Sugar Cane Production: A Race Against the Clock

UK Guardian

Photo: UK Guardian

At 32min.35sec of the Dr. David Estwick presentation of the Democratic Labour party (DLP) 2013 Manifesto Launch he laid out government’s strategic plan for restructuring  the sugar cane industry for generating valueaddeds by accepting financing from the Japanese.  That is diversification: using sugar cane to generate power (25,000 megawatts) by reducing the fuel bill by 150 million dollars among other recommendations. The cane industry restructuring project (CIRP) is estimated to cost 230 million dollars.

This project which Dr. Estwick unfolded during the political campaign in February 2013 has taken on critical importance given the planned expiry of European Union sugar quotas in 2015.  The resultant action is that it “would lead to a reduction in the price in the European market.  This in turn would make the EU market less attractive to the ACP and other higher cost exporters.” The bottomline is that countries in the Caribbean (including Barbados) would lose its preferential status in the EU market.

If the APD debate is any thing to go by it is unlikely Barbados and other Caribbean islands will be able to influence the 2015 deadline. Our only hope is if the quotas are removed by the EU it will create a problem for sugar cane refiners in the EU as well.  Barbados will be banking on the European Commission extending to deadline to 2017-20 given this consideration.

What is evident is that the EU’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint which has given rise to the APD. And now EU’s further commitment to replacing imported sugar under the ACP-EU arrangement.   These two key forex generators (in the case of sugar other GDP factors come into play) are under threat. How Barbados is able to strategically respond in the narrow window available becomes a national imperative.

In light of the EC aggressive time table to expire preferential treatment for our sugar, Dr. Estwick’s plan to restructure the sugar cane industry has taken on urgent significance. Although there is nothing to suggest we couldn’t develop other markets for our sugar, the reality is that Barbados will not be the only game in town and even if we were to acquire new markets the price would be unattractive. The rapid diversification of the sugar cane industry as outlined by Estwick must be the plan.

Can we do it?

All of the above is detailed in a summary by David Jessop who is director of the Caribbean Council.

146 thoughts on “Sugar Cane Production: A Race Against the Clock


  1. @ David | June 19, 2013 at 4:58 PM |

    What do you expect from a dummy?
    Maybe we should put a real dummy in his puerile mouth to sooth the crying which sounds more like cries for help than nonsensical barbs.

    Here we put a proposal regarding the CLICO lands (now growing cow itch and bush) on the table as a way of getting them back into production and the dummy resorts to childish ad hominems and references to the miller’s sexual incapacity.

    He would be better of following Bushie’s frustrated style and blame the BLP for everything wrong or even right in Bim today even things that occurred during the last 3 years like moving the national debt from approx. $5 billion in 2007 to nearly $10 billion to date.


  2. Andrews Sugar Factory, since its shameless meagre production of sugar this year, will we are told, be out of service for the next two years while it is being upgraded to a super factory. I would not hold my breath, but I am not expecting to see Andrews rise from the ashes, anytime soon.
    Andrews factory will now join the list of promises and abandonment , like the Greenland Dump, New ambulances for the Ambulance Service. Flyover on the ABC Highway.Empire Theatre. Four Seasons.New General Hospital, etc etc.
    What a shame that a giant like Andrews Sugar Factory, has been practically be given the same treatment as the Commissioner of Police. The former managers,Mr Crichlow and Mr King ,who were instrumental in recovering and setting up this machinery ,must be turning like windmills in their graves.
    I do feel sorry for all of those dedicated ‘engineers’, who since the mid to end 1950’s, have kept this ,once abandoned Guyanese (BG) sugar mill going..


  3. Buggy

    Ye of little confidence, Ye of little trust. Patience is a virtue.

    Dr Estwick has a bad habit of getting his promises turned into projects.


  4. While you at it Dummy…ask him when he bringing my John Deeres….not mistaking for John Boyce….ya hear


  5. This government is licking a dead horse, sugar is no longer profitable to produce, we need to find another crop.What about Aloe vera? that is used in almost all creams/lotions and bathsoaps, we once greww that crop as a export crop, we need to try that again. We need not stop sugar immediately but stop shipping to Britain and market OUR sugar on the interbnationalmarket


  6. @ The Dummy @ Dumo | June 19, 2013 at 9:48 PM
    “Dr Estwick has a bad habit of getting his promises turned into projects.”

