By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEMOCRATIC National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney on Friday chastised Prime Minister Perry Christie over his comments telling journalists to go "to hell".
Mr McCartney said Mr Christie's damnation of reporters on Thursday were symbolic of the Christie administration's lack of respect for democracy.
He said given the comments and Mr Christie's poor governance the legacy that the Prime Minister will likely leave behind is that of a "PM who has killed democracy in the Bahamas".
Mr McCartney further accepted Mr Christie’s challenge of a public debate.
"They don't want to be open, they don't want to be transparent (and) they don't want to be accountable to the Bahamian people," Mr McCartney said at a press conference at his law offices on Village Road.
"So when the Prime Minister tells the media to go to hell, it actually should be surprising coming from him and his party, because this is the same party that certainly shows lack of accountability, transparency and certainly deliberately fails to enact a FOI (Freedom of Information) act."
On Thursday Mr Christie told a group of College of the Bahamas School of Journalism students that he was "stupefied" by the "arrogance" of some journalists who "presume" to make decisions for people, adding that those in the media who criticise his leadership capability can go "to hell".
Lashing out at calls from some in the media for him to resign, Mr Christie said these critics were not in the trenches with him when he won eight consecutive elections.
Mr Christie lambasted the media as he spoke to College of the Bahamas' journalism programme. He stressed to the students how grave a responsibility the media has to report truth so that readers or listeners understand the information.
He also urged the students to challenge him and the leaders of the two other political parties to a public debate, so they could determine who is the better of the three.
Mr McCartney, responding on Friday, said: “The closest thing we have to freedom of information quite frankly is the media, and to tell the media to go to hell, my God. I want the media to remember those words of the Prime Minister, because for the leader of the country to tell freedom of press, freedom of speech to go to hell, that's what it equates to. That's the problem. And that's concerning, very concerning.
"He's telling democracy to go to hell. Just like he did with the Gaming Bill and the Gaming Act, after the referendum opinion poll and after he said he would abide by the wishes of the people, he turned around and he killed democracy.
"I do like Mr Christie personally, but unfortunately his legacy is going to reflect that of a PM who has killed democracy in the Bahamas."
Mr Christie and his administration have come under heavy fire recently over a range of controversies, including the handling of contracts for the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) and allegations that a senior Cabinet minister, V Alfred Gray, allegedly interfered with the course of justice.