One of the candidates contesting the upcoming general election on the United Progresive Party (UPP) ticket is in custody after getting in hot water with the law.
Customs broker and farmer Herman Lowe, the UPP’s hopeful in St Michael West Central, was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Dodds for contempt of court in relation to non-payment of a court-ordered debt.
The party issued a brief statement over the weekend in which it explained that the issue surrounded a divorce settlement “several years ago”.
“The United Progressive Party has been advised by Mr Herman Lowe that a court order was enforced against him on March 28th, 2018. The order arose out of mortgage payments due after a property settlement in divorce proceedings several years ago,” the statement said, adding that additional information would be shared with the public when Lowe gives the go-ahead.
Asked this afternoon to state the party’s next step regarding Lowe’s future, UPP leader Lynette Eastmond told Barbados TODAY, “we are not in a position to say . . . anything at this point”.
One senior lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous, told Barbados TODAY Lowe’s remand for a debt was not a criminal conviction but contempt of court in that he disobeyed the court order to settle the debt as due. The lawyer did not think this should disqualify the UPP hopeful.
However, another senior attorney, who also preferred anonymity, agreed that Lowe had not committed a criminal offence, but suggested the UPP ought not keep him on its ticket.
“If I were the party I would not run him because he could bring the party into disrepute . . . by being remanded for a debt. It meant he would have known in the first place he had to pay the debt and disobeyed the judge. Any person who wants to run for office or Parliament must be able to be held up as an example of someone to emulate,” the senior counsel said.
According to the Laws of Barbados a person is ineligible to be a candidate if he has filed for undischarged bankruptcy, proclaims allegiance to a foreign state, has been imprisoned for a period exceeding six months, convicted of a felony or of an offence involving dishonesty or electoral fraud.
Lowe’s profile on the UPP’s website states that he is a community man who believes that part of the transformation of Barbados lies in developing a modern approach to agriculture.
Identifying what he said was a disconnect between those who farm and access to available lands, he said this often forced farmers to live too far from their land, and has proposed that accommodation be provided on these farms.
The UPP prospect also describes himself as a human rights advocate who wants to ensure every Barbadian receives justice.
His profile indicates that he has represented the interests of oppressed people at the United Nations.
The Haynesville, St James born Lowe is a graduate of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, but he has not stayed within the region, with his travels taking him to Israel, as well as the African continent, and in particular, the Congo.
He describes education, especially within the community, as important to him, and pledges that his focus was on providing lifelong education and training.