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Catch and Release: An M.P.’s Story

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The North Abaco MP turns himself into police for questioning only to be released, and in time for a Family Island grill and chill?



As I See It

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – On the night of Thursday, April 27, 2023, after enjoying cocktails with a friend visiting from Grand Bahama, I retired for the night with the last news being MP for North Abaco, Kirk Cornish had turned himself into the police for questioning on allegations of rape. 

I remember my last thought being that Commissioner of Police, Clayton Fernander, had kept his word, and I felt Mr. Cornish was being responsible and doing the right thing. I fell asleep and rested well (could have been the cocktails) knowing that this matter is now in the hands of the police, and at some point, justice would go in the favor of the woman who brought the allegations, or the accused rastaman would be vindicated. 

On Friday, April 28 as I awoke and opened my eyes, I did what I always do – I thanked God for another lease on life and grabbed my phone to see if my dear friend and brother, Glen Knowles, had sent me the digital version of the newspapers as he always does. He did. To my utter amazement, the Tribune’s headlines indicated that Mr. Cornish was questioned and released. 

Those who have worked in print media know about deadlines, what time a newspaper is “put to bed” for printing, and what time it is released to vendors to sell. Based on this timeline and the Tribune’s headlines, it is clear Mr. Cornish was not with the police very long. 

The current allegations against him and what is being alleged as his history are indeed very serious. And, because of this, I was expecting him to spend much more time with the police. As a writer with a very active imagination, I find myself envisioning scenes from his stay with the police. Was it a tea and crumpets meeting? Were there actual questions posed? Or was it all a public relations act to please the masses with the hope that this situation blows away like sand in the desert?

One of the things that made me raise an eyebrow, in this case, was Cornish’s constituency planned “Grill & Chill” in Abaco this weekend. I’d been watching the movements of the flyer and based on the Commissioner of Police’s statement, “he will be questioned before end of week”, I expected to see another flyer circulated with the postponement of said event. Alas, there was nothing. I concluded that perhaps Mr. Cornish knew in advance that he would be released, and his time with the police would be short-lived. I hope this is not the case. 

Like I said in this space last week, the prime minister, and I should now add many other ministers and MPs on the governing side, are known to be very respectful of women. I feel if evidence to come heats this situation to a boiling point, and Mr. Cornish is found to have gone afoul of how women are expected to be treated, then he should be told the famous words, “If you can’t fish, cut bait. If you can’t cut bait, get the hell out of the boat!” (Hopefully, this locally famous quote is appropriate here.)

There have been a few media interviews with the woman and her family making these very serious allegations. IF these claims are true, now is the time for this woman to come from behind the dark veil and present herself to all media with her evidence and or witnesses. 

Allegations of, or actual rape and brutality, should never be taken lightly. Therefore one should not (unless it is a minor) make these claims from behind the proverbial shrubbery if you are making it clear who you are talking about. A man’s public life is at stake here, and his accuser should come full force or make a public declaration that she is walking away from the claim and be done with it.

Regardless if Cornish committed this crime or not, his name and face are out there for public ridicule. He is now stained and exposed. I advise the police to push this issue and bring it to a head, and charge this woman for making false utterances if her claims are unfounded. In the same token, if the evidence says Cornish “was there”, then he should be treated like any other Bahamian citizen – handcuffed, shackled, and dragged before the court during a media frenzy to stand trial. Well, that’s how I see it anyway!