The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – A Race to the Bottom?

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

As was the Prime Minister of St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, I, too, was not overly enthusiastic at first blush about the involvement of some of our neighbouring jurisdictions such as Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica and St Kitts-Nevis in the Citizenship by Investment [CBI] programme or, as it has been more popularly referred to, “the sale of passports”. While addressing the launch of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Finance Fair in May last year in St. Vincent, Dr Gonsalves maintained his administration’s opposition to the programme that he described as “a race to the bottom”.

This is understandable. After all, as individuals, we tend to regard some things as being not for sale, however destitute we may become. We, or at least most of us, would not sell our dignity, for instance, nor our lifeblood or vital organs; we would not sell our children. In a similar vein, one calypsonian was proud to proclaim a few years ago that come what might, he would never sell the old donkey that he had recently inherited from his deceased father.

I readily concede that others might be of a different persuasion, a different practice even. Dr Gonsalves was of the view, however, that his country’s passport was too sacred a document to be sold. According to him, while wishing his colleagues well, “We just simply have a different perspective on it…we start from the simple proposition that that the two most important books in a house, in any house in St Vincent and the Grenadines, are the Bible and the passport….”

I have since re-examined the matter. And, on further analysis, I observe that in the finest mercantilist tradition, we, as a region and as a people are given to the ready disposition of our finest assets to the world for lucre; our beachfront property, our glorious weather, our educated workforce and low tax systems; our natural resources. Our cricketers now sell their talents to various teams in the world’s T20 leagues as they once did to the English counties. In fine, we are a people easily given to the sale of our treasured assets so long as a willing buyer for a sufficient consideration might be found.

Hence, it is understandable that some of our neighbours might be willing to sell citizenship of their jurisdictions, even though it must be noted in contrast that for those who should seek to acquire it by means other than by purchase or investment, it may be a legally complex and constitutionally involved process.

But there do exist those who have, and are willing to expend the money or investment quoted to acquire citizenship of these jurisdictions; an entitlement that will permit them a degree of access to parts of the world that possession of their own national passports could never accomplish for them.

At that level therefore, the sale of citizenship is comprehensible, although it equally brings to mind the notorious remark variously ascribed to Sir Winston Churchill, Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw and addressed to an indignant female that “we have already established what you are…we are now merely haggling about the price”.

In last Sunday’s issue of the Barbados Advocate, Sir Ronald Sanders manfully defended the practice now being discussed and in her essay published on the Barbados Underground blog, Ms Alicia Nicholls, a trade and development specialist, did the same. One of the main thrusts of both arguments is that the practice is not restricted to these regional jurisdictions only but, indeed, enjoys global popularity, being extant also in some European and North American jurisdictions.

In fact, the regional passport is not ranked as highly desirable globally as some others similarly available –one website notes that purchase of the Austrian passport gives visa-free access to 171 countries, while the Dominican travel document by comparison severely limits the investor to a mere 91. Arguments also focused on the comparative rigour with which relevant applications are vetted and the relatively dire state of most of the regional economies, a phenomenon that has appeared to be almost intractable in recent years, that has driven them to this “desperate” measure.

Sir Ronald stressed this inescapable point. In his weekly column, “Passports: Sale or Saviour”, he wrote, “…all of the Caribbean countries involved with Citizenship by Investment programmes have come to them by necessity. Poor terms of trade, vulnerability to financial downturns in North America and Europe from where most of their tourists come, declining aid, persistent natural disasters and no access to concessional funding have forced them to be creative in raising revenues. They are all faced with fiscal deficits, high debt and an international environment that is unresponsive to their predicament…”

Ms Nicholls’s likewise adverted to this –“once carefully managed, CBI programmes can be tools of development. A prime example is St. Kitts & Nevis, which at one point had been among the world’s most indebted countries, and has seen its economic fortunes turned around”.

To bring the debate closer to home, Barbados, so far as I know, has never indicated an intention to go this commercial route, even though its passport is perhaps the most globally attractive in the region. I recall arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2003 on a teaching assignment for the International Labour Organization after a 16-hour flight from Amsterdam to see, with equal measures of surprise and pride, that the holders of our passport were listed among those that were exempt from the requirement to obtain an entry visa.

Is it then that by our reluctance so far we are playing, as my late mother would have termed it, “poor-great” or is it that we value our document so highly that, as “scrunting” as we are currently, no amount of money can lure us to make it available to others who are not constitutionally entitled to it? What do you think?

One pertinent issue that seems to have escaped regional discussion, although alluded to by Ms Nicholls, is that of the impact of the CBI programmes on the regional initiative of free travel under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, as judicially detailed by the CCJ in the Shanique Myrie case. This is to the effect that every CARICOM national is entitled to a right of free entry into the territory of a Member State and the right to remain there for a period up to six months, unless the national is an undesirable person with in the restricted meaning of that term and subject to certain other procedural guarantees identified in the decision.

Given the nature of this right, interregional comity should at least require a consensus among member states of CARICOM that this entitlement might also be acquired by a stipulated investment in any one of them under CBI.

.

