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Chief Justice? I’M Off To Make Stew – Minnis Jokes As Appointment Row Simmers On

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis was silent yesterday when faced with questions about why he has not appointed a substantive chief justice even as one of his own Cabinet ministers has criticised him over his failure to assign someone to that role. 

Dr Minnis appointed Senior Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs as acting chief justice last December. Critics have said it is unusual to appoint someone acting chief justice while the substantive position is unfilled.

The prime minister was asked about the issue outside the Free National Movement headquarters, where a memorial was held for former Cabinet minister Theresa Moxey-Ingraham. 

“Only thing I plan on doing right now is getting home and go do my stew fish,” he joked as he left the area. He has never publicly addressed the issue. Earlier, he said the memorial was not the appropriate setting to discuss political issues. 

Yesterday, his Press Secretary Anthony Newbold told The Tribune Dr Minnis “is not going to make any further statements on the appointment at this time.” 

Among those who have been critical of Dr Minnis are several Queen’s Counsel, including Wayne Munroe, Maurice Glinton and Alfred Sears. The Tribune understands some justices of the Supreme Court have also grumbled about the matter.

Attorney General Carl Bethel, however, has said appointing an acting chief justice while the substantive position is not filled is not unprecedented. Under a Progressive Liberal Party administration, Sir Philip Telford Georges was appointed acting chief justice initially, later serving in that role from 1984 to 1989, he added.  

Multiple sources have said Dr Minnis wants to appoint Mr Bethel as chief justice, although some in the Minnis administration have dismissed this as “speculation.” Among those who believe it is true is former Free National Movement Chairman Darron Cash who yesterday urged the prime minister to address the matter.

“I have tremendous confidence in Carl Bethel,” Mr Cash said yesterday. “I think he is one of the nation’s finest and the extent to which the prime minister wants to appoint him is even further grounds for him to speak publicly to this matter. I’m concerned that we are in such a highly charged political environment that it is imperative for the prime minister to speak and make a strong case if he wants to appoint a sitting member of the executive to the post.”

Mr Cash had mixed views on critical comments State Minister for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson gave The Nassau Guardian about the prime minister’s delay in making the appointment.

“In our system of government, a prime minister selects his Cabinet and each minister serves at his pleasure,” he said yesterday. “As PM, he is entitled to have ‎his ministers share their advice in private rather than publicly. When a minister chooses to advise the prime minister publicly – directly or indirectly – he is committing a breach of protocol, an act for which he should be prepared to bear some price.”

However, he added: “Elsworth Johnson is a serious person and it seems very clear to me that when he speaks on matters of national importance, as a matter of routine his statements are well considered. I was always impressed that when he served as president of the Bar Association before he entered front-line politics, he was an extremely strong advocate for the independence of the judiciary and for the government of the day to conduct its affairs and its relations with the judiciary in such a way as not to impugn the character or cross the line in terms of recognising the separation of powers. It also seems to me that for him as a minister (of state) for legal affairs no less, to speak publicly about this matter must suggest that it is a matter that has weighed heavily on his consciousness and it is a matter that warrants him breaking rank with his ministerial colleagues. I do believe that it is unacceptable and inexcusable that a substantive chief justice has not been appointed and clearly the (junior) minister for legal affairs feels the same way. In my view this is a matter for which someone who believes in the Constitution, in the actual and appearance of judicial independence ought to speak out on the vacancy.”

Comments

Sickened 1 year, 5 months ago

It appears that Dr. Minnis has left the building and is no longer in full possession of his faculties. One must now seriously consider if he fully understands his position.

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TalRussell 1 year, 5 months ago

So my Comrades, I give you the classic fish question curious citizens by the thousands does have their the prime minister. Were the PM's most recent acquisition fishes for he pot fish stew also - 'gifted' or not? To this very day the full story of ‘BoBo’ and ‘Toogie's’ meeting with the then opposition leader and other red party officials has yet be explained to the the very same thousands curious citizens the reds keeps their promised transparency away from. Didn't one resurfaced red official not resign their position over meeting with 'BoBo’ and ‘Toogie?

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bogart 1 year, 5 months ago

Oh my my my.....how tings change. The learned Elsworth Johnson was only the other day crying out against the Quieting Titles where many poor persons could have their property taken from them...and now the cry is for protections of the wealthy perspns who can afford lawyers to be in front of a judge

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quietone 1 year, 5 months ago

It was very long ago when Shakespeare referred to the law as an A$$... It was not so long ago when the Hon. Shane Gibson just about swore he was going to try get the occupants of Bozine Town treated decently and fairly because they were seriously taken advantage of by persons quieting their property!

