Dr Sands condemns death threats to Bishop Simeon Hall

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.


Commission co-chairs Bishop Simeon Hall, left, and Quinn McCartney. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

By Leandra Rolle


Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands condemned death threats made towards Bishop Simeon Hall, co-chair of the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana, for his involvement with the group in conducting research on the drug.

“That’s a very unfortunate thing to hear that…there are individuals who might feel as if they would have to coerce somebody with threats in order to have their way of thinking,” Dr Sands told reporters at a nursing conference on Friday.

“We live in a democratic society and we have chosen to deal with these challenging issues and to have representative views put forward. The Marijuana Commission has been criticised for due process. They have taken on this task and they have sought to do it to the best of their ability. They are not rushing… So, I condemn anyone who believes that by threat of force they will change somebody's mind. I might not like what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”

Last year, the commission was given its mandate by Cabinet to comprehensively examine issues surrounding the use of marijuana.

And although the commission has not yet taken a clear stance on whether the drug should be legalised in the country, Bishop Hall told Our News this week that he has received two death threats over his work with the commission.

His comment came days after Dr Hubert Minnis became the first sitting prime minister to publicly support some form of marijuana decriminalisation.

Dr Minnis told The Tribune last Sunday that he hopes the decriminalisation process will happen before the end of this term.

However, when asked about his stance on the issue, Dr Sands replied: "I have deliberately steered clear of opining either as a person or minister, and I'm going to continue to stay out of the fray. When we get the report, and when it's time for me to give a recommendation to the Cabinet, I think the public will hear how I feel about it."

He continued: “There are many people considering how this might work and what role it will play, et cetera, and I suspect that considerable thought is going into the what if medical marijuana is liberalised in the Bahamas....But the specifics, I think, ought to wait until recommendations are made and then the Cabinet of the Bahamas has to make changes in either policy or law.”

Dr Sands noted that there are many healthcare professionals who have expressed a desire to use the drug in a medicinal form to treat patients.

“There are people who’ve now requested to grow (the plant) or people who want to process and refine or so on and so forth, and our position has been 'hold your horses'. It's not long before we have the definitive position of the Marijuana Commission that would guide the deliberations of the Cabinet and then we'll come back to the Bahamian public and let them know," he said.

Speaking to The Tribune this week, Bishop Hall's co-chair on the commission, Quinn McCartney, said they are working vigorously to present the preliminary report to Cabinet by the end of this month and the final report in early January.

Mr McCartney said the commission remains committed to providing a comprehensive report that is supported by its research.


TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

No, comrade crown minister and its sequel time, yes, no ....


mandela 4 years, 5 months ago

Why threaten the Bishop? some people are so stupid, but then again we are living in a D Average society.


Cobalt 4 years, 5 months ago

By global standards, it’s really an “F” average.


banker 4 years, 5 months ago

So my Auntie tells me an interesting story about Simeon Hall. He is the pastor of a church, and one day he shows up dressed in full regalia of a bishop. Auntie says that when he stood in front of the congregation, it was like he was wearing a Halloween costume as a bishop. It was that garish. He announced to one and all, that he was now elevated to bishop. The problem was that his official brand of religion did not have the position of bishop in its officers line-up. He just made it up hisseff.


TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

Comrade Banker, your church going Auntie, would've fainted flat her ass had Simeon showed up to stood before congregation, all decked out in the even more full regalia dress-up required to play the role self elevation up Archbishop, yes, no ... You don't make silly stuff like this up, you just cant


joeblow 4 years, 5 months ago

I don't see this society moving forward when the dumb and dangerous get to add marijuana to the mix! This country has much bigger things to worry about!


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 5 months ago

Dr. Sands should be less concerned about death threats to the bishop and much more concerned about all of the people being killed each year by our failed public healthcare system.


TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

Sure wasn't the even hint concern when the former comrade leader of the official opposition, twice tried raise concern following threats made against her life, yes, no .... Even a former US vice president will have their security detail yanked away after 6 months from the date they exit office ... Time would better be spent by Dr. Duane if he sidestepped the Bishop to focus on who in we colony, still have security protection, cars, drivers, housing allowances, health care medicals and pensions - all being paid for by the PopoulacesPurse. You don't make stuff like this up, you just cant


John 4 years, 5 months ago

The person the bishop is accusing of making death threats has categorically denied making any such threats. And publicly denied it. This person is a public figure, known to be controversial sometimes (even a lil crazy) but has no history of violence. And he admits he and the bishop does not always see eye to eye. One situation was with young men who were accused of rape being required to supply the police with a sperm specimen. This would be facilitated through masturbation. And for those who refuse, the ‘bull method ‘ would have been used. The bull method requires forcefully stimulating the suspect’s prostate until he ejaculates. Apparently the good bishop was in favor of this being done to rape suspects and the person he now accuses him of making threats opposed it.


Sign in to comment