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Editorial: Bain Case Admission Deserves A Full Investigation

SOME remarkable scenes played out in court recenlty – where Lincoln Bain, leader of the Coalition of Independents in the election – was ordered to pay $64,000 to a woman who wanted him to hold it in a trust for her for three years. He neither invested it nor returned it.

But the curious part came when Mr Bain denied that he had signed any trust agreements and claimed the signatures on documents were forged.

He even produced a witness, Keno Symonette. Mr Symonette told the court that he signed three agreements with Mr Bain’s signature. A fire had taken place at the Bani Shoe Loft and he said the woman, Zinnia Rolle, was desperate to get Mr Bain’s signature for insurance purposes.

The judge, Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson, seemed taken aback by this – and suspicious whether Mr Symonette was telling the truth.

She wrote: “Whilst I did wonder why Mr Keno Symonette would openly admit to a criminal offence in the face of the court, I did not find Mr Symonette to be a believable witness.”

So doubtful was Justice Grant-Thompson that she put Mr Symonette to the test – and challenged him to sign Mr Bain’s signature again.

Despite three attempts, the signatures were described by Justice Grant-Thompson as “totally different to the extent that they could be compared to day and night”. He even had a chance to look at Mr Bain’s signature before trying – and still no good.

So there is a choice here – either Mr Symonette has just admitted in court under oath to faking someone’s signature and effectively defrauding them of thousands of dollars, an offence that could see him sent to prison, or he’s lying and has committed perjury.

Imagine going to court as a witness and confessing to a crime with which you are not charged. It is, as we say, remarkable.

Mr Bain, for his part, says his lawyers will appeal the ruling, saying: “We totally disagree with the judgement and we are going to appeal.”

Even so, Mr Symonette’s statements raise the prospect of criminal behaviour, either fraud or perjury depending on whether he is telling the truth or not.

It is time for the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Commissioner of Police to investigate, and then speak up as to what they will do about that.

Slow government

Foreign Affairs and Public Service Minister Fred Mitchell is unhappy.

The government system, he says, is like a “slow march into hell”.

He might well find agreement there from citizens waiting forever to get a response from government, like the long waits for permits and renewals, for example.

But Mr Mitchell’s ire is also focused on other ways of getting things done, it seems.

“It takes a year and a Sunday to move a pen from here to there,” he says. “It takes months to get bills paid, to get people on the payroll and to make sure they are adequately compensated in time for Christmas.”

He talks of waking up to “scores of emails” each day with people telling him “they need a job, there’s no food to eat, the rent needs to be paid, the school fees are overdue and the mortgage is behind”.

Interesting that he is concerned about how long it takes to get people on the payroll, because we were under the impression there was a recruitment freeze in the public sector.

On November 17, State Public Service Minister Pia Glover-Rolle said: “There is a hold on hiring at this time until we make an analysis based on the audit of where we need to build capacity. We can’t just hire and not know where to put people. We have to make sure we’re placing people in positions that are available and that are necessary to move the public service forward.”

That’s just three weeks ago – so who is Mr Mitchell trying to get added to the payroll and why is he complaining about how long it takes when a hiring freeze is in place?

He goes on to blame it all on the Minnis administration, of course, complaining of “a creaking government administration which, so far, refuses to bend to the will of the new administration”.

We think he will find that Mrs Glover-Rolle is a part of his own administration, so perhaps he should ask her when he can add people to the payroll again.

We would also hope that the recruitment process doesn’t depend on who is asking for help in an email, but on hiring the right person for the job. If not, that might explain some of the long delays citizens face themselves when dealing with government.

Comments

birdiestrachan 5 months, 1 week ago

There seem to be many CIVIL Servants. It may be a case of how hard are they working.

The doc was a disaster. worse than DORIAN and COVID 19 put together and lie all the time

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moncurcool 5 months, 1 week ago

You seriously living in make believe world. But your view is exactly wjat is wrong with the Bahamas and why the civil service has been the way it has been since the days of Pindling.

But your beholden blindness to party would not allow you to see sense.

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Maximilianotto 5 months, 1 week ago

Where there is smoke there is fire.

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bahamianson 5 months, 1 week ago

Wasn't this guy trying to obtain a position in government recently? Why did this not come up during the nomination process? Do they not have to disclose these type of conditions when they put their names up for election? But, nontheless, because we will forget this in a week , and he can challenge for Prime Minister next week. we pretend to be a civilized society , but we are far from it.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 1 week ago

Fweddy seems to act as if he answers to no one ........ Does he respect the PM and his Cabinet colleagues? ........... This is his third time around as Cabinet Minister and having responsibility for the Public Service Commission ......... Who is he fooling? He has done very little to change anything with the PSC, General Orders or right-sizing the workforce. Just blah, blah, blah

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