Going With Mia~We Need A Strong Opposition Now More Than Ever!

Arthur with Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley
Former Prime Minister Arthur with Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley – courtesy Nation Newspaper

The focus will continue to be on the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the coming days, weeks and months; for sure over the next 100 days. Barbadians have very high expectations that the DLP will preside over a government that will be more people centric. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) fell into the perennial trap of becoming too lofty after a long stint in power. We do not begrudge the DLP their victory, but our citizenry must remain aware that our democracy will only be as strong as an effective opposition.

How quickly will the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) resolve the leadership issue which attracted attention through the just concluded political campaign. We don’t have to rehash the issues like “is mia ready for leadership?” or should we say, “are Barbadians ready for Mia as leader?” What about the Mascoll factor? Will he become a distant memory in the annals of our political history or will he survive his recent setback and rise from the political dust-bin like a colossus?

Historically, the BLP have been able to resolve leadership crises without significant fallout. Owen Arthur has first hand experience of the machinations required to resolve leadership issues within the BLP. Don’t forget that he was the beneficiary of a similar leadership struggle within the BLP when the late Bernard St.John unfortunately died in office. On election night Owen Arthur was non-committal about his future in politics. Reading his body language he seemed a tired man, but we can attribute this to a very intense political where he was the focal point of the issues. Some people feel that there is no one better than Arthur to lead the BLP given his experience as a member of the three blind mice – Simmons, Arthur and Forde.

The purpose of the article is not to become embroiled in the internal decision making of the BLP over who should be their Maximum Leader. We are confident that this is a party which will stand the test of time. We are aware that it is one of the oldest political parties in this part of the world. It did not achieve this longevity by making frivolous decisions which will make it vulnerable. Why are we concerned with what happens to the BLP you are wondering? We all witnessed what a weak DLP opposition a couple years ago almost did to our democracy. In fairness to the DLP they had to battle with the parallel issue of the politics of inclusion.

All Barbadians who were made to wonder whether our democracy would have withstood that period when the DLP almost imploded would not want a rerun anytime soon. It is this point which should be of interest to all Barbadians. It does seem that our stable democracy is bound to how smoothly the BLP will be able to agree to what its future leadership will be.

It therefore gives us great pleasure to learn that the leadership issue of the BLP has been handed over with speed to MIA MOTTLEY. Her appointment was announced today as the Leader of the Opposition.

The BU household was busy writing this article when the announcement was made of Mia’s appointment

132 thoughts on “Going With Mia~We Need A Strong Opposition Now More Than Ever!

  1. I can tell you one true story I know.
    About ten years ago my son bought cooking oil for his canteen from a young entrepeneur who was seeking importing stuff as a way to make a living. He was allowed to make one import of oil, because more established folk in Bim had the playing field altered.

    I have been to trade fairs in NY and sought to purchase stuff for resale in Bim and was told you will have to buy from X or Y in Bdos. Funny thing is though X and Y had the monopoly on the whole range of that companies goods the Bajan importer was only importing one or two of thier products.

  2. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Blogs in Danger?

  3. “Mia has great leadership ability, and she speaks and can debate with the best of them”

    Just like the school yard bully Mia carries a lot of weight and a big voice. Unfotuneately big words and no substance does not deliver a credible message.

  4. Georgie, thanks for your reply. It strikes me that Bim has been a hostage to these few importers for all of its existence. If that’s true then it’s an incredible situation which I’m amazed the Bajees have tolerated for so long and must be rectified, immediately!!!!


  5. One problem is that small importers dont have the distributive capacity.

    Another problem is that they dont have the money, or access to money. Consequently if your first attempt fails it will be your last.

    Sometimes the powers that be dont help.

    In 1995 I found a product ideal for primary and junior schools. It looked much like an abacus but it had numbers arranged in such a way that it facilitated learning to count, to add, subtract, multiply and divide. In addition it facilitated the learning of fractions and square roots.

