Submitted by Noel Maddocks
There is evidently, an impulsive desire by the DLP to hand out ambassadorships and other accolades, including the naming/renaming of certain buildings and institutions. Certain people have been receiving big national recognition in circumstances that smack of political opportunism, some HURRIEDLY predicated on a need to curry favour with prestigious connections.
Is any consideration at all given to the possibility of subsequent moral failure of the honourees involved, as it relates to youthful immaturity or inexperience, or indeed the coming to light of an innoble and unrepentant past not sufficiently investigated, mostly in the case of the older ones?
Don’t the powers that be realize that such ill-advised precipitate decisions to honour, could bring irreversible destruction to a country’s image?
About three months ago, as I drove out of Bathsheba, and was approaching the new Tamarind Hall Complex at Blackman’s St.Joseph. I decided to take the opportunity to swing in and take my first look at the facility. It was then that I first saw the name ERIC HOLDER emblazoned in metal letters on the entrance walls.
Henry, after canvassing his USA cronies, is alleged to have arranged the visit , apparently to seek an opportunity for hob-nobbing with Obama, including photo opportunities, and so-called VIP seating, all part of the DLP Public Relations push for the then upcoming Barbados general election purposes.
Surely there is an established standard, and the criteria, I believe, would include a proper investigation of the proposed honouree’s past record and reputation. I am certain that if there was adherence to that criteria, someone would have stumbled across the wisdom of putting Eric Holder’s name on the shelf of abeyance. Choosing Eric Holder for this honour is far worse than the precipitate action in awarding a Youth Ambassadorship to the supremely talented RIHANNA. It’s what the DLP DOES WELL!
So all of that political hob-nobbing mentioned above, is the only reasonable explanation that can be applied to the subsequent unpremeditated honouring of the USA Attorney General Eric Holder , with his name being affixed to The Community Centre in St.Joseph. This Tamarind Hall Project was totally conceived and put in hand by the previous government, just awaiting the application of cosmetic touches. Cosmetic touch-up is a function that has become synonymous with the DLP in relation to several Barbados Labour Party CAPITAL PROJECTS.
Mrs. Irene Sandiford-Garner, DLP Queen of Gimickry, (thank God she suffered no serious injury in that recent incident, unquestionably NOT a gimmick on this occasion) is reported as saying when she launched the “100 Greatest Barbadian Project” in December 2009, “The project is essentially a “Bajan Hall of Fame”, with the first candidate being US Attorney General Eric Holder, who was born to Barbadian parents in New Jersey. We are determined to establish a memory bank of those 100 Barbadian men and women, who by their lives, careers and CONSISTENTLY OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS, have brought honour and credit to our nation as it develops in strength and unity,” she explained.
Continuing, Senator Sandiford-Garner, a Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, encouraged Barbadians to nominate their countrymen living in far-flung places around the world, and also unheralded women from the community.
“Those persons fill us with a sense of pride and a feeling of achievement that this little island nurtures such stalwarts who are making sterling contributions to their host countries the world over,” she told the audience at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
In my quest to discover Eric Holder’s worthiness for such an award, I encountered …. not accolades that necessarily should accord him an earned mention amongst the “100 Greatest Barbadians Project,” …… but a record REPLETE with not too meritorious activity.
Even holder himself, though gracious/thankful in his remarks at the opening, seemed somewhat hesitant in accepting the honour, preferring instead to transfer kudos to his father, who left the island at age thirteen (13), his only obvious contribution being to return occasionally, and most likely adding a “tralyah” to our foreign exchange coffers!
“OPERATION FAST AND FURIOUS”
In view of the current on-going saga in the USA, related to Attorney General Eric Holder Jnr.’s and the Department of Justice’s involvement with the “Fast and Furious Operation Gunrunner,” how do Barbadians feel about this whole Eric Holder Jnr. issue?
“Operation Fast and Furious Gunrunner” was the stunt under which the USA Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ordered gun dealers to sell thousands of guns to unqualified buyers, who then dumped them into the Mexican drug cartel civil war.
One member of Congress has started using the word “accessory” in talking about members of the Obama administration who had their fingers on the pulse of the Operation for many years, and these fingers may include those of Attorney General Eric Holder.
So Holder, the USA’s first Black Attorney General, and who is of Barbadian lineage, was honoured by the DLP government in May 2009, when the spanking new Tamarind Hall Complex, a project of the previous BLP Government, was named in honour of Mr. Holder. I hinted above, but what I need to be sure of, is the government’s motivation for honouring Mr. Holder in this way, bearing in mind :
(1) The nature and value of his association with anything going on in Barbados since his birth in New Jersey, USA. January 21, 1951. (Incidentally, the same birth day as Errol Walton Barrow … more leverage for political exploitation)
(2) Could it be that the honour accorded Holder might not have squared with plans by the previous BLP Government to give this honour to any one of several more deserving Barbadian locals who had greatly contributed to the development of the St. Joseph community.
