What they said

year endThe year 2015 was no doubt one of intrigue and drama and unforgettable moments. Indeed, it was a great year for quotes –– from the downright controversial to the scathing, to the heartbreaking.

Here are some of the sound bites of the last 12 months.

Don’t worry too much about that. That is only somebody trying hard to get the position and they have to show that they are stronger than somebody else.

–– Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman as he weighed in on January 12 on planned industrial action by the National Union of Public Workers, to protest the delay in the Employment Rights Tribunal hearing of the National Conservation Commission case.

Persons have a right to march, to protest; and if the Government is doing what is right, we would not have to be here in the first place.

–– Acting general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Roslyn Smith, hitting back on January 13, as the workers took to the streets in droves.

[Michael Carrington] was supposed to probate the will, and what happened is he got all the assets from my aunt. My aunt had two properties, and one was sold. I thought he was going to turn it over to me, but he never did. So at the moment, he has all the assets of my aunt’s properties.

–– John Griffiths, 78, on revealing on January 14 that his attorney House Speaker Michael Carrington had not paid him nearly a $1/4 million due to him.

I have not heard it said that the honourable member, in respect of whom that matter was referred, should be prevented from coming to the House, but I’m hearing a lot of fuss now because a newspaper report has said something about Your Honour in Your Honour’s private capacity, not in respect of any matter concerning any of the privileges in this House.

Your Honour could have easily been a doctor. And if you had a difference with your patient, would that mean that Your Honour could not sit and preside and be the custodian of the privileges of this House? That is, in my view, a monstrous perversion of common sense. And it certainly has nothing to do with the Standing Orders that guide the proceedings of this House.

–– Prime Minister Freundel Stuart supporting the St Micheal West MP in Parliament on January 20, after John Griffiths’ earlier revelation had sparked immediate calls for the House Speaker to step down.

The people of Barbados cannot accept that the Parliament can operate with business as usual. When a public servant is charged, Sir, and interdicted, the public servant has to leave his office and remains, worse still, on half-pay. There cannot be one set of rules for us and one set of rules for the rest of the country.

––  Opposition Leader Mia Mottley on January 20 before the Barbados Labour Party MPs walked out of Parliament.

Mia Mottley
Mia Mottley

The story has traumatized my family; it has endangered my professional career as an attorney-at-law in Barbados; and of course it has damaged, maybe irreparably, what little reputation I have as a law-abiding citizen in Barbados. And I take strong objection to that!

–– Speaker of the House Michael Carrington breaking his silence months later (in April) on the John Griffiths issue.

I did what I had to do, and I did it right in the best way I knew; in the most professional way I was trained; and I was convinced in my mind I did a good job. You might not think so now [but] you can say what you like. I took that company with $2 million in assets, and when I walked away from it, it had $1 billion in assets.

I can walk with a straight head, straight face, ’cause I know what I have done. I am no thief. The only thing that I have going for me is my name Leroy Parris. Nothing more. I am nobody else; just Leroy Parris.

–– Former CEO Leroy Parris breaking his silence in February on the collapse of the troubled insurance company CLICO, which has left thousands of policyholders empty-handed.

I must say how profoundly sorry that I am to the Knight family at the loss of a father, husband, a friend and a brother. It is always very, very sad when we lose one of our citizens.

–– Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite commenting on Sunday, March 15 tragedy at Dash Gap, Bank Hall, St Michal, in which off-duty constable Everton Gittens fatally shot Selwyn “Blues” Knight and wounded his son Junior while chasing a burglar.

I want to ask him why he killed my husband.

–– Marlene Knight, widow of Selwyn “Blues” Knight, who was shot by off-duty constable Everton Gittens.

I love my children. I never brutalized Shamar or [his younger brother] Shaquon.

–– Julianne Weekes, mother of Shamar Weekes, on the tragic death of the 12-year-old who was found hanging on May 14 in the yard of his home at Fryers Well, Checker Hall, St Lucy.

Julianne Weekes
Julianne Weekes

I loved my son . . . . Nobody is taking the time to ask what really happened. Right now, I am confused, scared. Sometimes I don’t want to go home because I don’t feel safe at home.

Lasonta Gill
Lasonta Gill

People threatening you, people breaking into the house since that happen and steal the things in the house; family members coming and vandalizing the house. Different things going on.

–– Lasonta Gill in an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY in July, after the June tragic death of her son six-year-old Jahan King, and at the height of allegations of child abuse.

They [the police] say the report back and them investigating, but why somebody aint get charge for Jahan’s death yet? I just want closure . . . . I just want justice for Jahan.

–– Ena Browne, grandmother of the deceased Jahan King.

