Leave my wife out of it!
Those were the words of Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley to Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley this afternoon in response to her recent criticism of their trip to the People’s Republic of China.
Mottley had questioned the necessity and funding of the trip by the 11-member delegation at a time when Government is laying off workers to rein in spending.
But in an uncharacteristic display in the House of Assembly today, Lashley said he “had a bone to pick” with Mottley, whom he accused of continually launching “broadside attacks on the women of Barbados”, among them the labour minister over her current overseas trip.
“Myself along with officers of the Ministry of Culture and a delegation were invited on an official visit to the People’s Republic of China and that mission was in furtherance of the need to enhance and deepen cultural relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Barbados. That official visit included an invitation to my wife as well. The Government of Barbados was not called upon to finance my trip, the trip of my wife or the trip of the permanent secretary in the Ministry of culture,” he said.
“The Leader of the Opposition mentioned my wife in that,”he said irately.
“I don’t know why she did because . . . the Minister of Culture has public responsibilities and therefore if the Leader of the Opposition wanted to criticise the Minister of Culture for accepting an invitation to travel at the expense of the people of the government of China then do that but I have a problem with the Leader of the Opposition bringing my wife into the fray.”
Lashely added that he would never launch an attack on the spouse of the Leader of the Opposition because it is not his style.
During Lashley’s contribution, an Opposition member quickly rose to point out that she did not hear Mottley insult any woman during the debate.
However, the Speaker said he was in the House all day as well and allowed Minister Lashley to continue his statements.
Another Opposition member, Edmund Hinkson, said he was shocked and disappointed with Lashley’s statements in light of the quality of his regular contributions.