The Caswell Franklyn Column – Prime Minister Stuart Causing Much Anxiety

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

BU shares the Caswell Franklyn Nation newspaper column – he is the General Secretary of Unity Workers Union and BU Contributor.

NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE: PM causing much anxiety

RECENTLY, THE Prime Minister threw many government workers into shock and panic when he declared that the Governor General has power to compulsorily retire public officers at 60 years of age.

He cited certain sections of the Pensions Act, Chapter 25 of the Laws of Barbados and concluded that this power is exercisable in much the same way as the board of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation had done with its employees who had passed that age.

I received many frantic queries from public officers who are approaching 60 years of age and who are now worried about the prospect of a forced unplanned retirement. Their fears were understandable when you consider that the Prime Minister spoke with such passion and conviction. If I were in their place, I would have been worried too, if I didn’t know any better.

The compulsory age of retirement in the Public Service is presently sixty-six and a half years. However, as the PM pointed out, in accordance with section 11 of the Pensions Act, the Governor General can retire a certain class of officer at age 55 years; and according to section 13B other officers can be compulsorily retired, by the Governor General at 60 years of age. But it is not as simple as the PM would have us believe. He neglected or omitted to say that the Governor General can only exercise that power on the advice of the Public Service Commission, after they had conducted or ordered an inquiry into an officer’s conduct.

The PM ought to be aware or someone should tell him that the compulsory retirement, of a person who had not reached retirement age, is a penalty that can be imposed on an officer who has been found guilty of committing an offence of a serious nature. The Third Schedule of the Public Service Act (the Code of Discipline in the Public Service) states at paragraph 6:

6. (1) The penalties that may be imposed on an officer against whom a disciplinary charge constituting misconduct of a serious nature is proved are as follows:

(a) suspension on half pay for a period not in excess of 6 months;

(b) reduction in rank;

(c) suspension of future increments for a period not exceeding 2 years;

(d) reprimand in writing;

(e) compulsory retirement; or

(f) dismissal.

When a public officer is found guilty of misconduct of a serious nature, and it is determined that his/her services should be terminated, there are two options – dismissal or compulsory retirement. It was called compulsory resignation under the 1978 Public Service Regulations. In the event of a dismissal, the officer forfeits his/her pension.

If the officer is compulsorily retired that person is allowed to retain the pension and gratuity. Compulsory retirement in the Public Service is therefore a more humane form of punishment but a punishment nonetheless, that cannot be imposed whimsically or to balance the budget.

As if scaring the living daylights out of unsuspecting public officers, who are approaching their 60th birthday were not enough, the PM took aim at trade unionists who refused to practice their calling according to the script that had been prepared for them by politicians. He accused them of not following the process of the much vaunted Social Partnership.

When in opposition, Mr Stuart was one of the most ardent critics of the Social Partnership. Apparently, his views have evolved to the point where he now seems to be one of the most passionate supporters of that arrangement. I, like many other right-thinking Barbadians, supported his views, on the Social Partnership, when he was in opposition. He cannot now expect all of us to have the same Saul to Paul conversion that inflicted him. To expect such could only be described as a monstrous perversion of common sense.

Caswell Franklyn is the general secretary of the Unity Workers Union and a social commentator. Email:

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171 Comments on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – Prime Minister Stuart Causing Much Anxiety”

  1. Caswell Franklyn August 1, 2015 at 4:40 PM #


    Government prefers to negotiate with NUPW and BWU because the administration knows that no matter how much those two unions huff and puff, in pretence of representing the workers, the Government would prevail. Government is aware, they can rely on those two unions to eventually roll over.

    The Prime Minister and those cabinet members that spoke on the recent impasse with between NUPW and BIDC complained that the unions were not following the time honoured traditions, what a laugh. In the Public Service, the traditions go back before our independence. They require the unions to negotiate with the Chief Establishment Officer (now renamed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Civil Service). There is no place for a minister to be involved in negotiations with unions. Nonetheless those two unions crave it for whatever reason. I believe their negotiations are only a facade for their pre planned sell out of the workers and government cannot rely of the PS, Ministry of the Civil Service to do the dishonourable thing so they get a minister to preside over the sellout.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Caswell Franklyn August 1, 2015 at 4:54 PM #


    Option forms were never a real issue, that was merely setting up a straw man to knock it down. All the Customs workers had to do would be to ignore the option forms. The issue from the very beginning, as articulated by the customs workers themselves, was appointments to the posts that they occupy. Most of them are acting because Government has not filled any post of custom officer since 2007, even though the Public Service act requires that established posts should not remain vacant for more than one year. Of the 20 most senior officers in Customs only one person is appointed, the other 19 are acting. Further, the same act does not allow the Public Service Commission to put someone to act in a vacant post for more than a year. Put another way, the PSC does not have the power to put persons to act in excess of a year without going through a procedure to fill the post.

