The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The New Republic

Jeff Cumberbatch - New Chairman of the FTC

Jeff Cumberbatch – New Chairman of the FTC

It would appear as if the aspirations of those seemingly very few of us who harbour “high hopes” of our nation assuming formal constitutional republican status in our fiftieth year of independent statehood have been dashed by the recent prime ministerial announcement that there is the likelihood of a Royal visit in November this year. Of course, there may well be those constant “republicans” who will hopefully view this as indicative confirmation of a break with the British monarchy, and liken the proposed visit to that of the royal couple who attended our first Independence ceremony in 1966.

There may be some force in this reasoning. After all, the visit of British [I assume] royalty to our fiftieth anniversary celebration of a break from Britain does seem particularly incongruous, but I prefer to err with the view that this may simply be good old Barbadian hospitality and, since the royal family is the bloodline in which our executive authority formally resides currently, it would be bad manners not to invite its representation at our jubilee celebrations.

In other words, the announcement was, if nothing else, decidedly cryptic, and more so given the occasion and audience. So I shall continue my musings today on the likelihood of our becoming a constitutional republic, much, maybe, like the ant in the song… that thought that he could move a rubber tree plant. Fortunately, my sentiment for the change does not depend on mere political whimsy.

As I noted in this space last week, a significant amount of the opposition to “Republicanism” –I use the capital R advisedly, as will become apparent later- is owed to partisan political sentiment, and I refer to both of the occasions on which the respective parties touted the notion. This apart, there may be a few who are still wedded to the phenomenon of monarchy, although not a localized version of the concept that would, in any event, contravene our constitutional ethos of egalitarianism.

However, there are also those who simply have no idea of what republicanism means, and do not care to find out. Simply put, it is a form of governance where supreme power resides in the people and is exercised through their elected representatives in accordance with law. Thus republicanism is clearly our current practical reality; all that is needed –what I call the irreducible minimum- to achieve the formal Constitutional process of “Republicanism” is the express location of formal executive authority under the Constitution in a native head of state.

Nonetheless, the amalgamation of these various dissenting groups does present formidable numerical, if scarcely rational, opposition to the process. When their counter is not premised on the minutiae of appointing the local executive authority –will he or she be elected or selected? By whom or what? For how long? -; there is the issue of timing and prioritization –not now in our current economic state; not with this Government; not before everyone has a guaranteed reliable supply of running water in his or her household; not yet; the financial costs –of altering the names of places and institutions; of creating new letterheads; and of changing legislative documents and contracts, [one wag even suggested we would have to renegotiate ratified treaties]. In respect of this last, one recalls Oscar Wilde’s definition of a cynic – “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.

One argument that merits some consideration, however, is that of subjecting the entire process to a referendum. While this proposition may be, at first blush, irrefutable in the interest of direct democracy, there are, nevertheless, some factors that may substantially relegate this to a head count of opposition rather than it becoming the reasoned sophisticated conclusion that should attend our public affairs.

For instance, the question should be precisely put so as to avoid misunderstanding but, as some of us are aware, a question is not asked in a vacuum, but exists, rather, in a cloud of assumptions and (mis)understandings. In this regard, an apparently simple referendum such as “Should Barbados become a republic? Yes or No” could easily be converted into one of those questions in Latin that suggests the answer by the first word used. Presumably, most of those in favour of the change to formal status will vote “Yes”, although there may be some who would consider the question nonsensical since we are already a republic by convention.

However, the question appears predisposed to dissent, whether this is based on personal opposition to the idea, politically partisan sentiment because of the identity and propaganda of the proponents or opponents; sheer ignorance of the concept proposed; or merely the way in which the reference is formulated.

It may be argued that the general election process is not much different, but that, at least, is demanded by constitutional fiat. The referendum is not now part of our constitutional architecture and, always, the question begs asking, which political measures should be rendered subject to this process?

In the context of government, for examples, Independence was not, at least formally; accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice was not; and the existence and configuration of the Senate were not. Should we include then all taxation proposals; ambassadorial appointments; what should be taught at UWI; and which historical sites should be considered apt for preservation….?

A quotation from a former British politician on referenda is instructive. According to him, after making reference to their use by Hitler and Mussolini, “ I think referendums are fundamentally anti-democratic in our system…on the whole, governments only concede them when governments are weak…”

118 thoughts on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The New Republic

  1. Jeff

    No quarel with your definition of a Republic.

    Do you see anything wrong in presenting to the populi a vision as to how we shall differ from what we are today…..but then you said their is no difference as we are already a republic……so all we need is for the leaders to declare us a Republic…..the benefit then lies in the feel good factor…….hope I have read you correctly.

  2. [one wag even suggested we would have to renegotiate ratified treaties]. In respect of this last, one recalls Oscar Wilde’s definition of a cynic – “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.

    Oscar Wilde knew of what he was speaking and to which i concur and have found those words to be formidable and speaks of truth especially when in heated discourse with the opposition .They are “those” who say what can i do to make a difference and “those ” who reply with words of indifference
    Which takes my thoughts back to the meaning of Republicanism and a symbolism of freedom regulated by self worth and a determination for self governance without strings attached

    • @Bush Tea

      If we accept the issue of going a Republic is largely distilled through a political lens then there is merit to the argument that many will not make a decision based on a rational thinking.

    • @Vincent

      Theoretically what you are suggesting would be only one plank to build the platform of a new party on, also, the emergence of a new party must be built on a wider vision – your words.

  3. Steupsss…

    Anyhow, if even Einstein was forced to write an article every week, no doubt he would write some real shiite occasionally too… no one is perfect.

    The argument against a referendum is crass intellectual snobbery.
    It suggests that the ‘foolish people’ have no idea what the issue is really about; that it is too complex for their simple minds to understand….and should therefore be decided by their intellectual superiors…. largely You and Froon.

    Lotta shiite.

    The final paragraph, referencing what some ‘former British politician’ had to say, is another insult to our intelligence.
    …So anything used by Hitler, Mussolini or AC is now tainted as ‘anti democratic’ and weak…? That includes soap, public oratory, Government propaganda and sex?

