Trial of former UPP Ministers begins Tuesday morning with high-powered defense team in place

Three Ministers in the previous United Progressive Party (UPP) Administration are due to stand trial in the High Court of Justice tomorrow, November 9, in what is now known as “The Buses  Case.”

The joint case, outstanding for six years, involves Political Leader Harold Lovell and his two former deputies, Dr. Jacqui Quinn and Willmoth Daniel, and has undergone several adjournments.  

The accused were arraigned on June 14 this year and pleaded not guilty to the three charges levelled against each of them. The final case management was concluded on Tuesday, October 5.

Last month, attorney-at-law Leon Chaku Symister expressed confidence that, at the end of the day, the trio will be vindicated.

Symister is part of the defense team that comprises local Queen’s Counsels Dane Hamilton and Justin L. Simon; Anesta Weekes, Q.C., a London-based barrister; Charlesworth Tabor and Sherfield Bowen.

The matter, which began in 2015, was initially dismissed in the lower court by Magistrate Conliffe Clarke.

However, following an appeal by the Crown, the matter was taken before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, who reviewed the case and decided there was sufficient evidence to send it to the High Court for trial before a judge and jury.

The buses were a gift from a friendly government and were negotiated by the late Ambassador John Ashe.

But from among the seven former Ministers who utilized them for community transportation, only these three senior Party members were singled out for prosecution.

It is widely accepted that the Gaston Browne Administration is prosecuting Lovell, Quinn and Daniel because they were the only UPP representatives who returned to active politics after the 2014 election defeat.