The Stephen Lashley Plan To Build Out a Cultural Industry

Andrew Senior

Barbados will host this year’s XV Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2012) from October 1 to 3, marking the first time ever that the event will be held in an English-speaking Caribbean country. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which this year will focus on innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship.

Caribbean360

The news that Barbados will host this major event is good news. Up to now entrepreneurship has been a buzz word with little evidence that it has taken root in Barbados. We wish the organizers success and hope the stated objectives are achieved. Given the shift in the global economy post 2008 it must be evident that a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship will have to increase the contribution it is making to the local economy.

It is not widely known that the government of Barbados has contracted a consultant by the name of Andrew Senior to advise on the building out of the mooted ‘Cultural Industry’. Reasonable people appreciate the complexity of growing a culture industry, and the decision by Minister Stephen Lashley and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to request technical assistance from UNESCO and the EU  by contracting  Senior seems reasonable; on the surface.

However because of Senior’s published alliances, BU believes it does not fall outside the bounds of speculation to connect a few dots. If you navigate to Senior’s website you will hit on the page which advertises his partnership with KIVA – a not-for-profit organisation based in the United States, with a web-based platform that uses social media to connect investors with those seeking finance. An investor can make a loan of as little as USD25.00, and normally several investors are required to satisfy the investment needs of the entrepreneur concerned. The loans are interest-free. A visit to the ubiquitous Wikipedia explains the what and how about KIVA.

Continuing the tour of Senior’s website we learn of a Felipe Buitrago, listed as an associate of Senior, he worked as his subordinate at the British Arts Council. What BU finds interesting is that Felipe’s business interest is to promote entrepreneurial activities in the arts. BU understands that a meeting was hosted in Barbados recently (confirmed on Senior’s website) and Felipe Buitrago, his Columbian mate, was also in attendance. BU cannot confirm who attended the meeting from Barbados  because it was held under under Chatham House Rule.  Why the ‘freak’ our government would be less than transparent in the circumstances is left to be explained to the lowly BU household. If it is  true that Felipe Buitrago is KIVA’s Columbian asset then a picture emerges for those who have eyes. By the way here is information on the founder of michroeconomy and the problems he is encountering legally all over the world.

Is this all just a coincidence? Has Andrew Senior managed to kill two birds with one stone – a stone paid for by the UNESCO/EU? Has he been able to plant the seed for KIVA in Barbados to piggyback on his substantive assignment?

Does Minister Stephen Lashley know what is going on here?

15 comments

  • I seriously doubt that he has a clue of what’s going on. Best of luck Barbados, you sure need it.

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  • @David. For many years, I have been sceptical of Mr Lashley on several levels, none related to his more obvious shortcomings.

    I was phoned by a colleague from overseas some time ago and asked what the ass I thought “Little Lashwe” was doing with this Bill and had I seen it. I had to confess that I had not and, as I viewed these matters as minor, had little interest. However, I took a look because of the vehemence of my colleague, whom I greatly respect.

    Imagine my horror and dismay when I read this Bill that a minister of government, moreover one who is licensed to practice law in Barbados, could embarrass us in the eyes of the international community with legislation that had to be drafted by someone with the mental competence of a six year old and who had certainly never even heard of any law school.

    It is my understanding that Little Lashwe has hired his sister-in-law to deal with the protests that arose and to formulate amendments to the Bill to silence these, amendments that Little Lashwe has been at pains to publicise to the press as being completed…….and that NO ONE has had sight of yet. I personally look forward to FINALLY seeing these, if for no other reason than to examine firsthand how insult can be added to injury.

    Maybe someone in the BU family can help me here, but is Little Lashwe’s sister-in-law, Miss Andrea King, an attorney versed in legislative draughtsmanship? And what about her cohort who, I am told, is advising her and whose eyes are firmly fixed on the top post at the NCF, Miss Allison Sealy-Smith? Is she an attorney?

    Is that the reason for the total misapplication of the Chatham House Rule? I mean, David, I have to agree with BU. What the shit do these jokers think they are doing? Chatham House Rule???? In all my years, I have never heard such precious, pompous rubbish. If it had been me, I would have told them exactly where to stick their Chatham House Rule.

