Immigration employees charged as Minister’s daughter goes free
One day after police decided not to pursue criminal charges against Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson’s daughter, who was arrested on Tuesday for hanging out at a bar after curfew with no face mask on, two Department of Immigration employees were charged in the Magistrates Court.
On Friday, the Financial Crimes Investigation Branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force placed the two employees from the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and the Department of Immigration before the Magistrates Court on Fraud and Corruption-related charges.
The Ministry, headed by Elsworth Johnson, said in a statement on Friday, “In 2017, this administration came into office with the objective of eliminating corruption and creating greater accountability within this government.”
“In this time of public health and economic challenges it is even more crucial that all of us act responsibly and professionally,” the statement continued.
However, critics have pointed out the hypocrisy that Johnson’s ministry would release a statement on two others who had been put before the courts when just one day earlier his daughter escaped criminal charges because of who her father is.
What about how irresponsibly his daughter acted by hanging out in a bar, that should’ve been closed, past curfew with no mask on and no social distancing?
On Tuesday night, police officers shut down Village Pub, located on Balfour Avenue and Miami Street, and arrested 20 people after curfew, including Johnson’s daughter and a police officer.
However, RBPF sources tell the Gallery that police were advised to let them all go to spare Johnson the embarrassment of having his daughter charged for all to see.
Though his daughter breached multiple Covid-19 orders, Johnson has warned permit holders who breach COVID-19 emergency orders, inclusive of the 24-hour curfew and social distancing measures, that there will be consequences, including a block on the renewal of their permits or status.
“This is a worldwide serious matter and if a non-national is affected, a Bahamian is affected. We are all in this boat, for everybody in The Bahamas, together. We want everybody to act reasonably and properly in this time and follow the order,” Johnson said on March 31.
Though Johnson has often preached about transparency and letting the chips fall where they may, authorities determined that should not be the case when it comes to a cabinet minister’s daughter. Never mind that she was caught breaking covid restrictions, like hundreds of others.
Johnson’s daughter was too good to face charges but coconut boy Marvin Joseph wasn’t well-connected enough to avoid being arrested and fined $800 for trying to support his family.
Neither was Garnette Sweeting, 39, who was fined $250 after he was found on University Drive around 10pm on June 5. He said that he left home to visit his grandmother who was dying from cancer. He said he really wanted to see her because his dad died from the same disease two years earlier.
“As I have said over and over again, there is only one standard. We govern by the rule of law, the laws of The Bahamas,” Johnson said on November 25, 2019.
Apparently the rule of law doesn’t apply when daddy serves in Cabinet.