Press Freedom Continues To Be Under Threat In Barbados



POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING a fire at the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary School that extensively damaged two classrooms of the Matilda Deane Block. The fire in the room used for the two reception classes occurred on August 20. It was the second at the Spooners Hill, St Michael school in three weeks.

Source: Nation

bfp_piggy125.jpg This morning Barbadians hear about yet another news report of a building damaged by fire. It seems to BU that the reports have become all too frequent. Have you the public ever wondered why we never hear of the authorities telling us the cause of the fires after their long investigations? Is it unreasonable to ask why many of the fires which occur under suspicious circumstances never seem to produce a culprit? The biggest question which we should consider is whether our Media Houses is doing a good job to keep serious issues at the forefront of the public. Are Barbadians so pure in their reputations that buildings which have been burned to rubble or extensively damaged should never yield a culprit?

We should blame many but at the top of the pile we hold the Media Houses in Barbados accountable.

A check of Wikipedia defines the role of the press as “its explicit capacity of advocacy and in its implicit ability to frame political issues. The term goes back at least to Thomas Carlyle in the first half of the 19th century.” We think Barbadians in recent months have become resigned to the fact that our media practitioners in Barbados operate with the fear of reprisals if they advocate on any issues which will confront officialdom. Their comfort level is to passively report on the “harmless” events which will usually offend no one.

BU received an email from a person who purports to be a former journalist, after reading we were struck by the clarity in the message and felt obligated to share with our many readers:


Not that the fact that I am a former journalist from the US has anything to do with my question, but since Ifirecloud040907.jpg am I wanted to put my query in some kind of context for you. I would ask this of an editor at the “Nation,” but am not confident I will get an answer, so my husband pointed me to your website and I thought you might have some insight.
I worked as a writer and news producer in North Carolina and then in NYC so I am familiar with the Who, What, When, Where and Why of news reporting. However, I found when I moved here and started reading the newspaper and watching local news, I realized that the 5 Ws I was taught in J school and in turn used in my 10 years in TV news, does not apply here. I can accept that; however it is a bit frustrating because to me a story isn’t told if many of those Ws aren’t addressed.
Now my question: I first became curious after the Sheraton Mall burned. Never did I read or hear anyone really question WHY it burned. WHAT caused the fire? I would scan the paper for weeks and months on end and NEVER did the press here run any stories of WHAT caused that fire. It seemed that on one really cared, not police, not firemen, not insurance companies, not mall businesses, nobody.
And now the recent fires of RTEK, Apsara, and McBrides (I apologize if I have misspelled any of these); I accept the fact that I will NEVER find out the cause of these fires.
What is my question? WHY? Why is the public never alerted to causes. Why is the public never really told why a car accident or shooting happens (most shootings and accident stories only address what relative was first on the scene and their emotional condition, etc.). My husband says that Bajans only want to know who someone is related to so that is why all the information on family members, etc.

What we got from the note is simply if Barbadians do not wake up from their slumber and demand more from our Fourth Estate we will start to count the cost as a result very soon.

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24 thoughts on “Press Freedom Continues To Be Under Threat In Barbados

  1. Because of your best efforts to destroy the freedom of the people and the press we still claim freedom as our right.
    We can talk or deal with any subject that we choose to on this blog or BFP, we can talk about the extent of your corruption, the lack of morals you and your party of those of uncertain gender display, the ills of the health services, the cost overruns on every project you and your party has tampered with,the kickbacks, the unfinished buildings that you started over 5 years ago, got the message yet crook?

  2. One of the major promises made by the Barbados Labour Party in their return to power, was to revise the libel laws. They said at the time the libel laws were working against them and old fashioned. This was applauded by the Barbados Press as expected. The Barbados Labour Party Govt. over the years has done nothing to keep this promise but nary a word of protest from the Barbados Press. One would have thought the Barbados Press would have been in the vanguard, hamering the Govt., forcing them to keep at least this promise. But no, the Govt. started offering lucrative jobs to Journalists as personel assistants and so on and this ensured their complete silence on the matter. Personal interest was once again place above national interest. The Barbados Press is manned by many hand to mouth people and it is easy to shut them up. Just dangle a wad of money in front of them.

  3. It is maybe the only time that I can see with Mottley and his attempt and wishes to muzzle the internet as source of communication.
    It is now obvious, as he could see the damage that it could inflict on their party that is so rife with corruption maybe he saw the Danos issue being revealed to the public in its fullness, so to the VECO scandal just think how they would be sitting now without the use of the internet by the average citizen?
    With their dictator like grip on the media in Barbados, we would still be in darkness and backward and they would continue with their wholesale robbing of us the taxpayers.

