Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest yesterday revealed that police believe that political operatives were responsible for bringing accused murderers and other violent offenders to last week’s protest against the sale of a majority stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC).
Mr Turnquest made the revelation just before completing his mid-year budget contribution in the House of Assembly.
“There were persons out there known to the police for armed robbery, drug arrest, causing harm, possession of ammunition and firearms, assault with a deadly weapon, murder, possession of firearms, murder, rape, armed robbery and shopbreaking, kidnapping, stealing and threats of death, house and shopbreaking, possession of dangerous drugs,” the Minister said.
“What is not acceptable is when political operatives bring unsavory criminal characters as part of the demonstration who are uncontrollable,” he added.
Turnquest did not reveal the identities of the people he refered to, nor did he accuse a particular politician or party of bringing violent offenders to the protest.
He did say that people the police consider dangerous criminals were “clearly identifiable” in the crowd of unruly protestors.
Mr Turnquest concluded by warning lawmakers to be cautious regarding the people they associate with.
Obie Wilchcombe, opposition leader of business in the House, was quick to insist that the PLP was “not responsible for any unsavory characters,” at the protest. However, he stopped short of saying that freelance PLP operatives were not involved.
The protest, allegedly organized by a group known as “Save BTC for Bahamians”, also included BTC union representatives and a large contingent of PLP supporters and politicians.
PLP leader Perry Chrisite has said he knows nothing about the PLP paying people to show up in Rawson Square, although witnesses say they saw a bus full of PLP supporters being off-loaded near the Post Office.
Last week, PLP MP for Fox Hill, Fred Mitchell all but admitted that the PLP bussed in protestors by saying, “So what if they were paid?”
“To mobilise people takes resources, food, busses, communication, emergency care – to name a few of the possible expenses,” Mitchell said.