Timeline: The Long Road to Coleby-Davis Assault Case Closure
Click to Listen Now
For almost a year, the public awaited the outcome of the investigation against Transport and Housing Minister Jobeth Coleby-Davis, who was accused of hitting an officer with her vehicle at a Carnival event.
Since politicians are rarely prosecuted in the Bahamas, many predicted that no charges will be brought against the sitting member of parliament even though the police claimed it was investigating the matter.
Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander announced the case’s closure on Friday.
Here is a look at the road to the Jobeth Coleby-Davis’ investigation
May 21, 2022
A Corporal of the Royal Police Force was allegedly struck with a vehicle driven by Housing Minister Jobeth Coleby-Davis at Carnival Road March when he tried to prevent her from entering an area that was cordoned off on West Bay Street in the area of St Albans Drive.
Coleby-Davis was driving a silver SUV when the police officer told her that he was instructed not to let any vehicles through, to which she shouted, “Do you know who I am!’ as she attempted to go around the barricades and hit him before he moved from her pathway. A witness along with friends claimed to have seen the event around 10 am and filed a police report.
The officer was reportedly injured to the leg and received medical help at the hospital.
May 25, 2022
Coleby-Davis denied the allegations outside of Parliament stating that she would never react in the manner described since she was with her daughter at the time, hinting that she was politically targeted. “I stand by that and my grandmother always taught me that the last laugh is the best one and so it’ll be cleared up.”
Commissioner of Police at the time, Paul Rolle said the Royal Bahamas Police Force was investigating the matter and his assistant commissioner was finding out “exactly what happened.”
“We are dealing with that from within. I don’t have a timeline. Whenever that is finished, I don’t know that it’s something I will be discussing so much in the media, I don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” Rolle said.
July 6, 2022
Pressed by former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis who was asking for an update on the matter, Prime Minister Philip Davis denied there was ever an official investigation into the alleged incident during a debate in the House of Assembly.
He summed it up to be an internal inquiry to determine who was telling the truth, and nothing more.
May 30, 2022
By this time, a video to exonerate her, circulated on social media reportedly showing the incident. However, Police Staff Association Executive Chairman Ricardo Walkes said the video does not prove anything since it does not show what happened to the officer before filming began. “The video that’s going around shows what happened afterward, not what happened before the officer called and received backup,” Walkes said.
June 29, 2022
Former Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said he directed the incident be turned over to the complaints branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
“We were trying to get Jobeth, Minister Coleby to give her statement. Because there were statements made in the public domain, but none was made, no complaint, no official complaint was made.
“The officer’s alleging that he was struck. And I think she was making some allegations as well.
“I want to hear what her allegations were. I said let me take myself out of it.
“They do the investigation and then make the recommendation to me.
“I do want to believe that she did make an allegation. Like I said, the officer was out sick. So, we…can’t proceed until he is certified to return to work to be interviewed,” Rolle said.
January 27, 2023
Newly appointed Commissioner Clayton Fernander said the matter is closed and the investigations show no evidence that the police officer was struck by Coleby-Davis. “… We deal with facts and evidence. That’s what we deal with and that’s what you need to go to court.”
The officer will reportedly return to his duties as an officer of the RBPF.