  4. I enjoyed reading your report of the VECO scandal there, what you seemed to have omitted from your story is the role of the VECO executives played alongside the local politicians in Barbados in the awarding of the prison contract in Barbados where this project is now over budget by an amazing US $ 100 million, there is a very strong school of thought that exist in Barbados that persons from VECO may have been responsible for paying local politicians to have them award the contract to VECO, this school of thought goes right up to the Prime Minister.
    When one considers that a local group failed in their bid when they refused to pay a commission to a close friend of the PM and it was stated that they were not awarded the contract because they were US $ 10 million to high on reflection the US $ 10 million may have been a small price to pay but instead we are now faced with a cost overrun of US$ 100 million.
    Can you share any news on the extent of the probe being carried out by the FBI and does it extend to the operation and the roles of VECO agents and local politicians?
    I am sure that you will agree with me that politicians in any part of the world are prone to bribes but that does not make it legal to do so and it needs to be fully investigated and the results made public.

  5. I would like to offer some possible answers to the many questions posed….

    1 – Q – Why is this not seen as a big story by the press?
    A. -Because everyone ‘who is anyone’ in the press knew all this, a long time ago. This has become business as usual for the Government – and the press.

    2- Q – Why are Bajans not outraged?
    A – Most Bajans are VERY UPSET – …upset that they are not personally IN on the action. How does someone who steals from his employer everyday; is always looking for a scam; or seeking to buy stolen goods; or avoiding taxes etc complain about a Government that is doing the same things albeit on a larger scale?

    3 – Q – Why is the DLP so silent?
    A – See answer above

    4 Q – Why am I impressed with this BLOG?
    A – Because the outrage I see here suggests to me that there ARE some (a few) honest Bajans with Principle and righteous outrage.

    5 – Q – What is the solution to this unholy mess?
    A – It is probably too late. In any case as we will soon see, It probably does not matter that much anyway.

    Here is a more important question….

    Why is God allowing these things (tragedies -including this mess) to happen to Barbados? (and elsewhere in the world)

    I have another theory that answers that one too … next time.

  6. It’s even more serious than just buildings being burnt.

    Remember the man (electrician) who was killed in a residential dwelling in collymore rock when fireworks exploded?

    Apparently the fireworks belonged to some indian man,but more importantly who was charged with storing fireworks in an unathourised site?

    Note,this house was situated between an office block and a wooden chattel residential home.

    Also note,a day nursery was directly opposite this house as well as a dental office with clients and other wooden chattel homes.

    Was there an enquiry into this?

    Did any one give authorisation (against standard procedures) to store fireworks there?

    Have the family members of the deceased man been compensated?

    Did the relevant minister have anything to say on the matter?

    Was someone paid to hush up this stuff?

    Other than the nation article which just revisisted the incident in light of the brittons hill tragedy – do you see any media houses raising this unfortunate,frightening event and asking the questions – WHY,WHERE,WHEN AND HOW?

    Journalism gone to the dogs people.

  7. From the beginning of time man always tried to hide his shortcomings and failures.

    I have realised now more than ever stuff only happens to you if you allow stuff to happen to you.

    It is time for us to get up off our sit downs and do something about the mess in this country.

    If the media houses in this country refuse to print and broadcast solid facts and legible, intelligent information then let us deal with them the way they are dealing with us. If they withhold information, then I am withholding my money from them.

    It is time to hold these brutes by the short and curley’s and let them know who is boss, not only Owen money could talk, the little bit that they allow me to have can talk to, 100,000 little squeaks becomes a mighty roar.

    Personally this is what I am doing

    1. I refuse to buy any more of the rubbish that is being passed off as news.

    2. I will downgrade my multichoice package.

    3. I will shop at only black owned businesses

    4. I will speak without comprimise on the things that beleaguer this country, such as the plumetting literacy rate, the cancerous health car system, the abyess of corruption, the scourge of the bulling clique that is beguiiling our wufless young men with the promised of fame and fortune, the reproach of wickers that continue to accost and waylay our young women because somebody telling them they don’t need a man.

    I am rightly upset and fed-up because this little country has been turned wrong side up and we not want to be “politically correct” and put on lipstick, hat and coat on the immorality and the muck and mire that we driven ourselves into.

  8. Where are the wistle blowers, people with the information that will cause this cancer to be nuked.

    Because they remain silent we all in a choke hold. We have become a nation of damned grasshoppers, soft and sappy with no character, no nothing.

