The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Things Fall Apart…

Jeff Cumberbatch - Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity…” –The Second Coming –William Butler Yeats

Frequently, on the Facebook social medium, one will come across an invitation to title a random situation with the name of some film, song or other creative work. Were I invited to do the same with a book title for a global assessment of the year 2016, I would submit that of “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. This work was part of my exposure to English Literature at secondary school, although I do not now recall the year. I choose this not because of the motif of the plot, although this itself (the conflict between tradition and a new culture) is not inapposite; but because of the seeming correlation and the direction in which the world seemed to be heading for the past twelve months.

More over, the title is likely, given its source, to find favour with those who believe that we are rapidly approaching the end time. The phrase comes from the poem by Yeats, “The Second Coming”, itself an event that has been prophesied to mark that occasion. According to Yeats,

“…Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming!”

Mankind is, however, if nothing else, an animal of hope. And no matter how inauspicious things may seem, we have managed to transpose the hope wrought by the traditional story of Christmas into an integral aspect of the change of the Gregorian calendar from December 31 of one year into January 1 of the one following.

Hence, despite our apparently intractable adverse economic circumstances, the deplorable state of the roads; our significant loss of standing as state debtors; the damaging and unfortunate categorization of our nation as a tax haven; the uncertain outcomes of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as President of the US and its implications for a settled world in future, we somehow expect, albeit illegitimately, since we have no reasonable basis for doing so, that 2017 will give rise to a brave new world of peace and prosperity.

…Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned…

Today, as we greet the first few hours of the week, month and year, it is worthwhile to contemplate what the months ahead portend for us personally, nationally and globally.

I had stated earlier that the human being is an animal of hope. He or she is, arguably no less, a political animal, and I use that epithet in its populist sense. For Barbadians, 2017 marks the final full year, constitutionally, of the current governing administration since next year, 2018, will be the fifth anniversary of the last general election in 2013.

And as is constitutionally provided by section 61(3) -“Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved”. Of course, under our system of governance, these considerations, as stated, do not preclude the Prime Minister from exercising his awesome power to advise the Governor General to dissolve Parliament at any time prior, thus clearing the way for a general election.

This colloquial “ringing of the bell”, whenever it occurs, is likely to result in a cavalcade of partisan campaigning inclusive of the usual promises and representations by all concerned to ensure electoral triumph. Much as it was in the US in the months leading up to October where, in spite of his alarming manifesto of xenophobia, intolerance and vain boasts of imprisoning his Democrat opponent that resonated with a plurality of states, Mr. Trump now finds it appropriate, thankfully, to recant from those very stances that served so significantly to ensure his success. We should hope for a more sincere electoral courtship in our circumstance whenever that fateful day arrives.

At the global level, we would wish too for a more equitable treatment of those nations with less geopolitical clout by those that are more substantially resourced in that area. The frequent changing of the goalposts as to the definition of a tax haven and a crude reluctance by some to recognize that one salient characteristic of these entities is their affinity for secrecy; a factor far more evident in and synonymous with well known larger jurisdictions- have led to an unwarranted labeling of Barbados as a tax haven with all of the disreputable connotations attached thereto. The struggle to correct this error that might only do further damage to our fragile economy should be national and not merely partisan.

The personal aspect should be particular to each of my readers and I should not be so presumptuous as to suggest how you should lead your lives during the coming year. Nevertheless, as we begin 2017, permit me to wish you good health , prosperity and freedom from distress during the months ahead. In any case or those of us of a certain age, the phenomenon of the apparent shortening of periods of time, whether owed to our slowing metabolisms, heartbeats and breathing rates or to the logarithmic scaling of time -that we perceive a period of time as the proportion of time we have already lived through, it should, hopefully, soon be time to wish you a blessed New Year again!

144 thoughts on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Things Fall Apart…

  1. @chad99999 at 3:33 re “Well, this is the first time I have ever been wrong about anything, so I will admit it. Nita actually struggled and struggled until she got a bachelor’s degree.
    Comparable to Mara.”

