Attorney General Carl Bethel.
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel said Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis needs “to stop playing politics” after the Cat Island MP called for him to be fired or resign.
His comments came a day after Mr Davis said the Attorney General brought the criminal justice system into “ill repute” due to the handling of the trials of two PLP members. Speaking to reporters outside of Cabinet yesterday, Mr Bethel said Mr Davis is just playing politics.
“He knows that the Attorney General plays no role in the conduct of any investigation, so I have nothing further to say at this time,” Mr Bethel said.
“They (are) calling for everybody to resign, I mean I’m only being added to a very long list of people that they want to resign.
“At the end of the day you know we have a duty to protect and observe every provision of the constitution of The Bahamas. Chief among which is that in the exercise of the discretion of the Attorney General, he does so under the command of no man.”
On Monday, the opposition leader called for the resignation of the Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Mr Bethel, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands and National Security Minister Marvin Dames following the “political prosecution” against PLP members.
Mr Davis recounted some of the facts related to former Labour Minister Shane Gibson’s bribery case and that of former PLP Senator Frank Smith who was also acquitted of bribery charges earlier this year.
“Throughout the two cases that have been completed, we have witnessed with great horror and disbelief, incontrovertible evidence of grave and rank prosecutorial misconduct and corruption,” Mr Davis said on Monday night.
In Mr Gibson’s case, the lead police investigator admitted it was wrong to meet key witnesses to synchronise their statements, something Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel also said was “very wrong”. Assistant Superintendent of Police Debra Thompson testified that this is a common practice and that Commissioner Anthony Ferguson and Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin were aware it happened in the case.
“In the face of all this, the Attorney General who is the head of the bar, an officer of the court and the chief legal guardian of the integrity of the judiciary, did absolutely nothing save for a wink here and a nod there, bringing the administration of the criminal justice systems into ill repute and the laughing stock of the region,” Mr Davis said.
“Carl Bethel must explain to the Bahamian people how we got to where we are - placing the government in a position to be sued in a court of law for malicious prosecution. And while he is at it, he has to explain to the Bahamian pole how much these persecutions have cost the taxpayers with nothing to show.”
Mr Bethel has so far refused to reveal the legal fees associated with the cases.
“We are hearing all kinds of numbers from $20,000 per day to $1.4 million in total,” Mr Davis said.
“This government could find huge sums of money to pay lawyers for these politically driven cases with trumped up charges but refuses to pay the workers monies duly owed to them.”