Probe into alleged vote buying

FLASHBACK: A woman votes during the May 7 general election in The Bahamas.

NASSAU — An investigation has been launched into the conduct of plainclothes police officers who allegedly protected Free National Movement operatives as they sought to buy votes ahead of the May 7 general election, Minister of State for National‚Security Keith Bell revealed yesterday.

As previously reported by The Nassau Guardian, in a letter dated May 30, Bell requested that Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade launch an investigation into the matter.

In the letter, Bell said he observed FNM‚operatives giving out white envelopes containing $250, although he has not yet named any specific officers.

Bell said he expects the commissioner to complete a full investigation into the matter, but was unable to provide a time frame of when that may be completed.

“Having been a police officer myself, I have the utmost confidence, having worked along with this commissioner – just as he told the media – in time he is prepared to do certain things. I believe he will give me a report accordingly,” Bell said.

“There are some matters you have to deal with, some matters where you have to tread very cautiously and others you have to use for informational and intelligence purposes.

“I am satisfied that the commissioner has the matter in hand, and will do what he thinks is necessary and advise us accordingly.”

When the allegations first came to light in June, Bell was heavily criticized by the Opposition, who claimed he appeared to be withholding information.

Free National Movement Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said Bell had a responsibility to provide names and questioned why he had not done so.

He added that the FNM had no information of any member of the party buying votes.

However, Bell said yesterday that it is an ongoing investigation and he was satisfied that he had fulfilled his responsibility in the matter.

He said he was confident that the government will seek to ensure that what the Christie administration claims occurred in the last election will not happen moving forward.

“The prime minister has indicated that we are dealing with electoral reform from the initial inception of campaign finance all the way upwards toward the issuing of contracts up to the day of the election,” Bell said. (Nassau Guardian)

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