Three leading members of the parliamentary Opposition are under police investigation, but the MPs say they are not telling officers anything.
Leader Mia Mottley, Shadow Attorney General Dale Marshall and Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly, Kerrie Symmonds, were questioned by poylice at District “A” Station this morning over comments they made about Speaker Michael Carrington five months ago.
The remarks were made after the Opposition MPs walked out on July 16 to protest their dissatisfaction at Carrington’s handling of proceedings.
Those statements in question, which were alledgedly reported by journalist Barry Alleyne and published in The Nation, were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for police to start criminal investigations. But at the police station this morning, Marshall told reporters he and his colleagues had informed lawmen they would not be making any statements to them on the issue.
“Last week we were contacted at Parliament by members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, who wished to interview us relating to a matter, details of which I would give you in a moment.
“Of course, we felt that while we had to cooperate with the police, obviously by convention and tradition, it would be inappropriate for investigations of a criminal nature to take place in the precincts of Parliament, and therefore we arranged to come to see the investigating officers at District “A” Police Station.
“The matter that is being investigated, so far as we are made to understand, the possibility of charges being made against The Nation and one of its reporters, Mr Barry Alleyne.
“This would have been occasioned by the Opposition walking out of Parliament during the month of July this year,” the Shadow Attorney General recalled.
“On that occasion, we took a firm stance on how we felt the Leader of the Opposition was being treated in Parliament, and therefore, we walked out. It appears the matter being investigated has to do with the report made by The Nation journalist and reported in The Nation.
“There appears to be a significant concern of the Speaker [and] the matter has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecution, who has directed the police to investigate it,” he pointed out.
“We have come to cooperate with the Royal Barbados Police Force. I think as an Opposition party, we made it quite clear that we support the work of the force, in every aspect of their endeavours.
“On this occasion, though, we feel, that on the advice of counsel, that we should not make any statement in the course of the police investigation and we have reduced that position in writing, all three of us, myself, Kerrie Symmonds and Miss Mottley,” declared Marshall.
He said that written position was handed to police this morning.
The St Joseph MP insisted that while they were concerned about the rule of law, they were also worried about threats to freedom of speech in this country and the ability of media houses to report freely, frankly and fairly. He felt the stance taken today is a principled one. (EJ)