The Caswell Franklyn Column – A Word to the Wise, Donville Inniss

donvilleinnissBARBADOS HAS REACHED a stage where the words and actions of politicians must be carefully analysed, and not taken at face value.

Without attempting to cast aspersions, politicians seem to be guided by what would get them re-elected. In that context, I would like to posit my views on Minister Donville Inniss’ recent critical remarks of customs officers.

If you ask anyone who follows politics to identify who is the most forthright among our local politicians, the answer would invariably be Inniss. However, when his overall remarks are critically analysed, a worrying trend seems to emerge.  It would appear that he has concluded that his party would most likely lose the next elections; and with that in mind, he is positioning himself to lead the Democratic Labour Party after the elections that are constitutionally due in 2018. That eventuality would put him in a position to become the Prime Minister in 2023.

His defeatist attitude, in relation to the next elections, has resulted in an attempt to show the public that he is an expert in all areas. In order to boost his profile, he has taken to being highly critical of public officers, who are barred by the rules of the Public Service from responding. He then gets favourable media coverage for attacking and putting telling blows on victims, who would be subject to disciplinary penalties if they responded to defend themselves.

At the official opening of a store in Bridgetown recently, Inniss weighed in on the matter of the transition of the Customs and Excise Department into the fledgling Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA). He bemoaned the time that the transition is taking and became extremely critical of customs officers.

Appointed customs officers are public officers and, like all other workers in that category, their terms and conditions of service give them a measure of constitutional protection, which theoretically insulates them from political interference in their hiring and dismissal procedures. (Politicians have already circumvented the Constitution in the hiring practices of the Public Service).

Inniss seems to be expecting customs officers to pull up stakes in the Public Service and relocate to the BRA, without knowing  what they are getting into.  So far the job descriptions have not been communicated to workers, which means that BRA has been employing workers in contravention of the Employment Rights Act for two years. And he wants customs officers to go merrily but blindly into that mess with only an assurance that politicians would somehow do the right thing by them.

It is interesting to note that there is currently no law that would permit the absorption of Customs into the BRA. The Barbados Revenue Authority Act received the Governor General’s assent on February 27, 2014. It was proclaimed and came into force on April 1, 2014.

That act gives the BRA the power to administer ten acts of Parliament along with parts of the Road Traffic Act and its subsidiary legislation in so far as those enactments relate to the collection of taxes, fees and other sums. Nothing in the Barbados Revenue Authority Act empowers the BRA to administer the Customs Act.

How can the minister blame customs workers for Government’s failure to put terms and conditions in place before employing anyone at a statutory board, in accordance with the Employment Rights Act? Further, even if those terms and conditions were in place; how can the minister or anyone else for that matter attribute blame to customs officers for Government’s failure to put the appropriate legislation in place to effect the transition.

You must admit that the minister sounded as though he really knew what he was talking about. However, when the facts are examined in good light, he appears to be just a run-of-the-mill politician trying to make a name for himself.

The Minister needs to be reminded that he is operating under a Westminster type system of government where ministers of the Crown do not publicly criticise public officers. A word to the wise.

Caswell Franklyn is the General Secretary of Unity Workers Union and a social commentator. Email:

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21 Comments on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – A Word to the Wise, Donville Inniss”

  1. Well Well & Consequences April 17, 2016 at 5:04 AM #

    Limited intellect, blame the other guy complex and title-itis are the downfall of politicians who cannot see beyond political ambitions.

    BTW….Inniss got 2023 put down somewhere. Thompson thought he had 2013 put down somewhere too…and then what.


  2. squibbyhill April 17, 2016 at 7:05 AM #

    This administration holds scant regards and little respect for the labor movement in this country. This is evidenced by the snobbish language its leader used to talk down to the leadership of the NUPW and the BWU when they collaborated, as is their right. The other members have taken his lead hence their disrespectful utterances. Enter the notoriety attached to the passing out of Option Forms in the midst of assumedly honest negotiations.
    How does such not represent an affront to the well tested practice we call COLLECTIVE BARGAINING? I thought then and still think now that there needs to be a sit down between the leaders of every trade union in Barbados, so that for the sake of the working class a clearly defined path forward can be recognized. This tone deaf government must be made to understand that some things are worth fighting for. The advancement of workers rights fit smugly into that category.


  3. Bush Tea April 17, 2016 at 8:46 AM #

    The gentleman is a bull-shitter …. period!


  4. Caswell Franklyn April 17, 2016 at 8:53 AM #


    Below is an email I received from someone purporting to be Donville Inniss. I have my doubts because he stated publicly that he does not read my columns.

    In reference to your most uninformed article in today’s Nation newspaper, please evidence where I have blamed the Customs Officers or the civil servants? I have been at pains to reflect upon the systems at work in this island. Deficient systems that affect all of us.

    If you can identify one instance where I have attacked a public officer in the public domain in an unfair manner then I wouldn’t publicly apologize. Until then you should stop being check your facts and write truthfully.

    Obviously you are in a battle with the other Unions
    I am not

    Donville Inniss

    Sent from my BlackBerry – the most secure mobile device – via the DIGICEL Network


  5. David April 17, 2016 at 9:01 AM #


    To be fair to Donville he was critical of HIS government last week as well regarding his concern about the length of time it is taking to close the BRA deal.


