Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday appeared unconcerned over reports the Official Opposition has written to CARICOM regarding the controversy surrounding the trial of former PLP Senator Frank Smith.
Dr Sands was asked about the matter yesterday outside a gambling addiction seminar.
“My approach to this is I have very little to say,” said Dr Sands. “I think that the Opposition has chosen the path that they like to play in terms of its political impact. I have nothing more to say about it.”
On February 13, Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis announced the opposition was boycotting the House of Assembly in protest of “tyrannical attitudes” in a government determined to use prosecutorial powers of the Crown to target PLPs.
Last week, South Andros MP Picewell Forbes announced in a statement the Opposition was ending its boycott, noting Mr Davis had written a letter to both the secretaries general of the Commonwealth and Caribbean Community (CARICOM), “formally bringing this egregious issue to the attention” of the international community.
In his statement, Mr Forbes also said the PLP is satisfied that its point regarding the boycott has been “sufficiently made” regarding the conduct of the government, in particular Dr Sands, National Security Minister Marvin Dames, and Attorney General Carl Bethel in connection with the Frank Smith trial.
Dr Sands and Mr Dames were criticised by Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt as she gave her reasons for acquitting Mr Smith of bribery and extortion charges.
She criticised the ministers for the “egregious” way in which they interacted with complainant Barbara Hanna prior to a police investigation into her claims, charging their conduct gave the appearance of a “political flavour to a curious bystander”.
Dr Sands also declined yesterday to speak on the tension between Mr Dames and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine.
On February 27, a verbal altercation erupted on the interior stairway of the House of Assembly between Mr Dames and Mr McAlpine.
The dispute, both visible and audible to all those near the chamber when the proceedings suspended, seemed to centre around Mr McAlpine urging Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to address the calls for Mr Dames and Dr Sands to resign in light of the judge’s comments.