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2003-02-03 16:44:46

Threats Against Christie's Life "Unsubstantiated"

Police continue to investigate possible threats.

Police investigations into alleged threats made against Prime Minister Perry Christie and other top officials have revealed that the tip came from an unsubstantiated source, according to Commissioner of Police, Paul Farquharson.

During a press conference at Police Headquarters late Thursday, Commissioner Farquharson said that on Wednesday January 22, police received information that the prime minister, attorneys Philip Davis and Roger Minnis, Magistrate Carolita Bethel and U.S. DEA agent, Tom Hill, were targets of Jamaican hit men, who intended to shoot-up their residences because of the recent appeal court ruling against accused drug lord Samuel "Ninety" Knowles.

Last week, police armed with machine guns descended on the prime minister's Cable Beach home, to protect him and his family after they had received the intelligence reports.

An investigation revealed that a call had reportedly been received from a Bahamian drug dealer in Jamaica, warning a local attorney about his safety. The names of the prime minister and other persons were not mentioned, Mr. Farquharson said.

Inquiries revealed that the information on the Jamaicans came from an unsubstantiated source and that there was no information to substantiate the threats against the prime minister and other officials.

Commissioner Farquharson said the prime minister was immediately notified about the threats after police received information. The police commissioner, however, would not reveal the name of the local attorney who informed authorities of the threat.

Mr Farquharson said the police officials take every threat seriously and never underestimates any situation.

"I get threatened every day," he said. "People tend to take out their frustration on you, but does that cause you to go into hiding? No," he said.

"We will pursue all threats with great vigour whether they are against the prime minister or against any Bahamian."

The police, meanwhile, have put in place additional security measures for the prime minister and are continuing to investigate all reported threats against his life.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Police Staff Association, Corporal Floyd Bastian, exercised major damage control Thursday, admitting that the association acted "a little hastily" in complaining about the working conditions of the prime minister's bodyguards, and inadvertently overlooked the order of protocol.

Association officials neglected to inform the police commissioner of those concerns and instead complained in the media.

Corporal Bastian said the oversight has since been corrected and he confirmed that adequate facilities are being provided for Mr Christie's aids and guards, as the prime minister renovates his residence. He added that guards are in place, and a patrol car is used as a shelter for the officers during inclement weather.

"The prime minister's household has an excellent working relationship with the officers," he said. "It is my understanding that minor complaints were discussed by the Police Association last Friday and on the weekend, inquiries were conducted.

"The Association did not inform me of any complaint as a result of their inquiries. I saw this story in the press like all other persons. I have spoken to the prime minister about the complaints and action is being taken in regard to the complaints."

Corporal Bastian said the Police Staff Association and the Commissioner's Office enjoy a healthy working relationship in its overall objectives to ensure that the safety and the working environment of all officers are upgraded.

He noted that legislation governing the Police Staff Association gives the organization the authority to look into the welfare of its members and to take certain actions, including the use of the press.

He said, however, that the Act states that concerns should first be brought to the attention of the Commissioner of Police, and if no remedial action is taken, then other recourses are mandated.

By Rogan M. Smith, The Bahama Journal

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