The Insidious Creep Of Connections In Barbados And How They Can Be Used To Undermine The Rights Of Ordinary Citizens

Submitted by Yardbroom

 

I was fascinated but yet discomforted, by a story on another Blog, about “allegations” of rudeness by an immigration officer, to a young lady on her return to Barbados.  The story in summary, is that the young lady on arrival at Grantley Adams Airport from America was spoken to rudely – she said without justification – by an immigration officer.

The essential feature of her story being, that she was asked to wait in a room, until certain investigations the officer thought necessary were made.  After some time had elapsed, she refused to do so, and a verbal confrontation ensued.  The “allegation” is that in this exchange she was rudely spoken to.

If I accept that on her recall of the confrontation, there is a prima facie reason for complaint to the authorities to investigate the matter,  it would therefore be necessary to hear the immigration officer’s side of the story.  What was particularly alarming, was this young lady “allegedly” – and I have her word for that- solicited a telephone call to be made through her connections, to the Attorney General on her behalf and a complaint was made.  The tenure of her report indicated that the Attorney General sprung into action on her behalf.

The complainant cannot see the contradiction in her position as she infers “societal attitudes” in Barbados – where she now resides – have contributed to her distress.  She therefore brought the matter to a wider public, so that these  issues can be addressed, particularly as Barbados is a tourist destination.  Some have said that this occurrence at the airport, would not have happened in America – obviously they have not travelled.

May I ask a rather pertinent question would she, her friends or connections  been able to make a telephone call to the Attorney General in America because they were detained for a short time, or even spoken to rudely by an immigration officer at JFK Airport.

If it is that those with connections, believe that they have an unfettered right of passage, without let or “necessary” hindrance, denied to ordinary citizens.  And if that right is questioned even in a way deemed rude, they also have the right through connections to solicit the highest officers in the land by a telephone call.  Something is very wrong in Barbados, that the traveller was white and the immigration officer black. . . is irrelevant to the basic principle here.

The principle here is the “alleged” use of connections to a public officer of high rank to intervene in what most would call a relatively minor matter.  That that officer of high standing could be summoned by a telephone call is regrettable, in any country which treasures its values of fairness.

I have to add, I do not question the veracity of the young lady’s reports, however fairness dictates the full picture could only be ascertained with an input from the immigration officer. . . which is most unlikely.  Fairness also dictates I should not believe the “allegation” that a public officer of the standing of the Attorney General of Barbados, was asked in a telephone call to intervene on behalf of a traveller because she was inconvenienced and spoken rudely to at Grantley Adams Airport. I have only stated what was reported by the individual involved, to my mind they are “allegations”.

  • Who would not tolerate the indiscretions of our Immigration Department if hitherto it had proved itself to be efficient?

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  • @David,
    I await your comment on the Secret Caribbean or you having a MC Hammer moment. “can’t touch this”dah dah dahdah, dahdah dahdah dahdah

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  • Heh! Heh! Heh! I don’t know what the fuss is all about, Bajans like to boast that they live in a “First World” nation but when someone employs a “First World” tactic some people get their shorts in a knot. The difference is in the “First World” they call it “lobbying” so every defeated politician become a lobbyist and phones his/her politician friends to get some benefits/ legislation tailored in their clients’ favour mostly at the expense of “ordinary citizens’.

    And that is what the woman did, she felt she was treated “unfairly” (to use a Bajan colloquialism) so she complained to her relative who “lobbied” the Minister on her behalf. Doesn’t this happen everyday? If you think the answer is “no” I have a bridge to Pelican Island to sell real cheap. The mistake she made was writing about the incident in her blog… well if she had only complained about the big bad man at Immigration and left it at that everyone would go “Steupse wha she complainin bout”? but she had to put the whole sorry tale complete with phone complaint on a blog so the next time the Minister cell phone rings and he sees the name “Hoyos” you bet he going to press “end call’ tout suite.

    That’s the problem with these new wave communication methods i.e Blogs ,Twitter etc. some people think that they have to let anyone know their business so they either blog or twitter so the twits can read every intimate detail of their lives but sometimes these revelations come back to bite you in the butt.

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  • @Hantsie

    That matter to which you speak was discussed at length somewhere on BU. It is no secret how these guys have the politicians et al in their pockets. Let us see how FOIA when it is implement curtail such behaviour.

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  • Hi Rok
    Quote: ” Just think of it Yardie, nobody can tell you who to let into your house”

    Quite true. But I do not represent the state – Barbados – my house is a “private dwelling”. I act on “my” behalf, those who represent the State are ultimately responsible to parliament, through whom authority is given in a democracy, the authority of parliament comes as a result its members being elected by the citizens.

    I am sure you can see the difference.

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  • @David,
    There is the other side to this. Cow bought land but people made the choice to sell him the land.
    There is nothing wrong with that.

