Dirty hands

Mottley claims PM’s hands not clean in Cahill affair

The controversial Cahill waste-to-energy project was thrust back into the limelight Wednesday afternoon when Opposition Leader Mia Mottley charged that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s hands were not clean in this matter, after all.

In fact, in presenting a scathing three-hour response to the equally lengthy 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals presented Tuesday by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, Mottley placed corruption back on the front burner as a potential campaign issue as the country heads into a general election campaign.

In seeking to wrap the messy Cahill cloak around Stuart, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader produced documents purportedly showing that the Prime Minister had been an integral part of the failed $700 million project from the very beginning, contrary to earlier perception.

Mottley noted that a number of Cabinet ministers, specifically Sinckler, Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman and Minister of Energy Senator Darcy Boyce, had been in the spotlight as having signed the agreement with the Guernsey-based Cahill Energy for the plasma gasification plant in Vaucluse, St Thomas, apparently without the Prime Minister’s knowledge.

However, she said she had proof that Stuart was actually the first person to approve the agreement dating back to September 13, 2013.

In May last year, the BLP leader had told Parliament during the Opposition-instigated no confidence motion, that if the Prime Minister had signed the agreement, he had an obligation to clarify the matter because it committed the people of Barbados to a long term debt, amounting to as much as $4 billion.

Tonight she was certain he had been involved in the project, which came to a screeching halt last year in the wake of protest by Barbadians, uncertainty over its funding, and developments in London, the United Kingdom and other places, which had revealed that waste to energy operations and plasma gasification projects had shown up significant flaws.

“To this date, the ministers and Cabinet of Barbados will not share with the country the contracts that were signed in their names,” Mottley said.

“Those who commit this country to multi-year liabilities like this [Cahill deal] $4.7 billion in liabilities . . . and if you think that Cahill is gone, asked them about the company that wants to buy Cahill and bring another form of waste to energy to Barbados for which the Government of Barbados is still obligated under this power purchase agreement signed by those four ministers to buy the power at kilowatt hour that they have agreed to,” the Opposition Leader told Parliament.

She promised to reveal more during a political mass meeting at Haggatt Hall, St Michael at a date to be announced, the same spot where in 2008, then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leader David Thompson had held up copies of cheques at a similar rally, to support his claims of corruption by the then Owen Arthur-led BLP administration.

Mottley has threatened to flip the script during the election campaign, charging that corruption is pervasive within the DLP, including the Bridgetown Port, where she charged wanton acts of corruption were ongoing.

“There are about four or five ministers in here [Parliament] who really have to ask themselves some questions. When people ask, ‘how can you drive a jeep belonging to a company that provides services to your ministry and gets work from your ministry and believes that is okay?’”

The Opposition Leader sought to separate her BLP from the fray, pledging to enact anti-corruption legislation if her party were voted into office, and insisting any administration which she leads would not tolerate “corruption of any type from anybody…whether the corruption is in high places or low places”.

Mottley also presented herself as a Prime Minister in waiting, suggesting to her parliamentary colleagues that she was ready to provide inspired leadership to drag the country out of the current economic doldrums.

She contended that the country needed “proper leadership”, not the “most vicious tax take” ever to hit the country since the introduction of the taxation in 1941.

The BLP leader promised to tackle head on, the controversial printing of money by the Central Bank of Barbados to pay wages and finance Government’s programme, vowing a BLP Government would enact legislation to put an end to the practice.

Mottley also pledged to restore confidence in the economy and the country, allow key institutions the independence to function, establish an institute of independent national statistics and give wider powers to the Auditor General.

A Mottley-led administration, she said, would establish a dedicated unit for the collection of taxes, remove unnecessary red tape that makes it difficult to do business here, give the Fair Trading Commission more teeth, repeal the controversial Barbados Revenue Authority Amendment Act to provide for a different way of addressing tax compliance and form a Get Barbados Moving Again committee which she would chair.

