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Police probe as activists say their lives are in danger

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Fred Smith

A POLICE investigation has been launched into claims by five Bahamians that their lives are in danger because of their political advocacy and that some of them have had to flee the country.

A petition made on behalf of Fred Smith, Francisco Nunez, Joseph Darville, Kirkland Bodie and Romauld Ferreira by the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) asks that the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requests that the Bahamas adopt precautionary measures to prevent irreparable harm to their lives.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said yesterday that “the Government takes seriously any complaint of violation of Human Rights” and that it would respond in full.

In a statement, the ministry said that on September 27, the Permanent Mission of The Bahamas to the Organization of American States (OAS)/Embassy of The Bahamas, Washington, DC was notified by the IACHR of the petition by the five Bahamians.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in its role as the competent authority of the Government is facilitating the Government’s reply to the Petition,” the statement read. “It is a truism that highly visible and voluble civic engagement is a hallmark in every era of open, democratic society. “The instant Petition relies upon claims that are repugnant to the legal and cultural constitution of the way of life in The Bahamas. Civic engagement by the general public, and by the petitioners in their political advocacy, is in the governance and institutional life of The Bahamas a natural, unfettered element in the identity of The Bahamas as a modern, open democracy.

“As the Government of The Bahamas takes seriously any complaint of violation of Human Rights, an investigation of the allegations has therefore been launched by the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and is being carried out with dispatch. The findings in this matter are to be reported in the coming days in the Government’s full reply to the IACHR. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration will continue to inform the public of the developments in, and resolution of, this matter.

The GBHRA has also called on the government and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to distance themselves from “disturbing” allegations about an investigation into a Bahamas Supreme Court judge who is at the centre of a case involving a Cabinet minister’s disclosure in the House of Assembly in March of emails and financial information belonging to an environmental advocacy group.

Justice Indra Charles ruled that Mr Fitzgerald’s actions in acquiring, disclosing and releasing specifically Save The Bays internal emails were not legally justified and therefore he cannot be protected by parliamentary privilege. As a result, she ordered that he pay $150,000 in damages for the breach and barred him from any further disclosures or publications of information belonging to the Save The Bays organisation. Mr Fitzgerald filed an appeal last month.

The reports of the allegations about the investigation into Justice Charles have emerged from St Lucia. The GBHRA said the country’s international reputation is at stake.

“The Grand Bahama Human RightsAssociation hereby calls upon the government of The Bahamas and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to distance themselves forcefully and immediately from the disturbing allegations contained in certain online reports coming out of St Lucia in recent days,” a statement from the group said yesterday.

“Specifically, it was reported on several news and information websites, including St Lucia Today, that an investigation into the ‘character’ of Justice Indra Charles of The Bahamas Supreme Court, is being conducted by certain agents from The Bahamas, including a senior RBPF officer. Justice Charles has recently been at the centre of controversy after she ruled that Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald’s disclosure of private emails and financial information belonging to environmental group Save The Bays (STB) was unconstitutional.

“If the claims are untrue - and we trust that they are - the Christie administration and the Commissioner of Police must declare their falsehood and distance themselves from any such investigation in no uncertain terms. We also call on the Bahamas Bar Association to make its position on these allegations clear.”

Comments

sheeprunner12 7 years, 9 months ago

Are Bobo and Toogie involved in the conspiracy?????? .............. follow the contracts money trail

theplpsucks 7 years, 9 months ago

they wont do anything until someone gets killed. We all know the hire was real and pushed off as a contract. This is a serious government we have now.

birdiestrachan 7 years, 9 months ago

ST Lucia what is their source of information ? take a guess. No one remembers the outspoken QC until he comes to the press with some wild and crazy story.. Joe Darville should be ashamed of himself for allowing himself to be used in this way for a few dollars. In my view if some one was trying to kill any of them they would have been gone a long time ago. The QC loves attention and he will get it any where he can.

EasternGate 7 years, 9 months ago

This gangster Government is out of control. They are dangerous!

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