    When I showed it to my teacher aquaintances and asked them to tell me what they think they could use it for, they could immediately find things for which it could be employed in teaching Mathematics.

    When I showed it to the BLP jackass who said she taught 25 years in primary school she was lost. After all sitting in the Ministry of Education with all the BS about ED- UTEK she could not see it at all .

    She could not understand the need to KISS i.e. to keep it simple stupid


    Judge refuses to delay Kott’s date to report for prison term
    TERM BEGINS THURSDAY: Judge says ex-lawmaker had time to get his affairs in order.

    Daily News staff and wire reports

    Published: January 16th, 2008 03:06 AM
    Last Modified: January 16th, 2008 10:03 AM

    Former state House Speaker Pete Kott must begin his six-year prison term on Thursday.

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    Kott, convicted of three public corruption charges, had asked to delay reporting to prison until Feb. 1 so he could be around for the birth of his grandchild. The baby is due next week.

    But U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick on Tuesday denied Kott’s request. He is scheduled to report to a federal prison in Sheridan, Ore.

    A federal jury in September convicted Kott of bribery, conspiracy and extortion.

    Over the objection of prosecutors, he wasn’t taken into custody immediately.

    Prosecutors also objected to any further delay, saying in a court filing that “it is simply time for Kott to face the consequences of his actions.”

    Sedwick agreed. Kott’s crimes were serious, he’s had time to put his affairs in order, and he already got special permission to travel outside Alaska for family and personal matters before going to prison, the judge wrote.

    Sedwick also said there’s no assurance the child will arrive by the due date Monday.

    Kott, a Republican, represented Eagle River in the state House for 14 years.

  7. WIV
    What does this account have to do with the price of cheese in Bim?
    What does it have to do with Mia and our opposition?

  8. Sometimes the powers that be dont help.


    Georgie, they must be encouraged to help and hopefully, under this new govt, they will!

    Your device sounds interesting. Can u tell us its name so we can do a search on the net, or provide a link?

  9. http://www.nationnews.com/story/342485297903947.php

    At least it makes a change from Tony Blair’s mantra of ‘Education, Education, Education’, and is, perhaps, a great deal more attainable!

    The only education-achievement which I can think that Blair has attained is greater pupil hooliganism to the point of them now considering installing knife and gun detectors in schools! So, much for his ‘Education’ mantra!

    Thompy must also, remove obstacles to the free flow of goods into Bim and not have our country being held to ransom by ‘monopoly importers’, who alone can imports goods into Bim!

    That is a complete, nonsense, a recipe for continued high prices and we should n’t tolerate it!

  10. http://www.nationnews.com/story/342485427203007.php

    What an outrageous, instance of vandalism! Bim must be being, too, soft on its criminals! Don’t your authorities secure your vehicles at night & employ the use of security guards & CCTV etc!!!!

    I think it’s time to say, “**** the UN! Bring back the whip, the birch and the gallows”!

    You would n’t wish Bim to become another Britain, I assure you!!!!

    Act now, before it’s too, late!!!!

  11. http://www.nationnews.com/story/342647236209058.php

    [quote]In addition, with more and more Bajan firms being taken over by Trinidad and Tobago conglomerates, “important decisions are increasingly likely to be taken in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago rather than Barbados”. [/quote]

    Are we, already losing major economic pillars of our society to the Indians of Trinidad & is this acceptable and what does Thompy propose to do about it!!!!

  12. Taken from the same, ‘Economist’, article:

    Now two Trinidad companies are fighting for control of Barbados Shipping & Trading, the island’s biggest conglomerate.




  13. The post of leader of the OPPOSITION has deteriorated to the point that the moraless one now has control.

    How low can it get???

    When one looks at the real cause for the parties defeat at the last election it would seem from the selection process that they are setting up for a long time in opposition by virtue of their choices to lead the opposition maybe when the move was made to appoint George Payne as the leader of the opposition it may have served the party better than their eventual selection.

