Residents of St James South were mostly unfazed by the news that Donville Inniss, the man who represented them in the House of Assembly for the past ten years as a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration, was arrested and charged in the United States.
In a three-count Grand Jury indictment, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York accuses the former cabinet minister of engaging in a scheme to accept US$36,000 in bribes from a Barbadian insurance company, then laundering the cash into the US.
The alleged incidents occurred some time between August 2015 and April 2016, the indictment said.
It also said it involved insurance contracts with the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) by a majority-Bermudian owned Barbadian insurance company not named in the indictment, but since identified as the Insurance Corporation of Barbados (ICBL).
Inniss, a former Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, was released on US$50,000 bond on appearing in a US federal court in Tampa, Florida, where the US permanent resident owns an apartment.
Barbados TODAY canvassed opinions in three districts across the riding, from Husbands to Haynesville to West Terrace, and found most residents were not surprised by the politician’s legal troubles, among them Keisha Grandison.
“I’m not surprised. The politicians have been doing dirt ever since; it is only people that blind that don’t see these things,” Grandison said, adding sarcastically: “I think Mr Inniss is showing the poor people that they need to do more and get their hands in the dirt as well to survive. If the big boys like Mr Inniss doing it, [he is] setting the example . . . leading the way. We have to get our hands nasty as well. Thank you for showing us the way, Mr Inniss.”
A resident who did not want to be identified expressed jubilation at Inniss’s detention.
“I am glad that he was arrested. It isn’t only him . . . .A lot more in that party will get find out . . . .I’m not surprised; maybe that he was caught but not that he is involved in this type of activity. You can hide and buy ground, but you can’t hide and work it. They were putting them hands in the cookie jar.
“He was no good as a representative. You can ask anybody in this gap if Donville ever help them and you would see the response. He never did anything for us.”
But Joe Walker, a regular at one of the shops in the constituency, expressed total shocked.
“I’m surprised. I didn’t expect Donville, I expect others within the party but not him,” Walker said.
“Outside of that personally he is a good man but at the end of the day the politicians need to learn; but he had money before he came to politics. I feel really bad for the constituency and for the name Donville Inniss because he is a man I respect personally,” Walker told Barbados TODAY.
But the constituent said he was concerned about the level of the corruption in Barbados.
“It doesn’t look good for Barbados. I hope this administration can put an end to all this corruption. Corruption in Government [has] been happening over and over for a long time, not just now,” Walker stated.