    Bad habit indeed, like taking the same sugar cane revitalization industry project-conceptualized and planned under the previous administration- dusting it off and calling it his own.

    Remember the extract we quoted earlier from the 2008 DLP manifesto which decried the same project you are currently claiming authorship and ownership? But where is the money coming from?

    To reinforce the magical plagiaristic Midas touch qualities of the same Estwick can you guess the source of the following extract representing a promise to the people of Bim once the realm of King Sugar?

    “…….Revitalize the Sugar
    Industry by radically
    transforming the local industry to sugar
    cane based production
    with emphasis on utilizing
    modern technology to
    produce by-products
    for export such as fuel,
    molasses, branded and
    speciality sugar such as,
    Muscavado Gold and
    Plantation Reserve.

    Construct a new
    multi-purpose facility at
    Bulkeley, St. George to
    produce 25,000 tonnes of
    Speciality and Branded
    Sugar, 20 megawatts
    Electricity, 23 million
    litres of ethanol, over 36
    tonnes “A’grade Molasses
    and Other value added
    products.”

    How about when he was Minister of Health and tried to resuscitate the proposal of building a new hospital but was subsequently slapped down and put out to pasture by David Thompson?

    As “onions” keep asking where are the 5 tractors promised since the last budget thatshould have arrived to plough up the whole of Bim including the CLICO lands under bush and cow itch? Or is this another comfort to fools and dummies?


  7. Miller
    Take a drive up to BADMC at Fairy Valley and have a look at the tractor cultivation scheme project. 5 need tractors, 3 Massey Fergusson and one John Deere and transporting truck.


  8. @ The Dummy @ Dumo | June 20, 2013 at 6:03 AM |

    We will also take a drive through St. John and visit the various estates under the CLICO management umbrella (and see if the lands have been worked on by these same tractors that were to plough from Harrison Point in the North to Shark hole in the East.

    Remember you are the one who confirmed that a major player in the cultivation of sugar cane are these same estates and represent a limiting constraint or stumbling block to any successful restructuring of the industry.
    What’s the sense of having tractors when you can’t even buy the diesel to run them? Maybe they can be borrowed by the QEH to transport poor people needing emergency medical attention.

    To get serious though, Dummy, are you prepared now as an intellectually battered and bruised and busted deflated windbag to admit that this whole cane sugar restructuring project is neither a DLP concocted or Estwick inspired project?

    When you can let us know how and when this project will be financed we here on BU would concede that you have been patched up and can be once again inflated to act a windsock to provide wind speed and barometric readings into the thinking of the dangerously waffling DLP. Is the country going to have a restructured sugarcane industry or is the Sugar industry dead?

    But then again you can do like the Bushman and blame the BLP for its death having stolen and wasted the $400 million that was left by the DLP in 1994 to restructure that same industry.


  9. Miller
    We you see the project started, you will need not have further reservations about the source of the funds. The Government of Japan are nice people.


  10. @ The Dummy @ Dumo | June 20, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    The Japanese might be “nice people” but they are NOT stupid.
    Are these the same ‘nice people’ that will also be “investing” in the minister’s Don Quixote imaginary wave to energy project concocted in the spinning windmills that oscillate in his mad ass mind?
    Do you really feel that Japanese investors would be allowed to invest overseas in a country with junk bond status unless it has large natural resources or vital commodities like wheat or rice or Blue Mountain coffee plantations?

    But this administration can always play the role of victim as is its wont by blackmailing these ‘exploitative’ Japanese whose economy has benefitted over the years to the tune of hundred of millions if not billions in US dollars exports of motor vehicles to this 2×3 island not even to mention the foreign exchange outflow to buy parts and fuels for these environmental parasites.

    What is Bim going to do with all of this electricity in a fast degenerating economy? Export it to T&T or even Guyana?
    Man, we have Lowe’s WTE, unlimited Solar supply from every government building, commercial structure and household, BL&P Wind Farm at Lambert’s and now we have the mad doctor’s prescription to ‘out-supply ‘them all continuously 24/7, 365 from Andrews and from the Japanese made wave energy around the entire island.

    In the Land of the blind, one gun slinging idiot whose tongue has been removed is indeed king to shoot the bullshit right in its eye!


