PLP leader Philip Davis. (File photo)
By RASHAD ROLLE
& TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis asked Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to waive new wedding rules for one of his constituents on Friday, but confirmation that Dr Minnis approved the request came too late for the couple to host a full-fledged wedding with more than five people.
The Office of the Prime Minister on Sunday said two pre-planned weddings were sanctioned over the weekend with more than five guests, one in New Providence and one on Harbour Island. While pictures and videos of the Harbour Island wedding went viral, details of the second wedding had not been previously known. That wedding in New Providence involved Brian Cameron Albury, an Atlantis employee who postponed his April 13 wedding because of COVID-19 restrictions only to confront the same problem again on Friday. Mr Albury lives in New Providence and his wife lives in Cat Island. Mr Albury said as rumours swirled about an impending lockdown, he spoke to the Cat Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay MP on Friday before Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ press conference.
“One of my constituents sought permission to continue his wedding as planned,” Mr Davis confirmed to The Tribune yesterday. “I am his representative so the first point of contact is me when something goes wrong. He came to me for help as I represent him. The prime minister indicated to me that he gave permission but my constituent never got word of that permission (until) it was long after the fact…His wedding went on, but it was still not what he had planned.”
Mr Davis said the couple has now lost not only their first wedding investment of about $8,000, but also the thousands more they spent for a second wedding that became less elaborate than planned.
Mr Albury said: “(Mr Davis is) a friend of my family and I’ve known him for a long time outside of him being our representative for Cat Island. He told me send a brief synopsis on what I’m going through and he will see what he could do. He said I will speak to the Prime Minister and I will get back to you. I waited and I waited and I waited. I didn’t hear nothing from him for a long time but I wasn’t worried because I know if he says he’ll do something he’ll do it. Mr Davis called me at 10:52pm on Friday and said he spoke to the Prime Minister and he gon’ send you a text where (the Prime Minister) said (my wedding has been) approved. He sent it to me and the text said: ‘Tell them to carry on, I will call commissioner, what is the name of the couple and where?’ The text didn’t have the Prime Minister’s phone number next to it, only a forward so I said okay, I could go with that, that’s the leader of the opposition and in the morning I would get confirmation from police and we would have time to get everybody ready because the wedding was for 3pm. I was ready to go on what Brave did, I thought that was a done deal.”
However, Mr Albury said Police Commissioner Paul Rolle could not be reached on Saturday morning to confirm permission that the wedding could have as many as 32 people. The wedding officiator and others were reluctant to attend an event with more than five people without police confirmation, he said, prompting the couple to nix their plans and have a wedding with only five people and a photographer.
“We were already home when we got confirmation that we had permission from the commissioner, long after the wedding was over,” he said. “We wanted to do it for my family and get it over with. My daughter home crying because she wanted to come to the wedding. She had everything arranged but couldn’t come. The whole thing was chaotic. I have no problem with persons in Eleuthera who had their wedding because they had approval. There’s no doubt the Prime Minister gave approval for mine, I just think someone dropped the ball somewhere along the line and that’s why we didn’t get the information in time.”