    Give us a break Jeff man….. You are just lucky that Bushie is too old, too rich and too busy to be in one of your classes…. 🙂

  4. @ Jeff Cumberbatch:
    “Independence was not, at least formally; accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice was not; and the existence and configuration of the Senate were not. Should we include then all taxation proposals; ambassadorial appointments; what should be taught at UWI; and which historical sites should be considered apt for preservation….?”

    Aren’t you being a bit academically facetious here, Jeff?

    Barbados was a colony before Independence. There was No ‘indigenous’ Constitution. A people either fight for Independence or it is ‘given’ to them by the same colonizers for their own political or economic advantages as in the case of Barbados.

    If not by the way of the more democratically flavoured method of Referendum how would the change from the current monarchical form of Constitutional governance to “True” republicanism be effected without a two-thirds vote in the Lower House? Was the CCJ Amendment faced with this two-thirds dilemma?

    Are you ‘insinuating’ there has been a tacit agreement among the political class that a republican form government based on the necessary amendments to the existing Constitution will be thrust upon the people, come hell or high water in spite of the genuine feelings (informed or otherwise) of the majority of the people?

    What does that say about the billions of hardworking taxpayers’ dollars spent ‘educating’ a nation during the same 50 years of so-called Independence? Has that investment been a whole waste of resources?
    How does that reflect on the same UWI that (as it seems from the lack of confidence in the people’s ability to reason) has failed to produce a sufficient pool of critical thinkers (graduates) to make informed and reasonable decisions in respect of the country’s political status and preferred form of governance?

    What would happen should the Opposition NOT play ball behind the scenes and demand a Referendum before consenting to the change? Wouldn’t that reflect the sovereignty of the People as demonstrated on every occasion they are required to go to the polls to elect their Parliamentary representatives within the “First Pass the Poll” system with all its defects, flaws, warts and all?

    The current administration, in its push to formal republicanism, would be sitting on a solid base of integrity with the people’s support if a desire for a change in the governance system was included as a promise or policy proposal in the last manifesto or even if the promise of FOI and Integrity Legislation was genuinely followed through and fully implemented; Republicanism or No republicanism.

  5. @David January 17, 2016 at 8:56 AM #

    Going into a Republic status is a golden opportunity for a political party to offer by referendum or election guarantee a new constitution which dotts the “I”s & crossing the “T”s whilst adding from the myriad of points highlighted in the many studies.

    When I say election guarantee,I do not mean a manifesto but a signed legal undertaking,which some bright lawyer can attempt to make water tight.

    • How is supreme power located with the people and in Barbados we have been witnessing a diminishing number engaged in the electoral process and other facets of our so-called democracy? We have to be able to thread the ideal with the pragmatic. This is the discussion we need to have. There is a gap!

  6. “However, there are also those who simply have no idea of what republicanism means, and do not care to find out. Simply put, it is a form of governance where supreme power resides in the people and is exercised through their elected representatives in accordance with law. ”

    Can’t have in both ways, either the people have supreme power including the right to choose, or not, republic status or at least have a right to hear more or they don’t.

    Which ever way it goes lets hope the local politicians are finally dragged into the 21st century and understand that “supreme power resides in the people and is exercised through their elected representatives in accordance with law. “

  7. @ Bush Tea January 17, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    Certainly confirms what I was penning while you were posting.
    We could as well close down the schools and get rid of the UWI.
    When the academic class hijacks the democratic process and imposes its will on ordinary citizens then that form of governance surpasses the evils of a theocracy.

    • @Miller

      We can’t have the cake and eat it too. As citizens we refuse to participate in the democracy its imperfections not withstanding and holler for a referendum.

  8. @ David January 17, 2016 at 8:56 AM
    “If we accept the issue of going a Republic is largely distilled through a political lens then there is merit to the argument that many will not make a decision based on a rational thinking.”

    So how else should “Going Republic” be seen other than through a political lens? Should it be seen through an economic lens? Then that is a no-brainer.

    But you might just be on to something there. If the majority of voters had made a decision based on rational thinking would they have reelected the current administration based on what occurred in its first term in office?

    Hindsight is 20/20 vision. Doesn’t the political class (both sides of the imaginary divide) make glaring irrational decisions regularly? So what if the people are possessed with similar flaws?
    Let the people decide. It’s their country and they have the inalienable right to decide on their form governance.

    • Let BU do a David Ellis with Bushie. There is a widely held view that our political class has not been attracting the best brains from the country. If we take this to a logical conclusion we have to holler murdaaah!

  9. The intellectual snobs are people like the Bush shites of this world whose views are wrapped around idealogies that take society backwards with a view that opposing for the sake of opposing is sign of divine intelligent only afforded to a few and not given to many. His critic sounds of pessimism reminds me of a victim who was in a comatose state for many years comes out years later and refused to be a part of modern society ,Leave it to bush shite society would still be using donkey and cart as modes of transportation based on an ideology that it is life saving and save the govt money .
    His mind is anti any thing progressive
    Oscar Wilde must have known bush tea very well

  10. Too many so-called ‘leaders’ seem to be under the misguided impression that it is their role to ‘take the people to a place of their choosing’.
    VERY VERY FEW of these bowls have the moral, intellectual or righteous CAPACITY to take on such a role.
    Leaders (especially confirmed Brass Bowl jokers -as most are) are best advised to seek to build consensus, establish basic CORE values (like honesty, truth, justice, merit and ethics) while COLLECTIVELY moving the country towards a SHARED vision.

    Lonely, insecure jokers such we have been attracting are therefore totally unsuitable for the kind of leadership that we need……. As are self-important despots like Thompson and his pal Mia who see themselves as being destined to ‘RULE’ over us.

    Bushie tell wunna already…. Persons like Caswell, Walter, who can GIVE and TAKE; who do not feel ENTITLED; who are open to public communication; and who are committed to public service, are national treasures…. Treasures that we are allowing to sit idle while idiots run things…

  11. The bottom line is politicians on the island, for reasons known only to themselve, still do not believe the people have a right to participate in any discussion that will affect them and their future generations.

