By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
WATER and Sewerage Corporation board director Bennett Minnis yesterday doubled down on his viral homophobic rant against the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party.
Mr Minnis insists his attack on PLP executives was a reaction to their recent presence at his late cousin Sir Henry Milton Taylor’s grave in Clarence Town, Long Island.
In a voice note widely circulated on social media, the Free National Movement’s Mount Moriah constituency association chairman called the Official Opposition a party of “corrupt, thieving, no good, bastard, homosexual, African monkeys”.
The PLP has called for the government to force Mr Minnis to resign from his WSC post, and for the Free National Movement to condemn his remarks.
PLP leader Philip “Brave” Davis added the matter has also been referred to Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson due to Mr Minnis’ threat to block party executives from entering Clarence Town again.
Yesterday, FNM chairman Carl Culmer did not directly condemn or justify Mr Minnis’ comments, but said the PLP should “clean their own doorstep”.
Mr Minnis told this newspaper the PLP’s recent presence at the gravesite incensed relatives. He further alleged the party did not get permission from the family to hold a memorial service at the site.
“They came and did that stuff without contacting family members and they had no right,” said Mr Minnis, who said he was the family’s spokesman.
“Just the audacity,” Mr Minnis continued, “let them make a big fuss, it don’t move me no way. I don’t care. If the prime minister move me from the board then I accept it, but I don’t think he will because the PLP cussing the FNM everyday, cussing the prime minister, they playing the race card with Brent [Symonette]. I don’t see what they making a big fuss about it. They wasting their time.”
Mr Minnis said: “They went to Long Island to my cousin’s grave. They had no right carrying they [homophobic slur] around the grave. I have a right to say what I want to say. I said what I said, and I mean what I said.”
Sir Henry was one of the founders of the PLP and the country’s third governor general.
Mr Davis and PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell led an annual memorial service for Sir Henry last week, and hoisted a flag at his grave in the Catholic cemetery with his grandniece Erica Darville. The party also hosted a similar event last year.
Yesterday, Mr Minnis told The Tribune he stood by his voice note description of Mr Davis as a “black African monkey.”
He also continued his attack on Mr Mitchell, repeatedly calling him a (slur omitted) during an interview yesterday.
However, Mr Minnis explained his hate-filled comments were only directed at the party’s leadership and not its members.
He told The Tribune he was self-employed and not beholden to the government post, adding he has never received a public contract. Mr Minnis said he has received many calls of support for his position, and brushed off claims that he had made the recording while intoxicated.
“I’m not worried about the PLP. I don’t like them, never liked them, and I’m not talking about ordinary PLP supporters, just the leadership. I never liked them from Pindling, to Christie, to now Brave. I directed that at the leadership of the party, it ain’t have nothing to do with race. Brave is a black African monkey and I am a black Long Island man.
“I don’t care what they have to say about me, you can kill the body, but not the soul.”
Mr Minnis added: “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke cigarettes, I don’t do drugs and I never been lock up. I don’t have no criminal record. I have a clear mind in whatever I say or do.”
Yesterday, Mr Culmer pointed to “PLP operatives” behind nasty and defamatory comments and memes against Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and other FNM ministers and MPs.
Mr Culmer insisted the PLP did not have the moral compass to pass judgment.
“At the end of the day, if they want to talk about morals – I’m not trying to justify – but what I’m saying is you can’t look at it from one side of it. For months, the PLP has all kind of nasty memes and notes and [Mr Mitchell] has not once condemned it. All this prejudice and disgrace, clean their own doorstep before you try clean someone else,” Mr Culmer said.
“There are a number of people behind the scenes making all the nasty memes. The PLP don’t have the moral compass nor in the position to advise anybody about prejudice and all the nonsense.”