  6. Caswell Franklyn April 17, 2016 at 9:12 AM #


    That only goes to strengthen my point; he is trying to set himself up as the next leader of the DLP in the public’s eye. In the Westminster system of governance, it is a grave offence to publicly criticise the Government while being part of the Cabinet. Those utterances should only properly come from him after he had resigned from the Cabinet.


  7. Artax April 17, 2016 at 9:14 AM #

    @ Caswell

    If Donville Inniss stated publicly that he does not read your columns, then surely the email must have come from “Douglas” or one of the ACs.


  8. David April 17, 2016 at 9:15 AM #


    As David Estwick not set a lofty precedent as far as criticizing the Cabinet is concerned? If you want to stretch it to the Eager 11 feel free.


  9. David April 17, 2016 at 9:19 AM #


    This is BU confirming that the email you sent IS from Donville Inniss.


  10. Bush Tea April 17, 2016 at 9:20 AM #

    In any case, how does a sitting Cabinet member – who will vote with government on 100% of issues, criticize “the systems at work in this island. Deficient systems that affect all of us.”

    Wuh he would have to be some kinda bull-shitter….
    Which of these faulty systems did he EVER vote against….?

    He was right first time….


  11. David April 17, 2016 at 9:30 AM #

    Donville is a politician, and an ambitious one at that given his naked public positions. Some on BU will recall a few comments the minister posted to BU – WHEN he had balls- defending his position on the mooted 800 million dollar hospital at Kingsland.


  12. Bush Tea April 17, 2016 at 11:09 AM #

    @ David
    Bull-shitters do NOT do very well on BU…..they cannot last long…

    There are too many damn ‘fact-checkers’ bout here…
    …people like Due Diligence, Sargeant, Ping Pong ,Exclaimer, Hants etc…

    If you want Donville, Peter Wickky, Irene and that ilk to become regulars …then ban the above bloggers…. with their irresponsible focus on ‘facts and accuracy…’

    …yuh cud always leave Bushie wid the whacker… cause the bushman don’t give two wuk-ups bout facts…. um is nylon in its donkey… fax or frixon…
    ha ha ha


  13. Sargeant April 17, 2016 at 11:09 AM #


    I thought I was going to get a critique of Donville’s statements as they related to several different subjects instead I am treated to his position on the BRA. If Donville is positioning himself beyond 2018 to 2023 that is a degree of planning that is hitherto unknown to Barbados where “succession planning” is a foreign phrase.

    Let’s hope it is catching but there’s many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip.


  14. Prodigal Son April 17, 2016 at 5:33 PM #

    The current crop of dems have openly said that they have learnt the lessons of 1994. So they would say whatever they want and the status quo would continue because they love power more than Barbados.

    The PM could not care less what Donville say publicly, he cannot discipline him as Froons only want to be PM.

    Woe is Barbados.


  15. Colonel Buggy April 17, 2016 at 11:32 PM #

    Straight from the mouth of this administration.

    A parody of unknown origin is known as The Foreman’s Job,[17] and this is sometimes considered a rugby song.[18] This has many variants but usually begins:

    The working class can kiss my arse
    I got the foreman’s (minister’s) job at last.
    I’m out of work and on the dole (taxpayers payroll)
    You can stick the red flag ( your X) up your ‘ole.


  16. Raw Bake April 18, 2016 at 1:53 AM #

    Finally someone who sees The Don for what he really is. Nothing but a blowhard. He and Stargirl could hold hands.

    Some people just in got nuh shame.
    I waiting patiently to see if Caswell gine touch this one😀


  17. Well Well & Consequences April 18, 2016 at 10:44 AM #

    Yhe leaders avoid responsibility at all cost, the auditor general’s office still have not paid the injured woman who hasvbeen waiting 35 years or the mannin last week’s nation who has been waiting 6 years since he got a judgement. ..and…that is under ADRIEL BRATHWAITE, the attorney general.

    Brathwaite refuses to take responsibility that should be shown, when he ignores a court’s judgement in that man’s case, then heallows a woman to suffer in pain for 35 years, without payment for severe injuries…because he nor his office wants to take responsibility. that what hos mother also taught him.

    What Brathwaite the hypocrite is seeing, is the trickle down effect from leaders not taking responsibility for anything. Try leading by example…thee hypocrite.


  18. Hants April 18, 2016 at 12:05 PM #

    Did this woman use anonymous donor sperm mr. AG?

    Doesn’t matter if “she lived in a shoe”.

    The “fathers” should support their children.


  19. Well Well & Consequences April 18, 2016 at 4:30 PM #

    Brathwaite is a jackass who does not even take HIS responsibilities seriously and just imagine the taxpayers have to pay that nitwit for an attorney general a salary EVERY month….imagine that…


  20. Dompey April 19, 2016 at 4:27 AM #

    Caswell Franklyn

    When hasn’t a politician been in the affairs of politics for his or her own self-interest? So with that being said, your prognostication comes as no real surprise because such a prediction is as obvious to the common observer.


  21. Retribution-things that make me go hum! April 24, 2016 at 5:06 PM #

    Another word fur Bull-shitter – FRAUD!


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