The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) today fiercely denied it was behind allegations on social media that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler owns a $2.5 million house at Rolling Hills, St George.
The BLP issued a press release today denying involvement, less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave prominence to the rumour by raising it at a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting at The Alexandra School last night, and accusing the Opposition party of being behind it.
However, BLP spokesman Dale Marshall said his party had nothing to do with the post, and complained that the BLP had also been a victim of similar rumours, although he did not say what they were or when such rumours were spread.
“[The] Barbados Labour Party distances itself from accusations being made on social media in relation to Mr Sinckler being the owner of a particular house in St George,” Marshall, the Member of Parliament for St Joseph, said in the release.
“That post has nothing whatsoever to do with the BLP. The circulation of such stories on social media is not, and has never been, a BLP strategy.
“The Prime Minister seems to forget that members of the BLP are also victims of such attacks and allegations. These anonymous posts which are intended to damage are in bad taste and a blight on public discourse. The BLP would never be a part of that.”
In becoming the latest member of the DLP to accuse the BLP of engaging in a smear campaign, Stuart last night challenged the Opposition party to prove that Sinckler owns the home by take the media to the site of the house.
“Rolling Hills is not invisible. You don’t have to catch a plane to go to Rolling Hills. You can catch a bus and go there, you can drive there by car and some people in St George can walk there,” he told supporters.
“Name the day and the time when they will all meet at Rolling Hills, St George and when they will point Barbadians . . . and people from other parts of the Caribbean to that $2.5 million house that was built by the Minister of Finance. Stand up and tell journalists and tell people of the Caribbean ‘that is the house, and it was built by so-and-so, and it is owned by Chris Sinckler,’” he said, adding that he would drop national duties to be present at the given time.
“Just let me know the day, the time and you can be sure I will be there.”
However, the Prime Minister said he was certain the challenge would not be taken up because there is no truth to the rumour and that, “these people are embarked on a campaign of personal vilification, slander and trying to sully people’s reputation”.
It was just last week that Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett told DLP supporters that he had become the latest victim of a smear campaign on social media from “a den of nastiness” and “a brothel on Roebuck Street” by “political cockroaches . . . cronies and white mouth yardfowls” bent on tarnishing the reputations of members of the DLP Government, including Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, Sinckler and Minister of Transport Michael Lashley.
The Minister of Culture also took to social media last month accusing the BLP of being behind a fake letter circulating via that same medium that was purportedly authored by him, in which the writer expressed an interest in representing the DLP in St John.
This followed on the heels of claims by Sinckler that the BLP was planning to put out “a lot of fake news, nasty, lying information” about him and Michael Lashley and a warning from DLP stalwart Derek Alleyne the DLP was prepared to go down in the gutter to win the next election, which he described as the “election of all elections” in which “this same sex marriage thing” and “who lives with whom is going to come up”.
However, the BLP has repeatedly denied involvement in any such smear campaign, with the party’s leader telling the 79th annual conference that the Opposition party “shall keep it clean in 2018” while warning that “those who get offended because I speak of stealing, I say, ‘too bad for them’.