    This nation will never accept one such as this as a leader of this wonderful country we expect our leaders to travel the high MORAL ground and this is not the case in this selection.

    Actually sometimes I am left to ask does this person have ANY MORALS AT ALL?

    MANY, MANY QUESTIONS about morals.

  14. Anonymous // January 26, 2008 at 8:28 pm,

    Do you think that people can’t see how SHALLOW you are?

    Try another strategy, because trying to sow division in such a desperate manner as you have attempted simply won’t work.

  15. For big men you all make me sick. Just as the electorate decided that David Thompson should be their Prime Minister they shall decide too whether Mia Mottley should hold that office.

    I know one thing for sure, you don’t pelt rocks in an empty breadfruit tree.

    Bajans going to be watching both Thompson and Mottley to see how they perform and what their visions are for the future of Barbados.

    And by the way I have heard just as much talk about Thompson’s sexual proclivities as I have about Mottley’s. At the end of the day I vote for some one who has my interest and that of Barbados at heart. So don’t get tie up WIV and Adrian. Not all Bajans can be influenced by spin masters like you.

  16. Dear Bajan to the bone,

    The problem with Adrian and WIV is not spin, it is that they tell lies as if they are facts. The most charitable view would be that they have been telling them for so long that they have started to believe their own lies and now live in a twilight zone between fantasy and self-delusion.

    Who was it who on these pages gave us this tale of Mr. Elliot Mottley and Mrs Amor Mottley volubly objecting to Mia Mottley being passed over in the selection meeting? On these pages was a tale of shouting and more. Mr and Mrs Mottley weren’t even there. Mr. Mottley has not turned up at a political event for some time.

    In the selection for Leader of the BLP, Mia Mottley was elected unopposed. Ask any member of the parliamentary party or see if any member of the parliamentary party says something different.

    I wonder which parliamentary party, Kellman, Stuart et al is the most united?

    This site will remain popular if it remains a voice of scrutiny and opposition and is not overly partisan.

    I wish PM Thompson well and I wish that he is given the opportunity to govern.

    I also wish that the Leader of the Opposition serves all of us well by keeping our government honest. We shall have to wait and see, but I suspect the opposition have chosen a person with the ability to do that. This is good for Barbados.

    Good luck to them both.

  17. M. Warnock~it is good to see BLP supporters using the blogs to get points across, clarifications etc. We feel that it is one of the many strategies which the DLP used better than the BLP in the just concluded election. It seems like if most of the commenters were DLP supporters. They won the fight on the PR hands down, both Internet and traditional media. We literally begged the BLP supporters to participate but they underestimated the role of the Internet.

    Hopefully the mistake will not be repeated. Again now that you are in Opposition we ask you to include the Internet/blogs as part of your Communications Plan/Strategy.

  18. Dear David,

    I do not consider myself a BLP supporter, but I was familiar with events in Roebuck Street. I consider myself a Barbadian voter and will make an independent assessment when the time is right.

    However, David, I think you are right that the DLP were better than the BLP at using the new media – the arrogance that comes from holding office so long?

    I also think the BLP, or anyone else for that matter, are wrong to be in opposition to blogs and must participate and contribute to make them more balanced. But, as you can see from my comments I hope, I am independently minded, and have no official remit, other than striving for the truth.


  19. Mabey Bridge Scandal Continues to Grow
    Wednesday, January 16 2008 @ 07:28 AM EST
    Contributed by: Don Winner
    Views: 264
    By Mónica Palm and Rafael Pérez for La Prensa – The bridge manufacturer Mabey, of the company Mabey & Johnson Limited, at the moment involved in a corruption scandal in Great Britain, paid more than $5.2 million dollars in “commissions” to a Panamanian company supposedly controlled by Rogelio Dumanoir, who was a Minister of Public Works during the years of the military dictatorship. The payments were made between 30 September 1997 and 19 August 1999 to the company José Hidalgo, S.A., which, according to Mabey – is controlled by Dumanoir. As well, the money was sent to an account in the name of United Management Services in the Royal Bank of Canada in the Bahamas. Dumanoir told La Prensa he does not handle banking accounts in the Bahamas and that he does not have any relationship with the company. (more) (Photo Credit: LA PRENSA/Gabriel Rodríguez)

