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Opening Pandora’s box

Published: Sep 03, 2013

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Dear Editor,

I hold no brief for the FNM, and I am not a spear carrier for its leader, Dr. Hubert A. Minnis (FNM-Killarney). The party and the leader were both wrong, in my view, for the manner in which they addressed the alleged abuse of Cuban detainees at the detention center, allegedly at the hands of some officers.

All of my life, I have been and remain a strong proponent of the truth being exposed or told in any and all circumstances. Having said that, however, no one, especially politicians and their political allies, should ever rush to judgment and put out into the public domain what they call “the truth” without conclusive and verifiable evidence.

Yes, there is an allegedly leaked internally generated report produced by a senior intelligence officer of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force but what independent input and/or medical reports were considered when the same was being generated? Were any people other than officers interviewed and what empirical evidence was proffered?

Whoever the advisors are to the FNM and its leader, a grave disservice was done, in my opinion, when they advised that they deal with the bungled diplomatic fiasco by the minister of foreign affairs and immigration.

The minister once said that he had “a toolbox”. Whether or not he has one and exactly what he meant is not known to me. What I do know, however, is that a Pandora’s box has now been opened and the contents are not pretty.

It is now critical for the Freedom of Information Act to be gazetted and brought into force. Mind you, it alone will not be a panacea for transparency in government. Our politicians are some of the best operatives ever seen and they and their minions will quickly find ways and means to cover up, dissemble and filibuster any and all attempts to wrest the truth out in many cases.

What is disingenuous, in the extreme, is that the former minister of foreign affairs and immigration, who himself presided over the detention center at one point, had to deal with several cases of alleged abuse and escape. At least one report was compiled under his watch and its public release was promised.

Of course, the public never saw that report and absolutely no explanation was ever given as to why it was kept under wraps. I am certain that most adult Bahamians will recall that close to 100 Haitians were released from the detention center on the alleged fiat of then Prime Minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham shortly after the earthquake in that country. Did they ever return?

The FNM and the leader of that party, however, are not traitors in any way, shape or form. The current minister should be shuffled to another ministry or he should retain foreign affairs only. When it comes down to immigration matters he is, clearly, beyond his pay grade. Maybe he is too busy seeking to practice shuffle diplomacy. By the way, what are the concrete results of such foreign escapades?

Minnis is slowly rising up to leadership standards and may well go to the top of the class if he would pause and reset some of his political stances. He also needs, urgently, to get rid of some of his advisors who are really Ingrahamites, or wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are, I submit, setting him up.

To God then, in all things, be the glory.

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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