The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Our Darkest Hour

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

They say we gone down de drain,

They say no more could we see happy times again


Now is the time to show we patriotism…

We could make it if we try– Black Stalin

Some of the lyrics from the calypso, “We could (sic) make it if we try” performed by Black Stalin as long ago as 1988, have been running through my mind for most of last week, and it is not because, as some wag will be sure to observe, that there is nothing or very little there to impede its progress. Rather, it is because it is eminently possible for me to identify with the sentiments of Stalin’s effort, both as to the comparative direness of our economic situation and the optimistic but simple strategy offered in the hook line that we can make it if (only) we try.

Stalin sings –

Now we country facing its darkest hour,

So our people needs us today more than ever,

But in our fight to recover, if ever you feel to surrender,

It have one little thing I want you always remember

We could make if we try just a little harder…

Our darkest hour would have somehow become even darker still, if that were at all possible, with the news yesterday that the rating agency, Standard & Poor’s had further downgraded the island’s sovereign credit rating from a barely mediocre B- to a lowly CCC+, thereby reducing our bonds to a status below that of junk. And the Ministry of Finance has tried to take this “gentlemanly” mark in stride, attributing it to the challenges posed by our low foreign reserves levels, and declaring itself expectant of an imminent improvement in these and a concomitant diminution of the fiscal deficit. In other words, we will do better next time.

Regrettably perhaps, I am not to be listed among those who consider that the sole answer to our current predicament is to march in protest against the governing administration or even to inveigh for Prime Minister Stuart to advise the Governor General to dissolve the current Parliament and to issue a writ returnable within ninety days for a general election. While this latter initiative would doubtless please some of the contributors to the Brass Tacks talk show, some bloggerati and a growing number of others no end, the more critical mind is driven to contemplate whether this would not amount in effect in that colourful phrase, “ to shifting deck chairs on the Titanic” even as the iceberg of our midnight draws ominously closer. I digress however.

It is here that we might take comfort from Stalin’s lyrics and resolve to at least “try a t’ing”. While our problem might be economic in nature, I am not at all persuaded that the solution lies solely in that discipline, although I make haste to aver that I have no economic training of any kind. A lifetime of learning convinces me, however, that the optimal answer is rarely to be found in one perspective only. Nor, to my mind, is the most effective solution a political one, at least not as politics are traditionally practised in Barbados with a heavy reliance on partisanship; when it has for long been clear that neither side of the customary local political divide has all the answers to our current asperity.

One clear answer would seem to be for the state to engage the minds of all those committed to a soonest improvement in our fortunes; a thesis that would, however, recklessly drive a ZR van through the hoary and crowded streets of local political division. Just look at the consternation that the mere floating of a suggestion that the experienced economic counsel of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur should be resourced to assist the current governing administration in finding a solution to the contemporary morass has evoked among some Barbadians.

The attempt to engage the Cabinet, members of the Social Partnership and other officials in discussion on the matter yesterday (Friday) is of the same laudable order, although I must confess my disappointment at not noticing any members of the so-called alternative government, the Opposition, in attendance. If they were not invited, this would have been a regrettable oversight and a missed opportunity by Government to demonstrate forcefully the collective nature of the existing struggle. If they were in fact invited and failed to attend, then this is equally regrettable on their part, serves as a testament of the unhelpfulness of partisanship in the current context and, perhaps, reveals the true nature of the beast that we will first have to overcome.

Any advance towards bipartisanship or, preferably, non-partisanship in our political context will require first a massive re-education of the local electorate. Indeed, some will argue, not without some cogency, that we may need also to reform the current constitutional praxis that reduces the local formulation of public policy to be a matter for no one else save a hand-picked Cabinet and members of one political group.

I am aware as any that this reformation will require a shifting of the basic norm of our constitutional ethos. This does not come easily, especially since it would require the very authority with the power to alter the existing order to engage in an act of self-destruction. Hence, one of the more effective modes of effecting this shifting is a successful revolution or an overthrow of the constitution itself.

No sane national would seriously advocate this for Barbados at this time and the national psyche would, most assuredly, boggle at this possibility. Nevertheless, as we face our metaphorically darkest hour, traditional thinking will cut little ice. Hence, the logical necessity for a third way that will commit to a renaissance of the Barbadian socio-political compact. Alas, none of those groups that has so far raised a head above the parapet appears to want to do other than to fill the vacuum left by the traditional duopoly.

There is, however, another pertinent adage in which we may take some comfort at this time. The darkest hour, I have been told, comes always just before dawn.


  • Angela, this country and these politicians don’t have many options or solutions, they only pretending to so they can trick the people one more time. One day coming soon Barbados is going to miss a payment and all shite is going to break loose and people are going to realize how quickly this descend into chaos.


  • We as black people have got to learn to trust and not be goaded and directed by other races who have set traps or us to dig our own graves and eventually fall into them
    We are where we are because we still believe in the theory of divide and conquer , let this be a lesson where we all can learn while serving a helping hand and not a lesson learned where we look to those for help whose help has been for naught


  • @ Mr. Jeff Cumberbatch

    Mindful of the several statements in your stirring article I again revert to one of its several eye opening sentences where you state

    “…I am aware as any that this reformation will require a shifting of the basic norm of our constitutional ethos.

