“I have produced an authentic copy of my doctoral certificate and I am making it a document of this House. Produce your legal certificate to prove that you have a right to practice law in Barbados!”
Minister of the Environment, Dr Denis Lowe, threw out this challenge to Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley, tonight after she had questioned his professional qualifications last night during her response to the 2015/2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
Giving the background to the issue, Lowe told the House of Assembly that he had been attacked yesterday by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader and reminded the country that in 1999 she had launched an attack on him on a television programme.
Lowe recalled that Mottley had stated on that occasion that she did not know if to address him as mister, brother, doctor or what, but on second thought he felt he should have responded to her by saying that he did not know if to address her as mister or miss.
“But I did not because the moment for me was a moment that was offered me by my political party that I sought to represent. However, so that this matter may rest, and rest eternally, I have brought with me today the authentic copy of my doctoral certificate and I am making it a document of this House and ask that the relevant persons make copies for those who would like to have it,” Lowe said.
The Christ Church East MP recalled that the journey to the achievement started on August 15, 1984 when he left Barbados to go to Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States with a suitcase, a few pants and some shirts and US$750.
Lowe further recalled that the last thing his late mother said to him before he departed was: “Son, I cannot send you any money, I cannot send you clothes, but I will send you prayers”.
He said that off he went on a work scholarship to a place called God’s Bible School and College to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology.
An emotional Lowe stated: “I must tell my story because there are many young people out there who are starting where I started. If they must be led by someone . . . who believes that they have a right in this country to do whatever they choose to do, I send out a warning to Barbadians, beware, because you may not be able to get your chance in life.
“I went on a work scholarship and worked as a security guard at the Bible School during the winter on the graveyard shift. Walk by myself on the beat, in the back of my mind saying to myself I have finally gotten my chance.”
Lowe went on to challenge Mottley to produce her legal certificate.
After making his doctoral certificate a document of the House of Assembly, he called on Mottley, whose legal certification has been called into question by members of the Government, to do the same.
The embattled Minister of the Environment, who said he was not in the habit of picking fights for no reason, said he was prepared to fall on his knees and apologize if he had wronged Mottley in any way.
However, “I will defend myself”, said Lowe.
He warned “if she can’t bring it”, she could face either 5,000 or 12 months in jail for practising law illegally.