Not Accurate, Mr. Clarke

George C. Brathwaite

I begin this response to Mr. Neville Clarke’s submission that appeared in the Thursday, 17th November 2011 edition of Barbados Today under the caption ‘Division Hurting Hive’, by admittedly and deliberately referencing a snippet of history. I make mention to a distinguished Barbadian and parliamentarian who was a native of St. James. There is detail in the brief history I present, and the contrasting scenario being staged by the journalistic and almost jingoistic pen of Neville Clarke.

On Tuesday 14th January 1975, contributions of sympathy and tribute were made in the House of Assembly reflecting the life of Mr. Elliston Lauriston Carmichael. It was clear that Carmichael was a man of intellect and more notable, that he was possessed with what C.E. Thalma called ‘sterling abilities’ and ‘fine qualities’. There was another fine man who spoke of Mr. Carmichael that day and I think it is fitting and appropriate that I share those sentiments with readers before delving into the apparent mischief that is likely to come about, if one should accept Mr. Clarke’s submission as being crafted carte blanche.

Mr. J.M.G.M ‘Tom’ Adams made comments then that should enlighten us today. Adams quipped:

At no time that I can recall did anyone ever accuse Mr. Carmichael of unnecessary conflict or being unnecessarily or offensively contentious in a political context. Indeed, without wishing to re-open wounds, I think I can safely say that it was from the members of his own party in the House of Assembly that he perhaps suffered the greatest rebuffs of spirit in his time as Deputy Speaker.

The next insightful statement made by ‘Tom’ Adams was that relating the man Carmichael to the society in which certain values were used to measure the worth of an individual. Adams said: “I have always seen Mr. Carmichael decently, and honestly and sincerely try to plead with people to extend the hand of mercy and charity towards each other.”

It is upon these two signature statements that I now engage Mr. Neville Clarke for whom I have respect; Clarke is a man that I remember to be normally above superficiality in his writings. However, after reading and re-reading for several times his article to which I am responding, it is sad that Clarke appears to have surfaced without remembering to bring with him the crux of the issues. To be very fair to Neville Clarke, he has rightly stated that “politics has become a hotbed of intrigue.” I concur, even if I point him to history by suggesting that politics always has been intriguing as it is equally interesting.

Instead of Mr. Clarke casting aspersions towards politicians, using as his base the Marxist critique of capitalism, he may well have remembered another one of Karl Marx’s pronouncements that “the writer must earn money in order to be able to live and to write, but he must by no means live and write for the purpose of making money.”

It is extremely sad and journalistically imprudent of Mr. Clarke to attack the leadership of the Barbados Labour Party though a sordid use of invectives and innuendoes. For example, Clarke writes: “Having had their appetite for financial gains whetted by the spoils of office during three terms in office, some members and supporters now seem to be overly anxious to regain control of the levers of power.” Without calling names, Clarke is pointing fingers; should he be remotely accurate at least some factual content ought to be offered to readers. Hence I am as dismissive to his claim as I am to the idea that most of us are neutral players in a game that appears divided by partisan politics.

For reasons best known to Neville Clarke, he decidedly rushes ahead to defend a mutual friend in Rawle Eastmond, but chooses to bring the party that we both say we are members and supporters of into disrepute. This is notwithstanding that the current political leader has rightly stated that the BLP must go forward as a united party in order to rescue, rebuild, and restore Barbados to the hallmark days when unemployment dipped below 7 % for the first time in the history of Barbados.

Clarke’s choice to squabble about the presence of ‘power broker’ and the positioning of “their candidates to win” is suggestive that he does not understand the rationale or operations of political parties. Is it not true that political parties are made up of differing individuals, sometimes with competing interests, although grounded in a basic philosophy, and for which the party strives to contest and win elections? Surely Clarke must have forgotten some of his tutoring in Political Science?

Perhaps, the peril in Clarke’s writing became clear when he made the discovery that “machinations are now being played out in the St. James North constituency.” Clarke makes what is a decision by the constituted actors within the BLP sound as a reduction by his calculation; I submit, that should Mr. Eastmond continue to indicate his desire to contest the seat for the BLP, he will have to defeat other internal and interested parties – that is the nature of politics and precedents are never far away.

Putting these things into a discernible perspective, I would rather choose to remember Mr. Rawle Eastmond in a similar way that ‘Tom Adams’ spoke in relation to E.L. Carmichael who was also of the legal profession and whose benevolence far exceeded the merits to personal riches. Clarke may be right in saying that to challenge Ralwe Eastmond for the nomination to become the BLP candidate in the next general election “is unheard of in local party politics.” Less Mr. Clarke chooses to bypass that perception is often cited as being constitutive of politics; it would be then a death knell for him to encourage Mr. Eastmond to overlook issues of health and personal matters.

