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This story first appeared in The Tribune 16 May 2023

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said the Progressive Liberal Party and Free National Movement should show message discipline over matters like the cost and significance of the trip government officials took to the United Kingdom for the coronation of King Charles III.

His comment in a voice note came after FNM leader Michael Pintard urged the government to detail the trip’s costs after attending the coronation service and other events in the UK.

Asked last week about the costs associated with the trip, Mr Mitchell told The Tribune: “I do not ever comment on these matters.”

He said in a widely circulated voice note yesterday: “The leader of the opposition Michael Pintard told the press that he wants a full accounting of the trip to see the king. This is the same trip in which he was pictured in a full-tailored suit going to see the king. I was telling him the other night at the reception for The Bahamas Striping Group, and congratulations to them on their anniversary, that if he had bought that suit that he was posing in when he went to see the king at public expense, that that was at least £1,000. “

 “But the more serious point is a message to both sides about message discipline. Both the leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister were in London performing serious constitutional functions and we trivialise a serious purpose when you start picking apart on this or that matter as if the purpose and intent were not serious in London.”

 “There’s always a public reckoning in any government expenditure but you can be sure from the opposition side that this is not driven by that but by the fact that Hubert Minnis, the former Prime Minister, in a jealous rage has tried to by the backdoor attack and rear guard Mr Pintard cuz he’s trying to get his job.

 “So Mr Pintard, his response has to be to now make it look like the PLP did something wrong by taking him and others to London. The PLP and the FNM ought to ensure that there is respect for the serious purpose of the trip and exercise message discipline. Sometimes, silence is golden.

 “Certainly, public officials should understand how injurious it may look to post on Facebook and Instagram features which portray a personal joy ride when both the leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister were on a serious mission. Certainly, the propensity when people in political parties don’t get their way to seek to injure their own by friendly fire is not a good example of ethical behaviour.”