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Minnis ‘Not Worried’ Over Acting Chief Justice Criticism

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday said he was not worried about losing political capital due to his delay in appointing a substantive chief justice, adding that his actions – or lack thereof – were totally supported by the Constitution.

Dr Minnis became defensive on the issue after repeated questioning by the media at a press briefing marking his return from England, asking reporters whether they would prefer he prioritised the matter over other national issues like last week’s blackout threat by Bahamas Power and Light unions.

He suggested the Bahamas’ Constitution provided for a specific timeframe on appointments for the post; however, The Tribune was unable to find such a clause.

Dr Minnis said: “At this point in time I’m trying my best to improve the Bahamian economy, improve the quality of life for everybody, you just told me about BPL possibly turning off lights – that is more important to me, so those are matters I will tackle first.”

When asked if his statement implied he did not consider making a substantive appointment a priority, Dr Minnis replied: “Let me ask you a question, which is priority to you, your light going off or you getting a CJ, which one is more important to you?

“I know what is more important to me,” he added, “the light is more important to me. What is more important to you?”

He shrugged off one reporter’s attempts to raise concerns made by the legal fraternity, saying: “No, take that out of the question, you would prefer your light being off or me taking all resources and dealing with it, which is more important to you?’

When asked who was advising him on the CJ matter, Dr Minnis said: “I have the whole Attorney General’s Office, I have my Cabinet.”

At the briefing at Lynden Pindling International Airport yesterday, Dr Minnis appeared to grow frustrated by repeated questioning on the matter from reporters. He did not respond directly to a question about speculation that Attorney General Carl Bethel is being considered for the post.

Stephen Isaacs was sworn in as acting chief justice last December.

Late last month, Bahamas Bar Association President Khalil Parker suggested the constant undermining of democracy has pushed the country to an existential and constitutional crisis.

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

“Constitutionally,” Dr Minnis said yesterday, “our Constitution is different from Jamaica, constitutionally I am totally correct in terms of an acting CJ. The Constitution allows me a certain timeframe and it will be done within the timeframe of the Constitution.”

He continued: “Listen I am not worried, I stick with the Constitution, if I am protected constitutionally then that’s all I know.”

According to the Bahamas’ Constitution: “The chief justice shall be appointed by the governor general by instrument under the public seal on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition.”

Concerning acting justices, the Constitution states: “If the office of chief justice is vacant, or if the chief justice is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, then, until a person has been appointed to that office and assumed those functions, they shall be performed by such other person, qualified under paragraph (3) of Article 94 of this Constitution for appointment as a justice, as the governor general, acting in accordance with the advice of the prime minister may appoint for that purpose by instrument under the public seal.”

Comments

birdiestrachan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

He does not have that kind of sense to be worried or concerned. It is all about his stew fish and the office of the spouse. and his travel he will go to Grand Bahama soon to wine dine and dance. good going doc keep up the good works and make me laugh

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Those "special interests" who are trying to goosey the PM are mad because they want their man in the CJ Chair .......... But the PM will do due diligence and find the best person in the right time.

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Sickened 6 months, 4 weeks ago

'do due diligence'. That'll be a first for this guy.

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TalRussell 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Will Camilla be Queen? How King Charles goin appoint his wife shock the Englishman's and Englishman's.... this is same question peoples back home in colony Bahamaland - left with after prime minister appointed he own wife? { Comrades, no making up this imperial royal thought process }.

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by TalRussell

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bobneville 6 months, 4 weeks ago

hi guys how the hell can youall wake up every mouring with all this hate for your prime minister?you are insulting every one that voted for dr minnis and that is not nice tell ya what why not go up on the water tower and jump off,you will feel much better ,you freeking loosers,minnis maynot speak slick but he;s getting bett yer every day are you?and you hit a new low when all you got left is for you to pick on his wife,come on fellas does it really hurt that much?how would you like it if anyone belittle your mom,go get a job on your own ...9f you can,your bein the rear end of the horse now time to stop,im so sorry for you guys,really

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joeblow 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You may be blissfully unaware that there are those who voted for Minnis who are dissatisfied with the choices he is making and current path he has the country on. You do not seem to sense that Bahamians are tired of politricks and incompetence in government!! No one is picking on his wife, but no other PM's spouses had an official "office" even though they were all spouses of a PM for a minimum of 10 years. Think of it Pindling (20 yrs), Ingraham (15 yrs), Christie (10yrs). She hasn't been there for 1 yr yet and wants an official office? It is a bit ridiculous and unnecessary!

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BahamasForBahamians 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Is this guy concerned about anything he should be concerned about?

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TheMadHatter 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Sorry friends, but i agree with the PM on this one. I believe a CJ is important but the matter's urgency is being blown out of proportion by particular QCs. What about the "well known" QC? Where does he stand on urgency?

By the way, does he have to scan his passport when he go to Miami? Or he is just walk tru cause he "well known"? LOL

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It won't be important until there's an important case to decide.

This type of inaction will have us in one crisis after the next. It's the same way we got to the hurricane in June2017 was it(?) with Capt Russell rushing to his office two days before the hurricane to write up an evacuation plan. I suspect if you asked Dr Minnis if he was ready for hurricane season 2018 he'd say what more important the light or the hurricane.

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

So you really don't know aye? CJ don't have nothing to do with deciding any case. . .even if that was so. . .if this one will let a "F-up" case go through because he is acting. . .what make you think he will not if he is substantive CJ? You really did not think that one through hey?

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually I did think it through. While he's "acting" he certainly wouldn't want to upset the administration and him them yank the title from him if he rules against them.

