Dr Agard’s appeal too late
Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard might have missed an opportunity to be readmitted to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) by appealing against the National Council’s decision to expel her after the constitutional deadline.
An official source familiar with the process told Barbados TODAY Dr Agard lodged her appeal almost a week after the deadline stipulated in the party’s constitution.
Details are only now beginning to emerge of the embattled MP’s attempt last month to have the Mia Mottley-led National Council to reverse its decision made on November 22, 2015.
According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case, the appeal was submitted on December 29, 2015, six days after the expulsion letter was hand-delivered to Dr Agard on November 23. She subsequently instructed her legal counsel, Hal Gollop, QC, to withdraw the appeal, which he did on January 4, this year.
Section 50 of the party’s constitution states that any challenge to the National Council’s decision to expel a member must be submitted to the party within 28 days of being notified in writing.
This means the Christ Church West MP would have had to present her appeal on or before December 23, 2015.
“There [was] obviously a gross oversight of Dr Agrd’s legal advisers who should have been familiar with the Barbados Labour Party’s constitution which states at Clause 50 that any appeal must be made 28 days of being notified in writing of the decision,” said the BLP official.
When contacted this afternoon, Gollop confirmed that the appeal had been withdrawn, noting that the matter would be settled in court.
“It is not standing; the appeal has been withdrawn. She will proceed through the law courts,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Dr Agard was expelled after failing to answer to
nine “fundamental” charges, according to Mottley in a statement last November, soon after the decision was taken.
“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.
But at a subsequent press conference, Dr Agard claimed she was dismissed from the BLP because she dared to challenge Mottley’s leadership, her “bullying tactics” and “injustice” and “evil practices” within the party.