2015 Year in Review

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Group


Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales

Dr. Ralph Gonzalves

Within the region, our strongest economy, Trinidad and Tobago, appears to be facing unexpected challenges because of falling oil prices. This reality has forced the Central Bank to review growth predictions downward. Coupled with widespread state corruption and an election that will reveal the ugliest use of the dollar bill to buy votes; it is sadly obvious that T and T seems set for more malfeasance and stupidity in its governance.

In Guyana the President has created a constitutional crisis by attempting to run the country while ignoring parliament, for his glaringly nefarious political objectives. We are aware and have warned that the longer race continues to dominate Guyana’s politics, the longer it would take for this potentially great country to confront and eradicate its socio-economic problems.

Mahogany Coconut Group 12/28/14

As we look back on 2015, we are convinced that the change of governments in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago represents the most positive political development in the region. MCG believes that without these two changes, the entire Caribbean would have sunk into a stage of utter corruption and political paralysis. We hope that the new administrations will move swiftly to halt and eradicate the corruption that was very rampant in these two countries.

The return to office of Dr. Ralph Gonzalves, for the fourth consecutive term in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is also worthy of comment. While we congratulate the former fire brand socialist on his astonishing achievement, we cannot overlook some of the more troubling issues that were present during the campaign. While we are not here to be moral police; we believe that those who are elevated to state leadership must be held to higher standards of behavior. We say no more at this time!

The picture we painted at the end of 2014 remains. Most economies are still struggling and the International Monetary Fund is assisting some countries with balance of payment challenges. No exciting visionary leaders have emerged and the love of party and political patronage continues to take precedence over national development.

However, we must support the call of Dr.Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, to stop abuse in all forms against our children. Too many children are losing their lives through violence and sheer lack of supervision. Sexual predators are being given slaps on the wrist. We are submitting that all crimes against children should have a minimum of ten years imprisonment.

Unless we deal with environmental issues and crime, the region cannot move forward. We call on all law enforcement agencies to be ruthless and swift in eliminating crime. Our communities must be returned to reservoirs of safety. Poverty is no excuse for criminal behaviour and we will not condone what are essentially acts of social terrorism, on the grounds that governments are not doing enough to eliminate poverty.

We are also equally concerned that the rich and affluent are engaged in robbing regional treasuries out of vital foreign exchange by hiding large sums of money outside of the region. White collar criminals must be brought to justice. We are still shocked that the rascals who plundered the investments of policy holders of CLICO have not felt the coldness of a prison cell. We cannot expect to imprison the man/woman on the block for shop lifting or smoking a joint while multimillionaires enjoy their ill gotten gains and life styles, without paying the penalties. We are therefore firm in our belief that justice has not been done. We again call for all those involved in robbing the policy owners of CLICO to be charged and brought to justice.

We welcome President Obama’s policies to do justice to the people of Cuba. Due to the sincere and revolutionary leadership of Comrade Fidel Castro, Cuba withstood all the atrocities against its great people. It should be an object lesson for the jokers masquerading throughout the region. Stand for something or fall for everything. We hail Comrade Castro and the people of Cuba on this victory.

May the Caribbean become closer and stronger in 2016.

William Skinner, Communications Director, MCG, 12/31/15

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67 Comments on “2015 Year in Review”

  1. Gabriel January 1, 2016 at 2:44 PM #

    The people must have a say in whether Barbados becomes a republic or nay.A referendum before a decision is made is our right.Look sharp nuff ‘o we would prefer a pre 1966 form of government if given a choice.Finance and Security are better reposed in a Government better able to fund development,services,border security and law and order.


  2. David January 1, 2016 at 3:14 PM #

    The 50 th Independence political rhetoric has started and we know it will be milked for maximum benefit for the DLP going into 2018.


  3. caribbeantradelaw January 1, 2016 at 7:19 PM #

    I enjoyed reading this piece. What is evident is that there is a myriad of challenges confronting the region and it is doubtful whether the current political class has the vision to come up with innovative solutions to these problems and charting a way forward. As for the 50th anniversary celebrations, I have never been a fan of symbolism and pageantry. I see it as nothing more than a waste of money which could go to more productive uses such as improving the level of service being provided at taxpayer supported institutions.


  4. David January 1, 2016 at 7:39 PM #

    There is nothing wrong with sowing the seeds of patriotism. However this 50th anniversary business is all politics.


