Questions continue to swirl around a contentious land deal involving Attorney General Dale Marshall and Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development George Payne, despite a clarification yesterday by Marshall.
At issue is a strip of land at Weston, St James, which a woman with the Facebook moniker, Jackie Stewart, and who describes herself as the daughter of the apparent property owner, said was willed to her mother by Stewart’s grandmother.
The woman, who lives abroad with her mother, has been posting videos on Facebook, levelling certain allegations against Marshall and Payne, both of whom were involved in the land deal case when they were in private legal practice.
Barbados TODAY will not publish the details of the allegations because of the damaging nature of these charges.
However, while she did not give her name, Stewart’s mother joined her on the videos last July 5 to affirm the claims and criticisms against the two Queen’s Counsels in their handling of the case.
But during a press briefing at Government Headquarters yesterday to address the issue of corruption against the backdrop of last week’s indictment by a United States grand jury of former Minister of Internatioal Business Donville Inniss on conspiracy to launder US$36,000 in bribes, Marshall shot down the charges.
“I would say to you that while I do not know the lady . . . from my own involvement in a particular case, I am aware that a matter involving her mother was filed in the High Court of Barbados and I represented the other individual, the defendant, and we won the case,” the Member of Parliament for St Joseph said.
“And, therefore, having the blessings of the court decision, as far as I am concerned, there is absolutely nothing that either myself or the firm which I used to be associated with has to be concerned about.”
Still, Marshall suggested he was not about to take the public allegations lying down, stating he intended to sue Stewart for tarnishing his professional reputation.
However, he said it would not be easy, because of the challenges involved in tracking down the woman.
“We have tried to instruct attorneys, we have engaged Facebook on the matter and I think Facebook has acted. But the problem as you well know with social media is the anonymity involved. We only know the lady’s name cause she has said it. But in order to engage in a legal process to defend my own reputation, the reputation of my professional colleagues and the reputation as a whole of the legal profession, we have to find her in order to bring an action against her.
“I am satisfied though, that the reputation of the professionals involved will sustain any criticisms made by the lady,” Marshall said.
However, in a video response posted on Facebook today, Stewart, who was again joined by someone believed to be her mother, laced into the local attorney, describing his comment as a “ fiasco” and, wrongly, charging that the attorney general had claimed he had sued her and her mum.
“I could only say it’s a fiasco because unfortunately, I had the distasteful . . . [displeasure] to see Dale Marshall yesterday make out that me and my mother are liars and that he had a case and that he went to court, and he won . . . Dale Marshall, you never ever had a case. We were taking you and George Payne to court . . . not you taking us to court,” an emotional Stewart said.
She also made charges that called into question the integrity of the local court and the justice system, while claiming her family never had their day in court.