    What would be wrong is if politicians and bureaucrats disadvantaged “poor” people by refusing them permission for developement and they were then forced to sell to a big up or live hand to mout till they die.

    Then the politician’s lawyer friends would mek some money settling the “estate”.

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  • @David,
    I read that the head of the Bar Association write a letter to critisizing the Justice system in Barbados.

    Will this divert attention away from some of their members?

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  • @Yardie,

    What difference what? Internationally, Barbados is a private dwelling inhabited by the people of Barbados. This is so not only for Barbados but for every sovereign country. Immigration is the entry point and there is no Immigration Department in the world which does not recognise and understand its function as allowing into the country only those they wish to enter; no explanation required either. Maybe you think I am telling you what I believe, but I assure you that this is a fundamental principal in International Law.

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  • Hi Rok
    Quote: ” Immigration is the entry point and there is no Immigration Department in the world which does not recognise and understand its function as allowing into the country only those they wish to enter”. .

    Please direct me to anything “I have written” which contradicts the above. Either in my submission or in a comment.

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  • @Hants

    I have a problem with people like Goddard and Williams talking about they build from “scratch”. There is nobody who can accumulate that kind of wealth without favours being given; even if it is that rich people decide to support their business and pay more than value for the goods.

    I remember Plastic Bag singing about $1M of the taxpayers money that nobody ain’t get a day for. COW’s rise to wealth goes way beyond any ability to give value. I know people who put more effort into their businesses than COW and did not reap the rewards.

    Furthermore, to start up their businesses called for capital. No way they can compare themselves to the average “poor black man”. They always had it better.

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  • @ Yardie

    I was referring to this statement which seems to suggest that the Immigration Department is not at liberty to make arbitrary decisions and that these decision should go through a process of transparency. I am reiterating that what applies to you in your private dwelling is the same as what applies to the Immigration Department:
    “…But I do not represent the state – Barbados – my house is a “private dwelling”. I act on “my” behalf, those who represent the State are ultimately responsible to parliament, through whom authority is given in a democracy, the authority of parliament comes as a result its members being elected by the citizens.

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  • Hi Rok
    We will have to agree, to disagree on this one, as I fear we will go cyclic.

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  • @Yardie

    I should have said the manner of decision making. You are not wrong on Parliament, just means that the department is carrying out the wishes of Parliament….

    but I want to ask you a question. The police arrests a person and their friends and family can’t find which police station they are at. Now this is standard practice. Of course if was Hoyos they would know. In contrast I’Akobi Maloney DIED while being questioned by the police and the police came away with impunity. What sayest thou about transparency and accountability here in this government department? I suppose accountability is to Parliament too, right?

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  • Hi Rok

    Firstly, I will not revisit the case of Mr. l’Akobi Maloney as “I” do not have the necessary “evidence,” to form an opinion beyond reasonable doubt aganist the police. I understand an investigation was conducted by a learned Judge. . . no doubt you disagree with the verdict.

    You wrote Quote: ” but I want to ask you a question. The police arrests a person and their friends and family can’t find which police station they are at. Now this is standard practice. Of course if it was Hoyas they would know. In contrast l’Akobi Maloney DIED while being questioned by the police and the police came away with impunity. What sayest thou about transparency and accountability here in this government department? I suppose accountability is to Parliament too, right?

    (1) In the imaginary case you outlined above; the police should have allowed the arrested person to make a phone call, to whom they choose. It could be to a family member or an attorney, their location would be identified.

    (2) He/she could give a “no Comment” interview until he/she was legally represented and questioning was done in the presence of their attorney.

    (3) As regards a person you have named as an example, his position is better, because he will have an attorney at hand and the Police are more likely to follow the Law, because of his position in society. . that is Barbados. Here you are now able to see my concerns about the immigration situation.

    You might be surprised if you knew what I actually do, but I can assure you that I have feelings for the family of the deceased Mr. l’Akobi Maloney, but I cannot make a decision of any importance on hear say.

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  • Barack Obama said Saturday he didn’t know his aunt was living in the United States illegally and believes that laws covering the situation should be followed.

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  • The lessons of September 11 are that if we allow law enforcement to do their work free of political interference, if we give them adequate resources and modern technologies, we can protect our citizens without intruding on our liberties.

    Lucille Roybal-Allard

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  • Allegations about the LNP by former federal MP Michael Johnson are referred to prosecutors:

    POLICE have referred material to commonwealth prosecutors after a former federal MP accused Liberal National Party president Bruce McIver of intimidation.

    Michael Johnson, the former LNP member for the Queensland seat of Ryan, in June alleged to Australian Federal Police that he was pressured and intimidated by Mr McIver.

    Mr Johnson lost his seat at the last election. He ran as an independent after being dumped by the LNP in May following allegations about misuse of parliamentary resources.

    In June he said he’d spent three hours with AFP investigators, telling them Mr McIver had used intimidatory tactics to try to force him to quit his seat.

