With Barbados four killings shy of its highest ever murder tally in a given year, and with six months still to go in 2019, Attorney General Dale Marshall has been told to quit the post by his predecessor.
Former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, in calling for the resignation of his successor, has declared that Marshall is now learning that the job is more difficult than it appeared from the outside looking in.
In 2017, Marshall, who was the Opposition spokesperson on legal matters, called for Brathwaite to be relieved of duty following a wave of shootings, including brazen gunplay on Kadooment Day in which a man was killed and 22 others injured.
Marshall said then: “I think the time has come when the Prime Minister [Freundel Stuart] needs to relieve the Attorney General of the portfolio that he gave him to maintain the peace and stability of our country. He’s failed woefully.
“The Attorney General has failed us. He has failed the country. He’s failed, I’m sure, his constituents. And the time has come for the Prime Minister to relieve him of that responsibility since I’m sure that he would not resign.”
But with the tables now turned, the former AG is making the same demand.
Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY: “I
used to say to the present Attorney General that even though opposition politics is difficult, it doesn’t mean that you say things that are not true.
“If you go back to 2017, you would see that [Marshall’s] position was that I was doing such a poor job and my party was doing such a poor job that we should resign. Now, of course, we have an unprecedented level of murders in this country.”
Brathwaite, who served in the Freundel Stuart administration which was ousted from power in the May 2018 general election, argued that Marshall, by his own standard, has been a failure as the Government’s top legal advisor and should therefore vacate the position.
Said the former attorney general: “I think he should resign. Having taken the position that he did over the last couple of years in particular with respect to my job as Attorney General.
“Given his performance, in any serious Westminster system, no one should have to call on him to resign, he should just resign. He should say that I have failed and therefore I resign.”
The former AG expressed the view that Government has failed to comprehend that the murder-rate is merely a manifestation of a systemic problem and unless steps are taken to address the problem from the root, the vicious cycle will continue. Brathwaite was referring to plans for dealing with at-risk youth who he said are often neglected until they end up in the justice system.
Brathwaite declared: “They were so opposed to the [Democratic Labour Party administration] that they refused to see the challenges that we were having. I have always said that it is not an Attorney General’s problem to solve the crime in this country.
“It is not his alone. The problem actually begins at inception… These youths who are often fleeing abuse, are condemned as criminals before an attempt is made to help them.
“Unless we have a holistic approach to crime and criminal behaviour in this country, then pointing to criminal statistics does not help. So, we focus on the ones that commit crime, but we do not focus on the other challenges within society. We need to go back to basics”.