Following the public attack on former Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands by his former cabinet colleague Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, the PLP is pushing for an independent investigation into the list of Hurricane Dorian victims.
“We are calling for an independent inquiry either by outside police investigators or through a Commission of Inquiry to determine the fate of the missing in Abaco and Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian,” PLP leader Philip Davis said in a statement.
Sands told parliament that the list containing hundreds or thousands of names of missing persons was “pruned” after it was turned over to the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Bahamians deserve an explanation.
Dames was present during Sands’ budget contribution but said nothing until days later.
Last month, Assistant Commissioner Solomon Cash said the missing persons list has 33 names. On Sunday, Dames said the list has 279 names.
“The clashing narratives within the Minnis Administration about the number of persons missing in the wake of Hurricane Dorian do not go down well with the public,” said Davis.
“The PLP is not interested in the intra party bickering. The country needs to know the facts. How many are missing or lost and presumed dead? What are their names? What is responsible for their status? We do not need the horse is dead and the cow is fat. Just the facts,” he added.
“FNM ministers, party operatives and certain media outlets are woefully projecting this matter as a competition about 'whose story is better'. Some operatives claim the inconsistent statement by Dr. Duane Sands, former Minister of Health is the truth. Others say, the nine month absence of clarity by Marvin Dames, Minister of National Security - a former police officer who had aspired to become Commissioner of Police - in the face of the worst tragedy in the independent Bahamas, is the story to be preferred.”
However, Davis said the Opposition believes that the indictment against the Government for confusing the number of the missing against the institutional and public need, demands an urgency for clarity, truth of process and transparency.
“It took four days for the National Security Minister to respond to Dr. Sands. Mr. Dames' statement therefore does not have the ring of truth.”
”Missing among the key words of Mr. Dames' press statement is the word urgency. Urgency of transparency. Urgency of truth. Urgency of compassion,” Davis said.