81 comments

  • Selling passports cannot be a tool of development. That view is untenable. Equally, because we have sold our prime real estate, on the false basis of an open economy, does not mean we should sell our teenage daughters in to prostitution.
    I remember having this same discussion with a former permanent secretary some time ago. He was wrong then, and those who advance it now are still wrong.
    This is basically an ethical argument, but there is also an economic dimension.
    Since 2009, the financial crisis, the use of so-called tax havens has increased significantly. Yet we have a global balance sheet in which there are more liabilities than assets.
    I am not an accountant, but any junior financial journalist will attest that under western book keeping arrangements, the numbers must balance.
    For example, in 2015, global mutual funds accounted for US$2trn in Luxembourg alone. Yet Luxembourg’s own statisticians calculated that the total should be US$3.5trn. Where has the hidden wealth of $1.5trn gone?
    Russians hold 52 per cent of national wealth overseas: a lot in Cyprus, a great set in Britain,. We are now inviting these oligarchs and gangsters to buy Caribbean passports for under US$50000 – the equivalent of a good restaurant dinner.
    But, the big question is not just buying passports on the cheap; they also buy influence. In moral terms, there is no difference between buying a passport and buying the governor generalship; what is the moral difference?
    Savill’s, the estate agents, are now marketing a property in Barbados for Bds$56m, well out of the range of traditional Barbadians, and that property will be snapped up in a short time.
    If we have a government that is borrowing relatively small amounts of money to keep its head above water, it is clear it will be vulnerable to the dark forces of those who want to accumulate passports.
    We all dislike poverty, but our souls are not for sale. To suggest as much is flawed thinking.

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  • Yes Barbadians are “poor great” and highly resistance to change of any kind especially that type of change that would uproot or cause a diametric changes to what they have accepted to be normal or functional
    In other words “if it is not broken don/t fix it,” The Myrie case is a classic example of Barbados having to learn the hard way that being functional is not always the right way way, Most would have believe that our laws and guidelines would have been sufficient but how wrong we were and even today not readily accepted to admit that as a society we have to look above and beyond our comfort zone in order to free ourselves in other areas so we can display our capabilities those which would enable us and push us forward for better progress,
    Our birth right is enshrined in our Birth certificate not an official piece of document that states that we have a right to to be a citizen of a country because when all is said and done we are all citizens of a God given world and inheritors to the which God has given and provide for us daily
    An eternal Right which no man can take away freely. Therefore we as a society need to stop projecting an image that we are different and better than anyone when in reality we are not but stubborn aloft and highly resistance to change until better can’t be done .

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Jeff
    Well said…
    But…
    When you distil the matter to its fundamental roots, by having tourism as our major national means of livelihood, “we have already established what we are…we are now merely haggling about the price” on the passport issue.

    Anytime we find ourselves defining ‘success’ in monetary terms, it is almost inevitable that prostitution of our most valuable and sacred assets will follow. It is the genesis of albino-centric philosophy.
    In the alternative community-centric world, we would NEVER sell off the old donkey that was passed down by the old man ….. and that is destined to be handed over, with great pride, to the little man coming up…

    Liked by 1 person

  • It might surprise many to find out that Barbados has a programme that amounts to citizenship by investment since 1975. Our system is well camouflaged and it takes a few years to achieve citizenship but the result is the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Hal

    Agree with your position 100%. This is an ethical argument but as Caswell stated rich people can earn a passport based on time spent on the island and amount of assets domiciled here.

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  • I have read Jeff’s article and it simply confirms to me why we in the Caribbean will forever remain a region indebted and listless.

    Sir Ronald and the spineless Ms Phillips appear convinced that the Citizenship by Investment [CBI] programme will bring prosperity to the region. These two dullards are of the firm believe that if we do not embrace this programme then our region will have no future.

    Jeff quoted Sir Ronald views on the the CBI of which he wrote, “…all of the Caribbean countries involved with Citizenship by Investment programmes have come to them by necessity. Poor terms of trade, vulnerability to financial downturns in North America and Europe from where most of their tourists come, declining aid, persistent natural disasters and no access to concessional funding have forced them to be creative in raising revenues. They are all faced with fiscal deficits, high debt and an international environment that is unresponsive to their predicament…”

    Ms Phillips and Sir Ronald are impracticable individuals. Innovation derived from our local environment is the only means of salvation for our region. With our favourable climate we should not be importing fossil fuels. We have the means to produce our own food supply. Why have we never seriously carried out research on our “indigenous” plants; many of them have medicinal properties? I certainly know of one plant on your island that that has been know to fight cancer.

    Barbados has a population of below 300,000, of which the vast majority are Negros and Christians. Compared to other regions of the world we live in a disaster free zone. Neither do we suffer from wars. We all live on islands that are sun-kissed. Let me be clear: people we live in a region in the world that by any measure or description could be termed as a paradise.

    As a region we could be self-sufficient if we were to pool both of our resources and the grey matter that God gave us.

    Your Ms Phillips, Sir Ronalds and – sadly – i must add to that list Jeff Cumberbatch have their own personal agenda for our region to adopt the CBI scheme. Pay no mind to these Jeremiahs.

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  • David,
    Thanks, David. I think for people to get resident status they must spend at least 90 days in Barbados. Our immigration lawyers can correct me on this.
    This has always been a condition of western liberal visa requirements.
    The US makes a big thing of stealing talent from developing nations. For example, 70 per cent of |Indian engineering graduates have a desire to do post graduate work in the US; of those the best are hijacked and offered jobs, homes, sometimes even helicopters. Go to Silicon valley and see how many Indians are behind the big names we know.
    This is why of all the OECD countries the US is the only one without a demographic problem. It is the brain drain. But as Auguste Comte, the 18th century French thinker said, demography is destiny.
    Politicians may mess around with the demographics of the country, but in 25-30 years they will see a new Barbados. It will not be for the better.
    I have seen how Britain has changed over the last 40 years, I won’t wish that on any country. Even the US; the inflow of Latinos only started in the mid 1960s, after the change of legislation, now look.