  5. caribbeantradelaw January 1, 2016 at 7:52 PM #

    @David, I am a proud Barbadian and I don’t need a whole year of celebrations to remind me of the significance of reaching a half century as an independent nation. I think it is going to be a colossal waste of money and indeed the nostalgia does factor into re election prospects. But my major issue is with the wastage which these celebrations will invite at a time when the economy is still fragile.


  6. balance January 1, 2016 at 10:18 PM #

    Gabriel January 1, 2016 at 2:44 PM #

    The people must have a say in whether Barbados becomes a republic or nay.A referendum before a decision is made is our right.Look sharp nuff ‘o we would prefer a pre 1966 form of government if given a choice.Finance and Security are better reposed in a Government better able to fund development,services,border security and law and order.

    I strongly feel so too.


  7. balance January 1, 2016 at 10:23 PM #

    “David January 1, 2016 at 7:39 PM #

    There is nothing wrong with sowing the seeds of patriotism. However this 50th anniversary business is all politics”

    Gotta hand it again to the propaganda machine of the DEMS for making sure their election machine is not only oiled and ready but have a leg up with this election gimmick involving colossal spending in the name of Independence


  8. David January 2, 2016 at 1:02 AM #

    2015 Year in Review for Caribbean Region: Triumph, Tragedy and Hope

    by caribbeantradelaw

    Alicia Nicholls 2015 has been a year of both triumph and tragedy for the countries which make up the Caribbean region. This article reviews some of the major political, diplomatic and socio-economic challenges and gains experienced by the Region in 2015, many of which would have been covered on this blog throughout the year. It also […]

    Read more of this post


  9. Well Well & Consequences2 January 2, 2016 at 4:00 AM #

    Colossal spending and wastage of taxpayer’s money, none of which they own.


  10. William Skinner January 2, 2016 at 9:01 AM #

    The anti-republic sentiments represent a departure from nationalism. The importance of removing the queen as the head of state of our sovereign nation cannot be over stated. There is no self respecting nationalist, who would want to oppose ridding our country of a decadent monarchy that engaged in fleecing these islands for their gain .
    As for the 50th anniversary independence celebrations, I concur that any elaborate expenditure is the wrong way to go. This year should be about educating our citizens about sacrifice and the importance of contributing to the national good. Of course, we can expect the political hatchet bearers from both the BLP and DLP to oppose and agree on party grounds. This whole year should be a commitment to national renewal and not excessive nonsense.


  11. caribbeantradelaw January 2, 2016 at 9:38 AM #

    @William Skinner, I concur with both of your arguments. I also support the removal of the Queen as our titular head of state. The concept of an independent nation retaining a foreign entity as a HOS never made sense to me even when I was a child. But too many of us Barbadians like holding on to other peoples’ coat tails and values so I should not be surprised at the opposition which any move towards a republic would occasion.


  12. David January 2, 2016 at 9:59 AM #

    @William and Alicia

    Those who argue against relinquishing this vestige from a colonial past suggest the Offshore Sector will be negatively impacted given the Commonwealth network / relationship that has embedded itself in our landscape.


  13. Hants January 2, 2016 at 10:40 AM #

    The “Queen” is a major tourist attraction for England and a proven “profit centre”.

    Barbados should become a republic and a Barbadian should be head of state.


  14. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 10:41 AM #

    Not a lawyer so googling again.

    I would like to see somewhere the advantages/disadvantages of Barbados becoming a Republic? What do we lose or gain? How does the ordinary man benefit? Does it have any impact on checks and balances (if any) in our justice system.

    I believe that even in marriage, there are some legal changes in moving from common law marriage to holy matrimony.There must be more to this than someone uttering the words “I now proclaim you a Republic”.


  15. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 10:52 AM #

    Let me begin by stating that I enjoyed the article.

    The one thing that jumped out when I read this article was that there was no mention of Jamaica. How can this be? I see a departure form the formula of mentioning Guyana, T&T, Barbados, Jamaica and throwing in a small island or two.

    Interestingly, Forbes has named Jamaica as one of the world worst economies for years, but for 2015 Forbes “ranked Jamaica as the third best country in the combined Latin America and Caribbean region in which to do business, but placed Jamaica at 115th for its heavy tax burden”.


  16. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 11:02 AM #

    Oops that was 2014 data … Looking for the recent positive comment Forbes made about Jamaica.


