Open Letter to the DLP and BLP

Submitted by Charles Knighton
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela has created a Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela has created a Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness

An open letter to the DLP and BLP who both bear responsibility for the parlous state of Barbados today.

What is good governance? What criteria should we use to assess the stewardship and policies undertaken by our elected leaders?

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, a wealthy Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist, established the Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in 2006 to be awarded each year to a democratically elected African head of state that governs well, raises living standards and leaves office voluntarily at the end of his or her term.  The prize, which includes a large cash award, was created to support good governance and august leadership in Africa.
Regrettably, the prize has not been awarded in four of the last five years, as the foundation has been unable to identify a leader meeting its good governance criteria.

The foundation’s good governance criteria is measured on a wide-ranging index that assesses a leader’s ability to offer the citizenry the benefits of safety and security, political freedoms and participation, rule of law, transparency, accountability, human rights and sustainable economic opportunity.  This emphasizes the question of how do we evaluate the governance of our leaders?

Unfortunately, everywhere the appraisal of political stewardship seems to be highly focused on a leader’s  ability to deliver not public goods, but rather political goodies. Democratic states thus develop a proclivity for excessive social expenditures—a politico-fiscal pathology analogous to what economists call “market failure.”

It turns out that electoral processes make it more politically rewarding to legislate policies that channel large benefits to small interest groups than to enact policies that confer minor benefits to large, politically amorphous groups. Public support is thus created not through exceptional public service, but  through patronage. In this context, the quality of a state is often measured by the amount of “social expenditures” that it incurs. The more the state spends on social subsidies and patronage, the more compassionate the state is presumed to be.

The rationale is that social tasks must be assigned to government to correct market ineffectiveness. However, public choice economics has shown that government programs are even more prone to ineptitude than markets. The government’s supply of “public goods” is itself subject to quality and quantity considerations. Thus, public provision of goods and services is just as susceptible to failures as private markets.  This was spectacularly illustrated by the recent rollout of the Affordable Care Act website.

Moreover, when a special interest group succeeds in securing a public good through the state, the state bears the financial cost. That is to say, the special interest groups that campaign for state-provided public goods do not bear the cost of the goods. The costs, through taxation or other coercive mechanisms, will be passed on to society at large, which is unlikely to participate in the publicly financed goodie. This perverse social goods logic holds that the more the state spends on social subsidies the more compassionate the state  is. It is a form of exegetical acrobatics that flips the premises in mid sentence.

Good governance should promote socioeconomic systems where most citizens are able to provide adequately for their own needs so that most social expenditures become unnecessary. Accordingly, the quality of the state should be measured in reverse proportion to the social expenditures that are required to assist the citizenry.

Social expenditures depend on contributions from other sectors of society via taxation and other mechanisms. In the end, wealth is not created, just redistributed. Margaret Thatcher phrased it succinctly: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Good governance is, above all, what will improve the lives of the citizenry. The Mo Ibrahim index is one example of a more inclusive measure of how to assess the quality of governance. To protect our democratic way of life, we need to evaluate the stewardship of our leaders more responsibly, which does not consist of voting red or  yellow.

Alternatively, and I am not making this up, we could emulate Venezuela’s President Maduro who, to deal with that country’s fiscal pathology, has dictated the creation of a new government agency headed by a vice minister of Supreme Social Happiness.

52 thoughts on “Open Letter to the DLP and BLP

  1. Effort counts! You ought to know that it is senseless for one to sit around and cry after spilled milk. Steps are being taken to address the problems, even if it does not tickle our fancy.

  2. Barbados has a bigger problem than elected officials. The bigger problem is the people. How do you successfully govern lazy, unfriendly and untrainable people? See, there’s the problem!

  3. – POSTED BY LLOYD GULSTON 12 HOURS, 43 MINUTES AGO – GAW LIDEE. The men either ain’t mekking no sport or they have reached break point. I think its time to look at your social services network. Men need help dealing with their inner demons and women need help dealing with their in grained wicked and despicable covert abuse, misuse, and exploitation of men. Yes women wunna ain’t all innocent.

    The should be explored.