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  • Undergirding all that we do must the definition we want to fashion for Barbados.

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  • David January 15, 2017 at 8:53 AM #

    Yup….a vision/objective/goal for the future direction of not only Bim but the rest of the Caribbean.

    That agreed on direction should relegate tourism to the bottom rung of our tools for earning forex as well as citizenship programmes

    The world population is becoming resistant to anti-biotics,why does not our UWI take on this niche area and earn some forex which the big pharmas deem to be not worth their while as the income for them is too small…..just one possibility.

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  • “Your Ms Phillips, Sir Ronalds and – sadly – i must add to that list Jeff Cumberbatch have their own personal agenda for our region to adopt the CBI scheme. Pay no mind to these Jeremiahs”.

    @ Explainer, where in the column do you get the impression that I am in favor of CBI? Because I said that I had re-examined the matter? Because I quoted from Sir Ronald’s article?

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  • Hal

    I am no immigration lawyer or any kind of lawyer but there is no 90 day requirement. Also, there is no resident status.

    Sent from my iPad

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  • Jeff

    Your breadfruits hang low. I thought that I had missed something and re-read your column. I am thankful for your clarification because I was wondering if I had started to lose my faculties.

    Sent from my iPad

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  • Thanks, Caswell. How then does a resident qualify for tax purposes if there is not a compulsory residency requirement, a qualifying period. Do they just say I now live in Barbados? Or buy a property and assume residency?

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  • @Jeff

    You know Exclaimer sees red when he sees your name 🙂

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Caswell Franklyn
    Are you referring to the Barbados Special Entry Permit program for High Net Worth Persons? As I understand it, there are significant differences between that and a citizenship by investment program.

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  • As usual Barbadians would gladly pinpoint the negatives but quick to resist and embrace the positives at all cost, No country that has strive for prgress has not done so with out cost. Progress comes with a cost , However failure is the end result of a much higher cost for doing nothing .

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    @ David
    But I thought the Barbados Special Entry Permit was a relatively recent innovation (I remember it being talked about in the 2013 budget debates). Caswell alludes to something that’s been in place since 1975.

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  • @ David, Thanks for the sources. I thought that there had been a rapprochement with Exclaimer in that regard…

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  • In the Eastern Caribbean, CBI schemes do not require the investor to live in, or even visit the region. As a practical matter, if an investor establishes a business or buys property, he may spend a few days or weeks here each year, but most of these people just make a one-time cash payment to acquire citizenship.

    It is therefore surprising to see Hal Austin talking about the demographic consequences of these programs. If Hal is worried about unplanned demographic changes, he should be concerned about CARICOM, which is likely to subject most of the small islands to waves of East Indian immigration from Guyana and Trinidad.

    My great grandchildren will undoubtedly be shining the shoes of Hindu overlords.

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  • @Jeff

    Bad habits die hard.

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  • @chad9999

    Do you agree with CBI as an economic initiative for small islands in the Caribbean or not.

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Jeff and David, if Exclaimer’s habits (bad or good) seem ill-disposed to rapprochement I find some solace that this CBI mentality is a habit (bad or good) being reflected in merely a new and more profound way.

    As you say Jeff: “… I observe that in the finest mercantilist tradition, we, as a region and as a people are given to the ready disposition of our finest assets to the world for lucre; our beachfront property, … Our cricketers now sell their talents to various teams in the world’s T20 leagues as they ONCE DID to the English counties…. we are a people easily given to the sale of our treasured assets so long as a willing buyer for a sufficient consideration might be found.”

    Not much new under this warm Bajan sun really.

    And to the other point with all its Brexit type red-flags (as discussed here before) the regional leaders need to address the issue of ” consensus among member states of CARICOM that this entitlement might also be acquired by a stipulated investment in any one of them under CBI.”

    But that’s a ‘passport issue’ we can kick down the road I presume like some version of Chad45 shoe-shining scenario where ‘wha sweet in goat mout…”!

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  • Jeff

    starts this post by writing, “I, too, was not overly enthusiastic at first blush about (CBI programs)”.

    However, he then spends most of the next ten paragraphs presenting one argument after another in favor of these programs, telling us it is “understandable” why governments in the eastern Caribbean find these programs attractive and in some cases necessary.

    This is the typical way an advocate for CBI would make his case. So although Jeff nowhere declared his personal endorsement of the program, the reader would be entirely justified in assuming that Jeff would not choose to be an advocate if he did not personally support CBI. This, after all is a personal column.

    But when Exclaimer makes just this (reasonable) assumption, Jeff is quick to jump down his throat as if it could not possibly be true.

    “Where did you get (the) impression (that I support CBI)?”, he asks.

    The answer, Jeff, is that the design and structure of your post conveys that impression. Most writers use just such an approach to make arguments they personally support.

    Exclaimer is right. And you will say you are right too.

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  • Well Well & Consequences

    “Poor terms of trade, vulnerability to financial downturns in North America and Europe from where most of their tourists come, declining aid, persistent natural disasters and no access to concessional funding have forced them to be creative in raising revenues. They are all faced with fiscal deficits, high debt and an international environment that is unresponsive to their predicament…”

    Why are Caribbean leaders so poor at negotiating contracts that are supposed to benefit their country and people significantly also, but it always ends being one sided benefits to the other signatories.

    They obviously need a university course in contract negotiations and that is despite many of these leaders being lawyers themselves or having access to 20 or 30 fellow ministers as lawyers or….having hundreds of lawyers available to them in the civil service and outside of government.

    I would expect Gonzales of St. Vincent to keep away from investors and selling passports after his run in with the Harlequin scam artists from the UK….of which Barbados is also still being negatively impacted…, after their runin with the Harlequin group.