  17. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 11:13 AM #

    I think Jamaica is still ranked ahead of all others in the region for 2015.

    Meanwhile Bloomberg News had this to say for Jamaica 2015


  18. William Skinner January 2, 2016 at 11:20 AM #

    @ David, Hants , The Gazer

    I respectfully submit that I am yet to read or hear any convincing argument against our country becoming a Republic. Most of the opposing views are essentially politically biased or steeped in pure colonial rhetoric. Quite frankly I do not even see the need for any referendum. The Prime Minister should seek a parliamentary vote and if it fails so be it. To this day I cannot understand why former Prime Minister Owen Arthur backed down form the pledge he had made to Barbados’ becoming a republic.


  19. caribbeantradelaw January 2, 2016 at 11:32 AM #

    @David, Trinidad & Tobago is a Commonwealth country so is Dominica. Becoming a republic does not preclude a state from being a part of the Commonwealth of Nations.


  20. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 11:41 AM #

    Besides doing my own googling, my posting was a search for more information about the differences in the two systems . There may be others in the same boat as me.

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

    Of course we can substitute rose and sweet with other words.


  21. caribbeantradelaw January 2, 2016 at 11:42 AM #

    I fully support Republican status and I would suggest that such a move be coupled with a complete reform of our Constitution and with passing legislation to add more robust checks and balances:

    A) Finally giving the Auditor General some teeth so his annual reports are no longer simply a mere formality.

    B) Have a more robust system for ensuring transparency in the awarding of contracts.

    C) Freedom of information legislation and the long promised integration legislation

    D) Making declaration of assets a requirement for public officials

    I could go on but these would be a start.


  22. caribbeantradelaw January 2, 2016 at 11:44 AM #

    *integrity legislation


  23. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 11:50 AM #

    That was a great start.
    It differentiates between the two beasts and would be more than a “name change”.


  24. David January 2, 2016 at 12:13 PM #


    The Republics you mentioned and others in the region do not have a heavy concentration of IBCs and captive insurance companies domiciled.


  25. caribbeantradelaw January 2, 2016 at 12:20 PM #

    @David, I would be most shocked if having the British monarch as our head of state is a motivating factor for companies which incorporate in Barbados as offshore entities. Also note that Labuan island in Malaysia is a leading offshore financial centre in Southeast Asia and Malaysia does not have the British monarch but their own monarch as head of state.


  26. David January 2, 2016 at 12:27 PM #


    Do you want to compare a low tax no tax jurisdiction to the Barbados offering?


  27. Mahogany Coconut Group January 2, 2016 at 12:35 PM #

    The Gazer,
    Thanks for the compliment. When MCG speaks of some countries struggling with balance of payments issues and seeking the help of the IMF, Jamaica is one of those countries. MCG monitors the entire region and you are absolutely correct, when you stated that there is need to look at other islands outside of TandT, Guyana, JA and Bdos. Please feel free to suggest other ideas as we continue our quest for one Caribbean Nation.


  28. caribbeantradelaw January 2, 2016 at 12:44 PM #

    @David, what makes us attractive as a domicile is our low taxes, political stability and the quality of our infrastructure and human resource. I hardly think having the queen as our hos is a determinant for the many canadian firms which decide to make Barbados their domicile of choice for offshore operations. I have heard some monarchists say that having the queen is a stabilising force. A flawed argument as far as I am concerned when one considers that the queen is an apolitical figure.


  29. Ping Pong January 2, 2016 at 1:30 PM #

    Politicians are shameless. When Owen Arthur proposed adopting Republican status for Barbados, the DLP promised to canvas against it. Now Stuart wants to adopt Republican status. I will not be surprised if the BLP objects.

    I supported the views of the late Professor McIntosh of Cave Hill who argued that Barbados was already a republic albeit with a monarch as the ceremonial head of state. Changing to a republic should be a simple and inexpensive exercise.

    Pass some omnibus law which states that wherever reference in law is made to the monarch then the office of President is substituted, change the office of Governor-General to President and draw a line through any official stationary that contains reference to the monarchy e.g. royal this or that or her majesty’s this or that, etc and voila …we are a republic!


  30. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 1:32 PM #

    The search feature which Is given just above BU’s motto allowed me to peruse some of the past postings on becoming a Republic (as it relates to Barbados).