  11. All that notwithstanding Miller (untrue as it is) your and rag tag band of political hooligans still got 5 more years in the wilderness, maybe longer depend on how far Hinkson is willing to go in his effort to destroy Mia.


  12. @ The Dummy @ Dumo | June 20, 2013 at 7:52 AM |

    We are neither surprised nor shocked at your response.

    We shall soon see who are the real political hooligans when the IMF come a calling sooner rather than later.
    If you guys feel that the international money lenders give a rat’s ass about your small island petty politics with your political monkeys behaving like crabs in a barrel ,suing one another and looking to overthrow leaders you got another thing coming.

    The people want back their money and with full interest, not lame duck excuses.
    You really feel that this country can borrow another cent from overseas without serious fiscal adjustment, major public sector reforms and massive economic revamping?
    Why not try borrowing from T&T especially for energy generation projects and see what will be the response?

    Yes continue to watch the BLP reenact the politically entertaining foibles that took place in the DLP during the reign of the jester Thompson and his former sidekick Mascoll while the economy of this country slips further down the road of no return.

    We shall soon see whose heads will be cracked and bodies carried away by Two Sons
    when the vital signs of this economy start to flatten out.


  13. The sugar industry was catapulted onto its present wobbly last legs, a few years ago when some bright spark in government or the sugar industry, decided to plant acres and acres of the so-call Fuel Canes. Since they came to maturity nothing was done with them, except I was told, to fire the factories furnaces at the start of the crop,as these canes were practically “fire wood’. Some plantations destroyed them after a year or two ,while others just abandoned those fields with the fuel canes in place. This was an exercise in futility, that cost those farmers dearly.
    Brazil and even,Guyana may find success in the fuel cane ,as they have tens of thousand of acres to play with, without encroaching on lands used for normal sugar cane production.
    Sometimes I wonder when our so-call technocrats and politicians go abroad ,do they really understand or even observe what is going on,before coming back here and expecting blood from rock. (without cracking heads with big rocks)


    • Bango – Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organisations
      The Ministry of Agriculture unfolded its national policy and action plan for insuring nutrition and food security in Barbados. This session was held at Marriots Courtyard, Hastings, Christ Church. Among the plans is the establishment of a multi-sectoral approach with a Council and satellite advisory bodies. All sectors are represented on the Council, which is the policy shaping body. Among its members will be Min. of Agriculture, Min of Health, Min of Finance, Min. of Labour, Min. of Industry, Min. of Social Care, BANGO and Barbados Chamber of Commerce. Apart from this there is a Consultative Group and a Secretariat for Nutrition and Food Security. Below are the participant stakeholders. — Food Security and Nutrition Policy & Action Plan (20 photos)


    • One would have thought if the government is about to rationalize the sugarcane industry a key stakeholder to get onboard is the BWU. Based on Sir Roy’s statement after the Solidarity House meeting yesterday it looks like some IR unrest is in the offing.


  14. Millertheanunnaki
    is it possible to ask you to use your political connections to make a copy of the Sagicor proposal to the ministry of finance finance the restructuring of the sugar industry, available for BU? i dont think this proposal will get any traction as the nippon people of asia are offering the GOB money at 2.85%, never the less it would be good to see Sagicor’s interest. i guess dolridge miller from Sagicor is confident about restructuring the sugar industry, he any family to you?


  15. Barbados in the past benefited from sugar cane cultivation, should have never taken a back seat to tourism. Sugar cane is a perennial that grows successfully in tropical comates. Also, it is a product in demand, always will be.

    Sugar is linked to obesity and tooth decay, suspected and or fully implicated in numerous diseases but STILL, a product in demand. There are numerous countries that produce sugar including the United States (Hawaii, Florida, Louisiana and Texas) because it is a product in demand.

    Barbados relies on too few things to survive, mainly tourism. Tourism in Barbados is breathing on life support. Barbados without choice must revive its sugar cane cultivation but yet needs another product to sustain itself. It cannot trust its tourism industry. Brazil is the largest producer of sugar. Sugar, however is produced by numerous other countries including the United States.


    • The issue with sugar in Barbados is the high cost of production because we can’t compete with those countries which are highly mechanized AND those countries have developed the capacity to produce byproducts from the raw sugar which is where the demand is located.


