Date set for BLP court hearing
The legal suit brought by expelled Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Member of Parliament Dr Maria Agard against the Mia Mottley-led BLP is to heard in court next Wednesday.
Confirmation of this today from Dr Agard’s lead attorney Hal Gollop, QC, following a move to the law courts by the Christ Church West MP on December 11.
Writs have been served on Mottley in her own right and in her capacity as Chairman of the Opposition BLP, and Dr Jerome Walcott, the general secretary. They have been named as the two defendants in the court action.
Dr Agard is asking the court to rule on what she claims are flagrant breaches of the rules of natural justice, following the decision of the BLP’s National Council to expel her in the absence of procedural rules for instituting disciplinary hearings in the party’s constitution.
“So that the measures taken by the council that night [November 22] to hand out a sheet [of paper] just before the meeting was officially convened, was preposterous. We made the submission that Dr Agard and her team should have been given reasonable notice to have a look at the ad hoc procedural rules,” Gollop is contending.
He said the situation on November 22 called for an adjournment of the hearing to allow Dr Agard and her legal team sufficient time to study the procedure for which the party’s constitution did not provide.
“We considered that as another extreme breach to the right to a fair hearing. These are the things we are going to be asking the court to give some guidance on,” the senior attorney explained at the time of the filing of the suit.
Dr Agard was expelled after failing to answer to nine “fundamental” charges, according to Mottley, in a statement soon after the hearing at party headquarters on Roebuck Street, the City.
“These charges, contrary to those who would seek to trivialize them, are fundamental. At the very heart of it, they go to the respect for the authority of organs of the Party, that are critical to its functioning as a mass-based political organization – in other words, the failure of Dr Agard to recognize the legitimacy of a democratically elected branch of this Party – her own branch,” the statement said in part.
However, at a subsequent Press conference, Dr Agard claimed she was expelled because she dared to challenge Mottley’s leadership, her “bullying tactics” and “injustice” and “evil practices” within the party.