PLP chairman Fred Mitchell, left, and Attorney General Carl Bethel.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
A HEATED row erupted in the upper chamber yesterday between Attorney General Carl Bethel and Senator Fred Mitchell as the government passed the Airport Authority Amendment Bill, 2021.
The war of words at one point climaxed with Mr Bethel urging Senate President Mildred Hall Watson to protect him from “pusillanimous behaviour”, sparking anger and an outburst from Senator Mitchell who shot back that “the last thing I am is a bloody coward”.
The legislation makes provisions for the Grand Bahama International Airport to be purchased from Hutchison Whampoa by the government. The facility is being purchased at a cost of one dollar, and the government is also assuming employee related costs that are not expected to exceed $1m.
State Finance Minister Kwasi Thompson said yesterday $1.5m will further be spent on repairs.
As he castigated the opposition’s conduct as being less than interested in the future of Grand Bahamians, Mr Bethel noted that its members abstained from voting on the Bill when it passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
Mr Mitchell said this was a false assertion.
While the men continued to argue, Mr Bethel referred to Mr Mitchell’s age, adding: “I don’t want you to pop any gaskets around here with your contention.”
Now irate, Mr Mitchell said: “You want to get personal now? You want to go down that road? Do you want to go down that road?
“Because I could match you, you know. I could match you right now. Every nasty word you throw I’ll cut you down if you want to go down that road. So, get that nasty, personal stuff out of here. It doesn’t belong in here.”
Mr Bethel returned a threat that he too would cut Mr Mitchell down, before reiterating that he was of the view the PLP had nothing good in mind for Grand Bahamians.
Responding, Mr Mitchell shouted that the government had failed to ensure hospital infrastructure for women needing surgeries. However, Mrs Hall Watson instructed him to sit as he was not recognised to speak.
After several minutes more of arguing, with Mr Mitchell heckling, Mr Bethel said: “Madam President, I am asking for your protection from the pusillanimous behaviour. Google it, pusillanimous.”
“You calling me a coward?” Mr Mitchell retorted. “The last thing I am is a bloody coward now, don’t go there. I keep telling you to stop it. Now, look, you are impugning my personal integrity, you attack me personally about age, get out of here.”
As he wrapped up his contribution to the Bill, Mr Bethel argued that if left to the PLP, everything would be decimated in Grand Bahama.
He urged Grand Bahamians to “love who love you”, as they decide who will be their representatives for another term in office.