    None of the Caribbean leaders do background checks on white investors and their associates before getting involved with them, so they will always pay the price.

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  • Chad,

    I am a big Caricom supporter, even though I think Owen Arthur’ as the lead minister in Caricom/CSME, introduced a flawed free movement of people policy.
    My main concern is about people from outside Caricom. This is the real ticking demographic timebomb.

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  • Well Well & Consequences

    Canada had to suspend their passport selling scheme.,, dont have to think very hard why it’s dangerous.

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  • The penultimate paragraph of Jeff’s submission is important. How comfortable are we conferring benefits under the RTOC -crafted for Caricom citizens -to those with big bank accounts. Should non CBI countries red flag this matter at the HOGs.

    One pertinent issue that seems to have escaped regional discussion, although alluded to by Ms Nicholls, is that of the impact of the CBI programmes on the regional initiative of free travel under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, as judicially detailed by the CCJ in the Shanique Myrie case. This is to the effect that every CARICOM national is entitled to a right of free entry into the territory of a Member State and the right to remain there for a period up to six months, unless the national is an undesirable person with in the restricted meaning of that term and subject to certain other procedural guarantees identified in the decision.

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Chad45, we all read stuff and as you know only too well we infuse what we read with our biases and thus the interpretations are wildly divergent.

    Like Caswell I did not come away from this piece with Exclamer’s interpretation.

    The author provided solid details on a thorny issue and did ask quite clearly “What do you think?”

    Jeff can fight his own battles obviously but I wanted to highlight that.

    Incidentally, I am sure that my reading of the mornings news that Pres-elect Trump has now cancelled a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in observance of Martin Luther King Day, would be diametrically different from yours because we had abjectly different value sets.

    I think that the egotistical President elect is so petty that his tussle with Congressman John Lewis blocks the common sense of a valuable embrace, a tone of friendship and ‘rapprochement’ to all America that his MLK Day visit signifies. When upset he harks to his nativist, divisive roots.

    Same as with the piece above: Different interpretations based on our preconceptions.

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  • “At that level therefore, the sale of citizenship is comprehensible, although it equally brings to mind the notorious remark variously ascribed to Sir Winston Churchill, Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw and addressed to an indignant female that “we have already established what you are…we are now merely haggling about the price”.

    Chad, you have already admitted on this blog that you have a difficulty understanding sentences of more than a few words. But how, if you should attempt it, do you read the above?

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  • The politicians in the English-speaking Caribbean have become hostages to a copycat mentality, you have a music/jazz festival I’ll start one too; you have a tax haven/ offshore banking we’ll have one also; you have a citizenship by investment that looks like it is profitable we’ll have one of those. The beneficiaries of the latter policy approach this as all you can eat restaurant where the only differences are the prices and the ambiance but the menu is the same. Do they choose location or price? Some will choose the cheapest and others location but the restaurants are really catering to a once in a blue moon guest and they will roll out the red carpet but they won’t see him/her for another year or more while the regular patrons of the eatery (local citizens) are treated with scant respect.

    The genie is out of the bottle as far as CBI is concerned, it is better to craft a policy that sustains long term investment than adopt a fly by night scheme that seems to be the approach of some other jurisdictions. One that involves long term job creation instead of a onetime investment to the Treasury. Barbados has been down the short-term investment road before, one that sold sought after property to foreign buyers who built homes and employed workers and after the initial construction was completed a gardener and a mad (if the occupant was long term).

    We can and should do better.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sargeant,

    You are right. It is the lack of original ideas. All to do with learning by rote.

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  • Exclaimer speaks of these islands as Paradise.I am reminded of a floor show at the Trinidad Hilton in the ’90s done by a white bajan.It traced the story of the how the African was duped to come to the Caribbean by the promise of an all expenses paid trip to islands of Paradise in the West Indies.
    Meanwhile Cyril Duprey’s nephew Lawrence wants to regain control of Clico Financial as the Express writes:-
    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20170114/news/divestment-plan-for-govt-to-exit-cl-financial-in-5-months-giving-ex-chairman-possible-control-rebirth-of-duprey

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  • Let us not forget CBI was mentioned in parliament during a debate as an initiative to be explored. One could only cringe at the mention of it.

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  • In all honesty, Bushie never concluded that Jeff in any way supported CBI programs from the article. However Bushie has to agree that he does spend too much effort in seeking to reserve his personal positions, ..while writing on some very controversial topics.

    Lotta shiite!!!
    Jeff needs to call a spade a brass bowl spade, and let us all know where he stands on some of these issues.
    That is the difference between no-name bloggers such as Bushie, and name-brand contributors such as himself and Caswell.

    Nobody gives two farts what Bushie personally thinks – since the bushman could well be some schemer with a hidden agenda. Bushie therefore has to depend on logic, reason and persuasion to get his points across.

    On the other hand, many brass bowls RELY on upstanding citizens such as Jeff for guidance, …such that his personal opinion counts MUCH more than any flimsy arguments and non-incriminating positions that he may take.

    So Jeff, as man!!
    …if you really feel that these CBI programs are just like selling the nation’s poo’nanie,
    …. man say so nah…!!!
    Dem politicians are mostly lawyers, and they will respond to your personal opinions – even if they are intellectually unable to follow your complex phraseology…

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  • David January 15, 2017 at 12:52 PM #

    Chuckle………and Min. Innis said no way…….as Caswell said,it already exists in another form going back to ’75……its basically at the PMs discretion.