    Given the very apparent complete dearth of legal and I am reliably advised, arts and culture knowledge on display from the so-called Ministry of Sports and Culture (and as far as sports goes, well…..Olympics…..we are reduced to being proud of the region and little Grenada and Jamaica which, in normal circumstances, we don’t get along with atall, atall, atall) why does it not surprise me that the Minister and his relatives have never heard of CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

    What does surprise me is that the EU and UNESCO apparently have not heard of conflict of interest either – but maybe this was not declared to them by the Minister………or by their contractors.

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  • Lord have mercy, not so Amused; you really taking the piss out of poor Mr Stephen Lashley. I wonder what his constituents think of your comments having voted overwhelmingly for him.

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  • @Amused

    It is our (people) to be vigilant and to enthusiastically participate in our fragile democracy. Politicians and their minions will not do it because we often end up with conflicting agendas. This government promised transparency and to be honest it has struggled on this front. BU simply hates cabals when it comes to managing the people’s business (feel free to bold people).

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  • The problem we have to face up to is that the rest of the world has moved on and we are left with practices that are no longer acceptable in other countries and, moreover, have run out of control here. There are a few recent incidents that highlight this.

    The Broomes situation with what can only be phone hacking. Well, in the UK and the USA, there are serious investigations underway into all of that. Criminal charges have been brought and telecommunications companies now have safeguards in place to guard against such hacking and flags are sent up if there is any suspicion of such and it is reported to the police authorities. Except in criminal cases and in cases of national security, hacking is not allowed. It is a criminal act. It is an enormous issue requiring complete transparency. It would not be unthinkable that international actions and prosecutions could start if the phone hacking becomes cross-border. And just think of the worldwide publicity this will generate.

    The legal world. In the USA, the UK and Canada, wrongdoing by lawyers is met with investigation and penalties. There are mechanisms which work in place for complaints to be made. Judges and court officers are also subject to investigation and penalties. No way can cases be delayed for years and years. Justice must be delivered in a timely manner. There hardly seems any need to point out that Barbados does not have an effective system in this respect.

    In the banking world. We are all aware of the accusations of LIBOR rigging and the strenuous investigations and possible criminal charges which may result.

    Then there is the wrongful selling of PPS by banks where they have been forced to pay back billions to clients who have accounts and credit cards. Another penalty due to proper integrity and freedom of information policies, which Barbados does not have.

    Any public official is required to abide by codes of ethics and, if they do not, they face sanctions. A short while ago, certain members of the British Parliament faced criminal proceedings and prison sentences for abusing expenses claims. More recently, Baroness Warsi was sanctioned and subject to a Parliamentary hearing for conflict of interest, in that she took on a trip to her native Pakistan a private business associate and this was seen as a conflict of interest. Does this ring any bells in Barbados? And I do not direct this at any particular political party, but at all of them.

    For Barbados, then, to really be taken seriously by the major players and not just seen as a holiday destination that is currently popular (which, like fame, is fleeting) we need to up our game in transparency and in the ethics by which our public servants comport themselves. This can only be supplied by transparency legislation which compels such ethics to be practiced. The legislation is vital in order to change our national culture of thought which, if not changed, is going to seriously disadvantage us.

    Then too, there is a general attitude that arises from this lack of enforced ethical codes. I would have liked to go to the Olympics in London, but I was too busy and also could not get the tickets I wanted. So I stayed home. A friend of mine who I went to Uni with reported that I would not have recognised London. He told me that it was truly a pleasure to be there. Nowhere was there the usual surly attitude on the part of public workers and Police. Instead, they could not possibly have been more helpful, cheerful and smiling. Nothing was too much trouble for them and visitors to London were made to be truly welcome. Contrast this with the gamut of indifference and discourtesy we run when even we Bajans arrive at the airport in Barbados and then ongoing.

    There was a time when visitors and business investors felt themselves honoured to be in Barbados. These days, however, they don’t see it that way and we have to really work for their custom and to ensure that they come back instead of going to other places that will give them what they want. So, we now have to actually come off our high horse and sell ourselves, knowing that we have a lot of competition. But we don’t seem to be able to get our heads around that. Instead, we seem intent on creating an environment for those who, unable to practice the same shite they formerly did in their own countries, are looking for a surrogate where they can practice it.

