I’m the fairest
AG hits back at critics over interference claims
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has stoutly denied accusations that he interferes in the affairs of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), insisting he was one of “fairest” people on earth.
Brathwaite came under fire for his controversial statement last week in support of a call by the Barbados Police Association for the release on bail of their colleague, Constable Everton Gittens, who was being held on remand for murder.
Brathwaite said at the time he did not understand why Gittens was being held while another murder accused nicknamed Lord Evil was out on bail.
Two days later, Gittens was offered bail to the tune of $200, 000 and was freed yesterday after completing paper work related to his bail.
In wrapping up debate last night on the Magistrate’s Court (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Attorney General steered clear of the controversy as he lashed out at Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, who had earlier claimed that some of the challenges plaguing the RBPF were due in part to Government interference.
“I am one of the fairest human beings you will meet,” he said.
“I do not interfere in areas of my ministry that there is no cause for me to be involved in and I certainly have never meddled in the affairs of the Royal Barbados Police Force, nor will I meddle in the affairs of the Royal Barbados Police Force,” Brathwaite asserted.
During her contribution to the debate on the Bill to abolish preliminary inquiries at the Magistrates’ courts in order to clear the backlog of cases, Mottley charged: “We have the reality that we have an Attorney General who unfortunately puts himself in all kinds of arenas that he does not belong.
“ It became absolutely unacceptable for the Attorney General to not only influence one case but potentially two cases and he must know, he must know that to ask a person, any person to draw conclusions as to worthiness for bail on matters as specious as a nickname when there is a Bail Act that sets out clear criteria for admissibility of bail and when the decision that determines bail is not that of the Attorney General’s or any other member of this Parliament but members of the judiciary,” Mottley contended.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader further claimed that the morale in the police force was low because officers had not been given the security of tenure “because of the multiple cases that are literally choking their capacity to be appointed at the top of the police force”.
That was in reference to a lawsuit brought against the Police Service Commission (PSC) by 14 disgruntled police officers over the PSC’s decision to overlook them for promotion.
In responding to those charges, Brathwaite hinted there was more to the issue, details of which would be exposed outside the sanctity of Parliament.
He also suggested that either Mottley or her BLP should be held accountable for “actual damage” to the RBPF.
“There will be a time very soon outside of these chambers when I will allow all of Barbados to know what the member for St Michael North East knows – in terms of who have actually caused most of the actual damage in the Royal Barbados Police Force. There will come a time when I will actually be able to say,” Brathwaite said.
The Attorney General maintained his office had been making every effort to ensure the island’s police officers were comfortable, rubbishing claims that Government’s financial struggles had deprived the police of significant resources to fight crime.