A dangerous manipulation of facts!
That’s how Lynne-Marie Simmons, daughter of retired Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, is describing a recent article penned by the campaign manager for the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Robert Bobby Morris, and published by Barbados TODAY on Monday.
In a letter to the editor today, Simmons accused the former Caribbean Community (CARICIOM) diplomat of seeking to sully her father’s good name while taking particular issue with Morris’ suggestion that the 78-year-old ex-Chief Justice had returned to “the bowels of the political cauldron” after being elevated by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur from a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate and Attorney General to the top judicial post back in 2002.
Morris’ article came in response to Sir David’s participation last Wednesday’s in a BLP sponsored election campaign event at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.
Entitled, A Conversation with the Elders, the event also involved other party stalwarts, such as Dame Billie Miller, Sir Henry Forde, Sir Louis Tull, Vic Johnson, DeLisle Bradshaw and Aaron Truss.
However, in his article Morris singled out Sir David for heavy criticism, while suggesting that late Prime Minister David Thompson was right not to extend Sir David’s tenure as Chief Justice given that “many were of the view that Sir David could not cut his umbilical chord from alliance to a political party.
“His latest actions and comments confirm the correctness of his [Thompson’s] judgement,” Morris, a retired trade union leader, said.
In a ruthless attack, the DLP campaign manager also took issue with a suggestion made by Sir David during last week’s BLP elders’ forum that the electoral list used in the 1981 elections in which he lost to Warwick Franklyn [now Sir Warwick] by 143 votes in St Philip North was not clean. In fact, Sir David said he had subsequently found out from the Chief Electoral Officer that there were as many as 171 voters who should not have been on the list.
However, while describing the ex-Chief Justice’s statement as alarming and worthy of examination, Morris was adamant that he should never have been elevated in the first place.
But in her letter today, the retired Chief Justice’s daughter described Morris’ article as not only illogical, but designed to besmirch her father’s “unblemished” reputation.
“If Mr Morris’ logic is to be followed, my father must forever obliterate from his memories, the historical record of Barbados and from his consciousness, those 25 years of public service as a Member of Parliament. He must now cast aside the protection of his fundamental rights of freedom of conscience of expression, assembly and association, guaranteed to him under the Constitution, and should not be allowed to comment and/or reminisce and/or share with members of the public, his personal experiences during his political career,” Simmons said in defence of her father who is currently working in the Turks and Caicos Islands as head of that country’s integrity commission.
“My father is now a private citizen and he has no intention of appearing on any political platform in the pending election. In fact, he has not set foot on a political platform in decades and has no desire to embark on the campaign trail or re-join the BLP,” Simmons added.
She also revealed that when her father was Chief Justice, he did not vote in the elections of 2003 and 2008 because that office required the holder to be, and be seen as, impartial.
“Irrespective of Mr Morris’ views and opinions, my father is entitled to speak of past events and happenings freely and openly,” Sir David’s daughter stressed.
When contacted today for comment on the matter, former Prime Minister Arthur declined, saying Morris’ article was beneath him.