By: Hon. Frank Smith
In Parliament on February 13th, 2008, I asked certain questions of the Minister of State for Finance, Hon. Zhivargo Laing concerning his involvement, if any, in the importation of the Mona-vie Drink by a relative of his.
Minister Laing refused to answer the question and promised to provide what he called “a full report”.
Subsequent to the February 13th, 2008, Parliament met twice but on neither occasion did Minister Laing present his “full report”. In an address to the 50th Convention of the PLP, I made a lengthy reference to the fact that the wait was on a “full report” from Minister Laing. My speech was carried live on three (3) television stations, several radio stations and via the internet. Subsequently it was reported on in the print media and seems reasonable to presume that this was a wide enough circulation, for Minister Laing to have been reminded of his obligation he owed to the Bahamian people.
Yet nothing happened.
In Parliament on Wednesday February 27th, 2008 I returned to the subject and was pleased by Minister Laing’s assurance that the “full report” was prepared. However, I was amazed by his assertion that he was not in a position to present it, because he had to follow what he called “the government agenda”. Mr. Laing implied that somehow his cabinet colleagues were preventing him from doing the right thing, that of honoring his promise.
On Thursday February 28th, 2008 the Bahama Journal became the first newspaper to demonstrate the view that the circumstances warranted a front page lead story and carried a banner – “Minister Under Pressure”. That same afternoon Minister Laing made a statement in parliament, which was reported on Mar 1, 2008 by the Bahama Journal – “Laing Denies Wrongdoing”. This opportunity is taken to publicly asked Minister Laing, whether his statement in parliament represents “the full report” which he had promised.
This opportunity is provided before my colleagues, and I begin commenting in detail on the substance of his statement to Parliament and he is encouraged to accept it as another chance to “come clean” .