Minister leaps to Rolle's defence in McAfee row

By Ricardo Wells

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday lauded the integrity of Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle amid corruption claims levied against him by Bitcoin millionaire John McAfee.

Mr Dames in an interview outside of Cabinet yesterday emphatically backed Mr Rolle, of whom he said he had the “utmost confidence”.

The Mount Moriah MP went on to dismiss Mr McAfee’s claims as “outlandish” and void of facts, telling reporters that current social norms permit people like the British-American businessman to “pop up from nowhere,” make unsubstantiated allegations and malign the name and character of persons without merit.

He challenged Bahamians and the local press alike to be more mindful in such situations, and allow for all the information relative to such matters to come forward.

In a firestorm of tweets over the weekend Mr McAfee made several damaging claims about corruption in the US government and among Bahamian officials.

Mr McAfee, who is described on international news sites as a “fugitive of the law” for US tax evasion, named Mr Rolle and Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel in his tweets.

In response, Mr Rolle, who presently serves as head of the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Anti-Corruption Unit, threatened to take action against Mr McAfee.

For his part yesterday, Mr Dames said: “Unfortunately, this is the world we are living in today. Who is this guy?

“People pop up from nowhere, make these outlandish allegations with nothing to support it. There is an avenue, a means by which, if you have information and you feel that this information is legitimate, you come to the authorities and you report it,” he said.

Mr Dames continued: “This is part of the danger of social media. Anyone can pop up and say anything about anyone and all of a sudden, it becomes a headline. Mr Paul Rolle, the acting deputy commissioner of police, is an upstanding citizen of this country who I have known for a very long time and continues to give of his best every day. As far as I am aware, his integrity precedes him, ok?

“If this man, whomever he is, has any information that he deems credible then there is a process.

“To take people’s name and just throw it out there without any supporting facts or evidence is very dangerous, and it is something we all have to be careful of because we all are, in a sense, public figures and anyone can jump on social media and say anything.

“It happens every day. It happened to me and I’ve seen it, and I’ve been a victim of that. And I want to be extremely careful here, as I said before, there is a process. And if someone has information that they deemed as credible, then there is a process by which they can communicate that and it can be acted upon.

“But to just throw people’s name out there, it is very disconcerting and has the potential to damage good people. We have to be careful with that,” he added.

When asked by The Tribune if he had spoken to Mr Rolle about the allegation put forth by Mr McAfee, Mr Dames contended: “I haven’t spoken to Mr Rolle yet, but he knows exactly how I feel. I have the utmost confidence in his integrity, he has worked with me for many years and has never ever, I have never come across anyone maligning his integrity and character.”

Mr McAfee is reportedly onboard a private boat presently sailing in waters adjacent to The Bahamas.

In new tweets yesterday, Mr McAfee responded to comments Mr Rolle gave to The Tribune on Monday, at one point even posting a copy of the article on his Twitter feed.

Despite several attempts by The Tribune yesterday to contact Mr Rolle, he could not be reached for comment these latest developments.

Mr McAfee, a British-American businessman and programmer, founded software company McAfee Associates in 1987 and ran it until 1994 when he resigned.

In January, he tweeted that he had not paid US taxes in eight years. He also announced at the time that he planned to run for the US presidency.

In his Twitter rant over the weekend, he warned the US government to leave him alone or he will “f*ing bury” them. He claimed the US Department of Justice is compiling a bogus case against him for money laundering, racketeering and murder.

He tweeted: “From friends in the State Department: The DOJ trumped up charges against me for murder, money laundering and racketeering…A conspiracy is unfolding. Proof coming.”

“I’ve collected files on corruption in governments. For the first time, I’m naming names and specifics.

“…If I’m arrested or disappear, 31+ terabytes of incriminating data will be released to the press,” he added.

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