Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has thrown out a challenge in response to claims that members of his administration were engaged in corrupt practices.
Addressing a ruling party branch meeting at the All Saints Skills Training Centre in St Peter Sunday night, Stuart accused the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and unnamed “adversaries” of “some dark hint about which minister of the Crown is corrupt”.
However, he promised that if any member of his team was found guilty of corruption, he would be the first to support prosecution.
Stating that he had a “very simple approach” to such situations, Stuart said: “I want to make my position clear. If anybody anywhere in Barbados has any evidence that any member of the Cabinet of Barbados is corrupt, don’t say it”, but get the information to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
He pointed out that Section 79 of the Constitution of Barbados made provisions for the DPP to investigate such matters and to prosecute anyone without interference from anyone. He added that the DPP had the power to “take over” any legal proceedings or discontinue them.
“Therefore, if anybody has any evidence against any minister of the Crown, that that minister has been corrupt and you want to be taken seriously, don’t tell me go to the DPP. Tell him the information you have,” instructed Stuart.
He made it clear that he was not prepared to defend “anyone who comes to sully the good name of the Democratic Labour Party.
“You can go to the DPP as often as you like, but you can’t carry Freundel Stuart’s name,” he said.
“I really think that if you want to send a clear signal to the people of Barbados and the people in the region and all of our international partners that we are serious about dealing with malversation and corruption in public life, if you have evidence carry it to the DPP . . . Go to him and let him start the prosecution against the offending person and you have my 100 per cent assurance you are going to get all the support you need from me because I believe that if there is dirtiness in public life, that dirtiness has to be cleaned out. Those are the standards of the Democratic Labour Party,” assured Stuart.
Additionally, Stuart said he would not be “peeping” behind any of his Government ministers as he expected them to do what they were appointed by him to do.
“I give people work to do and I believe they should do it and do it to the best of their ability, remembering always that they are the servants of the people of Barbados and accountable to them,” said Stuart.
“If there are problems of that kind in Barbados, we need to have them removed. And if there is anybody in the present Government of Barbados over which I preside, who is guilty of corruption of any kind, I will be the first person to stand up, once the information is made available, and give all the support that is needed for that person’s successful prosecution because I believe that corruption in public life is a betrayal of the most sacred trust of the people of this country,” insisted Stuart.