doggone mud, is also professional. She works at the Bank of the Bahamas in human resources. She never had access to the kind of information that was released to the public – never and never would. So explain to me how the managing director of the bank, the board of directors of the bank, the auditors of the bank, the ministers who had access to the information ... have their personal computers been seized? Have their cell phones been seized? “I don’t want Perry Christie ... or anyone else in that regime to judge me by their undecorated standards.”
FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis had called the police raid a “political witch-hunt”.
In his statement, Dr Nottage said: “The suggestion by the Leader of the Opposition that the collection of a laptop computer and cellular phone by the police from the home of Darron Cash, Chairman of the Free National Movement, was somehow politically motivated is foolish and smacks of political mischief.”
He added: “But that’s not surprising to anybody because the opposition leader is becoming known as one who routinely puts his foot in his mouth with inappropriate and off-coloured remarks. Such is the life of opposition politics”.