The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Governance, the People and the Constitution

Dismissed former Central Bank Governor DeLisle Worrell

Dismissed former Central Bank Governor DeLisle Worrell

If I had my druthers, today’s column would have been an analysis of last Thursday’s decision of the local Court of Appeal discharging the injunction restraining the dismissal of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr DeLisle Worrell, by the Honourable Minister of Finance, and thus paving the way for the unhindered termination of his contract of employment, as eventually happened.

Incidentally, I should wish to offer my heartiest congratulations to the newly appointed Acting Governor, Mr Cleviston Haynes, a schoolmate from Infant’s School at “Goodland” to primary school and, eventually, to both the secondary and tertiary undergraduate levels, even though he was at my junior by at least one year. What adds to Clevie’s just deserts for this new posting, although I feel certain that it did not play any role, significant or at all, in his selection, is that he is also an avid reader of this column. But I digress unnecessarily.

Alas, the local Court of Appeal has chosen to reserve its written judgment until Friday of this week and so there is no fodder for my anticipated musing today. As a general comment however, its decision was not unexpected. Section 11 of the Central Bank of Barbados Act, Cap 323C, makes it clear that the Governor shall be appointed by the Minister by instrument in writing for a period not exceeding 5 years and shall be eligible for re-appointment; and that “he shall be appointed on such terms and conditions as may be set out in his instrument of appointment”. This raises at least two presumptions; first that he is dismissible by the office of the Minister that appointed him under the principle that he who appoints may also disappoint and, second, since there is no local concept of permanent employment, that he is dismissible in accordance with the terms of his contract of employment.

In consequence, unless both necessary and reasonable in the circumstances , there could have been no implication of a term giving rights on termination to the employee beyond those stated in the contract. In last week’s column, I raised the issue of which entity was the Governor’s employer, whether it was the Crown or the Central Bank but, from the lay reports of the hearing in the printed press, this determination appears to have played no part in the matter. In any event, even if the Governor claimed to be entitled, under the Employment Rights Act 2012, to protection against unfair dismissal since he was an employee of a statutory corporation, this right is exclusively enforceable in the Employment Rights Tribunal and not in the ordinary courts.

Should an appeal in this matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice ensue, we shall, of course, return to its further analysis but, for now, the matter seems firmly closed.

Having been disappointed in that regard from providing material for my few readers today, I needed to find another source of discussion. It duly came last night during an online debate with some of the other contributors to a discussion forum in which I frequently intermediate.

The difference of opinion came when I offered the view that any call at this time for the holding of general elections was unlikely to be of any consequence, given that there is already a constitutionally prescribed procedure for this civic entitlement. To mimic Paul Keens Douglas, “who tell me say dat”?

I was reminded that there is still freedom of expression locally; a point I readily conceded, and that the Constitution is inherently amenable to alteration; again indisputable, although given the current text and configuration of Parliament, that is perhaps truer in theory than in practical reality. There was also a prompt that we are far too wedded to the provisions of a Constitution that was drafted by men who are long dead anyway.

My view is based on the wholly acceptable thesis that equity does nothing in vain, a maxim that should have figured significantly in the recent discharge of the order enjoining the termination of the employment of the former Governor. Why permit the continuation of a contract that has been stripped of its very substance of mutual trust and confidence? To what end?

Similarly, unless there is a plan afoot to change the basic norm (grundnorm) of the Constitution, whether by successful revolution or otherwise, a demand for general elections before they are called through the now constitutionally stipulated procedure amounts to nothing more than a vain and premature partisan political initiative cloaked in the mantle of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.

It reminds so much of the fable (suitably bowdlerized for a Sunday family newspaper) of the two bulls on a promontory looking down on a field of cows grazing. “I know, I know”, yells the younger bull animatedly, “let us run down there and copulate with one of them.” No, counsels the older animal sagely, let us walk down and copulate with all!” To those in the know, the late Captain Hutt would have appropriately added two “harumphs” here.

I am aware, however, that there is extant a groundswell of popular opinion for the reform of our governance architecture. This hews towards a more civic participatory governance and would include provisions for the recall of members of parliament; term limits for some officers of state; and the enactment of integrity legislation. Those political parties that hope to secure popular acclaim in the upcoming general elections would be well advised to bone up on these matters. In the coming months, I expect to muse on them at length also.

145 thoughts on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Governance, the People and the Constitution

  1. Mr. Cummins, it would be in your best interest to reserve your comments regarding the statement Miller has written with respect to your comment because the man is what Bajans would call a bare Johnie. He in all his wisdom and smart Alex comments, is asking you how do you know about the Black Market rate unless dabble in it? Do I have to have a firsthand knowledge of the CIA or the Delta Force, to know that these entites do exist? Man don’t even respond to the idiot!

