Atrocity at SVG

Submitted by William H Harriss

My Name is William H Harriss, and I am a citizen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Six years ago, the police in Saint Vincent came to my house in Ratho Mill mob, some in uniform, some in plain suits, and some in jungle warfare military uniforms; they came in the backs of a fleet of pickup trucks. They brought a search warrant that they had obtained with knowingly false information. I say false because I sincerely believe they gave the Justice of the Peace who signed it knowingly untrue information to be able to obtain it.

They were at my house because I had been betrayed by a family member who had connections to Mrs Gonsalves and Prime Minister Ralph E Gonsalves’s bodyguards.

This was a politically motivated raid and is the subject of several conspiracies. I had been working on a research manuscript regarding the Prime minister’s ancestry, which I believed would prove Antonio Gonsalves, who historical records prove took the first black slaves from the west coast of Africa and transported them to Lisbon, Portugal, in 1441, was his family ancestor.

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Follow the money

There is an old saying ‘follow the money’. The short video highlights one of our most trusted professionals is on the hook to colour public pronouncements. It begs the question- who can members of the public trust? Is it safe to say the unethical behaviour can be extended to other professions?

Discuss for 5 marks.

Fatal Assumption

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Every year, young lawyers are admonished by senior lawyers not to steal their clients’ money. It seems that every year, senior lawyers are accused of stealing their client’s money, and some are charged, arrested, convicted and imprisoned. This cycle continues to this day.

So far, nothing that the Bar Association has tried has changed this cycle of behaviour. Various groups have advanced solutions that will also not likely change this cycle. They thought that reciting the lawyer’s code of ethics to young lawyers and admonishing them not to steal would result in less stealing by senior lawyers.

ASSUME ALL LAWYERS ARE THIEVES

We seem blind to the notion that simply telling thieves not to steal and expecting them not to is lunatically absurd. Why would anyone think that such admonitions would work with lawyers who have a tendency to steal in ways more creative than a typical thief?

There seem to be two effective solutions of solving this national problem, and both must assume that all lawyers are thieves. Clearly most of them are not. However, given the consequences of their Clients losing their life-savings, it would be prudent to make this assumption when giving them this money – and foolish not to.

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Misunderstanding the assignment or an act of manipulation?

This should be of national interest and focus solely on Barbados’ Independence.
Submitted by Heather Cole

I am not a big fan of Independence but that is my personal point of view. When I was old enough to understand the differences between the have and the have nots in Barbados, the glamour of independence faded.  It had become a gem without lustre.  Despite my opinion, neither I nor any Barbadian must never forget Errol Walton Barrow’s unsurpassed contribution to the development of Barbados.  None of the institutions he created have been rivalled by any subsequent political leader of this island.  Even I am amongst the approximately 60% of Barbadians today that benefitted from ‘free’ secondary and tertiary education.   Undeniably, I benefitted from his creating an independent Barbados.

Tudor Rose

I write because even I, who have never been a fan of independence, is offended by the display on the East Wing of the Parliament.   I have ultimately reached the conclusion that those who were responsible grossly misunderstood the assignment or made an egregious decision to manipulate the people of Barbados. The official response did not cut it for me.  In fact, it is unacceptable.

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‘We Plantin’ progress

How many tress have been planted?

In 2020 the government announced an ambitious and laudable goal to plant one million trees to help mitigate climate impact. Like most projects in Barbados there is little feedback on the progress. How many tress have been planted? What has been the level of participation by the public? Is the planting being executed using strategies to achieve the best outcomes? This is a subject matter covered on BU several times since our inception in 2007.

The blogmaster is painfully aware topics of this nature are not of high interest in a society where ‘drama’ associated with the salacious is a ‘best seller’. However, some of us will continue to promote awareness of these matters because it is the sensible thing for sensible people to do. Why a majority of Barbadians would be unconcerned about nurturing a healthy habitat is beyond the imagination.

The short video posted explains why an approach that creates a biodiversity garden is recommended, and, one that encourages actors in civil society and international partners to work together.

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Under Mottley has the country progressed?

All right thinking Barbadians are vested in an improving economy, we live here. In has been a challenging last 15 years for Barbados and it is no secret we are losing some of our best young minds to the global market because as a result. This exodus comes at a time government is concerned about an ageing population which has negative implications for our tax base and the threat caused to the National Insurance Fund. As a consequence, government has been essaying thoughts about importing labour to increase the labour force to be able to sustain a standard of living Barbadians have become addicted – see Draft Barbados Population Policy Available for FEEDBACK.

This week the blogmaster listened to Minister of the Environment Adrian Forde heaping praise on the Prime Minister for the splash she has been making in the international area. He cited concomitant benefits, one being able to access low concessionary interest rates on loans for development purposes. While government continues to pat itself on the back, the average Barbadian is very concerned about the debt burden. Government will counter to say we can afford to service the debt but they often neglect to add – ceteris paribus. (All things being equal). It is fashionable for today’s unimaginative governments to engage in deficit financing with successive Barbados governments gleefully joining the party.

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Pothole Gang wanted

The blogmaster is making a simple request, FIX THE RH POTHOLES.

During the 60s and 70s a motley crew located in Grenada known as the Mongoose Gang were given license to terrorise Grenadians by late prime minister Eric Gairy. It is the subject of another blog the power prime ministers and the political directorate on our tiny islands wield in the system of government currently practiced. Some will recall Haiti had a similar gang called the Tonton Macoute.

It takes a lot of convincing to believe politicians are unable to execute plans to achieve set goals when it collides with self interest. Why should fixing our roads not be on the goal list or should we blame public servants. The blogmaster is making a simple request, FIX THE RH POTHOLES.