    Sent from my iPad



  3. Bush Tea August 1, 2015 at 5:19 PM #

    @ David
    Caswell was excluded because Stinkliar (as is Froon) is a childish immature joker who is yet to grow enough maturity to behave like a government minister rather than an arrogant opposition hag.
    It is the SUREST SIGN possible that they are pissing scared of Caswell.

    @ Caswell
    So why are you picking on the other Unions because GOVERNMENT did not include you in the talks? Whatever they were before, they now have new leadership who seem headed to implement change. So what if they rolled over in the past…? give the new leaders a chance …and keep your snide remarks to yourself….. sometime you behave a lot like Stinkliar…. no wonder wunna hate one another.


  4. Fractured BLP August 1, 2015 at 6:31 PM #

    Caswell Franklyn

    You were excluded because besides you , UNITY Trade Union only has one member…..that is Denis Boyce!

    After you tricked Stanton Gittens…….he left UNITY Trade Union.

    Come and deny that your Unity Trade Union only has two persons in it.


  5. de Ingrunt Word August 1, 2015 at 6:34 PM #

    Bushie you are amusing with “…and keep your snide remarks to yourself….. sometime you behave a lot like Stinkliar…”.

    Name me two, let’s make that easier and name only one, public persona like Caswell, PM, Bizzy, or any other of the hard-knocks officials who daily handle these type issues and get their egos squeezed publicly and see their reputation and integrity (those who have some left) cut to threads who does not behave the same way.

    It takes just one anonymous broadside here on BU and we see same very snide remarks fly. So what do we expect with these public fights.

    But as mature as Caswell is he has clearly shown that whereas you may be unable to stop your hears from hearing you can definitely stop your tongue (fingers here) from wagging…and in this case a different man would have curbed the remarks!

    But Caswell is wise to the process and is merely setting his tone for his next round of meetings.

    Clearly, the man does not currently play (well with other Unions) and as surely is not interested in meaningless photo ops in paper or his name being mentioned by a Minister. He is way past that need for publicity.


  6. ac August 1, 2015 at 6:37 PM #

    Poor Caswell wetting his pants because he got shafted poor soul ! the other two unions could have at least say something in his favour for inclusion at the communion table


  7. David August 1, 2015 at 6:55 PM #

    @Bush Tea

    You expect the establishment to play by the rules with Caswell? Surely the government is aware it is Caswell’s forthright position which has pushed the industrial relations climate to what it is? By the MoF’s admission the issue of appointments in the Customs department is a valid one and should be on the agenda with the other unions as well. BU suspects UNity will garner a few more registrations before this matter is played out. The government will do the predictable thing and FORCE Caswell and Unity Workers Union to prove their position. It is why it wears the title of a fractious government comprised of a garrulous lot very well.


  8. Bush Tea August 1, 2015 at 7:19 PM #

    @ Dee Word & David
    Bushie has NO expectation that persons of AC mentality would be mature enough to behave professionally and include Caswell (as is his RIGHT) as a bone fide union leader….nor that the other lackie Unions would INSIST on such….
    The point here is all about Caswell’s response, ….which could and should have been measured and mature – even when pissing vex at being excluded.
    The critical audience here is NOT the stupid discredited government …or even the other Unions that are now trying to play catch-up… It is the general public who can make their judgements as to Unity’s role in leading change.

    THERE IS NO NEED FOR CASWELL TO COME ACROSS AS BITTER …especially with the other unions…

    Just take it easy Boss…. Bushie needs a STATESMANLIKE chairman for the Senate (National Supervisory Committee), not a rambunctious rabble-rouser like Stinkliar.


  9. Caswell Franklyn August 1, 2015 at 7:36 PM #


    You got this thing wrong; I’m not even a little vex at the other unions. I predicted and communicated that prediction to the Customs officers that those unions would have sold them out, and they have done so. I know what to expect of them so Bushie it is not vexation, more like, I told you so.

    After, all this industrial action over the last two month, NUPW and BWU have come away with nothing for the workers but they are in the newspapers posing and smiling with Sinckler. He admitted two weeks ago that they can be no transition to this training BRA if the officers do not sign. They haven’t signed so what is this nonsense about withdrawing the option forms. The vast majority of the officers and guards did not even collect the forms which were due back in yesterday.

    Sent from my iPad



  10. Bush Tea August 1, 2015 at 8:12 PM #

    @ Caswell
    Of course you are correct.
    But those YOUNG union leaders have a lot to learn…. what could you expect them to grasp from their mentors?
    From the time that Stinkliar said that the Customs officers’ vote “would determine if they went to BRA” …THAT WAS ADMISSION OF DEFEAT…. the option forms meant nothing after that…
    It CERTAINLY was not his initial position.