  16. Producing sugar in Barbados too costly, then consider Plan B. Invent something and register a patent or patent name for something. Can’t register the Barbados Black Belly Sheep, already registered in the United States.


  17. The Ministers stole all the funds for up grades

  18. Pingback: David Estwick and CHIRP | Barbados Underground


  19. David;

    Why yuh bring up dis project for?

    Whuh yuh trying to intimate?

    Yuh trying tuh seh dat a man hoo in charge of a deep restructuring of the sugar industry and who has a plan for incorporatin miamossie as an energy source in dat restructuring project must be going dotish to, at de same time, be signing on to a project dat wud be competing wid dah one as well as tourism and wasting the scarce financial resources of we bajuns?

    Yuh also saying dat a bright man like him must be prevarikatin if he tellin bajans dat he wait til now to study de cahill project over a year aftuh he signed on to dat project wid he four ministerial frens?

    Yuh also saying dat dere must be sumting else in de pot to have attrakted de doc (and de udders) to sign on tuh de cahill project?

    Uh wunduh wuh new he research gine show?


  20. Seems to me the Minister was basically stating that he never seen the Cahill agreements so he will now have to research them.


  21. Guy Fox;

    The documented data in one of the leaked documents show that he was one of four ministers who signed one of the agreements. That document is one that is being used to the fullest extent by Cahill to flog the project to erstwhile investors.

    What “he never seen the Cahill agreements” what?


  22. …. and to besides, how long ago was the Opposition leader’s response to the budget?

    How long would it take him to research the issue after that demolition job which reflected very badly on him and his cabinet colleagues?

    Stupseeee!


  23. But let me just put in a disclaimer here.

    I think that the most recent Sugar cane diversification project with its sensible thrust of at last recognizing that sugar cane per se is a dodo bird and tacking on a rationally thought out, though controversial, energy producing component (the miamossee thing) is essentially a good one.

    The Cahill project is a gross aberration from the vision enshrined in that project.

    Wonder why it flew?


  24. are-we-there-yet

    Facts:-
    1. Cabinet approved a WTE project as a policy.
    2. Cabinet never authorized the four rouge ministers, Sinckler, Boyce, Lowe and Kellman to sign the Implementation and Power Purchase agreements with Cahill.
    3. Even after the rouge ministers signed the agreements with Cahill when Cabinet was asked to ratify/validate their actions, the agreements Where never produced to the Cabinet for its sight, this deal is that secretive.
    4. It appears Estwick on signed on the the feedstock agreement for Elephant Grass so that the biomass (bagasse and lucena) for the cane industry restructuring project was not be mixed up in and confused by the Cahill scam.


  25. Guy Fox;

    What you said at 9:23 am makes some sense.

    However, if so, why are Sinckler, Boyce, Lowe and Kellman still Ministers? and don’t say because of the precarious voting situation the Government finds itself in. Somethings should transcent personal pension entitlements and retention of power.

    Also, did the Cabinet ratify / validate the rogue MInister’s signing of the agreements?

    …and if so, What kind of Cabinet would ratify such a senseless action without seeing the actual agreements that were signed. What kind of Chairman of the Cabinet would ratify or not ratify the agreements without seeing the agreements. They could not have been secret from Cabinet scrutiny?

    If Cabinet didn’t ratify the signing why could Cahill be going around the investor community touting the project and why is there no discernible sanctioning of those ministers even just a token slap on the hands?

    Perhaps you are right (and it makes sense) that Estwick only on-signed on the Elephant Grass (King Grass) deal but yuh wanna tell me dat he ent looked at the other aspects of the Cahill scam especially after MAM’s demolition job and only now needs to research it? On what basis would he have onsigned the elephant grass deal?

    I don’t know but these revelations seem to be trending towards making a case to extricate Dr. Estwick from the mess.

    Nice try!

    Could you do a similar job for the PM?


  26. @Guy Fox July 31, 2015 at 7:49 AM #

    Seems to me the Minister was basically stating that he never seen the Cahill agreements so he will now have to research them.
    ……………………………………………………

    Were we not told that this Cahill matter was signed off by the Cabinet? If the Minister of Agriculture now has to do research on the water requirements for the project………………are we to assume that Dr Estwick was not present at this cabinet meeting when said deal was agreed to?


