By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party chairman Fred Mitchell criticised National Security Minister Marvin Dames for defending Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and Assistant Superintendent of Police Debra Thompson amid backlash over their handling the investigation into former Cabinet minister Shane Gibson.
During Mr Gibson’s bribery trial, the lead police investigator admitted it was an error to meet key witnesses to synchronise their statements, something Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel also said was “very wrong”. ASP Thompson testified during Mr Gibson’s bribery trial that this is a common practice and that Commissioner Ferguson and Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin were aware it happened in the case.
Her testimony prompted outraged from Mr Gibson’s legal team and the PLP has called for an investigation.
Mr Mitchell told reporters at a press conference yesterday it appears the government’s response to every serious criticism about their conduct in office is to make light of it. “Now you have the minister of national security in the press this morning saying he has the utmost confidence in the integrity of these officers. With the greatest of respect that is not a matter for him to pronounce on because he himself is implicated in these investigations so he’s being a judge in his own courts,” he said.
“We’ve called for him to resign because he has been judicially condemned, it is the appropriate thing for the attorney general to step down and if the prime minister adopts their behaviour then he must follow them.”
Mr Mitchell said the leader of the opposition indicated on Monday night that he’s going to ask for a formal inquiry into some of the revelations that came out in Mr Gibson’s case.
He said: “In the Shane Gibson case...a police officer admitted to (changing) witness statements, that is a serious issue and it’s not a joke.”
National Security Minister Marvin Dames told the Nassau Guardian on Wednesday he had the utmost confidence in ASP Debra Thompson and Commissioner Ferguson, saying they had high integrity.
Last week, a jury acquitted and discharged Mr Gibson of all of the 15 counts of bribery that he faced. Gibson had been accused of soliciting and accepting more than $200,000 in bribes from Jonathan Ash as a condition for expediting payments the contractor was owed by the Christie administration.