Marshall issues challenge to Lashley
Put up or shut up!
That challenge was issued today by former Attorney General Dale Marshall to Minister of Transport Michael Lashley who yesterday called for a police probe into the construction of the headquarters of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).
Speaking at a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting at the Bay Primary School last evening, Lashley, a former housing minister, suggested that all was not above board.
“A time will come when I will ask them if any due diligence was done on [Trinidad-based contractor Hafeez Karamath] and give us his background and . . . [tell us] why the Government entered a contract with him. That’s all I have to say and I leave it up to him to respond to it,” he said, urging members of the audience to do their own investigations as well.
The Trinidad and Tobago media reported in 2010 that police had seized six automatic AK 47s and an undisclosed sum of ammunition from the home of the construction mogul. Karamath died of cancer a year earlier.
While Marshall acknowledged “issues” with the contractor, he did not give details.
However, he was adamant that the Barbados Labour Party administration had nothing to hide with either the BIDC project or any others.
“Since before the 2008 election, the Democratic Labour Party was promising forensic audits of all of the Barbados Labour Party projects and so on and they’ve come to power and have gone absolutely silent. I think that Mr Lashley’s call for a criminal probe into projects done by the Barbados Labour Party is nothing more than [an attempt] to put a red herring over the trail of substantive serious issues that strike at the very heart of the way in which the Democratic Labour Party is running this country,” Marshall responded in an interview with Barbados TODAY
“Don’t just call for it. They are in power, initiate it. They control the BIDC and have done so since 2008. Hire the accountants, do the forensic audit. If there’s something that they find that in breach of the criminal law then, by all means, refer the matter to the Commissioner of Police and the DPP and whoever they feel like.”
But Lashley did not confine his arguments only to the BLP’s dealings with the late Trinidadian contractor.
He went on to suggest that Marshall, the Member of Parliament for St Joseph, could soon face a defamation lawsuit over comments made at a BLP meeting.
In light of the matters raised, the Transport Minister contended that the Opposition had no moral authority to raise questions about Speaker of the House Michael Carrington who was involved in a legal dispute with a client in his capacity as an attorney.
Just over a week ago, Carrington settled the more than $200,000 debt that was outstanding to his former client John Griffiths.
However, the Opposition is holding to its position that they will not attend any House of Assembly sitting while he is in the seat.
Lashley, himself an attorney, pointed to a legal dispute between Opposition MPs Edmund Hinkson and George Payne, and strong allegations made in court documents against the character of some members.
“There’s one standard of morality for one set of people and another standard of morality for others,” he charged.