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Prime Minister’s Divali call for unity was hollow

Dear Editor,

Prime Minister’s Divali call for unity was hollow

Prime Minister Keith Rowley

It is clear that the present government is handing out millions of dollars to only one section of the population under the guise of culture. It is an indisputable fact that Trinidad and Tobago is a multi-ethnic society with various groups of people practicing many cultural forms.

TT$5. million in taxpayers’ money has been spent on this year’s Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Community Development, Angela Edwards, said it was well worth it. Which group in society mostly participates in Best Village?

For Carnival 2024, Cabinet has approved grants payable in the sum of TT$15 thousand in support of conventional bands and $7,500 in support of single pan bands. These grants would be made available to a total of 153 steelbands: 94 conventional bands and 59 single pan bands. Which group in society mostly plays steelpan?

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For Palestine and the world

Submitted by Isidoros Karderinis
Submitted by Isidoros Karderinis

The region of Palestine since October 7 has entered into a terrible war. And, of course, there the flowers have withered, and the sun has disappeared because darkness has come, and the youths cannot sing, and the children cannot play carelessly in the streets, and the white doves of peace do not fly in the gloomy sky.

And who is to blame for this tragedy? Is it the fault of the Israeli people? Is it the fault of the Palestinian people? Clearly, no. Both peoples are innocent and good. Israelis are entitled to have their own state, but so are Palestinians, must have their own piece of land with state status. But the politicians, and primarily of the powerful Israeli side, in all the previous years, did not take the necessary right steps to solve this hot problem in the Middle East region, resulting in the current tragic situation.

And what are these steps? For 75 years–since 1948, when the State of Israel was established–the UN has made a decision on the creation of an independent Palestinian state and it has not been implemented. At that time, Israel occupied 52% of the area designated as “historic Palestine”, and in the remaining 48%, the borders were determined for the Palestinian state that was to be created.

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Open letter to Brasstacks, VOB92.9FM

We shouldn’t justify apartheid and genocide.

Barry Wilkinson, Brasstacks Moderator

The Manager
Voice of Barbados (VOB)
c/o Starcom Network Inc.
River Road
St. Michael
Barbados, W.I

Dear Sir/madam

I was appalled to learn that on Sunday 5th November, VOB used its popular phone in programme, Brasstacks, to provide a platform to supporters and representatives of the apartheid Israeli government to justify the crimes this state is currently committing in Gaza that have outraged decent people in all corners of the world. These include the deliberate bombing of civilians in refugee camps, hospitals and ambulances resulting in the killing of thousands of people, including at least 4000 children. It is difficult to understand what would prompt the management of VOB to offer a platform to such people to try to justify these crimes. Do you think it would have been appropriate during the massacre of children in Soweto by the apartheid regime of South Africa to invite apologists for that apartheid regime onto radio in Barbados to “explain that the crimes they were committing were all the fault of Nelson Mandela and his terrorist ANC”?

To make matters worse, it is reported that the moderator reprimanded one of the panellists for comparing the activities of the Israeli regime and its supporters to those of Hitler and his Nazis. Again, it is difficult to understand what would have prompted the moderator to do this. At the most charitable, it would be that he had failed to do the necessary research to prepare him for discussion of the topic and so was acting out of ignorance. If he had done the research, he would have known that Zionism is a racist and anti-semitic political movement started in 19th century Europe that has nothing to do with Judaism, Christianity or the Bible.

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OECD continues to flex on SIDs

Prime Minister Mia Mottley delivered a ministerial statement last Tuesday to amend the local tax structure in the context of constant changes from the international environment to avoid resultant pressures. The nature of the local economy means government has to be compliant with tax and related legislation to avoid being blacklisted by the capitalist north.

The following is a query received from BU family member John A about the new tax system to take effect from January 2024.

With Section 2 4 and 5 payment of corporation tax monthly should prove a challenge. Some companies may make money for 4 months of the year then lose for 8 months in the tourism sector for example. That’s why corporation tax is based on 12 months of business.

Many retail businesses see December recording the highest sales and revenue of the year. It is also the last month of the year. If for example 50% of profit generated comes from December sales, where is cash flow going to come from to pay 1/12th of this in each month for the Q1 of the same year with cash flow already stretched covering normal operational expenses in your lowest revenue period?

How is Section 2 of the change going to work?

Here is EY’s communication of the change:

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A distorted Barbadian mirror image

We have become a superficial people.

In 2011 Bridgetown, capital city of Barbados and the surrounding Garrison, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. What does being designated a world heritage site mean many will ask after a decade of acquiring the designation.

World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

UNESCO

Questions have been asked what has the government, Barbados National Trust and relevant stakeholders done to impress upon Barbadians the importance of ‘preserving and protecting the natural built heritage of Barbados’. The blogmaster is prepared to state that the average Barbadian does NOT connect to our heritage in any significant way. Our identity is one being developed as we meander along. There has been no significant effort by successive governments, traditional and non traditional media to push and sponsor programs which ‘give [Barbadians] a chance to understand traditions and related cultural details’. We are proud to ‘transactionalize’ the UNESCO designation to sell Barbados when tourists visit.

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Water ‘Watch’

Submitted by Bentley Norville

The south coast sewage treatment plant was originally intended to be tertiary treatment.

Keithroy Halliday, General Manage, BWA

The major issue with water in Barbados is getting enough for irrigation. The requirements for water for domestic purposes can be met by the water produced by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). There are several methods for producing additional water for irrigation. In 2014 I sent an article to Barbados Underground (BU) titled Agriculture and feeding our people.

