St. James North MP reaches out to St. Andrew colleague in effort to end dispute
by Wade Gibbons
Barbados Labour Party St. James North MP Edmund Hinkson has thrown out the olive branch to political colleague and St. Andrew MP George Payne.
But whether the aggrieved Payne is willing to bury the hatchet is a decision on which their Opposition colleagues are waiting with bated breath.
Barbados TODAY investigations have revealed that Hinkson, an attorney-at-law, has made peace overtures to Payne through veteran attorney and longstanding member of the Barbados Labour Party, Sir Richard Cheltenham.
In correspondence sent to Payne’s legal representative, Vernon Smith QC., Sir Richard stated that though Hinkson was not admitting the precise words complained of by Payne in his defamation suit against his parliamentary colleague, the first-time MP looked forward to “working harmoniously and effectively” with Payne. Sir Richard said Hinkson wanted to work together with Payne in advancing the cause of the party.
“Against that backdrop of high aim, healing perspective and sense of fraternal embrace, my client wishes to assure Mr. Payne that no criminal imputation was intended. He further wishes to unreservedly withdraw the words complained of or whatever words were used and urge that a curtain be brought down on the past, as it were, and that the focus be on a united and impactful team going forward,” Sir Richard stated on behalf of Hinkson.
Sir Richard indicated that Hinkson regretted any hurt that Payne might have felt.
“My client wishes to express regret to your client for any hurt caused and assures him that none was intended. In addition, my client is happy to share this letter with all the parliamentarians who were present at the meeting,” Sir Richard informed Smith.
The meeting to which Sir Richard referred to, and the scene of the verbal confrontation between Payne and Hinkson, occurred on February 25 this year at the BLP Roebuck Street, St. Michael headquarters. In court documents filed by Payne in his defamation suit, Hinkson is alleged to have said: “You are a crook and a criminal; you are a big Queen’s Counsel and you committed fraud; you are totally unfit to be a member of parliament; you aint got any right here; you should be in prison”. Hinkson is also alleged to have referred to Payne as a “political clown”.
In his action Payne noted he felt humiliated, depressed and embarrassed by Hinkson’s comments which he described as totally untruthful. Payne also stated he had never had such damaging accusations made against him nor was he privy to any conduct on his part which would warrant such a damaging assessment of his character.