Symmonds: Your turn to talk, Mara
Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Mara Thompson is being asked to say what she knows about a contentious $3.3 million payment from CLICO Holdings Barbados Limited to her late husband’s legal firm.
The call came today from Opposition MP for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds who said while he could not speak for his leader Mia Mottley, the Barbados Labour Party parliamentary group must be consistent and take a similarly strong position regarding the Deputy Speaker, as it did with Speaker Michael Carrington.
The Opposition walked out of the House on at least three occasions during recent sittings, demanding that Carrington, an attorney-at-law, recuse himself because of a publicized legal dispute with a former client over debt.
That debt, which the High Court had ordered Carrington to pay, has since been settled.
Symmonds told Barbados TODAY that Thompson also had questions to answer.
The judicial manager for CLICO, Deloitte Consulting, has started court action to recover $3.3 million from former executive chairman of CLICO Holdings (Barbados) Leroy Parris, Branlee Consulting Services and the estate of late Prime Minister David Thompson who was Parris’ attorney.
The late leader’s widow was an office manager at the firm.
Symmonds suggested that for the sake of transparency, the St John MP should speak out.
While accepting that no claim had been brought against Thompson in her personal capacity, Symmonds she was in a position that she would expect to have an understanding or knowledge of what accounting transactions took place.
“My understanding is that the Deputy Speaker of the House for some period of time served as office manager in the firm that was known as Thompson & Associates and I think that it is only fair for the public to hear from the Deputy Speaker on the matter of whether the firm of Thompson & Associates, to her knowledge, would have received the . . . $3.33 million in question and, if in fact it did receive it as is alleged, whether that money left Thompson & Associates to go elsewhere; and, if so, who signed the necessary cheque and facilitated the movement,” the Opposition parliamentarian told Barbados TODAY in an interview at his constituency office in Hoyte’s Village, St James.
Symmonds contended that Thompson, having worked as office manager at the time the transaction allegedly took place, was in an excellent position to help shed light on this matter.
“In circumstances where we are already requiring the Speaker of the House to shed light on circumstances that he has peculiar knowledge about . . . it would not be fair or appropriate not to also require of Her Honour the Deputy Speaker, if in fact she is in a position to assist the public . . . to shed light on these very critical matters. It is even more money than first attracted the country’s attention with respect to the other case,” he declared.
“I do not speak collectively for the Opposition; the Leader of the Opposition would have to do that. But I have been around this place long enough to realize that one thing the Opposition cannot afford to do is appear to be inconsistent, and if there is an issue that we are pursuing on the basis of transparency, then it can’t be transparency for one, it would have to be transparency for all,” Symmonds insisted.
Efforts to reach Thompson today were unsuccessful.