    On the matter of the Culture Bill, let me make a very brief point. In reading the foreign press online this morning, I see that Lord Rothschild has started to prepare his banking interests for the demise of the Euro. That same press also reports that countries like Greece and some of the former Iron Curtail countries have also started to prepare themselves for a withdrawal from the Euro. Inevitably, this will have a negative knock-on effect on arts and culture subsidies within all the EU countries, with arts and culture professionals and organisations feeling the pinch. If you agree that charity begins at home, then you will probably see why, unless a properly grounded, supported and drafted legislation is to be put in place and is, in fact, put in place, grants to CARICOM countries could be extremely problematic. Because the EU countries are highly unlikely to buy into the same lack of transparency and possible conflict of interest that appears to exist in Barbados. I am also concerned that the Culture Bill is merely an excuse to get money of which none will be spent on the people who create the arts, but instead be spent largely on administration and on those who habitually profit from the work and artistic gifts of others. So the status quo remains the same and not one single step forward is taken. That is scandalous.

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  • If not for BU I would not have heard of this Andrew Senior or the Organization that he represents. I would not have heard of the meeting that took place in St George and I would NOT have learned that Allyson Sealy has her eyes set on the NCF top spot …!

    On Alison’s behalf she does have considerable over an’ away experience in a cultural industry (theatre and film) and fund raising activities in a number of over an’ away projects. She would make a far better fit than any that have come before, in particular the last one.

    But I am NOT getting the jest of BU’s apprehension.

    The Steven Lashley element is a blight, understood (the press will ONLY cover what ever speeches he will make at the event and very little else), but the Senior fellow and his associate seems pretty much in the clear … Maybe I am still not fully awake …

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Amused | August 19, 2012 at 8:54 AM |

    Excellent contribution!
    You have identified the malaise of modern Barbados and what is required to pull us out of this quagmire and pending backwater status where Bim will no longer on the list of top 10 tourist destinations for Brits. Soon from now both Cuba and Jamaica would take away our share of the Caribbean travel market in the UK.
    Modern Barbados is becoming more and more like a once attractive civil child with great ambition and potential but has suddenly become (in sync with the spread of free tertiary education) a spoiled, wayward arrogant teenager using drugs and engaging in unprotected promiscuous sex and clearly in need of serious discipline and a focused direction to be saved from soon coming self ruin.
    Britain would be ashamed of its former favourite child in the Caribbean.

    Just listen what the Minister is doing to deal with the social challenges facing today Barbados.
    Convening a conference inviting over 200 persons to one big talk shop to eat up and run their mouths like sick nigger backsides. Just another opportunity for this nincompoop to attract attention as food for his ego which is inversely proportionate to his height.
    Listen Minister, we all know what are the social challenges facing the underprivileged. We have discussed them ad nauseam.
    What do you expect when 20 %of the population live below the poverty line and the Church is no longer seen as relevant to the moral landscape? Barbados is a small 2×3 place and extremes in material status are even more blatantly obvious and exacerbated when Mercedes are forced to drive within sight of dilapidated dwellings of abject poverty.
    Why the need for this social gathering of the chattering classes? To waste more money, given our dire economic straits. Why not take the money to be spent on this big comical debate in which you will ensure you are the star boy and use it to finance the fund for mothers to access cash to feed and clothe their children begat from irresponsible and deadbeat dads or those out of work because of the economic downturn and continuing slump in areas where males traditionally found employment.

    After the big consultation (over 100 of such social debates and counting), what? A bill to monitor and control the morals and behaviours of the masses, little Hitler? The main focus of this conference will be a regurgitation of what took place on Kadooment day with that exploited child and two stupid adults- products of our much vaunted educational system and Christian society- and extensively discussed here on BU. Just read BU and get for free a comprehensive appreciation of what Bajans feel about our cultural, social and moral state of affairs and decline.

    Focus on the Cultural Industries Bill and stop biting off more than you can chew. Work within your intellectual and physical limitations and deal with one issue at a time.