Agriculture and Feeding Our People

Posted on by David

Submitted by Bentley Norville With all the recent and current talk on agriculture and our gargantuan food import bill a serious rethink on how we acquire our food is urgently required. With our food import bill around 800 to 900 … Continue reading →

This is one method. Also changing the antiquated methods we farm (for food crops) is another way to go. I’ve also submitted articles on this to BU.

As it relates to using water from sewage treatment plants this can also be done. There are 3 stages of sewage treatment, namely primary treatment, secondary treatment and tertiary treatment. The south coast sewage treatment plant was originally intended to be tertiary treatment (when I worked on the project back in 1983) but was later changed to primary treatment, so I’ve been informed. The final effluent from the tertiary treatment plant was supposed to have been pumped uphill near the Ministry of Agriculture compound to irrigate food crops not intended for consumption raw. This was meant as a pilot project. With the change in the plant system all this went out the window. We have adequate water in Barbados to supply our needs. The problem is not lack of water but management of our water resources. 

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Lessons from the Past – EDUTECH

Submitted by Observing

If we never learn from history we are doomed to failure. Between 1995 and approximately 2010 the ambitious EDUTECH programme was promoted under the leadership of the then Minister of Education. All objective analyses and independent reports have concluded that it was a partial success, with many unmet objectives and a significantly less than expected overall impact specifically in the areas of overall technology integration and improved academic achievement

If one had any doubt, just imagine that 20+ years after the fact, we were caught scrambling with devices and online classes during Covid 19, and, the exact same problems being presented now, are the EXACT same problems that existed circa 2000. So, the question is, why did the reform back then “fail?” Here are a few thoughts free of charge.

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INFLATION AND ITS REALITY

Submitted by John A
Minister of Finance
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

We have heard the word inflation being bandied about a lot recently, but what does it really mean to the average Barbadian in real terms?

I sent BU a menu which was posted on the the 4.4% growth NTSH blog – see menu. This showed what a popular beach restaurant in St Michael was charging for their offerings in 1975. At this time there is no clearer example of inflation I can think of than what this menu brings to light. The question then when we look at this menu and compare it to today’s prices, has to be, are we better off today than in 1975? As numbers don’t lie let us now turn to them and compare 1975 to now. In other words has our personal GDP kept pace with inflation over the period or are we poorer in real terms?

  • Coke large 25 cents 1975 cost $2.75 in 2023, 11 times more
  • Salad large $1.50 in 1975 cost $15.00 in 2023, 10 times more
  • Steak & chips $4.75 in 1975 cost 38.00 in 2023, 8 times more
  • Ice cream lg 40 cents in 1975 cost $9.00 in 2023, 20 times more
  • Cheese burger 75 cents in 1975 cost $9.00 in 2023, 12 times more

So the average factor of increase over 48 years on the above is 12.2 times higher prices.

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ChatGPT and Education Reform

The following article was posted by Amit to his website caribbeansignal.com titled – ChatGPT’s Guide to Education and Career Choices in the AI Era. It is recommended reading even for the closed minded – Barbados Underground


Amit Uttamchandani

It’s been almost a year since I started using ChatGPT. During this time, I’ve had dozens upon dozens of conversations that have covered a wide range of topics. Many, if not all of these conversations, have always left me pleasantly surprised in terms of its human-like comprehension, understanding and responses (even when my grammar and spelling is less than perfect). However, I know ChatGPT is not a person, heck, even ChatGPT knows that it is not a person. It is not an individual, sentient or self-aware, nor does it posses consciousness like us human beings.

As I understand it, and in extremely simple terms, it is nothing but an enormous set of data stored in a machine (physical machines) with complex software algorithms that use all manner of pattern matching, sophisticated math, statistics, et cetera, to respond to input from a human being in a human like manner. Remember, that was a very simple definition. Not in agreement with me on it? No problem, here’s what ChatGPT has to say:

Read more at caribbeansignal.com

Unnecessary Deaths in Gaza

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

It is distressing to see multi-storey buildings in Gaza collapsing after one missile strike. It is more distressing to know that many of our brothers and sisters in humanity are buried under that rubble. Structural Engineers must now consider the impact loads of military missile strikes in their designs.

DESIGN AIMS

A building will not likely survive repeated bomb explosions, but we should have two design aims. The first is that a multi-storey building should not collapse after the first missile strike, assuming that the first missile strike is to eliminate enemy targets near external walls.

If the intent is to destroy the building, then the first strike should give occupants enough time to escape while the decision to order another strike is implemented. The time for occupants to evacuate a building is based on the floor area, exit locations and number of stories. Therefore, the second strike can be timed to allow occupants to safely escape – otherwise the intent is evidently murder.

The second design aim is that a collapsed multi-storey building should not trap occupants inside, and should allow rescuers access to save injured persons.

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4.4% Growth, NTSH

Central Bank 9-month economic review confirms 4.4% growth

Governor of the Central Bank Kevin Greenidge was pleased as punch to share that the Barbados economy grew 4.4% in the period under review. The blogmaster joins others to be concerned that the main reason for the growth was as a result of our main economic sector, TOURISM. Governor where are the green-shoots to kindle optimism that our export earnings are positioned to take off?

Nothing to see here!

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Tackling incompetence

Barbadians have been advised the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) will be engaged in road works in several areas including BRIDGETOWN during the month of October 2023. It is no secret Broad Street, Fairchild Street, Marhill Street, St. Michaels Row are heavily used roads any day of the week except on Sundays.

Red arrow shows open trench at the junction of Marhill Street and St. Michaels Row

It therefore beggars belief why a deep trench would be left for motorists to reduce speed to almost a dead stop in order to prevent damage to vehicles. The blogmaster is not criticizing the NPC project to improve service to the area, the criticism is levelled at how the project is being managed. How difficult can it be to cover the trenches with pieces of metal during the off work period? Bear in mind the cumulative effect of cars having to slow to negotiate the open trench which will add to traffic congestion.

