The Caswell Franklyn Column – Akanni McDowall Kicked to the Kerb


Akanni McDowall, President of the National Union of Public Workers

A Nazi era pastor, Martin Niemoller is credited with having said of the German authorities,

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

Now in Barbados, they have come for Akanni McDowall, President of the National Union of Public Workers and I won’t let history repeat itself. I am therefore forced to speak out because I am a trade unionist.

When I first heard the rumour of Akanni’s impending reversion to his substantive post, I called his head of department, who happens to be a good friend of mine, to ask what they were doing with Akanni. I warned my friend that it was a criminal offence, under section 40A of the Trade Union Act, to dismiss a workman or adversely affect his employment or alter his position to his prejudice because that workman engaged in trade union activity. Mind you, the penalty is only a small fine not exceeding $1,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.

My friend insisted that my sources would have misled me since, as head of department, he would be required to write a report on Akanni’s performance before any action is taken and so far no one had even mentioned the topic.

After that interaction with my friend and now that Akanni has been reverted to his substantive post, I could be wrong but I am convinced of three things until the contrary is proven. Firstly, that my sources are unimpeachable; secondly, that his demise is as a direct result of his trade union activity; and thirdly, that his demotion was ordered from a very high level.

My understanding is that Mr. McDowall was acting continuously on a series of short term contracts for over two years in senior established posts. Further, his latest one was due to expire on October 31, 2016, however before its expiration, he was abruptly reverted. It would appear that they, whoever they are, couldn’t wait to take him out.

The original 2007 Public Service Act required the Public Service Commission to fill vacant posts within three months but they never met that standard. The Personnel Administration Division (PAD) argued that the period was too short and Government responded by amending the act in 2010 to extend the time to one year. Even with that extension, PAD continued to give workers successive three-month contracts some of which have been extended for years, despite the upper limit of one year that is mandated by the Recruitment and Employment Code.

The sinister thing about the authorities’ refusal to follow the law and make the appointments when due is that they revert officers, who are acting in higher posts, and terminate temporary officers without going through the disciplinary procedure. To my mind, their behaviour amounts to an abuse of power since temporary officers who are acting in established posts; and appointed officers, who are acting in higher posts, have the same rights as the substantive holders for the duration of the acting or temporary appointment in accordance with section 94 of the Constitution.

When I was growing up and suffered a stroke of bad luck, my grandmother would say that all things come together for good to those that love God. I thought that it was one of hers but subsequently found out that she was quoting the Bible. Therefore, I can only hope that some good can come of this martyrdom of a young trade union leader. The heavy handed action against him is nothing new. Countless other public workers have suffered similar fates. It is just that he is the most high profile victim to date. Maybe his celebrity might bring attention to the wide scale avoidance of proper procedures in the Public Service.


  • I heard Dr. The Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo on the 4:30 edition of the Starcom Network News LYING to the public about Akanni McDowall’s abrupt removal from his acting appointment. She claimed that the period of acting had come to the end because the time had expired. I don’t know why that woman wouldn’t keep her mouth shut. That is an absolute lie. Delcia Burke, Deputy General Secretary of NUPW was forced to come on air and explain that McDowall had six more weeks to go before that authority expired.


  • @Caswell

    Heard her as well. Hopefully she will issue a clarification statement if not there is legitimate grounds for the NUPW to add to the grievance list. The point though is that minister Suckoo is in no position to challenge the widely held belief that McDowall’s demotion was political. By her admission the matter does not fall under her purview.


  • As expected the left hand of the lying Dems don’t know what the right hand is doing.


  • She should learn to keep her trap shut. Air head!!

    Sent from my iPad


  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Wow, Caswell Franklyn, you are getting very bold in your comments towards the worst DLP administration in the history of DLP politics. Why don’t you keep it professional, you sweet thing? I understand fully how you feel when jackasses like ”the politician formally known as Byer-Suckoo,” speaks out of context when the blood comes rushing in. By the way though, what did she say?


  • SSS

    I would not say bold, it is just that these ministers of government have so little respect for the people of this country that they feel it is okay to come and tell any lie, as long as it sounds good, and that annoys me.

    The amazing thing is that they know that they are lying but they persist in the certain knowledge that Bajans are docile and would take it.

    In yesterday’s Barbados Today, Sinckler is quoted basically lying about the BRA situation. When will the people of this country demand respect?

