Leader of the Opposition Philip 'Brave' Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said Attorney General Carl Bethel’s refusal to disclose expenses from the Frank Smith bribery trial is inexcusable.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing Mr Smith’s acquittal on bribery and extortion charges to the Privy Council.
During a PLP press conference yesterday, Mr Davis said: “After having their bribery case brought against Frank Smith under dubious and questionable circumstances by the Magistrate’s Court rejected and upheld by the Court of Appeal, the FNM has decided to take their crusade of persecution to the Official Committee of the Privy Council. Attorney General, it is not good enough to say that the cost of the QCs (hired by the government) are reasonable. Reasonable to whom and for whom? These are public funds and he must say what the total cost is, including the cost related to the director of public prosecutions. It is our understanding that significant sums and resources have been diverted to prosecute this matter, diverted from fighting serious crimes on immigration issues for example and paying teachers or nurses for example. It is also mixing apples and oranges to suggest and compare the expenditure of the Christie administration on Baha Mar and the FNM on this witchhunt. The Baha Mar matter required defenses to legal challenges in multiple jurisdictions. This matter is a simple case which had no legal obligations. We also disagree with the attorney general when he said that this matter is purely legal and not a political one. This, on the contrary, has everything to do with politics and the vendetta the FNM has against the PLP. It is a political campaign, driven by victor’s justice and paid for by the taxpayers. We reject any attempts to pollute the issue. The government is spending public funds on a public matter.”
Mr Davis also attacked the government over its treatment of Samuel Evans, the recently retired deputy commander of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who, in an interview with The Tribune, accused the government of sidelining him through disingenuous means.
“The PLP publicly sympathises with the former deputy commander of the Defence Force, Samuel Evans, who was recently forced out of his job and into retirement without good or sensible reasons,” Mr Davis said. “Captain Evans served his country with distinction, with forty years of unbroken, meritorious service. We agree with Mr Evans that the FNM selectively and disingenuously applied its vacation policy to target and sideline certain officers in order to place individuals of their choosing in strategic leadership positions. We point out that the public service is not anybody’s personal and political fiefdom. I believe this practice is what the FNM spent most of its time in existence, demonisation and victimisation. Most of the administration engage in that very same brand of intellectual dishonesty when they assemble their current leadership team at the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”