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Open letter to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley

Lalu Hanuman
Submitted by Lalu Hanuman (r), Attorney-at-law, and Secretary of the CARIBBEAN AGAINST APARTHEID IN PALESTINE. [Barbados]

All civilian lives matter

Dear Prime Minister:

Greetings.

Further to our unanswered hand-delivered letter to your Office dated the 29thday of August 2023, asking that Barbados recognises the State of Palestine.

Barbados since its independence has prided itself on a foreign policy skillfully articulated by the Right Excellent Errol Barrow as “friends of all and satellites of none”. This philosophy has successfully guided our engagements with other sovereign nations around the world.

It is a principle that your administration re-emphasised since 2018 when it chose to expand Barbados’ ties beyond our traditional partners in North America and Europe and made a thrust into having diplomatic relations with Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is a development that we wholeheartedly support and applaud.

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Mottley’s broken promise

Barbados Underground and traditional news sources have been highlighting the mysterious case of Savvy on the Bay yet to be resolved. The public dispute between Allan Kinch and government encouraged Prime Minister Mia Mottley to issue the following statement in April 2023. As usual the citizens of Barbados are treated like pariahs in a democratic system of government designed to serve them. Several MONTHS later Mottley’s promise must be categorized as another empty promise by a politician.

… you [Senior Ministers William Duguid and Dale Marshall] have a timeline on these negotiations, and if these negotiations don’t finish within the next few weeks, there must be a ministerial statement to the Parliament and all of the facts laid bare, including how this matter started under the last government; why there was a need to go to court under the last government; how, therefore, the sale was proceeded with as a result of an act of specific performance; and why we would not have been able to act before when we said from the very beginning, those two lots in the middle were always car parks …

Prime Minister Mottley
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A glass of local water anyone?

Ryan Straughn
Ryan Straughn, Minister in the Ministry of Finance

The technical definition to describe Barbados being a scarce country is – “ its lack of fresh water resources, … water availability of just 306 cubic meters per capita per year, [which] makes [Barbados] the 15th most water‐scarce nation in the world”. (Forbes 2019).

Many Barbadians struggle to understand why Barbados is considered a water scarce country with rain water allowed to gush into the sea to name one concern. The blogmaster understands from the engineers it is uneconomic to trap runoff water generated from seasonal rains.

In recent days two news items related to water availability piqued the interest. Manager of Water Resources and Environmental Management Alex Ifill confirmed the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) does not have the capacity to support any increase in agri-food production. He also warned that climate change will soon adversely affect farmers currently engaged in rainfed farming.

The other point worth discussing was raised by Minister Ryan Straughn while participating at an IMF forum last week. In a nutshell the plan by government appears to treat and convert dirty water to potable. The offshore revelation has triggered negative public commentary from Barbadians who have historically been proud to promote good water quality.

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Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley accused of ‘abuse’

Denial of Human Rights by the Government of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, so called champion of Climate Change and presumed candidate for UN General Secretary.

Submitted by David Weekes
Minister of Finance
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen of the Caribbean Newspaper Fraternity,

Please find attached the details of this matter of my continued  abuse by Mia Amor Mottley Prime Minister of Barbados and her corrupt government administration fully detailed in the attached Denial of Human Rights… document.

For 17 years, I have been a victim of systematic Abuse of my Human Rights in Barbados, a country which Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, leader of the newly minted, banana Republic of Barbados, ironically calls A Nation of Laws but astute review of documents herein attached will bring light to this misnomer.

I continue to have my Human Rights, particularly rights defined under Articles 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 violated. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Article 7 reads:

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From lost decade to clawback period

How can this Mia Mottley earn credibility regarding Mission Transformation but ignore incompetence within the bosom of her Cabinet?

Minister of Education Kay McConney

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in unprecedented manner won the last two general elections. It should be noted the two general elections occurred in 2018 and 2022 – a period of just over three years – in a system where a general election is constitutionally due every five years.

The electorate had enough of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) given the state of the economy during the so called lost decade. Barbados is a two party system, a duopoly, therefore when there is time for a change the country has only one alternative. A reasonable conclusion to make is that the opposition party whether BLP or DLP do not win elections but rather sitting governments lose.

Political pundits often discuss why the third party movement has not gained traction in Barbados in a climate of rising cynicism and apathy being experienced by the electorate. A good answer is that there are multiple factors at play – no appreciable difference in political ideology, ragtag candidates who want for coherent articulation, lack of structure and resources to list a few.

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A Jacket for Jack

We are doing our students a grave disservice. 

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Once again, the Ministry of Education has proposed some type of educational reform to address the fact that most students leave school with no certificate evidence of having regularly attended.

After a lot of reported consultations, an outline of an educational reform plan has been revealed – with much public relations fanfare.  Tragically, we seem to be planning to go from bad to worse, as if that were even possible.

THE PROBLEM.

The fundamental problem with our educational system is that it is not designed for all of our students.  It is principally designed for the 20% of students who happen to understand the taught information earlier than their classmates, whether through parental support or their own initiatives.

Instead of addressing this root cause, we have decided to create separate schools of excellence.  This will simply give the 20% of early-learners more learning options, while continuing to disqualify the majority of our students from the main benefits of a secondary school education.

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American Economy on a tight rope

I would like to emphasize that the horizon in the American economy and in the markets is becoming increasingly dark.

Submitted by Karderinis Isidoros

America is today at the most critical point in its modern history. It is threatened with a collapse which, if it happens, will drag most of the world down.

