Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe has firmly denied any form of corruption on the part of the Freundel Stuart-led Democratic Labour Party administration in relation to the contentious Cahill project.
It was during her response to the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals Wednesday that Opposition Leader Mia Mottley charged that Prime Minister Stuart’s hands were not clean in the matter.
In putting corruption back on the table as a potential campaign issue as the country heads into a general election campaign, Mottley produced documents purportedly showing that the Prime Minister had been an integral part of the failed $700 million waste-to-energy project from the very beginning, contrary to earlier perception.
The Opposition leader also said that while a number of Cabinet ministers, including Lowe, had been thrown in the spotlight for having signed an agreement with the Guernsey-based Cahill Energy for the plasma gasification plant in Vaucluse, St Thomas, she had proof that Stuart was actually the first person to approve the agreement, dating back to September.
However, Thursday a displeased Lowe sought to turn the table on Mottley, while accusing the BLP of corruption over the millions it spent constructing the controversial Greenland landfill.
“The Government is being accused of corruption, and the [bastion] of that corruption is Cahill. Let me say in closing, that the Government of Barbados has not spent a red cent of the taxpayers’ money on Cahill. That is the first thing,” assured Lowe, who was occasionally interrupted by Member of Parliament for St James North Edmund Hinkson.
“Secondly, Mr Speaker, if we want to talk about corruption, let’s talk about Greenland, a hundred million dollars of taxpayers’ money was spent. Let’s talk about the ‘golden shower’ in Silver Sands,” Lowe added, before he was interrupted again by Hinkson, who this time sought to clarify that the costs associated with the Greenland project were less than $60 million.
The Greenland landfill, which was mired in controversy, was constructed in St Andrew in the late 1990s by the then BLP government, but to this day it continues to lie idle.
Prior to Lowe wrapping up his presentation, Hinkson was engaged in a brief shouting match with Speaker of the House Michael Carrington, as the BLP representative complained profusely that Lowe’s time had long expired.
“Mr Speaker, it is not fair,” Hinkson shouted.
“Honourable member, please take your seat,” Carrington retorted.
“It is not fair, Mr Speaker,” Hinkson insisted before sitting.
“I have the right to extend the time to members . . . I noted the time [Lowe] started and every member that has spoken in this debate today has spoken more than half-an-hour, so don’t come with any nonsense,” the Speaker said, before turning to Lowe and stating: “Honourable member please wrap up,” leading Lowe to finally take his seat.