    I have been able to follow some of the suggestion made by others, but I am wondering if the Nation, Barbados, is fully aware of all of the implications in moving from one form of government to another,

    In looking at the postings, it seems as if it MORE than replacing one car tyre by another. It appears as if being a Republic can come with an engine attached to the new tyre. Also, this discussion has been ongoing for quite some time and this sudden acceleration from a tortoise to a hare’s pace has me puzzled.

    I hope the discussants are able to fledge out their responses so that those of us lacking the swiftness of the hare (or who are not ‘club members’) can follow the discussion, even if we are unable to contribute in a meaningful way.

    PS: As I was typing, I see that Ping Pong ios saying it is just a tyre change or a rose by another name.

    Con fused again.


  31. TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    The point I am making is that we are all using the words “a Republic”, but they mean different things to different folks. I think we should all have the same understanding as we move forward.


  32. David January 2, 2016 at 2:06 PM #


    It should be more than a tyre change. The government however is using it to win an election.


  33. balance January 2, 2016 at 2:48 PM #

    “Due to the sincere and revolutionary leadership of Comrade Fidel Castro, Cuba withstood all the atrocities against its great people. It should be an object lesson for the jokers masquerading throughout the region. Stand for something or fall for everything. We hail Comrade Castro and the people of Cuba on this victory.”
    Of what victory do you speak my friend. you mean a victory of oppression by a privileged class over the majority. Nothing more than brassbowlery to indoctrinate small minds.The people of Cuba have been oppressed for over fifty years and that is why they risk their lives in shark infested waters to seek better elsewhere. After fifty years of the goodness of the revolution; people still have to go to little shops with a little book to have it marked for three loaves of bread. Gimme a break. The Cuban masses were sold out by Mr Obama.


  34. are-we-there-yet January 2, 2016 at 3:38 PM #

    I have little knowledge of the ramifications of republican status as compared with our present monarchial system and therefore I would have to see that comparison made in a detailed manner that includes how it would be expected to affect all aspects of life and development in Barbados as well as the costs (hidden and otherwise) of changing our status.

    I would be totally for a Republican system if it meant a concomitant overhaul of our political, legal and governmental system that would, eg:

    Give the people a greater say and ability to recall Governments like the current one

    Detail impeachment procedures for malfeances

    Set up term limits for politicians

    Instutionalize meaningful and actionable Codes of Conduct for Politicians and Senior Government Officers

    Ensure that meaningful anti corruption legislation and systems are in place before the new system is instituted

    Have a non-political body overseeing Elections and ensuring that the Government purse alone funds elections,

    etc. etc.

    In addition, I consider that this current administration under Freundal Stuart has done so much damage to Barbados that I think that this Government should be banned from itself instituting a Republican form of Government and that if he wins another term republicanism should be postponed for al least 1 term.

    If Republicanism could mean the effecting of wide ranging changes that would ensure (to the extent possible) that the degrading actions like Cahill, etc, would not be possible under its banner, It would be a good thing. Inability to guarantee such should ring the death bell to the self-seeking calls for republicanism here


  35. Mahogany Coconut Group January 2, 2016 at 3:41 PM #

    @ Balance,
    It is obvious that you are not in full custody of the facts. As you speak comedian Trevor Eastmond is trying to get surgery in Cuba; Cuba has sent thousands of doctors to the poorest regions of the world; Cuba has a more advanced health care system than most other Caribbean islands; dozens of Barbadians have had eye care surgery in Cuba; in spite of all the atrocities, Cuba is still a competitive tourist destination and I could go on and on. Please avail yourself of the progress made in Cuba under Comrade Castro’s leadership and the fact that it has survived the attempts to destroy the will of the Cuban people. Kindly name one Caribbean leader who has given such visionary leadership to his or her people.


  36. Vincent Haynes January 2, 2016 at 5:16 PM #

    @TheGazer January 2, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    You are correct this discussion has been ongoing for years,I too asked some time ago to give the pros and cons of republicanism and through that I was hoping to glean the type of Republic that is intended for us.

    As far as I am aware you can make the status of a republic mean anything you want it to mean from a simple change of status without the queen as HOS or to a meaningfull exercise with a new constitution(ours is supposedly lost) with teeth like what Alicia proposed.

    We simply do not know what it entails and we need to know before we go any further.


