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Payne wants Bees to apologise to Bajans

Donna Sealy

Payne wants Bees to apologise to Bajans
MP St Andrew George Payne (FILE)

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Former minister of Housing and Lands George Payne says the failed attempt to procure COVID-19 vaccines by a private entity on behalf of Government was “massive” and should not be “brushed aside just like that to say that there’s no issue”.

He made his stance known while speaking in support of the Prevention Of Corruption Bill, 2021, in the House of Assembly yesterday.

“It is massive, and I don’t believe that the Government is to blame in any way, but I think it is the responsibility of the Government to prove that they are not to blame for the fiasco that has taken place. And for us to just brush it aside, for a Government to just brush it aside, that creates a certain amount of suspicion. The question of condemnation of corruption is also a matter which one has got to deal with,” he said.

Earlier in his contribution, Payne, the longest-serving Member of Parliament in the Chamber, having been there since 1991, said he would not be part of any administration that condoned corruption.

He also said an apology should be made to the previous Minister of Finance in the Democratic Labour Party administration.

He said that in the 2018 General Election, “where the mismanagement of the Government and the alleged corruption by Government officers were the talk of the day”, the Barbados Labour Party “hammered” the Democratic Labour Party.

“We hammered the Government at the time because of the mismanagement and the alleged corruption at that particular point in time,” he said, adding the people listened, resulting in them winning all 30 seats.

“I, for the life of me, was a little flabbergasted when you could come two years after having attacked the minister of finance, having attacked the policies of the Democratic Labour Party, having attacked the mismanagement of the Democratic Labour Party, when you could come and make that same Minister of Finance an advisor in the Barbados Labour Party as part of an investments council within the Barbados Labour Party.

“If, as it stands, we recognised that on the political platform we had made some mistakes with respect to the condemnation of the Minister of Finance, and then we decided that he would be brought into the fold . . . nothing less than an apology to the people of Barbados has to be the order of the day.” (GBM)