    The point is that YOU are much more effective pointing out these issues in a helpful INSTRUCTIVE manner than in a condemning manner …because it sounds too much like what our politicians do all the time….especially this current DLP

    Intelligent people can see that you generally understand these issues and that your heart is in the right place. Don’t let them drag you into the gutter where they thrive…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gabriel August 1, 2015 at 8:20 PM #

    McDowell would do well to stay out of that photo op business with the likes of Stinkliar.Recall Stinkliar was overheard in a restaurant along with another minister laughing at the big foot move they put on the NUPW last year.
    Since Customs had no intention of signing the option forms but their beef is with the non-regularising of their acting appointments,why is the public told that the go slow is off.That would seem a misleading statement.I won’t be surprised if this go slow is current.


  12. Caswell Franklyn August 1, 2015 at 8:31 PM #

    Thanks Bushie.

    Sent from my iPad



  13. de Ingrunt Word August 1, 2015 at 8:44 PM #

    Bushie, well said @ 8:12PM.

    As you know only too well that there is a time for statesman like action and a time to be as sharp as a razor. Unity does not have to wage their PR campaign by being nice but to your point it certainly can’t hurt.

    It was amusing frankly to see young McDowall grinning from ear to ear over some comment the MoF made. I would have to give Sinckler major props for that piece of theater. It made everything look so hunky-dory. In that same pic Ms Moore was trying hard to keep her mirth under wraps and the acting Gen Sec was as serious as a judge.

    Laugh and grin away from the camera, The fight is far away from victory for such displays of hearty public joy whatever the joke. May seem a minor point I know, but in politics optics like that can be spun sweetly to an advantage by a crafty man like the MoF! Young Mc Dowall is really learning on the job.

    Can you imagine Franklyn smiling like that next to the Minister in public on this matter. So as you say he can surely guide. But at the end of the day Bushie, it’s that horse to water analogy that comes up.

    Oh lawd!!


  14. Artaxerxes August 2, 2015 at 1:53 AM #

    @ Dompey

    “Listen Fella: It is mindboggling if not perplexing how individuals of your sort endeavors unsuccessfully of course, to assault the character of those persons who do not necessarily agree or conform to your narrow political point of view. And when that fails you audaciously assaults with a reckless disregard the intellectual-stance of those people in an effort to aggrandize your want of attention. Is that what a conversation which focuses on the national interest of our country is all about sir?”

    “And your mentality of erecting a brick edifice because you somehow believe that the contributions of those persons, who do not necessarily ascribe to your political-narrative, are unintelligible (unintelligible) undermines the core purpose of academics. I was told by a very beloved pastor of mine who now respires tranquilly in the Great-Beyond that: “You can learn something of value from a fool, as does a wise man…..”



    Each time you post a contribution to BU, you PROVE Galileo WRONG.


    Once again, Dompey, you responded just as I have anticipated. Your above comments ACCURATELY DESCRIBE your modus operandi on BU.


    “Listen sir, I challenge you unequivocally and categorically, to present to me any word that you do believe that I have written incorrectly here on BU.”

    Dompey, I’ll give you a simple example, you CONSTANTLY use “there” when “their” is the CORRECT word to be used……. surely this repetitive mistake does NOT have anything to do with “American” or “UK” spelling.


  15. ac August 2, 2015 at 7:11 AM #

    Sadly ! there are too many lost souls of the BLP machinery who are still frothing at the mouth to see heated battles arising out of the scorched earth of industrial relations that wrecked the landscape of industrial relationships between govt and Unions.
    It was only two weeks ago that pictures of clinched fist by the leaders of the Unions rolled across the pages of barbados media pictures that sent a blurred vision and confusing message world wide of Hell On Earth ascending on this tiny 166 sq, miles ,
    Is this the mirror image that the Blp antagonist are willing to accept as the changing Face of Barbados one of confusion and anger,
    It is truly sad but not surprising that the recent photo ops where both parties although locked in disagreement would have suspend their sister soldier moments for one moment of dispassionate sanity in the best interest of country, a picture with the sole purpose to close and heal ,
    Nevertheless a picture that seem to have overwhelmed and emitted growls and noises overheard coming from the salacious voices of the BLP foot soldiers.

