By ADRIAN GIBSON
This past weekend, I gave great consideration to whether I would respond to the lies being spread by faceless cowards on social media and other platforms. After many calls and messages from right thinking Bahamians of all political stripes, I have decided to do so.
Last week, Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald chose to mention my name among a list of persons copied on an email that he claims concerns Save The Bays (STB). I have not yet seen a copy of the particular email/s he was referring to in the House of Assembly but, no doubt, as it has been tabled in Parliament, I will have sight of it in short course.
His utterances, behind the cloak of parliamentary privilege, has resulted in a smear campaign of absolute lies. It therefore comes as no surprise that his and/or certain political operatives, cloaking themselves behind false Facebook pages, are now spreading propaganda and using my photograph to underpin their agenda.
Here are the facts: I am an attorney at the law firm of Callenders & Co (CCo). STB is a client of CCo. I am a member of the litigation team currently engaged in a number of law suits and judicial review actions against the government (by way of the Office of the Attorney General), Peter Nygard, Keod Smith among others. STB is one of many clients on whose behalf I, along with our team, litigate.
It therefore would come as no surprise that I, in my capacity as one of their attorneys, would be copied on emails. Since Mr Fitzgerald is himself an attorney, he ought to have been keenly aware that clients - particularly those engaged in litigation - copy their legal representatives in various correspondences. But oh, lets not let the truth get in the way of a good make-believe story.
STB has taken on a noble mandate and has demonstrated a zeal and love for protecting our environment. However, I am not a director nor am I a member of STB. And, if I was, I would take it as an honour to serve alongside some of the great Bahamians and foreigners who support and/or comprise this group.
My opinion is not for sale. I know of no hustle. I don’t do foolishness.
I am directly paid by CCo. I have never been paid any monies by STB and so, unless they are referring to legal fees as “being on the payroll”, then certainly our litigation team has to be paid. As Mr Fitzgerald ought to know, in legal practice, our time is our greatest resource.
Whenever Mr Fitzgerald and others like him seek to obfuscate, mislead, fabricate stories, deflect from the real issues and simply seek to insult our collective intelligence, I often wonder if they drink their own Kool-Aid and believe the falsehoods and/or innuendo they spread. Certainly, the Data Protection Act has been breached in some form or fashion.
Beyond the questions surrounding the Nygard fiasco, what Mr Fitzgerald now needs to explain is how he obtained access to a law firm’s legally privileged and confidential correspondences.
Jerome Fitzgerald is a political Chicken Little.
Mr Fitzgerald, where is the Freedom of Information Act that you have charge of?
Has Mr Fitzgerald abided by the Public Disclosures Act and made his annual disclosures from 2012 to the present day? He has an obligation to do so and if he didn’t, he ought to have been sanctioned.
Was the money owed to the City Market workers followed and, if not, when will they be paid what’s owed to them? We know that Mr Fitzgerald was intricately involved in the City Market deal at one point or another, as lawyer or interested party.
Did Mr Fitzgerald consider the possible impact such a move could have on the financial services sector and how potential investors could be scared of due to privacy concerns for fear that the government, using Gestapo tactics, could breach confidential files and share such information in the public domain for political one-upmanship? I’ll bet he didn’t.
Whilst I wish to carry no water for STB, there is one common sense observation to be made. That is, Mr Fitzgerald claims to be a businessman, yet he is seemingly flabbergasted that the Board members of STB actually draw salaries. The last I checked, it’s not unusual for board members of corporate entities, non-governmental organisations and government entities to earn a salary or stipend. The fact is, the board members at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), Water and Sewerage, the Bank of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (now Bahamas Power and Light) and several other government or quasi-government boards all earn a salary and/or a stipend.
What about those unpaid Bank of the Bahamas loans … I think Bahamians should also follow the money to find out who all have defaulted on mortgages for palatial homes in high-end communities and/or who have multimillion dollar loans outstanding? Or maybe the documents should just be published?
Mr Fitzgerald, where is Justice Joseph Strachan’s report relative to the Rubis gas leak in your constituency and the failure of the government to alert the people although they were aware for more than one year?