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  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ Peter Lawrence T. (Once the owner of the biggest Afro at Harrison College State Prison)

    What Caswell Franklyn means to say, but can’t say is that the illegal sale of passports and extensions to the 40,000 Guyanese of whom Charles Leacock is the leader, has been and still is a CBI programme.

    This has made and continues to make men like Dumpling very rich and was the purported reason that the former Chief immigration officer got killed at his home in Butlers Avenue in Spooners Hill for tekking people money for the CBI and not delivering dem passports

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  • Peter

    I am referring to section 6 of the Immigration Act that allows persons to obtain immigrant status if they are investing in Barbados. The special entry permit regime that was instituted by the present administration is just a poorly thought out money grab that has backfired in a number of cases.

    Sent from my iPad

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  • Jeff

    I have 99th percentile scores on both the GRE and the GMAT. What are your scores?

    My reading comprehension is second to none.

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  • “Jeff needs to call a spade a brass bowl spade, and let us all know where he stands on some of these issues.

    That is the difference between no-name bloggers such as Bushie, and name-brand contributors such as himself and Caswell…”

    @Bushie, I face this problem every day with my students. What does it matter what I think? I place the objective facts before you for you to assess them and form t your own opinion. Agreeing or disagreeing with Jeff is not what it is about. My view is worthless in the grand scheme of things!

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  • Jeff

    You are a bit too modest. While I don’t always accept you views, I have come to respect them. I might respect Bushie’s if he comes out of the closet.

    Sent from my iPad

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  • Hal Austin January 15, 2017 at 11:35 AM #

    “I am a big Caricom supporter, even though I think Owen Arthur’ as the lead minister in Caricom/CSME, introduced a flawed free movement of people policy.”

    @ Hal Austin

    Your usual modus operandi is to criticize both political parties so as to appear neutral, but you go on to place particular emphasis on Owen Arthur, which “exposes your slip.” And although I am not attempting to defend Arthur, it seems as though you blame him for implementing anything in Barbados or the Caribbean that may not find favour with you.

    As it relates to your above comments, it is erroneous (or mischievous) for you to state: “Owen Arthur’ as the lead minister in Caricom/CSME, INTRODUCED a flawed free movement of people policy.”

    Information on CARICOM’s website suggests “The free movement of skills initiative originated in the 1989 Grand Anse Declaration,” 5 years BEFORE Arthur and the BLP were elected in 1994.

    However, “the original concept has been modified over the years in order to facilitate the implementation of this mandate,” by MEMBER STATES (and NOT Arthur) to include various categories of Caricom nationals.

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  • > @Caswell > > Please clarify your last comment. Are you saying that Bushie should > relinquish his moniker for the name on his birth certificate OR are you > questioning his sexual persuasion. >

    >

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  • Hahahaha! Come on, David!

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  • I am most likely referring to the name on the birth certificate.

    Sent from my iPad

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  • Artax,

    Plse do not blame me for your flight of imagination with nonsense of my modus operandi. Are you suggesting my calling out of Owen Arthur is personal, or has some party political motive?.
    Mr Arthur was prime minister for 14 years and during that time held the responsibility of being the lead prime minister for Caricom/CSME. He was also our minister of finance and town and country planning. He is still very much active in Barbadian public life.
    When was the free movement of graduates and professionals (when journalists negotiated their way on to the list) passed in to local legislation, giving graduates of UWI and the University of Guyana an automatic right, and other graduates from other universities a right with ministerial approval.
    To clarify matters, I am interested in Barbados and do not have any brief from any political party. I do not aspire to be a politician.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Bush Tea January 15, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    You always argue rather forcibly that the tourism business is nothing more than prostitution on a national scale.

    So one would have been disappointed if you had failed here in the consistency test and not described this CBI game as nothing more than a more sophisticated form prostitution but with the ‘johns’ carrying papers of ‘fake’ citizenship for easy accessibility to the brass-bowls’ political pudenda.

    Which rich, law-abiding (pardon the oxymoron), well –heeled and connected individual would want to bribe corrupt politicians in the Caribbean for a piece of paper which has restricted acceptance internationally? Can that person travel the world at will? Where would they be paying taxes?

    All this programme is going to do is to attract criminals and terrorists and put the region under greater surveillance by the CIA since the threat of terrorism occurring in America’s back yard could be on the increase. The same way ISIS can buy guns and whatever they require to wage terrorism so too could they buy easy accessibility to tourists visiting these vulnerable locations.

    Barbados already has its own form of CBI. Ask Sir Cliff Richards or even those sophisticated loan sharks (not of the Bushie’s type) who want to bail out Bim from its quagmire of sinking debt.

    But then again the Caribbean was ‘developed’ since Columbus as the region for murder, economic exploitation, colonial wars, piracy and slavery. CBI is just another ‘gentler’ form of social ‘privateering’ by foreigners.

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  • By the way did you give chad99999 an F on his foundation paper?

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  • @ Jeff
    Bushie has to agree with Caswell that you are much too modest. Like Pacha, you seem to over-estimate the propensity of brass bowls to be logical, rational and decisive. You would be surprised how many of us are mere followers – but who are currently lost for lack of (thought) leaders of your ilk.
    You are actually selling us short….

    …and that also goes for your students, who would probably turn out to be much better (more honest, diligent and trustworthy) lawyers if they were more influenced by people like you – rather than left to founder in the mire of brass bowlery with which they are otherwise presented daily.

