Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday called accusations of corruption a “disgrace” as he rejected calls for a Commission of Inquiry into police conduct in the bribery and extortion trial of former PLP Senator Frank Smith.
Mr Dames told reporters outside Parliament he would not participate in a spectacle, adding he was “sick and tired of responding to nonsense”. “I won’t go there anymore,” Mr Dames said, “it’s nonsense.”
The Mount Moriah MP is also facing opposition calls for him to resign over his own involvement in the case - now set for appeal.
Mr Dames said: “I have every confidence in the Royal Bahamas Police Force that when they undertake an investigation that they will do all within their power under the framework of the law to ensure that justice prevails. Whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed or whether there is insufficient evidence, and they do it in consultation with the Department of Public Prosecutions.
“I am not an investigator,” he continued, “the commissioner of police is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the force. I have every confidence that he and his men and women are doing their utmost best to be fair in the execution of their duties, but to stand here and to level accusations on the Royal Bahamas Police Force is a disgrace and it’s nonsense and I will not continue to go down that road.”
Former State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez, QC, is calling for a commission of inquiry due to “chilling” concerns raised during trial.
Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, in her ruling last Friday, pointed to numerous “inconsistencies” and “discrepancies” in the Crown’s case, and cited the “egregious” behaviour of two Cabinet ministers - Mr Dames and Health Minister Dr Duane Sands - connected to the matter.
Dr Sands again declined comment on the matter yesterday.
Irregularities in the phone logs of Mr Smith and complainant Barbara Hanna that were produced by police and the logs from Mr Smith’s billing company were also raised at trial.
In reference to this, Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt said: “The call logs were likely manipulated to create the false impression that the accused was constantly calling Barbara Hanna when, in fact, it was the reverse.”
Outside Parliament yesterday, Mr Dames said: “Have you ever heard of any other commission of inquiry coming out of a case...just follow that, let’s talk about these young men and women who go before the courts every day. What are we doing to help them out?
“See we have to be careful not to politicise cases, and I’m not going to speak to that and I made it clear from day one, because I’m not going down that road.
“I’ve been a part of investigations for decades,” he added. “I have given evidence inside and outside of the Bahamas. I’m not going to be a part of a spectacle.”
Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson declined comment on the matter yesterday.
Attempts to reach the Bahamas Bar Association for comment were unsuccessful up to press time.