St.John Polyclinic, a Case of Political Corruption

st.johnpolyclinic1It rings hollow for sensible Barbadians to be expected to applaud government for completing the St. John Polyclinic 27 long years after it was first mooted. It is no mistake we have not referred to it by its official name, a subject for another blog.


Perhaps if we were building a gasification plant or some other complex that required a very technical design the long period taken could have been reasonably explained.  To have demanded airtime from CBC TV to broadcast the opening ceremony was a blatant disregard for the intelligence of Barbadians. Of course the obvious PR event would have served to make the DLP yard fowls crow.

It is also worth the mention that the construction of the St. John Polyclinic straddled both political parties. This fact ensures that the clinic deserves to be remembered as the proverbial political football of all projects in our post Independence period so far.  The BU household is pleased nevertheless the East is to be served by a state of the art health delivery unit so described at the opening by member of parliament for the constituency Mara Thompson (by the way Mara, the dibby dibby outfit worn by Oya was in poor taste for the event, especially compared to you, Esther and Maria). However, the willingness of BOTH political parties to have played politics with healthcare delivery should be of bigger concern.

In all the political rhetoric being spewed, how many will ask why has the clinic taken so long to be completed.  How many will ask what is the final cost to tax payers. How many will ask how will we prevent a recurrence by those entrusted to guard the public purse. How many will ask if the decision to complete the clinic aligns with a sustainable health care delivery strategy in Barbados.

What do we know about the dollars expensed by the government so far to shore up the legacy of the dearly departed David Thompson.

BU research reveals the original estimate to build the clinic was 16 million dollars and the final cost appears to be about 30 million dollars. The research further reveals it was originally to have been completed by this government in November 2012 when Donville Inniss was minister of Health yet here we are three years hence and a reported 100% overruns to add to  the inefficiency. Does this mean the DLP government does not have the moral and other authority to challenge the BLP on overrun projects of the past?

Those who had the opportunity to peek at the facility know the government will have to add to the 8 million dollar supplementary of 2015 and the several others tabled in previous years to properly equip  the clinic to deliver the state of the art health delivery Mara Thompson boasted about yesterday (20 November 2015).  The financial gymnastics of this government has become legendary. The government would have known final cost associated with the completion of the project in the 2015 financial year yet it is obvious it has purposely decided to go the supplementaries route. The decision to defer was obviously designed to massage the deficit number and deceive the ignorant. This is what is meant when some declare we cannot trust the Central Bank and by extension the minister of finance Chris Sinckler when speaking to the financial state of the Barbados economy. How many other projects have similar political decisions impacted.

It brings us to the matter of the 100% cost overrun of the St. John Polyclinic. Unfortunately the wing of the Auditor General is clipped and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is deserving of its earned reputation as another ineffective committee of parliament – a failing of the governance model fiercely defended by the traditionalist which has been exposed as irrelevant to the times. The opening of the St. John Polyclinic serves as an opportunity to review the wastage of public funds with zero accountability over the years by both political parties.

Why as an educated people we should accept that the project has incurred 100% overrun and there is no vociferous call by ALL Barbadians to account for every cent spent on the project from start to ‘finish’. The passive manner Barbadians appear to accept the cavalier approach by successive governments to table supplementaries to cover overruns needs to be challenged in a new dispensation. We all know the current system encourages corruption and successive governments have been unwilling to slam the door on the sucking of the nipples of the fatted calf, the greedy lot!

One is left to question why the planners of the clinic decided to construct a mill wall costing hundreds of thousand of dollars at a time when government is strapped for cash. Shouldn’t common sense have dictated the construction of such a wall – at this time –  scrapped from the design? Who is the project manager representing government who approved the construction of a mill wall. Who will explain to taxpayers why an irrelevant part of the design was approved given its significant cost. We have allowed our governments to be too cavalier with spending dollars from the public purse. It is OUR money NOT theirs. There appears to be no legislative philosophy to create tension on members of parliament to reduce the deficit devoid of financial gymnastics. Future generations will have to contend with a 9 billion dollar deficit and what do we have to show for it given the incremental increase in the last 6 years?