    They deliberately take away that inalienable right of the people and only mouth off about “the people” when it suits their respective agendas. That is where they need to be brought into the 21st century, you cannot pretend the people don’t exist unless and until you need them….get with the program

  12. @ David January 17, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    According to your line of argument voting should then be made compulsory for all citizens over 18; just like education is for those under 16.
    Australia and other respected democracies in the “British” Commonwealth do have a similar system in place.

    Why not put such a system in place while going for full republic status? If not republicanism according to the popular definition would still be one big joke unless the people are ‘encouraged’ by whatever legal and moral means to participate and to have full access information on which to base their political decisions.

    “Simply put, it is a form of governance where supreme power resides in the people and is exercised through their elected representatives in accordance with law.”

    • @Miller

      You are stabbing at what is a more important initiative we should be considering. Command all citizens to participate and in the process ensure we educate our citizens, completely. The Republican narrative is driven by th political on one side and the sentimental on the other – pragmatism has not made it to the discussion, yet.

  13. @David January 17, 2016 at 10:02 AM #

    Pragmatism has always bee the elephant in the room………On what basis do you think politicians operate?

    • @Vincent

      Our party system has morphed to a point where politicians satisfy shadows with deep pockets and polls (read to be popular).

  14. David January 17, 2016 at 10:36 AM #

    …..and that is being pragmatic David,no ideology as shadows can change tomorrow and the populli could want something else tomorrow.

    • @Vincent

      You have to anchor the discussion about being pragmatic to a politician is meant to serve the interest of the electorate.

  15. David January 17, 2016 at 10:44 AM #

    The electorate can be interpreted differently in order to suit the needs of a politician at any given point in time…….pragmatism at work.

  16. I can reply to a few observations only. My question has not been ereally answered as to which issues should be subject to referendum. You will notice that there is no provision at all for this in our Constitution. Is this acceptable to those who are now clamoring for it? And. If not, why no protest before now? Did you agree with every policy measure that preceded this one?

    Miller hints at an interesting thesis….that those matters that require a 2/3 majority should be sO subject..maybe, but if that majority of Parliament are in agreement, what is the need for a subsequent referendum saying about representative democracy?

    The proposal to make the manifesto a legally binding document is alluring, but for more reasons than one that is well nigh impossible as a matter of current law.

    Bushie, even if you were not so rich and old and busy as you claim to be ( I wonder which of these compels anonymity?), you would not fit well in my classes….you are far too settled in your opinions, too dyed-in-the-khaki to treat with most aspects of legal theory.

    David, an excellent point about the much bruited claim to popular sovereignty and the low voter turnouts at elections….seems that most are satisfied with the theoretical entitlement….few with practically exercising the right! This is akin to the treatment of freedom of expression on the blogs….is exercising that right under a pseudonym an effective exercise of it….Can such a right be exercised by an unidentifiable individual ….by a mere submission? How would it ever be possible to infringe that individual right without infringing the rights of all..? And in which forum could a claim for redress ever be made?

  17. Without adding all the bells and whistles, it’s simple, whether the people execise their rights to vote or not, no one, particularly politicians whom the people employ, have any right to take away their rights to be engaged and knowing about decisions made by leaders whether it has negative or positive impacts on the country and people, they have a right to know. The people who are not voting are not only fed up with the behavior, but cannot see them changing and i mean both parties, anytime soon. Maybe saying it enough times it will sink into hard heads.

    I am not hiring someone to do a job for me, have to pay them, then later read in newspapers or hear from another country that they did something while never bothering to tell me and then they are keeping their actions secret and only tell certain people, not even born in the island, or run off to a completely different country to tell everyone there, whom their actions do not impact, neither do they care. Who does that, better still, which educated population tolerates that behavior from leaders..

    • You point is made, WW&C,but precisely what do we subject to a referendum? Everything?

    • Are we not missing a key point here? Let us concede many Barbadians do not vote for whatever reason. However, the change to Republic status is important enough to merit giving Barbadians a voice in the decision.

  18. The problem with equating anything to people’s valid concerns is that some, I am saying this only because I know, are chomping at the bit to identify themselves on the blogs but in doing so is also willing to expose some very sensitive information that could see it all brought down., if they do not see changes in how those who lead operate with the people, the leaders do not inspire confidence, bottom line….then what….what will the argument be, it certainly will not hold any water, that’s for sure. And as I said, only people living in Barbados are hesitant to expose everything, people who live outside have no such problem.

  19. Jeff….if a referendum is not palatable to some, a simple town hall meeting with transparency am sure would be welcome. People on the island as a rule do not demand much.

  20. Jeff Cumberbatch January 17, 2016 at 11:45 AM #

    Again let me suggest that we revise our constitution based on the various studies carried out,the most recent being Forde’s&Marshall if memory serves.

    We then submit this revised document as the referendum which will have a change to republic status to the populi,with who as you have said lies the final decision.

    • Indeed, Vincent, but how do I vote if I disagree with one only of the proposals? The troublesome thing about referendums, as Ralphie found out in SVG, is that more questions, or parts of a question the more complicated the isue becomes.

  21. LOL @ Jeff
    Are you not a bit over preoccupied with Bushie’s identity?
    It is truly of little import ..and the bushman has already advised that the intent is to encourage all and sundry to cuss Bushie’s ideas and comments freely… as is Sargeant’s wont…:)

    As to fitting into your class… You are correct,
    How do you know for sure that YOU are not a product of one of Bushie’s classes….?
    ..or is it such a possibility that bothers you? ha ha ha

    Let us focus on the ideas and concepts…
    Your position that this matter is ‘too complex’ to be put to simple people is flawed.
    If Froon and company are able to even discuss republicanism, then 95% of Bajans would likely have an equal or better grasp of the matter. It is disingenuous to presume mass ignorance without even an attempt at mass education….