  37. balance January 3, 2016 at 4:21 AM #

    “Mahogany Coconut Group January 2, 2016 at 3:41 PM #

    @ Balance,
    It is obvious that you are not in full custody of the facts. As you speak comedian Trevor Eastmond is trying to get surgery in Cuba; Cuba has sent thousands of doctors to the poorest regions of the world; Cuba has a more advanced health care system than most other Caribbean islands; dozens of Barbadians have had eye care surgery in Cuba; in spite of all the atrocities, Cuba is still a competitive tourist destination and I could go on and on. Please avail yourself of the progress made in Cuba under Comrade Castro’s leadership and the fact that it has survived the attempts to destroy the will of the Cuban people. Kindly name one Caribbean leader who has given such visionary leadership to his or her people.”

    Balderdash if I may be forgiven for using a word frequently used by the late Mrs Jeanette Clarke.
    Cuba has always been in the forefront of advanced health care (have you ever heard of Dr Carlos Finlay) moreso than most countries in the world long before the tyrant Mr Castro took power and took away the rights of the people by trumpeting such issues as health care as successes of the revolution. If you say that like in most countries such as the mighty USA it wasn’t accessible to all -such as is still the case in Cuba today from my own observation- but there have been improvements in this aspect of health care delivery then we are on the same page.
    With regard to sending Doctors overseas and the much touted eye care surgery. The reasons were self-serving and intended to boost the image of the regime from one of terror to one with a mother Theresa like face. With their policy spearheaded by his erstwhile colleague Che Guevara to install communist dictatorships in Latin America defeated by the fascist regimes in those countries compounded by the withdrawal of the support of the Soviet Socialist Republic under Gorbachev ; there was no other choice left to the tyrants than to change course and show a kindler gentler face to attract the attention of the wider Caribbean for whom they had little regard when they were shitting in high grass doing the bidding of Russia and aided and abetted by the crumbs which fell from the Russian table.
    Cuba train people with no upward mobility within their own system possible so sending doctors and nurses overseas is a means of obtaining foreign exchange through the backdoor as well.
    Yes. Cuba is a much travelled to destination for Italians and Latin Americans through the joint venture relationships in hotels and hotel management and other tourism related activities which exist between the regime and businesses from those countries. So the Cuban market is heavily promoted -like we do in North America and Europe – in Italy and Latin America who speak the same language which is another plus.
    For the Canadians and a lesser extent Americans because they had to travel clandestinely there is a lot of traffic because for one it is cheaper to travel there and accommodation is cheap as well. The value of their dollar though cut in recent times by the imposition of the tax on US Currency is worth more. Hotels are available at good prices all of over the country and generally of a good standard if -except for the international hotels fully managed at a high level- a little run down because of the inability to provide maintenance in timely fashion. Service in hotels is generally par excellence.
    After saying all that I do not believe that the opening up of Cuba will be any threat to Barbados; Cuba as I tried to point out has their niche visitors and Barbados will always have theirs. The threat to Barbados lies not with the opening up of Cuba but mismanagement of the industry, manufactured world recession or health issues.
    The only destruction of the will of the Cuban people has been by the tyrants who rule Cuba up to this day in co-operation with the USA. Not passing strange that every regime which has been a cause of concern to the great satan over the years has been overthrown except the tyrants in Cuba who have now been given a free pass for their acquiescence in allowing the Cuban people to be an experiment for the new world order. Wonder what Mr Commissiong, Mr Denny and Mr Bobby Clarke are saying now. Will they like the Mr or Mrs Mahogany misinformed group still continue to spout their biased anti-American rhetoric vis a vis the triumphs of the mythical regime. The system of governance in Cuba could be a perfect portrayal of the scenario described in the book ‘Animal farm’. a few living high off the hog at the expense of the rest.
    I can name several Caribbean leaders of yore who have given their countries visionary leadership but sticking closer to home and a country with little resources as well I will name two because I cannot name one without the other – Sir Grantley Adams and Errol Barrow.
    Here endeth the lesson.


  38. ac January 3, 2016 at 7:24 AM #


    A very long dialogue of what is right with Cuba . It would also be of interest to the BU household if you to apply an unbiased and well researched article on what is wrong with Cuba ,including the Castro policies and its affect on the Cuban people,


  39. David January 3, 2016 at 10:12 AM #

    Prime Minster Fruendel Stuart has been replaced by the PM of Belize, what can we point to by way of legacy of Stuart for the year he was in the Chair? Alicia thanks for covering these issues. Can you share with us if Stuart issued goals on assuming the Chair for 2015 so that we can measure?


