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Minnis: Govt Hiding Behind Red Tape Over Mps’ Failure To Disclose Finances

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday that the government should stop using bureaucracy as a shield against enforcing laws.

Dr Minnis has called for Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson to take action against officials who have not filed their declarations in accordance with the Public Disclosure Act.

His statement yesterday came in response to Mrs Maynard-Gibson’s reaction last week when she told reporters there is a process for determining how to prosecute people under the Act.

She said despite current calls from Dr Minnis for prosecution to be initiated, “this process has not commenced from the proper people from whom it should commence”.

It’s unclear to whom she was referring.

Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) Chairman Myles Laroda has said that the decision to prosecute for non-disclosure rests with the Office of the Attorney General.

According to the Public Disclosure Act, “a prosecution for an offence under section…13,” which concerns public officials making declarations as required under the law, “shall not be instituted without the written consent of the attorney general”.

The Act says that when someone fails to make a declaration or the PDC is not satisfied with a declaration that is made, the commission should report the matter to the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.

Then, either the prime minister or the opposition leader could, under the Act, publish the commission’s communication in Parliament.

Either one could also provide the information to the attorney general or the commissioner of police.

The penalty for not disclosing information as required under the Act is a $10,000 fine and/or two years in prison.

It is unclear if Dr Minnis has received a report from the commission or whether he will formally exercise his legal power to provide that information to the attorney general and the commissioner of police.

Nonetheless, Dr Minnis reiterated his call for an independent PDC that is “properly staffed and funded.”

“This will allow them to demand true transparency from members of Parliament,” he said in a statement. “We also need to create an independent public prosecutor with no oversight by the attorney general to ensure that politics is taken out and that all cases are properly investigated.”

“The attorney general and the PLP government now want to try and hide behind toothless red-tape that requires no action. These same special interests have failed to pay attention as the Bank of The Bahamas gave out unsecured loans while at the same time the government gave many contracts to their friends and family and kept them hidden from the Bahamian people.

“Bahamians deserve full disclosure and accountability from their government. Instead they get a government that continues to (flout) rules and ignore the law as they focus on enriching themselves, rather than serving the people.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 7 months ago

Like so many other things he has squawked about but never followed through on to bring to their proper conclusion, Minnis ain't gonna do diddly squat even though he himself has the statutory power to move the AG to prosecute violators of the Financial Disclosures Act. Minnis will soon be harping on about the next "topic du jour"......meanwhile he has no track record whatsoever of ever having accomplished a single thing for the Bahamian people! True to form, Minnis remains perhaps the most feckless politician ever in the modern day era of politics in our country. He is a shallow man with no sense of direction or purpose fundamentally necessary to lead. Minnis is all about Minnis and therefore is a lost soul who refuses to accept he has no political or leadership skills. 2017 is not going to be kind to this man as the bell doth toll for the death of the FNM party.

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 7 months ago

Our Constitution is a hapless conundrum that has created a "quagmire of web" in terms of holding anyone in the Executive or Legislature (aka the politicians) accountable ......... the chickens of 1967 are coming home to roost .......... its shameful to celebrate that in January 2017.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 6 months ago

Dr: Minnis will do well to move on and find something more constructive to do. He lies so much who knows if he is telling the truth about his own affairs. Even Pintard knows the good Doc is not truthfull.Now how many times did the man give him FISH again?

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 6 months ago

Please STFU Birdie ............ this is a matter of parliamentary integrity that goes to the heart of whether an MP is even legally eligible to sit in Parliament or not ....... the FISH story is a sideshow

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 6 months ago

It may be a side show, but it is the Doctor"s side show..

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Emac 4 years, 6 months ago

, “this process has not commenced from the proper people from whom it should commence”.What kind of f&^cking clowny country this is we are living in???? We are too close to the USA to even be acting so backward. Haven't we learned anything from our neighbours about bringing down crooked leaders no matter what their role is in society? How long must Bahamians show what arses they are by voting in these people over and over. I mean, this old time politics about blaming each other is simple despicable to say the least! People like birdie and anyone else who support this government need to be taken away to a dark dungeon and hidden until after election.

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