Owen Arthur Infers Local Barbadian Engineers Are B-Class

Prime Minister, O$AThe former Prime Minister Owen Arthur was quoted in today’s news making a statement very critical of the level of contribution the local cadre of engineers made to the evaluative process concerning the Highway ‘flyover’ project. We find the comment by Arthur very interesting.  This  is the first time that we know of that a top person from the former administration has given this kind of insight into one of the most contentious and costly capital works projects undertaken in our history.

The BU household is vividly aware that the Highway ‘flyover’ Project has been ‘flogged’ in the bajan blogosphere — we think with good reason. So many questions, so little answers we have gotten so far on the Highway ‘flyover’ Project. The honeymoon period is still running for our new David Thompson led government and Barbadians wait for word on whether the ‘flyover’ part of the project will go ahead as originally planned. Based on information which we have received, we are satisfied that the Highway ‘flyover’ Project has been one of the biggest scams perpetuated in the history of Barbados. We suspect that Prime Minister Thompson will announce shortly to the nation plans to roll-out yet another audit of a project started by the former government.

Back to former Prime Minister Arthur’s statement.

We have not conducted a scientific poll of the types of qualifications which our local engineers possess but our general knowledge of the profession suggests that most of our engineers have gained qualifications from foreign universities. We are therefore puzzled at the statement made by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.  For the first time he has publicly identified a gap in the expertise of the foreign engineers on the Highway ‘flyover’ Project and local engineers influenced how decisions were taken on the project.

The charge made by the late Prime Minister requires a response from the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE). It is a statement which suggests that the local engineers lacked the skill sets to have advised the former government on such a major project. Our interpretation of Arthur’s critique of the local engineers is that they are B-class engineers. BU have been amazed at the passive behaviour of the local engineers through the flyover saga. It was only at the very late stage of the project that their public offering became a little more agitated. We have heard the biggest insult hurled at the local engineers by the suggestion that because of their dependence on central government contracts they have to keep their mouths closed.

We believe that before the dust settles on the Highway ‘flyover’ Project there are some people who should be called to account.

Previous Stories

Frankology The Highwayman Has His Say On Operations Free Flow AKA Flyovers
Flyovers In Barbados Revisited~Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers (BAPE) Stick To Their Guns
Jonathon Danos’s Former Employer, Mabey’s & Johnson Suspended From Flyover Project~Accused Of Using Poor Quality Steel, What Steel Are We Using On The Barbados Flyover Project Mr. Danos?
Barbadians Demand to See The April, 2006 Drawings Detailing The Operations Free Flow Project NOW The Flyovers
Media House Takes Another Feeble Left Jab At The 3S Affair~Come On Vivian-Anne, There Is The Right HAND!!!
Clyde Mascoll Needs Only Three Minutes To Do Damage Control On 3S Barbados SRL
Nation Newspaper Finally Awakes From A Deep Slumber By Publishing The 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos Story ~ Can They Stay Awake?
The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth About The Operations Free Flow Project In Barbados. Will It Ever Be Told?
Operations Free Flow Should Be Stopped NOW Pending A Further Geo-technical Study Media Houses In Barbados In Collusion With Government To Suppress News, Press Freedom Under Threat ~ The Voices Of The People Must Be Heard
Gline Clarke And Rihanna Tell Their Supporters To “Shut Up And Drive”
OPERATION Free Flow, Barbados Road Network Infrastructure Improvement Project (Flyover Project) To Triple In Cost From USD60 Million To USD180 Million~Gline Clarke And The Government Of Barbados Owe Barbadians A Big Explanation
ABC Highway Cost Triples Or More



19 thoughts on “Owen Arthur Infers Local Barbadian Engineers Are B-Class

  1. David,

    I think you have misquoted Mr. Arthur here, the statement was on deciding equivilancy levels for consultants to take advantage of the EPA agreement. He said this was likely to be a contentious issue across jurisdictions because it was a contentious issue within jurisdictions. By way of illustration he used BAPE’s use of UK standards of design versus the 3S US standard of design.

    While I have no way of knowing if Mr. Arthur was being disingenuous to equate the differences with simply different “standards”. I did not interpret the statement to be a backhander at the local engineers.

    Anyone who has dealt with GEED knows the difficulties that arise in different standards being used US vs. Canadian vs. European.

    And before you get on your high horse about the word “standards” it is used here in the context of a standardised method of doing or designing something, not to infer differing levels of quality.

    Notwithstanding any of the above, there is a definite need for more investigation of the procedures used to grant the highway project contract.


  2. David,

    “BU have been amazed at the passive behaviour of the local engineers through the flyover saga. It was only at the very late stage of the project that their public offering became a little more agitated.”

    You are either being deliberately provocative or you are trying to be funny….

    The engineers INITIATED discussions about concerns with the flyover project. Successive presidents consistently stuck to their guns despite insulting remarks from Glyne Clarke et al and despite a complete lack of consultation.

    Far from being ‘passive’ I think that the engineers did local professionalism proud.