  40. caribbeantradelaw January 3, 2016 at 10:49 AM #

    @David, thanks to you as well! That’s a very good question. PM Stuart assumed chairmanship from July-December 2015, just before the 36th HOG Conference. His opening address is here where he discussed some of the successes, challenges facing the community and outlined some of the things they hoped to achieve on the foreign policy front: http://www.nationnews.com/digital_assets/37/Prime-Minister's-ADDRESS—Caricom-2015.pdf I would say 2015 was a good year for CARICOM on the foreign policy front and I suspect that “feel good” momentum should help give the integration movement the push it needs. PM Stuart also noted this in his end of year message as CARICOM chair, which you could view here: http://today.caricom.org/wp-content/uploads/End-of-year-message.doc


  41. Mahogany Coconut Group January 3, 2016 at 10:56 AM #

    @ balance,
    Thanks for supporting our position on Cuba re :healthcare and tourism
    @ ac,
    We are certain that you can do a well researched paperon all that is wrong with Cuba. Do take time to also do some on: Barbados, Canada and the USA


  42. David January 3, 2016 at 10:57 AM #

    Thanks Alicia, would like to see greater strides with domestic trade, strengthening of regional regulatory and rationalizing affordable regional travel.


  43. caribbeantradelaw January 3, 2016 at 11:07 AM #

    @David, I share your hopes. Truth is foreign policy coordination and functional cooperation have generally been the areas in which the regional integration movement have been strongest. It’s always the political and economic integration areas where we have lagged behind, especially in regards to implementation. Let’s hope 2016 will see some improvement on this front.


  44. David January 3, 2016 at 11:14 AM #

    Pat Hoyos addresses the 50 year priority project of the government. Not much wrong with his view.



  45. caribbeantradelaw January 3, 2016 at 11:25 AM #

    Pat Hoyos is a journalist I have a lot of time for. Excellent analysis as usual.


  46. Sargeant January 3, 2016 at 12:36 PM #

    I must admit that I scratched my head when I read about the school closing to kick off the start of the 50th year celebration of Independence.

    I wonder whose brainchild this was? Why not close down the whole damn island too? It is monumentally stupid maybe Jones should go back and read the book that he edited – what Barrow said “we think that people develop by ostentation, by showing off, not by developing people”.


  47. William Skinner January 3, 2016 at 3:07 PM #

    @ David, Sargeant,
    Why are we surprised that the 50th will be celebrated in this manner? Elections in Barbados are now are now reduced to fetes and entertainment as well. So expect much of the same. “Fete can’t done”


  48. David January 3, 2016 at 3:14 PM #


    It is what the people in an ‘engaged’ democracy want. The scary thing is that it matters not the level of education attained.


  49. William Skinner January 3, 2016 at 4:09 PM #

    @ David,
    There is always an excuse. The simple truth is that we really don’t want to face the realities that confront us. It is really an intellectual/academic/political con game. Any administration that gives our school children a day off to attend a concert is obviously not serious about true independence celebrations. It would have made more sense if the schools had been preparing a pageant or some form of cultural presentation and it was culminating with a presentation in Independence square. But to kick off the celebrations with the gift of a a day to jump up is blatant stupidity. This is really not about education, this is about common sense.


  50. Vincent Haynes January 3, 2016 at 4:50 PM #

    @David January 3, 2016 at 3:14 PM #

    You got that one right…….what further proof do you require after seeing the turnout for that water protest in St.Joseph………we like it so and it looks like another term for this govt. whenever elections are called.


  51. David January 3, 2016 at 4:52 PM #


    This is really not about education, this is about common sense [popularity].

    Note the edit.


  52. Ping Pong January 4, 2016 at 7:49 AM #

    The coming year (2016) is significant as the year in which Barbados celebrates 50 years of independence. This comes at a time of great challenges and concerns about our economy and society. I believe that our leadership should not only review the past year but the past 50 years not to engage in narcissistic ‘trips down memory lane” but to identify our strengths and our weaknesses, our opportunities and our threats as we go forward into the next 50 years. I hope that in 2016 there will be a resetting of our national values and norms. I hope that a national discussion will occur with the purpose of setting a national agenda for the next 50 years. The Barbados of 2016 cannot be the Barbados of 1966. If that were so then that would be testimony of the failure of the country to advance.

