By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Free National Movement is “eating its words” on major issues it admonished the former Christie administration over, according to retired Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer.
In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Dame Joan said she was shocked at how much the Minnis administration has “come around” on severa policies and strategies it criticised while in opposition.
Referencing to the recent passage of the Interception of Communications Bill (ICB) 2017, and the current run of success at Baha Mar, Dame Joan said the current government stands as evidence of why political organisations should “be careful of what they say while in opposition.”
In the lead up the last election Dame Joan railed against the Christie administration for its handling of the controversial legislation and its timing.
Calling the bill “suspicious” on several occasions, she at one point penned an open letter in which she questioned the bill’s intent and level of transparency place around it.
When contacted by The Tribune yesterday, Dame Joan questioned if anything had “really changed”.
“With (the PLP) we got them to slow down and come to us on this bill. This group was a part of that push and now, I can’t believe it, they jump right on it and push basically the same thing on us.”
She continued: “The government should have come to the people and consulted them. Like the last group, where is the green and white papers on this Bill? I mean, we haven’t seen anything but the reports that they were tweaking it and making changes.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
When asked if she was, at any point, consulted by the Minnis administration on the Bill, Dame Joan added: “Consult me? No, they never consulted me or anybody that I know of, on this. They came in and ran straight to this and forgot the promises they made.”
Dame Joan said she was of the understanding the bill would be completely overhauled and presented for consultation, prior to being tabled in Parliament.
“I don’t think that happened,” she added.
“I don’t know what happened. It’s like this government is all in the business of following the last. Where is the respect for the people?
“When you consider this and consider Baha Mar, they are eating a lot of the words it tossed at the last government. It’s shocking. But I have been around and I know better, this doesn’t shock me,” she furthered.
Dame Joan was referring to Aviation and Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar’s recent admission that his views on Baha Mar had changed - now publicly praising the resort he preivously criticised .
“It’s something to see these things play out,” Dame Joan said. “They say something today, and tomorrow they play forget. There is nothing new under the sun.
“They do what the have to do for the US, and they do what they have to do for the UN; but where is the effort for the Bahamians? That is what I want to know.
“The people deserve better.”
The ICB 2017 has now moved to the Senate for debate and passage.