This is MUCH bigger than deciding a case however. Dr Minnis repeats this pattern over and over again with allowing everything to get to a crisis level before he takes action, then he says "you know the children need Christmas presents right?", "I'm dealing with crime over here". Which is really weird, cause I f you go back in your files you'll find Dr Minnis saying he wasn't taking a portfolio so he could act as CEO. He'd make sure things got done, now he's acting the the man who has to put out every fire. Right down to typing up cabinet releases on firings.

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You don't know what you are talking about ya know. . .CJ is like a head teacher. . . they run the school administratively. . .they are not the best teacher nor are teaching in a class! He/she is the administrator for judges and courts. . .not "decider" of cases!!

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Does the Chief Justice sit in the Court of Appeal? Yes

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Sickened 6 months, 4 weeks ago

If only the PM said it like that. "I believe a CJ is important but the matter is not top priority at the moment'

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

And what have made the meaning changed? This same doc will make yinna bllod pressure go up. . .HE SMOKING!! Now he working on FOIA. . . .

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BONEFISH 6 months, 4 weeks ago

People who know how things run around here,know who the CJ Position is being held for. Some one told me.

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 4 weeks ago

At least the PM has several good CJ options ...... that are not friends, family or lovers

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Well that means it's not them lol

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This same fake lawyer case will show why this ACTING CJ MAY NOT GET THAT JOB!

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 4 weeks ago

The Tribune uses the most pathetic pictures of our leaders .......... Why do you think they had to select a photo that makes Minnis appear to look like a silly boy or a retard??????

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hrysippus 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I always enjoyed the [pictures of SLOP back in the day. It's called needling and creates a visual record which is close to permanent and reflects the opinion of the editor.

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DDK 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Because they can never be bothered to take the time and effort to update. You know, that old Bahamian work ethic of doing as little as possible between 9:30 and 4:45, or whatever hours The Paper folk are supposed to keep. Perhaps we should appoint our Comrade as Chief Photographer!

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Ya mean "OGLY"? But een much they can do to make doc "pretty". . .he just ogly!

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bogart 6 months, 3 weeks ago

PRIOR TO ROC WID DOC RETURN AND WHEN HE WAS STILL ABROAD AT MEETINGS IN OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL.. MEETINGS ......with Her Royal Highness, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll and other international Government Leaders ......would have been the comments as reported front page of The Sat Nassau Guardian April 21,2018 by reporter Royston Jones Guardian Senior reporter. (Trib does not publish on Sat) Guardian reporting on BPL union leadrs. ".....warning that failure to act would result in Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis returning from London to meet New Providence in darkness. ' You are not going to be riding around in your Jaguars and Range Rovers to Buckingham Palace to have tea and crumpets' said Bahamas Electrical Workers President Paul Maynard...." "The prime minister is supposed to come back on Sunday. Well, he may land in darkness."

It would be quite unsettling for any Prime Minister to be reading this while on official national business and envisioning the consequences on the sick, disabled, persons needing electricity for pumps to have cruvial water etc....and then allso to return and be confronted with the CJ issue.

This should be most embarrassing to all Bahamians regatdless of political views for the nations leader as democratically elected leader of our highest elected Office of the Prime Minister to be hearing while his back was turned being officially designnated to do our nations business at this highdst internationals levels. And to be confronted with the CJ issue to made a decision bettween the two.

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DDK 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps they're taking lessons from CNN.........

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bogart 6 months, 3 weeks ago

There should be some standards or protocols or etiquette to follow that when the national leader is away on official state business that they should not be disrupted with threats or bushwacked so that the nations business overseas can be given highest priority for success. Besides with instant media other leaders would be negotiating with you and reading all the threats your people are saying. Deminishing the strengths of your sales pitch etc and also raising questions for the nation.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Disagree, you'd be trampling on free speech. What are you gonna do? Jail people who criticize the administration while he's off? Shut down Facebook ? When he's gone he leaves an "Acting PM" to represent him. If he has no confidence in that person to handle situations at home, he knows what to do.

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bogart 6 months, 3 weeks ago

@DDK ...good one....its not in the reporting side but the fact that we can have our leader and official delegation ..... do a important historic visit abroad and some can try to sabotage the mission.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This presupposes that things were going swimmingly while he was here. He just came out of the Oban fiasco and a poll showing his support has dropped dramatically.

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John 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Some are trying to give the impression that the prime minister cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. When Hubert Ingraham became prime minister he was hoodwinked into allowing a Greek Bahamian to return to the Bahamas without persecution even after he fled the country to escape justice. And now decades later this may not have been a good choice as the individuals behavior shows ha had no remorse for the killings. And when the BTC sale went through it was only after the company was resold to a third entity did the real value of the company become known. Under the former government there were agreements being entered into that were not in the best interest of the Bahamian people and they cost then Hundreds of Millions. There were ‘invisible ‘, third forces that tried to force the government to change laws affecting change to things Bahamians hold sacred. Opposition to same sex marriage, patriarchal relationships and immigration. So Minnis has the right to take his time making decisions. Continue to demonstrate you are acting on his own free will and in the best interest of the Bahamian people.

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joeblow 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If the Oban decision was the end result of him taking his time to make a decision, then God help us all!

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bogart 6 months, 3 weeks ago

@This is ours ....the free speech was not the issue...and that there were issues prior to the planned overseas national Commonwealth Heads visit. On this visit where our National leader who represents all ......persons should not try to discredit belittle or embarrass out leader and delegation or any of our nsational delegations when sent abroad in front of other national leaders. But as you say there is his DPM at home to deal with matters....and who in was the acting Prime Minister

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