The U.S. debt has now, amid high inflation, rising interest rates—most economic analysts expect the U.S. central bank to continue raising rates—and growing economic uncertainty in September 2023, topped $33 trillion and amounts to 124% of GDP. And the deficit of the general government – which is the federal and local government together – is over 7% of GDP. This level of debt is more than three times the level of debt in 2008 ($10 trillion) and 10 times the level in 1990 ($3.2 trillion). US debt levels have ballooned significantly in recent years, especially after a 50% increase in federal spending between fiscal years 2019–2021, according to data from the US Treasury Department.

This stark reality resulted in the House and Senate passing necessary legislation in early June 2023 that raised the ceiling on federal borrowing while imposing some limits on spending.

This, of course, was done in order to prevent a catastrophic bankruptcy of the government, i.e., the scenario of the country declaring default, unable to pay its creditors and pay salaries and pensions, which would obviously have a catalytic negative impact on international markets, as well as in the American and global economy, given the size of the American debt.

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STOP the Killing

Media Release from Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine

Hamas, Israel

The Barbados based “Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine” [CAAP] categorically condemns all attacks on civilians in all conflicts, and in particular the continued and consistent genocide of the Palestinian people over the past 75 years by Zionists.

We express our full support for the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle for liberation of the Palestinian lands and people from the occupying, dehumanizing forces of the fascist Zionist regime of Israel.

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Simulated Incompetence

Is Barbados trapped in a vortex of incompetence?

Chief Education Officer – Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw

In light of today’s fiasco which went horribly wrong at the Springer School earlier today the following comments posted by the blogmaster on the blog Education Transformation – Substance or Smoke? to which Bush Tea replied are instructive.

@Bush Tea

When a society and by extension people lack confidence in the leadership, there will be negative consequences. We can discuss, distill, slice and dice these proposals all we want but if people lack the confidence and complementary self esteem, it will be an academic exercise.

In the land of the blind, a one eye …

@ David
It is not that people ‘lack confidence in leadership’.
There is NOTHING that Bajans would like better than to have leaders in whom they can have confidence.

The problem is that the people lack COMPETENCE in leadership…. and even with the most expensive PR in the world, the most rancid of their yard poultry is being forced to lose confidence…

A bunch of emotion-driven ‘leaders’ appealing to party loyalty can only go so far…. Even Santia has now fallen into the trap (with that ill-advised speech a few days ago).
Clearly, these are TOUGH assignments – requiring WISE leadership….

…and Boss, ‘WISE’ has ONLY ONE origin…..

Education Transformation – Substance or Smoke?

Implementation of projects and activities will sometimes go wrong; milestones have to be changed because additional resources maybe required, events outside the control of project management may occur and so on. However, under successive governments and especially the incumbent, the label that Barbados suffers from implementation deficit has grown.

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Education Transformation – Substance or Smoke?

Submitted by Observing

Barbadians were treated to a 3 hour show last week launching proposals for education transformation aimed at “revolutionsing” the way we school our children.

From the outset let me state 3 undeniable facts.

  • Change is needed.
  • Anyone with enough balls to try something should be commended.
  • Most of the ideas are good ones albeit a tad dated.


Now here are three other facts.

  • The Common Entrance is not to blame for where we are. It’s a nice red herring, but that’s all.
  • We have been here before. Ironically, with some of the same people.
  • We are not addressing the core issues in education/society which impact and effect the majority of our young people.
  • Without going into too many specifics a few points to take note of based on a reading of the proposals:
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Betrayal!

Brian Wallace, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Rebloged from the Caribbean Empowerment website. The international news-feed is choked with the ongoing impasse between HAMAS and Israel. What about Haiti? We know the answer, it is a Black country that is of little geopolitical importance located in a region where a one foreign policy remains a pipe dream – Blogmaster


Haiti – CARICOM Deepens its Betrayal

Caribbean Organisation for Peoples Empowerment Americas, Caribbean, World October 6, 2023 4 Minutes

By A.T. Freeman

On 2 October, the US presented to the United Nations Security Council a resolution calling for the authorisation of its long planned military attack on Haiti. The resolution was adopted by 13 votes to 0 with Russia and China abstaining. The states which voted in favour of the resolution were Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

Resolution 2699 that authorises the military attack on Haiti has been passed under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter which allows for the use of violence against an individual state. A number of commentators have pointed out that, in fact, this resolution is illegal and itself violates the UN Charter since Chapter 7 focuses on defending international peace through addressing threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression. Clearly, the activities of criminal gangs in an individual state do not present a threat to international peace and so are not the business of the UN Security Council and definitely not an issue that can be addressed by the use of Chapter 7.  Not surprisingly, the drafters of the resolution do not explain how the situation in Haiti presents a threat to international peace. It is ironic that this resolution is being used to facilitate an act of unprovoked aggression against a member state, something that Chapter 7 is supposed to deter.

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Savvy’s true cost

Submitted by LegalEagle

Let us strip away the politics and emotion from this transaction, instead we must focus and discuss the facts.

Allan Kinch
Allan Kinch

David I have been following the Savvy issue from its onset. I have read the documents supplied by Ms Sarah Taylor, which in my view need to be discussed in simple terms and without prejudice. The public needs to understand the facts of the issue and dismiss red herrings that may be floated by parties.

First let us start with what was bought by Mr Kinch for the $4 million Barbados dollars. Listed below are the lot sizes taken from the conveyances provided by Ms Taylor (1 sq m equals m2)

Lot A 4873.9 m2

Lot B 5254.9 m2

Lot C 1749.2 m2

Total 11878 m2

Keep in mind 1 sq m (m2) is 10.764 sq feet therefore the total area made up by the 3 lots translates to 127,854.79 sq feet. Hence with a purchase price of BBD$4 million, Mr Kinch was paid $31.28 a square foot plus legal fees. Those are the facts and I have attached the 3 signature pages of the signed conveyances to confirm the numbers. These were based on the surveys done by Mr. Ken Ward and accepted by the board of Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTII) to which the directors in seat signed off.

