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Fred Smith Disappointed With Parliamentary Stance On Privilege

Fred Smith

Fred Smith

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

FRED Smith, QC, legal director of Save The Bays, said yesterday he was “disappointed” that House Speaker Dr Kendall Major “dismissed as contemptuous” an order handed down by Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles restraining members of Parliament from releasing any information contained in STB private emails.

Mr Smith told The Tribune the proper place for the determination of the extent of parliamentary privilege is in the Supreme Court, not in in the House of Assembly.

On Monday, Dr Major said the judiciary has no jurisdiction over Parliament and the interlocutory injunction against Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson, violates the principal of separation of powers.

Last Thursday, STB was granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the government ministers from further disclosing the group’s confidential information in Parliament.

The injunction was granted by Justice Charles yesterday and lasts until May 12.

The judge’s order said the government ministers are “prohibited” from any further appropriation, perusal, use, publication or disclosure in Parliament or elsewhere of any correspondence, including emails, belonging to the applicants.

However, Dr Major said the Attorney’s General’s Office is seeking to have the injunction set aside.

“I am disappointed that responsible leaders of our country, parliamentarians, are ratcheting up an issue that is of constitutional importance to the future of the Bahamas and democracy,” Mr Smith said.

“The matter is before the court. I deplore the approach taken by the members in the House of Assembly. I do not wish to comment on the matter as it is a case before the court and the government has given notice to set aside the order but the proper place for the determination of the extent of parliamentary privilege is in the Supreme Court.

“We (STB) do not seek to stop the inner workings of the House of Assembly, this is an act against our constitutional rights and throughout the world, including United Kingdom, there is a recognition that constitutional rights are to be determined by the Supreme Court. I urge (those in Parliament) to let the matter be properly determined by the court and not create a political deflection.”

Last month, Mr Fitzgerald accused Save The Bays of being a political organisation seeking to “overthrow” the Progressive Liberal Party government under the guise of an environmental group. During his contribution in the House of Assembly, Mr Fitzgerald read private emails from STB members and others, which he said bolstered his claims.

Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Mr Fitzgerald recently warned members of the environmental group to “batten down” because a “category five” hurricane was on its way, as he threatened to table “every single” email and bank statement in his possession if needed to protect his integrity and parliamentary privilege.

Last month in Parliament, Mr Mitchell claimed that some $8.25m has been filtered through various organisations connected with STB - locally and internationally - from 2013 to 2015.

Also speaking in the House of Assembly in March, Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller has alleged he saw a document that showed that five members of STB take home a combined salary of $740,000.

The disclosures came as part of a fierce political debate over claims included in an alleged murder-for-hire plot outlined in court documents filed against Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard by billionaire Louis Bacon and several other STB directors in early March.

Comments

Publius 3 years, 5 months ago

Mr Smith told The Tribune the proper place for the determination of the extent of parliamentary privilege is in the Supreme Court, not in in the House of Assembly.

This is absolutely incorrect. Whether Smith knows that or not probably would depend on which headline he is seeking to grab in any given news week.

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 5 months ago

So 5 members take home 740 grand....

Leslie jealous hey?

I mean so what?

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 5 months ago

I am not sure Fred Smith knows the Law.Mr Smith is a FNM and he is front man for STB. Fred is all over the place like a mad man trying his very best to make the Bahamas look like a Banana repbulic. But he is bringing disgrace to . him self. what sane person pretends to pray and make signs of the cross while kneeling on a pavement. We take the sign of the cross very seriousley. he uses it as mockery. But he gets away with it because he is seen by some as the great white hope He seems not to be well. and one day all will come to light.

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kairosmatt 3 years, 5 months ago

Nobody has to be all over the place like a mad man to make this country look like a banana republic.

Its easy, open your eyes.

this country IS a banana republic.

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licks2 3 years, 5 months ago

He don't know the law and he done "bust yinna up" in all cases he took to court and make the PLP look like a bunch of Andros yard chickens. . .now he got Smith paying his heavy court costs. . .without possible appeal!

THAT DUDE RUNNING THROUGH THIS PLP PARTY LIKE THERE EEN NO TING. THE HOA HAS NO POWERS OVER THE COURT. . .AND THE COURT. . .BASED ON CONSTITUTION. . .MUST MAKE THAT DETERMINATION!

THE SC DETERMINES IF ANY LAGISLATION MADE BY HOA IS CONSTITUTIONALLY CORRECT!! I THINK YOU NEED TO GO AND READ SOME. . .

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 5 months ago

Mr: Smith also beleives that Immigration has no powers. and it is the supreme Court that determines who is allowed to stay in the Country.

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licks2 3 years, 5 months ago

And he is correct. . .which has already been ruled by the Supreme Court. . .where you does be. Are you really that dumb or you just "playing" a lame brain party diehard?

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Economist 3 years, 5 months ago

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Court is charged with interpreting the law. Members of the House are not above the law.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 5 months ago

Re-post: As an outspoken activist lawyer fearing the Bahamas is well on its way to becoming a banana republic, Smith QC clearly takes great joy in strutting his stuff in the hope that his own banana is perceived to be the most delicious big yellow one in the bunch. Peeling his banana though typically entails trouble of the kind no one should want.

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Bigboss242 3 years, 5 months ago

Fred smith is one of the best constitutional lawyers in the bahamas. He won many high profile cases such as the case with the jamacian nationals who were in custody for many years without a trial and the case with the cuban nationals. This bahamas is the only place where corruption is rampant and no one want to tackle corruption. I applaud this QC for his stands towards corruption and holding the government feet to the fire regardless of their political affilications. His protest is non partisan. He is not focusing on whether it's the Plp or fnm. He is a defender for justice in this country. He needs to be prime minister in the bahamas imo.

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