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‘Anti-corruption efforts will improve country’s reputation’

  • Darren Henfield.

SLOAN SMITH
Guardian Staff Reporter
sloan@nasguard.com

Published: Aug 11, 2017

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield yesterday dismissed Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis’ concerns about The Bahamas’ reputation following the arrests and subsequent arraignments of three former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) parliamentarians.

Henfield said such claims are unfounded.

He insisted that the government’s anti-corruption efforts will only improve how the country is seen internationally.

“I think a concerted effort to remove corruption from government really enhances our purview or the way the international community views The Bahamas,” Henfield said.

“Small and developing island states such as ours suffer tremendously because of corruption, and we are at a strategic inflection point, I believe, in the history of our country, where we are at a fork in the road and depending on which one we take... we swim or sink.

“I think international communities want to do business in countries where there is less corruption.

“And so, this effort to stamp out corruption is one that we had a mandate for as a government, and it is one that we will continue.

“Wherever we find corruption, we will stamp it out.”

Former Minister of the Environment Kenred Dorsett was charged in a magistrate's court on July 13 with four counts of bribery, four counts of extortion and one count of misconduct in public office.

Former PLP Senator Frank Smith was charged on July 21 with 13 counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion and a single count of bribery.

Former Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson was charged on August 3 with two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion, two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, 15 counts of extortion, 16 counts of bribery and one count of misconduct in public office.

Last week, Davis charged that while the arrests and subsequent arraignments of the former parliamentarians hurt the PLP, those arrests will do even more damage to the country’s image.

“We are hearing it already,” Davis told the media.

“We are getting calls not just from across the country, but from around the Caribbean about how these are being played out in the general public, particularly [from] the investment community.

“...Where is this going to be going?

“See, they may think that they are hurting the PLP; yes, while they may be hurting the PLP, they are doing more damage to the country.”

Speaking further to the issue, Henfield said, “This push toward anti-corruption, in my personal opinion, is not only for those who may have transgressed in the past, but it’s very important for us who have just come and for the future, that we appreciate that, there will be no tolerance in The Bahamas for any corruption going forward, is our hope.”

 

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