It is emotive and dangerously reckless that Mr. Clarke sees a challenge to Mr. Eastmond, even if backed by the hierarchy of the party for strategic reasons which prioritise party over personality, to be “unconscionable … if he [Eastmond] has expressed a desire to run again.” I would only ask Mr. Clarke to be consistent because his next statement actually is discordant and contradictory; “any action taken against Eastmond should be seen as an attempt to undermine the democratic process” within the constituency and party. That idea of undermining a process, Mr. Clarke, is a ludicrous connection; it weakens your argument if as you have said, the democratic process is being reopened for the first time in the history of party politics in Barbados.

May I remind or inform you Mr. Clarke that Carmichael left the BLP and joined the DLP; he became Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly, but his praises were still sung by all and sundry. Rawle Eastmond too has been a good servant of the people of St. James North. I am sure that when he reflects on his success in 2008 at a time in his life when he was plagued by illness, he would reach the realisation that it was his willingness to press forward “decently, and honestly and sincerely try to plead with people to extend the hand of mercy and charity towards each other,” that brought him home when the party endured defeat.

I cannot and will not tell Rawle Eastmond what to do under the current circumstances. But if I am a friend then I too shall be honest with him. I will say to Rawle Eastmond: ‘you have done your time, you have gone above and beyond to serve; you are admired and respected by a majority of your constituents. The time has now come, when someone should be positioned to serve Rawle Eastmond and the other residents of St. James North. My only proviso, is that I would also say to Rawle, do not encourage persons who speak or write on your behalf to do so with impunity or malice because it will surely be perceived that you are the ‘power broker’ behind that person.

0 thoughts on “Not Accurate, Mr. Clarke

  1. I’ve spoken to Rawle before the last general elections and asked him, even begged him , to withdraw, because of his love for his constituents in particular and the entire country, he promised one more term. Only Rawle knows how he feels and if he can continue, but if he says he can, he should be given the chance to do so.Here is a man who has served his people with distinction and here is a certain seat for the BLP; if Rawle wasn’t beaten last elections, I see his seat more secure than Owen’s seat in St.Peter.

  2. Mr Neville Clarke should stick to being unbias in his comments, here is a party that is blatantly ignoring the wishes of their supporters in Ch.Ch., St James North, and St Thomas and choosing who the executive wants without consulting with their people, yet Mr Clarke is saying nothing about that. Time we get jornalists who are professional in their work and srop playing up to people.

  3. Before the last election Rawle told me that he was planning not to run. I was surprised therefore to see that he ran in the last election (but I suppose that a man has a right to change his mind.)

    Didn’t read Neville Clarke’s article nor George Brathwaite’s neither. Those fellows too long and complex for me.

    I like it short and sweet.

  4. OSA is also a man whom power has corrupted to the core! Here is a man who made it publicly plain that he had no intentions of holding the position of “primus inter pares” for more than 2 terms. OK, a third is history and he can be forgiven. But come on, a fourth? To do what, sleep on the job? Since he has achieved his aim of neutralizing MAM he can hand over to Gale the smiling deputy marshal(l) only to pull another Kingmaker out of the rich conjurer’s hat.
    One wonders if it (Power) works on the human brain in like manner to cocaine or sex- the first real “hit” is so orgasmically enthralling that the brain needs to relive that unique moment as to demand that the victim chase the dragon (the ouroboros effect) day in day out but never to relive that one moment in time!

  5. You are wasting your time.

    Ninety nine percent of Bajans already have made up their minds about the powerhungryness of the present leader of the split in two Barbados Labour Party and no amount of white washing by you will change it.

    The Barbados Labour Party will have five more years on the opposition benches because the people of this country will make sure that they are not returned to office to pillage the Treasury again.

  6. @ Carson C. Cadogan | November 19, 2011 at 6:13 PM |
    Hi, slug! (LOL!) You just crawl from under a rock or what?
    So many interesting topics on the beat like the Empire Restoration and you hiding until something dirty comes along? Maybe “ac” is your sidekick and deputizing by flushing the bowl while you were in the commode.

