Opposition Leader Mia Mottley today lambasted Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley while accusing the ruling Democratic Labour Party administration of forcing through last-minute legislation on its way out of office.
While piling on her criticisms, Mottley hinted at unethical and corrupt actions on the part of Government.
“I am not going to get into who is bringing in cars in parts. I am not going to get into what the Commissioner of Police is investigating and on whose behalf cars were brought in to avert and avoid duties.
“At some point, the truth will out. This country is disgusted . . . . [that] in the same week guns are found in the midst of engine parts . . . and nobody addresses these issues and concerns of Barbadians,” Mottley charged.
She also claimed that Lashley had little or no legislative achievements to show since he was switched from the Ministry of Housing, while suggesting that his introduction of the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2017 was simply an attempt to put a mark on the board.
Mottley was also highly critical of the late notice which the Opposition got on the amendment, telling the House of Assembly she was informed via aWhatsapp message on Sunday about the specifics of the debate and that she did not have enough time to read the bill in its entirety, compare it with old legislation and research regulations in other jurisdictions.
Noting that Parliament’s life will come to an end on March 5, 2018, the Opposition Leader said she refused to allow herself or her party to be used as political props by Government as she called for the amendment to be put on hold for further consultation with stakeholders, including the insurance companies and the Bar Association.
In fact, the Opposition Leader suggested that if there was one piece of legislation that should be enacted with haste it was the Anti-Corruption Bill and not the proposed road traffic amendment which she said would only criminalize Barbadians.
The Opposition Leader also pointed out that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force had not been trained on the planned legislation.
During her combative presentation, Mottley took a turn in businessman Mark Maloney as she pulled out a memo written in 2015 by senior transport official Cheryl Bennett Inniss in which she raised concerns about the controversial island on the Adams section of the ABC highway which was the scene of several accidents, including the crash that killed 11-year-old Abijah Holder-Phillips two years ago.
According to Mottley, Lashley had refused to defend MTW officers even when Maloney claimed that the island was designed by MTW and that it was no different from other lanes used to merge with traffic on the highway.
However, Mottley contended that Government officers had called for the island to be removed and that the Chief Technical Officer had stated in the memo that Maloney had made misleading statements in relation to the matter.
Mottley also said it was no coincidence that Maloney continued to be the recurring factor in controversial projects, such as the Villages at Coverley and the proposed Hyatt Hotel project and was now “hiring the Prime Minister’s pal Hal Gollop . . . who is an LEC [legal education certificate] expert”.