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Munroe Says Administrator Must Be Removed From His Role

photo

Wayne Munroe

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY Wayne Munroe yesterday called for the removal of Mayaguana administrator Zephania Newbold because he publicly revealed what allegedly took place regarding the release of a man he had earlier convicted.

The matter has placed MICAL MP V Alfred Gray in the hot seat over his alleged involvement in the man’s release. This came after the Free National Movement raised concerns last week that Mr Gray had allegedly interfered in the judicial process when Mr Gray contacted the administrator to offer “legal advice” about the case. The administrator reportedly released the man, who he had earlier convicted to a three-month prison term, shortly after that phone call.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that Mr Gray had urged him to transfer the local government portfolio to another minister pending the outcome of a police probe into the matter.

However, Mr Munroe told The Tribune that he was unsure why much of the backlash was being directed toward Mr Gray. Instead, he said, Bahamians should question why an island administrator was allowed to try a case that would warrant bail or imprisonment.

Mr Munroe said: “The most striking position here is he should be removed for the simple fact of speaking publicly about his judicial function. If a judge or a magistrate did such a thing he or she would be promptly removed.

“How is it in 2015 that an island administrator is trying these kinds of cases?

“My question is why in this modern day and time wasn’t a trained judicial officer sent to the island?

“I see this as a grave failure of the system that more Bahamians need to question and demand answers on.”

Mr Munroe raised concerns over other judicial decisions that Mr Newbold might have made during his time as Mayaguana’s administrator.

“Again I ask, why is he trying cases?”

The FNM has accused Mr Gray of an abuse of power after he contacted Mr Newbold last week to offer what he has called “legal advice” regarding a young man convicted in his constituency. Although Mr Gray has confirmed that he did contact the island administrator, he has strongly denied that he in any way attempted to sway the course of justice.

Mr Newbold, a local magistrate, reportedly told The Nassau Guardian on Tuesday that he released the convict “after an order came forth”, but he was not released on bail.

Mr Gray had previously said he understood that the convict was released on bail because he had lodged an appeal against his conviction.

Comments

TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Island "Justice" in plain view. Why has it taken so long?
Comrades long before the politically twisted media's focus over Minister V. Alfred making that call, the most fundamental principle of justice - is the principle that - "all before the court must be judged as equals.” And the oft-quoted aphorism that - "Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done,” begs for some serious questions that the attorney general must also seek out answers to. Questions no media wants to ask.

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bahamianadvocate 4 years, 10 months ago

Wayne Munroe is correct in terms of in 2015, the island's administrator is trying cases. This government in particular (the AG's office) should have online webcams where by Magistrates in islands such as Nassau, Freeport and Exuma available for webcam links where by cases can be heard by qualified magistrates. BUT...yall Bahamians allow PLP to run this country once again..we will never move forward as a country with these old heads (Perry Christie) as the PM.

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TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Comrade this is not about what is needed - that calls for a totally different debate.

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bahamianadvocate 4 years, 10 months ago

BRUH - if it was in place...there would be no 'need' for this news article

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TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Comrade maybe so but you never said a word other than to join in the political chorus calling for the firing of V. Alfred?

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bahamianadvocate 4 years, 10 months ago

My fellow Bahamian..The lack of proper judicial implementations is the reason for this debacle. This situation was always impending, whether it is Gray's fault or Newbold..THIS WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN. This SITUATION should have never happened. The Government has the power to put in place proper gateways which will facilitate our judicial system. The BIGGER issue is the LACK of proper governance by the Christie administration. I'm not going to point figures on who did what but why this occurred

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DonAnthony 4 years, 10 months ago

Without commenting on the merits of this particular case, I live on a family island and this practice of the island administrator acting as a magistrate really needs to be amended. The power of these persons to incarcerate is truly frightening and they do not seem to have been trained specifically as magistrates. I can understand them having the power to issue minor fines, but they should not have the power to adjudicate a case and sent someone to prison. Those cases should proceed through the traditional court system in Nassau.

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TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Comrade DonAnthnoy why so late with your logical remarks. Up to now you were one of the leaders of the choir out to force V Alfred from office?

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DonAnthony 4 years, 10 months ago

Tal unquestionably Minister Gray needs to resign from cabinet as it appears he interfered in a judicial process. It is untenable to be sitting in cabinet while a police investigation in ongoing. You should agree with this. As for this case I have heard conflicting reports on both sides. One makes this young man out to be a devil, another a saint, the truth is somewhere in between. But in an effort at true justice I feel his case should have been heard by a magistrate in Nassau. In the interest of justice Minister Gray must resign until he has been exonerated, and if convicted of this serious offense he should be sentenced to at least a short period of incarceration.

