Prime Minister David Thompson Attacks Squandermania Of Former Government

Barbadians got to hear the new government at work in the House of Parliament yesterday.  It was refreshing to witness the dissipation of the rhetoric featured last week which many claim was a hangover from the just concluded general election. The parliamentary session was conducted today against the backdrop of the news that the new government has decided to shelf the Greenland Landfill Project. In a nutshell, 50 millions dollars already flushed down the toilet but 45 million dollars estimated to be saved by not completing the project. Word on the street today seems to indicate that it is a fairly popular decision among Barbadians who always thought that it was an environmental disaster to locate a dump in the eco-Scotland district.

It should be no surprise to Barbadians that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) have been reviewing capital expenditures disbursed by the former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government.  This is something which they signaled during Barbados Election 2008. The ABC Highway Project is equally under the microscope. It has been accepted by many who should know that it is a project which has been poorly designed and executed. Let us not forget the Hardwood debate which triggered the suspicion of Barbadians, and effectively has relegated Clyde Mascoll to the harsh review of our political historians. Maybe Historian Trevor Marshall, former consultant to the Arthur administration, can take-up the challenge.

Last week, Barbadians also read the lucid view expressed by Minister of Health David Estwick regarding the decision by the former Arthur administration to allow the St. Joseph Hospital to descend to a state of disrepair. The current poor state of the St. Joseph property will now cost the taxpayers millions to rehabilitate. If a decision is taken to sell the property in its current state, it will equally cost taxpayers because of the poor condition of the property. Minister Estwick was quoted as saying after touring the St. Joseph property:

I really feel there needs to be a revisiting of some type of punitive measure when taxpayers’ money is misused. I will put it this way because we’re talking about political decisions that were taken that resulted in a deterioration of a property that was worth millions and millions of dollars. To rehabilitate this property will probably take just as much money . . . .To see a facility that was once grand being gutted, fully rotted – all the wooden structures, roofs falling in, vandalised in every way you can think of . . . . One of the reasons this visit occurred is because firstly I wanted to see first-hand what was the present state of disrepair” said Estwick.

Source: Nation

We could mention other known investigations which the new Thompson government plans to undertake to deliver on their campaign promise to expose corruption and wastage of the former government. Let us not forget the plan to have a forensic audit at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). This week the news broke about the sacking of nine consultants who were attached to former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s office. We do agree our government will need to hire consultants to manage tasks which require specific expertise which does not now exist within the government. But BU would have joined Barbadians to show disgust at the qualifications which many of the sacked consultants possess and which merited unjustifiably high emoluments. BU and BFP have written extensively about many of the projects which are about to be investigated even when the mainstream media failed to report. If you doubt us just do a search on our blogs.

The 100 day post election period is currently running and BU have adopted a neutral position about writing on political matters for the moment. Don’t be fooled that we are not monitoring the nascent unfolding of our new government with keen interest. It will not be lost on Prime Minister Thompson that he still has a credibility issue surrounding his leadership to mange in the minds of Barbadians. Although Barbadians would have given Thompson and his government a mandate to oversee a new government (first past the post), there is a fragility which still lurks regarding Thompson’s leadership ability.

We are sure that Thompson being the political student that he is and someone who had to wait for a long time to win the “big one”, he is mindful that the Barbados Labour Party is 6% points away from regaining the government based on the current state of things.


15 thoughts on “Prime Minister David Thompson Attacks Squandermania Of Former Government

  1. The massive but ungodly amount of squandermania that was taking place under the last BLP Government( the Greeenland Landfill Project, Edutech, NHC Warrens Offices Project, the Kensington Oval Redevelopment Project, the Golden Beach Bath at Silver Sands and more) was so unseemly and rebarbative in this era of supposedly modern government and society in Barbados that this said squandermania and its very disturbing effects were among the very compelling factors that made thousands upon thousands of voters in the last election in Barbados come to the realization that there was no other alternative but to throw such a wicked and damned BLP government out of office. Make NO doubt about it, the People’s Democratic Congress, as well as many others, did play a serious role in the removal of the BLP from office!!