  4. @ Sheri Veronica
    I just don’t’ get it Veronica… Now, are you faulting the Barbadian-electorate for exercising its democratic right? Or are you saying that the Barbadian-electorate is lackadaisical when it comes to exercising its democratic right? And how can you say that the people are untrained/ ill-informed when it is the job of the political institution to inform the collective conscience of the masses.

  5. Is Dr. Estwick’s public rebuke of Cabinet decisions a breach of the Official Secrecy Act ?

    If it is proven , that Dr. Estwick indeed leaked his PPT document to the press even before Cabinet ruled one way or the other on it, is it a breach of the Official Secrecy Act ?

    Does the Nation newspaper publication of the same Cabinet presented PPT document breached any laws ?

    If so, can the Nation news paper be sued ?
    After Estwick’s last week visit to the Cabinet room every politician in Barbados must be asking themselves…………
    is this matter still about ….U A E ?
    United Arab Emirates !!!! Or has it become…..E A U
    Estwick Against Us ??????

    Ponder on these things !!

  6. @ Sheri Veronica
    Now perhaps, I am simple minded and ill- informed myself because what has unfriendliness and unattainability, to do with one choice come election-day? Its never the fault of the people. Yes, we can fault them for not taking the initiative to properly educate they minds with respect to the issues. But, even you yourself ought to be cognizant that the electorate is only expressing what it has been fed come election-day.

  7. @ Sheri Veronica
    So in essence Veronica, your synopsis above obviously falls flat on its face because it is the custodians as well as the arbiters of the people’s will that is accountable and answerable and not the people end of themselves.

  8. Sheri Veronica
    Come on, Come on, How in God’s earth can you blame barbadians and degrade them so? Is it not these same bajans who have made this nation the envy of the whole region? We don’t have natural resources like the others, but the majority of us are loyal and hardworking. Have youy consider that the influx of others from within and outside of the region in Barbados has contributed to the demise of this country? Read and listen to the news and you would realise that much of the crime and violence committed in barbados are done by persons with a non-barbadian surname. Stop blaming bajans wrongfully. Barbadians are given favors beinternationally because of our good deportment, like non-visa to the U.K and Canada among others. Whell and come again.

  9. I agree Barbados is in dire need of a SERIOUS THIRD PARTY, but that is more in the long term, right now, we need to replce the present party in government IMMEDIATELY or there will be no need for first, second or third party, as we are well on the way to TOTAL DESTRUCTION. Wake up people, stop thinking partisan, put on your patriotic hat and put Barbados FIRST, let our present leaders know we have had enough. I’m in no way inciting violence, but peaceful demonstrationin an intellegent way, we need to do this not just for ourselves but for our offspring. Failing to do this now will be cowardice and our children will have ll right to blame us for the state they are going to find themselves in if we don’t take action NOW>

  10. Finally, we have a group of persons who are problem focused, and understanding of Barbados’ Dilemma. The politicians on both sides, have been misusing the bajan populace for years. The only time that bajans have any power or say in the so-called democratic electoral process, is the day of the general election. Both parties are well aware, that the Barbadian people have no choice, but to elect their sorry asses every five years. Bajans must take a good look at the system of government, especially the parliamentary democracy system, and these self serving politicians should be placed on notice, that they are the servants of the people. Perhaps Barbados needs a political re-call system, that will at the half way point of a politcal administration, allow the electorate to re-call inept politicians, and trigger a no-confidence vote and general election. Barbadians should also look into the possibility of term limits for these career fat cat politicians. Lifelong political tenure clogs up the political system and people like Owen S Arthur, Mia Motley, Dennis Kellman and others, should make way for Barbadians who could offer the country new ideas. What more can Owes S Arthur offer Barbados? He has been the Prime Minister of Barbados, and his Prime Ministerial retirement is sealed. Why then is this career politician still hanging around, when he has outlived his political usefulness? It is for the perks that they all receive, the blood letting that they all enjoy. These egomaniacs, should be term limited and fresh ideas allowed. I listened to Owen S Arthur during the last campaign cycle, he sounded like an old throw back punch drunk fighter. No wonder the BLP failed to be elected to power. Perhaps with new political blood, fresh ideas and a changing of the political process, bajans may avert future fiscal crises, similar to the one that awaits Barbados now. The last thing Barbados needs, is yet another career family bred, privileged politician like Mia Mottley. We should be thanking her for her service to Barbados, and wishing her farewell. I am not a xenophobe, but look at what happened in St John, after David Thompson’s death. Again, political privilege asserted itself, and Mr Thompson’s widow, was elected. What role has she played in parliament, in affecting positive change for the lives of the people of St John? What piece of legislation has she introduced from her seat in parliament to better her constituents and the people of Barbados? People like George Payne who collect a Paliamentary salary for falling asleep in the House of Assembly, should be thanked and offered a Serta Mattress as a gift to help him sleep on his own time, and not on the time of the Barbadian people.