    Editor’s Comment: If you have not heard about this scandal, here’s what’s going on. Back in 1996 ex Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares apparently decided to buy 17 bridges from Mabey & Johnson Limited, a company from England. At that time the sales representative in Panama for Mabey & Johnson Limited was an English expat named Johathan Danos. In the intervening ten years Danos now no longer works for Mabey and has set out on his own. Apparently Danos kept his files on the deals from the Balladares years, and the genesis of this conflict has to do more with a business conflict between Danos and his former employer than an attempt to “whistle blow” against corruption in Panama. This scandal is gaining steam in the UK press and local officials in Panama are just now starting to wake up to the possibility of a crime having been committed in Panama. Anyway, that’s what’s going on, and there will be more about this in the future, to be sure. Apparently, the bridges are sitting on the ground, rusting.

    Political Side Note: Remember, there are two strong wings within the PRD. The “old school” wing is controlled by Ernesto “El Toro” Perez Balladares, and the “new school” is controlled by the Secretary General of the PRD, Panamanian President Martin Torrijos. There are a series of party elections coming up soon, the first on 20 January 2008 to elect party delegates. Then there will be an internal election to determine the party’s National Executive Committee (CEN), and then finally a national primary election to determine the one candidate who will run for President in the 2009 national general elections. The entire political strategy of the “Team Martin” wing of the PRD revolves around maintaining control of the party and keeping the “Toro Wing” out of power.

    Opportune Political Scandal in England: This scandal in England came about because two businesses are fighting amongst themselves. It would seem obvious that the current administration could take advantage of the fistfight to start their own investigation into corruption in the Balladares administration. As it was recently explained to me by Panama’s Vice President Samuel Lewis Navarro – “Zero Corruption” is an impossible goal in a real and practical world. There will always be some elements of corruption. But obviously starting an investigation into the “Mabey Bridges” scandal here in Panama would probably generate a few dozen headlines pointing towards allegations of corruption in the administration of Ernesto Perez Balladares.

    (Article Continues)

    He admits having received commissions from Mabey, but for $750,000 and not for $5.2 million as alleged by Mabey.

    The money – according to Mabey – corresponds to a 15% commission the company Jose Hidalgo, S.A. received for the purchase of 17 Mabey bridges by the Government of Panama in 1997, as a result of the tour made by then Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares to London the previous year.

    The “coordinator” of this transaction was then Panamanian Vice President Tomás Gabriel Altamirano Duque.

    Later, in October of 1998, Mabey paid another commission to the same company (Jose Hidalgo, S.A.) this time for $13,570 as a commission for a sale worth $150,000 dollars.

    The 15% commission paid to Jose’ Hidalgo, S.A. was higher than the normal 10% commission the company usually pays to its sales agents.

    These details are reflected in a legal complaint filed by Mabey against their prior sales manager, Johathan Danos, in London.

    A source within the Public Ministry said they are following the case to determine if there it merits the opening of a criminal investigation.

  20. Court battle over secret export commissions claims

    · Company accused of circumventing bribery law
    · Ex-manager denies kickbacks and fraud

    Read Jonathan Danos’s defence here

    Read Mabey’s writ here

    David Leigh and Rob Evans
    Wednesday January 2, 2008
    The Guardian

    One of the richest families in Britain is being accused in a courtroom battle of circumventing anti-bribery laws.
    The Mabey family firm, whose worldwide empire is based on exports of steel bridges, is accused by its former sales manager of misconduct in sales to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

    The former manager, Jonathan Danos, says that large secret payments of “commissions” to middlemen were artificially split to make them look smaller, and thus avoid official scrutiny.