    It thus with some alarm that the Government chooses to start 2016 with a another hastily arranged fete. Is our leadership no longer sober and thoughtful but now seemingly hedonistic, self indulgent and recklessly carefree?

    I believe that the activities planned for Wednesday is the wrong way to START the commemoration of the 50th year of independence. We should start with a national day of thankful prayer, a commitment to the cleaning up of the environment and a commitment to each other to be “our brother’s keeper”. The party can come later.


  53. David January 4, 2016 at 8:24 AM #

    Minister McClean reads the blog, let us hope she has been reading.


  54. Bush Tea January 4, 2016 at 8:26 AM #

    Excellent perspective Ping Pong.
    …except it should be a day of sackcloth and ashes ….in respect of issues such as CLICO, disgraceful behaviours by persons like the Speaker, former PM, current CAHILL scamps, dishonesty at ALL levels of the society and unprecedented levels of NASTINESS throughout toe society.
    WE however do not have the quality of leadership in ANY organisation in Barbados to lead such thinking, so you can bet that 2016 will see mucho grass all over our donkeys…


  55. William Skinner January 4, 2016 at 8:58 AM #

    @ Ping Pong,
    ” I hope that in 2016 there will be a resetting of our national values and norms. I hope that a national discussion will occur with the purpose of setting a national agenda for the next 50 years. The Barbados of 2016 cannot be the Barbados of 1966.”

    Great post: In other words we cannot produce a citizen to take on 2016 and beyond with an educational system that is geared toward the 1970s . This is a point that progressive thinkers have been making for nearly 40 years. When I hear or read people talking about our “excellent” education system, I am at a lost as to what they are talking about.
    Your point about setting a national agenda for the nest 50 years is also taken. In other words if there was a plan to systematically replace old water mains over a 10 or 15 year period, we would not be suffering the water woes. And so it is with everything. No proper planning for road maintenance etc etc.
    What we have refused to accept is that sometimes it takes a generation for proper planning to reveal its full benefits. So we tinker here and we tinker there and the infrastructure continues to collapse.
    The water problems in St.Joseph cannot be Dr. Estwick’s fault.After all he has been a minister for not yet 10 years and the mains are over a 100 years old. And now we have the spectacle of politicians going up there pretending that they did not know that the old mains were there when they were in office.
    Once more BLP and DLP nonsense. Both of these parties and their lack of vision have effectively ruined Barbados.


  56. Ping Pong January 4, 2016 at 9:51 AM #

    @Bush Tea

    We can’t give up. We can’t allow a belief in Christian eschatology to cause a cynical throwing up our hands. Why preach the Word if all is lost? We grow old and tire more easily but I should like to share the words of the Guyanese poet Martin Carter…

    Death of a Comrade

    Death must not find us thinking that we die
    too soon, too soon
    our banner draped for you
    I would prefer
    the banner in the wind
    Not bound so tightly
    in a scarlet fold
    not sodden, sodden
    with your people’s tears
    but flashing on the pole
    we bear aloft
    down and beyond this dark, dark lane of rags.
    Now, from the mourning vanguard moving on
    dear Comrade, I salute you and I say
    Death will not find us thinking that we die.

    @William Skinner

    I don’t pretend to have the answers but I believe that from the over 270 000 Barbadians the “answers” must exist. Maybe the one good thing about the present crisis is that the value of the failing sacred cows is much reduced and we may thus be emboldened to try new ways. If the returns on the investment in say our present education system continue to fall then the time is fast approaching when change is irrefutable.


  57. Donna January 4, 2016 at 10:09 AM #

    Ping Pong,

    The masses want to party because when they party they forget their troubles for a while. The politicians know that and will provide them with the party. Serious issues? Discussion? Are you kidding me? Politicians don’t want us to THINK!


  58. Donna January 4, 2016 at 10:26 AM #

    Don’t know about you folks but I have been living in a “republic” in my mind for a long time. All it needs really is for the government to include the public in the discussions in a meaningful way, parish by parish, and move forward with it. If a serious attempt to move the country forward with education and engagement is made; if the celebrations are not all about celebrating but the awakening of our citizenry to new possibilities and a new approach then it would be a good thing. But if it is all about meaningless pomp and pageantry and the writing of Froonie’s name on history’s page it would be a serious waste of resources.

    I will not be distracted from the main issues in this country which have nothing to do with the queen (since she is a figurehead) but are about those who govern in her name and often do more to keep the masses enslaved than free them.

