Following serious charges by PLP leader Perry Christie and Bradley Roberts that the FNM is meddling in the Judiciary Carl Bethel made the following statement.
PRESS STATEMENT: The Free National Movement totally rejects the suggestion made by PLP Leader Perry Christie, and the Chairman of that party, Bradley Roberts, that there has been manipulation of the Constitution in connection with the resignation from the House of Assembly of Malcolm Adderley, MP for Elizabeth Estates, and his reported interest in becoming a Justice of the Supreme Court.
We understand why Mr. Christie and Mr. Roberts are in a state of panic. This is the second Member of Parliament they are losing since the last election and the whole country knows that the PLP is fractured and in a state of chaos.
So that is why they are making extreme and desperate statements and seeking to place the blame on others for the state in which they find themselves. And of course, it is easy to blame Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham for their political woes.
But the truth is that Mr. Ingraham is in no way responsible for the state of affairs in which the PLP leaders find themselves, and their allegation of constitutional manipulation is utter nonsense. The facts of the matter are very simple and easy to understand.
Secondly, it has also been public knowledge that Mr. Adderley was interested in serving his country on the Supreme Court having acted in that capacity previously.
So it should surprise no one that upon his resignation from the House he may still be interested in becoming a judge. No one — not even Mr. Christie and Mr. Roberts — has challenged his qualifications.
The Prime Minister is performing his public duties in accordance with the law and the Constitution. What is frustrating to Mr. Christie and Mr. Roberts is that Hubert Ingraham is Prime Minister and the FNM is the Government, facts that they have stubbornly refused to come to terms with ever since the election.
Furthermore, all their talk about politicizing the courts is rubbish. It is the policy of the FNM Government and, we believe, of the Judicial Services Commission, to find qualified judges to serve in our high courts regardless of political affiliations.
That is why the Commission recommended the appointment of Mrs. Ruby Nottage to serve as a Justice, presumably with no objections from Mr. Ingraham. There was public unease about that appointment not because she was PLP-affiliated but because of an alleged problem with the American Government.
Both former Chief Justice Burton Hall and Justice Jon Isaacs are known to have strong PLP family connections, and Justice Neville
Adderley ran in elections twice on the PLP ticket before becoming a judge. And there were others with political backgrounds who have sat on the Supreme Court.
The FNM did not object to any of them because they are qualified Bahamians. The PLP should try to be just as gracious when it comes to judges who may have had a connection with the FNM. After all, they are Bahamians too.