Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith refuted claims that were made by Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser in the House of Assembly on 13 March suggesting that there were bounced government cheques.
Hon. Fraser during his contribution to the debate on the Motion for the House to borrow $16 million from the Social Security Board alluded to an occasion when he said cheques issued by the Government bounced, and that he had proof.
The comment did not sit well with Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Smith who rose to his feet and refuted the claim. Hon. Smith said: “Two times for the day there were statements about government cheques being bounced. It was because of a glitch at the bank and not about government’s insolvency; so it is not right, that is not true.”
However, Hon. Fraser stood on his comment and retorted that he was not telling untruths. He asked: “So is the Premier calling me a liar? You’re telling me that the document I have wasn’t a bounced cheque?”
Speaker of the House, Hon. Ingrid Moses intervened into the exchange of comments; and declared that she was quite shocked at the Hon. Fraser’s behavior:”I don’t think anyone in here should be calling anyone a liar…I don’t recall the Honourable Premier saying that you were a liar.”
Following the Speaker’s comment, Hon. Fraser explained that he made the statement after the Premier mentioned that a document was pulled from his pocket. Hon. Fraser said: “Madam Speaker, the Premier said that I pulled a document from out of my jacket pocket, which I didn’t, I pulled it from my briefcase. He made a statement that I have a cheque that was bounced from Government and before anyone could see it I put it back in my pocket. Madam Speaker I promise the Premier I will bring it back…I come here with the facts,” he added.
Hon. Fraser further stated: “I have no reason to tell stories about things that happen. And it is true. But I don’t know why the Premier is saying that cheques are not bouncing… I will bring it back and show him if he doesn’t believe what I am saying. The cheque was made payable to me and it bounced and as far as I know my bank account was not credited for the service charges from the bank and whatever ripple effects may have taken place.”