(3) Did the honouring of Mr. Holder have anything to do with the flurry of activity I described above around the time of the 2008 general elections when DLP Political Strategist Mr.Hartley Henry was involved in meetings with certain leaders of the Democratic Congress in the USA in that move to align President Obama’s highly popular mantra of “Change” with that of ITS BLATANT COPIERS, the Democratic Labour Party in Barbados?
(4) Was the government aware/unaware of Mr. Holder’s track record? Did the government undertake a proper screening, or was it just caught up in the euphoria of a Barbadian appointed as the first Black USA Attorney General?
New York Times best-selling author Michelle Malkin has delivered an investigative tour-de-force entitled, “The Culture of Corruption.” The book represents a remarkably researched and comprehensive indictment of the culture of corruption that surrounds Team Obama’s brazen tax evaders, Wall Street conies, petty crooks, slum lords, and business-as-usual influence peddlers.
Eric Holder does not escape her sharp examination, and after her sub-heading description of him as “A CRIME-CODDLING CORPORATE LAWYER”, she goes on to detail a litany of his associations including his stint of very lucrative work with Chiquita Brands International, who pleaded guilty to doing business with The State Department-designated , international terrorist organisation, “Autodefensas Unidas de Columbia” or AUC.
AUC terrorists SLAUGHTERED THOUSAND OF CIVILIANS to gain control of Columbia’s banana fields, and Eric Holder’s clients, CHIQUITA, pleaded guilty to forking over millions of dollars in protection racket money to the terrorists, beginning in 1977. It is noteworthy that the company ignored the advice of OUTSIDE COUNSEL (NOT Holder’s or anyone else’s at Holder’s legal firm Covington & Burling) to stop the illegal payments in 2003!
Holder went on to broker a plea agreement with the Department Of Justice, so that despite a continual breaking of the law, not one single Chiquita Official was prosecuted or jailed. The company was fined TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS (US$25 million), but Holder’s creative plea-dealing saw the fine written off as the cost of doing business. Stunningly, the same plea agreement succeeded in protecting the identities of the executives involved in the bloody terrorists payoffs. Many people might also not be aware of Chiquita’s past efforts to literally destabilise or even destroy the Banana Industry in the Caribbean mostly during the Bill Clinton era. It has been said that there were figures in the Clinton Administration who were dirtier than Eric Holder, but not many, and Eric Holder’s career both before and after his time in the Clinton Administration has been characterized as a very ugly one.
Also, Eric Holder was severely criticized in a Congressional report for ethical violations involving the infamous pardon of fugitive criminal Marc Rich.
He was involved in giving his nod to the pardon of fugitive tax cheat Marc Rich and in withholding information from the Justice Department. A Justice Department that he now, ironically, heads as Attorney General.
“A forthcoming Congressional report on the last-minute pardons by President Bill Clinton says Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was a “willing participant in the plan to keep the Justice Department from knowing about and opposing” a pardon for Marc Rich, the financier.
The 476-page report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, harshly criticizes the Clinton White House for its handling of the 177 pardons and commutations granted on its last day.
The most controversial pardon went to Mr. Rich, a commodities trader who fled the country in 1983 rather than face trial on charges of tax evasion, racketeering and trading with the enemy. The report says that Mr. Rich’s lawyers tried to circumvent prosecutors, who would oppose the pardon, and take their case straight to the White House.
Mr. Holder, the report says, played a major role, steering Mr. Rich’s lawyers toward Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel. Mr. Rich hired Mr. Quinn, whose Washington contacts and ability to lobby the president made the difference, according to the report. It says that Mr. Holder’s support for the pardon and his failure to alert prosecutors of a pending pardon were just as crucial.
The panel criticized Mr. Holder’s conduct as unconscionable and cited several problems. It cited his admission last year that he had hoped Mr. Quinn would support his becoming attorney general in a Gore administration.
And there is lots more! The very latest is that Holder has been sub-poenaed to appear before the USA Congress’ House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to testify about his alleged lying on the ‘Fast and Furious” matter. Will he survive this, or will he have to resign? In any case, whenever I pass Tamarind Hall St. Joseph Community Centre, I will be reminded of this Eric Holder stain, occasioned by the perennial carelessness and inappropriate action of the DLP.