    You do strive to say the most outlandish things . They are so absurd on their face that it’s amazing that people ever have the assurance to otherwise take you seriously on this blog.

    @Walter Blackman at 4:04 PM re “…Thus, without any strong-minded, rational thinkers in their midst, this is what your “tag team” members must have morphed into: BU Order of Testers (Simple-minded, Insecure, Effeminate Sissies) – BOTSIES for short.”

    Cute! You have morphed your enormous ego and a creative sense of humor to topical new year attention. Good stuff.

    Surely you will not become a ‘conny’ or sometimes listed with the ‘silent’ ‘U’ as ‘cunny’: Corrupt naysaying nefarious yardfowl !

    And @Pieces there is difference I think because Danny Gill ran from BU with his conny between his botsie. That was quite disappointing.

    Walter Blackman is clearly made of much sterner stuff.

    They were obviously schooled at different places, cut their political teeth under different mentors or something else.

  2. David; Re your 4:17 pm post.

    You might also ask:-
    Why didn’t we have sight of Barrow’s will?
    Why didn’t we have sight of Bree St John’s will?
    Why didn’t we have sight of Owen Arthur’s divorce settlement documents?

    What is BU doing about it? Could it be dat dem kinds o documents don’t fall off trucks?

    • @Are-we-there-yet

      Because with the exception of Thompson none of the former prime ministers were implicated in nefarious activity read CLICO.

  3. @ the Honourable Blogmaster.

    You should reach out to one Gabriel, he knows the exact amount of $39 million.

  4. @ David

    Transport Board has been STRUGGLING for months to put at least 85 units on the road per day. “How did (Lashley) plan to rollout a contingency?” By providing his usual “lip service.”

    Lashley is only full of talk and can been deemed as being failure in his present role as transport minister than when he was minister of housing. Perhaps he is of the opinion “success” can be transferred from one ministry to the next without trying to achieve it through hard work.

    For months commuters have been complaining about the “inordinate amount of time” they have to wait in the Fairchild Street bus terminal for TB to service routes in rural districts, such as Martins Bay, Sugar Hill and Bathsheba. How did Lashley respond to this situation? By saying “a DRAFT FRAMEWORK had been COMPLETED that would ALLOW private transporters, including operators of minibuses and tour coaches, to ENTER bus terminals DURING PEAK PERIODS and transport commuters on 14 routes. And they should START rolling into City terminals BEFORE the END of the Christmas holidays.” [Source: Daily Nation, December 19, 2016]

    This proposal “looks very good on paper.” However, surely Lashley and the officials at the Transport Authority should be aware that the Traffic Laws and Regulations would have to be amended, if this suggestion is to become a reality. Why? Because “tour coaches and private transporters” are NOT registered to “pick up and set down passengers at bus stops,” and are not insured to engage in this practice.
    As such, the operators of minibuses and tour coaches, through their collective bargaining agent, Alliance Owners of Public Transport Inc., [AOPT] have expressed their refusal to participate in the proposal. As at January 3, 2017, almost one week after the Christmas holidays, no tour coaches in the terminals and commuters are still complaining.

    And TB’s methods of allocating bus repairs to service providers are also a cause for concern.

    During the Budget debate in June 2015, while denying to suggestions from the opposition that TB allowed a private firm to install buses transmissions “at upward of three times what they cost, Lashley assured the House “MAJORITY of the MECHANICAL WORK REQUIRED by the Board was BEING ASSIGNED to UCAL, in preference to Quality Care, L&N, TransTech and Simpson Motors.” [PressReader, June 15, 2015]

    Recall UCAL’s workshop in located at TB’s Weymouth Headquarters. Yet, on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, TB advertised an “Expression of interest for the repairs of ten (10) Hino buses.”

