A Heather Cole Column – Why Not Due Process? – Part 1
The Attorney General of Barbados continues to make some utterances that makes one raise their eyebrows. His statement that persons made confessions of having taken part in bribery during the tenure of the previous Democratic Labour Party Administration should make us all concerned.
Based on his own admission Mr. Dale Marshall, the person who serves as the Attorney General of Barbados listened to confessions of bribery which one may presumed occurred in his office. As far one is aware the Attorney General is not an ordained priest or a Catholic one at that and neither does his office hold a confessional. Placing the absurdity aside, the maker of the present Laws of Barbados should not have been entertaining any such matters in his office. Upon being informed of the purpose of the visit, he should have done either of 2 things. Picked up the phone and call the Commissioner of Police and await his arrival or advise the persons to visit the nearest police station and confess their crime. He has subsequently not informed the public what he did with the information except to gloat. It is unlikely that he has made a complaint to the police as no arrests have been made.
If persons unknown to the public ended up confessing in the Attorney General’s office, that is not mere speculation but admission to crimes of bribery. This means there are some guilty politicians out there as well, the other half of the coin.
This is now a precedent that has been set by the Attorney General; that the well to do and persons from the upper echelons of society and whoever else were bribers during the tenure of the last administration will not be faced with criminal charges. Just think about it, the persons who are partly responsible for the wastage of the funds of the taxpayers of Barbados, loss of jobs and the economic turmoil that the island currently faces will never even get a slap on the wrist.
We have a situation where crime is spiralling out of control on the island, the police are continuously asking persons to come forward with information on crimes that have been committed and yet the Attorney General has information and is not sharing it with the police. He has set a low standard to the youth by not leading by example. Due process was not followed, and the Attorney General’s lack of action has placed some persons above the confines of the Laws of Barbados and ultimately, is this not dereliction of duty?
However, in addition to the fore-mentioned, it has exposed that the Attorney General was making a political statement as a member of the Barbados Labour Party and was not speaking as an Attorney General of Barbados. He is somewhere in the grey area of the boundaries of proper conduct for an Attorney General. While we are all human and subject to error, this is becoming a pattern.
One may recall that the previous Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite of the Democratic Labour Party refused to admonish his party and his inaction while in office exacerbated social decay. Herein lies the reason why it may not be a good idea to have a member of the Cabinet or an elected person as the Attorney General but to retain an attorney who is without political allegiance to provide legal advice to government.