An Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) representative is insisting that his leader, Mia Mottley, is suitably qualified to become the next Prime Minister of Barbados, even if she does not have a legal certificate to show.
The ruling Democratic Labour (DLP) is attempting to hold Mottley to account over her qualifications to practise law in Barbados.
At its just-concluded 62nd annual conference the ruling party passed a resolution mandating DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim to draft correspondence to Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite asking him to clear the air on the issue.
However, addressing a meeting of the BLP Women’s League at the party’s Roebuck Street, The City headquarters last night, Hinkson argued that there was no real breach to speak of, while suggesting that there was at least one sitting judge who is in the same boat as Mottley in terms of not having a legal certificate.
However, he told party supporters that with elections around the corner, the governing DLP had now sunk to a new low, and was simply scraping the bottom of the barrel in a desperate bid to hold on to power.
“I can’t believe that a governing party [is going to] spend its time . . . passing a resolution that somebody who qualified 30 years ago, who had testimonials and reference letters from the then Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt Excellent Errol Barrow, himself a top lawyer . . . who had testimonials and reference from Sir Henry Forde, one of the longest parliamentarians in the Parliament of Barbados, one of the leading lawyers in the Caribbean, and that you now going spend a Sunday afternoon passing some foolish resolution that you going to now write the attorney general for him to take it to court that you got to have some legal certificate,” he told the gathering of BLP supporters.
In fact, he went as far as to suggest that Mottley did not need a legal certificate to practise law.
“At that time [when Mottley entered the legal profession] that was allowed . . . . There is a judge, someone who has been a judge for 15 years, who came through the same way,” he said.
And while he did not name the judge, he pointed out that he still sits on the bench.
“So what they [going to] say, that all decisions of that judge are null and void; that everybody who is in Glendairy sentenced by that judge should be released now?”
It was Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe who had openly challenged Mottley back in June 2015 to “bring proof” that she was qualified to practise law here.
At the time, Lowe had also warned Mottley that if she could not present the necessary proof of her legal certification, she could face either a $5,000 fine or 12 months in jail for practising law illegally.
During the recent Budget debate Mottley attempted to settle the matter by holding aloft a set of personal documents, which she made a record of the House, to prove she was an attorney-at-law of good repute.
However, there was no copy of a law degree among the documents presented in the Lower House, which is the only proof that Government is interested in.
Still, Hinkson is adamant that no legal breach has occurred.
In dismissing the DLP’s resolution, he said: “When you scraping at the bottom of the barrel you come up with those things”.
In his address themed, The Elitism within the Democratic Labour Party, the Case for Mia Amor Mottley to become Prime Minister of Barbados, Hinkson also took the Prime Minister to task for suggesting during the DLP’s annual conference that Mottley as current BLP leader does not represent the average working class Barbadian.
“It is absolute folly and unchristian to speak about someone in terms of the accident of their birth.
“People have to be measured by the quality of their character, not by the colour of their skin or by whatever social class they might have been born in,” he suggested to Stuart.
“You will tell me that because Mia Mottley was born to be a lawyer and she is a Mottley she can’t be prime minister? he asked, adding “she ain’t ask to be born, and no one should ever be ashamed of who they born to.
“It is the strength of your character as you become an adult that is important, not the circumstances of your birth, whether rich or poor, white or black,” he insisted.
Pointing out that Mottley was a former attorney general and a Queen’s Counsel who had won cases at Privy Council as a constitutional lawyer, he insisted that a person must be judged by “the character that you possess, the quality that you possess, the passion that you possess to make life better for people, to do something for people other than for yourself and your friends and your immediate family”.
Therefore, “you cannot now question Mia’s competence to be Prime Minister of Barbados for her intellect or understanding,” Hinkson argued.
He pointed out that Mottley was identified from the late 1990s during her first term as a Cabinet minister and while still in her 20s as one of the 40 young global political leaders.
“There is no one who has ever come to the people of Barbados to ask humbly to become Prime Minister who has had the political and other life experiences of Mia Mottley,” he said, also recalling that she was chosen to be a senator back in 1991 before being elected parliamentarian from 1994 until the present.