Davis accuses PM of ‘political interference’

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PM HUBERT MINNIS AND Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis Q.C.

Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ assertion that he asked the commissioner of police to question a man regarding alleged corruption is an act of “political interference”.

“…Politicians have to appreciate that they have to stay out of the enforcement exercises,” Davis said.

“They can set policies and if persons are unable to carry out those policies then remove them and put the proper persons there. But, they are not to be dictating and directing the armed forces and the police.”

He added, “I mean it’s inappropriate for the prime minister to be engaging unless he is making a complaint that he wishes the commissioner to investigate.”

On Wednesday, Minnis said he called Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and asked him to question a man who alleged corruption in relation to disaster relief efforts on Abaco.

But Davis said, “First of all, the prime minister really has to know his role as prime minister.

“If he has to call the commissioner of police to call and find out then again it’s political interference in the investigative arm of our forces. Why would he have to call the commissioner of police to go and arrest a person?

“How else is he going to bring him in? What does he mean by bring him in? If the person refuses to go in, then what happens?”

During a town meeting on Monday night, Ian Goodfellow, a Bahamian who volunteers with 25 United Disaster Relief, said an organization on Abaco had requested a meeting with government officials.

Goodfellow suggested a culture of corruption in the country and alleged corruption with relation to rebuilding an Abaco school impacted by Hurricane Dorian in September.

“Cooper’s Town school, this is a typical situation where corruption is taking over now,” Goodfellow said at the town meeting.

“And really, I don’t want to get into this, Mr. Minister (Iram Lewis), but the problem here, you know, the other day Ceres wanted a meeting. Well, if you bring a suitcase with $30,000, you can have that meeting. Well, you know, I know how Bahamians work. I know how we do business in our country.”

When asked about Goodfellow’s comments, Minnis said, “I have already spoken to the commissioner of police and asked him to call Goodfellow in for questioning and to substantiate those [comments] so that they can investigate and arrest and follow through on whatever Goodfellow is accusing them of.

“I’ve already called the commissioner of police myself and asked him to call Goodfellow in and reveal, according to [the] Eyewitness report, who has requested $30,000, so that we can bring the law with its might on such individuals because we will not tolerate corruption.”

Ferguson has confirmed that police are “looking into” the matter.

Goodfellow said that police interviewed him over the phone on Wednesday as he was out of town.