Notes From a Native Son – DLP

By Hal Austin

This government has got its priorities back to front – from the attempted putsch against its silent leader, to the disgraceful apparent decision (not yet made officially public) to pump $50m of taxpayers’ money in the black hole that is Four Seasons, to the unforgivable reluctance to settle the Al Barrack affair – it all points to a government that has lost its moorings.

First, the disgraceful way in which Mr Barrack is treated shows the contempt for which this government has for the individual citizen. What compounds sit is that the same government, on bogus financial and macro-economic grounds, issues guarantees and offers to spend taxpayers’ money as if it is going out of fashion. Government could have settled the Barrack Scandal ages ago by offering the businessman a drawdown facility from the central bank, for example, of Bds$1m a month, part cash and part in settlement of debt, thereby allowing him to pay his debtors, while at the same time steadily reducing the debt. That it has declined to do so is reflective of its institutional arrogance, knowing full well that our courts have limited powers over the Executive and there is very little that Mr Barrack could do about it. Voters should take note.

The alleged plot against the prime minister would be a destructive sign of disloyalty at any time, but just when the nation is crippled by the worst economic crisis in its entire history, makes it nothing short of treason. While ordinary taxpayers were worried about how they were going to pay their next bill, plotters were busy undermining his authority for no real purpose apart from self-advancement and to fuel inflated egos. Is their objection to Freundel Stuart one of policy? If so, what new and different ideas do they have?

It is widely assumed that the Crown Prince is Sinckler, but the damage he has inflicted on the economy, along with his reckless guardianship of national finance, typified by the Four Seasons debacle, should not only put paid to any ambitions he has of being prime minister, but of ever holding high office again. Of course, the latter will not be the case, since the talent pool in the ruling party is very small and members of parliament of even modest ability can be confident of winning a seat at the Cabinet table. Even so, the grim reality is that Stuart failed to provide leadership to his colleagues in government, to his party and to the nation. That he failed to provide leadership to his party is an internal affair for members of that august body; that he failed to provide leadership for the government, and more so to be a voice of reassurance to the nation in these dark times is unforgivable. Maybe his forte is not economics, but then it is not evidentially that of the finance minister Chris Sinckler either.

But, there is a wider public policy brief which Stuart could have taken under his wings; in any case, he is the bandmaster, as leader, not a soloist with a single, if important, brief.

In any case, Stuart has made a number of basic strategic mistakes, including his refusal to reshuffle the Cabinet on Thompson’s premature death; and, in particular, not calling a general election at a time when the Opposition was in disarray over its leadership. It is ironic how things have turned out. More fundamentally, apart from Stuart’s personal and professional humiliation, is the democratic deficit the attempted putsch reveals. An unelected prime minister, anointed by a dying leader, and now presumably a new leader unelected by voters and put in place by a small cabal of his parliamentary colleagues.

What the DLP can now do, putting the interest of the nation before party, is to call a general election so that voters can have in say in whose guardianship it has the most confidence. Holding on to power at any cost, even at hasting the decline of the nation, is the ultimate in power-crazed selfishness. Whatever the internecine warfare ripping the DLP apart, it is the mismanagement of the economy which history will record as this DLP government’s Achilles heel.

They have failed to develop credible monetary and fiscal policies; to reform the public sector; to re-skill the nation that at one post-war point had the best skilled workers in the Eastern Caribbean; it has allowed an invading army of new Barbadians to misbehave with impunity; it has allowed the University of the West Indies to take the mickey out of taxpayers; the list is endless.

It should be compulsory reading for this government to read the 1961 first DLP Budget Speech and talk to some of those who witnessed the radical transformation of the island by Errol Barrow. Although on reflection we may have serious doubts about some of his economic and social policies, at the time they were what was needed in a tired old country.

Party politics aside, as a nation we are going to pay a very high price for this administrative incompetence.

39 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son – DLP

  1. Four seasons is political suicide….50M now 60M and what currency are they talking about? The attempted mutiny is another nail in the coffin. It seems that the present administration consists of many cutlass economists, bush administrators and jungle politicians. Sharpen dem pencils well and make sure wunna got yuh glasses on when wunna put wunna X’s pon de ballot. We wanted CHANGE and we got it up our arses without de vasseline! Now de pain tah much tah bear.

    FS is carrying out the King’s wishes. Dis is one time a DEAD man ruling from de grave.