  11. @ Bush Tea

    President Harry Truman governed the greatest democracy in human history and he did it with merely a secondary school education. And would you know, has labeled Truman one of the greatest president s in American History, unlike George W. Bush who has been labeled worse, given the fact that he has graduating Yale and Harvard.

  12. Mark…..don’t even mention George Bush, the biggest and most evil ass who ever sat in the white house or in any leadership role…Abraham Lincoln had very little education and George Washington did not go to school….makes us wonder what the hell is wrong with the corrupt self-serving politicians on the island.

  13. @ Victor R Callender | February 17, 2014 at 6:11 AM |
    “People like George Payne who collect a Paliamentary salary for falling asleep in the House of Assembly, should be thanked and offered a Serta Mattress as a gift to help him sleep on his own time, and not on the time of the Barbadian people.”

    And what would you recommend for the current ‘primus inter pares’?
    Even Sir Lloyd sees him as the giant who sleeps while at the helm of an economic ship heading towards a known ‘Sandy’ bank.

    We have heard from Dr. Erskine, the senior physician specialist with lots of on-the-job training and know-how, now let us hear your ‘balanced’ prescription for ‘other people who draw salaries while shirking their responsibilities on the job.

    • Interesting comment from Sir Lloyd speaking to the challenge of getting the apparatus setup to issue Visas in China. One could hear hus frustration. Who is responsible for Immigration ministry?

  14. @ Bush Tea

    President Harry Truman governed the greatest democracy in human history and he did it with merely a secondary school education. And would you know, Truman has been labeled one of the greatest presidents in American History, unlike George W. Bush who has been labeled the worse, given the fact that he has graduating Yale and Harvard.

  15. Stuart is not a proactive, ambitious individual, I understand he was also not an ambitious lawyer, apparently he holds the immigration portfolio to keep out other Caribbean people from Barbados and that is his only interest.

    I can’t remember a Prime Minister not holding the Financial portfolio, i may be wrong, something is wrong with Fruendel and if he is ill from his diabetes, he needs to give up the position to someone who is healthy enough to manage the country, quotes upon quotes emitting from his shakesparean mouth will not get the island out of the present quicksand.

    It is not uplifting to hear people speaking about the current events in Barbados and the lack of any meaningful actions to rectify the idiocy that we are all now witnessing.

  16. Fractured BLP seems to want the Official Secrets Act invoked.

    June Boy wants to blame it on the ‘wogs’ and also an immediate end to the two party system following a peaceful demonstration. He says our ‘deportment’ has taken us places.

    Veronica says we’re all shit anyway.

    Yesterday I attended the Anglican Diocesan service with my church group. Comrade Rogers did his usual thing and said we should not be individuals but, rather, citizens. He said that Anglicans didn’t charge for blessings. Fumble and Mia and the CJ were there – all seeming much smaller than I remember them and all presumably praying that God is on their side. The Bishop typically read everything – even the bloody notices. The whole jamboree had an air of irrelevance about it. The ghost at the feast was the US Presiding Bishop whom, it was claimed, was snowbound. She had planned to talk about the inclusivity of all things – and the virtue of gay marriages.

    Is there a link between any of these things? You can include this comment.

    Oh Miller – I did wonder whether you were there too. Course I know you’ll not answer.

  17. So wunna want a third party.

    Ontario has 3 parties and the latest poll shows Conservatives 34%, Liberals 31% tied with the NDP 31%

    The Liberals have the majority in Government at the moment.