    Not only has TB been systematically reducing bus repairs to UCAL and breached payment agreements, the Board solicited the services “of three Trinidadian engineers who have set up shop at the Transport Board’s Mangrove depot in St Philip and are reportedly repairing a number of buses. Reports were that UCAL was directed to transport 14 buses to the Mangrove mechanical workshop to be assigned to the Trinidadians.” [Source: Daily Nation, March 15, 2016]

    Additionally, Sir Roy “previously charged that the Transport Board had been giving the repair work to outside sources and not to UCAL.” He said: “They continue to send buses elsewhere, even though UCAL is UNDER SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT to work day and night and to work as well on Sundays and public holidays, so that many days we a crew of workers available and on site, but they do not have enough work.” [Source: PressReader, December 8, 2016]

  5. Pingback: Minister Michael Lashley Struggling to Deliver Average Transportation Service | Barbados Underground

  6. @ Artax
    Some shiite is seriously wrong with those St Philip and St Lucy MPs…… mean you can’t see that? Bushie’s grand mother would have diagnosed them as ‘having the devil in their donkeys’ … especially the head one …who seem to have the devil in his face…

    This propensity to come on TV and talk a lotta shiite with a straight face is a ‘Lawyer thing’ and, thanks to Cave Hill and Jeff C, we have been cursed in multiple areas …..the most recent being the Lawyer fella talking shiite about renewable energy…. After the FTC rule on the hedging issue, he suddenly saw the wisdom in it….
    Would you not have thought that such a body would be kicking up a STORM seeking to influence the decision BEFOREHAND?…. proactively…? …and carrying the fight to BL&P?

    Lotta shiitey attention seekers!!! …the kind who use their real names on blogs to enhance their CVs….
    Only brass bowls would put a lawyer in charge of a technical body seeking to penetrate new ground in a new technology like renewables….. Lawyers are best suited to working in the background, seeking ways to frustrate each other …while intelligent, productive people get on with the business of social and economic development.

  7. Walter; Not me an dem others. Include me out. I eat in no league wid Bushie and Artax.
    Well Well;
    “… look at the destruction of the society in Barbados where racism has been a staple for 50 years post slavery, until it has become accepted and institutionalized..” Racism has been a staple in Barbados from the beginning of its existence. Lots changed after independence; that is why the “Royal” charter was removed from the Yacht club, and they were forced to refusing to serve Blacks. The same thing happened with a lot of the other practices that Blacks just used to ignore.

  8. “Chad” employs some curious illogic when he cites people who call Trump a bigot as being “stupid’. He rationalises his opinion by writing the following: “There are plenty of research papers in social psychology, which taken together, strongly indicate that at least two-thirds of white Americans are deeply prejudiced in every bone of their bodies. At least two-thirds.”

    In other words, if two thirds of white Americans are deeply prejudiced we shouldn’t describe anyone as racist because it emblematic of that community. We should just sweep it under the rug and pretend that even if it exists it doesn’t affect us. Whether Hillary or Bill are racists bears little relation to whether Trump is a racist and they are for the most part on the margins of public life while Trump is now the Twitter in Chief. If Trump continues to marginalise or demean Black people or other minorities we will not turn the other cheek.

    We will call it as we see it even when he cavorts with Stepin Fetchit (Don King) and tries to parlay that as his entre into acceptance in Black households.

  9. On December 30, 2010, during a Press conference held at the Transport Authority, the Transport Board’s marketing and corporate communications manager Lynda Holder announced the “smart card” initiative, which was to be formally introduced in February 2011, allowing passengers to use a card instead of cash, to pay for travel on TB buses.

    What is the status of this project?


    On Monday, September 8, 2014, Lashley suggested that PRIVATE SECTOR VEHICLES could be integrated into the public transport system, to help ease public transportation problems across Barbados.

    Following his announcement, “Courtesy Garage OFFERED government a PROPOSAL to cater to some routes around Bridgetown.” Officials from the garage “showed Lashley and officials of the Transport Board a 30-seater bus yesterday which they said could adequately service some St Michael areas. The buses can be adapted to meet the physically challenged, holding about four wheelchairs.”