    And if the BLP remains in opposition (as it seems likely) then your party will have to do all the dirty IMF work. This time around your nemesis “Seethru” will no longer be a force to be reckoned with and would have been flushed down the drain of political oblivion. But then again, you will now have a new IMF whipping boy! But knowing you, Seethru will continue to haunt you from his political grave the same way DT is still pulling the strings of a cabinet full of puppets.
    Now go back under the rock or we will get some salt (not Epsom this time) for you!

  7. George

    The last time I engaged you on this blog I told you that your efforts were doing more harm than good to the BLP. This article, in football terms, is an own goal. You brought attention to an article written by Neville Clarke which you and probably ten other people would have read. Now you have sent people looking who would have otherwise ignored anything written by Clarke. I daresay that his writings are never considered authoritative and are usually ignored.

    • Now that Clarke’s article was mentioned can anyone post the link?


      Why are you so punitive in your comments directed at George?

  8. The DLP de-select and the BLP allegedly wants to replace Rawle… clear case of 1-1. Now on to more pressing matters.
    Is the IMF here or soon landing? NIS funding Four Seasons? Are we as a country happy with the government? The UWI received its outstanding money yet? When David Rice made that big announcement last week did he address tourist spend or just numbers ? Barbados as an IBC has been blacklisted or not? Has there been any wter connections at The Villages, Coverley? NHC repaired the leaking houses in Greens yet? What has Sandiford achieved since being stationed in Beijing? When will the MoF be floating the cultural industries’ bond? Is the Central Bank still printing money? CLICO?

  9. Those Dems who wish to predict the next elections ,tell bring it on now . If you think that The DLP is so safe try it now.

  10. DO you know that people begged Owen not to leave after 3 terms, then after 3 , now begging he again???
    WOULD you ungrateful SOBs stop condemning and cursing my Prime Minister -The Right Honourable Owen Seymour ARTHUR ??

  11. @David
    You ask a reasonable and valid question to the good gentleman Mr. Franklyn. I am not concerned. I shall speak or write in as fair a way as I possibly can and respecting my chosen vocation. I am a Bee, a loyal Bee, and anyone who wants to question that, they are free to exercise their right to do so. All I can say is that I will defend the party.

  12. By the way David, I note Clarke’s article appearing in the Sunday Advocate under a different heading. I guess more than 10 or 11 people may see it and read it. Cheers!

    • George

      When you highlight what Neville Clarke Writes, you give him more exposure than he deserves. Generally, people do not read his offerings. That’s all I am trying to explain to you. He can be safely ignored and you should ignore him.

      If you want to write about something, deal with the proposed looting of the NIS fund; the blow dealt to pensioners from statutory boards; Ministers have taken over the roles of permanent secretaries and chief executive officers; or where the doctors from QEH remove the perfectly good leg of a patient who presented with an inflamed appendix.

  13. @ Caswell Franklyn | November 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM |
    I behind you (no pun intended!) on this!
    GCB is meddling in trifle matter (aka tripe)!
    Why not let us read his position on this NIS “CLICO” in the making rape of unsuspecting Bajans? But then again his leader to whom unswerving blind loyalty has been sworn is rather low-keyed on the matter as with other matters such as the marina redesign. Don’t forget the man in charge of the BLP has already taken the blame for everything under the sun that went wrong during his watch. It so happens that many of the contentious issues involving corruption of “Dupreyian’ proportions raised their scandalous heads during the daylight of his 6.00am to 6.00 pm shift.

    • @George

      Can you advise if the PAC was called to order as promised by Arthur to discuss matters to do with the Marina etc?

  14. @Caswell


    I do not know.

    @:BU Readers
    In a little while I will be addressing many issues that ordinary people have asked me to speak on. What I can say, that most Barbadians with whom I have interacted in the past few weeks I have been back, they all say one thing: The DEMS came in with lots of support and goodwill; they will be out quicker but without goodwill after setting back this country in the manner they have done.

  15. @ George C. Brathwaite | November 20, 2011 at 4:23 PM
    We will give a chance and wait. But for how long?
    We know you are prepared to follow blindly in your leader’s shoes!
    But just remember (as a student of political science) that political leaders tend to throw ‘yes’ men to the lions as part of appeasing the masses.
    Poor Clydie! Why didn’t his so-called godfather appoint him to the Senate? He could have still published his scathing criticisms of the Government’s management of the economy under a pseudonym. But at least he would have a voice and stature in the house of the people’s business.
    But OSA is just using the political gopher boy! Be careful how you write! Don’t be a blind mouth piece for a silent tyrant! (Pardon the antithesis in the making.)

  16. millertheanunnaki(MAY2012)

    Poor you!

    You have a great fixation with the IMF.

