Former Member of Parliament Hamilton Lashley is urging Barbadians not to be too quick to conclude that ex-minister Donville Inniss’ political future is dead following his sentence of two years in prison in the United States.
In fact, Lashley noted that from what he has been hearing on the ground, Inniss may have more support than many would expect him to at this difficult time in his life.
On Tuesday, Inniss was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by a further 21 months of supervised release, after being convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
“People might want to say that his future in politics is dead but I have been listening to people, particularly coming out of St James South, his former constituency, and under these circumstances, I am very much surprised at the level of support that he still has in that constituency. But you know, once you are in politics, if you do, you damned and if you don’t you are still damned. But I am surprised at the level of support he still has.”
However, the former Government minister indicated that it is difficult to say whether Inniss has a chance at elective politics when he returns home. At the same time, Lashley said anything is possible in politics.
“So many things could happen in four years. Politics is a game of fluctuating fortunes too. If you had to ask me at this time if he has a future in politics I would say maybe no, but you never know. You never know when it comes to politics because anything is possible in politics,” Lashley said.
Nevertheless, he said he listened attentively to Inniss’ apology to his country and family, and noted that the former Minister of Commerce and Industry is asking his fellow countrymen for forgiveness.
He said those who are truly Christians, and are not taking political sides, would follow the Bible’s advice and forgive Inniss.
“By his apology to Barbadians, he is asking for forgiveness. The Bible says that we must forgive and a lot of emphasis is placed on it. Of course, I know that his wife and family would feel disappointed. But in my heart, I, Hamilton Lashley have forgiven him.”
Lashley said he has maintained a cordial relationship with Inniss after meeting him many years ago when he first came into politics.
The former Minister of Social Transformation said: “I believe in forgiveness a lot and I would have thought that he would have had a probationary period. But the people in the court think otherwise and there are other people in Barbados who seem to think otherwise too. I have known Donville from his entrance into Parliament during my last term in Parliament when we would have interacted on numerous occasions simply because we were on the same side of the political fence.
“I have always found him to have a pleasant personality and always seemed to be on top of his ball game, particularly when he had to address the Chamber. So obviously I was shocked to learn that he was being indicted by the U.S court on the charges that he faced. I always was holding out some hope for him.” ([email protected])