  27. are-we-there-yet
    the truth of theater is that the Cabinet has not seen the agreements executed by the 4 rogue ministers and that persist as of today’s date. Why you think Donville calling for them to be made public? He has not seen them either and it’s his way of letting all know that the agreements entered into with Cahill have not been yet seen by the Caninet of Barbados.


  28. Guy Fox,

    Your revelation at 10:40 rings true and actually makes the most sense of everything that we have heard of this project and Government’s involvement in it.

    I have much respect for Donville Inniss and you are probably right about him and some other members of Cabinet not having seen the documents up to now. But I would presume that the PM has seen them.

    If that is indeed so the PM has not only been metaphorically sleeping at the wheel but is in a comatose state and needs to be woken up and summarily relieved of his chairmanship by a plurality of the members of the Government, perhaps via a vote of no-confidence.


  29. If the PM has not seen the documents it would be totally unacceptable and would flag a situation where he would be metaphorically a hostage in his own Cabinet unable to lead or make the choices one would expect of a true Chairman of that Cabinet.

    This matter is serious. This Government should not be allowed to further compound the parlous situation we are in and continue to make us a laughing stock in the region and elsewhere.

    Such a comedy of errors could not have taken place in any of our neighbouring countries.


  30. Guy Fox;

    Is Donville ready to lead a Cabinet revolt and not just make some wishy washy statements outside Cabinet, given the “facts” you have indicated in your posts above?


  31. Reading between the lines from Guy Fox and AWTY, it would give some credence to what is talked on the cocktail circuit………the PM is aloof and does not interact with his cabinet. He waits until the ministers gather, walks in, does the business and leaves!


  32. Are-We, I would ask that you pursue your line of enquiry a bit further to Mr. Fox on my behalf, por favor.

    I have never attended a Cabinet Meeting but and as you are a former top civil servant you may have and you surely have more intimate understanding of those deliberations so through you let me request that you frame these thoughts into question relevant to those high-powered meetings.

    I thought Cabinet Meetings were supposed to review and ventilate the major matters re the country’s business. Not so?

    And with that in mind I further thought the ministers as guardians and CEOs of their respective depts. were expected to ask the key questions relevant to their area of management, again towards the country’s best interest. Am I wrong in this view?

    Again with all that in mind how can ministers sign off on a project – proposal and details sight unseen – which impacts the environment, water tables/possible leaching to underground aquifers, local tourism, energy production to name a few MAJOR areas of the country’s life. How can a minister abrogate his duties like that and still be drawing a frigging salary?

    Can you please tell me if senior civil servant (PS or other) is asked to attend Cabinet Meetings to provide technical expert details as required and if yes if you think such a request would have been made.

    If no is it your experience that following the Cabinet deliberations that a minister would ask his PS or Parliamentary Sec to contact the PS at the lead ministry and get a position paper or at least some clarifications on a major project. Does anything like that happen?

    Please help me here AWTY, because I accept the ‘ingrunt’ in my pen-name is getting in the way of my comprehension here so I will defer to your more experienced and reasoned analysis.

    Perhaps you can add some real substance to my rambling thoughts and ask Mr. Fox some pertinent questions cause his remarks got me really kerfuffled.

    Much thanks!


  33. De Ingrunt Word;

    I have composed a long response but am checking details before I post it.

    Essentially, the system could allow the kind of situation hinted at by Guy Fox to occur if the Chairman of Cabinet is non-proactive and non-reactive and most members also fit that description. it would be most unlikely in a normally functioning Cabinet.


    • @Are-we-there–yet

      Just sharing information, all are free to connect the dots.

      It is obvious this issue has the government on the defensive if you listen to Estwick and Innis of late.

      BU is watching how the government responds to former Chief TP Lennie St. Hill that the law is not being followed.


  34. Connect the dots indeed, David.

    I wonder if this project will become the straw (big one, ain’t it) that breaks the camel’s back. And in this case that ‘back’ being the overreaching and perhaps negligent action by Ministers of the Crown. In addition to the legal missteps cited by Mr. St.Hill its also clear that several other rules or protocols were ignored or willfully circumvented with debatable legal maneuvers.

    I am hopefully that this is the test case that sees Ministers held to account in all ways possible for actions that clearly could not have had the country’s best interests at heart.

