Davis tries to explain Mitchell comments – but recording doesn’t match

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. Photo: Dante Carrer

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. Photo: Dante Carrer


Tribune Staff Reporter


PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis explained Fred Mitchell’s dismissive comments about the Freedom of Information Act yesterday in a way that does not reflect what the foreign affairs minister told reporters.

In a recent interview with ZNS, Mr Mitchell was asked about Michael Pintard’s critique that the Davis administration is lackadaisical about implementing the information system, which proponents believe is critical to good governance.

Over 100 countries in the world have FOIA laws, and the United States has repeatedly noted this country’s failure to fully enact the FOIA  in various annual reports.

 Mr Mitchell told ZNS: “We oppose this Freedom of Information Act idea.” He then explained that the administration would eventually deal with the matter, but did not see it as a priority. He contrasted the Progressive Liberal Party’s view on such legislation with that of the Free National Movement, suggesting the PLP does not view it as essential.

 Mr Mitchell was criticised for his comment. The PLP pledged to implement the system in the “good governance” section of its pre-election manifesto, the “Blueprint for Change”.

 Asked yesterday about Mr Mitchell’s comment, Mr Davis claimed: “He did not say that we are opposed to the idea. What he said is that when the question was being mooted, when it was first being mooted, there was an issue about it. At that time, we wanted to understand what was being implemented so he was opposed to what was then being implemented. 

“The bill that’s now there is something that we have now embraced, but we will be bringing (it) in time when it becomes a priority for us.” 

 “Right now, our priority is addressing those issues of poverty in this country.”

 The Tribune obtained the recording of Mr Mitchell’s interview in Grand Bahama. He did not allude to previous iterations of the FOIA or suggest that the latest version is the one he embraces.

 “We oppose this Freedom of Information Act idea,” he said. “The FNM has this view; they’ve passed something called the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Procurement Act, and Freedom of Information Act. All of these things that really have nothing to do with people’s ordinary lives. It’s just a bunch of public relations, accounting procedures and confusing activity with action.”

 “So what did the prime minister say? Yeah, we got Freedom of Information Act. We’ll get to it. If you want information –– if you want any information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs –– you can come get it. There’s no issue with information being disclosed in his country. So, the issue right now is high prices. What are we going to do about the high prices? That’s the issue. The issue is how are we going to stop these young men from killing one another every day. That’s the issue. Freedom of Information? I don’t think so. That’s basically my view about this, and it’s bureaucratic and expensive to execute. I’m not sure you get any results from it that people can actually see and feel.”

 Mr Mitchell’s comments came after Information Commissioner Keith Thompson told The Nassau Guardian that his office has done what it can to get a FOIA pilot programme rolling, but needs the Office of the Prime Minister to provide the necessary technology.

 Mr Davis later told reporters the FOIA is not a priority for the administration right now, pointing to cost of living concerns and other issues. The FNM countered that the government has enough people and a dedicated FOIA department to implement the system, adding that it only needs support from the administration. 


mandela 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr. Mitchell needs to keep his mouth shut so he can stop putting his foot in it.


Sickened 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Mitchell got Davis doing verbal and mental contortions! Lol! Two imbeciles with too much power. Davis started off speaking quite clearly when he first got in power. Now that he has so many fires to put out and so many mistakes to keep track of and defend, he's barely coherent. LOL! I do feel sorry for him though. This term in administration gonna crack his brain.


CaptainCoon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The monkeys are tripping over their own banana peels! Can't keep. straight story to save their lives. This really is "the queerest administration in Bahamian History"!



TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Think thoughts of RedShirts' Minnis and Pintard ---- Leadership Jealous --- Come between the two PLP mans'. --- Yes?


sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Who is the "real" man in charge of the PLP/Govt??????? ............... That is the question.


Topdude 3 months, 2 weeks ago

You mean real “man” ? Right.


Sickened 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Well then you can certainly not include Freddy in that pool.


TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

@ComradeSheepie, but yeah, you've got your work cut out for you ---- When it involves not just the both MPs ---- But involved the "Dame" --- After you've expressed bad personal feelings about --- Are all in the same party. --- Cannot just make this up. --- Yes?


moncurcool 3 months, 2 weeks ago


The PM really believe the Bahamian people have no sense.


One 3 months, 2 weeks ago

“Right now, our priority is addressing those issues of poverty in this country.” - PM Davis

Freedom of information will help with poverty. We aren't a poor country our GDP per population is very high (just above Saudi Arabia). But the distribution of the money is concentrated amongst a small group. If the wealth was more evenly distributed the average Bahamian would live a comfortable life.

Give the people the information so the power is in the hands of the people to right the wrongs. The people who got in this mess are telling us to 'mind ya business we focused on making your life better'. Yeah right, give me a break.


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