Lawyers involved in the Al Barrack saga are about to get a payday – at least a part of what is owed to them.
This comes several months after the contractor received his final payment from Government.
In April of this year it was announced that after nine years Barrack had been paid the full outstanding amount due to him – about $73 million – following a High Court ruling.
At the time, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman had disclosed that “the only thing to be settled with the Barrack case is the lawyers and that is because they are waiting for a final assessment”.
Howevever, Government today approved a resolution for $5 million to go towards settling the cost of legal fees associated with the “messy” court case involving the Vincentian-born contractor.
Making the request for the supplementary today in the Parliament, Kellman said the $5 million was only a portion of what was currently owed.
“We are now settling the legal aspect in terms of the legal costs and we are now part paying a very substantial bill after having to pay substantial sums to Barrack & Company Ltd in terms of settlement,” he said.
“This is only a part payment. I can assure you that the legal bill is very substantial. It might even come to more than if the bill was settled when it was first presented to the Barbados Labour Party,” Kellman added.
“We expect the legal bill to be substantial when one looks at what we have to pay to the lawyers who represented Mr Barrack from the Barbados Labour Party, and the lawyers who represented the National Housing Corporation. Then there are also some other lawyers who represented Mr Barrack, another two sets. So what we are dealing with [now] is only about a third of what we have to pay we know so far. But there will also be other legal bills, which we cannot speak to because they have not been settled as yet. This is a very messy affair,” explained Kellman.
Today’s $5 million resolution to settle the legal fees formed part of a total of $10,363,838 approved for the Ministry of Housing and Lands. The remaining $5,363,838 will go towards servicing of debt at the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
A resolution was also passed for Government to sell 14.27 hectares of Crown land located at Coverley, Christ Church for $15.2 million to the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL).
While declining to say who had purchased the BNTCL, Kellman gave the impression that the land sold to the company would be used for the production of renewable energy.
“We have always been able to build this country using the natural resources. Over the years we have used the people of Barbados to build the country. Now we are not only using the people of Barbados, but we are also using the next natural resources we have and that is the sunshine.
“So what you see here today is the land aspect of it, where we are selling the land for a tidy sum of $15.2 million which will allow us an opportunity to move on to another aspect of it, so that this country is allowed to maximize its energy base. So we have the fossil fuel aspect of it, and on the other hand we have the renewable aspect of it. And it is only but fair for the Government to drive the renewable energy sector,” he said.
Today, Parliament also passed another supplementary resolution for $600,000 to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resource Management to go towards retrofitting and upgrading projects.