“I was the victim,” says Grand Bahama attorney and Save The Bays director, Fred Smith, QC, expressing disbelief at the charges of “causing harm” to another man filed against him this week in relation to a now infamous Jaws beach altercation that occurred in April of this year.
“I am innocent of the charges brought against me,” says Mr. Smith. “It sets a horrible precedent within the Bahamian justice system when the victim is charged with a crime due to their attempt to escape a potentially life-threatening attack upon them.”
Smith addressed media who questioned him during a press conference on human rights in Grand Bahama.
“I was peacefully investigating the building of a dock that was being built without a permit on Jaws beach in my capacity as a director of the Save The Bays organization when Mr. Keod Smith incited the group of young men in the vicinity to attack me.”
Fred Smith claims that the group, including former M.P. and attorney for Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard, Keod Smith, assaulted him before causing over $1,000 worth of damage to his vehicle when he sought refuge within it.
Video footage of the attack shows Keod Smith removing what appears to be a piece of metal pipe from the shattered rear windshield of the vehicle while warning the Save The Bays director not to return to the area as he drove away.
“Keod Smith encouraged the young men to corner me. He encouraged them to beat on my car. These young men possessed sticks, hammers and other potentially deadly weapons. I am being accused of injuring one of the young men with my vehicle but I do not recall striking or running over anyone during my escape. I simply wanted to get away from that violent mob. Apparently, in The Bahamas it is a criminal offence to escape death when some one’s trying to kill you.”
Mr. Smith went on to question the events that led to his arrest.
“The Save The Bays organization has written numerous letters to Transport Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin, Prime Minister Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Davis, and many other government officials asking them about the dredging and building without a permit going on at Nygard Cay and have not received a single answer. Instead, the government is spending precious tax payer”s dollars to investigate a clearly innocent man.”
Since its formation in May of this year, Save The Bays stated mission has been to preserve and protect the environmental and ecological balance of The Bahamas marine environment. In past months, its activities have targeted the dredging and construction activities occurring in and near New Providence’s Clifton Bay, which has included the granting of a judicial review of the dredging at Simm’s Point where Nygard Cay is located.
The organization is currently leading a petition drive asking Prime Minister Christie to take on a variety of issues affecting the environment, including the passing of an Environmental Protection Act and a Freedom of Information Act.
So far, the petition, which is hosted at Change.org, has collected over 4,000 signatures.
By Diane Phillips & Associates