    What the hell is CBC there for…?
    …just for illiterate DJs to push Jamaican music and fetes..?

    • @Bushie
      Are you not a bit over preoccupied with Bushie’s identity?
      It is truly of little import ..and the bushman has already advised that the intent is to encourage all and sundry to cuss Bushie’s ideas and comments freely… as is Sargeant’s wont…:)
      Somebody got to stand up and sound the alarm when they hear or read shite and my pioneer status 🙂  here allows me to do just that.

      BTW I was reading some old post yuh know de ones before “J” became “SS” and I saw that your gravatar was a photo of a sad looking pup which seems to have gone the route of “Bush Tea at Large” or was just a reminder that at heart you are not the pit bull you want people to believe that you are.

    • @Are-we-there-yet

      If we are so much more educated today why do we not insist on more actively participating in our democracy?

  22. …talking about illiterate DJ…. a public service announcement this morning on a popular station…

    “A passport belonging to Mr Joseph H Doe of Waterless Village st Joseph has been found and may be collected at District A police Station.
    Bring identification when collecting same… ”

    LOL ha ha ha
    Will you accept a passport sir…?

  23. Lol…All fun aside, the politicians need to step off those high, high pedestals they build for themselves, aftrt being elected and engage their pay masters, the people, about everything and as often as possible…….they are out of touch.

    Ask anyone, except yardfowls, on the island about politicians, outside of their work setting and the reaction is “STEUPSS”. That does not sound like love to me.

  24. LOL @ Sargeant
    Just name your weapons… 🙂

    Re those old posts…
    Bushie has a way of delving into things (including such as blogs and Gravatars) so as to fully understand the picture from all sides …BEFORE diving in….

    …an old habit.

  25. Jeff Cumberbatch January 17, 2016 at 3:11 PM #

    My thinking is that each change will be a stand alone,everything garnering in excess of 60% of the vote will form the new constitution and anything under that,the status quo will remain.The percentage can be adjusted either way.

    We will never please everybody but as you know about the wishes of the majority and the protection of the minority must remain in place.

  26. Jeff;

    My understanding from your 2 articles and from the discussion so far on BU is that Barbados is already a de Facto Republic if not a de Jure one and therefore the change to a true Republican status is really one that might be of genuine bread and butter importance only to some persons with an academic interest in what may be primarily an esoteric concept or to persons or institutions that might stand to gain in some way from the projected change.

    As I also understand it, the Hon Prime Minister framed the idea of the New Republic in terms of cutting the last official ties to the Queen of England as our titular sovereign, no more or no less.

    The major question that therefore might need to be asked in a referendum is simply:-

    Should Barbados sever its ties with the British Monarchy? [ Yes ] [ No ].

    My understanding of your writing on this matter suggests that it might be your considered legal opinion that it is not necessary for a referendum to be held to justify the implementation of the type of Republican status that is apparently envisaged by Mr. Stuart.

    However, I suspect that there is a sizable body of opinion in Barbados that might consider that it is necessary that that view be put to the people as the matter transcends mere legalisms. Putting the question of removing the queen to the electorate in the manifestos of the competing parties might be the best way of getting some input in this matter but if there is an urgency to have that feedback before then I would suggest that, at the minimum, a tightly managed national survey be carried out with one question only being asked.

    Should a referendum be held to determine if Barbados should or should not become a de Jure Republic? [ Yes ] [ No ].

    Letting only the political class have a say in this question seems to me to be a prescription for unwonted future problems even if it might be within the law.

  27. Where does the constitutional law say that the political class does not have to interact with the electorate and tell them anything. Is there a dictatorship agreement or document no one knows about. I would love to see that law…..maybe Jeff can tell us about it.

    The leaders are representatives, when you have an attorney representing you, dont you ask questions, do you just let him do whatever he/she feels like, wrong approach. Your representative is supposed to keep you in the loop or they are not representing you, only themselves.

    Strange enough, in the first year Thompson was PM, every couple months he had a Q&A with the press, some said it seemed stage, who knows, but this lot he left behind believe themselves answerable to no one and would not even pretend to stage a Q&A.

    • A political party is elected to form a government and therefore govern. Whether it decides to use referenda to inform significant decisions is a judgement call and NOT a requirement.

  28. I respect your opinion, AWTY, but you will concede that there was no referendum to determine if we should have maintained ties with the British Monarchy in 1966. Is this the same issue now or not?

  29. @WW&C,

    The alternative thesis is that rather than wait for your MP to tell you anything, he or she should be asked about it.The relationship of principal (constituent) and agent (MP) or entity (constituent) and representative (MP) makes it clear who is the boss!

  30. Jeff Cumberbatch January 17, 2016 at 7:57 PM #

    I am feeling a bit slighted when WW&C gets a response and my……..Vincent Haynes January 17, 2016 at 4:43 PM #… left hanging…….is it such an unworkable suggestion?

  31. Jeff;
    Re. your 7:51 post.

    Yes! There was no referendum okaying our political servants to pursue independence on our behalf; and yes, the issue was infinitesimally more weightier. But that was 49 years ago and we are now a much better educated society and presumably now capable of taking on some of the responsibility of being engaged in such weighty matters and not leave everything up to our political servants.

  32. David @ 9:27 pm;

    Ask that question of Bushtea. I think he might give you an answer involving Brass bowlery.

  33. Any clues as to who will be the President of the Republic? Are you inviting the Royal visitor to give him the GG’s chair to take back to his mother? This is how Frome behaves. I want to know if being a republic will force those who travel to need all sorts of visas for the countries they will travel eg Europe and Asia Canada

  34. @Vincent, I did not intend to slight you, I just never saw your comment. Your proposal is an interesting one, although voting on more than 20 clauses could prove cumbersome. Further, we are likely to end up, if we are not careful, with something that resembles a political compromise more than a coherent policy.

    @Shirf, you need to get real. Do you not understand that we are a sovereign independent country? Our passport is not valuable because the British Monarch is our Head of State…it’s so because of our international reputation. She is head of state of Jamaica too. Is their passport as valuable in terms of ease of entry into foreign states….why not?