    PS: Can we expect your own family members and in-laws to be the highly and handsomely paid and rewarded chief cooks and bottle washers at this conference? You are really taking your responsibility for Family Affairs way to high above your truncated reach.

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  • @BAFBFP

    Before you start to look to pelt big rocks at people foot remember we are connecting dots based on crumbs falling off the table. What BU abhors is the lack of transparency i.e. secrecy when discussing/managing the taxpayers business. A man is down here to help Barbados build a road map to firing up its cultural/creative industries and creative economy driven by UNESCO/EU assistance. Before you know it, he, the cat and all his puppies will be in BIM raking up what they can. If this will help us to move forward fine but we want to know how it is done be exposed to the glare of the public.

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  • As if to show that lack of intelligence by politicians globally often times has no bounds, Romney is proposing to cut government subsidy to the arts. Based on his proposal savings will sum 2 billion; to balance the budget will call for federal cuts of 9.6 trillion.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/18/romney_to_ax_art_funding_salpart/singleton/

    Go figure!

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  • Is Andrew Senior related to David Senior of Robertson Ward associates???

    Barbadians continue to overlook homegrown solutions to problem areas of our society, preferring outside so called expertise that has not yield the success that they are looking for. We ignore potential solutions to high incidents of lifestyle diseases amongst our younger population that can be learnt from our healthy aging older population. Barbados has the second highest number of centenarians in the world.
    Here again with funding micro-business we ignore the successes of the “meeting turn” that Bajans and other Caribbean nationals have use in the 40’s 50’s 60’s and on, to fund pig, chicken farming, extend or upgrade their home etc. Instead to we think that these repackage concepts are new and the answer. The fact remains that greed, which both drives and stifle innovation is best regulated, monitored and held in check closest to the sources of transactions and business activity. Kiva concept is not new is good but is better done at the local level. All politics –financial, social, and economic- is better accomplished locally.

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  • @millertheanunnaki | August 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM. My dear sir, that is excellent. Truly excellent. I could not possibly agree with you more. I mean, that is a really deep and insightful comment. Beautiful.

    @Adrian. I Googled the name Andrew Senior. He has a website. It seems that he works in a lot of third world and developing countries on cultural matters. I would need to know far more about him than what is self-promoted on his website and there appears to be very limited information online about him. Maybe I am not looking in the right places.

    My adventures in the World of Google produced some other interesting results, however.

    I was told that there had been a General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris in October 2005, a fact that has not been publicized in Barbados by our moribund and deceased Fourth Estate. Nor has it been spoken about by the BLP government in force in 2005, nor the government of which Little Lashwe (and family) are members. Which is strange, as it would appear that it is out of this conference that the EU money that there is such a rush to appropriate, springs. I say “appear” as I am open and subject to correction, but only with REDIRECTION.

    Click to access 142919e.pdf

    I also found the following link interesting and instructive and, unlike most of these types of documents, very easily read. http://www.acpcultures.eu/_upload/ocr_document/WIPO-CARICOM%20Meeting%20MappingCreativeIndustries_ProcessResults_Hilary%20Brown.pdf

    Two other documents I looked at that may be of interest: http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community_organs/cohsod_culture/EU%20PROINVEST%20Proposal.pdf and http://www.caricom.org/jsp/single_market/services_regime/concept_paper_creative_sector.pdf .

    If you compare these study and policy documents with the draft Cultural Industries Bill, you will be hard-put to find any similarity at all between what has to be viewed as Policy and the Legislation proposed to advance said Policy.

    So, WTF is going on here?

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  • I write a recommendation to the BIll ,stating t a building code must be active . Barbados have to done way with the wagon and donKey cart laws . I write Mr Lashwe a letter since May no reply

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  • Minister Stephen Lashley Barbadians take consolation in the fact that even as we have slipped to 175 in the FIFA ranking Jamaica (there is Jamaica again) has beaten the USA in a World Cup qualifier in the CONCACAF Region. What are we doing Sir?

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  • Pingback: All This Talk About Culture and What? | Barbados Underground

  • Really no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to other users that they will assist, so here
    it takes place.

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