    I am not being harsh; I’m merely calling a spade a spade in reaction to the disrespect that this Government is meting out to us as a people.

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sunshine Sunny Shine


    I can understand your frustration. It is the very same reason why I cuss dem little high and little low. I thought that the arrogancy of the Barbados Labour Party and their many shades of wicked could not be surpassed. I was totally wrong. These people that make up the Democratic Labour Party to whom I was once loyal are operating at a different level of horrible. What has made me even more upset is that the arrogant, despicable, immoral, nuff words silent bold face deceiver for a Prime Minister, rebuke press intervention during his tour of the controversial building of the Hyatt Hotel on a designated world heritage site. I mean this man can only be either in a world call Freundel or think his role as Prime Minister makes him immune to any charge of wrongdoing. He seems not to care that whatever little credibility he had gone up in smoke during the lies he told when the shady deal call, Cahill was going down. I honestly hope he gets what he deserves.


  • Dearest Suzanne,

    All of them going get what they deserve.

    Not one badword seat my dear.

    You starting to see your remarks/fliers on the Facebook blogs yet?

    Looka my dear you should ask your Daddy (if he is an internet buff) or ask Sandra and Lynette.

    Man dis is like Nelly’s song “It’s getting hot in here, so hot, so take off all your clothes
    I am, getting so hot, I wanna take my clothes off”

    Those fliers got tings hot!!

    Just keep up the pressure.

    I lovedddd your Akanni McDowald flier, t’was de bomb!!

    De ole man got to learn Twitter and Instagram heheheheheheeheh to expand de coverage.

    Instagram is much better than Twitter it has 140 times the impact and is 52:1 against Facebook

    The 25 – older age group do not subscribe to it like in first world countries but de ole man has to deepen the penetration, any suggestions?

    I sent you my email 8 times so far dear you like you dun wid me in trufe!!

    I feel it is Walther PPK who bad talk me doah heheheheheh


  • @Caswell Franklyn October 25, 2016 at 9:40 AM “these ministers of government have so little respect for the people of this country that they feel it is okay to come and tell any lie, as long as it sounds good.”

    The thing is Dr. Byer’s words did not sound good.

    As soon as I heard her i said to myself “I do not believe a word that she is saying.”

    So I was not at all surprised when Delcia Burke subsequently spoke on Brass Tacks, and said that Mr. McDowall has another 6 weeks to go before his acting position came to an end.

    I believe/believed Delcia.

    Dr. Byer’s words sounded false.


  • @ac October 23, 2016 at 6:30 AM “Put country first.”

    Dear ac: I am all for putting country first.

    But my question to you: Is this DLP administration putting the people first?


  • @David October 23, 2016 at 8:41 AM “On a peripheral note can Caswell whisper to his friend at NCC (Keith Neblett) that plausible deniability does not cut it. Ref: Sunday Sun p.13A.”

    I was surprised that Keith Neblett of NCC said that he was unaware [or that none of the security staff had brought it to his attention] of sexual activity taking place in Queen’s Park…way back in the 20th century when my little Johnny was a student of Harrison College I was told that there was a general awareness by the students of Harrison College that sexual activity was taking place in Queen’s Park. I warned Johnny to stay away from the area. The chair that appeared in the photograph of the Sunday Sun is very likely a HC chair.

    I wondered if Neblett’s staff do not talk to him.

    Or if his staff is afraid to talk to him.


  • @Hal Austin October 23, 2016 at 9:09 AM “The trade union should make up any loss of wages.”

    The matter is not principally about the loss of wages.

    The issue is that the government is seen as cutting off the head of the union.

    If the government feels at liberty to disadvantage the union president, understand what they would do to the rank and file.


  • @Sargeant October 23, 2016 at 9:28 AM “in Bim, if you are a Trade Union leader do you still work in your substantive position?

    Answer: That is often the case.

    Question: I can see where Gov’t might have an issue with a leader occupying a sensitive post.

    Answer: Except that Mr. McDowall does not hold a particularly sensitive post.

    I see the action as bad mindedness on the part of the government.


  • @Carson C Cadogan October 24, 2016 at 9:22 AM “Also it would give us the opportunity to invoke emergency powers and use them to good effect.”

    I hope that by “invoking emergency powers to good effect” that wunna don’t plan to arm de police and send them out to break some heads and shoot some people.