  35. @ David
    If we are so much more educated today why do we not insist on more actively participating in our democracy?
    Boss, you keep asking this question with the implication that Bajans have been deliberately refraining from involvement in national life….

    The REAL truth is (as you well know) that we don’t have any damn ‘democracy’, but really a Mafia -type arrangement where citizens get to decide which of the two gangs will dictate our next five years (..or six where Froon is concerned – cause he don’t like calling elections)

    In a democracy, citizens are informed, ..encouraged to feedback, ..their concerns have meaning and …leaders seek to represent their collective consensus interest.

    In which ‘democracy’ could ministers sneak and sign SECRET million dollar contracts with business people who admit to funding them?

    Here is the question you should consider….
    What opportunities exists for TALENTED (non yard fowl) Bajans to actively participate in the democracy? Have you seen the various state ‘Boards’ that run agencies such as the QEH / Transport Board /Schools / Sports Council etc….?
    80% Minister’s lackey political friends and family….and 20% token yes-people.

    How, for example can someone such as Ping Pond or Grenville participate ….besides adopting an AC-like, bent-over pose…?

  36. @David, given some of the concerns and questions raised here I think that if the Government is serious about making the step towards a Republic (doubtful but let’s suppose it is), it would serve them well to adequately inform the public what kind of Republic it proposes and what such a move would mean for Barbados.

    The Government doesn’t need to run any elaborate awareness campaign. A simple video on Youtube and infomercials on CBC, a poster on Facebook etc explaining to Barbadians what type of Republic it proposes, the benefits of such a move and clearing up some of the myths and fears e.g: the fact that becoming a Republic won’t affect our visa waiver treaties and other treaties, the fact that it won’t cause us to lose membership of the Commonwealth, the fact we won’t be suddenly cast aside by Britain as a pariah just because we would be doing what numerous other former British colonies have done before us.

    In light of the prevailing economic environment, we also need an idea of the costs of such a move.

    From what I see on the various threads here on BU, there still remains a lot of ignorance and misinformation about the implications of a Republic and that, along with general mistrust of the Government’s intentions and concerns about the financial implications, could explain a lot of the opposition towards the move. I believe that while there will always be the monarchists and conservatives among us, most reasonable Barbadians will realise they won’t have much to fear once they are informed.

    I agree that many Barbadians, including the younger generation, are increasingly disengaged from the political process. It is not necessarily that we don’t care. It is that we are fed up with the theatrics and are tired of supporting an unresponsive governance system which is just a “2 minute” democracy. However, I don’t think that should be an excuse not to involve the citizenry in what is an important step in nationhood and one which I frankly believe should have been taken a long time ago. I believe public buy-in is important.

    Lastly, as I have said on numerous threads, the move to a Republic should not be merely a simple title swap but should be part of a broader thrust towards reforming our governance system to make our elected officials more accountable and our system more participatory and responsive. That to me, besides the symbolics, would be a tangible benefit to a Republican move.

  37. Alicia, you are aware,of course, that the two are not inextricably entwined. We can start governance reform now…as late as it may be in our life as a sovereign nation.

  38. Jeff;

    I might have missed it.

    But did you give any opinion in your essays as to whether or not, in the event that the Government decided that a referendum was not necessary, a two thirds majority of the House would be necessary for our current Republican status to be changed to one where the head of state would be a citizen of Barbados?

    In other words, would our current Republican status allow the Government, with only a simple majority, to change the head of state if it felt like doing so?

  39. @Mr. Cumberbatch, agreed and there has been discussion of constitutional reform throughout the years, with the Ford Commission Report being just one example of such discourse. However, many of the reforms suggested in the Ford Report have not been implemented. Besides that, the long mooted Freedom of Information legislation and Integrity in Public Life legislation are figments of manifesto imagination.

    While I support the move towards a Republic, I honestly believe we should be demanding a concomitant change in our governance system to make our system more representative. The Queen as our HOS isn’t a threat to our democracy. What is a threat to our democracy is the lack of accountability and transparency.

  40. @awty, No. The section in the Constitution that locates executive authority in Her Majesty (section 63, I think) is entrenched and by section 49 requires a 2/3 majority for any change.

  41. Vincent…ya just jealous…lol

    Jeff….I agree, the constituents also have a duty to ask the represenative MPs questions, but is anyone able to find an MP after he/she has been elected, they are very good at giving out their phone numbers but even better at not accepting or returning calls. The constituents who elected them can never seem to fit into their schedules.

    I think it would have been beyond difficult for the humbled and nearly mentally broken majority blacks on the island to understand what a referendum to achieve independence meant in 1966, getting them to agree to things most in 2016 still don’t understand would have been a gigantic feat back than, we do need to display real empathy for what they were subjected to and still managed to survive… I undersyand it, because of that lack of knowledge, Barrow had quite the task on his hand convincing people to take a step forward……not so in 2016, most of the majority are better educated and emotionally stronger to handle analyzing a referendum re republic status……and yes, Bajans need to participate more and demand more from politicians who start hiding from them the very next day after being elected, which is another gigantic task.

    The electorate is not only more educated than 50 years ago, but also able to process information better, even those who did not pursue higher education.

  42. I would like to ask Mr Cumberbatch if persons born in Barbados and holding a passport of the United Kingdom and colonies before independence on 30th November ,1966 are not entitled to a British passport by right.

  43. @balance, I am not certain, sincethis would be a matter of British citizenship law, but it would appear to me that if your only claim to a British passport now is that you once held one when Barbados had a relationship with Britain…you should not be entitled. Under what category are you claiming? Birth? Or descent?

  44. Jeff Cumberbatch January 18, 2016 at 7:24 AM #

    I sense that although a referendum is doable as I suggested you are still not convinced that it should be done…….Why?

  45. Vincent, principally because it is not constitutionally required; also that I sense that the majority will return the “wrong” result so far as I am concerned. Is it democratic? Yes! Is it fair? The jury is out!