    Article continues



    In all three countries, there was no competitive bidding for contracts, profits were alleged by him to be exceptionally high, and the money had to be borrowed from commercial banks, adding to the heavy debts of poor countries.
    Many of Mabey’s sales are backed by the British taxpayer. The loans were guaranteed by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), which is part of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

    While Danos is making accusations against the company, he himself is being sued by the firm for allegedly pocketing hundreds of thousands of pounds for himself in corrupt kickbacks on the deals.

    Mabey got a freezing order preventing the sale of Danos’s luxury home in Notting Hill, west London, last year and went to court. The high court said in a preliminary hearing there was “strong prima facie evidence” of fraud by him.

    But Danos, who was awarded the MBE in 2000 for services to British exports, has denied all the claims, and retaliated by filing a detailed account of the devices he alleges were used by the firm to get around anti-bribery laws passed by the British government.

    Excessive commissions are a common means of passing on bribes. As a result, British and US authorities generally frown on payments above 5%.

    Danos claims that he was ordered to divide an 8.5% commission to be passed to a Jamaican businessman, Deryk Gibson, into two parts – a commission of 5%, and another 3.5% for non-existent “local services”. He was also ordered, he alleged, to similarly split a 17% commission for a deal in the Dominican Republic, where the agent is named as a local businessman, Gilberto Pagan. In a third set of deals, in Panama, commissions were paid at 15%, he alleged, to a bank account in the Bahamas allegedly controlled by another agent, Rogelio Dumanoir.

    The Jamaica allegations will be particularly dismaying for the ECGD. Its advisory council conducted a special review of the £17m Jamaica guarantee in 2003, under pressure from anti-corruption campaigners, and concluded: “There is no great cause for concern.”

    The then trade minister, Richard Caborn, said at the time: “I am pleased … This work will benefit the people of Kingston and rural areas”.

    A Mabey director, Richard Glover, later unsuccessfully tried to persuade the ECGD that the firm should be allowed to keep its agents’ identities secret.

    He wrote in 2005: “Exporters should be free to pay legitimate commissions to their agents without the burden of the obligation to provide ECGD with details that are often confidential and commercially sensitive.”

    In his court filings, Danos paints in rarely seen detail a picture of a company that regularly paid huge sums to confidential agents to make sales around the world, although he does not directly accuse them of bribery. He says the firm’s founder, Bevil Mabey, who is 90, “established close relationships with high-level officials … and even in some cases vice-presidents and presidents”.

    But when Britain passed an anti-bribery law in 2001, the founder’s son, David Mabey, changed the company’s procedures. Danos says he was told the “artificial split” in commission was “as a result of a need to comply with” the law, the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. US lawyers gave advice, Danos claimed, that commissions above 5% would also lead to suspicions by the US authorities of “bribery or inducements”.

    The Mabey companies have previously been accused by anti-corruption campaigners of overcharging for sales of bridges and flyovers in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

    They are still also under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over allegations of kickbacks paid to the Saddam regime in the oil-for-food scandal. The UN Volcker report alleged that Mabey paid $202,000 (about £102,000) in return for a $3.6m Iraqi contract. The company says there is no truth in the allegations.

    The Mabey family is estimated to be worth £310m. The most recent accounts show family members drew out £7m in personal dividends in the last year. The company regularly donates to the Conservative party.

    A spokesman for Mabey said: “This case is about an alleged fraud on the company. We take the strongest possible action against employees and former employees who breach our policy or the law.

    “This case is not about allegations of bribery and corruption. However, we have not, do not and will not pay or authorise the payment of bribes or any other form of unlawful inducement. We have a comprehensive anti-corruption policy with procedures which are vigorously enforced.”

    Mabey is negotiating with Danos in private to try to settle the case before it comes to court.