Not one word he has ever said about that in Parliament. Could be that all dem PLP lawyers in Parliament probably seriously threatened him... he would have caused them not to make money from persons whose land were quieted...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 5 months ago

Stephen Isaacs is not Chief Justice material - he's too much of a career bureaucrat in the judiciary - someone who has put in the time but does not have the mind and stature such a lofty post warrants. Carl Bethel on the other hand is much too political an animal for the position. And as for the three QC clowns (Sears, Munroe and Glinton) agitating for "their man" to be appointed, nothing should come of this. Minnis must exercise great care in ensuring that a distinguished legal mind with an impeccable back ground in private practice is appointed CJ.......someone like John Delaney or Brian Simms perhaps.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 5 months ago

Good insight on the matter ........ We have made some sub-par CJ choices lately.

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tetelestai 1 year, 5 months ago

So, you are implying that only FNMs (John Delaney/Brian Simms) have the "distinguished legal mind with impeccable back ground in private practice" to become Chief Justice? Nonsense! Though, I do agree with your comment about CJ Stephen Isaacs.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 5 months ago

I know Delaney served as AG under one of the FNM governments, but I know nothing about the political leanings of Simms. My much more important point remains that both are well known to be highly qualified and well respected legal practitioners, and Minnis should seek to appoint someone of their calibre as our next CJ. Besides, Minnis usually puts himself in whatever stew he decides to make. Most of us would prefer he not let that happen with his pick for the next CJ.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 5 months ago

poor doc at some point one must be sorry for him. but more so for the Bahamas and its people. He is in a stew. funny he should mention stew.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 5 months ago

The beads on his hands are no help .

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 5 months ago

Carl Bethel should be PM not CJ.

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joeblow 1 year, 5 months ago

That statement shows just how scant the options are for leadership in this country! That's like saying Wayne Munroe should be PM!

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

The PM’s jokes tell you why comedians are well paid. And jokers were put to death when they couldn’t make the king laugh.

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TalRussell 1 year, 5 months ago

I thinks the Comrade PM and KP are not smart enough sense the lasting laugh goin' run all the way into the 2022 general election voting booths....... 55,788 of the 91,409 voting red shirts have done quit the red party.... likes PM didn't have enough problems with his cabinet colleagues he now stewing fresh pot fish... seems every time there is new conflict - fishes seem works their way into story line. {I no longer has make stuff up}

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 5 months ago

He making stew while Freeport starves..

Priorities...

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licks2 1 year, 5 months ago

Birdie. . .do you go out in the real streets them. . .not around here. . .national review or Von McCartny show? Doc is the darling of the masses. . .the more yinna hit out at him the more the poeple them believe that yinna just don't like him because he done make yinna stop yall corrupt ways. . .PLP, FNM and DNA bad peoples dem!! Now if that is the reality among yall elites (doc is one of yinna elite too) I don't know. . .but I tell yinna stooges that on the ground yinna may as well sit this one out for the next 10 years. . .when he give this big public service promotion exercise coming up in the next month or two. . .yinna may not beat him for the next 15 years!! Especially after SG goes to jail. . .

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tetelestai 1 year, 5 months ago

Does anyone speak or write English anymore? I have no idea what you are trying to say...

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licks2 1 year, 5 months ago

Yea. . .show yasef off! If you don't understand "wall talk" living in the Bahamas. . .een no ting. . .yoon one er we then nohow. . .so i'en talkin ta you! Lol!

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stillwaters 1 year, 5 months ago

I always laugh at Bahamians who say they can't speak or understand our dialect, and saying that using an American or verrrry British accent

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 5 months ago

"Doc is the darling of the masses"

Put down the crack pipe...

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 5 months ago

"“I have tremendous confidence in Carl Bethel,” Mr Cash said yesterday. “I think he is one of the nation’s finest and the extent to which the prime minister wants to appoint him is even further grounds for him to speak publicly to this matter. I’m concerned that we are in such a highly charged political environment that it is imperative for the prime minister to speak and make a strong case if he wants to appoint a sitting member of the executive to the post.”"

My take is Chief Justice is NOT a political position and Carl Bethel is NOT qualified as he has NEVER functioned as a judge. He's NEVER tried a single case. There is a whole range of sitting judges with experience from which to chose, chief among them Isaacs who was good enough to be put in the post as acting Chief Justice.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 5 months ago

Either you don't know Isaacs personally, or you are a friend or family member of his. His history of overturned and controversial rulings alone speaks for itself, not to mention the many matters he has allowed to drag on for years and years.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 5 months ago

The 800 pound gorilla in the room is ....... Why should the PM (The Chief Executive) be in charge of selecting the Head of the Judiciary????? .......... smh

That is the biggest challenge facing our country ......... the obsolete, dysfunctional Constitution.

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Socrates 1 year, 5 months ago

just as well he was going to make stew fish, hasnt done much as PM, hope he is a better cook .

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