  2. The opinion of islandgal246:

    “Eff Barrack was a white man”.

    Wrong. I was a close friend of Eff Barrack since our childhoods, and like me Eff was a slightly black person with a hint of beige. Eff, and may god rest his soul, would not like to been have referred to as “Eff the white man”.

  3. @islandgal246
    I love it: “We wanted CHANGE and we got it up our arses without de vasseline! Now de pain tah much tah bear.” Could not have put it any better. The bleeding must stop; we have to rid ourselves of the DEMS and the ‘X’ is the choice that belongs to us.

  4. David
    It’s not only who created the mess, it’s about who allow it to fester. When the DLP was making all those promises, they knew they had to take on the country’s debt and they knew about Al Barrack. In fact they made a big issue about the Al Barrack issue, which caused the man to run and become a member of the DLP. Even though Barrack and Thompson were seen in the print media grinning from ear to ear, thompson’s decision to punish Barrack was strictly vindictive, and partisan because of who Barrack was associated with. Today because of the interest, the loan is like an albatros around the government and by extension the tax payers of Barbados. I see it as pure political immaturity and vindictive selfishness. Imagine this government to take up $ 60 million of our workers money to put into a private company and not sure if they will get it back, but will refuse to settle a High Court order of around the same amount due to Al Barrack and have the guts to tell the man he has to way.Things like this not only our commercials banks but the Int agencies like S&P, Moody etc are watching and Barbados is slipping and we are quarreling about who should be P.M. We need more than a P.M we need some one to take the bull by the horns and take this country back on the footing we had, just about ten years ago.

  5. This piece is written as a true BLP supporter who is probably a candidate. Sounds like a platform delivery. Much respect to the writer.

    We are in recession – Barrack could have been paid long before General Elections. MoF continue to prolong the man’s agony with ‘soon’ reaching a decision – not one cent to Barrack as yet.

    Bajans are told that the NIS fund will finance Four Seasons – not one group is on the street or at Parliament or Ilaro Court protesting. The private sector will get their pension – will the civil servants receive theirs and when?

    Leadership in the DLP is certain. Freundel Stuart is the Leader. Approved by the majority. Unopposed at General Council. Integrity, loyalty, intelligent, understanding, well-read Barbadian with experience in business and socializing at all levels. He chooses his company. If he calls Parris a friend in public – it does not take away from his birth, upbringing, certification and qualification. He is still Freundel Stuart.

    Are we putting Barbados first? He is – he continued on his overseas trip for the people of Barbados. If Barbadians are unable to maintain and upkeep their own country someone else do it for us. But Barbados will remain because of the prayers of our forefathers and the God that we serve.

    We choose a government and the members of parliament choose the PM. Show to me his incompetencies – not style, delivery or presentation – and I will grade him accordingly.

    I am listening to your posts in various topics: Desiderata ‘… and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.’

    Just had to be brief.

  6. As a keen follower of the political scene in Barbados i will say that this writer is ‘wishing hopefully’. The three issues that he has raised are not any that would damage the ruling party and not harm the opposition.

    (1) S&P has said that an investment in Four Season is necessary for the Barbados economy and is indeed a good investment. (The same S&P that downgraded Barbados)

    (2) The poll said that Owen “yesterday’s man” Arthur is not the man who can lead the BLP to an election win.

    (3) The BLP made Barrack a victim, the DLP offered him money but his BLP lawyers told him not to take it now he has nothing. (WOW)

    Remember who is in power right now, WE WILL WIN THE NEXT ELECTION

    • The investment in the Four Seasons is suppose to help upgrade tourism plant and give a medium long term return on investment.

      To compare paying Barrack using the same facility is folly.

      Sinckler indicated a few weeks ago that he was close to cutting a deal with Barrack. What has happened?

  7. David
    As far as I’m concerned the $ 60 million GIVEN to Four Seasons could be paid to Barrack. This is an order given by the HIGHEST COURT in the land, if the GOVERNMENT of the said land ignores the HIGH COURT, how does it look to the international world? We will not get back a cent from that gift to Four Seasons, all that will happen is these same bunch of losers will be able to sit at the poolside and enjoy drinks and food paid for by us the taxpayers.

