A week ago, the roundabout at Lears, St Michael bore all the signs of the businesses that were assisting with its upkeep, including the Mark Maloney-owned Preconco Limited.
However, Friday there was not a sign of Preconco or any of its affiliated companies, as the roundabout was stripped of all company markings, including the beautiful plants and flowers that had previously adorned it, which were all systematically removed.
When contacted, Maloney said: “I haven’t a clue about what is going on at the roundabout. Someone may be stealing the plants.”
This development is the latest in the ongoing bitter public tussle involving the businessman and Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins, who have recently been at odds over Maloney’s construction of a cement base at Spring Garden, St Michael for another one of his businesses – Rock Hard Cement Limited.
As the two were preparing to fight out that battle in court, the Town Planner last week delivered a shot across the bow to Maloney –– not by tearing down the contentious structure on Spring Garden, but by demolishing a chattel hut in the centre of the Lears roundabout, which had been the subject of a Town Planning order since 2011.
In defence of its action, the Town Planning office said the hut was impeding the sight of motorists using the roundabout. However, speaking to reporters here earlier this week, Henderson Brathwaite, who headed Preconco’s maintenance team for the roundabout, argued that if this was the case, the Bussa statue should also be removed.
His position drew the ire of social activist David Comissiong, who said Brathwaite was a “fool” for calling for the removal of the Emancipation Bussa statue at the J.T.C. Ramsay roundabout at Haggatt Hall, St Michael.
“It is tragic that in the year 2016, on our 50th anniversary of Independence, that a citizen of Barbados could be so lacking in intelligence, in self-respect . . . that the would make such a foolish, disgraceful comment. This person has to be profoundly lacking in national pride and racial pride,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY.
Friday, Brathwaite was determined not to allow Comissiong to have the last say on the matter.
In a text message to the media he said: “Perhaps he [Comissiong] is right that I am a fool, but in this matter calling me foolish is to betray the very principle upon which I thought he stood. Bussa would be ashamed.”
Brathwaite also sought to further explain his position on the Bussa statue, saying all he wanted was for his boss Mark Maloney to be given equal treatment.
“The fight that Bussa led for all slaves in Barbados was one to gain equality. In fact the fight against slavery was at one level simply about treating all people equally. Mr Comissiong has promoted himself for many years as a leader recognizing and celebrating this fight. In fact, he champions the cause of equality as often as he can. So why does he call me a fool when I too, join him in this fight? Does he not see that I am not calling for Bussa to be removed but rather for the Town Planner to treat Mr Maloney equally?” Brathwaite asked.
“Why is it that one group can erect a structure that blocks visibility in a roundabout but another cannot? Is this not the definition of discrimination? I encourage Mr Comissiong to stop calling me names and join me instead in championing the cause for equal treatment for Mr Maloney,” he added.