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On the Arrests of DNA Activists

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Hon. Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador
Party Leader

The arrest of DNA Leader Arinithia Komolafe yesterday was shocking but not surprising. Shocking because the criminal justice system should never be used by a Prime Minister against his political opponents – but unsurprising because Hubert Minnis has repeatedly shown himself willing to cross lines that should never be crossed in a democracy.

He spent millions of taxpayer dollars to unsuccessfully prosecute political opponents. The members of his Cabinet not only failed to stand in his way but aided him by awarding a million-dollar contract to a key witness on the eve of one trial and presided over the altering of evidence in another.

While Minnis runs ads on television that attempt to persuade Bahamians that (despite all the evidence to the contrary) he cares about them, in the shadows millions are spent on nasty lies from fake Facebook accounts, polluting social media and public discourse.

The Prime Minister recently said he thought of opposition Parliamentarians as “contaminants” that needed to be wiped out. He is telling us as clearly as possible that he fantasizes about a Parliament in which his lies, blunders, inside deals, and million-dollar mistakes go unchallenged. He wants applause, not accountability. In fact, he has repeatedly ignored or undermined accountability mechanisms; he does not believe that the people or their representatives deserve access to the truth.

I spoke with Mrs. Komolafe yesterday to express solidarity and to offer to assist; I continue to be in contact with her counsel. It is clear to the Bahamian people that they were arrested for challenging the Competent Authority and for daring to raise their voices in opposition to the ongoing state of emergency.

It is long past time for Minnis to prove to the public that each of the existing Emergency Orders, including the curfew, can be justified by data and science. When a government restricts the freedom of the movement of its citizens, the people deserve to know — at a minimum — whether science supports that restriction. Given how Minnis has behaved, many Bahamians are skeptical that the ongoing state of emergency is motivated by public health concerns.

We are facing a terrible economic crisis in this country, but Minnis is focused on how to win an election despite his unpopularity, not on providing relief to Bahamian families or rescuing the economy.

Again and again, he has shown that truth and fair play are unimportant to him. Brace yourselves, fellow citizens — in the coming weeks, his fear of losing power will likely drive him to bigger and bigger lies and more retaliation against his critics.