  8. The big question Mr. Braithwaite is which political party does not make promises that they could not keep? You BLP people keep insulting the intelligence of Barbadians about voting for change and look what they got. You were predicting a collapse of the country since January 2008. The world economy took the worst beating since the government change and things are still working so much so that Shabba Ranks can still come here and have a large enough crowd to be paid in foreign exchange
    Well let me tell you why I voted for change
    1. The government ministers became arrogant and talk down to the population.
    2. Noel Lynch refused to sit in the same studio as a white hotelier
    3 Noel Lynch walk out of a radio studio when asked about a perception that he was a millionaire
    4 Owen Arthur placed $75000 in his bank account and I then study about the rest that we did not know about.
    5 Women complain for wuk for wuk every time they went for a house.
    6 Mascoll for the first time in part politics in the world left the opposition leader and became a cabinet minister in the government the next week
    These are only a few why I voted for change. I will vote for them again

    Mr. Braithwaite
    Besides wanting the BLP to win explain what they have done in four years with their personnel and policies to be voted back in.

    Owen Arthur still continues with this worn out idea of selling the land to the highest bidder. He still speaks of a CSME where the people who do not like us but run here work and send all the foreign exchange out. What new is he bringing to the table?

  9. @Clone or Clown

    The more that I read from you the more I am convinced that you are misspelling your name. I will not explain anything to you except to suggest that the PM and the MoF and the GoB have noted the declines in revenues from CARICOM. Trust me on this, I know: 1 Arthur is better than the 21 DEMS in Parliament. Additionally any $75, 000 that you speak of just remember where it may have come from and multiply it times over and tell me about the deal that took place in St. Kitts. The thing is Thompson is dead and no sense flogging a dead horse, but you must ask why is it that the DLP with a general election due in another year or so are complaining that FS has not offered a plan of action in mounting campaign funds? Minus Parris and Clico it is only the Chinese left; be careful, you may get to read and hear more than you bargained for.

  10. HAL “the Hitman” Austin – the only thing missing from Mr. Austin’s poor excuse of an article is “paid advertisement for The Barbados Labour Party”.
    The government offered to pay Barrack for OWEN ARTHUR’S mistake in installments but he said that he wanted his money up front. Which would you have preferred that we send home civil servants to get money to pay for Owen’s mistakes.
    Mr. Austin – I thought that you checked your facts but you seem to be on a partisan tirade- poor fella!

  11. @ Pat | December 13, 2011 at 9:38 AM |
    “Which would you have preferred that we send home civil servants to get money to pay for Owen’s mistakes.”

    But you can find $40 million to pay for an already designed marina ‘redesign’ project to make some people rich.

  12. Six of one, half dozen of the next!

    Does it MATTER where you put your X on election day?

    NO! Because everybody that is in government now still wants a piece of that pie! Even as the pie is DWINDLING!

  13. Pat
    When the BLP took over the DLP mess, they had a plan to clean it up, ask the civil servants, any party who wants to govern a country MUST be willing to deal with whatever they find; let me state up front NO PARTY WILL INHERIT A HEALTHY GOVERNMENT, OTHERWISE THE PARTY THAT LOST WOULD STILL BE IN CHARGE. The point is the immaturity of the DLP was and still is showing, it is a national problem and as the governing party they needed to deal with it and failing to do that the interest accrued is FIRMLY in the DLP lap and the longer that take to settle it the more they have to pay. In case they don’t want to deal with it, they can step down from office now and put the hot potato back in the BLP’s hand.

  14. There must be a reason why the government will not pay Al Barrack. Yet he is being insulted along many Barbadians by financing Four Seasons with pension money. I am ashame at this administration and thought that they would have been better than the last administration of obvious crooks and vagabonds. I really do not want to see those crooks again but the way this DLP is behaving I really do not want to see them either. Its a no win situation on both sides. Sickening is what this is.

  15. I do not normally defend political parties, but aren’t we going a bit too far here calling people crooks but yet in FOUR years the DLP has charged no one for stealing under the last government. But Leroy Parris is walking and jogging every morning about 5:00 am around Warrens and no body can touch him because he was David’s friend and now he is Freudel’s friend. DEMs I know you are hurting and trying to lash out but please bring evidence. Did not all of you call for evidence all week about the gang of eleven? When CLICO was in trouble David took up 10 million of our money to prop up. Not a word for any of you. If some of you really lived lived in corrupt countries there would not even be this blog.

