Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has rubbished Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) claims that today’s opening ceremony for the newly constructed Cane Garden complex to house the police station and court was nothing more than a “pappy show”, because the project was incomplete.
Speaking last night at a BLP meeting at The Lester Vaughn School in Cane Garden, St Thomas, Opposition leader Mia Mottley accused the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government of prematurely opening the building in order to make cheap political mileage ahead of the general election, constitutionally due by June.
However, speaking to Barbados TODAY after the opening ceremony this afternoon, which was attended by several high profile members of the judiciary, Brathwaite said the accusation was downright silly.
“I am so tired of this silliness and that is why one of the first things I did this afternoon was make the point that I invited the Member of Parliament for St Thomas [Cynthia Forde],” an annoyed Brathwaite said.
“I believe I must be the worst politician in the world because I am not interested in politics from that perspective. We decided that the building is complete and we are going to have an opening ceremony. It is as simple as that,” he added.
A walkthrough of the building revealed that the structure was complete, but there were no furnishings whatsoever and the landscaping was still to be done.
Acknowledging this reality, Brathwaite maintained that the building was ready to receive its tenants, but the police and the court would determine when they would occupy the new facility.
“I can’t tell you when they are going to be moved in to the new building. I do not know the time frame. I think there are some logistics in terms of the furniture, which we are trying to get organized, but I am not sure about the time frame, but the building as it stands right now is move-in ready,” Brathwaite stressed.
In questioning the timing of the official opening, Mottley last night made reference to the Wyndham hotel project at Sam’s Lord Castle, which she said had three groundbreaking ceremonies, but no meaningful construction since.
“It is political gimmickry that you will see the Attorney General opening a police station . . . that is not finished,” she said.
“This is the only Government I know that has groundbreakings when they are not ready and opening ceremonies before they are finished the work.
“You know, anything can be made to look pretty but do you have the certificate of practical completion? Those are the questions that you would ask with respect to an institution that is being opened and handed over. Can the contractor now be moved off of sight and the police move in tomorrow night? If that cannot happen, why then is the opening ceremony being held tomorrow [today] other than to make a pappy show?” Mottley asked.
Meantime, Forde claimed that cost overruns had got out of hand, with the complex costing three times the initial budget.
“I understand what should have been $13.5 million is probable nearly $39 [million] now; cost overruns in these hard times,” she charged, while demanding accountability.