    It should be no surprise that Arthur would have concerns with professionals who make decisions based on ethics and professional judgment… that must create serious problems for persons who collected various unexplained cheques for lord knows what…

    ..pity he had nothing much to say when we cared what he thought..

  3. We remember a Mr. Whittingham who led the charge and was criticize by all and sundry for his effort. To be honest we cannot recall BAPE being at the vanguard of the discussion at the get go.

  4. Is he dead? As far as I know he is not, so you make an erroer in your opening remarks
    “The late Prime Minister Owen Arthur”

    That should be former prime minister.



  5. Unfortunately to make the flyover project look good, the former PM must make the engineers look small, sad but truth be told that is his only strategy to defend the flyovers.

  6. Earlier today, a matter of national importance again caught the attention of our party – The People’s Democratic Congress – even though it was dealt with in the House of Assembly yesterday. And, it is: the 2008 Manifesto proposal by this DLP Government to establish 30 Constituency Councils in the thirty constituencies of Barbados. As opposed to previous times when we did NOT comment publicly on the proposal, we at this stage feel certain that we must however do so, as that it is time enough that the proposal really needs to be treated with the kind of roughness of language and preciseness of argument that it truly deserves.

    Henceforth, whereas the Prime Minister, and also Member of Parliament for St. John, Mr. David Thompson, is reported as saying in the House of Assembly that these Constituency Councils “would be for community development and empowerment to help solve the problems facing Barbadians today”, and whereas the Member of Parliament for St. Michael West Central, Mr. James Paul, is reported as saying that “the implementation of such councils gives full bite to have true democratic participation of people in communities” – (Midweek Nation, Wednesday, March 12, 2008), we in PDC are nevertheless strongly of the view that these speakers do NOT fully understand or appreciate what the concepts of EMPOWERMENT and TRUE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION mean or ought mean within the Barbadian political context.

    Hence, we will argue that, quite contrary to their and the DLP ‘s deliberate miscalculations, these Councils – whenever they are established – WILL NOT EVER be empowering multitudes of constituents or communities in Barbados, but will, in fact, be helping lead to their own further political marginalization, peripheralization, and anatomization within the political system of Barbados, given that such Councils, among other deficiencies, will have to be ABSOLUTELY DEPENDENT on the central Government for budgetary and resources allocations, given that they will HAVE NO LEGISLATIVE OR SOVEREIGN POWER AND AUTHORITY, and given that they there will be NO IDEOLOGICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL AND PRACTICAL SYSTEMS that will help create a social political unity, identity and ethos for Constituents, as a whole class of individuals looking after their own interests, mainly.

    Also, many, many Constituents in Barbados must understand that with the Abolition of Local Government in Barbados in the sixties, there did NOT come about any empowerment and enfranchisement of the masses and middle classes in Barbados as a result of that. So, therefore, how could the bringing about at this time of such powerless but bureaucratic Constituency Councils do such things?

    Finally, we in the PDC have long been telling the people of Barbados, and long before the DLP’s concept of Constituency councils came about, that whenever A PDC Government is formed in this country, there shall be the establishment of CONSTITUENCY ASSEMBLIES in every constituency wherein Constituents in their respective constituencies shall, among other things, have the SOVEREIGN POWER AND AUTHORITY TO DEBATE AND PASS THE LAWS OF Barbados, and wherein the approximate total for each Assembly shall be 200 Legislators, whom shall be systematically Elected by constituents within each constituency.


  7. On the related matter of road construction BU received the following note from an irate road user in Barbados:

    Dear Sirs,

    To whom do I have to write to ascertain when the desperately needed repairs to Golf Club Road, Christchurch, would be undertaken.

    I am a Barbadian citizen residing in the UK, with a home at Rockley. During my last visit to the island, the dangers of this very busy road, in its condition, were brought home to me on several occasions, when I noticed drivers having to swerve to avoid the many pot-holes. Unfortunately, my car was damaged having driven into one late in the evening. I trust that it would not take a serious, or, a fatal accident to occur before something is done – as is usually the case!

    Your prompt response would be much appreciated.


    xxxxx xxxxxx

  8. PDC, what is wrong with you?

    Your posts may well be saying something interesting, but nobody will ever know because NOBODY IS READING THEM.

    But don’t despair. Verbal diarrhoea is curable.

    Here’s my remedy.

    Take a break from blogging, come back in a few weeks, then make a short, sharp comment of no more than 10 lines – on any subject of your choice.

    Just try it.

    Who knows, maybe someone will listen to you…

  9. Samizat,
    I agree with you. I know I have a limited amount of intelligence but I always get confused with what PDC is writing. While that blogger has the right to express an opinion a break is needed to do some introspection.

  10. Remember Frankology said from the outset that we don’t need any Flyovers alias overpasses. Our problems stems from traffic trying to get from the rural to urban areas. Another thing, how can you proceed without an EIA study or without Town Hall Meetings, without a truthful Geological study and without an experienced flyover contractor.