Last week  Caswell Franklyn column we discussed the challenge posed by government not ratifying (enacting in local law)  treaties/convention signed. In 2003 Barbados signed the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the time is now to lobby for its ratification. The time has come for a new way to manage the business of government. The Political Class needs to be disrupted by a new way of doing business. We the PEOPLE must insist.  The Barbados Labour Party as the government in waiting has an obligation to show the population it is prepared to depart from the cronyism of the past. Mia Mottley has the opportunity to infuse the political landscape with an optimism to stem rising political cynicism.

Governments of the past had access to largess the umbrella of preferential treatment afforded, it is a different time. We have to suck from the knowledge pool our significant investment in education gives us.

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92 Comments on “St.John Polyclinic, a Case of Political Corruption”

  1. Alvin Cummins November 22, 2015 at 8:05 PM #

    @David: To clarify, because I know some of the yard ducks, even before the have reached the end will be after me, I am talking of the first words of the CHORUS of the National Anthem.


  2. ac November 22, 2015 at 8:06 PM #

    Notice when the BLP yardies backs are against the wall they switch the topic,lol


  3. Well Well & Consequences November 22, 2015 at 8:55 PM #

    Alvin….it’s not about seeing eye-to-eye, it’s about seeing what is best for the island in it’s present eroded and corroded state.


  4. Artaxerxes November 22, 2015 at 10:15 PM #

    Alvin Cummins November 22, 2015 at 8:01 PM #

    “They allowed CL Financial and Lawrence Duprey (Trinidad again) to raid CLICO subsidiaries in Barbados…..”

    Alvin the yard-donkey, as usual, you are misleading BU.

    You have been constantly implying that Lawrence Duprey was responsible for the collapse of CLICO Barbados, and absolving Leroy Parris of any wrong doing in this debacle.

    All Barbadians (except you, so it seems) have read the two forensic audit reports prepared by Deloitte, which gave an in depth analysis of CLICO Barbados’ operations and the financial infelicities undertaken by Leroy Parris and other directors/ managers of the insurance company.

    Rather than contribute your personal interpretation of any given situation, perhaps you should present the relevant documentation and the “Judicial Manager’s report” to BU to substantiate your claims. Otherwise, please refrain from spewing your usual unsubstantiated rhetorical political diatribe.


  5. Frustrated Businessman November 23, 2015 at 9:53 AM #

    It seems we now have the nucleus of a new party in the Arthur/Agard corner of the House. Unless, of course, FooFoo sent his best friend Gollop to Agard’s trial to send a message of DLP support that Agard is willing to follow through on by sitting on the DLP side.

    What a load of old shite.

    The DLP must hold out hope for a 3rd party to split the BLP vote next election.


  6. Well Well & Consequences November 23, 2015 at 10:10 AM #

    Something is happening for sure, the yardfowls are noticeably absent this morning.


  7. Roverp November 23, 2015 at 3:40 PM #

    I hope we have enough money around top run the hospital now this polyclinic is going to get FIRST PICK with the money allocated.


  8. Vincent Haynes November 24, 2015 at 1:29 PM #

    @Roverp November 23, 2015 at 3:40 PM #

    That was the question of the first post and it is still unansewered.


  9. ac November 24, 2015 at 1:54 PM #

    Yesterday many smiling faces of first time visitors who entered the brand new spanking St. John polyclinic another promised delivered to the people from the Dlp govt.


  10. Donna November 24, 2015 at 3:13 PM #

    My God! Do you yardfowls of both breeds intend to continue this incessant clucking until the sky has fallen on our heads?!!! Bird brains!


  11. Bush Tea November 24, 2015 at 3:17 PM #

    @ Donna
    …and what do you suggest as an alternative THAT CAN BE ACHIEVED by brass bowls?
    …like all empty vessels, we are best at making uncoordinated shiite noises….