    “They OFFERED a package in terms of assisting with some of the routes around Bridgetown [that cater to] senior citizens with problems relative to a scheduled service . . . . That is the way we want to go,” Lashley said after the tour.”

    “The minister said they were still DRAFTING the POLICY and an INTERIM COMMITTEE was in place looking at the routes.” [Source: Daily Nation, September 10, 2014]


    After two (2) years and three (3) months there has not been any PROGRESS relative to Courtesy Garage’s proposal. How could Barbadians seriously expect Lashley and TB to perform a similar undertaking in December 2016, within two weeks?

  10. “The GG should not be a salaried position. In a small island economy we have to save as much ass possible,including parliamentary salaries and pensions.”

    Agreed matter of fact it should be abolished because the holder of the post struggles to find something meaningful to do. Kudos to the current one for adding visits to schools to the other charitable gestures the Governor General is supposed to perform.

  11. ” Mara still has some unexplained business given her role as Office Manager at Thompson & Thompson”

    Just asking David but didn’t the Chief Justice exonerate or remove Mrs Thompson as a person of interest in this regard-

    • The court released the third named defendant read the estate of David Thompson (executrix is Mara Thompson) in the matter Deloitte’s vs Branlee (Parris). Completely different matter.

  12. ” Perhaps he is of the opinion “success” can be transferred from one ministry to the next without trying to achieve it through hard work.”

    Based on the enthusiasm he brought to his role as Minister of Housing; I once described his performance there as a success as well but given the myriad of houses built by him dotting the landscape still unoccupied and related projects started under his watch dogged with problems I am beginning to rethink my view of his seemingly success as Minister of Housing.

  13. Alvin….that is what happens when you are silent about atrocities to a majority population. …silence is acceptance…… and it never goes away unless you the people keep highlighting and exposing the nasty culprits, practitioners and enablers.

    This is 2017….all racists should be exposed all the time, everytime, bigotry and racism should not be accepted or allowed to flourish and be practiced in a 95% black majority country against the majority population, at any time.

  14. David recntly there was a review of fake news and inaccurate reporting here. The analysis by Chad45 that an office manager would be bereft of knowledge of the company’s operations and query by @Skeete is clearly the fake news variety.

    Rather shameful attempts to create a piss poor false palaver!

    Based on the money figures being bandied it seems that Mr Thompson was an astute fellow even beyond his expected potentials. It also seems that he is held in high regard for his skills moreso than he is questioned about his wealth…does that suggest that corporate lawyers in Bdos are expected to have that level of wealth!

    • @dPd

      DT would have derived significant revenue from his liason with Parris and being lawyer of choice for CLICO group of companies along with related parties.

  15. dpd asked, “does that suggest that corporate lawyers in Bdos are expected to have that level of wealth ?


  16. @ dPd
    The problem is that, if anyone dares to question Thompson’s unexplained wealth, that person then opens themselves to being questioned. It therefore someone with clean hands to initiate the process.
    The BLP cannot raise the issue, else they will find themselves trying to explain, among MANY other things, how a PM could have moved from almost destitute ….to giving away huge donations to legends….on a PM’s salary in a few years.

    Apart from probably Jeff C, No lawyer can raise the question … cause they are all a bunch of crooks … just waiting to be outed like the Speaker of the House and the roll of dishonour here on BU. …and Jeff now has to balance his status as FTC guru and Cave Hill icon – so he tends to be circumspect….

    It is one big brass bowl mess….

  17. @ dPd

    To answer your question as to whether this is a universal characteristic of corporate lawyers one would suggest that you enquire as tot he assets of one Fumbles OR, and this is more pertinent to your query, one Michael Carry Away a Ton of money or more precisely $250K and the latter’s inability to repay it for 14 years.