    This does not come easily, especially since it would require the very authority with the power to alter the existing order to engage in an act of self-destruction.”

    De ole man detects a sentiment among the people of “enough is enough”

    They are crying out for relief from these two political parties and their devils and imps.

    What is going to win this campaign for the Non Partisan THird Element is among many thing, going to be its message

    Do you think that this one below is too harsh and is it consistent with your remarks about a shifting in the basic norm of our constitutional ethos?


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    As’ s/ACs.., dont yall get tired, the only divide and conquer is when ministers lie to the people, lie to stupid yardfowls and they are believed by stupid yardfowls…

    …..time for yall to pack up and get out the people’s parliament and stop wasting space and the couple dollars of taxpayer’s money left in the treasury…be gone, not even Arthur want to get involved anymore. See for yaself.


  • @ Mr. Jeff Cumberbatch,

    Again the ole man shoots this volley at your bow confident that you can face the fusillade

    I would respectfully ask you sir if the Stoopid Cartoon Poster that follows meets your standards for “…commit to a renaissance of the Barbadian socio-political compact…”

    In a first for the Caribbean Region, The Third Element, Barbados’ Newest Political Party, pledged 10% of every dollar that it is able to recover from the country’s teifing Ministers of Parliament and a handsome 20% if the Ministers are Locked up post prosecution

    The Amnesty the Third Element offered is to “incentivize any party that may have inadvertently participated in the teifing” and has been extended for one month.

    Already a number of anonymous packages have been delivered to Third Element administrators which contain irrefutable confirmation of the theft.

    Copies of said documents WILL BE BROADCAST IN THE NEWS MEDIA AND CYBERSPACE, post the completion of all criminal proceedings.

    Briefs however will be prepared for the public in a manner not to “compromise the prosecution process”, but to effect transparency throughout the process leading up to the incarceration of the Criminals


  • Violet Beckles CUP Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI

    We agree , Will need A special Master to judge these fools , we can not trust the local Judges to their Jobs they have not so far in 50 years, The CCJ needs to send a DPP, AG to Barbados and Caribbean Police need to be made up ,


  • Violet C Beckles CUP–government-officials-arrested-in-Guyana

    As reported yesterday
    Vote CUP, DLP/BLP and the DBLP government are next

    Liked by 1 person

  • Notorious right wing journalist Katie Hopkins has lost a £24000 libel case for falsely claiming online another journalist has committed a criminal offence.
    Further evidence that you cannot hide on the internet. Good victory for Jack Monroe.


  • @ Mr. Austin

    And you were doing so well all week heheheheheheheh

    Let us for a brief while entertain your posit about the Anonymice Saga, just briefly.

    (cant take up too much space since I am awaiting feedback from certain peoples for questions and comments outstanding.]

    Let me see how this Denouement of Anonymice will work.

    1.I am a known person who according to my deep “c” fish diver Hants does “posterize” people.

    I am no respecter of persons.

    2.TOmorrow I want to stop with my posterizing and come out of the shadows

    3.Do I just drop the identity of Piece Uh Cock Yeah right (Walter PPK call be dat) and start using my real name which as you might not know is [Hivester Stallone]?

    4.Is it required under your encouragement, and that of Carl Moore, for me to divest myself of my Batman cloak and mask and confirm that I am Hivester?

    5.Cause I want to know if the revelation is to be concurrent with admission of who i was r will you and Carl forget the bygones under your Cyberspace Amnesty programme?

    Now just to complicate things slightly.

    Since neither of the two of you ent got no authority to absolve a feller of his sins so to speak, when Mugabe come into power (May the Almighty Lord Forbid) and she direct her faithful sidekick Dale Teets marshall to close down Barbados Underground ammmmmmm you going come to de ole man rescue?

    dis be why de ole man like de single authentication dat de Blogmaster Insists on

    You does use Solutions Barbados Website?

    Or Naked Departure?

    Dem does demand dat you sign up with a username/email address to get on pun dem site.

    by dual authentication what happens is that the authorization to join is sent to the email that was submitted first (which may be false to begin with)

    Barbados Underground DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT, the say “email required” and that is that.

    Additionally this is not Facebook.

    Now to the right of that same box requesting BU states that the email that one uses to access the site “is never made public”

    pub·lic pəblik/ adjective 1. of or concerning the people as a whole. shared, publicized.

    Now you would be much more familiar with the nuances of this word than I as such relates to UK law where, in addition to that statement there is a clearly stated policy as to what rights obtain for a UK blogger.

    But de ole man would hazard de following

    a.Hivester is logging onto a website in a Virtual Private Network in Romania
    b.Hivester’s IP address is 123.456.78.9
    c.Hypothetically let us say that Hivester calls the Leader of the Opposition an eaterof clitorii
    d.Where has Hivester committed a crime? In his office in Jalapy? in Romania? which does not have any extradition rights with Barbados or in Barbados?

    You wid de ole man Hal?

    You have read the inept Computer Data Act for Barbados?

    But please, doan hesitate to respond cause de ole man waiting pun you ok?


  • Pingback: The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Day of the Double Downgrade | Barbados Underground

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