Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie has accused Leader of the Opposition Hon. Marlon Penn of spreading rumors that are disparaging to the reputation of Sixth District Representative Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines because the female legislator crossed the floor.

Hon. Fahie in a statement disseminated on 5 February accused the Leader of the Opposition of being bitter about Hon. Maduro-Caines switching from the NDP to the VIP. Furthermore, Hon. Fahie accused the Opposition Leader of allegedly going out of his way to say things that are untrue about his former Party member.

The Premier labelled what is being said about Hon. Maduro-Caine as an attack: “The unfortunate attack included the spreading of vicious rumors to try to damage the character of Hon. Maduro-Caines which rumors I also wish to denounce. While we in the VIP empathize with Hon. Penn for the sadness and embarrassment that he is no doubt feeling at this time we cannot allow certain inaccurate and unfounded statements by him to be slipped into the public record without them being properly addressed.”

In his public rebuff Hon. Fahie said, “It is very disappointing that the Leader of the Opposition is now speaking negatively about Hon. Maduro-Caines. This kind of unacceptable behavior from Hon. Penn is typical of the abusive treatment that many women in our society face…Clearly Hon. Penn’s numbers in the House of Assembly have diminished. He feels slighted by Hon. Maduro-Caines’ loss of confidence in him and he feels personally rejected by her decision to join the government. Thus his reaction to his ego being bruised is to lash out against her.”

The Premier then repeated the comment that both he and the Sixth District representative made during the 20 January press conference that no promises were made to cause the switch. “Hon. Maduro-Caines was not induced to join the government’s team by anyone.”

He also took a big swing at his counterparts stating that the group is “a weak opposition with no leadership or direction…The Opposition under the leadership of Hon. Penn over the last 11 months has been caught bumbling on more than one occasion. The  most recent being during the budget debate when not a single opposition member except Hon. Maduro-Caines showed up at the House of Assembly to participate in the debate. While Hon. Penn had a medical emergency to attend to the other Opposition members under his leadership have not explained their absenteeism. They should have been present at the  House of Assembly instead of being absent. Is this the strong vigilant, exemplary government in waiting that Hon. Penn speaks so highly of?”