Sands' Delay

EDITOR, The Tribune.

I write in connection with your Editorial of the 12th June in which you question the delay in former minister of health, Dr Duane Sands speaking out about his concerns over the government’s handling of the list of missing persons following Hurricane Dorian.

The editorial writer has a fundamental misunderstanding of the rules of Cabinet government which require that ministers share collective responsibility for decisions taken.

The editorial writer noted that, in the immediate aftermath of the storm, Dr Sands said publicly that he expected that the number of deaths would be staggering. If one understands the mechanics of cabinet government, it is simple to conclude that any walk-back of that position would have been caused by a cabinet level decision.

In his address to the House of Assembly last Thursday, Dr Sands reaffirmed information that has long been in the public domain. Decisions by the cabinet moved responsibility for the list of the individuals missing after the storm from the Department of Social Services to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

The editorial writer is reminded that responsibility for the remains of unidentified victims of the hurricane, which were kept in a refrigerated container behind the Abaco Hospital until their burial last month, was also moved from the ministry of health to the office of the prime minister.

It is debatable whether Dr Sands should have resigned earlier in protest of the remove of certain responsibilities from his portfolio. A minister’s portfolio is determined by the prime minister. The prime minister is empowered by the constitution to appoint ministers, determine their areas of responsibilities and shift those as he sees fit.

If a minister were to resign each time the content of his portfolio is amended or each time cabinet makes a decision with which he is not completely in agreement, there would be no stability in government. Ministers have a duty to make their views and recommendations known at cabinet meetings, but they also have a duty to accept decisions taken and to accept collective responsibility for their implementation.

The editorial writer is reminded that during his three years in the position of minister of health, Dr Sands has had the responsibility for the Marijuana Commission removed from his portfolio. He also had to accept that he could not have sight of the report of a forensic audit of the Public Hospitals Authority which fell within his portfolio responsibility as minister of health.

Dr Sands accepted all these decisions until he could no longer accept that words would be put in his mouth regarding the offering of his resignation.

Rather than too little too late, his record in cabinet reflects a man who put national interest above self and who continues to put service to his constituents, his patients and his country first.



June, 2020.


joeblow 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sands is a power seeking dimwit who is too self absorbed and politically naïve to be of any political use to the long term interests of this country! The best service he can offer this country is to continue practicing to practice medicine/surgery and even some of that is questionable!


truetruebahamian 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I wholeheartedly disagree with every interpretation of your argument. I would apply that description to Minnis.


moncurcool 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Amazing how he could be a dimwit and yet you suggest this dimwit is best able to give shrive to the country by practicing medicine/surgery. Why would you want a dimwit doing surgery on you?


joeblow 1 month, 3 weeks ago

... the fact that he is a doctor does not mean he cannot be a dimwit as well, they are not mutually exclusive. And further I said he is of no political use, not medical use-- in most languages those words are not synonymous!

Sands is unprincipled and showed his true colors with the Butler and Sands political campaign and the effort to oppose Minnis during the leadership convention. He left Loretta out in the cold and licked his wounds to cut a deal to become minister of health. He did not suggest the country close the borders during the first stages of the covid pandemic, did not order an appropriate number of tests and supplies for heath care workers and did not ensure there was an effective monitoring system in place for those they decided to self isolate. He spoke well, but I tend to favor actions over words and on the basis of his performance (not including the entrance for swabs fiasco) he did not do a good job. After his resignation he puts the spotlight on his failures in order to try and make the government look bad- and you don't think he's a dimwit? Now if as a doctor he did not do a good job in a health related crisis, I would not want him managing more complex affairs. That's my five cents!


tribanon 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sadly though, as unprincipled and incompetent as Sands may be, he still outshines Minnis and that presents a very real problem for the FNM and our country.


joeblow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I know, I know. Already looking at relocating!


tetelestai 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Nonsense. Sands is a narcissist, a misogynist and completely and utterly incompetent. I prefer neither but, if you are forcing me to choose, then I take Minnis. At least he will follow what the Symonettes/Holoweskos tell him - the ridiculous Sands thinks he researched and drafted the "book" himself.


tribanon 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You obviously don't know that Minnis's arrogance has no limit.


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