Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley on Friday called for an official inquiry into what he has dubbed as “vaccinegate” – the controversy surrounding the failed bid to buy COVID-19 vaccines for the Government by a firm owned by a prominent business owner.
Court documents in a lawsuit filed in the US revealed this week that Radical Investments Limited (RIL), whose principal is Mark Maloney, the cement and construction magnate, claims to have been “deceptively” lured into an “elaborate” $20 million (US$10.2 million) scam for one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that never came.
The vaccine fiasco also involved the governments of The Bahamas and St Lucia as would-be buyers of the jabs.
The RIL which is headquartered in St Lucia had entered into a deal with Good Vibrations, a Floridian entertainment firm, to procure the jabs from AstraZeneca.
The St Lucian government has confirmed paying $5.4 million (EC$7.3 million) in the last months of the Allen Chastanet administration to RIL. But on Wednesday, Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw flatly refuted suggestions that Barbadian taxpayers dollars had been paid to the firm.
“I want to make it abundantly clear that no taxpayer resources have actually been expended or directly given to the company for the particular sourcing of these vaccines,” she said then.
But Bishop Atherley contended that notwithstanding Government’s declarations, the country should be informed about whether any source of…