    @ Caswell
    What closet do you want Bushie out of…?
    It just bothers you that Bushie knows your business…..and not vice versa.
    …but your secrets are safe with the bushman… 🙂

    Besides, the alter ego is even more ingrunt than Bushie’s (according to reliable sources, so let sleeping dogs lie…

    @ David …re controversies on BU…
    Have whacker must whack….
    You know full well that nothing beats a little ‘bassa bassa’ when it comes to the REAL exploration of a topic and gaining deep learnings….
    …..and um does be real sweet to-besides… Bushie missing Georgie Porgie too bad yuh hear…. all like now he would be talking some shiite and insulting some innocent party …just for the heck of it… and Bushie would have something to whack….
    LOL
    ha ha ha

    Like

  • @Hal

    If you want to be accurate Arthur assumed lead for CSME in Caricom.

    Like

  • @ millertheanunnaki who wrote,

    “Which rich, law-abiding (pardon the oxymoron), well –heeled and connected individual would want to bribe corrupt politicians in the Caribbean for a piece of paper which has restricted acceptance internationally? ”

    You are stating the obvious. Anyone worth a few million dollars does not need a “Caribbean Island passport. ”

    Only those hiding something or running from something.

    Like

  • Guyanese will soon be leaving Barbados if this “pans” out as I hope.

    http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Exxon-Finds-More-Oil-Offshore-Guyana.html

    Like

  • @Hants

    Only those hiding something or running from something.

    There are probably a few honest ones who prefer to travel on a passport from a ‘çlean’ jurisdiction to replace the one from a country on the watch list.

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Sargeant January 15, 2017 at 12:39 PM … I can agree with you that “we can and should do better”. However, your reasoning to reach that is not as persuasive.

    Let’s accept that there is a bit of “a copycat mentality” across the region. But frankly and reasonably I would ask you if this is not true across the world.

    When we speak of competitive advantages and after we separate those nations with distinct or unique advantages from natural resources or developed resources then all the rest are copycats! Not so???

    The CBI programs in the region are nothing new as noted by others. The US/UK and other major powers had them for generations.

    So I would suggest that the genie has long been out of the bottle and we are late to a party where the music could be rudely curtailed abruptly. As suggested before, what happens when the major powers look askance at passports from us because they are too ‘freely’ available to undesirables.

    The positive side of the debate is that if the passports are more ‘widely’ available then it could be par for course that ‘spooks’ have Bajan or St.Kitts passports as part of their ‘Idenit kit’. In essence, the super powers let ‘sleeping passports lie’ and this CBI ting does not blow up in our faces.

    So yes of course we need more long term investment rich programs like Silicon Valley incubator sites and solar energy research et al…. But how long ago now has Intel left Barbados (and took with them fellows from Caswell’s and Jeff’s alma mater)?

    And what has become of the nascent work solar energy development from Prof. Headley?Didn’t much of that go to ‘copycats sites’ somewhere else!

    Yes we need to do better…but we have been down this road before. We do need to get back on the long haul route…as we certainly know what to do!

    If we can’t respect the written word for it “logic, reason and [persuasive accuracy]” but are rather focused on who wrote the words are we all not a bunch of hypocritical SNOBS.

    This line of argument is absolutely amusing. A coterie of intelligent folks who don’t hesitate to tell us what degrees they have (or recently how much marks and A’levels) or any other note which reinforces their gravitas and who will speak of their support of the ‘progressive’ agenda for the ‘small’ man and yet snipe so much about monikers.

    Do you folks listen to your carping hypocrisy!

    I read Jeff or Caswell because they write thoughtful well balanced articles and posts nine times out of 10. Bushie, Sargeant, Are-We, Artax and Pieces et al for the same reason. And I read Chad45 because he is ‘bad word’ who enjoys being a provocateur.

    I do not want to know who those folks are. They write good stuff (or BS). But I like it. How is knowing who they are going to change what they write!

    If I allowed their ID or clothing in their closet to change my views on their words then I would be a carping hypocrite like some of you guys! Fah real.

    Like

  • @ David “There are probably a few honest ones”

    Agreed…. but it’s the crooks that we should be concerned about.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ hants January 15, 2017 at 3:49 PM

    Crooks indeed!
    There go any further plans to fingerprint or biometrically monitor its citizens!

    If Barbados can’t even deal with the home-grown talent like Leroy Greenverbs how would the easily-manipulated authorities deal with the more sophisticated international version?

    China has 17 million men in excess of requirements.
    Don’t be surprised if Barbados is forced to ‘import’ some of these unattached males in return for a fistful of American dollars or even yuan.

    Like

  • @DPD
    Very interesting Gravatar, are you telling us you are a man of and from the heights?

    There is a saying “give a man a fish and he will eat that day, teach him to fish and he will never be hungry”. Our approach to these things are of the ‘give a fish’ variety we should be interested in attracting investment that will stick around and grow. Let’s invest in education, invest in those who are non- traditional n their outlook, we have too many ‘arts’ folk like Bushy who can’t see the forest for the trees.

    We are constantly looking at each other and trying the same approach which means the pie is being sliced thinner until it’s like cellophane. Why don’t we look at other countries outside the region and see what we can learn from them and see if we can apply the lessons learned. I read that Israel is the number 1 country in the world for startups, what did they do? Can the same methods be applied here? I know we are unlikely to attract the kind of investment that Israel attracts from its large coterie of non resident citizens and those with deep pockets who are of the Jewish faith. That approach will garner criticism because of the politics and optics but what have we gained from embracing others (except some three wheeled ambulances and money which goes to certain schools that are no go areas for the majority of the population.
    Surely there is some funds available for investment in a country that has a stable Gov’t , non -violent society and excellent communications. The only thing that is missing is an educated worker who can apply the lessons needed to combat 21st century environment and that’s the job of the Min. of Ed in conjunction with the University.