    Anyhow, such levels of gross and reckless misspending and misgovernance must have been sufficient to have made the vast majority of Barbadian citizens realize once and for all how this ruling BLP hierarchy, in the most contemptible of fashions, was so apparently primarily preoccupied with promoting and furthering the interests and wellbeing of themselves, personally, of their families, friends and of their businesses/corporates. Whereas, some little amount of those things will definitely be found in the governance and political culture of any country, it was indeed the very obscene and revolting levels to which the ruling BLP hierarchy took those interests and affairs into consideration, as if, then, the government of Barbados and Barbados itself were being run, in some ways, like some little private corporation of this wretched ruling BLP hierarchy.

    As such, it was appalling to see that the interests and affairs of the public of Barbados were NOT being accorded the respect that was due, and therefore promoted and furthered by the former BLP Government as much as they ought to have. Thus, it was most contemptous of that ruling BLP hierarchy to have NOT been giving the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed, the majority of the masses and middle classes, the youth, and the elderly, among relevant other groups, the kind and amounts of social, political, material and financial asistance and incentives that, today, would have enabled them to be greatly empowered and enfranchised, if they had so desired to be, in the final analysis.

    Finally, PDC will continue to argue correctly and convincingly that it is this murderous barbarism called TAXATION that stupidly helps provide the basis for the squandermania that we have seen indulged in by both BLP and DLP Governments over the years, but to the detriment of the further growth and development of this Barbadian society and most of its different components. By a PDC Government ABOLISHING TAXATION there will surely be a drastic lessening of such squandermania. Look at the more efficient, productive and accountable Private Sector, and realize it!!


  2. I am very happy to see the DLP in action. The emphasis which the new Government is placing on revitalizing the Health Care system is extremely commendable. The days of patients taking their own toilet paper to the hospital are over now I hope.

    It was a crying shame that the BLP allowed a once mighty institution to sink to the depths that it did. From my perspective as a layman it would appear that the Management systems at the QEH are very poor indeed and need to be strengthen immediately, security is a great concern as well and must tackled with haste. However I am sure that the new administration is fully aware as the rest of us of all the problems at the QEH. Setting matters right will not be an easy task. The damage which was done to our Health care system by the BLP was done over years and I am sure that there will be no quick fix. But we give the administration the time to put things right.

    The Democratic Labour Party is aware that not all of us can hop on a plane and head to New York or wherever when we are sick and seek medical attention. The Barbados Labour Party seemed to believe so.

    My family and I welcome the new initiatives of the Democratic Labour Party.

  3. It is a good move by the new administration to begin to systematically expose all of the infelicities of the last BLP gov’t. Those people absolutely raped the Treasury. As I previously mentioned more is to come on these consultancies. It is going to be shocking. What is even more amazing is that most of the consultancies were sneaked in through the former Prime Minister’s office.

  4. We agree with Peter Wickham’s Nation article 100%.

    People & Things – Transparency in public office
    Published on: 3/5/08.


    THE PUBLICATION of a (truncated) list of consultants associated with the office of the former Prime Minister was no surprise since there has long been speculation regarding the identity of these people, their compensation packages and specific responsibilities. This list has satisfied public curiosity, but sparked some interesting questions
    that relate to this dimension of transparency.

    The Thompson administration has promised greater transparency in Government; however, this first manifestation of its commitment has been met with criticism from Mr Owen Arthur who argued that this initiative had more to do with an attempt to “embarrass” people.

    He has therefore now promised to go on the “warpath” and this reaction is nothing short of unwise since it demonstrates a fundamental difference between the
    BLP and DLP’s way of doing business.

    Arthur cannot deny that public interest in his fascination with consultants is nothing new, but he appears not to understand the basis of this interest. Parliamentary records will reveal that during the 1999-2003 term one parliamentary question introduced this issue and sought information similar to that which has now been published.

