Step down, Mara
CLICO reports cast a shadow over Thompson estate, says Wickham
Political scientist, Peter Wickham, believes Mara Thompson, widow of the late Prime Minister, David Thompson, should resign her St John parliamentary seat in her own interest and her children’s.
Wickham told Barbados TODAY he would advise her to take this action because “it shows me clearly when you read the contents of that document [the CLICO Judicial Manager’s report], that the situation is going to become very messy and that the Opposition would have no alternative but to go after her.”
“Thus far, the legacy of her husband has been tarnished. I think she has been relatively unscathed, and I suspect that would change in short order,” he added.
Wickham said the reason she should resign is totally in her family’s interest because her departure would not affect the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
“If I were her, I would step out of the way largely because the [St John seat] is one that the DLP can easily retain and it would not affect the status quo. For that reasoning if I were her, I would protect the legacy of my own family and try to stop all these enquiries.”
Wickham, the head of leading Caribbean polling organization, CADRES, further suggested that the DLP may be distancing itself from her late husband in light of the revelations of his law firm’s questionable dealings with CLICO. He said this provided more reason for Mrs. Thompson’s departure.
“It is clear to me that the legacy of the late prime minister is not one that the Democratic Labour Party is particularly concerned with protecting at this stage. I think that she has to do what she can to protect herself,” the leading pollster said.
Mrs. Thompson worked as office manager in her late husband’s firm, Thompson and Associates. Wickham said as representative of his estate, she could draw public focus. He added, “Already there are suggestions from Kerrie Symmonds (opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) St James Central MP), that she ought to face personal enquiry and I think that could only get worse”.
“The name “Thompson”, in references to either the late prime minister himself or his company, Thompson and Associates, appears 40 times in the Judicial Manager’s report. All references carry serious implications and among them is a claim that the late prime minister committed forgery and acted without authority while holding the highest political office of the land.
“According to the report, David Thompson himself emailed an invoice for a $3.333 million payment.
“The email data shows that Thompson and Associates Invoice #20067 was emailed to Mr Thornhill by ‘David Thompson” at 11.42 a.m. on December 30, 2008, using an email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Internet research and email data we reviewed show this to be an email address used by the late Mr. Thompson, formerly a partner of Thompson and Associates and, at that time, the Prime Minister of Barbados,” the report stated.
It added: “At the time the email was sent, Mr. Thompson was Prime Minister of Barbados, having been elected to office in January 2008. A filing made with the Barbados Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office relating to Thompson and Associates noted that Mr. Thompson was ‘no longer the owner of the business firm’ as of May 22, 2008.
“I think it casts a shadow over the whole estate … and that is what worried me,” said Wickham. “The Opposition will have an obligation to pursue her as vigorously [to get] answers”.
The June 21, 2013 forensic report, which was unsealed by the court just yesterday, also makes reference to several land transactions in which “certain related parties”, including “a company related to Mr Thompson”, paid up to 26,000 less than third parties making similar purchases of units at Crystal Court.
Wickham said stepping down from public office should not be a difficult decision for Mrs Thompson, who is also Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly. “I thought that her entry into politics was reluctant and I don’t really get the impression that she needs this,” he added. “I don’t think her children need it. I don’t think the family needs it.”