United Progressive Party (UPP) Senator Johnathan Joseph is crying shame on Prime Minister Gaston Browne for trying to score political points on the payment of the long outstanding subvention to the Barbuda Council.
Apparently some $3 million has been paid to the Council by the Gaston Browne Administration – but through an advance from an investor group.
For quite some time, the Council has been owed millions of dollars in monthly and weekly wages and salaries. The Council claims that it is owed $6 million, which the Treasury Department is refuting and does not accept, according to Finance Minister Browne.
Last week, Browne alleged that it was Labour Party Senator Knacyntha Nedd who implored the Administration to pay 50 percent of the outstanding monies, which also included other expenses.
As a result, Browne says, $3 million was paid to the Council last Friday, December 9, and he claims it is the largest single sum ever to be paid over to the Council by any government for wages and salaries.
However, Senator Joseph says the Browne Administration should be ashamed to congratulate itself for paying money which is legitimately owed to the Barbuda Council.
He says that Senator Nedd had nothing to do with the payment. Rather, he says, the $3 million was paid at this time only to give her some form of advantage over her opponent, MP Trevor Walker of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM).
In the process of beating his chest, Browne also took a shot at his father-in-law, Purcell Bird, whom he accuses of “playing politics.”
The monies were advanced by a hotel-project investment group of which Bird is a principal. Browne claims that Bird held onto the cheque and then gave it directly to a Council member – seemingly against Browne’s expectations.
Consequently, he accuses his father-in-law of trying to be ultra-Barbudan and reminds him that it was not the Council that had afforded him the investment opportunity.
While the Council would wish to take credit for collecting the outstanding sum, Browne argues, it was not the investment group’s money, but belonged to the Government.
Accordingly, he also used the opportunity to campaign for Nedd, asking the people of Barbuda to support her.