    Free the people, Froonie! Give us that integrity legislation you promised! Untie our hands! Free us so we can cut the corrupt politicians loose!

    Then the history books will laud you in earnest!


  59. Donna January 4, 2016 at 10:31 AM #

    Ping Pong,

    I have always found that to throw one’s hands in the air because of what the Bible says is a cop out. We are not instructed to give up but to continue to press for justice against all odds. What happens after we try is out of our control but we must do what we can.


  60. Ping Pong January 4, 2016 at 10:38 AM #


    no argument from me.


  61. William Skinner January 4, 2016 at 2:46 PM #

    @ Ping Pong, Donna,
    “Bad things happen when good people do nothing.” Keep up the fight…victory is always in sight.


  62. are-we-there-yet January 4, 2016 at 2:55 PM #

    2015 was, to my mind, the year in which the guard was emphatically passed from the remnants of my parent’s generation to my children’s own. I’ve now fully accepted that 2016 and beyond is not about me or my generation (those of us still surviving are all pensioners with not much more to contribute to the country than the allowances which the Freundal Stuart administration is taking from our meagre pensions ) but about how our children and their children’s children will live and survive in this new age of almost incomprehensible technology and likely overweening service to self by those that will lead them. I therefore think that what is needed in the review of 2015 is the teasing out of the occurrences that will be most influential on their lives in 2016 and beyond.

    I don’t think the portents are good.

    This year has started with a crass attempt by the Freundal Stuart administration to push a project whose main purpose is to perpetuate the hold that the DLP now has on the Government and to implement the elevation of Freundal Stuart to the history books as the father of the future Republic of Barbados to join, according to his own statement, Errol Barrow, the father of Independence and Owen Arthur, the Father of something grand which I can’t even recall.

    Errol Barrow made a great contribution to the country outside of leading the fight for independance and so too did Owen Arthur in economic management in his years at the helm. On the other hand, Freundal Stuart’s administration will go down in history as the worst one we have ever inflicted on ourselves, with Freundal Stuart himself displaying an unmatched poverty in leadership in respect of any yardstick that might be chosen.

    The year long strategic celebration of our 50th year of Independance and the concomitant thrust for our elevation to republican status are therefore patent ploys by the Government to distract the country from the above realization and lull us into acceptance of another term for them when every effort and resource should instead be concentrated on getting us out of the morass that has been largely created by them.

    Republicanism might be a good thing for Barbados but not as it appears to have been framed at present. If our leaders can identify how Republicanism will improve the lot of the majority of our citizens and correct many of the ills identified in the past 50 years It should be pursued carefully and deliberately and certainly not within the next 2 years.

    So 2015 was characterized by two main happenings which, imho, could be most influential re. governance in this country in the future.

    The most important of these was the possibility of our taking on republican status without it being the resultant of the groundswell of the people’s wishes but rather a strategy for deifying a failed leader and for extending the rule of the current lot.

    The next most important was the lessons enshrined in the Cahill affair which, to me, suggested that a Government that cared little for normal checks and balances was able to survive by a policy of non-engagement with its publics in this most important of projects. Such survival sends the wrong messages to Governments in waiting and must be nipped in the bud in such a way that future governments will be unwilling to take such a path again.


  63. Donna January 4, 2016 at 5:21 PM #

    Maxine reads the blogs, David said.


    Is this all you have become? Really?


  64. Hants January 4, 2016 at 7:48 PM #

    It makes no sense to have a year long celebration of “Independence” if Barbados does not become a Republic on November 30th 2016.


  65. Bush Tea January 4, 2016 at 8:26 PM #

    @ Hants
    It makes no sense to have a year long celebration of “Independence” when we are dependent on foreigners for…
    ..decent hotels

    Shiite man… we even depended on Usain Bolt to provide a name worthy to be placed on Sir Cave Hilary’s new sports centre…

    Independence shiite….
    Is that not like taking charge of your OWN destiny?
    We must really be celebrating a return to DEPENDENCE and mendicancy….


  66. are-we-there-yet January 4, 2016 at 10:15 PM #


    I think you’re right.
    That must be the plan.


    I think you’re also right. But that realization is way beyond the grasp of our Leaders.



  1. Barbados Through the Eyes of a Senior Citizen | Barbados Underground - January 4, 2016

    […] to the 2015 Year in Review blog by […]


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