    So unless you have a truly radical 3rd party that can command the vast majority of the votes, Barbados will end up with 3 parties playing in the House of assembly.

  18. A third party in Barbados will have amongst its memebership the following persons of impeccable character :

    Caswell Franklyn …..a well known car TIEF !

    George Brathwaite…….a well known rabble ROUSER !

    Miller of BU fame : a well known PAEDOPHILE !

    Prodigal Daughter…. a well known CROSS DRESSER !

    Enuff…..a well known cattle egret who cleans OSA BACKSIDE !

    These are some of the esteemed persons who the citizens of Barbados will have to choose from in a third party DEMOCRACY .

    Surely……this is DE – MOCKERY…..that we see.

  19. @Ross
    Enjoyed you take on the ‘Great Service’.Reminds me of a scene from Crown Court some years ago.A defendant about to be sentenced was asked if he had anything to say to say.’Yes he said,its alright for you hooded and cloaked monsters,to sit up there and look down on me.The state gives you succour while they make me a sucker ennit’

  20. Barbados does not need a third party, what is needed is the people having the power to recall through petitions, signatures, any leaders who are useless, the power to replace said leaders and the power to remove and replace said leaders with younger folks with fresher ideas, most of the present politicians believe in non-existent elitism and eminent persons and all types of shit from the colonial that does nothing to help the economy or move the country forward and really has no place in this world at this time..

  21. St Lucians brought an end to bad government some years ago in a peaceful manner, they just stopped working until the then P.M stepped down for Odlum to take over. The problem bajans don’t have that spirit.

  22. Gabriel | February 17, 2014 at 5:01 PM |

    Enjoyed you take on the ‘Great Service’.Reminds me of a scene from Crown Court some years ago……………………………..


    I beg to differ from the above take of the service. Everyone to whom I have since spoken has said they were so proud to be an Anglican yesterday. It seems as if I was at a different service to the above poster. It is said that God works in mysterious ways, I was glad that the lady bishop did not arrive as I have a problem with her positions on a few things. But Rev John Rogers did us proud with his sermon.

    Dont condemn the pomp and pageantry, we Anglicans like our processions! Yesterday was a wonderful experience and the young people did us proud in song and dance!

  23. A message to Well Well and June Boy….Iisten up……. Dr. David Estwick ain’t going nowhere but in the bosom of the DLP.

    PM Freundel Stuart ain’t firing Chris Sinckler.

    The people of Barbados are not going to rise up against the DLP.

    The Trade Unions are not going to rile up
    their membership against the DLP.

    Why ?????

    Because every group that is mentioned above remember the nasty, wuhless and indifferent way the BLP members treated them.

    Even up to this day that VAMPIRE of a woman called Mia Amor Mottley cannot keep her eyes off people daughters.

    Tell me which respectable young lady or man in Barbados will wish to help Mia impose her ‘ biting ‘ policy ?

    Certainly…..not Owen Seymour Arthur who is blessed with only girl children !!!!!

    Get loss wid wunna nastiness !!!!

    If Barbados sinks…..all o we will go to the ocean floor !!!!!!

    Captain Stuart at the helm .

  24. @ Fractured BLP | February 17, 2014 at 9:12 PM |
    “Dr. David Estwick ain’t going nowhere but in the bosom of the DLP.”

    And that is where he is to stay as a nuisance and irritant in the lap of Fumble.

    By his continuing endorsement of Sinckliar Fumble (even with the recent declaration of 100% support after the mad dog Powerpoint presentation) has basically given Estwick a bloody hard slap in his face and told to keep his little jumped-up ass quiet.
    Even a hungry dog would run away from such cruel and inhumane punishment.

    Let Estwick be a family of crab lice in the lap of Fumble and in the bosom of the DLP. Your administration will fall with or without David’s empty slingshot. You must be in charge when the Devaluation stops the knocking at the door and breaks it down.

  25. @fractured

    PM Freundel Stuart ain’t firing Chris Sinckler.
    — not with a 2 seat moajority

    The people of Barbados are not going to rise up against the DLP.
    –it just isn’t in our makeup, regardless of who’s in power

    The Trade Unions are not going to rile up their membership against the DLP
    — of course not! Not when diplomatic postings “giving way”

    Just observing

  26. At least Dr. Estwick learned something during his tenure as MOA, he has learned to build Silos and he has built one to isolate himself from his Cabinet colleagues.