    I also really need all members of Cabinet to explain to the public under what circumstances they sat in their Cabinet seats and allowed four colleagues to sign binding agreements for this major technical project to a team of ‘speculators’ .

    Opponents often cite the prison project as being similar where ‘speculators’ also pulled together the players to effect that project. But let us be crystal clear. It is one thing to build a secure facility … in under 2 hours I could present here a scope of works for such a building and be very confident that based on contacts I could get that job done cause I will subcontract everything and I know what to look for.

    And frankly I know a few people some traveling for this crop-over and others out there still able to enjoy the sun and jamming these days (unlike me) who could do the very same thing.

    But how the f*** do you contract to build a energy facility in your countryside heart-land that will burn stuff to a temperature probably equivalent to the frigging sun unless you are assured it’s not an ingrunt fellow with just a litte bit of knowledge and good contacts?

    That is no simple secure building but a major catastrophe for the entire nation if not done right.

    So I really need to understand how that happened…from all members of cabinet and then try to find just the right cell at the same Dodds for those who actually approved this.

    Yes David, I really do hope these dots get connected because some people really do need to burn for this!


  35. Just got back home and saw that there was some action on this blog.

    Hope this helps.

    Dee Ingrunt Word;

    You asked for some information on Cabinet procedures presumably to inform general understanding of how Cabinets operate and how their procedures could explain, inter alia, situations where Cabinet members could justifiably claim that certain important matters have not been discussed by Cabinet or that certain important information was not brought to Cabinet. The below seeks to respond to that question in relation to process only and not to any confidential aspect of Cabinet operations.

    Note that I am long retired from the Public Service and therefore the procedural information and understandings I give below can only indicate my perspective from the margins of the system, on what used to happen and may not reflect what actually transpires in Cabinet now.

    The understanding of the Cabinet system below is essentially generic as it also draws on information sourced from the Internet on comparable Cabinet systems in the Commonwealth. The Internet references at the end of this reply can give a more up-to-date picture of current Cabinet procedures and the milieu in which they operate as well as the direction in which various aspects are now progressing as guided by the slow process of Public Sector Reform.

    DIW you asked; I thought Cabinet Meetings were supposed to review and ventilate the major matters re the country’s business. Not so?

    You are right but they are not compelled to do so. In any case, their understanding of what might constitute “a major matter re. the country’s business” might not coincide with yours or mine. Politics might trump such concerns when weighed on a political scale.

    DIW you also asked … And with that in mind I further thought the ministers as guardians and CEOs of their respective depts. were expected to ask the key questions relevant to their area of management, again towards the country’s best interest. Am I wrong in this view?

    IMHO, You are NOT wrong. But again political interests may trump what you or I might consider to be in the Country’s best interests.

    DIW you also asked …. Again with all that in mind how can ministers sign off on a project – proposal and details sight unseen – which impacts the environment, water tables/possible leaching to underground aquifers, local tourism, energy production to name a few MAJOR areas of the country’s life. How can a minister abrogate his duties like that and still be drawing a frigging salary?

    One answer may be that some ministers can truthfully claim that the matter was not properly put before them at Cabinet and that they had no sight of relevant documents. Cabinet only responds to matters directly brought to them in a prescribed manner and format and the balance of information in the public domain suggests that this might have been the case in the Cahill story. However, they could only use such arguments if the management of Cabinet and perhaps the relevant Ministers themselves are lax, somewhat unresponsive to public concerns and opinion and not proactive in doing what we consider to be their duty. In addition, it is possible that the controls that would normally be used to guide the system properly were either not used or used retroactively.

    Cabinet Meetings are restricted to Ministers of Government, therefore Permanent Secretaries (PSs) do NOT attend them. However, the Cabinet Secretary, a special PS, does so. A typical PS may be in attendance outside Cabinet or be otherwise in direct contact with his/her Minister to provide answers to questions that the Minister might have about any matter being discussed in real time during Cabinet meetings . Cabinet may also invite any other individual or group to give presentations, perspectives or information on any topic or to clarify technical areas related to any of Cabinet’s discussions but such invitees would not be party to the substantive discussions.