  46. @ Vincent
    I sense that although a referendum is doable as I suggested you are still not convinced that it should be done…….Why?
    Because Jeff is smart enough to know that Bajans will reject any such change -overwhelmingly. Yuh think he just born…? Wuh even Froon knows that.

    Why will they reject it..?
    …because not even a brass bowl will waste time fixing the TV and stereo – when the damn roof is full of holes and the floorboards rotten.

    If Froon and his band of JAs can fix the floor, the roof, the water, the roads, the garbage, the CLICO thing, the CAHILL thing, the sugar thing, the Four seasons thing, the Almond thing, the sewerage treatment thing…and all the other leaks….

    THEN …we will see 110% of Bajans supporting a move to republicanism.

    What manner of idiot spends resources on a new TV …when the damn house is rotted…..?

  47. Jeff and BT

    I understand your reasoning but you see for democracy to realy work the masses have to be involved,if not we may as well go back to the age old ways of a Dictatorship,hopefully benevolent.

    We may well argue that what we have now is not democracy but an alternating dictatorship.

  48. David January 18, 2016 at 9:00 AM #

    I agree…..which is why dictatorships come into fashion because too late shall always be the cry……ah well

  49. I believe it was Balance asked Jeff the question. One female I knew personally went to England in the 50s when Bajans were still allowed to hold British passports. When Barbados became independent, she had to apply to Home Office for citizenship in UK as she still lived, worked and had her family there. I believe that privilege went out with independence, unless you qualified for status through other means, which I understand are getting fewer and fewer.

  50. @ Well Well & Consequences January 18, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    As a result the growing crime associated with the drug trade, attacks on visitors, possible terrorists threats from a growing Islamic fundamentalists grouping within the region and the increasing probability of a breakdown in public sanitation Bajans might soon be required to have a visa if they wish to travel to the UK.

    A move to republic status without the relevant improvements to national safety and security (including public health) might just catapult this move by the UK Border Control Authorities.
    Since the British monarch will no longer have any Constitutionally ingrained responsibilities or oversight to protect Her or His ‘subjects’ from any external aggression Barbados will have to paddle her own canoe and cannot expect any special favours or dispensation because of her failure to manage effectively her own internal affairs.

    • There is civil disobedience, collect all the water bills and dump them in St.Barnabus, mobilize a la Cahill, hold hands on Bay Street, bombard callins and social media, pressure, pressure, pressure from the people.

  51. @ David January 18, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    …now give some that can be applicable to brass bowls with a very negative self image.

  52. Miller…would the happy DBLP crowd have an alternative, seeing as British taxpayers have been whining for years about getting rid of their own burden, the buckingham palace civil servants, would they not have to get it right anyway… bad as it may be, they will have to stand on their own two feet and manup eventually.

    As long as they know their party will soon be over, the hardest thing is to know.

    Re any terrorist threat, it’s their responsibility, the politicians, to let the US know of any threats, they are the experts equipped to handle such, instead of Brathwaite grandstanding and trying to provoke people who are deadly serious and equipped with enough funds to buy and sell Barbados. Those dudes in the middle east handle billions of dollars, they are not to be provoked.

    They need to start acting more responsibly, unlike how they handled the water issue, this is real life…….and stop acting like 4 year olds blaming each other because they did something stupid

  53. That article is frightening, it suggests that despite the real estate and housing bubble going bust as far back as 2004-2005, not one of these jackasses saw it fit to put a freeze on constructing, instead they listened to all the other greedy jackasses cow, bizzy, bjerkham, tempro and kept builiding, building as long as ever6 kickback came along, with no future plans in place, but have the nerve to yap none stop about a world financial crisis, do they even know what that meant in the context of building and construction………Miller there really is a problem.

  54. So Millertheanunnaki, would the British help Trinidad & Tobago? They have removed her as head of state, although they still use her Privy Council as their final court. You are scaremongering, that ‘s all. Who needs the British anyway?

  55. No withstanding all the so-called “intellectual” arguments in favour of a Republic, I am forced to ask why a government so beleaguered, so absolutely out of their depth, can now want to force through a Republic. Over the past 40 years, there has been at least one parliament where the government had over 2/3rd majority. Do you not think that this Prime Minister, this government, has not looked at Turkey, Rwanda and Burundi and seen what can happen when a government gets the power to change the constitution? Have they not tested the waters and found out that Bajans will never rise up no matter what is perpetrated on them? It is scary to think that these people could have absolute power as is now enjoyed by Erdugan in Turkey.

  56. @ Bustopher Jones January 18, 2016 at 12:47 PM
    “Who needs the British anyway?”

    The British Monarch is not the HoS of T&T and has no Constitutional obligations.
    Don’t you find T&T retention’s of the British Privy Council a bit hypocritical when the CCJ is right in its own front room?

    BTW, Barbados cannot do without the British. Check the amount of tourist arrivals from Britain. Without Britain there is no tourism to prop up your one cylinder economy.
    Barbados is nothing without Britain, however you cut it.
    Now deal with that, Buster!

  57. So, Miller, are yo u saying the tourists will stop coming once we abandon the monarchy? Oh dear!

    Should we not beg them to become a colony of theirs then? Then they will be right at home.

    • @Jeff

      You have seen the news that Antigua will hold a referendum to poll the population whether to join the CCJ?

      Interesting times!

  58. Polls are popular in developed and forward thinking societies, the people’s input is vital. They give one a sense of moving forward. I can’t imagine that in 2016 there are those who would be against the idea and have the nerve to call themselves developed and first world, while the mentality is still so 17th century.

  59. @ Bustopher Jones January 18, 2016 at 2:11
    “So,Miller, are you saying the tourists will stop coming once we abandon the monarchy? Oh dear!”

    No JA, I am not saying that at all. I am responding to your bold stupid assertion of “Who needs the British anyway?” You do!

    I am saying that if the British don’t come as tourists or buy real estate Bajans asses are grass. All the hell Barbados got is seawater and sand and the day BA, Virgin Atlantic, Thompson Tours and Thomas Cook stop landing at GAIA crapaud smoke your pipe, according to the Mighty Chalkie.