    Anti-corruption campaigner Sue Hawley, of the Corner House group, said last night: “Mabey has consistently been accused of sharp practices, and untransparent contract procedures.

    “If companies can evade scrutiny of their commission payments by hiding them away as ‘local services’, this would blow a very large hole in the ECGD’s anti-corruption processes.”



    The former manager, Jonathan Danos, says that large secret payments of “commissions” to middlemen were artificially split to make them look smaller, and thus avoid official scrutiny.
    In all three countries, there was no competitive bidding for contracts, profits were alleged by him to be exceptionally high, and the money had to be borrowed from commercial banks, adding to the heavy debts of poor countries.

  23. M. Warnock you are a stranger to the truth my friend, Mr Mottley attended the Heros’s square meeting of the DLP so yes her family have been active and present at the campaign and part and parcel of mottley’s election campaign.

  24. of course her family have been involved, I said Elliot Mottley does not get involved in political meetings.You claim he was at the BLP headquarters cussing and fighting. Find one person to say what you said in public. No one will becuase you made it all up. That is what you do. Make up stories for the gullible to follow. No one should believe anything you write. You ave no credibility.

  25. It is a lie that the vote for Mia as leader of the BLP was unanimous.

    The Vote was split 5 – 5 and in the end one went over.

    Even pudding and souse which is mostly right had the information.

    Party hierachy didnot want mia as the leader because they know bajans don’t like her lifestyle and will not support her or the party into victory if she is at the head.

  26. If five people voted against Mia, find one of them to say there was a vote and it was not unanimous, they need not say any more, there is no disrespect in democracy. You will not find one. Owen recommended her and it was unopposed. There is no surprise in that.

    I heard that Kellman refused to endorse Thompson as DLP leader the day after the election. I do not know and was not there and will not assert that was what happened for sure, and I am willing to hear someone who was there, but there would also be no surprise in that, and it would help to explain Thompson’s decision not to put Kellman in his cabinet.

    Kellman is clearly not up for the collective responsibility of cabinet but he should be made head of some St Lucy Development Agency, then everyone would be happy and he could practice Kellmanomics to his heart’s content. The rest of us can observe. You never know, it might work.

  27. Can’t be sure, but inclined to think if I were Thompson I’d have been absolutely, delighted to hear that MIA MOTLEY had been appointed new, leader of the Dems.

    I might be thinking, “well, that’s my job guaranteed for at least the next ten years”!!!!

    Find it difficult to imagine Bajans electing her as PM, but then, I don’t live there, anymore, so could be wrong!!!!

  28. Mary Warnock I said Elliot Mottley does not get involved in political meetings.

    And I state again for clarity, Mr Mottley attended the Heros’s square meeting of the DLP so yes her family have been active and present at the campaign and part and parcel of mottley’s election campaign.

  29. during the period much discussion took place The comment below was what I said and I live by, so in future when you attempt to quote please do so with some seriousness, as I said mottley’s mother NOT HER FATHER was the one who created the stir not HER FATHER as you stated.
    mottley’s mother finally had her way and the mottley’s clan and will to control the purse strings of this island will be attached but will have to wait a number of years before they get to do so, we must remember the mottley’s believe that there have a right to rule this country.

  30. On balance I think blogs are a good and we should all support them, but WIV is the bad side of blog. People like WIV hiding behind annonymity to say something that is not true – not something that is unpopular or taboo and so they need anonymity, but something untrue.

    WIV is making a point of observable fact. Were Mr and Mrs Mottley at the selection meeting, was there a split vote and in one of our two great parties a selection was forced upon them. This is one of those very serious, easily verifiable pieces of fact. So, given the seriousness of the assertion, find one member of the parliamentary person who has said publicly that there was a contest and a vote – they dont need to say who they voted for.

    There is no reason for anyone to be ashamed of a vote in a selection process, it is a sign of competition and democracy. Until WIV can point to this quote, I urge him to stop wasting everybody elses time and space so we can discuss some real things.


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