    Becausin’ i ain’t really ready to de’d just yet.


  • For the information of your readers in the form of a question. Isn’t Carson C. Cadogan Minister M. Lashley’s facebook pseudonym? As youngsters we always heard that when the well diggers set their explosives and lit the fuse it went “Cadogan”. Whats in a name?


  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    my sweet piece I am not getting any emails from you. I sent you emails as well and they are not getting through. Where on facebook can I find this information? I am not a facebook person. I do not even have an account. Not on twitter or Instagram either. I am only on here and Barbados Today. DO not have the time for all that facebook exchange stuff. Work is my life and my living.


  • David

    Do you remember that the authorities promised to investigate the circumstances surrounding Akanni’s demotion before they meet with the NUPW to discuss the matter. Well I believe that the union is being played for a fool since I understand that Akanni’s replacement took up duties this morning.


  • Caswell Franklyn

    Irrespective of Akanni McDowall’s demotion, Barbados Today Facebook blog run a piece several month ago in which it describeed the dissatisfaction and ineffectiveness the membership had had with this man leadership, and their wanted him gone.


  • @Caswell

    Then it is next move NUPW.


    You have returned with your hard head to BU? Didn’t the membership elect Akanni or was it Barbados Today. Do not bother to respond.


  • Pingback: Akanni McDowall’s Removal Was Politically Motivated | Barbados Underground

  • Seems as if Akanni has come to a sensible relization that his bullying tatics towards govt were taking him on a course of self destruction and has somewhat retreated in his effort of unreasonableness of a 23 percent wage hike


  • A real union leader knows when to hold them and when to fold them. Unfortunately Annakani was willing to drop his bone and catch at his shadow
    The truth of the matter being. given the economic constraints Annaki was playing Russian Roulette with the lives of the many workers his organization represents
    In so much that if the wage hike was agreed upon the overriding factor would have been devastating for those workers who might have lost their jobs
    Good leadership requires skill and by all means an avoidance of political posturing that renders no gainful rewards


  • Simple Simon,
    If it is not loss of earnings, then what is it? Pride? Arrogance? Abuse of office? He was acting in his position and has been removed to his substantive office. That is perfectly legal – except in Barbados. It is the obstinacy of youth.


  • Chuckle…….I still awaiting the answer posed by Akanni……

    Why is it so important for this govts operatives to win this election.


  • @Vincent

    Tou heard Fabian in the news today complaining about the high ranking government operatives canvassing for the Greenidge team? And on the other side the BLP operatives are openly backing Macdowall’s team. What have we come to?


  • David

    Yes,I heard him……all the cards are on the table…..both sides have gone for broke…….we await the results.


  • David,

    Proxy war between two tribes.


  • @Hal

    Yes it is, lines have been drawn. The government has done all that it can to remove Macdowall. In return Macdowall has done every thing to rub the government’s nose in the brown stuff. The result, a level of disharmony that has adversely affected the IR climate.


  • Roy Greenidge can’t be backed by the DLP ministers otherwise he would have been made Chief Immigration Officer when that position was vacant. Greenidge is a career officer in that department having started out there after leaving kolij.A colleague said he’s not a noise maker like Akanni but is a needler who pursues his quarry wherever it leads.


  • Its known as backing anybody other than Akanni or your enemy is my friend.


  • @ Angela Skeete

    “Akanni McDowall has been RE-ELECTED as President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) following today’s election.” [Barbados Today, April 5, 2017]

    Wunnuh DLP yard-fowls bellies mussee hurting wunnuh all now.

    After two failed coup de’ etat planned by DLP goon Derek Alleyne, all the political interference and insults heaped upon McDowall by you and the other BU troll Carson C. Cadogan, as well as Ronald Jones and the other DLP members, and using Walter Maloney at the DLP’s Friday lunch time lecture to cast aspirations upon his character, he came out of the election victorious.

    Like McDowall, agree with his leadership style or not, his re-election sends a message to DLP that its chances in the upcoming 2018 general elections is questionable.

    I know exactly how your script will read in the days ahead.


  • Anankani has been given another chance of redemption. Would be very interesting to see how he utlised this chance in being a good union leader instead of being a carrying the weight and burdens of a political orchestrated agenda
    Govt have nothing to worry concerning Annakani election. It is the membership who should be worried


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