Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Dr Duane Sands’ resignation is unprecedented in The Bahamas parliamentary history - in significance and substance


By Gilbert Morris:

This is how one should think about The Hon. Dr Duane Sands MP’s departure:

First, overall - I speak here of the public handwringing and heaving hosannas - it’s really much ado about large numbers of Bahamians are about to starve.

Second, As a specific matter, Dr Sands’ resignation is unprecedented in our parliamentary history in significance and substance.

Third, significantly, Dr Sands breached the rules - with the assistance of other ministers - but importantly not to benefit himself or friends. That is a clear significant distinction from previous breaches where a minister would have had his lackey junglisses selling those swabs on the streets!

Dr Sands, it is clear to see was desperately singleminded in getting the swabs for the legitimate purposes. (For those who refuse to think, I hope you can see, I’m not absolving him of breaching the rules, (Aristotle said reasons for errors matter), as such I am merely pointing out that his purposes were legitimate, which has hardly ever been the case so far as I can recall).

What it means is if we are now going to enforce rules against persons with clear good intentions, then every breach of rules must be addressed throughout all of government!

Fourth, in substance, Dr Sands letter is a study in the proper way to apologise in public office. (a.) He took responsibility, (b.) then explained his state of mind, (c.) But didn’t use his state of mind as an excuse, proof of which is offering his resignation after explaining his thinking and objectives.

This constitutes an act of the finest ministerial propriety.

Finally, when a Minister acts in significance and substance as Dr Sands did though it’s hard, it’s still the prerogative of any Prime Minister to accept the resignation. The problem is it forces a “strict adherence rule” (Think of Shylock’s “pound of flesh” in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”): that means any other Minister who aided his - since we are enforcing rules with no mercy for legitimate intent - they should also be disciplined.

Moreover, we must understand how LAW IS REFLEXIVE: that means every act (Dr Sands’) and every decision (Dr Minnis’) establishes a standard that must be maintained. Dr Sands’s act and the Prime Minister’s acceptance establishes a foundation for rule-following and everything and everyone afoul of such rules rendering it frowsy with uncertainty must be dismantled, dismissed, or disciplined respectively.

So that means every police officer or civil servant on duty without a mask or any public official who breaches the rule should be disciplined, because that is the benchmark that Dr Sands’s act of grace and the Prime Minister’s acceptance establishes.

It also means any elected person with a conflict of interest or an undeclared interest or any arrangement that amounts to an untendered advantage must also be squashed!