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Cabinet ministers rewarded for foul ups

Minister of Finance
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

In recent days a principal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAB) was severely critical of the lack of support given to the Auditor General’s department by government. In a sponsored program on the Voice of Barbados titled Talking Financing the President of ICAB did not hold back venting on government’s lack of support for the Auditor General’s office, an important watchdog in our governance system. It was refreshing to listen to an independent agency in Barbados frontally address an issue untainted by political rhetoric and association.

Barbadians have been expressing concerns about incompetence and a stench of corruption to be found in decades worth of Auditor General reports which have been largely ignored by successive governments.

We will therefore strengthen governance in all of government’s affairs, ensuring that our public affairs are managed in a manner that is transparent, participatory, equitable, responsible, responsive, inclusive, and people centred.

2022 Barbados Labour P arty Manifesto

There is definitely a crisis of governance in Barbados with two consecutive general elections registering ALL 30 seats in the Lower House won by the Mia Mottley Barbados Labour Party (BLP). The result has created a dysfunction in parliament how important working committees have not been working as envisaged by the framers of the original Barbados Constitution. Some may suggest even when there was an elected Opposition working committees only served to check the process and procedure box, a different conversation.

From observation since Barbados Underground was established in 2007 there is an irrefutable conclusion to be made. In the system of government practiced, we struggle mightily with holding feet to the fire when government officials contravene rules, procedures and expected standards of performance.

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Parental Guilt

If you were granted one wish of having a one-hour conversation with anyone, who would you choose? I would choose God Himself.

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

We have diverse social and religious traditions on which we make judgements about others – especially assigning blame for the life-choices of others. Fortunately for us, God had a fascinating discourse about this (in Ezekiel 18), which I shall paraphrase below. The speaker is God Himself.

FALSE PROVERB.

Why do you quote this proverb: “The parents eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? Do not quote this proverb, because both parents and children belong to me. It is the soul who sins who shall die.

Suppose there was a man who did what is good and right. He did not: serve false gods, oppress anyone, charge interest on loans, but was: faithful to his wife, assisted those in need and judged fairly between disputing parties. That man shall live.

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Taped cell phone tip of the iceberg

The BBA and DC maybe have received a dose of its own medicine.

In today’s press former member of parliament and prominent criminal attorney Michael Lashley has expressed “ fears that lawyer-client privacy at police stations is under threat, based on the Barbados Police Service’s findings in the “cell phone under the table” incident”. His reaction was to the incident where a cell phone was found taped under a desk at District E in a room used by attorneys and clients.

The blogmaster has no problem with the Barbados Bar Association (BBA), Faith Greaves, a junior lawyer at Michael Lashley & Associates, expressing outrage at the incident. Obviously an attempt was made by someone to subvert the process. Unfortunately, Barbadians have tolerated repeated attempts by officialdom to rub the brown stuff in our faces. What the incident exposes is a level of corruption perpetrated by actors responsible for honouring the justice system.

Given the nature of your complaint, a forensic analysis was conducted to this cellular phone by the Regional Security System. The forensic analysis of the cellular phone was carried out to determine whether it was fit for use or carried any recorded information thereon.

“That forensic examination revealed that the phone was unserviceable and that there was no recording on the phone. That the phone had no bearing on the matter involving the attorney-client privileged communication. The forensic examination also showed there was no link between the investigations involving your client and the cellular phone.

Nation newspaper
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Debt Swap does not mean debt relief

Debt swap does not mean debt relief.

Ryan Straughn
Ryan Straughn, a minister in the Ministry of Finance

First it was Ryan Straight singing the benefits of Barbados entering a debt swap arrangement with CIBC FirstCaribbean and Credit Suisse International. It was reported both institutions agreed to the government of Barbados buying back BDS$150 million each. The mechanics of the deal: savings generated from rebooking the debt at a lower rate will be used to finance government’s marine conservation plans.

See related article – Debt swap

Next it was Prime Minister Mia Mottley last week announcing another debt swap worth BBD$600 million to be utilised to finance the upgrade of the controversial South Coast Treatment plant (SCTP). The financial agencies mentioned with the deal were the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Green Climate Fund.

See related article – PM says capital for upgrading South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant won’t increase Gov’t debt

In both cases there should be no criticism about the need for government to allocate resources to upgrade the SCTP and marine environment. Barbados is a small island developing state that is heavily dependent on a pristine environment to maintain its character. The country is beginning to take on a haphazard appearance with the high volume of vehicles on the road, photovoltaic panels littering our fields and hills, houses being planted everywhere, itinerant vending everywhere, et cetera.

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Haiti – Another United States Invasion Scheme

The aim is to stabilise this government, which facilitates the US plunder of the country, by suppressing the opposition of the Haitian people to it.

Reposted from Caribbean Empowerment Blog.


By A.T. Freeman

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signs a defense pact with his Kenyan counterpart, Aden Duale, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking at the 78th session of the United Nations General assembly on 19 September, President Biden called on the UN Security Council to immediately authorise the planned US invasion of Haiti. This demand made by Biden from  the podium of the UN underlines how determined the US is to launch its invasion and demonstrates that the occupation of Haiti and the plundering of its resources, including its rare earth iridium deposits,  are of the utmost importance to the US corporations and the US government which represents them.

From December 1914, when US marines invaded Haiti and literally stole its gold reserves from the national bank, to 2004 when they kidnapped the elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide and 2010 when it once again sent its troops into Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, the USA has given Haiti no peace, invading it time and again.