    The Brits go all over the world to places like Thailand, Dominican Republic and Cuba which are all republics. If you guys continue to make Barbados unattractive by perpetrating crimes against visitors, with garbage piling up, rats running around Bridgetown as if a carnival for rodents is on show and generally despoiling the enviornment thereby compromising your public health systems Barbados, republic or monarchy, would be “blacklisted” as a no go place for health and safety of British travellers even before you can shout “Jack Robinson” or the cat can lick his ears.

    Why not heed the immortal words of the legendary Joe Tex and hold on to what you’ve got.
    And if you think other countries don’t want your British tourists,
    Just treat them bad and tell them to piss off.
    Then St. Lucia, Jamaica and Cuba will have your share
    Before you can travel from Sandy Lane to IlLaro Court.

  60. Miller
    You have said it all to Bustopher who seem not to understand what he wrote.The IBC’s and Tourism saved Barbados from bankruptcy after the rules of the WTO put paid to sugar subsidies.Barbados must continue to be Little England if it is to survive,plain and simple.With Chinese,Japanese tourism all a pipe dream we must rely on the Brits,the Yanks and the Canajuns to keep choosing the bajan way and that means friendly people,clean streets,safe streets,clean water,good food and everybody on board sharing the pie equally.

  61. David, I saw that item. I also saw where they threatened to renege on it if it became too politicised. Note, too, that it the referendum constitutionally required there for some alterations to that document.

  62. Jeff Cumberbatch January 18, 2016 at 7:22 PM #

    UK is also going for a referendum over the EU,possibly within 6 months……..will little england follow??

  63. “When Barbados became independent, she had to apply to Home Office for citizenship in UK as she still lived, worked and had her family there. I believe that privilege went out with independence, unless you qualified for status through other means, which I understand are getting fewer and fewer.”

    Would try to kill two birds with one stone. With regards to Jeffs’s question. I am thinking about birthright since prior to 1966 i was a British citizen born in the United kingdom and Colonies with right to a passport issued by the Government of the United Kingdom and Colonies as is the case with persons from non independent British colonies like Montserrat and Bermuda for instance. There was no Barbadian passport prior to Independence from Britain.

  64. It all boils down to getting good governance and if we have to flavour it with being a republic……….so be it.

  65. Jeff

    You mentioned Oscar Wilde’s definition of a cynic – “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.

    And here I was thinking that was Freundel Stuart’s definition of a cynic

  66. Balance…don’t know if this helps but the lady in question was born in 1933, there were no Barbados passports so she also qualified and possessed a British passport, born in Barbados and qualified under colonies….but once Barbados got independent, she had to change that passport….while living in England.

  67. I hope those against polling now realize that it’s the norm worldwide to engage the people on each and every issue. I have voted so many times in the US on one issue or another, I can’t even remember a quarter of them. It’s the norm, the public must be brought into discussion. I don’t know how else it’s supposed to happen.

  68. balance January 18, 2016 at 5:51 AM #
    Unless the UK Citizenship laws have been changed in recent times, a person born in Barbados before 1966, has no automatic right to a British Passport/ Citizenship, unless the parents were full United Kingdom Colonies.
    I was born before 1966, emigrated to the UK in the mid 60’s , using a Barbados Passport. 4-1/2 years later I had to apply for British Citizenship which entitled me to a British Passport. My son ,born in Barbados, after I return home, is automatically entitled to British Citizenship.
    Persons who left Barbados for the UK before 1966, using a British Passport, after 1966 ,also had to apply for British Citizenship if they so desired.

  69. David January 18, 2016 at 10:28 AM #
    There is civil disobedience, collect all the water bills and dump them in St.Barnabus,
    A fellow on the block told me that the affected people could kill two birds with a big rock. While protesting about the ever coming water bills, they could also protest about the solid waste tax, and what a better way to do it than to fill the plastic buckets which the BWA has given them, with Solid Waste, China Construction Company style, and deposit them on the door step at St Barnabus.

  70. @ Jeff,

    Would a move to republicanism instill the notion of pride, industry and a fervent form of black nationalism within the Bajan Negro?

    I am currently in Barbados and to be honest with you it always simultaneously shocks and underwhelms me at how the apartheid system is woven within the mind set of our government and her citizens. The current role of our government is to coerce, bully and discriminate against her Negro population.

    The concept of “Republicanism” is a misnomer in a country whose Negro population remains marginalised and locked outside of the decision making process.

  71. I am appreciative of the comments of Well Well and Colonel Buggy to what some may regard as a non-issue since Barbados is now supposedly independent but i am curious as to whether persons born in Barbados before independence are not NOT ENTITLED TO THE RIGHT TO LEGITIMATELY AND FREELY ENTER BRITAIN HAVING BEEN REGISTERED AS A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND COLONIES AT BIRTH? CAN MY BIRTHRIGHT BE LEGISLATED AWAY BY LEGISLATION AFTER THE FACT?






  72. Balance, tell you what. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Next time you enter England, give the spiel that you have screamed above to the Immigration officer and inform him that you plan to take legal action if he refuses to comply. Incidentally, Barbados was never really a “colony” of Britain

  73. Exclaimer…..excellent.

    On the Errol Barrow thread, I saw a prime example and posted a corresponding comment.

  74. Balance….in reality, that is how it should be, but you’re are dealing with people who have been living their own bullshit fantasies and delusions of owning others for 1200 years, so with the stroke of a pen decide that they can wipe out that inalienable right.

    Who is to say that the legislation still does not exist….it’s not like they will show it to anyone.

    Recently in the US, this dude decided to do some research in the dirty South to see if they had really remove slavery from the statute books, turned out that 150 years after the abolition of slavery, it still had not been ratified, making enslaving others in the South, still legal. Some jackass in the schools started sending kids homecwith survey forms, one of the questions was asking parents w if they would prefer to be slaves. Parents had to expose it to the newspapers.