  16. @lemuel

    You are correct if we judge by empericals the BLP are not guilty of anything. A read of the Auditor General’s report going way back however paints a tale of financial impropriety by public sector officials. Where do the taxpayers/electorate stand?

  17. To David:
    The auditor general’s report is a reflection on the delivery of services by civil servants not politicians. Much of what is contained therein is in regard to inexperience officers making innocent mistakes. For any one to steal in government a lot of people have to be involved. For instance, the accounting system has pass words if an officer and most of the older ones are not computer savvy gives or allows a junior officer to know his or her password it can be abused, as has happened. That report is not a proper evaluation of the financial operations of government; yet, if really improved it could be part of a structured monitoring mechanism.

  18. The good thing about this British Law, is that one is innocent until proven guilty, therefore, as i was saying, the DEMS and their # 1 yardfowl CCC, needs to at least charge somebody for at least one of these horendous accusations made against them during the last campaign. These charges were never brought, but for the last four years, they are still being mentioned against the BLP. It is time the DLP stop canvassing for the 2008 general elections and start focussing on the 2013 elections. I understand that they are so focussed right now on 2008 that they are in a time freeze and not realising that 2013 is just around the corner and not only have they not fulfill any of their manifesto pledges but they have not yet started to put plans afoot for the coming general elections; maybe they are not too keen in winning or just not interested.

  19. Sunshine Sunny Shine
    Whatever the reason for this government not paying Barrack is not just an insult to the gentleman but to the Supreme Courts of Barbados. Imagine you being granted a sum of money for a settlement, by the HIGHEST COURT in Barbados against an individual but that individual decides he/she is not paying, even though the said court demanded the payments be made. I’m sure the Courts would have charge the individual for neglect, I want to see how our new C.J is going to handle this one.

  20. The DEMs need to come with specifics and not just the usual innuendo. I was at the meeting when David delivered his report on the high way and the supposed stealing and contracts where are the charges. DEMs you need to stop this practice.

  21. Not only are the Companies Mr Barrack owes very generous to him, but this man’s BAD credit ratings has gone through the roof. Is this fair to the gentleman? I remember COW winning a case for work he was promised but didn’t do AND WAS PAID. Is it because who you are and not what is owed to you that matters? Remember this settlement to Mr Barrack was made against the GOVERNMENT of BARBADOS and not against any particular party.

  22. @ DMC

    Your statement is NOT TRUE “(1) S&P has said that an investment in Four Season is necessary for the Barbados economy and is indeed a good investment. (The same S&P that downgraded Barbados)”

    The IMF did not say that investment in the Four Seasons was a good investment, what they said was government financial support to the private sector that was in the public’s best interest both financially and socially was needed. IMF was trying to tell Bajan Politicians that infrastructure type investments would be good for Barbados financial well being.

    Barbados has become a shameful place with respect to it’s politicians(BLP & DLP), failing economy, in experienced financial management, high crime rates, drug trafficking and the list goes on, on, on, on, on.
    Barbados is in bad need of a dedicated DICTATOR, wonder if Chavez is healthy enough to take over.

  23. To back up Wily Coyote, S&P’s Olga Kalinina didnt say they supported the Four Seasons project. She said that they were waiting to see what the outcome of it was going to be.

    Does DMC = Donville, Mia and Chris?????? Trying to justify dumping $60 Million of pensioners money into that hole at Paradise?

  24. The NIS can never fail with the investment in Four Seasons. Not only will they get the return on the loan but for project that would employ over 1000 persons that means over 1000 persons making contributions to the scheme . That means employment would also decrease. STUDY THAT

  25. The Scout | December 13, 2011 at 2:38 PM |
    “I’m sure the Courts would have charge the individual for neglect, I want to see how our new C.J is going to handle this one.”

    As a real scout in your time you would know about the various knots that bind. Nothing will happen from this end, matey! Remember what the late EWB said about staying away from the law courts if you want justice.

    The Scout | December 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM |
    “I remember COW winning a case for work he was promised but didn’t do AND WAS PAID.”

    Barrack’s legal brains are part of the fraternity. But they did not anticipate the terrible financial bind the country is in. They were of the view that the longer the delay the bigger the fees to be earned but the serious downturn in the economy for the worse has sent them up a big payday pipe dream. How can Barrack be paid his millions when government has to borrow to pay salaries and meet recurring expenses? When a government has to borrow approx $38 million under the pretext of fixing roads in spite of its annual revenue collection in excess of $50 million in road and other vehicles taxes which should be ring-fenced for road maintenance and improvements one can see no light at the end of the Barrack tunnel.