The current planned US/UN invasion is no different. Despite the lying propaganda that the US and its media outlets are spreading that, allegedly, the invasion is intended to benefit the Haitian people by addressing the problem of criminal gangs in that country, its real aims are clear. In reality, the US wants to invade Haiti to shore up the Ariel Henry government that it and its Core Group put in place both of which are completely rejected by the Haitian people.

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12 lawyers earn silks, whoopee!

The Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee are enabling agencies to ring fence the profession.

This brief notice published to today’s press piqued the blogmaster’s interest. We have twelve more lawyers who will earn the right to wear silks as well as adding a few more dollars to the client invoice.

Special Supreme Court sitting 

THERE WILL BE a Special Sitting of the Supreme Court of Barbados on Friday at 10 a.m. to admit to the Inner Bar 12 attorneys who have been appointed as Senior Counsel.

They are Wilfred Abrahams, Tammy Bryan, Gillian Henderson Clarke, Rudolph Greenidge, Kathy-Ann Hamblin, Edmund Hinkson, Arthur Holder, Anika Jackson, Stephen Lashley, Angela Mitchell-Gittens, Alliston Seale and Liesel Weekes. (BGIS)

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What are we doing?

We have to introduce innovation; technology to maximize agricultural production in small spaces.

Another island wide blackout continues to feed national debate concerning the quality of service being provided by OUR Canadian owned Barbados Light & Power Company. It seems ironic that as you drive around Barbados one cannot help noticing large swaths of land being used to create solar farms, as well as the many roof tops covered with photovoltaic panels. Despite what appears to be a country consumed with harnessing an alternative source of energy, a 7 hour+ outage last week was the result.

BL&P 10MW Solar Farm

The blogmaster has to assume there is science being used to determine the location of these solar farms quickly dotting the island landscape of Barbados. It should not be lost on the planners that integral to island appeal is the natural landscape. Reducing acreage of sugarcane threatens the aesthetically pleasing view with the current trend of planting photovoltaic panels. Again great irony for a country consumed with pandering to tourism, the main sector in the economy.

Important to developing alternative energy sources is balancing the need to contribute to our food security. The blogmaster accepts that because of a high cost base and lack of scale, it is impossible for us to be a significant player in food production. That said, there is nothing wrong if small islands adopt approaches to reduce reliance on food supply from overseas. Surely the recent COVID 19 pandemic that to this day continue to disrupt the global supply chain taught us a lesson?

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40 electricity outages in 2023 so far

Barbados has experienced 40 outages between 1January 2023 and 22 September 2023.

Amit@caribbeansignal blogs with analytics top of his mind. His latest project, track electricity outages in Barbados. By his research Barbados has experienced 40 outages between 1January 2023 and 22 September 2023.

Read his evidence based report at the following link – Electricity Outages in Barbados January 1 to September 22 2023.

Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) – a company owned by EMERA out of Canada must do better for the people of Barbados. The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) where the buck stops must do better. Why should it take 2 years for a rate hearing to be closed and in the meantime BL&P continues to enjoy an interim rate increase. It does not make sense. Barbadian consumers may have a good case to question if the FTC has been acting fairly.

Cooperative Coalition’s Response to Barbados Power Outage 21 Sept 2023

Posted as a comment to the Development by any means blog by Trevor Browne of the Cooperative Coalition, Intervenor – BLPC Rate Hearing 2021

t browne

Trevor Browne – Cooperative Coalition,
Intervenor

Having participated in the now two-year-old BLPC Rate review process, the representatives of the Coalition of Cooperatives are not surprised at the recent island-wide blackout experienced by the BLPC.

There is no question about the complexity of maintaining an isolated island electric utility, twenty four hours a day, and every day of every year.

However BLPC has been characterized by; 

• the clear lack of strategic planning towards the National Energy Policy
• the refusal to invest in new plant now for over a decade since this has been known to be
needed
• massive cuts in maintenance systems and expenditure,
• and an alarming emphasis on extracting dividends that has been way out of proportion to past history for BLPC.

It seems intuitive that the price to be paid for such a strategy by BLPC will eventually be seen in increasing unreliability, outages and poor customer service. Indeed, it is our considered opinion that, were it not for the high quality of staff at BLPC and their personal commitment to serving Barbados, such outages would by now have been a regular feature of BLPC operations. However even such dedication has its limits.

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2022 Auditor General released

Perennial concerns raised in 2022 Auditor General Report

The annual spectacle of the 2022 Auditor General Report being laid in parliament has generated the usual palaver. This time around the big ticket issues raised feature the National Conservation Commission (NCC) and Wyndham Sam Lord’s Castle.

So far Minister Adrian Forde who is responsible for the NCC has quickly refuted concerns about fraud, however, he admitted the NCC breached government’s procurement policy (see page 67). Minister Ryan Straughn has refuted Auditor General Leigh Trotman’s finding of being unable to account for 165 million in spend incurred by the Sam Lord’s construction. Straughn explained that the Mia Mottley government took the decision on assuming office to take the project off budget to create fiscal space (see page 32). By the way, are we happy with Struaghn’s explanation to what happened with Four Seasons/Clearwater Bay transaction?

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Politicians too fat, cabinet too large, too many consultants

One day coming soon some disgruntled persons will attempt a Sidney Burnett Alleyne.

On the 15 July 2023 Prime Minister Mia Mottley sat down with veteran journalist David Ellis (see 90 minutes interview below) to answer questions raised early in the administration after she became the first woman to win government on 25 May 2018.

Interview with Prime Minister Mia Mottley

The blogmaster from time to time has circled back to this interview to use it as a measure of performance of Prime Minister Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) from 2018 to the present.