    I will not apologise neither for saying bullers either.

    Too much hiding up in this place

  9. My dear American Journalist residing in Barbados:

    Here is another example of Public relations passing as journalism – see Todays Nation newspaper’s article – CHINA INVESTING BIG BUCKS IN THE REGION.

    Then scroll down to the end of the article – see the source?

    BGIS – ie The Barbados Government Information Service – the Public relations arm of the Government.

    Did you notice there was no:WHO,WHERE,WHY,WHEN and WHAT?

    Things that make you go: hmmm/huh?

  10. Warrior

    I agree with a lot of what you say, as you are strong and not prepared to put up with this corruption, and have not yet been afflicted by the resignation of so many Bajans.

    However, a couple of points: (your numbering)

    1) I agree, boycott these crap excuses for newspapers.
    2) Buy a dream box and have it recoded by the ‘entrepreneurs’ who have carved out a lucrative business doing so (you will be pleased that they are mostly black!) The ‘nice people’ 🙁 at CBC scramble the signal every month or so! This way you are not supporting the wicked gubbermint in their scheme to control the press, and their conspiracy to limit the poorest people to watching just CBC TV8!!!! -this in it’s self is a disgrace!
    3) Don’t agree with this! The black business people of Barbados are no more ethical than the whites. In fact, in a lot of cases, it is the moneyed blacks who are the meanest to the ordinary black working class.
    4) Correct, correct, correct, then WOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAA!!!!!!!!
    What is it with the homophobia? What evidence do you have of widespread homosexual coersion?
    To me these two points detract from the seriousness of your comment. I am dissappointed with these misplaced expressions of your personal prejudices, as I thought you were a progressive thinker.


    Why can you not even say the words?:

    Gay men

    THERE I said it for you!

    Warrior, lets have more of the great thinking and less of the bigotry


  11. David:

    Can we have the ” Recent Comments ” box back please?

    Recent Comments is on the right side of the sidebar!


  12. David..

    Isn’t it incredible that a Government (any Government) contracts a company (VECO) that has no previous experience building prisons, to build one and then see the orginal estimated cost of constriction rise from $100 million to $292 million?
    That company was being investigated by the FBI since at least 1989.
    The owner and one Director admitted a larger number of criminal offences.

    Then within a few months the same Government signs a Memorandum of Understanding with another company, (3S (Barbados), SRL ,that has NO previous experience building roads or flyovers, whose President is now facing fraud and conspiracy charges lodged by his previous employer.
    And the Project Manager of that company, states publicly that the cost of the work has escalated from the orginal US$60 million to US$180 million.

    Yet! nearly a week after you revealed the pending legal action against Jonathan Danos, not a single media outlet on Barbados has reported the fact.

    Isn’t there a single journalist out there who is willing to challenge the Minister of Public Works or Government representative and WHY are the Opposition so silent on this matter?

  13. We may finally be getting what we have been waiting on for the past week or near there.
    I am hearing thru the grapevine that a major news organization is looking to release this news item tomorrow.
    Should this really come thru it would be wonderful it has been too long in coming, but coming I understand it is.
    Has anyone received a reply from Crook Danos ?
    I seem to remember Adrian Loveridge writing to him but no report since then, I know that someone wrote to him asking him to make a comment via BU or BFP but todate we have heard nothing from him, actually we have not heard from the AG Marshall, the PM Owing, the DPM Mottley, the Minister Clarke, what are they working on the basis that if keep a low profile and say nothing this will blow over.
    I would suggest that they push Noeless Lynch to face the fire as we all know that he is a monster of a liar so he can lie to the public once again and get away with it.

  14. September 10th, 2007

    Taken from the DLP site minutes ago.

    The Israel Lovell Foundation has been given 100 000 of dollars by Owen Arthur and the BLP government, yet it seems unable to pay the road taxes on one of its Vehicles. The road tax expired since March and to date there is no evidence that the Tax has been paid (see photos). If Israel Lovell Foundation has no money Maybe the Minister of Social Transformation needs to tell the public of Barbados why. Where has all the money gone?

  15. It appears to me that the Israel Lovell Foundation and the Minister of Social Transformation needs to explain where these funds have gone to is this another case of more steal in there as well?
    It seems that eveything these people touch either vanishes or gets real expensive.

  16. WIV

    Be careful with this story and don’t get TOO excited.

    One expired tax disc is hardly concrete evidence of corruption!

    Concrete evidence of………(I’ve forgotten)…….oh yeh – a poor memory!

    Poor memory, oh they’re looking at a spell in jail!

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