Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn has welcomed the decision by Prime Minister Mia Mottley to remove some of the duties of Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson, but said it was only done “half way”. In fact, Franklyn said he believed all Hinkson’s ministerial duties should have been taken away, though he did not say why.
Franklyn, who was contributing to debate on the Public Finance Management Bill in the Senate on Wednesday, said he was ready to “support” the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration once it was “doing the right thing”.
“I see the other day the Prime Minister took away some of their duties and I support it. If there is any fault that I could find with her in that regard is that she did not take away all. But when you do the right thing I will say so,” he quipped.
“I am very serious she did the right thing this time, it is just that she did the half right thing because she should have carried away all. But be that as it may, I need you, this country needs you to do the right thing,” he urged Government.
Last week Mottley relieved Hinkson of his duties related to the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) with immediate effect and reassigned them to Attorney General Dale Marshall. Hinkson was also relieved of responsibility for the Forensic Services Centre, the Criminal Justice Research Unit and the Police Complaints Authority.
Hinkson has so far said he was in “total agreement” with the Prime Minister’s decision, indicating that he could now better manage his remaining duties.
Turning his attention to the Bill, Franklyn urged Government to weed out corruption and bring people guilty of wrongdoing to justice.
“I don’t feel that politicians or anybody should betray the public’s trust and get away with it. This is not a witch hunt, you are hunting thieves. So please go after these people. That last group did not carry away the pie, they carried away the whole pie and the pie pan and somebody needs to account for it,” he said,
Pointing out that the legislation “goes a long way” to ensure that people would think twice before doing wrong, Franklyn said he did not believe it would stop people from “transgressing”, but would cause them to want to be more “innovative”.
“Now that you are at the wheel you’ve got to stay the course and deal with these people,” insisted Franklyn.
While lauding the BLP administration for “starting on this transparency thing”, Franklyn cried shame on the administration for not disclosing its intention of accepting $13.5 million for land at Coverley before it did.
In making the announcement of the transaction, Mottley had revealed that the $13.5 million was three times the worth of the lands sold.
However, insisting that he was not aware of the worth of the land, Franklyn said the fact that the deal was done before being made public “looks bad”.
“When you have these private treaty arrangements it always leaves room for doubt. But if you brought it before Parliament and explained yourself, then it comes up here and we vote on it and we say yes, nobody can fault you. That is all I am saying,” he said.
Franklyn, who previously called for members of the DLP found guilty of wrongdoing while in office to be brought to justice, said he was “hurting” and was eager to see them pay.
He said it was the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that had caused the current administration to put certain measures in place to ensure transparency, but insisted that he wanted to see action in relation to weeding out corruption.
“I want this administration to implement what it campaigned on, one that rules out corruption,” he said.
The Public Finance Management Bill, among other things, outlines the roles and responsibilities of key government officials including ministers, permanent secretaries, chief executive officers and accounting officers.