    Over to you.

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Sargeant, was playing around with the gravatar tingy so used an old travelogue photo taken years ago. Will change it as time moves on.

    So nope not from any Heights! Just a local ‘village’ boy all the way.

    BTW, to you and others so inclined here is an interesting blurb making the social circle:

    “​Let’s send the Obama’s out in solidarity on Fri, Jan 20th 2016 by changing all profile pics to pictures of The Best First Family, Ever. We need everyone to participate for the maximum impact. In order for this to work you must change the profile pic on EVERY social media network. Pass along THROUGH INBOXES ONLY and participate! #THANKSOBAMA​”

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/92500/ccj-frowns-unnecessary-delays

    This is the race to the bottom.

    Miller…if Bajan men refuse to acy like real men and take care of their families, nithing wrong with the Chinese men replacing them, just like in Africa…hahaha.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/92507/trump-warned-watch-words

    You go boy, dont stop cussing the US Intelligence agencies, just keep giving them their business, that’s what they deserve…lol

    Like

  • @ Hal Austin

    I call it as I see it.

    Are you suggesting because Arthur “was lead Prime Minister for CARICOM/CSME,” he made an “autonomous decision” to allow “free movement of graduates and professionals (when journalists negotiated their way on to the list) passed in to local legislation, giving graduates of UWI and the University of Guyana an automatic right, and other graduates from other universities a right with ministerial approval,” without input from the other heads of Caribbean States?

    Perhaps you should avail yourself of more information on the issue.

    Like

  • Mahogany Coconut Group 9/4/13

    Citizenship For Sale
    We present and encourage progressive Caribbean views of Caribbean and world Affairs

    Is the Caribbean on the auction block ?

    As the economic crisis lengthens, Caribbean governments strapped for foreign exchange and foreign investments have decided to sell citizenship in order to plug holes within their economies. We have already stated that we are being drawn into a whirlpool of global proportions that may very well, forever, change the image and direction of our island states.
    There are those who will argue and quite correctly that bigger and more economically powerful countries, including the United States of America, are already involved in such activity. Once again we are forced to ask: Why are we following others?
    Many of our people, who live in the Diaspora, have given up on returning home because of what they consider to be the high cost of living. While we do not support such positions, we are fully aware that those who have planted roots in other countries have many factors to consider when contemplating a return to our island states.
    However, what we fear is that those who do want to return will now have to compete with very wealthy investor/ economic citizens, who once they become settled, would want to reap all the rewards of their investment in citizenship. We must therefore question the wisdom in these short term remedies to problems that cannot be solved overnight.
    We can therefore expect several negatives to emerge which will be bordering on economic and social discrimination. The question should be: Did we endure four hundred years of slavery and colonialism to sell our birthright? The question once asked of Barbadians ,by the Errol Barrow, must now be asked of the entire Caribbean: What kind of mirror image do we have of ourselves?

    Kindly read the related article below:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/caribbean-islands-sell-citizenship_n_2670241.html

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ Jeff

    The answer is yes to your rhetorical question in the caption, whether you accent the first syllable or the second syllable in the last word.

    Like

  • Hants

    Corrupted public officials flourish in Barbados because of a public that won’t demand accountability, and a media that is incapable of bring such corruption to the public awareness. We must demand from our public officials honesty, fairness and a respect for the rule of law, but merely articulating this incessantly, and not being able hold public officials answerable for their improprieties gets no way quickly. It is often said that we ought to elect the kind of individuals who are qualified both on the moral and intellectual level, but we fall short of realizing that there is a corrupted culture in the epicenter of power that with time consumes those persons with the best intentions.

    Like

  • Aretax,

    If you call it as you see it then you need glasses. We talk about the Barrow, Adams, Sandiford, Arthur, Stuart governments. We talk about the Reagan, Trudeau, Thatcher governments. It does not mean a dictatorship. It is how western governments are defined,
    I note you have not said when the relevant legislation was introduced.
    When the legislation was first introduced I remember taking part in a discussion at Friends Meeting House in London and there was not a single word said in opposition, even though diplomats and, a minister and academics from Barbados were there in the audience.
    Let’s debate the substance.

    Like

  • A very unlevel playing field.

    http://bbc.in/2jW9SgC
    BBC Politics and BBC News shared a link.
    Eight billionaires ‘as rich as world’s poorest half’ – BBC News
    Share
    bbc.co.uk|By BBC News

    Like

  • @ Vincent
    Have you ever sat down to consider that you may be judging by the wrong playing field?

    Suppose the REAL playing field was slanted completely differently, ..such that what you though to be ‘first’ was indeed ‘last’ …. and vice versa..?

    Cud shiite man Vincent …. Yuh went to a good school… so when you look at the general inclinations of the vast majority of brass bowls alive, are you disposed to conclude that their idea of a ‘master playing field’ is likely to be accurate?

    Boss, trust the bushman when he tells you that wealth is not all that it is trumped up to be…
    It is obviously VERY attractive to those who are poor …and who have been convinced that the thing that is lacking in their lives is money.
    But what is REALLY lacking is an appreciation of the real playing field upon which success is defined…. for BOTH rich and poor. The disadvantage for the wealthy is that while the poor can mistakenly hope for success through wealth, the wealthy, realising that they continue to be unfulfilled, become hopeless……

    Like

  • Bushie

    We have no basic disagreement with your statement,it has always puzzled me,this urge to accumalate wealth for its own sake.