    On Monday, the AFP said the matter had been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

    “On June 29, 2010 the AFP commenced an investigation in relation to two matters referred by former MP Mr Michael Johnson,” the AFP said in a statement.

    RELATED COVERAGE
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    “On October 25, 2010 the AFP referred the matter to the CDPP.

    “As the matter is ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

    Mr McIver said he was not concerned the matter had been referred to the CDPP.

    He said he had not had contact with federal police since the allegations were made, nor had he been asked to give a formal statement or participate in a police interview.

    “I think that’s just the normal course for these sorts of things,” he told brisbanetimes.com.au.

    “I would co-operate fully if asked by the AFP. I have got no case to answer.”

    Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing in relation to his parliamentary resources. Efforts to contact him today were unsuccessful.

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  • Hmmm…… 911 lessons? Let law enforcement do what? There are allegations that law enforcement carried out 911… what you really saying at all? Why would these allegations surface if there was not a hint of corruption somewhere? What or who is law enforcement? These are saints you bringing from heaven?

    We cannot do without checks and balances when it comes to law enforcement because inevitably, somebody must control it and commonsense (or maybe tradition) tells us that it is safer in the hands of those elected because they can be recalled.

    Look and see that we cannot get a straight answer from our police about how I’Akobi Maloney met his death.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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  • @ ROK

    ROKie, its good to see you back after your sabbatical.

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  • The fact is many Immigration Officers are rude, not all by any means..this has more to do with training than anything else, I carry a Barbadian passport and I carry it with pride, but it seems to me that SOME Immigration officers tend to be less polite to nationals than to foreign passport holders. The point is that there needs to be better training, rudeness has no place in any job. The immigration officer is the first face of Barbados when visitors arrive, I see no reason whatsoever why it would be necessary to be rude to anyone.

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  • It was the “manner” in which this interaction was conducted which defined the relationship between the Immigration Officer and the passenger; perceived due “subservience was not demonstrated by the Immigration Officer,” in that he requested the passenger to take action instructed by him. She sought to undermine that action by doing otherwise.

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  • @ Tony Byer | November 17, 2010 at 6:27 AM |

    If you were near me I would shake both your hands and your feet too.

    Some of the Immigration Officers just don’t care about the type of impression they leave on passengers; they could care less. They are there with ONE purpose in mind and that is to collect a paycheck. Better believe it!

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  • Give a man a uniform with some stripes and he becomes a dictator seems to apply for some immigration officers. You know one can be very pleasant when performing a serious job. “Welcome to Barbados Mam, I have noticed a slight discrepancy with your documents, can you please have a seat over there while I look into this? I will get back to you as soon as I have finished . Thank you for your corporation.” With a smile and not a skin teet.

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  • My comments were directed towards a “specific event” for which evidence was produced; and the circumstances surrounding that event – explained by a passenger.

    I have travelled enough, to know that in Barbados like other places, one can encounter immigration officers, who are rude and impolite.

    However, when a “specific event” is mentioned and “evidence” is brought surrounding that event. You cannot in fairness, then use a “broad brush” approach in all past situations to condemn an identified officer . . . without his side of the story. Experience over many years of conflict situations, has taught me, that you very rarely get the true story, from one side of the conflict.

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  • Not hard to understand

    And Mr. Halsall had an opinion. Here it is: “Wow. Really? Sucks to be you (and yours).”

    Christopher: amazing though it might seem to you and the “Family”, entire weeks and months go by without my worrying about what you think (read: think).

    Best wishes (read: wishes)

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  • The Barbados government has spent millions either trying to genuinely improve the level of service rendered by its public servants or merely trying to reward the supporters of the ruling party at the time. Public Sector Reform: The behaviour of some public servants does seem to indicate that they are indeed in need of some sort of Reform School. Immigration in particular is staffed by persons who no doubt are capable of doing the job they ar ehired to do but unfortunately those few have jobs that put them out of contact with the public.
    Those selected to interface with the public are more often than not going to be the ladies who have lost some man to a foreign woman, been dumped by a foreign man or something of that nature. The female officers are just bitchy to foreign women in particular. The gentlemen in the department are more professional.
    These “sistas” need to get over themselves!

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  • No one supports rude unmannerly behaviour, either from Immigration Officers, or those in the service industry; it does not matter if Barbados is in the tourism business or not – it is just not good manners.

    In order to ascertain truth, we must have “evidence” from both sides that relate to a “specific incident.”

    Only recently, we had a story in the media, of a young lady (A) who gave her version of events, and the circumstances she found herself in, with a new born infant.

    On the following day, when more “evidence” was released from another source; the story was not as it was first explained.

    Condemnation of an “identified individual”, with evidence from one source, that cannot be “corroborated” is unjust and unsafe.

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  • @ Giselle

    You fuh real? I think yuh dreaming in technicolour. I suppose you think you is a queen bee. What stupid garbage is that above? Where is your proof about these “sistas”? cheupse……

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