    You are dealing with evil at an extremely high level…..the roles of local politicians is to keep that evil in play for another 1200 years. By keeping information from the people, they are willingly doing the job that defines their existence.

  75. Well Well & Consequences January 19, 2016 at 9:44 AM #

    Chuckle……just up your street,wallowing in the holy knowledge of being a “Bajan Negro”….enjoy.

    By the way 1200 years ago the Africans had enslaved most of europe……lol……things like that do not suite your warped agenda though…….carry on smartly.

  76. Going republic must be a decision of the people in the form of a referendum. Fruendel Stuart has proven himself one that cannot be trusted. The fact that he is pushing his agenda without proper announcement to the people is indicative that this man is a practicing Idi Amin. Republic yes, under Fruendel Stuart not for shite.

  77. Vincent…it was earlier than 1200 years ago, but what difference does a couple centuries make when slavery is involved….of course you are telling me…black Moors enslaved whites so what is wrong with whites enslaving blacks….good going Vincent….you will reach your destination yet.

  78. SSS…… I told them already that the republic they are fantasizing about with themselves as SUPREME LEADERS answerable only to themselves and not a word to the people who are the ones with supreme powers, will end up being the be all and end all of all their bullshit, but I know they will never believe me…but too bad, I love a laugh.

  79. balance January 19, 2016 at 4:00 AM #
    Maybe if you were Australian , New Zealander or of British descent born in one of the Brit colonies, you would have that right. When I applied for my British Citizenship, my Officer Commanding had to sigh the documents. He was Australian and gave me a dressing down for applying for Brit Citizenship. He told me that he had no intention of applying fro British Citizenship. Good for him, he does not have to. He is free to come and go as he pleases, into the UK ,under the grandfather,and great grandfather clause. Very few of us in the Caribbean in after November 1966, could have claim a right of stay in the United Kingdom, because of a grandfather , or great grand father having been born in the United Kingdom.
    Do you recall Brigadier Powell’s speech in 1968?

  80. “Incidentally, Barbados was never really a “colony” of Britain”
    really , I never knew that. Good thing I raised the topic. Shows one is never too old to learn.

    And I would refer them to my legal advisor Mr Jeff Cumberbatch who I am sure would teach them a thing or two about rights. By the way, heard on the BBC today an heterosexual couple getting ready to petition the courts on the grounds of equality for the right to enter into a civil union which apparently is only designed to accommodate same sex couples.

  81. “Do you recall Brigadier Powell’s speech in 1968”
    Yes I do but I have no difficulty with it. I am a segregationist. I do not believe that white people and black people were made to live under the same roof.

  82. @ Jeff Cumberbatch January 19, 2016 at 5:10 AM #
    “Incidentally, Barbados was never really a “colony” of Britain”

    So what was it then? A protectorate?

    It might not have been a grant-in-aid Crown Colony but all important decisions had to be approved by the resident Colonial Secretary, ratified by the Governor and assented to in Whitehall.

    If Barbados was really never a “colony” then the whole charade about Barrow fighting for Independence against the opposing forces of the BLP under GAIA and Cummins is just a whole set or propagandistic hot air designed to fool the ignorant masses just like the current push for republicanism to usher in an age of dictatorial rule.

    “Carry on, England. Barbados is behind you!” In a telegram dated 6 August 1914.
    “Barbados is with you.” First telegram received in Whitehall on 3 September 1939.

    It’s going to cost a lot of money to remove the crowns from the pips and epaulettes of the officers in those law enforcement and defence agencies.
    All those old colonial uniforms of the Barbados regiment are destined for the Museum, not on parade.

  83. “millertheanunnaki January 19, 2016 at 11:29 PM #

    @ Jeff Cumberbatch January 19, 2016 at 5:10 AM #
    “Incidentally, Barbados was never really a “colony” of Britain”

    So what was it then? A protectorate?

    It might not have been a grant-in-aid Crown Colony but all important decisions had to be approved by the resident Colonial Secretary, ratified by the Governor and assented to in Whitehall.”

    What you say might be true but remember there is no evidence to indicate that our black ancestors were here when Barbados was discovered by an English trader in 1625 and settled in 162. The first black people are reported to have landed here in the early 1630’s by accident when a British ship with indentured servants bound for Barbados attacked a Potuguese ship with 8 slaves on board who were later sold in the city of Bridgetown. So Barbados was not colonized like for instance India where the British arrived and stamped their universal authority on an already thriving civilization.

  84. Miller said:

    “It’s going to cost a lot of money to remove the crowns from the pips and epaulettes of the officers in those law enforcement and defence agencies.”

    If you think that financial cost will be bad, imagine the mental and psychological costs of removing all that centuries to decades old british shit from inside all their heads, they are still struggling with the side effects of mental slavery, it’s one incapacitating after another.

    The good news is, when it’s finally done, it will be done, no matter how many more decades it takes.

  85. Well Well & Consequences January 20, 2016 at 6:55 AM #

    ……..removing all that centuries to decades old british shit from inside all their heads, they are still struggling with the side effects of mental slavery, it’s one incapacitating after another.

    Chuckle………go to the head of the class……you have just given a solution to what ails the Caribbean…… corruption,killings,mismanagement,greed,racism,etc,etc all of that will be no more and instead we will all live in peace,love and harmony with each other in a land of bliss……wow

  86. Vincent… now you should know me better than that.

    No….with all the british shit still programmed in their heads for generation after generation finally gone, they should be able to think quite clearly, much clearer than they do now for sure. All the behaviors you mentioned are here to stay, those behaviors is man being their most evil self..

  87. Well Well & Consequences January 20, 2016 at 6:59 PM #

    Chuckle…… you are one confused and tormented soul…..forever twisting and turning in your comments……wuhloss…..I sincerely hope you discover peace of mind soon….I bid you a good night.

  88. While pretending to relinquish your status as ‘Wards of the Monarch’ Please don’t forget to give back the Anglican Church as well for it was brought to you compliments of the Monarch.

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