Hal Gollop Kingmaker
It seems like just the other day political pundits concerned with integrity in public office whispered the names Hallam Nicholls and Rodney Wilkinson under the reign of Owen Arthur. Although the late David Thompson did not have a lengthy tenure it is no secret he was in bed with Leroy Parris and the significant legal work was dished out to the relatively inexperience lawyer Adrian King from Inn Chambers, the husband of his personal assistant at the time Natasha King.
By the way what is the status of the Rodney Wilkinson court matter?
Of recent vintage we have seen the rise of the recluse Freundel Stuart to be prime minister. It is unusual to describe a politician- especially the prime minister- as one who prefers to live a solitary life. Barbadians were happy to re-elect Stuart although it is obvious he is not a peoples person. With a general election on the horizon there will be time to reflect on how Stuart the politician was able to achieve the impossible.
One man who appears to have the ear and confidence of the prime minister is lawyer Hal Gollop. Before the general election of 2008 the Gollop name was not a household brand. With Thompson forced to vacate the office of prime minister because of a visit from the Grim Reaper, we not only witnessed the rise of Stuart so too Gollop.
To chronicle how busy Gollop has been since Stuart has taken office would be a lengthy exercise. However, a cursory examination of how active Gollop has become raises the concern by civic minded Barbadians about the need to enact and operationalize transparency legislation -ideally recruit a contractor general. Barbadians have had to witness the incestuous and familial characteristics practiced by successive governments. Barbados is a small island and if one choses not to believe the Auditor General’s finding in reports presented by that office to parliament going back to 2006 there is the underground chatter.
The rise of Gollop to head the inefficient Employment Rights Tribunal (EFT) in hindsight seems to be part of an orchestration to frustrate a group of people for political reasons. It has been reported on BU 10 of 300 cases filed are recorded to be heard by the very busy Gollop and his team. For those who question the bona fides of Gollop to be referred to as the friend of Stuart the recluse, it is known that Gollop is the campaign manager of Stuart.
Recently Gollop was in the news having invoiced the Barbados Water Authority a cool 1.5 million dollars for vetting routine paper work. He appeared in court last week to represent the prime minister in a matter to challenge the constitutionality of a motion brought by citizen advocate David Comissiong to have government’s decision reviewed. His most famous public interventions has been his defence of Leroy Parris, buddy of the late prime minister and declared pal of prime minister Stuart. The obvious interplay between Parris, DLP and players, the outstanding settlement of CLICO/BAICO matters is a classic case of what is rotten by the lack of transparency of government practiced in Barbados. In a robust democratic system watchdogs like the media, political Opposition and other NGOs would have been calling for Gollop to recuse himself from many government appointed assignments. One would love to be a fly on the wall to listen to Gollop and Stuart sitting on the patio sipping. There was the Alexandra Waterman Commission that Gollop chaired and pocketed a fat cheque for the trouble. Should we go on?
Is Stuart rewarding Gollop’s loyalty. Are nests being feathered? What does Gollop bring to the table that easily persuades Stuart to provide a gateway for Gollop and his lackeys like Michael Yearwood et al to earn millions coughed up by the taxpayers?
Gollop the Kingmaker.