    For the life of me I don’t know what he is trying to accomplish, he reads a terse message to the TV camera, follows up with a letter to the PM which was duly leaked to the Press, then delivers his ‘plan’ to Cabinet which received same day syndication in the Nation.

    If he feels so aggrieved why doesn’t he do the honourable thing and resign? His actions belie any claim to be a man of principle, more likely his non resignation show him to be a man of principal.

  27. Gabriel (and Prodigal)

    Were you there? Well, maybe you were and being a sensitive sort of chap you will know exactly what I mean. Mind, Prodigal must remember that it is indeed my personal response (‘take’) on the service which I was recounting. He didn’t want the Presiding Bishop there. I went solely to see her. Not wanting her there just about sums us all up – narrow, bigoted, insular and complacent. Sure the great and the good were there; sure there were all the traditional fancy outfits en masse; sure the ‘poor man in his pew’ probably loved it despite, after four hours, the bench sores. He would have felt good and very validated. And it all cost what? In excess of $70,000?

    Here are some other things which struck me.

    First, there is no doubt that Comrade Rogers, Fumble’s Boy, gave a very polished and well prepared sermon. In fact it was so good (in its way – never mind the content) that there IS NO WAY it could have been prepared in just 24 hours as the Bishop wanted us to believe. So either he did a scissors and paste job (which I doubt), or he had always been the understudy, or it had been known for some time that Jefferts whatsit was not coming.

    Secondly, it struck me as unfortunate, at one level at least, that it was Rogers who had been selected as the ‘stand in’ since he is one of the Bishops two relatives who are in post – a difficult one that and the nepotism would not worry some. Indeed, we’re all used to it.

    Thirdly, since in most respects the form of the service was standard fare, it was the sermon substance which most interested me. That did an excellent job in suggesting how great we Anglicans are, but in doing so Rogers could not resist knocking other churches. Hence the ‘we don’t sell blessings’ remark. Did he mean the RC Papal Blessing I wonder because I don’t know where else you have to pay for one? But, in any event, there is a sense in which the parishes, in having to pay for the service, are self-evidently picking up the tab for their Diocesan service blessing.

    Again, Rogers said – the usual stuff – that we were to be citizens not individuals – the usual knocking of ‘individualism’ of which people like Marshall and Holder are so fond. In other words, Anglicans must observe all the forms never mind who they are in their hearts. But that’s precisely the point. It’s from the heart that the arteries run with love, that the heart is fed on love, that a person becomes love. And if he does, distinctions like ‘individual/citizen’ become meaningless. In short we were enjoined to be Pharisees.

    Oh, there is one other thing since PS mentioned it – the liturgical dance. It’s very popular. But actually what does it MEAN? Yes, the dance is obviously choreographed. But what does it mean in relation to the liturgy? Or to anything beyond itself? Funnily enough, since writing my first comment I met one of the dancers (not so young actually though she looks it). I made the point to her, asked her how she saw the dance in relation to her belief system. I thought she’d get angry – but she didn’t and said ‘yes’ she’d wondered about that too.

    So yes, all-in-all it was great fun, great spectacle and it wasn’t badly organized. But where was Jesus in it all? I didn’t see him or feel him, neither from the mountain top tiers or the altar in the valley. Oh the 5000 were there, yes, and they were fed. But the food was processed and the Beatitudes were in cold storage in Mandeville House.

  28. Prodigal

    Sorry – it just occurred to me. Maybe the liturgical dance doesn’t have to MEAN anything beyond itself. If so, it is a reflection of life, and so also of God.

  29. JUST ASKING | December 30, 2013 at 9:48 PM |
    THE DLP LIED–L—-I—-A—-R—–S


    manufacture a noise in the DLP, Leave the DLP in disgust , Declare your Love for Barbados and sit on the opposition benches. The majority approach the GG and indicate support for someone other that the present PM.

