Griffiths says more than half of money from land sale outstanding
He has stopped short of saying the Speaker of the House should resign. But the man at the centre of the civil dispute with Michael Carrington says he will go as far as seeking an order to seize his assets to get money due to him.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY at his Waterhall Terrace, St James home this evening, John Griffiths said he had waited too long on the attorney-at-law to hand over an additional $210,000 remaining from the sale of his late aunt’s property at Dayrells Road, Christ Church.
Carrington vacated his chair when Parliament resumed sittings yesterday, after Leader of the Opposition Business in the House Santia Bradshaw questioned whether he should oversee proceedings in light of news that he had failed to hand over funds to Griffiths.
Asked this evening whether he wanted Carrington to step down, 78-year-old Griffiths would only say: “I had lived in England for quite some time and if a [matter] like that had happened in England . . . either the prime minister would sack him the next day, or he would resign himself.”
What he was sure about was that he would head back to the High Court to ask the judge to enforce an earlier order that Carrington, who was handling the matter for almost 14 years, hands over all documents related to the case as well as monies due.
“I am not quite sure about the procedure. We would have to ask for an order to seize his assets and get our money . . . I want a settlement and I want my funds. That is the most thing that I want. I want that funds in my account so I can pay out the other beneficiaries,” insisted Griffiths, who has been acting as representative for the estate of his late aunt Muriel Worrell.
He said he had only received about $44,950 from Carrington, but approximately $210,000 was still outstanding in relation to the sale of one of the two properties left in the will of his aunt Muriel Worrell.
“[Carrington] was supposed to probate the will and what happened is he got all the assets from my aunt. My aunt had two properties and one was sold. I thought he was going to turn it over to me, but he never did. So at the moment, he has all the assets of my aunt’s properties,” he said.
Griffiths went to the High Court asking for the funds to be handed over. On December 9, 2014, Madame Justice Jacqueline Cornelius ruled in his favour, ordering Carrington to render an account of all sums belonging to the Worrell estate which he had received on Griffiths’ behalf, within 28 days, and pay all monies shown by the same account to be due, along with interest retroactive to May 13, 2014 until payment was made.
Griffiths said he planned to meet next week with his new lawyer, Khamaal A. Collymore, to see if Carrington had honoured the order.
“Up to this day we haven’t had a reply from Mr Carrington,” he said.
“I phone him, I write him, I emailed him many times without any reply. Within the 14 years I used to see him quite regularly but within the past seven years, I would see him about four, five, six times.”
Griffiths said initially it was the probate and not the money from the sale that was the focus of his discussions with Carrington.
However, he said, two other beneficiaries had been breathing down his neck to get the matter concluded and he began to put pressure on his attorney.
“I was going to him and saying, ‘when is it going to come to an end?’ We were just being pushed back, pushed back all the time. The court ordered him to hand over all the documents he had, which we had agreed to two years ago. I decided, ‘well, this is it. You not doing anything, so we taking the business out of your hands and contacting someone else to carry on with the probate to get to the end of the matter’.”
The claimant recalled that back then, Carrington promised to hand over the documents within two weeks.
“That was over two years ago and we have not received any documents and we repeatedly phoned, emailed, went to his officer without any reply,” he charged.
Carrington has declined to comment, yesterday telling Barbados TODAY that he did not discuss his clients’ cases.