    Needless to say, he ignored that question, but he would be well advised not to ignore these trends in governance that demand information of this nature.

    In the case of Arthur, this type of information was particularly relevant in light of his management style after he introduced the 1999 politics of inclusion experiment. Around this time, observers started to speculate that several political and non-political characters were now being associated with the Prime Minister’s Office and moreover that this association was by way of short- or long-term consultancies.

    This approach was novel to Barbados at the time, since previously we were familiar with permanent public servants and two or three political appointees in the shape of personal assistant and Press Secretary.

    It was clear that Arthur was uncomfortable with these traditional arrangements, since the quantity of consultants grew exponentially and we also noticed other innovations such as the MP who chaired a Government board and the “permanent” consultant attached to a ministry performing roles that would previously have been undertaken
    by a minister or parliamentary secretary.

    There are some fundamental differences between the traditional route and that preferred by Arthur, not least of which is the likely cost to the taxpayer.

    Generally, consultants are paid much better since their salaries reflect national, regional and international trends, which are generally out of line with public service salaries. Moreover, these consultants are generally not taxed as individual taxpayers and hence would take home their “gross” salary.

    Presumably, Arthur discovered the potential benefits he could derive since he could appoint these consultants more quickly and give them specific directions and set performance standards without reference to the Public Service Commission. These benefits could considerably improve governance; however the public ought also to be concerned about the fact that the consultancy appeared now to be an inducement or a consolation prize offered in exchange for political loyalty, or in exchange for some political favour.

    In all of this less emphasis was placed on the nature of the consultant’s work and the manner in which this work was performed, while we focused exclusively on the person’s political value.

    Arthur therefore has no one but himself to blame for this rather embarrassing scenario since he could have indicated several years ago, who these people were and what they were being paid, if indeed their work was as valuable as he claims. There can be no question that this is information that the taxpayer is entitled to since we know how much every other public servant earns and should be entitled to know how much of our money consultants are paid.

    His response and the extent to which he is clearly taking this matter personally speaks volumes about the extent to which he saw the office of Prime Minister as an extension of his political persona, which could be used to assist people who needed a little “help” from time to time.

    One can only hope that with this change of Government there will be a return to well-respected conventions that link employment to value and productivity in ways that
    are not politically defined, and moreover that the Thompson administration will regularly provide information on the appointment of consultants and their rates of remuneration.

    Peter W Wickham is a political consultant and a director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) and can be contacted at

  5. “ The controversial Greenland Landfill in St. Andrew is now good to go.

    But it will be a whole year before any garbage is sent there because of delays in preparing the treatment centre and transfer station in St. Thomas.
    Chairman of the Sanitation Service Authority(SSA), Ramon Alleyne, says the Landfill has “come in on time and under budget”, a fact of which the board is “most proud”.(DS)”
    The Nation, Monday, December 24, 2007.

    I am delighted that the DLP government has put an end to this madness.

  6. I was never for the landfill idea, always felt the the generations to come would hate us for it, like they are sure to hate us for selling our prime land never to regain it again. So far I must admit that some good ideas and some good things have been done by David Estwick et el.

    Rest In Peach

  7. It seems that on the decision to reverse the Greenland Landfill Barbadians are in agreement. The puzzlement for the BU household is why Barbadians would not have accepted this position in the last election and exact a position from the then BLP government?

  8. According to the March 5, 2008 edition of the Midweek Nation, this Thompson-led DLP Administration intends to halt wastage and prevent squandermania in government, while focussing on prioritizing the use of the country’s finances.

    Yet, on the first day of business of the House of Assembly for this current Parliament, on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, this Thompson-led DLP Administration was introducing a supplementary resolution for about BDS $ 180 000, to provide for costs to be met by the Ministry Of Social Care, and the Ministry of Commerce for this current fiscal year!! Hilarious, is NOT it?

    Yet, on the second day of business of the House of Assembly for this said current Parliament, on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, this said Thompson-led DLP Administration was introducing and debating a supplementary resolution for BDS $ 5 million for the Enterprise Growth Fund!! Comical, is NOT it?