    Well maybe not Donville Inniss, he wants to lead the DLP–IN OPPOSITION.
    one thing about me–I does offer SOLUTIONS

    Please tell the BLP to hurry up and wait. Elections in 2018 so they should start preparing all now. Also don’t worry to bring that hoytie toytie Eastmond back in St. Philip West again as she aint gine get back her deposit next time around.

  31. Piece…..don’t worry, we may be gone, but so will they.they will have no choice and no power to control it one way or the other, just like the earthquake this morning, they are sitting on moving plates.

  32. Fractured…………have you noticed Stuart CANNOT fire Estwick, all politicians will be going to the ocean floor with you tied on to them…lol

  33. @ JUST ASKING | February 18, 2014 at 3:07 AM |

    Welcome back J A! You are the BOMB on BU and your explosive impact was surely missed in the fiasco that is taking place in Bim.

    One thing you have to promise us though, you will not cuss out the people of St. John. Most of them are just naive village idiots for Eastern country bumpkins, politically speaking of course.

    You must turn your attention to the people of SMS who have committed the unpardonable political sin of reelecting Fumble to wreak so much havoc on poor Bim that only a tsunami after a massive earthquake could achieve.

    Sandie’s reelection (based on similar lies and deceit) by the same easily-fooled people of SMS might have been a hurricane of Sandy’s magnitude but the recent big mistake to put back Fumble in the HoA was like the passing of a Katrina-type hurricane followed by an Haitian-size earthquake with a massive tsunami expected with the words “Tidal Wave of a Devaluation” emblazoned on the Atlantic horizon.

  34. Interesting debate! I have a question…… is it that Dr. Estwick has not been removed from the Cabinet? Is it a case of the PM leaving him to stew in his anger some more? That is a dangerous way to go…….true he has presented his alternative plan to the Cabinet…….but we can safely say that nothing will come of it!
    The politicians will continue to be the politicians……….beating the public service to a pulp in the international arena while their pockets continue to be lined with money!
    I heard one minister made a pronouncement the other day about productivity in the public service and said that he shall lead by example! whose example might I ask? Surely me thinks the man hath fallen on his sword!
    Anyway…..what about the remaining public servants who are to be laid off? Has the report been forwarded to the MoF as yet and discussed at Cabinet? Was Dr. Estwick there? How do they propose to deal with this continued fall out? People are hurting and really bad………..people cant pay their bills………….officers with 10 years service have been axed because of croneyism ……………. How in the name of democracy can this be fair????????????
    Today I read with great interest the CB Governor stating that VAT should be removed. When this happens am I to understand that the department responsible for that will no longer be going with the BRA? Will the BRA be burnt?
    I have rambled long enough here but I do believe that it is time that the nonsense stops, and let the country be run properly. If you are inept and still feel it necessary to hold on for the remaining 18 months to qualify for your pension, think long and hard………….by then there may be no more Barbados and no pension for YOU to get!!!!

  35. Permanent Secretary
    The PM cannot fire Dr Estwick so lets just get that straight. If he could not fire Sinckler and Inniss for the Eager 11 episode when he had 21 seats in parliament, he gine risk firing one of the most popular politicians in Barbados when he has a slender 16-14 majority in parliament? Stupse.

    What is clear is the the PM is refusing to let Sinckler easily squirm his way out of the Ministry of Finance and get away from the constand daily abuse he is facing, in fact the PM has not upped the ante on Sinckler by either directing or permitting Sinckler’s own Cabinet colleagues tp publicly ridicule and challenge him on his FAILED policies.

  36. Sinckler is a sucker for punishment. He is being tag teamed by Stuart and Estwick and does not even know it.

  37. Poor Sinckler
    In the paper lifting weights in a suit
    Idiocy beyond recognition-tell the trute !
    Three piece suit and barbell
    Sinckler’s brain ? well, its-not well
    No wonder -a screwed up economy
    Screwed up thoughts -screwed up cuntry
    Screwed -up balls -Srewed -up mentality
    Screwed-up hopes -Fucked up trajectory
    who needs sex
    The Gov’t screws us everyday !

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaagga –again !
    and getting raunchier—
    Yuh vex ?
    Dah fuh lick ya
    I could go on
    Watch it yeah !!!

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