There is a culture of secrecy in Barbados when it comes to explaining how taxpayers dollars are spent. The blogmaster listened to retired Director of Finance William Layne in a radio interview recently when he shared a view that much of government’s business can be made public except in a few cases where security considerations apply.
The Trinidad government took a decision in 2015 to inform parliament the amount of fees paid to lawyers and other entities for professional services rendered to government. By recording the names in the people’s parliament they were published in the media for the public’s information. Although reports confirm some attorneys and others objected for fear of concerns of personal and family safety, the practice continues.
One of many concerns for Barbadians were the outrageous legal fees charged by a select few lawyers for services rendered to government during the last administration. Top of mind is the 1.5 million paid to Hal Gollop to review the BWA headquarters agreement. There the payment to Richard Byer of $766,855 to review a standard agreement by order of Caves Barbados. Guyson Mayers was paid $300,000 for fifteen months work to prepare a nondescript report supported by technical tools costing $224,000. Other lawyers like Michael Yearwood and Adrian King come to mind who have risen to millionaire status as a result of sweetheart deals at the behest of the last government.
The blogmaster does not advocate practicing long-knive politics, however, if Prime Minister Mia Mottley wants to send a loud message to the bevy of ministers et al she leads- many are lawyers- here is an opportunity to share with the public all legal fees and professional fees paid to individuals and firms that rendered services to the former government. It is our money, we have the right to know how it was spent.
In the not so eloquent words of the former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister Mottley must show the country that her mice are not without balls!