The senior politician also promised to strengthen the Police Service Commission and take politics out of it, pass legislation to bring greater discipline and accountability to statutory boards, fix the court system, establish a commercial court to settle commercial disputes and put in place a framework for international arbitration.

Sinckler Tuesday announced a series of taxes and levies, including a 500 per cent rise in the National Social Responsibility Levy, increasing it from two per cent to ten per cent, a two per cent tax on the purchase of foreign exchange and an increase in the excise duty on petrol.

“$291 million for a National Social Responsibility Levy – in one year, almost $300 million; $140 million in the two per cent commission on foreign exchange; $50 million in excise tax; and $481 million in additional taxes. Where is it coming from?

“You ask the middle class of this country to make another sacrifice, you ask civil servants in this country to make another sacrifice, you ask poor people in this country to make another sacrifice, you beg them to hold strain, you tell them about team Barbados . . . you tell them you have this wonderful homegrown strategy, and nine years later what do they get yesterday evening? All they have to show for their sacrifice is an effective de facto devaluation of their social and economic existence and a de facto devaluation of the Barbados dollar by these measures that have been put by the Minister of Finance,” she said.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

15 Responses to Dirty hands

  1. Sisleen Green June 1, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I pray that a comprehensive investigation is done when these criminals called ministers of Government must answer for their actions.
    Any acts of dishonesty discovered must be harshly deakt with. Use the late Eugenia Charles and the way she dealt with Patrick John as an example to follow.
    Ministers must not be allowed to commit criminal acts and then live free and comfortable off of their ill gotten gains.

    Reply
  2. tsquires June 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

    @Sisleen Green I am in agreement with you as whichever party wins the next election, must be prepared to put the Barbadian people’s survival against narrow minded political interests. If this is not addressed we will continue to operate with our broken systems of governance, lurching from one crisis to another with no internal guidance system. (Illiteracy in this 21st century is not defined by reading and writing, but rather by those who refuse to un-learn and re-learn)

    Reply
  3. Jea Alleyne June 1, 2017 at 8:56 am

    This could only happen in the “West Indies” where the sub-serviant behaviours are still embedded. Mental Slavery and exploitation of the masses !! Yet, they are not paying anyone compensation for the confusion that exists in our communities, they are still living off the blood and sweat of the descendants of slavery. Modern day slavery and our OWN people the MPs are ones that pave our way to destruction, feathering their nest as they go…… The Love of Money is the root of all evil !! Can someone explain to me what type of system this is ????

    Reply
  4. Kevin June 1, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Money spent on Cahill $0, money on Greenland $35million. Why wasnt she a corruption police when Crab Hill Station was being built or when the $21K tree was being cut or when etc etc etc. Mia please choose battles in which you would have at least some moral stading.

    Reply
  5. Kevin June 1, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Money spent on Cahill $0, money on Greenland $35million. Why wasnt she a corruption police when Crab Hill Station was being built or when the $21K tree was being cut or when etc etc etc. Mia please choose battles in which you would have at least some moral standing.

    Reply
  6. Peter June 1, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Sisleen Green, I hope your prayers are answered. At this point all you can do is pray. However, to expand on your direction and path of thinking, I think that everything lies in the supposedly balanced mind of our Governor General. Yes, we have the direction of a no confidence motion being moved but that will only work if there is a separation from within the governing body. But alas, they are all opportunists and better than marriage vows, they will stick together through thick and thin, Better or worse, good or bad etcetera. Again, the Governor General is appointed by the government in power hence the political scale will be unbalanced. For my full thoughts and or opinion see my follow up comment.

