COMMENTARY BY BAHAMAS SCOOP
I note that six people have been murdered in the past seven days with the victim of a seventh shooting clinging to life in hospital; he was shot multiple time with a high-powered rifle. As The Bahamas burns, the FNM government is totally consumed with political retribution.
I also note that hundreds of workers in the public service have been summarily dismissed; contract workers in the foreign service have been recalled with no money to bring them home and over five thousand students who graduated last month are in the labour market in search of jobs. As important as the dignity and security of work is to our people, political retribution is the top priority of the FNM government.
I note that electricity costs have increased and there remains no plan to reduce electricity cost. Further, thousands of households remain off the electrical grid and thousands are living in darkness. Lower electricity cost is a priority for Bahamians but political retribution is the priority for the FNM government.
I spoke to a number of persons over the weekend and the general message was “nothing has changed.” They are angry that the FNM government reneged on their promise to repeal VAT on a number of items such as food, electricity, education and health care; the FNM government instead gave millions of dollars unsolicited to rich merchants in the form of reduced business license fees.
Bahamians must stand up and march against political victimization, retribution and intimidation as it strikes at the foundation of our democracy which is the prevalence of the rule of law. It is the PLP politicians today but tomorrow it could be any Bahamian who a politician has a vendetta against. There appears to be no restraint against the use of state power by FNM politicians to carry out a vendetta against any person for whatever reason. The FNM as a political organization can say whatever they wish about the PLP or personalities within that organization but the instruments of the state cannot be used or seem to be used to carry out what appears to be political persecutorial activities for the purposes of gaining a political advantage.
WHAT KIND OF DICTATORSHIP AND DESPOTIC COUNTRY DO WE LIVE IN?
The revelations by former House member and former State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez confirmed what many suspected all along but the revelations are still shocking.
Gomez said the manner in which the FNM government are using the police force to pursue corruption cases before legislation is put in place to provide the legal frame work through an established independent anti-corruption agency has opened the system to abuse, bias and interference from the governing party. This is a serious indictment against the government and an assault on our personal freedoms and democracy generally.
According to Gomez, an unnamed source in the RBPF, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that government officials have given specific directions for police to “go after” certain investigations.
“It’s not us, it’s them,” one senior police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. “That shouldn’t be their number one focus. Don’t mind what they say, we can’t do anything without government because we know where our directives come from.”
The criteria of the United Nations’ convention on corruption is very clear. Specialized and more importantly independent anti-corruption agencies are to be established to conduct such corruption probes. Further, the enabling legislation governing the work of such bodies mandates its independence to avoid political interference, pollution, intimidation, persecution and influence.
According to Gomez, “the Anti-Corruption Unit in the police force has no statutory basis at all here. It’s adjunct of the police department and to the extent that it appears the minister of national security is directly involved in the direction of what is going on, that impairs the independence of the police department.”
The irony and rank hypocrisy of this evil and illegal exercise is that the opposition FNM railed against the NIA because of the absence of enabling legislation. National Security Minister Dames unwittingly told the Tribune that going after these PLP politicians was such a priority of the Minnis administration that the FNM cabinet could not possibly wait for legislation. But why this big rush to judgment? What is the urgency?
All indications to date are that the police are receiving all of their instructions from the political directorate. Also, COP Greenslade said that the police received no official complaint on these matters being prosecuted. Whenever the police speak anonymously, they confirm that politicians are instructing them. Wow. What has the Bahamas come to in less than 100 days.