    We have enough resources on this planet for all to be comfortable untill such time as we fulfill ourpurpose to die.

    Like

  • Well if you agree that the accumulation of wealth should not be our main purpose in life, what do you think it should be instead…?
    …or are you saying that you are incapable of exploring such deep thoughts?

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington.

    We sure are making progress on BU. It is heart warming that Vince and Bush can testify that “all is vanity’. So as the wise man Sirach said ” enjoy life while you may”. It is all vapour . It is there in the early morning and disappears in the heat of mid- morning sun.

    Like

  • LOL @ Bernard
    …the cussing just ain’t start yet….
    You know Vincie too… 🙂

    Like

  • Bushie

    Chuckle…..when yuh right,yuh right……..now that we have established the basis of living is to die and that all is vanity,we can have an esotheric discussion on what should/could happen in between.

    Like

  • http://wef.ch/2jANC8C

    Consider this. At the start of every month, around $1000 is deposited in your account.
    Why we should all have a basic income
    It’s like we live in a game of Monopoly but we’re no longer collecting money for passing Go. A universal basic income would correct this, writes Scott Santens.
    weforum.org

    Like

  • @ Vincent
    ….now that we have established the basis of living is to die.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Which ‘we’ established that boss?

    Dying is just a natural consequence of living, just as dark is only defined as a lack of light.
    The BASIS or reason behind that the fleeting experience called ‘life on earth’ is another matter altogether.

    Surely you recall the psalm of life by Longfellow…
    The big question is whether the whole thing is just some colossal accident of chance…
    …or if some brilliant, super-human, big boss engineering entity designed and implemented the whole experience.

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington.

    @Bush Tea at 11:24 A.M.

    I think it is time that you and Vince leave Mt. Sinai and see what mischief Jeff and David creating at the bottom of this mountain. We still have a Barbadian Society and Economy to put back on tract.

    Like

  • Bernard

    Valid point……I note brasstacks is very tame today.

    Bushie

    We are dealing with facts not conjecture or mans interpretation of things beyond his ken.

    ……..we are born to die and that’s the only thing we have to do on this plane.

    ……..we have a finite time on this plane which varies from person to person, what we do with it is up to every individual.

    …….some love burning bushes or fermented beverages and arrive at many different theories springing from a very varied fertile imagination triggered by the smoke/fumes.

    …….others enjoy their time on this plane……..until the time to depart when all will or willnot be revealed.

    Like

  • @ Bernard
    What are you suggesting?
    That we let Rome burn …and instead climb down from Mt Sinai and fiddle…? 🙂

    @ Vincent
    It is hard to believe that you can be so simple as to find yourself in the midst of a most extraordinary experience called ‘life on earth’, …and that you would take the decision to treat it all as a dream …which should just be endured until it goes away.

    This is what Bushie would expect from a wild animal …or a fool, who can be easily distracted with a beer or a grog.
    A wise man would ask (like a little child) WHY? WHO? WHAT? …until rational answers are provided….. and THEN order his living accordingly.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Bush Tea January 16, 2017 at 3:07 PM
    “This is what Bushie would expect from a wild animal …or a fool, who can be easily distracted with a beer or a grog.
    A wise man would ask (like a little child) WHY? WHO? WHAT? …until rational answers are provided….. and THEN order his living accordingly.”

    Hi BT you are most philosophical today, aren’t you?

    What have you been up to? Peeping in books other than your Judeo-Christian tome of mythology and in some cases downright bold-faced lies?

    Maybe you have accidentally stumbled across some writings from the Greco-Roman culture to boost your understanding of what is this meaningless occurrence called LIFE on the little blue orb floating in one of billions of galaxies.

    Is it just a zero-sum game your eponymous mentor Solomon (Son of man from the Sun) referred to in the best written work in your collection of mythologies Ecclesiastes to as ‘Vanity and Vexation’ to the human spirit?

    The innocently puerile question you posed has been debated by philosophers throughout the ages even in rare periods of ‘Enlightenment”. Even your concocted character Jesus an ascribed son of both man & God found the ordeal on the cross (the 4 points of the compass on magnetic mother Earth) a bloody waste of effort and time to save mankind.

    There is no difference between your evolved son of Man and a wild animal except ART.
    The question you need to debate is where did the ART instilled in man come from? Your fictitious BBE or the real engineering bosses that twisted the strands of DNA in monkey man?

    “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.” ~ The Preacher.

    “Life is just one damn thing after another.” So let us just eat, drink, sleep, and do it like our bonobo brothers and sisters. ~ Mr. Eponymous

    Like

  • Bush Tea January 16, 2017 at 3:07 PM #

    Chuckle……… A wise man would ask (like a little child) WHY? WHO? WHAT? ………that wiseman hopefully when he becomes an adult will understand that we will never know the answer on this plane………yuh too hard ears.

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ Vincent at 4:48 PM

    A wise man remains a child; and spends his time on this plane asking Why? Who? What? He gets enjoyment from many satisficing answers, which although not “true” are adequate for the time and the occasion. Unlike those from another galaxy, we cannot conceive of definitive answers.

    Like

  • Within time the wise man gradually ascertains to answers to life unanswered questions so long as he continue to probe for the answers for those unanswered questions. It took Einstein to probed beyond Newton’s classical physics to arised at his quantum physics etc.

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    Caribbean Island economies nowadays are built around ”economic gimmickry”. No economic fundamentals .When they are not prostituting themelves to the highest bidder- from tax doggers to shady investors- they now up the ante; resorting to selling their birthright for a few trinkets. This is filmsy short-term solution that is not sustainable .

    Like

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