    God Bless Barbados on this Emancipation Day where the sounds of freedom beats loud and clear !despite the voices of anarchy beating in the background frothing at the mouth for political Power


  16. ac August 2, 2015 at 7:50 PM #

    More issues to be addressed

    There are still some more issues to be worked out in this whole process regarding the Customs Department transition into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) and these issues would be addressed at a meeting to be held this Wednesday August 5th.
    This is coming from Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler after a three and a half hour meeting with the two major unions – the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) which concluded shortly after 8:00pm recently at Government headquarters.
    He stated that while they have worked through the majority of the issues with the two major unions involved, there are still some loose ends that need to be tied up
    “But there are one or two juggernaut issues that need to be addressed. You would have heard it in relation to appointments; issues in relation to securing all of the pension rights of persons; issues pertaining to supersession that have been raised by the union and that have by the Chief Personnel Officer.”
    However, he is confident that they can get through these matters. “So in reset of that particular agenda, we have agreed as parties that we would work to get through these issues. I don’t believe that there is such a large caesium between us. I think that a number of the issues through the discussions that we have had over the number of weeks and months that we have been doing this have actually been generally resolved.”
    Sinckler said that it is important that they get all of these issues sorted out because the last thing that they want is for customs staff to go into the BRA with unresolved issues.
    “These are issues that are critical and as I have always said, we don’t want people to go into the BRA in a disgruntled form to disrupt – so to speak- the operations of the BRA. That would not be in the best interest of the organisation. So we want to ensure that everyone is as comfortable as humanely possible, knowing that we can’t get total and ideal comfort for everything; but that generally in terms of a mass of issues to be dealt with; that those can be resolved.” (PJT)

    you can bet your last dollar that if Caswell was at the meeting all like now the parties would be grumbling over the letter” A” it was a good decision to keep that humbug away in the best interest of the country,


  17. Prodigal Son August 2, 2015 at 9:12 PM #

    Much as I began to admire the new union leadership, I was appalled that they accepted and invitation to meet with the Stinkliar and did not say that the Unity Union had to be included. I was very disappointed in the two leaders.

    They are holding the chips, this inept government is on the back foot. Now they have the government by their curlies, squeeze their tails…………

    Why they met with the liar instead of the Chief Personnel Officer is beyond me! He is going to outfox them, Caswell would have had the Stinkliar scared.


  18. Fractured BLP August 3, 2015 at 6:00 AM #


    Wake up and smell the coffee !

    The national shut down is over.
    The Customs go-slow is over.
    Mia Mottley and Donville Inniss hugging up and playing mas Foreday morning.
    Akanni and Chris shaking hands and grinning from ear to ear.
    Caswell Franklyn left out of the meeting, due insufficient Union membership. Caseell only has 2 members in his Unity Trade Union)

    So the BLP plot to cause mayhem have been SHATTERED….

    The Dems under the leadership of the reverred PM Freundel Stuart remains in control.

    Even the calypsonians….love the DEMS….that they getting ‘Sugar Rush’ but then again that is ‘How they like it’

    PRODIGIRL…..the BEES get outfoxed!
    Freundel said he had to disarm…..
    the madman wid the gun in he hand…….

    Tek dat! !!!!!!!!!


  19. Dompey August 3, 2015 at 12:48 PM #


    Oh please! Who doesn’t know how to employ the words There, their, and they correctly, within a given sentence. Man have you heeded my advice as of yet? Listen! I have studied thousands of extraordinary words during the course of my life and best that you can do is to accuse me of employing the word “there” incorrectly? What a poor attempt to save face Artar. Shame on you sir. Now, I shall reiterate this finally: your time would be better spent instructing Bajan kids on the proper techniques of frying pancakes rather than endeavoring to school me or anyone else on the proper usage the word (There) which is actually limited in its application. And lastly Artar, I challenge you yet again to sustain your claim by providing the necessary evidence which indicates unequivocally that I have employed a word with the simplest of usage incorrectly.


  20. Dompey August 3, 2015 at 1:05 PM #


    I fail to grasp the complexity associated with employing the word “there” correctly within a given sentence. Come now Artar, we’re not talking about the quantum physics and the inner workings of the electron, proton and the neutron; nor the differentiation and definition of the gravitation, centripetal and centrifugal forces?


  21. Artaxerxes August 3, 2015 at 3:49 PM #

    @ Dompey

    Dompey, you are a pseudo- intellectual, narcissistic moron, who has the misguided opinion you are a “polymath.” However, your contributions, which are always ambiguous and condescending in content, while containing malapropisms and convoluting statements, PROVE OTHERWISE.

    I must ADMIT you are most certainly CORRECT when you mentioned my “time would be better spent trying educate Bajan kids in (not “on”) the art of frying pancake(s), rather than trying to educate” you. As such, I will heed your advice.

    Essentially, you’re telling me that, since I’m not trained to teach individuals who suffer from dysgraphia and I’m unable to assist you overcome your narcissistic behavior because I’m not a psychiatrist, it would be a futile attempt TRYING TO EDUCATE YOU.

    Thank you for “putting me in my place,” I appreciate it.

    So, teaching the art of frying pancakes, here I come.


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