  12. Donna November 24, 2015 at 3:27 PM #

    It is sooooo annoying I can hardly stand it! Clucking away and fighting over a handful of scratch grain with no idea of the vastness that exists beyond the barnyard. In the scheme of things how prestigious is it to be Prime Minister of this barnyard?


  13. Artaxerxes November 24, 2015 at 4:30 PM #

    Bush Tea November 24, 2015 at 3:17 PM #

    “…like all empty vessels, we are best at making uncoordinated shiite noises….”

    I could not agree with Bushie more, especially against the background that yard-fowls feel proud to celebrate the ONLY ACHIEVEMENT of this DLP administration during the past 7 years…… the completion of a polyclinic on which CONSTRUCTION STARTED 30 YEARS AGO, and naming it after an unscrupulous individual.

    These yard-fowls should hang their heads in shame when there are situations where:

    The former Beautify Barbados employees are still AWAITING their SEVERANCE PAYMENTS after being RETRENCHED OVER ONE YEAR AGO.

    After Stuart ADMITTED there were “procedural missteps” relative to the retrenchment of NCC employees and subsequently referring the matter to a non-existent ERT.


    Barbadians have been EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES IN RECEIVING their MATERNITY, SICKNESS and UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS and the NIS admitting they have a “back log” of over 20,000 claims.

    Money could not be found to fulfill these obligations, but Stuart could find funds to instruct Sinckler to send US$100,000 to Dominica and to complete the polyclinic.


  14. Exclaimer November 24, 2015 at 5:26 PM #

    For a country to measure their true worth it is imperative that they use all of their analytical tools at their disposal in order to objectively measure and compare their system against all others. When a country and a government refuses to carry out such initiatives in order to get a true picture of the state of the domestic affairs of their country; then, that country is left with a void which can only be filled with myths and lies.

    The myths and lies that have gained ground in Barbados over the last twenty years have lulled her population into a complacent and a vegetated state. This nonsense that Barbados represented the centre of the Caribbean or the Rome of the region was one of the biggest myths perpetuated by consecutive governments and lapped up by a docile and infantile population.

    The so-called good times were in reality a pre-cursor for a famine in perpetuity which we are now witnessing.

    Take a look at my first paragraph. We may foolishly believe that we are miles ahead of our African brothers and sisters. However for the wise ones amongst us, Africa for all of her faults has been making great exaggerated strides in a forward direction. Whilst within the Caribbean region, particularly Barbados we have been moving in the opposite direction.

    I would instruct you to watch the video link below which paints out clearly how far behind we are in the Caribbean with our leaders. The Kenya President Kenyatta has just made an extraordinary address to his people stating how his government will root out corruption in their country. I was close to tears as I listened to his address, in the knowledge that we do not have anyone of his standing within our region and that the issue of corruption within our region is not even on our politician’s radar.

    As for me I have already set in train my position. I am on the point of renouncing the whole region called the Caribbean. As we regress; Africa progresses.


  15. bajans November 25, 2015 at 12:27 AM #

    I dont know how this St. John Polyclinic is supposed to serve St. Joseph. How are the people going to get there? There is no direct bus service to that area from anywhere in the Parish. Most times the bus does not even turn up. Poor people will have to take two buses and there is no short-cut. They will have to go to town and then take another bus. In all we are looking at at least one and a half hours if not two. Bad location. It should have been in St. George. Putting it in St. John is equivalent to putting it on Horse Hill and tell St. John people to go there.


  16. David November 25, 2015 at 3:34 AM #


    The government is responsible for designing bus routes, nothing the minister cannot approve with the stroke of a pen. This is where the MPs for areas on the East side will be able to make a contribution for their salary.


  17. Alvin Cummins November 25, 2015 at 8:11 PM #

    It is customary for patients in St. Joseph, going to a polyclinic, to go to the Maurice Byer. There is a bus that goes there from Bathsheba.


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