Leading Attorney says Mayaguana administrator Zephania Newbold must be removed from his role!

Wayne Munroe QC

Tribune Staff Reporter

ATTORNEY Wayne Munroe yesterday called for the removal of Mayaguana administrator Zephania Newbold because he publicly revealed what allegedly took place regarding the release of a man he had earlier convicted.

The matter has placed MICAL MP V Alfred Gray in the hot seat over his alleged involvement in the man’s release. This came after the Free National Movement raised concerns last week that Mr Gray had allegedly interfered in the judicial process when Mr Gray contacted the administrator to offer “legal advice” about the case. The administrator reportedly released the man, who he had earlier convicted to a three-month prison term, shortly after that phone call.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that Mr Gray had urged him to transfer the local government portfolio to another minister pending the outcome of a police probe into the matter.

However, Mr Munroe told The Tribune that he was unsure why much of the backlash was being directed toward Mr Gray. Instead, he said, Bahamians should question why an island administrator was allowed to try a case that would warrant bail or imprisonment.

Mr Munroe said: “The most striking position here is he should be removed for the simple fact of speaking publicly about his judicial function. If a judge or a magistrate did such a thing he or she would be promptly removed.

“How is it in 2015 that an island administrator is trying these kinds of cases?

“My question is why in this modern day and time wasn’t a trained judicial officer sent to the island?

“I see this as a grave failure of the system that more Bahamians need to question and demand answers on.”

Mr Munroe raised concerns over other judicial decisions that Mr Newbold might have made during his time as Mayaguana’s administrator.

“Again I ask, why is he trying cases?”

The FNM has accused Mr Gray of an abuse of power after he contacted Mr Newbold last week to offer what he has called “legal advice” regarding a young man convicted in his constituency. Although Mr Gray has confirmed that he did contact the island administrator, he has strongly denied that he in any way attempted to sway the course of justice.

Mr Newbold, a local magistrate, reportedly told The Nassau Guardian on Tuesday that he released the convict “after an order came forth”, but he was not released on bail.

Mr Gray had previously said he understood that the convict was released on bail because he had lodged an appeal against his conviction.