Sidney Collie, the new FNM chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN of the Free National Movement (FNM) said on Friday that his party’s plan for an independent director of public prosecution would have prevented the “whole sordid affair” over the Attorney-General’s ‘nolle prosequi’ direction in the Sandals Royal Bahamian case.
Sidney Collie said that fallout from the Allyson Maynard-Gibson’s decision to stop a private prosecution against Sandals and two of its executives - with senior government ministers claiming they were kept in the dark over it - shows that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) adminstration is looking out for foreign investors over the Bahamian people
“The split in the PLP Government continues over the ‘nolle prosequi’ granted by Attorney-General Allison Maynard in the Sandals affair,” Mr Collie said in a statement. “Deputy Prime Minister Brave Davis, when asked if this action showed that the PLP Government prioritised foreign interests over Bahamian interest stated, ‘I think this is something they could point to that may lend some credence to it’. This comes on top of Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe, also stating that Minister Gibson ‘spoke for many of us’ in regards to disagreeing with the Attorney-General’s action.
“If the PLP had adopted the FNM’s anti-corruption plan and codified the position of an independent director of public prosecution, this would lead to transparency and accountability and this whole sordid affair would not have occurred.”
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis, Labour Minister Shane Gibson and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe have all said they were unaware that a ‘nolle prosequi’ (no proescution) had been issued on August 15 - the same day the resort terminated more than 600 employees.
On Thursday night Mrs Maynard-Gibson said: “The Attorney General in the execution of her constitutional duty is never swayed by the political objectives of her colleagues or anyone else.”
The Attorney-General’s order halts the action launched against the resort, its general manager, Gary Williams, and financial controller, Fitzroy Walker, by five officers of the Bahamas Hotel, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (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.
Mr Collie said in his statement that it is unclear where the Prime Minister stands on the ‘nolle prosequi’. “Does he agree with his delusional Chairman, Bradley Roberts, that it was right for the Attorney General to sidestep the courts and dismiss this case before it could be heard or does he agree with his Deputy Prime Minister who says the action makes it look like the PLP is looking out for foreigners over Bahamians? Why does the embattled Prime Minister stand silent?
“His silence only serves to condone the AG’s actions. His failed leadership has led to an atmosphere within this government that PLP leaders are putting the interests of foreign investors over the needs of Bahamians. This is not leadership, it is corruption.
“The PLP ministers that have spoken out against the Attorney-General’s actions should join the FNM and call for her to resign over her overreach. Her resignation is the only way to restore the public trust in the Attorney-General’s office.
“The Attorney-General’s actions only lend credence to the growing notion that the PLP looks out for themselves and their supporters before the best interests of the Bahamian people.”
Mr Roberts has defended Mrs Maynard-Gibson’s decision, stating that 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 BHMAWU has also initiated civil proceedings against the resort.