  2. Dompey…do you know everything that CIA and Deta Force…you have to be a member of either organiztion to know…..and sometimes they don’t, only the heads do, most ofthe whatever happens on black markets…ya have to be a participant to know.

  3. Well Well

    I strongly disagree with you hypothesis which says that one has to be part of a specific entity to know that such an entity exist. Do I have to be a member of the Delta force to know that such a force does exist, when membes of that elite team of professional soldiers visits army divisions around the country seeking quality recruits annually? I may not have firsthand knowledge of the day to day operations of such a force, but that does not mean I do not know that it doesn’t exist.

  4. Well well,

    Do you know everything that print journalists d to get hold of ‘news’? One of my saying is that if readers only knew…..

  5. So Dompey …. tell us what the black market rate is then… cause you is a fella who is accustomed to peeping through holes at police stations etc…

    …and Bushie is not talking about the snow cone man who got US $20 to change….
    How about the drug dealer who want has Bds $800,000 to convert…?
    …or the businessman who is looking to buy US $500,000 without necessarily bothering the busy Central Bank people…?

    What rates are applicable there, do you think?

  6. Dopey,
    I will deal with Miller. He is just being his obstinate self, and hopes that by trying to denigrate my arguments he will make his point more substantial. Never happen, because at least he acknowledges that I am “pure-bred”, he, on the other hand, is not pure in anything. He is just an ass. In answer to him, however, I will just bring to his attention that first of all, he is the person who introduced the word “back market” into the discussion. So I will let that go, but remind him that I have “ears to hear”, and I am able to separate the “grounds” from the real coffee, which he should smell. He has been preaching devaluation for over ten years now. It has come to pass that his predictions have been just a smoke screen, hoping to confuse gullible persona. Yesterday the Minister of Finance, repeated for the umpteenth time; “there will be no devaluation!”, Yet people of his ilk are still trying (as at yesterdays’ post MOF press statement,”) along with callers to Brass tacks, to press that point.
    One important point people like Miller, who try to push for the legalization of Marijuana, and marketing of it as an “alternative” money making endeavour, fail to acknowledge, is that it cannot be grown as an export commodity, because it cannot be exported legally to bring in foreign exchange. As a consequence it can only be grown and sold for local consumption. Thus you would be circulating the money internally. Condemning the same “black” brothers they “care” so much about to live like zombies, and be eternally subservient to the drug, and the drug dealers.They should not be extolling the drug, they should be preaching against its use, and that money should be diverted to worthwhile pursuits. “…foreign reserves in the ‘red’?” The black market U.S. dollars used to purchase it should be deposited in the bank for the use of the wider community.
    Miller, analyse that statement carefully, and explain how “reserves” can be in the red. If you didn’t have any, the reserve “position” would be in the red, but if you have reserves on hand they cannot be in the red. there might be a deficit between revenue and expenditure, but that is with reference to the overall position with local currency. But of course you know this.
    Northern: you made the comparison. You implied that Local spirits instead of more expensive foreign should be preferred. By the way, the success of Air BNB which is boon to individuals with space to rent in their houses, shows that kellman’s concept of “community based tourism” is not as farfetched as many people thought, when they laughed at his proposal. Every fool got he sense.

  7. Bushy,
    It is illegal for either the drug dealer, the supplier, or the business man to “deal” in foreign currency. Even the snow cone person should not have the $20.00 dollar trade. All foreign currency is to be traded at a legal entity like a bank. The legal entities always have the time to do the necessary. And the Central Bank is Never too busy to accept foreign currency. Both the drug dealer and the “so-called businessman know that money laundering; and with that sort of money they have to be money laundering, is illegal and the U.S. authorities will be on their (our) cases in a hurry. That $800,000.00 from the drug dealer would have been realized from the sale of drugs to his own black brothers. If our black brothers could find that sort of money to blow out in smoke, then the Barbados economic situation is better than a lot of people realize, for nothing of value productive would have been realized for that sort of money. And people like Peter Wickham and Well Well, are advocating things like this?

  8. @Alvin
    Is there no irony in “reward production, punish consumption” that he is promoting 3 imported products? Given his definition of production/consumption.
    Yes he wins on community based tourism. He didn’t create the platform (AirBnB), and similarly cannot be held responsible for how it develops. The Uber model is already under fire. eBay is nothing like it used to be, and changed completely, shifting from revenue from users to revenue from advertisers (Kijiji).
    And he is the perfect example of why the new 3rd party can fail. (a successful retail owner) I can guarantee you when you go into Moontown you will not find 3 freezers running but empty, or find him paying $600 for a 26 oz JW Black. Yet this is exactly what has happened under his watch as MoH, empty new houses in St.Philip, and cost overages at the Grotto.
    We tend to oversee our own money far more carefully than the money of others.

