Stephen Archer might have passed, but at least one Barbadian is fighting on his behalf.
After reading what she described as Archer’s “heartbreaking and appalling story” in Barbados TODAY, Heather Cole, a Barbadian living in the US, has started a petition and has called for an investigation to be launched into significant monies which are allegedly owed to Archer’s estate.
Archer, a paraplegic, passed away two weeks ago. Prior to his death, he claimed that he was owed the majority of an over $2 million compensation settlement which had been paid to him by a utility company following an accident in 1997 when a telephone pole fell on him, occasioning him significant bodily injury.
However, Archer had contended that he was never given a cheque with his money nor was it ever deposited on his personal account.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Cole said she was not prepared to let Archer’s plight die a natural death.
She contended that his situation was not unique and that there were other persons who had suffered the same fate.
“When I read the story in Barbados TODAY I found it heartbreaking and appalling to tell you the truth. I had not heard about it before then and a lot of people were talking about it on the internet but nobody was doing anything, so I thought this would be a perfect initiative to take action on,” she said.
“Mr Archer is not the only person that something like this has happened to. It is something that has been occurring in our society for quite a while and there seems to be no checks and balances put in place. All that happens is that people get frustrated or they die.”
As a result she said she started an online petition through her Facebook group Barbados Lobby, in an attempt to raise awareness about the situation.
She said while there had been just over 70 signatures to the petition so far, she was aiming to get at least 5,000.
Cole complained that there were too many similar examples to Archer’s which had been swept under the rug.
“Yes I know there are still good lawyers in Barbados but this occurrence is happening far too often now, so something is fundamentally wrong with the system and there is no reason why the people of Barbados cannot come together and seek change because that is what is needed.
“I think that this matter has gone beyond the court. What we are advocating for is to have two investigations; one by the police and one by the Bar Association. The association has a code of ethics and at some point in time that has to come into play,” Cole pointed out.
The 55-year-old said these increased occurrences had placed a strain on relationships between lawyers and clients and had created trust issues.
Cole also revealed that she had a matter before the law courts in Barbados dating back 20 years.
She said despite obtaining the services of several attorneys-at-law, she had been unable to have the matter finalized.
She also believed that once lawyers were brought before the court for acts of dishonesty they should still be disciplined even if they repaid those monies.