PLP: PM's response on convictions 'insulting and venomous

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March 14, 2012

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) yesterday branded Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham as a 'bully' who has 'lashed out' at The Nassau Guardian for exposing inaccuracies in statistics his government has provided.
The PLP said the prime minister has resorted to throwing temper tantrums instead of providing straight answers to the press in the face of criticism. The Opposition added that it supported the media in their attempts to hold the Ingraham administration to a high degree of scrutiny.
The comments came after The Nassau Guardian revealed inaccuracies in conviction statistics that were tabled in the Senate by Attorney General John Delaney. It was not the first time The Guardian exposed discrepancies in information Delaney provided on convictions.
Last month, the senator tabled the names of people convicted during the Progressive Liberal Party's last term in office and compared them to convictions under the Free National Movement's term, from June 2007 up to February 21, 2012.
Delaney said only nine people were convicted of murder under the PLP while 26 were convicted of the same charge under the FNM's current term.
However, The Nassau Guardian found that five of those people should not have been included on Delaney's list because the convictions were overturned or reduced on appeal.
When confronted about the inaccuracies on Monday, Ingraham accused The Guardian of 'nitpicking'.
"I find this unbelievable," he said. "I find it's a nitpicking exercise. If this is the basis of what you put forward in the story, that's a great distortion.
"In fact, a political party involved in a campaign would not put forward such a thing. That's the height of propaganda and unbecoming of a newspaper. It doesn't matter if it was overturned. If I say that you are convicted and it gets overturned by the next court, you were still convicted. Let's get that straight."
Yesterday, the PLP said the prime minister's response was insulting and venomous.
"The Progressive Liberal Party supports the Bahamian media's attempts to gain a fuller picture of the crisis facing the nation. This is not the first time inaccurate or incomplete statistics have been presented by this government," said the party in a statement.
"No one in The Bahamas is safe, it would seem, from the prime minister's special brand of venom. Ingraham is a bully.
"He insults and attacks anyone who dares disagree with him. Small wonder that many Bahamians have begun to refer to Ingraham, who has been prime minister for 15 out of the last 20 years, as a dictator."
The PLP said in spite of the prime minister's tough talk about solving crime during the 2007 election campaign, murders and other violent incidents have continued to rise under the FNM.
The party also hit out at the Ingraham administration for dismantling its 'Swift Justice' program after the last election.
"When Perry Christie took office in 2002, he inherited a criminal justice system with terrible problems and a massive backlog of pending cases.
"Realizing that the system needed real reform, the PLP instituted Swift Justice, a program which ensured better coordination [among] law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, so that accused people might be more swiftly tried.
"The program had begun to show real success, but the FNM cancelled the program when they came to power. Swift Justice was a victim -- like Urban Renewal, Witness Protection and School Policing -- of the FNM's petty politics."

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 03/14/2012    Category : Nassau Guardian Stories

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