Rev. Keith Russell of the First Baptist Church of Freeport, Grand Bahama wrote this on his Facebook page on 9th February 2019. He is the first of civil society in a leading position to state the issue so clearly.
Exhibit F. S. 11
Let’s be clear. This government administration is corrupt. The Minister of National Security, Marvin Dames, is corrupt; the Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands is corrupt; the Attorney General, Carl Bethel is corrupt; high ranking officials of the Royal Bahamas Police Force are corrupt; this is what the evidence in the Frank Smith case has revealed beyond the shadow of and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. The conduct of these persons is beyond egregious and reprehensible; it is nakedly immoral and brazenly wicked. We should not only be asking for their resignations, we should be hauling them before the courts and charging them with criminal conspiracy. Moreover, their behaviour is a threat to our democracy, a danger to our national security and a hazard to our nation’s stability; not to mention an affront to common decency.
The Chief Magistrate, Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, in her ruling said that Exhibit F. S. 11, the call log between Barbara Hanna, the chief witness for the prosecution, and Mr. Frank Smith, the accused, was manipulated. In other words, it was altered, changed to fit the contemptible narrative that this conspiratorial gang was trying to weave. In fact, the Queen’s Counsel, Edward Jenkins, to whom we the people paid those exorbitant fees to prosecute Mr. Smith, threw Exhibit F. S. 11 out, calling it flawed and fraudulent. He said that he would no longer rely on it as evidence and asked the defence not to refer to it again.
Miss. Hanna, the chief witness, stated in court that she didn’t want to be there; that she didn’t know why she was there; that she felt used and manipulated. And she, conveniently, received a cleaning contract for almost 2 million dollars a day before she was to testify, a contract which was almost hand delivered to her by the Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands. Was this a bribe, an inducement to overcome her negative feelings and appear in court? And why is Dr. Duane Sands calling this woman in the first place? Calling her may not be illegal, but it is certainly unethical; at the least inappropriate and unbecoming of a sitting minister. And why is Mr. Marvin Dames having private meetings with Miss Hanna while this case in progress? What kind of skulduggery is this? And from a former high-ranking police officer who ought to know better. Moreover, he is a part of an administration whose campaign mantra was stumping out corruption. Where is the ring master who is supposed to be controlling these clowns? I can’t hear a word from him. I guess birds of a feather flock together.
The chief magistrate was right to dismiss this nonsense. But, alas, this administration is not satisfied; they would not let it go. They are appealing. But the money for this travesty is not coming out of their pockets. This administration cannot find money to pay nurses, physicians, students on scholarship, teachers, contract workers, or to rebuild Ragged Island, but they can find more money to spend on this charade. This is asinine and unconscionable. And somebody in their ranks, who can still find their moral compass, or who still has a shred of decency left, or a modicum of common sense, ought to tell them that this action is also ill-advised. Something is rotten in Denmark! And we the people need to clean up this stink!
I write; you decide.