Hubert Minnis flip flops on Gibson corruption charges
Five years after he vowed to “lock up” members of the former Christie Administration, whom he tried to paint as corrupt, former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is singing a completely different tune now that a member of his short-lived administration has been arraigned on corruption charges.
Amid allegations that disgraced former Water and Sewerage (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson pocketed $1.2 million from the award of WSC contracts during his time in at post, Minnis declared Gibson “is innocent until proven otherwise”.
His comments are in stark contrast to five years ago when Minnis tried his endeavor best to send former PLP cabinet ministers Kenred Dorsett and Shane Gibson as well as former PLP Senator Frank Smith to jail.
Even before the three men were charged in the Magistrates Court, Minnis repeatedly told the public that some of his political opponents would wind up in handcuffs.
In a desperate attempt to secure this outcome, then-Minister of National Security Marvin Dames called the key witness in the Smith trial repeatedly while then-Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands gave the witness a $1.2 million cleaning contract without approval from the Public Hospitals Authority board.
In the Gibson trial, the lead police investigator held joint meetings with the two key witnesses and their lawyers to “synchronize” their statements and delete inconsistencies.
However, not even high-level political scheming could ensure a conviction, with Smith and Gibson being acquitted and Dorsett’s case being thrown out.
However, now that the shoe is on the other foot and the Long Island MP he vociferously defended while in power has been accused of corruption, Minnis suddenly believes a man’s innocence, or guilt, should be determined by the court of law and not the court of public opinion.
Gibson and six others face criminal charges related to the award of contracts at WSC. Documents leaked last year revealed Gibson’s then-fiancée, cousin and Long Island campaign manager were listed as the directors of companies that received lucrative WSC contracts despite lacking the expertise or experience to carry out the scope of works.
The former FNM leader said, “Mr. Gibson is innocent until proven otherwise just like anyone else. That’s a party matter. I’m not the leader. I can’t make a statement or give my personal opinion. That’s a party matter, but he’s innocent until proven otherwise.”
For all his utterances, those closest to Minnis do not expect him to stand by Gibson as the Killarney MP is known for being self-serving, disloyal and cutting ties when things get rough.