PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PLP CHAIRMAN Fred Mitchell said party officials have not decided when they will end their boycott of parliament and the senate.
The politicians are protesting, saying they believe the Minnis administration pressured authorities to launch criminal investigations and prosecutions against well known PLPs from the Christie government.
They have also called for the resignation of National Security Minister Marvin Dames and Health Minister Dr Duane Sands for the role they played in the Frank Smith bribery case. Mr Smith was acquitted last month.
Works Minister Desmond Bannister called their boycott a “dereliction of duty” on Wednesday while Tall Pines MP Don Saunders said it is a “disgrace” and “a crying shame.”
On Thursday, the party chairman said they will end their boycott when they believe their point has been adequately made.
“It’s a lot of rubbish the FNM is running on with," Mr Mitchell said. "We were really shocked yesterday by the stuff that the deputy speaker (Mr Saunders) is running on with. Tell these people, you can’t clap with one hand. If they want to run a one-party state, a one-party government, go right ahead. The point is we’re working on the grounds to defeat them in the next election. The Minister of Works really has the nerve to get up to talk about boycott and dereliction of duty. What a joke. If you go back to your newspaper in 2013, you’d see he led the same thing, saying because the then leader of the opposition was being excluded from the House, senators were going to boycott the senate until that issue was resolved.”
Mr Mitchell was referring to the FNM’s boycott of parliament and the senate in 2013 after Dr Hubert Minnis was suspended for comments he made about then Prime Minister Perry Christie and his relationship to Peter Nygard.
In a show of solidarity, other FNM officials boycotted the two sessions during which Dr Minnis was suspended. The exception was then Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key, who believed the Speaker was justified in suspending Dr Minnis.
Mr Mitchell said: “What does (Dr Minnis) have in principle against a boycott? What we want to tell the Bahamian public is this, let’s study Dr Martin Luther King and what he did; the whole point is civil disobedience, that’s what you do in a civilised country. You don’t go out in the streets with guns and blast things up but there are several ways that opposition organisations can bring to the public the fact that something is wrong. We say the administration of justice has gone wonky in this country when two ministers sit in the government after being judicially condemned. They ought to go. The attorney general ought to go, they all ought to go.
"Now, what are we supposed to do in answer to that? You can protest in the streets, you could do all those things, but we’ve chosen to withdraw from the parliament to make the point that these people should not be sitting in the parliament. It’s a civil politic, we don’t take guns and shoot people.
"We are making the point on behalf of our followers and when we judge it appropriately to go back, that the point has been sufficiently made, we will do so, but we will never stop calling for them to leave. This is not about the PLP and what the PLP did and didn’t do. The FNM won the election, 35 to 4. Remember that made them geniuses so they know everything and so they ought to know the rules of the convention of the constitution, resign, go now.”
Earlier the Attorney General confirmed that government intends to appeal the judge’s decision in the Smith case.