Payne: ‘I would sue them’
Outspoken St Andrew MP George Payne says if he were in Dr Maria Agard’s position, he would take the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to court.
The embattled Christ Church West MP was Sunday expelled from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) by the Mia Mottley-led National Council.
Asked by reporters assembled in Parliament yard this morning if he agreed with former Prime Minister Owen Arthur who had earlier described Dr Agard’s expulsion as a tragedy, Payne not only concurred with what Arthur said, but went on to suggest that Dr Agard should sue the main Opposition party, “especially taking the circumstances into consideration, I would do something – take the matter to the law courts.
“I have no doubt that the court would agree that what transpired was not fair to [Dr] Agard,” said Payne, adding that “the members of the National Council are human beings like you and I. They have children, they have girl children and they have wives and they have women.”
Payne also dismissed claims that the first- time MP’s stewardship left much to be desired.
“She has been a very good representative. It is fairly obvious that there are certain things that she cannot do that previous representatives have done in that constituency.
“We have had the two wealthiest members of parliament in recent times representing that constituency. There are a number of persons who complain that [Dr] Agard does not pay their funeral bills and she does not buy schoolbooks for their children. Many things the former members were able to do, she cannot do,” he said in defence of the sitting Christ Church West MP, who came to office in 2013.
Payne, a former chairman of the Opposition, also suggested that her dismissal by the National Council would be overturned.
“There is a saying in politics which says you either have to spend time or spend money. [Dr] Agard has been spending time with her constituents and I have no doubt that she shall continue doing what she is doing.
“I honestly believe that [Dr] Agard will be the BLP candidate in the next general election. I do not believe that the party will ignore a challenge, which turns out in her favour. I do not think the BLP would be too proud to go back on their decision,” Payne added.
Noting that national councils hold office for a period of one year, Payne pointed out that if an election is called in 2018, a new national council could reverse Sunday night’s decision.
Contending that the laws of natural justice were not adhered to in Dr Agard’s case, Payne, who is a Queen’s Counsel, said: “ All of us politicians would be guilty of the conduct that [Dr] Agard is accused of because by the very nature of politics we have to speak out on various issues.
He further pointed out that “there is no set procedure with respect to disciplinary hearings in the BLP constitution, saying “it is only fair that if there is no set procedure that those rules should have been worked out in advance of any hearing so that the persons who would have adjudicated in the matter would not be her accusers”.