We want justice!
This was the unanimous cry from lawmakers in Parliament on Tuesday as they called for members of the last Democratic Labour Party (DLP) found guilty of wrongdoing to pay the ultimate price.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Members of Parliament revisited the Private Members’ Business resolution, which surrounds the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) 2013 – 2018, painting a picture of despair and distrust among the population over the past 10 years, which they said the DLP created.
In fact, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde said the DLP administration was engaged in “pompasetting, grandstanding and squandermania”, while “pushing Barbadians to a level of mendicancy”.
“As a result of the transgression of those members of that last administration who breach every rule in the book, who said they were nation builders, we and others are carrying the burden,” said Forde, while pointing to the country’s massive debt.
“Once the perpetrators that have been highlighted in here (the PAC report) are brought to justice I am going to wine to some music because somebody has to get locked up for the government’s funds that cannot be accounted for,” she said.
Stating that she was bringing a message from her constituents and every Barbadian, the St Thomas MP said she hoped the same prison which the DLP government criticized the BLP administration for constructing would become home for some of them if found guilty of wrongdoing.
“We did not know that some time soon we may have to put a politician in there, and if a politician breaches the law he has to be locked up or she has to be locked up, as the little boy on the streets with the spliff, as the little girl who shoplifts,” said Forde.
“I want for justice not only to be done, but to be seem to be done. So where are those hard-hearted, heavy-handed, criminal-minded, self righteous, disrespectful, ungodly persons who mismanaged the affairs of this country? Where are they today? I have not set my eyes on one of them. All they did was try to assassinate everybody else’s character . . . I want justice to prevail. I am not going to rest in this Barbados Labour Party or this country unless I get that kind of response,” she said.
Leading off the debate Minister of Culture John King said the current administration was now “under more pressure” because of what was done by the previous DLP government.
“One of the most hurtful and disturbing things I hear people say, the one thing that bothers me is that there are some people who continue to make comments like ‘all politicians are the same’. When you hear things like that, I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I know the sleepless nights that I do have,” said King.
He said the DLP administration had brought the country to its knees, taking it from being “the shining light” in the Caribbean to being “the laughing stock” of the region.
Stating that no one should get off “scotch free”, King said “If it is with my last breath it can’t go down so. The country did not deserve it.”
“I am ashamed, and I hope never ever in my life to ever have the chance to see a report like that ever again, not associated with this political party or any other one,” said King.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey also cried shame on the last DLP administration, saying it was responsible for damaging the country by treating people badly and “weakening institutions”.
“It is a crying shame,” said Humphrey. “The image of Barbados on the international stage has been damaged badly but now is being restored by a new Barbados Labour Party administration. A lot of damage [was] done to this country over the last ten years,” he said.