    Some Permanent Secretaries and officers of equivalent grades and senior Technical officers are members of and therefore do attend meetings of Sub Committees of Cabinet that discuss important infrastructural and other projects. These sub-committees vet such projects, usually at an early stage and make recommendations to the full Cabinet for further decisions. The Cahill project could presumably have been the subject of a sub-committee meeting or meetings if the Chairman of Cabinet so desired from soon after the Government was approached by Cahill if the Chairman was kept in that loop. The Chairman of Cabinet generally convenes and chairs Cabinet Subcommittees. If he does not convene such a meeting there is unlikely to be any formal Cabinet consideration of the matter.

    The Cabinet Paper is the glue that is used to focus and provide a paper trail for direct discussions on any topic and communicate Cabinet decisions to relevant Ministries. A formal Cabinet paper or note is mandatory for practically all discussions undertaken in Cabinet. Cabinet papers are developed by Ministries on behalf of the relevant Minister. The Paper is the Minister’s paper, not the PS’ nor the Ministry’s.

    Cabinet papers or notes could be on any topic of importance to the country. Permanent Secretaries normally write or supervise the writing of Cabinet Papers. However some Ministers occasionally write their own Cabinet Papers. I also understand that relatively recently and outside of standard practice, a powerful Minister has been known to write Cabinet papers, without sight of the relevant PS, on behalf of a different Ministry.

    Cabinet papers may be merely documents provided to Cabinet for information on any topic but are more often structured requests for focused decisions by Cabinet on specific aspects of the information and arguments provided therein. Cabinet papers all follow a standardized format.

    Cabinet papers are totally confidential. A Minister may withdraw his Cabinet paper from consideration by Cabinet if preliminary discussion indicates that it needs to be beefed up or for other concerns. Individual Cabinet decisions related to any particular paper are extracted from the decisions on any matter discussed at Cabinet and communicated to the relevant ministries directly and separately. A Ministry receives Cabinet decisions and instructions related to that particular Ministry only. Cabinet decisions, relevant to a particular Ministry, are communicated through very precise numbered extracts placed on relevant files by the Cabinet office for follow up action by the relevant Permanent Secretary. No details on the discussions on any topic in Cabinet are disclosed or circulated.

    Complex or major projects on which Cabinet decisions are required MUST have inputs from every relevant Ministry before Cabinet will discuss them. So for example, a Cabinet paper on a project with the potential to be as important to our economy as the Cahill project, must have inputs from all Ministries on which its operations could be reasonably expected to have an impact. In this case a number of Ministries such as Finance and Planning, Agriculture, Lands, Energy, the Environment, Health, Tourism, Transport, Trade, etc. must research and indicate in detail how the project will impact on or be impacted by their Ministry.

    For such projects there would usually be a lead ministry which would elicit and compile the exact inputs or comments provided by each Ministry in the Cabinet paper. E.g. A Cahill type project could be put forward by, say, the Ministry of the Environment as the lead Ministry which would develop the paper and get inputs from ALL other relevant Ministries. Cabinet can request that any topic of relevance to the governance of the Country be documented and placed on its agenda, usually through the development of a Cabinet paper.

    The proactive input of the Chairman of the Cabinet is key to the proper running of the Cabinet and therefore the Country. The PM traditionally guides and essentially directs and enforces the internal workings of Cabinet. It is he or she who traditionally sets the strategies, approves the agenda and maintains and enforces a code of conduct for Cabinet even including such aspects as a dress code or punctuality in attending Cabinet meetings or approving overseas travel or adherence to such time honoured traditions as, for example, a Cabinet Minister must not mislead the cabinet. A very hardworking PM is therefore essential to the proper functioning of Cabinet as the workload is very onerous.

    What Guy Fox appears to be implying is that:

    1) No Cabinet paper was written on a wholistic proposal for, or examination of, the Cahill project.

    2) There has not yet been Cabinet consideration of the total aspects of the Cahill project per se.

    3) Other aspects of the Cahill project appear to have been handled outside of Cabinet so far without a call, up to now, by the Chairman, for it to be formally presented to Cabinet.

    Other information in BU and the public domain suggests that the Ministers involved in the signing of the Cahill documents might have brought aspects of that specific situation to Cabinet without reference to the overall milieu of factors related to Cahill. It also could be deduced that in response Cabinet took no holistic decision on the Cahill project, per se., except perhaps to defer further executive action on certain aspects of the Cahill matter to the SSA. This however suggests that implicit permission might have been granted for the putative Ministers’ signing of the various agreements made with Cahill and that Cabinet members should have at least been aware of those documents and, if they were so moved, could have called for formal discussions on the topic.

