PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts has defended the Attorney General’s decision not to issue a no prosecution direction to the court, effectively stopping criminal proceedings brought by union officials against Sandals Royal Bahamian and two of its senior executives.
According to Mr Roberts, the nolle prosequi was issued by the Office of the Attorney General because it determined it was an “abuse of the judicial process” to have the criminal matter ongoing in light of the fact that the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAWU) has also initiated civil proceedings against the resort.
Yesterday, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson refused to answer questions about the nolle prosequi, telling The Tribune that the attorney general never speaks publicly on such matters.
“The Progressive Liberal Party takes note of the headline story in one of the local dailies on the nolle prosequi issued by the Office of the Attorney
General in a private prosecution matter involving the management of the Sandals Resort,” Mr Roberts said in a statement. “We also note the public position taken by a labour executive on the matter.
“We are advised that the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAWU) also initiated civil proceedings against the hotel executives and the Office of the Attorney General determined that it was an abuse of the judicial process to have the matter simultaneously litigated in the criminal courts, thus the nolle prosequi.
“In our view the Office of the Attorney General is correct in its judgment and the Progressive Liberal Party supports the decision. When all of the PR, the political spin and posturing are said and done, it falls on the government to ensure the integrity of the country’s duly constituted public institutions,” Mr Roberts added.
On Tuesday it was revealed that Mrs Maynard-Gibson issued a nolle prosequi to the Magistrate’s Court to discontinue the criminal action against the resort and its two executives on August 15, the same day the hotel terminated more than 600 employees.
Obie Ferguson, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) president, described this as adding “insult to injury.”
On Tuesday, Mr Ferguson said that the entire trade union movement was “very, very, very shocked” by Mrs Maynard-Gibson’s directive and accused the government of betraying and deceiving the BHMAWU, and all workers, by not being “up front” about its actions and intentions.
The order halts the action launched against the resort, its general manager, Gary Williams, and financial controller, Fitzroy Walker, by five officers of the BHMAWU who had alleged that Sandals Royal Bahamian was in breach of the Industrial Relations Act by failing/refusing to “treat or enter into negotiations” with the union.
They had also claimed that the resort, Mr Williams and Mr Walker, had violated the Industrial Tribunal Relations Act by intimidating and terminating employees. The resort, and its executives, had denied all allegations.