  9. ” According to a document on the FTC website, the current annual figures are 760 000 barrels for gasoline, 460 000 for diesel – which together total 1.22 million barrels – and 1.2 million barrels for “avjet”. That is why the FTC should rule against the proposed deal that would give Sol sole ownership of the terminal facility and instead recommend the offer made by Rubis last week, when it offered to meet the Government halfway and buy 50 per cent of the terminal facility for US$50 million, the money to be paid by the end of March. Rubis, in making the offer, is literally doubling down on its investment bet that Barbados is a good place to do business, apart from also building its Caribbean headquarters here. That investment would put the company’s total investment in Barbados in just six years at over US$100 million.”

  10. I see the Guyana-born director of public prosecutions now wants us to adopt the corrupt, cost-cutting American plea bargaining system to deal with the scandalous backlog of criminal cases to be tried in the high courts.
    What about appointing senior QCs as temporary judges, having weekend and night-time courts to reduce the backlog?
    Please bargaining is undemocratic in that it forces usually poor people to accept a so-called lower offence in exchange for deals, usually passing information on to the prosecuting authorities.
    What we need is a democratic justice system in which people who are not guilty can have a fair trial by a jury of their peers; and those who are guilty can plead in an open court and be sentenced in a fair and open way.
    Secret justice in smoked filled rooms may suit this Guyana-born lawyer, but it is not one for a civilised Barbados.
    Say no to this nonsense.

  11. I have noticed that the two officers accused of beating up a man in custody is set to be tried in July. What about officer Gittens who shot his neighbour and then got bail after the attorney general pleaded his case?

  12. David

    Interesting to note that whilst the majority of BU bloggers were running behind the OSA&MoF farce,our PM was convening the social partnership committee at Sherbourne with the finances of Bim as the first item on the agenda……hmmm….leadership??

  13. This is off message, but we have a magistrate who remanded a 19 yr old for a month and fined him nearly $3000 dollars for the theft of a mobile phone, yet gave bail to a serving police officer accused of rape.
    This woman is particularly vicious with people coming before her. Are magistrates’ decisions ever reviewed? Is there any appraisals?
    Further, why does Barbados Today ‘moderate’ ie censor, criticisms of this magistrate and Owen Arthur?
    Is Barbados Today a newspaper or a PR outfit?

    • @Hal

      If any consolation David (BU) is blocked from posting as well to Barbados Today and the Nation newspaper.

  14. David,

    I wonder why? You cannot cover up bad journalism by banning people. Is the freedom of speech we hear so much about? Or is it the freedom of the press to ban those with inconvenient truths?

    • @Hal

      In the same way politicians are pride themselves on being members of the political class so too journalists in Barbados pride themselves on protecting the establishment.

  15. Barbados Today sends my postings for so-called moderation. Most often they never see the light of day.
    But the stories are often badly written. They have no sense of news reporting. I am sure they either studied journalism in the US or international journalism in the UK – a waste of money.

  16. David i will keep posting no matter how many times you delete the post. To me this is personnel. For one when the press freedom is under attack it is dumfounding thst you would use similar methods to curtail individuals right to free speech under the guise of protecting the blog integrity.

  17. LOL @ AC
    ha ha ha
    Wah loss
    Looka Bushie crosses nuh!!!

    AC get ban fuh using she real name….. ha ha ha

    uh tell you not to listen to Carl Moore or less … or Hal….
    ha ha ha

    • Not true Bushie!

      She needs to settle on ac, Angela Skeete or whichever but she CANNOT post using the names interchangeably. It is not her blog to do as she please as Stinkliar is dong with the Exchequer. She abides by BU rules or gt to rasshole outta Dodge.

    • @Hants

      We have been at this too long. As soon as election time comes around we have to spend precious time dealing with these yardfowls and yardducks. Not this time.

      Leave the moderating to BU Hants.

  18. @ David, I am NOT moderating for or on the behalf of BU.

    Anytime I see a “real name”. I google it and search LinkedIn and Facebook for my own information.

    • @Hants

      Will repeat, the issue is not ac using her real name. It is about her using her real name and ac as she pleases.

  19. @ Hants
    What real name what??!!
    Only part….
    It looks like she got her eyes on marriage to a skeete….
    But most skeets would know better that commit such harikari …

    @ David
    Gotcha Boss…
    You know Bushie would have banned her donkey long time…..
    But the poor woman is so much in panic, that she don’t know her pseudonym from her panty…
    You know that the first thing Stinkliar will cut….is the scratch grain to the BU yardfowls…

Leave a comment, join the discussion.