Land Dispute Between Sir Charles ‘Cow’ Williams and Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite
Submitted by Neil a Holder, Political Leader, Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) – Press Release
I followed this matter in the print media of the Sunday Sun last week and have since heard of a banter on the radio program “Brasstacks” between Sir. Charles Williams and Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite regarding this issue! At this juncture I wish to state very clearly that I have been privy to three occasions prior to the elections where I have personally engaged Sir Charles on this subject on behalf of Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite with both gentlemen present.
In my opinion, Sir. Charles had exhausted every avenue to have the gifted lands approved by the Town and Country Planning Department from inception. From our initial meeting, Sir Charles profusely apologized to Ambassador. Ryan Brathwaite for the protracted delays experienced over the past 9 years citing the then Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart as being the hindrance to the handing over of the lands with the relevant approvals.
In his usual candour Sir Charles gave us a dossier of a multiplicity of correspondence to the Town and Country Planning Department and the Ministry of Agriculture to outline the arduous process and the status to date. This was followed up by an introduction to Sir Charles’ Physical Planners who in return forwarded every iota to both Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite and myself spanning the 9 year period.
It was upon confirmation of receipt of the documentation that Sir Charles gave me full authority to pursue the completion of this matter citing the possibility of my placing some political pressure on the government to do right by Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite. Both gentlemen were extremely frustrated for obvious reasons as Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite wanted to acquire the lands and Sir Charles wanted desperately to deed the gift offered with the relevant permissions.
When asked why Sir Charles did not alternately choose to offer up a parcel at Apes Hill, the initial reason for the location of the agreed and substantive parcel was that of the locale in relation to the village (Hillaby) where the Ambassador grew up. This was all cited by Sir Charles in the media of recent.
As I came to be acutely aware that Sir Charles had indeed exhausted all channels to acquire the relevant Permissions; I instructed the Ambassador not to engage the media on the matter in the presence of Sir. Charles in the hopes that we could have approached the Hon. Fruendel Stuart in order to have the file reviewed with every expectancy that it would be favourably granted the permissions sought.
To my dismay some two (2) weeks later there was an article in the electronic media where Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite allegedly spoke at length with the press regarding the issues. This was against our mutual agreement in the presence of Sir. Charles and my subsequent admonishment not to go to the public domain with what was at present a very sensitive issue. When Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite was confronted on the matter, his response was that he received a telephone call from that specific media house to query the progress to date on the approvals.
My verification with the media house concluded that Ambassador Brathwaite reached out to them to give the story even against our admonishment and his agreement not to do so in order that we could engage the Prime Minister. By this time I became aware that Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite out of total frustration was becoming devoid of reasoning.
I contacted Sir Charles to apologize for the matter having reached the media which was contrary to our last agreement and understanding. Sir Charles was quite gracious and we then agreed to proceed as planned to have an audience with Prime Minister Stuart.
Once more to my shock and dismay during a conversation with Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite it was revealed to me that he had high hopes of selling the land in order to pursue funding for the preparation process leading up to the World Games qualifiers and the 2020 Olympics.
At that juncture I grew very concerned that an athlete of this calibre was not being subsidized by the Ministry of Sports. I immediately tried to reach out to the then Minister the Hon. Stephen Lashley who refused to accept calls from both Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite and myself. I was later informed that the minister did respond to the Ambassador through a subordinate and gave assurances that he would also have the planning approvals garnered through the Hon. Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister.
This matter has indeed been a political football that has been kicked off field for reasons only known to the Democratic Labour Party Administration which up until election time has never addressed the issuance of permissions for the subdivision.
It is my hope that this will vindicate Sir. Charles and also engage the attention of the Hon. Mia Mottley Q.C, M.P, Prime Minister where a positive outcome will be concluded.
Let us be true Patriots and reward our Citizens who Excel beyond expectation.