    Being part and parcel of Owen”seethru”Arthur’s DOOM AND GLOOM Brigade, it is easy to understand your position.

    As far as you, Owen”seethru”Arthur, and the spilt in two corrupt Barbados Labour Party are concern, the ability of Bajans to meet great challenges and overcome them is now a thing of the past.

    You and the people that you represent all believe that the indomitable Bajan spirit is dead.

    Sensible Bajans know that the position that you hold is nothing but hogwash.

    You should have been at Eden Lodge playing field on Friday night just gone, I didn’t see Ronald Toppin there, to watch a most amazing football match between St. Michael Central and Christ Church west. It was a tremendous exercise in “never laying down and playing dead”.

    It would have been a great education for you!

  17. So who is Neville Clarke and where can I find his article? I read Lionel Graig comments on the same and they are very similar.

    George said……
    That idea of undermining a process, Mr. Clarke, is a ludicrous connection; it weakens your argument if as you have said, the democratic process is being reopened for the first time in the history of party politics in Barbados.

    This should have been the second time. I don’t understand why the rank n file at general conference cannot get the chance to vote for the leader of the party, -citing no best practice in the party’s tradition nor basis in its laws to allow such–; yet at the constituency level, elections must be held -not in every branch — but in one conveniently suited to a particular pet of the leader, to decide the candidate; althought the sitting representative has stated his intent contest the next election? No consistentcy yet in both instances Owen wins.

  18. I just read several of a Neville Clarke articles and think he is someone worth reading in the future.

    here is the article on which George and Caswell opined on via their partisan mind set. I see nothing wrong with it.

    Barbadian Party politics seems not unlike a Bordello of Favours: Neville Clarke’s view on the apparent hotbed of intrigue

    “…Incumbent, Rawle Eastmond, may be asked to face a nomination process if he expects to be the BLP’s candidate in the next general election. This development is unheard of in local party politics!”

    Based on their current behaviour, some members and supporters of the Barbados Labour Party appear to be suffering from an acute case of “cold turkey” brought on by party’s defeat in the 2008 general election. It must be remembered that the accumulation of capital can become an addiction. Karl Marx spoke about the “senseless accumulation of capital” under the capitalist system.

    Having had their appetite for financial gains whetted by the spoils of office during three terms in office, some members and supporters now seem to be overly anxious to regain control of the levers of power. Every powerbroker in the party is now attempting to position their candidates to win a head count in the event the BLP wins the next general election.

    Unfortunately, their machinations are now being played out in the St James North constituency where the incumbent, Rawle Eastmond, may be asked to face a nomination process if he expects to be the BLP’s candidate in the next general election. This development is unheard of in local party politics.

    It is felt that if such a nomination is held Eastmond could be replaced by a candidate who is sponsored by one of the powerbrokers in the party. At present it is believed that there are no fewer than three factions in the party.

    Having faithfully served his party for over 30 years and his constituency for the past 20 years , it would be unconscionable to ask him to step aside if he has expressed a desire to run again. Any action taken against Eastmond should be seen as an attempt to undermine the democratic process at the constituency and party level.

    It is an indisputable fact that over the years Eastmond has been seen to be one of the most erudite parliamentarians to grace that august Chamber.

    Meanwhile, within the Democratic Labour Party schemes and manoeuvres have won over principle. At least three candidates in the DLP nominations were beaten at the constituency grass roots level and have been able somehow to be chosen as electoral candidates for the next general election.

    Finally, how Hal Martin, Austin Husbands and Taan Abed would feel knowing that they have been ousted in circumstances that defy logic and principle?

    After great difficulty I managed to struggle my way to the last just would not keep it simple; your examiners must have great difficulty in understanding what you are trying to say. Having reached that paragraph I must ask you. Do you not think the advice given to your “friend” Mr Eastmond in that last paragraph could also be appropriately given to Mr Owen Arthur ? Let us hear you on that and, please……keep your reply simple enough that readers can understand you.

  20. @Evanhandedness
    Are you really worried what my examiners think? I think not. Always check the results. Bye for now.

  21. George knows it is both difficult to defend a political party and remain consistent. His wordiness is by design to hide that fact; don’t be put off by it, take the time to slug through his essays and you will find those nuggets of inconsistency with which you can easily tear him apart. lol!

  22. Evenhandedness.
    @ George C. Brathwaite.
    You did not answer the questioned posed to you. Please answer the quesion asked.

  23. the only reason carson that the blp will sit on the opposition benches for another ten years is because of mr arthur’s selfishness and the stupidity of those vultures in the party who support him.

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