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Tim Slinger

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OPPOSITION LEADER Mia Mottley has called for the immediate resignation of Minister of Housing Michael Lashley.In an interview with the DAILY NATION last night, minutes before she addressed a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) political meeting at Heroes Square, Mottley accused Lashley of misleading Barbadians when he told the House of Assembly last week of an existing financial contract between Clico and the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for the Constant, St George housing project.Producing a photocopy of what she said were the minutes of the NHC’s board of directors meeting of June 30, the Opposition Leader added that the evidence was “clear”. Labelling as a smokescreen Lashley’s statement that a finance contract had been in place, Mottley claimed that while the Minister of Housing told the House about the first tranche of a $40 million NHC loan to assist small contractors, which came from Paragraph 20 of the same minutes, he left out previous paragraphs that referred to the contract issue between the corporation and CLICO.“Paragraph 12 states: the general manager, acting, noted that oral and written contact had been made with the contractor [CLICO] with regard to the progress of the project [Constant]. “The general manager, acting, further indicated that to date the contract had not been executed.”Mottley also quoted from the next paragraph [13], which stated: “The board of directors expressed alarm that, in spite of a contract having not been signed by the contractor [CLICO], the work was allowed to proceed.“The board further indicated that trends were developing where projects were being started without the board’s approval.”Mottley added: “[Lashley] gave Bajans the impression that Marilyn Rice-Bowen lied. Who is telling the truth?” Just last week, Rice-Bowen, who was recently fired as NHC chairman, denied signing any agreement between CLICO and NHC for the Constant housing project.The Opposition Leader said that if by Thursday Lashley had not resigned, Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart should fire him.Mottley also called for the entire NHC board to resign.

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