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Contractor General responds to Barnswell snubbing accusation

Published:Thursday | May 8, 2014 | 3:16 PM

Contractor General Dirk Harrison is defending himself amid calls for him to apologise for allegedly snubbing Mayor of May Pen, Scean Barnswell.



Both men were invited to speak at a function to honour lay magistrates in Clarendon on Saturday but the Contractor General reportedly said he was uncomfortable sitting with the mayor.



Barnswell, who is before the courts for breaches of the Contractor-General's Act, was removed from the programme and later left the function.



However, Harrison says the only discussion he had in relation to Mayor Barnswell, was with the Custos of Clarendon, William Shagoury.



He says he did not request that Barnswell leave the function or that the mayor’s name be taken off the programme.



According to the contractor general he only expressed discomfort with the perception that could arise from the fact that he was asked to be the Guest Speaker at a function where Mayor Barnswell was being asked to bring Greetings.



Harrison says he was merely ensuring that the matter involving Mayor Barnswell would not be perceived to have any taint of impropriety through inappropriate contact.



According to the Contractor General, legal protocols require that witnesses avoid all contact with an Accused in cases where the matter is to be adjudicated by a Criminal Court.



Harrison says he mentioned the matter to the Custos because any such interaction could create an unwarranted perception or suspicion which could compromise the proceedings currently before the Courts.



He says if the case had already been decided by the Courts, he would not have been concerned and no issue would have been raised.



Harrison says he has received a letter from Mayor Barnswell and will provide a response in due course.



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