    The Cahill project does not appear to have followed a typical project implementation pathway or been subjected to the standard safeguards or best practices that are mandated for any similar large infrastructural project that could theoretically provide challenges to several aspects of our Health, Environment and Economy and thereby our National Development.

    No observable action appears to have yet been taken by Cabinet to make the Cahill process transparent and to rein in the aberrations that might have been involved in the situation.

    References

    Below are some internet links to documents that are relevant to the understanding of Cabinet functions and procedures in Barbados. The Bahamas manual appears to have many characteristics in common with the Barbados situation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_of_Barbados

    http://www.reform.gov.bb/website/images/guidelines%20for%20administrative%20officers.pdf

    http://www.reform.gov.bb/website/images/egov.pdf

    http://www.caricad.net/UserFiles/File/casestudybarbados.pdf

    http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/wps/portal/public/Manual%20of%20Cabinet%20and%20Ministry%20Procedures/Manual%20of%20Cabinet%20and%20Ministry%20Procedure/!ut/p/b1/vZHLkqIwFEC_pT_AJuEpy2gQEIg8JbChAEERQbuVh3z9OFNdNau2ZzFlskrl3DqVEyZmKBO3aV_t01t1btPT73MsJs4COJ4pcwjoKw7oPudAY85BQ2MfQPQAwDcLgT_zHFAthPi5pQpABHpgm8iWNHZjsEzI0GMkSvisDys9Li_O7Qg4Q1OiWtxu4cHKd_dhcRbWaRjN7Ii1dc0vk06liVfBmUOT0d2tCYU7dX4rPKf0XDtQnIySc2kGfuja5GZ_bGJ5W6OsX9e70LnayrRXCV6c7sZUlLuWhBGHhRbL2kgPE9J9_FmlVZnWk4dEtJx8Kz3x1LBrNfeRKFUfhdeYvTUYbeHcV9SGaSs1S8Gwv1o8eew_tfwOQOJP8yETP83Ngy_g2Xc9lSDpJ0BkiHZuCiZ6YNK3mMIxPkMBn3jH-0Wf6sk9gtHyccD5x80d4BD4mDokqIFPPEhMb4CPOwtbkEwrkxx1aJHM3m3dYIGwwuNY-0EYsK8WwlcLpRcL4auTwv-fdM3EVda8D3nzDt4FwAMe8jwHeYllRZnZHqOZjK_6oOikXOcdIbiYTs4lMjAKV61724_nSwk-OkyhpLfVwv_Mrpm0OK3HuZ_Le4y6NDdkLkt7FM7VDfF4dJgdVsN6GRf7Qc971T6FWEiE6-aO2LG_wHKahhUExSHIAyh3CylTe3w9jWZMZdZr5rWejBGRs8uwvw3nsIOA_6yMIvGw2hVn0MZB1nfONk6WF1UXFDrWVk1brtsfgqWXCdhy_Km_cSeBbeCuc8VtbPYBbfAoaM7bG3Npgt4wRVcpMZ3-bvQL14AzLQ!!/dl4/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/


  36. Oh my lawd AWTY, proper. This may appear to be a lengthy civics class to many but I wonder how many people -of course, other than the Caswells and a few others – stopped to properly understand the process as you have described.

    Thank You for the well presented details.

    We will process it further but I am glad to see that my earlier perspective that people need to burn for this is well founded.

    The entire Barbados cabinet must be held accountable here. I readily appreciate and understand that each Minister has serious matters confronting his own ministry but this was a massive intrusion to the Bajan landscape and needed to be treated with utmost importance by all.

    So when you say : This however suggests that implicit permission might have been granted for the putative Ministers’ signing of the various agreements made with Cahill and that Cabinet members should have at least been aware of those documents and, if they were so moved, could have called for formal discussions on the topic…” it’s clear Mr. Estwick’s remarks about current research is either a crook of BS or the Ministers who handled this project AND most importantly the PM have a lot of explaining to do.

    Thanks again. This was excellent. We will chat further.

    And on BTW it’s good to see that the old English series ‘Yes Minister’ also provided comedic but valid insights on these type cabinet-wise matters.

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