I have listened very carefully to all the utterances and I have noticed a few things. One, I have noted now that the process has been banished to the limb of forgotten things. You don’t have to go through processes any more.

I have noted that the word negotiation has been emptied of all its significance. So you don’t have to negotiate any more. What you do is to use bluster, to use bullying and to use  blackmail.

–– Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in his July tongue-lashing of the National Union of Public Workers in its representation of workers at the BIDC.

I think this is a matter we have to be very frank about in this country. There are those who will always talk about, ‘Oh, you’re being nationalist and you ain’t committed to regional integration’, and all of that. When it suits them fine, they say that, once they [are] getting all the largesse and all the top picks. But, I am satisfied that we have bright Barbadians, competent Barbadians, who have served on benches across the region, who today could be serving on the Caribbean Court of Justice. But, for whatever reason, we cannot find it fit to get one there.

–– Minister of International Business Donville Inniss on the absence of Barbadian judges in the CCJ.

Meaningless drivel and brainless buffoonery!

–– MP and attorney-at-law Kerrie Symmonds in response to Donville Inniss’ comments.

It is clear that there is an abundance of high-calibre weapons and large quantities of available ammunition on the streets. What is also clear is that [those] weapons are not lawfully manufactured in Barbados and the wider region; so they are being smuggled into the island.

Our intelligence suggests they are coming through legitimate ports of entry, either assisted by officials, or not detected by them at our borders.

–– Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith speaking to the worrying trend of increased gun crime, which he promised the force would arrest.

Tyrone Griffith
Tyrone Griffith

If there’s a Ras Iley who comes to join the force tomorrow with his locks sweeping the ground, should we have him in the organization? . . . . The difficulty with entertaining some of these exotic hairstyles is that it is taken too far, way too far. If you allow the style, then it means that you have to accommodate the fact that they’re not going to wear the headdress. And we’ve had some difficulties with that already, people not wanting to wear their headdress.

–– Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith reinforcing the RPBF’s policy not to allow people with dreadlocks and nontraditional hairstyles into the force.

This is the greatest single threat to the Caribbean . . . . This is a threat to the Caribbean . . . . This is a threat not only to our tourism product, it is also a threat to our regional economy. But since this is an international crisis, I am therefore calling upon the international community to see this as such . . . .

–– Sir Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor of the University if the West Indies, addressing a August 17
Sargassum symposium.

I am speaking to you now in the name my children and my grandchild. That I want to live in a country in which there is freedom of expression . . . where no despot should feel that they should hold the future of my children in their hands.

. . . Mia Mottley is a menace . . . she is a menace because she is a despot [and] and she believes that she has a right to be a despot. She tried to be a despot with me and I want to end by saying this, “My parents sent me to school so that I will not be a boy in a the yard for any despot in this country, and I will be true to them, and I will be true to my children by fighting this depostism that is taking place in Barbados.

–– Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur the Barbados Labour Party’s November explusion of Christ Church West MP Dr Maria Agard.

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 . . . . The members of the National Council are human beings like you and I. They have children, they have girlchildren and they have wives, and they have women.

–– MP for St Andrew George Payne urging Dr Maria Agard to sue the Barbados Labour Party following her explusion.

It is also a problem we feel that disagreement in a small society means that you have to be disagreeable. Have you not realized that I adhered to the statement that it takes two to fight . . . ;it takes two to argue?

People call and curse me every day, but the only body who can make it an argument is me. Other than that, it is commentary.

–– Opposition Leader Mia Mottley on the Dr Maria Agard-BLP issue.

I dared to speak out against the unconstitutional, the authorized and bullying tactics of a political leader who is not accustomed to being told that she is wrong, even when she contemptuously violates the very constitution she espouses to uphold.

–– MP for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard speaking out on her expulsion from the Barbados Labour Party.

I will say this much that from 1966 until the present time, Barbados has done remarkably well under our two-party system –– democratic two-party system –– and if you can tell me how the [economic] situation would be improved by doing that [becoming a republic], I’m all ears.

–– Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford on advising the Freundel Stuart Government to abandon any move towards making Barbados a republic.

There is no need for [Owen] Arthur to be giving the Government any economic advice at this time. Economic advice to do what? To compound failure?

–– Political scientist Dr George Belle’s rejection of reports that the Government had asked former Prime Minister Owen Arthur to serve as the Government’s Chief Economic Adviser.

There is extensive damage across our small island after floods swamped villages, destroyed homes and wiped out roads. Some communities are no longer recognizable.

The visual damage I saw today, I fear may have our development process back by 20 years. I will not attempt tonight to affix a dollar value, but it is substantial.

–– Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt in being forced to declare the island nation a disaster after it was battered
by Tropical Storm Emily in August.

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