    The MoF should come clean with the man and stop pussyfooting. Tell the man the government does not have that kind of money to pay him now. They are hoping to hand over the building to him but major delays (primarily of funding shortfalls) are holding up the completion of the building to house the government offices now located in the barrack cave house.
    But Barrack has to carry some of the blame for the current state of affairs. He should have sold the debt to foreign interests. If he had done that, the GoB real estate in NY and elsewhere would have been seized by now in respect of creditor default. But then GoB would have found the money to pay the overseas creditors in the same way they can find the money to pay for the redesign of the marina project.

  26. Miller
    I’m no politician or economist, or financier or any such person, but if the government was really serious about settling Barrack’s High Court approved debt, it could have been handled in a very business manner. All they had to do is arrange with Mr Barrack’s debtors to accept the debt owed on behalf of the Warrens project, then arrange with them how they would pay. Secondly what money is owed to Barrack could have been paid off either in one payment or in two. Many people believe all this money due, is Barrack’s, most of it is in credits due to most of the leading material suppliers in Barbados, be it cement, steel, lumber etc. These companies are smarting under the delay in paying the gentleman. This is a BARBADOS GOVERNMENT problem anbd not a BLP or DLP problem.

  27. David
    That news doesn’t read good, what happens isf the same thing happens to Four Seasons here within the next ten years? The Bahamas Four Seasons is much bigger than the one constructing here and if it is estimated to be sold for $100 million, what ours would be sold for. Remember, the NIS has seccond claim on repayment and those who will get first claim is owed more than $100 million. Finally, I thought the Four Seasons was asking for a $ 50 million loan, how come they were given that extra $ 10 million. Oh for integrity legislation!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. OH! Scout can you now relinquish your title as chief cook and bottle washer for the well i better not say “sleazy” oops Bees .BTW what is the position of the Bees on INTEGRITY LEGISLATION, I CAN”T HEAR YOU; Please speak a little louder. NO! maybe i need to turn up my hearing aid.

  29. ac
    It is NOT the Bees who said that one of the first acts to be passed when they win the government, if my memory serves me well, it was the DLP, and there was a big horaaah from the voters. From what it seems the Bees don’t want it but the Dees are endebted to the voters of Barbados to bring it because it was the trump card on which the Dees used to win government. They were even to have the former P.M’s ex-wife on stage to disclose what she knows, today not a fella has been charged, you talk able INTERGRITY, the Dems have NONE and the BEES can’t show any either.

  30. Scout so are you saying that The BEES couldn’t care less about The INTEGRITY LEGISLATION! BTW The DEES still have an opportunity to pass the BILL .

  31. The man who pens his articles “Notes of a Native Son” (with no apologies to James Baldwin who wrote “From”) was casting a very wide net when he brought up the payment to Barrack in the same conversation as the NIS loan, talk about a red herring. It has been said that the Gov’t offered Barrack a deal and he refused, one is tempted to ask who are his advisors? The BLP Gov’t was the Gov’t that stiffed him initially so why didn’t he accept the offer? There is a saying that a fast nickel beats a slow dime so he should have taken the money and run but he didn’t ask me for advice.

    On a side note a friend of mine sued a well known Barbadian Corporation for wrongful dismissal, he won but the patriarch of the Corporation told him that he wouldn’t see a penny and his grandchildren would have to spend it. So said so done, my friend departed this vale of tears without receiving a cent.

    Barrack has been around long enough to know that you can win the battle but lose the war.

  32. The Scout | December 13, 2011 at 2:38 PM | Sunshine Sunny Shine
    Whatever the reason for this government not paying Barrack is not just an insult to the gentleman but to the Supreme Courts of Barbados. Imagine you being granted a sum of money for a settlement, by the HIGHEST COURT in Barbados against an individual but that individual decides he/she is not paying, even though the said court demanded the payments be made. I’m sure the Courts would have charge the individual for neglect, I want to see how our new C.J is going to handle this one.


    It makes a totally mockery of Justice.
    How can one believe a word that comes out of the DLP when they have let this man languish for years, He built the building pay him.

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