    Reply
  7. Peter June 1, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I’m back after a couple of LD calls and a cupo of coffee. No besides a no-confidence motion, there is a Commission of inquiry which is only a popularity exercise. Nobody gets punished. so that’s that. Now I don’t know how many of you will agerr with me but as a truly sovereign Independent country with our own constitution, We should embark upon a constitution charge for clarity and transparency let alone truth, Have as a legal form of balance the Official opposition, the largest block of opposing political directorate, can approach the Governor General who incidentally WILL BE OBLIGATED to this Law, to appoint a court of judges, the AG not involved as he’s politically appointed. To hold an open, televised and broadcast hearing into the major aspects of the complaints. This could be from auditor general’s report, government’s contracts, Every single case of short-comings in every ministry. If found opaque or highly unacceptable, the Governor General can then DEMAND the resignation of the guilty offending MP. If not, the GG can then ORDER the sitting Prime Minister to remove that sitting paeliamentarian without delay. An opposition party can then get a stronger grip on then moving a motion of No Confidence.There MUST be a way to control or better still stop all political shady maneuvers and corruption within our what ought to be honest, legal and very transparent system.

    Reply
  8. Ralph W Talma June 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    1. I like what the Leader of the BLP has said in response to the Budget statement and wish her well in her quest to become the next PM, with one proviso: do not sell-off our National assets. If you have no other option, you must maintain at least a 51% majority stake. Those assets will be vital to the continued wellbeing of the Island in this unstable world where predatory sharks are on the prowl to devour minnows such as Barbados and its National assets.
    2. I have a feeling the People have also swung behind you and wish smooth seas and a fair wind.

    Reply
  9. Milli Watt June 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    what a right royal mess……this system got to come down

    Reply
  10. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    You vow to implement anticorruption legislation! Your first order of business if you have an ounce of integrity left is to launch an investigation into the Cahill matter, the matter involving Low Lowe and Lashley arrangement with the mechanical contractor, the CLICO matter, the Grotto High Rise matter and any other matter for which this wicked azz party has engaged. You want people to trust you, then implement the said legislation forthwith, followed integrity, accountability, whistleblower legislation and freedom of information act. If you do not do want shyte, I hope you are prepared for the scathing percussions.

    Reply
  11. Loretta Griffith June 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Sunshine Sunny Shine: I have been awaiting your response to the Budget and reply, but now realize you did respond.
    I still need to get a more in depth analysis from you of the Budget.

    Reply
  12. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 2, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Loretta Griffith

    The budget does not need any in-depth analysis. The precipice, that the Barbadian economy is currently perched, is a precarious ledge of uncertainty made so by a set of clear-cut policies both political parties are responsible for and for which both felt were prudent management. We are not here just because of the DLP’s madness; we are also here because of the BLP’s insane past policies as well.
    The budget is the DLP’s unilateral failure of an administration that went rogue and now wants all Barbadians to sympathise with their stabilisation policy, which is to burden an already burdensome nation with increase taxation. There is no balance to be found in the budget speech when so many unbalances and imbalances exist. What in that deserves deep analysis.?
    Where we should place deep analysis is in the Auditor General report for 2016, and the manner in which millions remain unaccounted.

    Reply
  13. Loretta Griffith June 2, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Sunshine Sunny Sunshine

    I have not read the Auditor General’s report, but if they are any proven infelicities I hope the full weight of the law would be felt by whomever. I have said before that no one, be they B, C or D should be allowed to get rich on the backs of taxpayers.
    Accountability needs to be brought back to government and by extension business in general.
    What has become of the over-worked word integrity? It seems to be sadly lacking in every area.
    My take is that some of these modern day politicians and unions have destroyed this country followed closely by some churches.
    This country really need a revolution. I hope and pray that someone or ones will take the bull by the horn and really try to bring back this country, at least near to its former glory. I cannot believe this is the Barbados in which I grew up and the pride which I felt for having been born here.
    Apart from those of us who seem to be fighting other persons’ battles, I also wonder what has become loyalty. After loyalty to God continue e she our be loyal to whichever government is in office. I, however, do not mean blind loyalty to government.

    Reply
  14. Loretta Griffith June 2, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    After loyalty to God, we should be loyal to whichever government is in office. I however do not mean blind loyalty to government. I also believe where there are wrong doings they should be exposed.

    Reply
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