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TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Comrade tell me this. It has now been acknowledged by the island administrator/magistrate that he received (2) telephone calls from the minister. On call one, why didn't he tell the minister, that as the trial's magistrate he was unable to discuss this case with him and then hangup the damn phone, or did he? Why has the minister been asked step aside, while "he" is being investigated but not the island administrator? After the two calls, did the island administer hang up to immediately report the calls to the attorney general's office? if not, why not? The AG is obligated ask ALL the damn questions. You agree?

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DonAnthony 4 years, 10 months ago

Truth be told this is the way the political system works in the Bahamas. It is a sad commentary on our state of governance and political interference that Minister Gray could not seem to comprehend that what he did was probably illegal. He was imbroiled in another recent case of interference with an administrator in crooked island. It seems to be his modus operandi, business as usual. It is just that this case became public and I commend the administrator for being honest, and bring it to light in Mayaguana. As minister Gray is the superior( boss) in this case with his employee he has a disproportionate amount of power in this relationship and bears similarly the disproportionate amount of blame.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr Munroe said: “The most striking position here is he should be removed for the simple fact of speaking publicly about his judicial function. If a judge or a magistrate did such a thing he or she would be promptly removed.

Yet, he does not see why attention is brought on a member of the Executive who admitted to contacting that official with respect to his judicial function in this matter. As often, Munroe is full of ....

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GrassRoot 4 years, 10 months ago

just another tear gas bomb from Munroe, little quid pro quo helping the government?

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr: Wayne Munroe one of the most brilliant men in the world. I do appreciate his view. on the matter. I believed that Mr: Newbold should have made the young man pay a fine, apologise to the Officer, do community work, that is what a wise judge would have done . The jails are over crowded . The court system should stop sending Young Black men to jail for minor incidents. The young man may have problems , and is in need of guidance jail is not the answer.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

The supposed argument about whether or not administrators should continue to hear such cases is a separate matter entirely from Gray's actions in this matter and Munroe knows this. The point he has raised is a red herring; intentionally so no doubt.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 10 months ago

You are right. two different issues being lumped together to deflect

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duppyVAT 4 years, 10 months ago

These Family Island administrators are appointed by MPs or PMs ....... they are kiss ass lackeys who bow down and worship the politicians.......... their posts are obsolete to a modern Bahamas

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guyfawkes 4 years, 10 months ago

Island Administrators acting as Magistrates is not a new phenonemon. This has been the practice for some time. The only question that i have on this whole situation, what would have been the consequences if Mr. Newbold (being the Island Administrator) did not follow the orders of Mr. Gray (Minister of Local Government) in this situation. Could Mr. Newbold defy the orders of his Minister (Gray being his boss) without reprecussions. If he could not, then i would suggest that the government make a law to protect Island Administrators from the abuse of the executive.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

His judicial orders are supposed to come from the Chief Magistrate and/or Chief Justice, not a member of the Executive. The problem is he answered to Gray on the Local Government side, and may have believed he therefore had to follow Gray's orders in this instance as well. The order or intervention by Gray should not have been made and requires immediate dismissal. The order or intervention should not have been heeded by the Administrator, and the Judiciary should make a decision with respect to what he chose to do.

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J360 4 years, 10 months ago

The problem is that we Bahamians hate the idea of real discipline. We hate the idea of disciplining someone who assaults an officer, and we cant stomach the idea of disciplining an MP for breaking the law. Munroe is a criminal lawyer, which means everything out of his mouth is skewed toward helping criminals for a nice paycheck (at the expense of law abiding citizens).

If we cant stomach sending criminals to prison for breaking the law, then the idea of fighting crime is just a joke and we shouldn't play surprised when murders and rapes are in the hundreds.

"Whoever is content with the world, and who profits from its lack of justice, does not want to change it."

F. Durrenmatt

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CatIslandBoy 4 years, 10 months ago

To all those who are trying to denigrate Mr. Newbold in order to give Mr. Gray a pass, I say "stop talking foolishness!". Mr. Zephaniah Newbold is no novice. He is a veteran civil servant, former teacher, and pastor. He is a native of Cat Island, and was trained here before his assignment to Mayaguana. He has never forgotten from whence he came. I would like to believe that the Family Island Administrators receive sufficient legal training to fully carry out their role of local magistrate. If this is not the case, then the Department of Local Government is committing a grave injustice against the family island residents who look to these magistrates to dispense justice fairly and within the bounds of the penal code. VAG must go! Enough already. He interfered, with a direct order. No amount of tongue twisting can change that.