    In fact you should note that both the pawper lawyer and the other abysmally bad laywer did converse when the sleeping giant told the loose handed one caught in the cookie jar to “get a lawyer”

  18. @ WW&C

    Trump chose to believe the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Paul Assange, rather than the US intelligence community.

    How could Trump NOT TRUST information from the intelligence community, yet, he has to RELY on it for security advice as head of state.

    Interesting times ahead with “Donald Chump.”

    • There is fairly credible information starting to seep into the public sphere that accusations of Russian hacking was overplayed by CNN and other news outlets. No doubt there is more to follow.

  19. I can understand if the “accusations of Russian hacking may have been overplayed by CNN and other news outlets.

    However, we must bear in mind that intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, FBI, ISC, OIA, or the BIR, do not act on information received from or disseminated by the press.

    And speaking of media outlets, I find FOX News to be extremely biased towards Trump. Their interviewees are always pro Trump and there is a blatant lack of balance in presenting both sides of the story.

  20. @David at 2:34 PM…In addition to @Artax’s point that “we must bear in mind that intelligence agencies,…. do not act on information received from or disseminated by the press” the question that has not been answered by Mr Trump and his acolytes is: to what avail would all the intelligence services make ‘false’ claims against the Russians? They certainly had no love for Clinton

    We know what drove the inaccurate WMD info; but what is the alpha and omega here!!!

    As a man of journalistic endeavor you know quite well that the media always “overplays” the most salacious and ‘reader interest’ stories, as that one surely was.

    And they always hype and overplay to get clicks leading to more ad revenue.

    But the awesome aspect of the story lays in Trump’s denials. The more he dissed the data then more was the story hyped by the media that a Pres-candidate and now Pres-elect was dismissing his US intelligence services.

    Frankly it’s all blarney from Trump. Pure, unadulterated Machiavelli world of PR.

    This is the SAME man who lambasted the generals and other flag officers from the military and on a dime changed tune to select more (and particularly recently current ones) to his cabinet than any recent President.

    So he will sing his nay tune until the very moment he changes to a yea tune and then spin it to his benefit. It’s all about his ‘Movement’.

    Yet, through it all the fact that he could speak on this matter as he has done is unconscionable.

    Over 18 million Twitter followers – 99% likely Americans- accept him as a patriot of his nation, despite his caustic rhetoric on the intelligence services. He clearly knows how to satisfy his peeps and that is unconscionably frightening!

    This scary demagogue will surely make the US and the world come to rue the context of that remark…’I could shoot someone on 5th Ave and still be elected.’

  21. @ David

    Having read the Dodd-Frank Act on previous occasions, when I saw the article’s headline, I immediately scrolled through it to look for any statement which would suggest their reason for a repeal of the Act, is that Trump is seen as “pro business.”

    Low and behold: “Banks now see opportunities to unravel reforms under President-Elect Donald Trump’s administration and the incoming Republican-led Congress, which appear more BUSINESS-FRIENDLY, lobbyists said.”

    Interestingly, “As Tom Quaadman, executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, put it in an interview, Volcker needs to change “so businesses can get started, grow, and create well-paying jobs,” is consistent with Trump’s slogan “bring back our jobs.”

    Trump will soon come to the reality that managing an economy is not similar to managing his businesses or hosting “The Apprentice,” (where his decisions are autonomous).

  22. @Well Well & Consequences: ” Lol…Happy New Year, Walter.” Well Well, Happy New Year to you and your family. 2017 will be a pivotal year in more ways than one.

  23. David,
    Trump, and the Republican party; who did not vote for the Affordable Care Act, are now learning how much it has benefited the people; the same ones that they encouraged to vote against the Democrats. As an example, miners in the Coal industry who developed Black Lung Disease, under the Act receive a grant from the Federal government; or at least the Insurance company. Many widows depend on this money to help them pay their bills. If ObamaCare is repealed, they immediately lose this benefit. The Republicans have nothing to put in place to replace this. They are beginning to understand their limits.

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