    ….And people still want Flyovers. Brother John Whittingham and BAPE tell the Prime Minister to use that money to prop up our economy and reduce the cost of living.

  11. “We remember a Mr. Whittingham who led the charge and was criticize by all and sundry for his effort. To be honest we cannot recall BAPE being at the vanguard of the discussion at the get go.”
    August 2004 – Round table discussion hosted by BAPE to discuss traffic congestion problems in Barbados. Presentations made by Ms. Cheryl Bennett-Inniss and Eng. Peter Date.

    October 2004 – BAPE issues position paper on national traffic management to the press: http://www.bape.org/media/press_room/traffic_congestion.html 
    December 7, 2004 – Former PM makes the first public announcement on flyovers in his presentation of the Economic and Financial Policies of the Government of Barbados to the House of Assembly: “It is therefore proposed that we create this additional capacity to the existing road network by way of new overpasses at 7 to 9 junctions along the ABC Highway.  Cabinet has agreed to the building of these overpasses, with the work to be undertaken under a BOLT arrangement and to be concluded by 2006 at a cost of US$50 million” – pg. 48: http://blp.org.bb/pdf/ECONOMIC%20AND%20FINANCIAL%20POLICIES%202004.doc
    December, 2004 – BAPE issues statement to the press within days of former PM’s announcement: http://www.bape.org/media/press_room/flyover_solution.html 
    October 13, 2005 – BAPE hosts a lunchtime discussion at which Eng. John Whittingham makes a presentation on “Engineering Solutions to the Traffic Congestion Problems in Barbados”: http://www.bape.org/media/presentations/TRAFFIC%20IN%20BARBADOS.pdf

    October 13, 2005 – Immediate past president of BAPE, Eng. Trevor Browne, featured on CBC TV evening news commenting on highway project:
    October 23, 2005 – BAPE members Engs. Trevor Browne, John Whittingham and Ralph ‘Bizzy’ Williams, discuss the highway expansion project on VOB’s ‘Tell It Like It Is’ Sunday program.
    May, 2006 – BAPE issues another public statement on the project: http://www.bape.org/other/flyovers.html
    July 20, 2006 – President of BAPE, Eng. Roger Blackman, expresses concerns about the project to CBC TV reporter:
    October 8, 2007 – BAPE issues press release on project: http://www.bape.org/media/press_room/ABC_Highway_Expansion_Project_Position_Paper.pdf
    October 16, 2007 – BAPE responds to a joint statement from the Ministry of Public Works and contractors working on the highway expansion project: http://www.bape.org/media/press_room/BAPE%20Press%20Release%2010162007.pdf

  12. What Happen David?

    Cat got your tongue? Where is the big apology and correction?
    In fact, where is the review of the whole ABC project in hindsight that demonstrates BAPE professional approach from the very beginning?

    How about a profile of these (local?) engineers? sounds like model citizens to me…
    … in hind sight it would appear more like the former PM is the b-class player here…

  13. David,
    What writers cramp what!?!

    I think that you have been doing an EXCELLENT job altogether. I am amazed at your endurance and consistently high quality.
    I am enthralled at your provocative tongue-in-cheek way of practically forcing contributors to keep the blog interesting.

    I have been backing the engineers from the very start, they came across as intelligent, knowledgeable and independent of thought. I think that they inspired other professional bodies to stand up and be counted too – people like the Economic Society.

    Anyway, I think that your article made the point about Arthur’s speech. I just wanted to blow my own pro-engineers trumpet a bit…

    … here is another Bush tea word of wisdom… any time you see a leader sideline most of the strong independent persons around him and push lackeys to the front – look for trouble…

    Arthur’s approach of dumping persons with different views (like Payne etc) is a clear sign of a b-class leader…

    Anyone can lead people like Liz who pursued the Greenland debacle even though she knew it was wrong; even after she had been fired; even with all the expert advice.
    Glyne Clarke did not even listen to the engineers after they went public – just did his wuk as instructed by whoever…

    In hind sight, it is Owen Arthur and his gang who were even less than B-Class….

  14. SME we thought that members of the BU family would have challenged you on the case you lay to support the engineers position. It is known that if you want to lobby against something which you feel passionate about you come to the blogs. Going to the traditional Press via press releases and news reports is not cutting it. This is significant if we remember that the country was in a polarized state leading up to the general election.

    More importantly how do you reconcile what PM Arthur has suggested that the expertize in the local engineer pool is not syncing with what is in the international arena.

    Come on Bush tea this is not the time to be defensive, let us critique the thing!

  15. The engineers did an excellent job from the begining of alerting the public to their concerns about the highway expansion project. They must have been under tremendous pressure to keep their mouths shut, so their actions are even more commendable.

    Hopefully they will be just as vigilant now that we have a new government.

    The other professional organizations need to follow their lead.

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  17. David,

    My earlier post was not “a case in support of the engineers position” but a case in support of the truth.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that your comments were a deliberate attempt to mislead or be mischievous. I fully appreciate that we are all servants of fallible human memory and perception.

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