Friday, March 1, 2024

Payne wants to make Dems pay


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Make them pay! That is what Member of Parliament for St Andrew George Payne is calling on Government to do after what he called the “atrocities, rape and robbery” committed by the last Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration.

“I would hope that somewhere along the line, we might go into a lot of legalese as to whether or not there is enough evidence to do this and to do that, but I’ve never seen a situation . . . where a country has been raped and robbed and that is why I use the word atrocities,” Payne, an attorney, told the House of Assembly yesterday on the final day of debate on the Mini-Budget delivered by Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Monday.

Payne, who is Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development, and is now acting as Prime Minister, said it was not a “case of any irregularities or corruption; it’s gone past that”.

“I use an example. I believe the Honourable Member for St Michael East [Trevor Prescod] would have spoken in this House on the presentation of a bill for $5.8 million by an attorney at law; a bill which was addressed not to the ministry . . . [but] to the minister of drainage and the minister of finance. What madness; $5.8 million!

“I don’t want to reveal the measure of my law practice, but I’ve dealt with transactions up to $600 million and a fee of $30 000. When you go over certain amounts there is a cap. There is nowhere in the world that any attorney anywhere could earn a fee of $5.8 million on one transaction. [Only] to show you that there is something amiss about this . . . .

“And you know what really irked me? The ministry then settled for $700 000. Seven hundred thousand, for what?” he asked.

He charged that some members of the DLP, whom he called the “eager rejects”, were now “practising this politics of distraction”.

“They want attention and as part of their strategy, they’re terming this Budget as foolishness . . . because they want us to forget the madness and the atrocities that have been committed ministry after ministry after ministry in this country, but we have to take a stand.

“If it be that we bring an action for malfeasance against any of these functionaries of the Democratic Labour Party, and we do not have enough evidence, so be it. But I will be on the tail of the Attorney General [Dale Marshall] to make sure that even if it is an example of one person, we have to do it.” 

Payne urged every minister to go through their ministries with a fine-tooth comb and “check every single contract and what they have done”.

“These criminals should not be allowed to get away with it and we have got to take a stand. The people of Barbados have given us a mandate. The people of Barbados have told us you have got to go after these people . . . .” (GBM)


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