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John 4 years, 10 months ago

You cannot mete justice with injustice and it seems that the way this entire matter was handled begs further investigation, beyond the political witch hunt to scalp Alfred Gray for what he may or may not have done. When you hear persons taking to the media and claiming their only interest is for a Better Bahamas, yet aligning themselves with a certain political party and revealing things about the young man's character that they feel he is troublesome and should go to jail. One such person claims to be a trained lawyer and a former policeman. Thank God he aint no magistrate or judge!

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TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Comrades, some years back a uniformed police officer showed at my front door and served my dog Johnny B., with a summons and not with my name on it but Johnny B's., to appear in the magistrates court, to answer to a charge of intentional murder. The murdered party was "Big Red" the Rooster who lived in back yard next door us. I drove Johnny B., to court on the date set for trial and he was fined $300, plus I had buy my neighbour a Rooster, or Johnny B. would spend 30 days in jail. Not only is this a true story but the police never did produce evidence - other than a photograph taken by my neighbour of "Big Red," laying out on the grass as stiff as a piece of wood. I still remember telling the Judge, you do understand that Johnny B., is a dog.

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DonAnthony 4 years, 10 months ago

What a good laugh. I just hope " big Red" provided you with with a good meal of chicken souse, albeit the most expensive souse you have ever eaten.

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TalRussell 4 years, 10 months ago

Comrade from look photo "Big Red" was fit for the trashcan. I will tell you this, had I know how seriously Sargent Nixon, the Prosecutor was hell bent on convicting my adorable Labrador "Johnny B.," for committing a capital offense of being a cold killer - I would have hired a crack murder defense lawyer. Now, get this, within days my buying the crazy neighbour a new rooster, the sucker was flying over the fence into our back yard, like within days.

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DonAnthony 4 years, 10 months ago

What an injustice, definitely a case of fowl play.

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birdie001 4 years, 10 months ago

catislandboy, Min. VAG was helping out as a MP for his constituency. Admin. Zephanian Newbold needs to be fired because “The most striking position here is he should be removed for the simple fact of speaking publicly about his judicial function” for sending a person to jail with a minor offense when the Admin could've order for him to do community service or apologies to the police officer. this didn't had to get way out of hand like this how Hubert Minnis taking this he's power hungry but just for the record the FNM still will NOT get power. Hubert Minnis “DON’T KNOW LAW” he trying to accused VAG.... inspited all of this GOD WILL intervene on Min.VAG behalf because he was NOT interfering with judicially in this matter.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

Why are you trolling like a miscreant, setting up another account to post the exact same sentiments Birdie? Not comfortable with the amount of support Gray is getting and felt the need to create another account to up the numbers seemingly thinking no one would notice, though with the same handle and manner of speaking as the previous account, hence foolishly exposing yourself? #epicfail #desperatebutnotsmart

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UserOne 4 years, 10 months ago

God will not intervene on Minister VAG's behalf but PGC probably will.

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Sickened 4 years, 10 months ago

Isn't He the same person in The Bahamas???

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Honestman 4 years, 10 months ago

Ha,ha,ha........ you are beyond stupid Birdie. First you describe Wayne Munroe as "one of the most brilliant men in the world" (slight exaggeration perhaps?) and then you set up another account to post your nonsense and expect no one to notice???

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asiseeit 4 years, 10 months ago

^^some birds are just meant for the cooking pot^^ The desperation cracks me up. Nothing but a PLP apologist who can not honestly tell right from wrong. No morals or ethics and has sold their soul for their beloved PLP. And people wonder why this country is in the state it is.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

Indeed. As for the convict and his family, I wonder who has suddenly arisen to secure or procure a lawyer for them - when the family should have retained counsel beforehand if the convict was truly seeking to appeal his conviction. If Gray was not the unethical, lawless person he has proven himself to be, he would have simply advised the family to retain counsel to fight against whatever injustices they believe they have suffered. THAT is how he could have helped his constituent without violating the parameters of his Office and of the Constitution of The Bahamas.

As for the supposed police investigation into Gray's actions, what is the alleged offense(s) being investigated? Who is leading the investigation? And how in the world can any right-thinking person expect justice to come about when the Attorney General (who has ordered the investigation and would decide on whether to go to trial) is Gray's Cabinet colleague and the Ministers responsible for the Police Force are Gray's Cabinet colleagues?

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John 4 years, 10 months ago

According to reports the "convict was arrested, charged and sentenced all in the same 24 hours and also booked on a flight to come to Nassau and to Fox Hill Prison. No time for lawyers here. Swift justice at warp speed!

