Opposition calls on Hanna-Martin to resign
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Philip Davis last night defended Education Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin’s recent comments on the ongoing deal with Royal Caribbean International (RCI) on Paradise Island as a reflection of his longstanding political advocacy and not a violation of the Ministerial Code.
Hanna-Martin told reporters last week that her stance against the $100 million beach club project remains unchanged.
His comments prompted calls from the official opposition for his resignation as the government announced earlier this month that it had approved the RCI deal be the subject of an environmental impact study and an environmental management plan.
In a report, Davis said HAnna-Martin had not breached the Departmental Code because the RCI agreement was still under review pending environmental approvals.
For his part, Opposition Leader Michael Pintard argued that Hanna-Martin’s comments exposed the dysfunctionality of the Davis-led cabinet and violated Westminster’s principle of collective responsibility.
In a statement released yesterday, Pintard said the country’s Cabinet and Ministry Procedure Manual detailed the fundamental principle of Cabinet unity and called on any minister to resign if he felt conscientiously unable to support a decision made by office.
Pintard pointed to another clause which states that a minister cannot speak publicly or privately against a cabinet decision or against an individual decision of another minister.
“As he is a member of the Government Bench in the House of Assembly or the Senate, he shall not speak or vote on any measure being debated in either House other than along the lines agreed by the Cabinet”, Pintard said.
“Clearly Minister Hanna-Martin is not prepared to live up to the terms of her employment and feels that the Prime Minister, based on his handling of the Alfred Sears and Jobeth Coleby-Davis cases, does not have the courage to fire her.”
In a statement, Davis said Hanna-Martin had full confidence to continue in her ministerial role, calling the commentary surrounding her comments “anxious and mischievous”.
“All Bahamians will have shared my experience of Minister Hanna-Martin that, throughout her long and valuable political career, she always stood up with strength, passion and integrity, on behalf of the Bahamian people,” Davis said.
“In this case, she behaved no differently, when she reiterated her previously publicly expressed views regarding the expectation Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) application.
“The RCCL agreement remains under review, pending the outcome of the environmental impact assessment. This is an important part of the final decision, as we remain committed to ensuring that any decision we make is in the best interest of our country and its people, while protecting our natural resources for future generations.
Davis added: “As such, I am satisfied that she did not violate the Ministerial Code.”
Davis added that he had recently joined Hanna-Martin on a visit to SC McPherson School and witnessed the success of the government’s “Find Every Child” initiative.
“It was heartening to see that our efforts to bring all the children back to class are paying off. Minister Hanna-Martin continues to make an important contribution to our national development, and she has my full confidence to continue to do so,” he said.
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