You will hear her stout defence for appointing the largest Cabinet per 1000 of population in the world. She will now argue the fact her government was reelected in the controversial snap election in January 2022 and won another clean sweep confirmed the electorate bought into government’s playbook. The blogmaster is of the view it was more a case that in the land of the blind a one eye woman is queen.

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Development by any means necessary

Owen said that land must fetch its highest economic price.

Submitted by Observing

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Back in 2003 Owen Arthur touted the Pierhead Marina Development Plan. For some this was a visionary idea, for others in the years after it was a chance to get out licking. 20 years later a flurry of activity has indicated that investment development on the island’s south-west corridor is back at an all systems go stage

Savvy on the Beach
Not much more that can be said here that hasn’t already been ventilated. It is absolutely clear though that Kinch must go.

Marina shops
These shops were slowly shuttered up over a few years. A recent article with the owner of Marina Restaurant who was locked out in 2020 confirms that it too is time for him to go. Miss Daisy has spoken.

Cavans Lane renters
Though two remaining renters have vowed to fight their “sudden” eviction, they know they are only renting and they will have to go. A public notice has also confirmed that the next four years will see the entire area transformed.

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Are we ready for wet bulb events and rising temperatures?

#wetbulbevents #risingtempertures

The blogmaster received the two videos drawing attention to wet bulb events and the alarming increase in temperature readings in recent times. It is predicted to get worse in 2024. What is scary is that our best scientists seem clueless to explain why temperatures have been increasing on the planet.

Here is what the blogmaster will opine, no human being knows how nature will react over time. Buckle up and wish for the best.

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Libya disaster- white world does not care bout we

So far almost 12,000 people dead after Storm Daniel struck Eastern Libya on the weekend which caused two dams to crash and unleash torrents of water into surrounding neighborhoods.

Muammar Gaddafi (late)

On the tiny idyllic island we are fortunate to live, too many Barbadians are happy to navel gaze as the sand fills the hourglass. We have become so entitled by a manufactured lifestyle as we continue to live in our tiny cocoon, unconcerned with the many natural AND man made challenges being visited on our fellowman elsewhere on the planet.

It challenges the accepted belief that although one race; a human race, we struggle to live up to the label as being the most intelligent and civilized specie of life occupying the earth.

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MPs pay hike maybe in the works

No bigworks project gets done without the approval of the prime minister.

A few days ago Dr. Ronnie Yearwood fresh from being reelected President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) posted a provocative tweet. To be expected his tweet generated the usual 7-day public discussion.

It is useful Yearwood decided to play his hand on what is regarded as a contentious matter. It is obvious he has been advised to develop a more aggressive perspective on the issues to improve resonance with a politically ‘tone deaf’ public. A different approach by the DLP to entice support from an apathetic and cynical public is required from a DLP struggling for relevance, Yearwood must employ superior leadership qualities to repurpose a political party clinging to the tattered coattail of Errol Barrow as well as surviving in a space where the political oxygen is being controlled by Prime Minister Mottley.

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A Savvy conflict of interest

Submitted by The Book Surveyor

Savvy on the Bay matter- if the BTII failed to do due diligence by hiring Mr Kenneth Ward, both Mr Ward as the surveyor and Mr Kinch as the buyer had an obligation to legally declare a conflict of interest.  

Allan Kinch
Allan Kinch of Savvy on the Beach

Blogmaster, I sent you 2 paragraphs governing conflict of interest by surveyors and engineers as outlined by law. The wording in US and British law is slightly different, however, both speak to a professional and legal obligation to the client.

The reason I sent this is because a blogger of yours touched on it, but I do not think many understand the legal liability that this places on a transaction in terms of the efficacy of the survey. Also I read where a blogger tried to down play it by saying [paraphrasing] so what if the same surveyor that worked for Mr Kinch worked for BTII, Barbados is a small place“. My point is – if the BTII failed to do due diligence by hiring Mr Kenneth Ward, both Mr Ward as the surveyor and Mr Kinch as the buyer had an obligation to legally declare a conflict of interest.  

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President Randy Harris, weak but strong

President of Barbados Football Association (BFA) Randy Harris has occupied the office although the performance of Barbados football has slipped to an embarrassing level during his tenure.

BFA President Randy Harris and FIFA President Gianni Infantino 

It helps us to stay healthy, fit, and active. It teaches us the value of teamwork and encourages us to work hard and never give up. Sports also help us develop discipline, dedication, and commitment, which are essential values for success in life. It is also a great way for people to socialize and make new friends.

EDUCBA

It must be obvious sports is not only everything EDUCBA describes, it is also a trillion dollar global business. Where there are big business decisions being made expect to find political factors at play and corruption.

The world’s most popular sport is football (soccer). In recent weeks a controversy triggered by suspended president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales planting a kiss on a female player in his exuberance at Spain winning the women’s World Cup, and the ensuing debate amplifies the importance placed on holding on to executive positions in sports, especially soccer. In the face of global condemnation he refuses to resign.

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COOPENERGY Responds to paid consultant

Chairman of CoopEnergy Trevor Browne issued the following clarification statement in reply to the following comment made by Dr. Roland Clarke – Blogmaster

Dr. Roland Clarke

This issue is perhaps at the very heart of the current impasse in the ongoing Rate Hearing, and even more fundamentally in the dismal lack of progress of the proposed energy transformation for Barbados.

It is quite clear that EMERA thinks that BLPC belongs to them, and that they therefore have the option to do as they please in exercising that ‘ownership right’. We are also aware that Dr Clarke has been a paid consultant to the Government of Barbados and perhaps has been able to convince local officials that this is the case.

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