    Yet, this said Thompson-led DLP Adminstration is ordinarily continuing with the handing out of subsidies upon subsidies to various corporate interests within various productive and industrial sectors in Barbados, e.g, Pinnacle Feeds Co. Ltd, ADM Barbados Mills Limited, Barbados Light and Power Co Ltd!! Jocosity, is NOT it?

    Yet, this Thompson-led DLP Government is, at this juncture, doing NOTHING new to commence the restimulation and repositioning, and in the right and proper ways as well, of the so-called economy of Barbados; doing NOTHING ABSOLUTELY to make thousands upon thousands of Barbadians believe that many of the DLP Manifesto pledges that are so relevant to their own so-called economic survival and development will in fact be achieved; and doing NOTHING ABSOLUTELY to substantially boost esp. the confidence of consumers, investors, and producers within local industry and commerce, and within the general economy, and esp. at this time when NOT ONLY the Barbados economy, BUT ALSO many international economies, esp. the US economy, seem to under great stress and seem to be faltering. Are we in Barbados NOT getting serious, now?

    Does NOT the way how this Thompson-led DLP Government has started sounds, again, like the way how previous wayward and drifting BLP and DLP Governments dealt with many of the financial and economic affairs of this country? Does it NOT appear as if we are going through the same ole unnecessary, worn out and failed economic and business cycles in Barbados and elsewhere? Does it NOT seem that way? Where is the real difference, and for the better? Certainly, PDC will make a real and better difference!!


  9. David // March 6, 2008 at 6:46 am

    It seems that on the decision to reverse the Greenland Landfill Barbadians are in agreement. The puzzlement for the BU household is why Barbadians would not have accepted this position in the last election and exact a position from the then BLP government?

    David, Greenland by itself did not seem to be enough even though I do not know anyone who was in favour of it. I guess it took a more toxic combination of issues to dismiss the former gov’t and now everyone sighing in relief.
    I get the feeling that many people now seem to believe that they have a stake in this gov’t therefore they are all having their say. Prior to now most persons seemed mortally afraid of the other administration and could therefore only accept however unwillingly what was being done.
    The ones who stood alone like in this instance, R. Goddard can only be commended.

  10. I think the myth of owen as some master manager is now being exposed. I wonder how many of the statutory corporations and government owned companies have up to date audited financial statements? Dr . Estwick said that the latest audited statements for the NIS are in 2001. This is totally unacceptable in modern barbados. The blame cannot be laid at the feet of the hard working staff in these entities. It must be laid at the feet of a political directorate that placed little emphasis on good governance and accountability. How could this master economic manager Owen arthur and the super bright mia mottley and the team for the times preside over such poor governance? The new government has a pile of mess to clean up.

  11. Do we have an audit department in Barbados?
    What is its function?
    Does it have to wait on government to tell it to do its job?

  12. David:

    When you said: “It will not be lost on Prime Minister Thompson that he still has a credibility issue surrounding his leadership to mange in the minds of Barbadians. Although Barbadians would have given Thompson and his government a mandate to oversee a new government (first past the post), there is a fragility which still lurks regarding Thompson’s leadership ability.” your printer’s devil spoke volumes.

    Objectively, those of us who have known Prime Minister Thompson, and have worked with him during the long years in the wilderness entertain no doubts regarding his leadership abilities. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Barbadians with mange in their minds.

  13. GP sometime ago we blogged on the role of the Auditor General in Barbados. It is not a ‘sexy’ article but it addressed the fact that the office is a toothless tiger. We suggest to you that part of an efficient democracy is to have an office like the AA operating efficiently. Sadly in Barbados it is manipulated and or ignored.

  14. Thompson was very much the statesman at Caricom intersesssional asking for lasting monument to Arthur for his lead role in CSME. Nice move Thommo. Arthur you can learn from Thompson about being gracious. The warpath is not an option.

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