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NOLLE PROSEQUI—SUCKING ALL THE OXYGEN OUT OF THE ROOM

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The news broke that the Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson had entered a writ of nolle prosequi to stop the prosecution of two Sandals Executives who were charged by private prosecution with intimidating the union and its members on the Sandals’ job. There was a firestorm of reaction including from her own colleagues, viagra usa the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis, the Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchombe and the Minister of Labour Shane Gibson.

Mr. Gibson said he was blindsided by the decision. He said he had been sitting at the table with Sandals and seeking to settle a dispute with the union when the decision was taken. It was unusual for the three men to take the public steps that they did, disassociating themselves publicly from the Attorney General.

From the other side, the establishment had Sean McWeeney Q C join in an extensive discussion on air about the decisions of the Attorney General and how he or she operates in law in The Bahamas. Article 78 gives the Attorney General the unfettered power to do as he or she likes with criminal prosecutions and she does not have to check with anyone. Mr. McWeeney said that when he was Attorney General that is what he did. This was meant to buttress the assertion that the Attorney General in this case acted without political considerations.

The FNM predictably attacked the decision, with Loretta Butler Turner, their spokesman on Labour saying that the workers had been betrayed by the decision and that this showed that the PLP did not support Bahamian workers. The PLP reminded the FNM of the Mosko fiasco under their watch when Orville Turnquest QC as he then was back in 1992, then Attorney General entered a nolle to stop a man who had been charged for murder who fled the jurisdiction and was allowed to come back once the FNM AG had entered the nolle. In other words, they could not talk in this situation because Peter was no better than Paul.

The Attorney General who said that she was refusing to comment to the press because she never does, nevertheless was forced to issue a statement explaining why she took the decision that she did.

The statement issued on 22 September said that she acted because there were two actions in court, one civil and one criminal both brought by the Union and on the same subject matter. The statement said that the Union misled the Magistrate in not disclosing the civil action and she thought it was an abuse so she stopped the criminal prosecution.

Except that all of that could have been disclosed and argued to a Magistrate on a preliminary point by the lawyers for Sandals and the Magistrate could have dismissed the case, which would have not started this kind of controversy.

We don’t want to get into who said what and didn’t say what and the bona fides of what was said. Here’s our concern. The PLP is involved in too many arguments and fights which seem self-inflicted and side issues. The studied observer has to ask the question whether this is a party that wants to win the next election or wants to go down in flames. The decision and the arguments over this matter are self-inflicted injuries and simply should not be at this stage, six months out from a general election with all the negatives surrounding the PLP and its performance and its inability to get its story out in the face of unremitting hostility to its message.

That has to be a source of concern. Every day in the press it is one thing after the next of negative news, not positive news. Even news that should be positive gets a negative spin. The party always seems on the defensive and shrill in its responses. Even though the minority of people read the newspapers and listen to the mainstream radio, the trend is negative PLP not positive and there is at this point no concerted attention toward reversing that negativity. It is leaving the troops demoralized and confused. The people that read the newspapers are the elites and these elites include PLP leaders as well and they look as strange as it may seem to the mainstream press for approval, so the unremitting negativity must be taking a psychological toll on the elites themselves. One positive Tribune headline and all is forgiven, if you know what we mean.

An editorial in this spot warned so many times about a tipping point, about death by a thousand cuts. When will we learn? Will it be when we are all sitting in the Opposition benches again and saying if only we had.

All the oxygen is being sucked out of the room and we seem to keep starting the combustion.

Enough already.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 24th September, 2016: 287,074;
Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 24th September, 2016: 813,644;
Number of hits for the year 2016 up to Saturday 24th September, 2016 up to midnight: 9,724,016.