Last Updated on Saturday, 4 March 2023, 20:49 by Denis Chabrol
The Bahamas’ Prime Minister Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis on Saturday denied holding talks with Guyana’s Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton on the political situation here and said when the local politician attempted to seek the intervention of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM), he was promptly told to put his concerns in writing.
“When he did attempt to raise matters concerning the issues that he perceive to be, I said ‘well look you need to put that in writing to me as Chairman’ so I didn’t engage him as Chairman,” Mr Davis told Demerara Waves Online News. He said he also suggested that the correspondence be dispatched to the CARICOM Headquarters.
Asked earlier Saturday what The Bahamian Prime Minister said would be done with the information about the political conditions in Guyana, Mr Norton declined to state. “I wouldn’t comment on that,” said Mr Norton who is also the leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).
Prime Minister Davis said Mr Norton started to complain that the ruling party was being racist and divisive and cited an example that the homes of Afro-Guyanese were recently demolished alongside a new road.
He said the five-minute meeting ended, then he presented Mr Norton a book which is authored by his son and then they parted company.
The Bahamian Leader said he did not perceive his meeting with Mr Norton as an engagement with CARICOM “because I was not there speaking for CARICOM.”
He said he “spent four or five minutes” with Mr Norton because he was moving between meetings and travelling.
Mr Davis said he was merely told by a former colleague that he was going to introduce him to “a friend out of Guyana” and so he entertained the meeting as a matter of courtesy in his capacity as Prime Minister of The Bahamas, “not as Chairman of CARICOM.” The Bahamas Prime Minister said because of his affinity to Guyana and Guyanese, he opted to meet with the visitor.
“He came, we met each other, we exchanged pleasantries, he told me who he was and then he went into what he perceived to be the political challenges he is having in Guyana and then he raised the question of meeting the Chairman…but in my own mind I wasn’t meeting with him as Chairman, I was just meeting with him as Prime Minister,” Mr Davis said, adding that “it wasn’t a question of being rude, it’s just being courteous.”
Prime Minister Davis said when Mr Norton first spoke to him, he was unaware that he was Guyana’s Opposition Leader. He further explained that while he was walking through a hotel lobby for a speaking engagement there, his friend who is a lawyer saw him and hailed him. At that juncture, he recalled meeting with Mr Norton who told him that he is is the Leader of the Opposition “but by that time the meeting had been fixed and I didn’t say anything further.”
Mr Davis said it was not unusual for him to meet with politicians who visit The Bahamas “but I don’t engage in any kind of chatter that would appear to be my getting involved or otherwise interfering with their local politics.”
Earlier Saturday, Opposition Leader Norton told Demerara Waves Online News that once CARICOM is aware of the political situation in Guyana, that should trigger “changes in their approach”. “What I mean is that they will begin to realise that this government is not a democratic government and, therefore, the process of treating them as a government that isn’t in consonance with a democratic approach will emerge,” he said.