Nassau, Bahamas — Last week the BDM made a statement regarding the despicable practice by our political leaders and government officials who over the years, abused the process of the distribution Crown Land. In particular, the most recent incident regarding the Director of Lands & Survey and the granting of crown land to his family members needs a closer look.
After the transaction and the reselling of the land became public knowledge, the Director of Lands and Survey was forced to resign by the Prime Minister. Under the Westminster system of government, any form of nepotism or conflict of interest while in an official capacity demands the immediate resignation of all parties in questions. The resignation therefore, of the Director was the right and proper thing to do. However, the question that remains unanswered is did the Director acted alone in the granting of these pieces of land his family members?
According to the present make-up of this government, the ultimate responsibility of Crown Land Grants is vested in the office of the Prime Minister, and any and all Crown Land Grants must be signed an authorized the Prime Minister. If then, the Prime Minister, knowingly and consciously signed off on these pieces of Crown Grant to the family members of the Director, whom he appointed, makes him an accomplice and an accessory to this ethical infringement.
Consequently, if the Director had to resign because of this ethical breach, then it is only appropriate that the Prime Minister should resign as well. Under Parliamentary conventions, which we have inherited from Great Britain, demands that anyone who engages in an unethical act while remaining a sitting member parliament, minister or government official should resign. As a consequence, the BDM demands that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham step down immediately because the evidence of this serious and most ethical breach points to him as well. If the Prime Minister had any honour, he should have stepped down willing and not allow the Director to be his fall guy since, he knew that he was the one that authorized the transaction of land in the first place.
Further, from all indications, it appears that Hubert Ingraham knew or had some form of relationship with most, if not all of the individuals who have received these pieces of land in Exuma. The question remains did the Prime Minister receive any kickbacks from the sale of the land once it was resold for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Did Hubert Ingraham, as the minister responsible for Crown Land granted any other piece of Crown Land to any of his friends or political cronies in any other island in the past who did the very same thing that the Director’s family members did?
The present land scandal cannot be sweep under the rug. BDM is demanding that the Prime Minister answer these questions and clearly state his relationship with the individuals who have received these pieces crown land and resold it for hundred of thousands of dollars.
The BDM is also calling on the select committee that was appointed to look into land matters, to request that the commission of police investigate the office of the Prime Minister for possible criminal and ethical violations.