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

An appeal doesn't prevent you from going to Fox Hill following a conviction, but can result in your release or re-sentencing if successful, so there was indeed time for lawyers. They decided to go their MP instead, who suddenly deemed himself a member of the Judiciary!

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John 4 years, 9 months ago

Do your research and find out who the arresting officer was and why he was sent to the island. Also investigate his relationship to the island commissioner. frat what? Cover up

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

This matter is not about whether the convicted man was a good person or not or was guilty or not. This matter is not about whether it would have been better for his case to be heard by someone else. And certainly is not about the goodwill of a caring MP. This matter is about a member of the Executive doing WHAT HE HAS ADMITTED TO DOING, which is contacting a judicial officer with respect to his judicial functions - a violation of his position as a member of the Executive (Cabinet). Gray did not need to go further to give an order, THE ACT HE HAS ADMITTED TO is the offense, an offense that is to be punishable by termination from the Cabinet in the very first and least instance in our system of government. As soon as he picked up the phone to make the call HE HAS ADMITTED TO MAKING, he violated separation of powers, and Gray - who is also a lawyer - knows this. Lack of knowledge, coupled with lack of critical thinking and a general comfort with corruption and lawlessness, is killing this country. That Gray made the call does not need to be investigated - HE HAS ALREADY ADMITTED TO DOING SO. Whether criminal charges need to be filed is a separate matter, but not one that Christie needed to have investigated by police in order for him to do what he ought to have done to Gray, which is demand his resignation and failing adherence, to terminate him from the Cabinet. Gray has not resigned and Christie has not fired him. Christie has simply rewarded him with less work for the same pay and same Seat in Cabinet. That the Prime Minister would reward and publicly commend a Minister who has set this kind of dangerous and unethical precedent is evidence of the level of stink that is smothering this country; choking the life out of, and a decent quality of life away from, right-thinking Bahamians.

People say this shows Christie's weak leadership. I do not agree. What it shows is that the Prime Minister is just as corrupt as the people he appointed to his Cabinet. He is not better than them. He is not a well-intentioned leader who simply lacks the "balls" to reign in his appointees. He is them, and they are him. That is why he will not do what is necessary in the face of incidents like this.

As for the mother of the convict, her mindset is not uncommon. She thought her comments were helping Gray but they made matters even worse. Thinking she was praising him, she proclaimed that her good MP "would have done this for anyone" - not understanding that what he did is not supposed to be done by a Cabinet Minister or MP - for anyone.

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Fitmiss 4 years, 10 months ago

Publius I think you summarized the situation quite accurately.

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Observer 4 years, 10 months ago

If Newbold does not have the power to convict and sentence then there is where justice was perverted. Something that has not been done cannot be undone. Legally, no conviction was effected, subsequently no sentence could be imposed. Just an opinion.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

As a Magistrate, he does have such powers.

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Observer 4 years, 10 months ago

You need to check the law, my friend. Administrators are considered to be lay magistrates, whose powers are very limited.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

Funny. Is it your opinion that Munroe needs to check the law too, since at no time did he assert that the Administrator did not have the powers he executed? Just wondering.

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Observer 4 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps, at his level of the law, Munroe thinks that this is so elementary.

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Publius 4 years, 10 months ago

Well, I won't debate what level he is on or may perceive himself to be, but when it comes to the law, what is fundamental is essential, not incidental.

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Cas0072 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Gray should definitely be removed from his post as MP for MICAL, and all Family Island administrators should definitely be stripped of the authority to hold these three in one legal proceedings. They should maybe be able to recommend cases, but not preside and sentence if they have no formal legal training.

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John 4 years, 10 months ago

Did you hear of the incident where an off duty police officer cussed out the prime minister in Abaco? He was locked in a cell overnight and made to apologize and yall talking about democracy under threat ... Orr

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John 4 years, 10 months ago

While many may not support this current government and many of the policies they have implemented or the promises they have failed to live up to, we don't want to see the government brought down by a small group of radicals whose intentions are unclear or questionable. Allow the natural course of governance to prevail and when the time comes the power of "one man, one vote" will become evident.

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Sickened 4 years, 10 months ago

The small group of radicals that you speak of are all MP's for the PLP.

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John 4 years, 10 months ago

All yall complaining about Perry Christie and how weak he is as prime minister, but how many of y'all could do his job for at least a month? Yall couldn't do the job cause half a yall couldn't even be late!

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Sickened 4 years, 10 months ago

Is this another John, because the old John that I used to read came across as normal?

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