Property owner Lionel Riley has rubbished claims made by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment Neil Rowe that he does not owe him rent for the premises the politician used as his constituency branch office.
Riley said after issuing Rowe with an eviction notice in January, the Member of Parliament for St Michael North West moved out in March, owing him three months’ rent for the property which he claimed was left “in a mess”.
Two days ago, Rowe told Barbados TODAY that he was not evicted from his constituency branch office at Deacons Road, St Michael. Rowe said he had fulfilled his rental obligations and had left because of maintenance issues.
However, Riley who contacted Barbados TODAY and strongly disputed Rowe’s claims, said the matter might become a legal issue since he was unhappy with the way in which it was being handled.
He noted that even though he issued the Member of Parliament with an eviction notice, he was dissatisfied that he now has to carry out repair works to the house and indicated that he handed it to Rowe in 2017 in “first class” state.
“It was just finished paint up, clean up and everything like that. He got to pay the rest of the rent or I am going to sue him. I am now getting information for the lawyers to sue him. I called him many times and asked him to come and sit down and let us get things work out and settle out things, but he wouldn’t come. I gave him notice to quit because of the way he treated the house and the complaints that I got from the people. The government used to pay me rent and he stopped it and there were no problems. Everything was going fine, no complaints, nothing at all.
“I called them and I asked them why and they say they don’t know why he stopped it. He owes me approximately three months’ rent. He never paid me a security deposit, he never came to me once to sign a contract agreement but he always hiding. The people are rejoicing now that he is no longer here. I had gates there to put to enter the lawn, the gates are missing. I asked him about them and he ain’t talking nothing about them. Now I have the contractor to come and examine,” Riley said.
The landlord said he was not happy that there were now tiny holes all over the wooden property from campaign posters.
In responding to swirling rumours of his eviction, Rowe said he left the rental property because of maintenance issues and claimed that he had witnesses and people around him that could attest to why he left. Rowe also indicated that he had the evidence to show that the rent was paid up.
However, Riley who is in his 80s also said that he too had witnesses to prove what type of condition the house was in when he handed it over to the MP.
“I have been trying to talk with him and make peace with him but he does as he likes. I was surprised to see all of this trash in the paper, he should be ashamed. Listen to me, when he gone you should see all the garbage and everything that about here and I say, ‘Neil, why?’ and he say ‘put it outside’. He left the place in a terrible mess,” Riley said.
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