The PLP notes with great alarm the Government’s intention to retain the discredited Errol Bethel as Parliamentary Commissioner

6
1038

Bradley Roberts

PRESS STATEMENT: The PLP notes with great alarm the Government’s intention to retain the services of discredited Errol Bethel as Parliamentary Commissioner.

The Election Court criticized the Parliamentary Commissioner in the Pinewood case, where it was found that the egregious errors in the register threatened the “integrity of the electoral process” and “the fundamental basis of our parliamentary democracy”.  The scathing criticism in the Pinewood case was sufficient in our view to (at the very least) cause the Parliamentary Commissioner to be transferred to another post. Most recently the same Parliamentary Commissioner was criticized by the Election Court in the Elizabeth case.

The Election Court in the Elizabeth case noted the Parliamentary Commissioner’s admission under oath that he “may have authorized the alteration of the voter’s oath” and the register.  In plain words, the Parliamentary Commissioner may have caused to be changed a document that the voter swore to be true, without the knowledge or consent of the voter. This is so serious that it is of itself grounds for immediate transfer of the Parliamentary Commissioner.

The Election Court also found that the Parliamentary Commissioner could not lawfully remove the name of a voter from the Register. The Parliamentary Commissioner admitted that he determined that the voter’s name should  be removed from the register. The Election Court said, “we find his act in removing this voter’s name from the register after its close, to be unlawful and incapable of invalidating her vote.”

The Election Court also determined that his actions violated the rules of natural justice. Again, the finding by the Election Court in relation to the acts mentioned above and the violation of the rules of natural justice are grounds for immediate transfer of the Parliamentary Commissioner.

In the Elizabeth case, the Parliamentary Commissioner admitted that he had a duty to continuously review the register and to make provisions for persons to transfer. The facts of the case revealed that he failed to carry out his duty.

Errol Bethel - Parliamentary Commissioner and Eligble Old Age Pensioner

The Election Court said, “again, this process has exposed failures, omissions and errors on the part of the Parliamentary Commissioner which may, if not corrected, threaten the fairness of the electoral process and ultimately our democracy.”  This is not the first time that the Election Court made similar remarks about this holder of the office of Parliamentary Commissioner.  In the Pinewood case, the Election Court said, “This case exposed the most egregious failures in the parliamentary registration system. The Parliamentary Commissioner failed, for whatever reason, to ensure the integrity of the registration process in Pinewood.”

The PLP, like thousands of Bahamians, do not have confidence in the holder of the Office of Parliamentary Commissioner. We note that the FNM has forced or is about to force into compulsory retirement scores of skilled and competent Bahamians, including very senior police officers and long serving and loyal ZNS employees, who, unlike the Parliamentary Commissioner, have no judicial findings impugning their competence, but the FNM intends to retain Mr. Bethel.

We agree that the fairness of the electoral process and our democracy is under threat. But despite this the FNM intends to retain Mr. Bethel.  We believe that the holder of the Office of Parliamentary Commissioner should be beyond reproach and also beyond the appearance of reproach.  Unfortunately, despite the statements of the Election Court and the admissions of Mr. Bethel, the FNM doggedly intends to retain Mr. Bethel in the same way the Prime Minister refused to accept the resignation of the Minister of the Environment. The current Parliamentary Commissioner should be transferred, in the public interest, and a new and competent Parliamentary Commissioner appointed so as to ensure the integrity of the registration process and of the register.

  • young mind what google map locater gat to do with Mr. Bethell letting all kinds of illegals register to vote. people who coming with birth certificate only, ya could borrow a birth certificate Passport or no registration.

  • Old Mind

    OK Young Mind, I mean Carl!

  • Tell Bradley and the PLP to stop and realize Bahamians are NOT illiterate! We know how they left the electoral office when they were there. Rushing to do the boundaries at the last minute. We are more than 500 days basically over a year out before the next election and the ball is already rolling. We have streets signs and exact location through google map locater for every residence in the Bahamas. This is what you are NOT hearing from these people who are attempting to DISTRACT the work of the people of the Bahamas. Simply put…young people are NOT stupid and ignorant we know what the deal is and we will make that choice in 2012. SIMPLE!

    • Young Mind, you are indeed a young mind and you should read and listen. Read the context of the Judgments by the Courts. No where does it mention what you are talking about last minute boundary changes etc. What Bradley and the PLP are talking about is basic, “removing the name of a register after it is closed,” and “altering the voter’s oath.” In other words, young mind, fundamental issues of competencies and honesty in the performance of your duties for a statutory office. if that were not a government job, and if anybody had performed such that on two occasion, the courts almost ridiculed your office and your performance on basic issues, you would be fired outright, not transferred. But political operatives like you are prepared to ignore the fundamental issues just because you are all afraid of one man. But why, on the other hand, should Ingraham change Mr. Bethel? Don’t the FNM always win with him as the holder of that office?

      Such is the happenings in this country where every single thing is political.

  • Errol need to be banished from the electoral process, for Errol is an individual, who need not be transfered to further corrupt the civil service. but jailed for his infidelity to sovereignty, and retired without pension…

  • Altec

    BP, i totally agree with the PLP on this matter.

    When Sidney Collie screwed up, he did the honorable thing and stepped down. he didnt wait for no investigation to tell him he screwed up. He knew he did and did what he had to do.

    Earl Bethel is obviously cut from a different cloth. When the courts call you out and come short of calling your departments performance as a national embarrassment, he should have had his resignation letter on its way to the PM.

    This man has no dignity of shame. The courts criticized him more harshly in the Elizabeth case than in the Pinewood case and yet he, wont go away.

    Some people cant take a hint!