Sunday 8 December, 2019

BLP calls for AG to go, gives him a failing grade

FILE - Opposition MP Dale Marshall.

FILE - Opposition MP Dale Marshall.

Former Attorney General and Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, MP Dale Marshall wants the Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite removed from the post.

Stating that the current Attorney General dropped the ball when he put the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) on standby instead of activating and mobilizing the unit to help eliminate the wave of violent crimes being recorded daily, Marshall said his time is up.

“I think the time has come when the Prime Minister 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.”

Marshall told Loop News that he cannot understand how “in the face of our greatest crisis in terms of crime and violence on our streets, and crimes of a particularly heinous nature. Shootings now nearly, almost every day, 19 gun-related homicides for the year, three in August alone,” that the BDF was not actually mobilized. He said that the AG only alerted the country that he has told them “to stand ready to help.”

Perplexed, Marshall urged, “We call out the Barbados Defence Force during Crop Over to do conjoined work with the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF). In our past, we have called out the Royal Barbados Police Force...  The Defence Force would provide a supporting role, but I think that Barbadians would feel a sense of comfort. For heaven's sake, if you can have the Defence Force on the street as people dancing and parading on Kadooment Day, how could you feel justified in not having them when we are at our lowest?”

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He lamented it has been done before by him as the Attorney General and it was done by Mia Mottley and David Symmonds when they too held the post of Attorney General. “We’ve all done this. It is a standard part now of our arsenal. I cannot understand how it is possible for the Attorney General not to have activated the Defence Force to join hands and actually be out there mobilized working with the police to try and wrestle this.”    

He insisted:

“I’m calling for them to be mobilized in accordance with law, under the direction of the royal Barbados Police Force, to try to assist in wrestling this problem to the ground. We need to have more disciplined forces on the streets at a time like this, plain and simple. And it’s nothing you’re going to do haphazard. Just having them out there doesn’t help. But there are protocols for this and we’ve done it before.”

And he explained that calling them out does not just mean “you go and say, ‘Come and work with the police’.” He said that there are policies and procedures to be followed.

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The MP for St. Joseph reiterated that action must be taken by the Leader of the Country immediately.

“We are at a crisis situation and as much as I am a politician, I believe that this is not something that can wait until a next general election to get fixed. By the time the next general election comes around and Barbados Labour Party is victorious at the polls, we would have slid further down into a slough of despair and despondency.

“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.

“Former Commissioners of Police have come out and quite diplomatically said that a significant part of the crisis has to do with the leadership. Now the leadership is not provided by the Opposition. The leadership is provided by the Executive of Barbados and the person who has been appointed to lead is the Attorney General, plain and simple. And if he cannot, as he has shown, discharge that responsibility with any seriousness then the time has come for him to go.”

Asked what would the next move be if the Prime Minister were to make such a move, he added, “What happens after that is a matter for the Prime Minister, but for the people of Barbados having an Attorney General who comes out and visits us with an occasional platitude and an occasional public appearance, we’re no better off.”

Marshall said that he had heard there were shootings last night again, Tuesday night, following two murders in Christ Church, one on Sunday night and the other on Monday night, and he insisted that there is a fear that has descended on Barbados which has persons worried they could innocently be caught in the gunfire and retaliations.

“Barbadians are not comfortable going out not knowing what or who is next.”

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