Supporters and critics weigh in on Magistrate’s decision to send former Education Minister to the High Court to stand trial

REAL NEWS: MP Michael Browne, the former Minister of Education, will stand trial in the High Court of Justice for serious crimes he is alleged to have committed last November.

Browne appeared on Wednesday April 28, in committal proceedings before All Saints Magistrate Ngaio Emmanuel-Edwards, who determined that there is sufficient evidence for him to answer the charges in the upper court.

The news, as expected, was met with mixed reactions.

Browne’s supporters were disappointed that his attorney’s no-case submission was not successful.  Some even alleged that there is a conspiracy against the All Saints West parliamentary representative who, they claim, has fallen out of favour with the Prime Minister.

However, other residents saw the Magistrate’s rejection of the submission as proof that all persons are equal before the law.

An Antiguan in Florida contacted REAL News to say, “I just heard the news. I’m telling you that God is not sleeping and that karma is a [witch].”

In the same vein, a Carlisle woman posted in an online chat: “Welcome to the Karma Restaurant.  There are no menus. Here, you get served what  you deserve.”

The two critics were referring to the role Browne played in the criminal prosecution of Algernon “Serpent” Watts and D. Gisele Isaac in what became known as the Board of Education matter.  Both Watts and Isaac have since been vindicated.

But other residents are adopting a universal view and exercising greater faith in the justice system. They point to the conviction of a former Barbados MP and government minister, Donville Iniss, on charges of laundering bribe payments through New York bank accounts.

Innis was sentenced in a U.S. Court yesterday, April 27, to two years jail time and forfeiture of over US$36,000 in assets.

The U.S. Justice Department credited the Barbados government for assisting the FBI in the investigation; and optimistic locals say this gives them hope that the days of preferential treatment for politicians are over.

Meanwhile, MP Browne, who is represented by the law firm Watt, Dorsett & Hewlett remains on bail, with reporting conditions in place.

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