Is Our Parliamentary System Right for Barbados?

by Andrew Simpson

Barbados Parliament Buildings

Reading about all the new entrants to the political arena, I am delighted that so many patriotic persons are seeing fit to get involved but equally concerned about the impact multiple parties will have on ‘splitting the vote’ – giving the incumbent party a better chance of regaining the government and with it, the right to continue undeservedly, the social policies that have finally been proven to be largely detrimental in the long term. A strong opposing coalition would be preferable.

TEAM – Together Each Achieves More.

I have a theory about the candidates who run for election to represent the people of geographical constituencies. If we feel it necessary to continue practicing the Westminster system, these individuals should be servant leaders; with a heart, not necessarily professionals qualified to manage critical economic sectors. They should accept remuneration in line with the duties performed and not appoint themselves to lofty ministerial posts. The minimum number of managerial posts should be filled according to merit, with accountability and voter transparency being paramount in the selection process. This may be aided by civic organizations, the church and citizens voting digitally online.

We must at least reformat the governance model with new software, if not immediately replacing the hardware.

38 thoughts on “Is Our Parliamentary System Right for Barbados?

  1. So the Barbadian Society/ Polity/Economy is a computer programme that any two bit soft -ware engineer can reformat? I think we need to change the metaphor(s ) we live by, if not we are in for a very boring and boorish long haul.
    Where/when was this socialist experiment embarked upon in post independence Barbados and by whom?

    As far as I am aware Barbados, since the late nineteenth century, has followed a pragmatic ,mixed economy model which served us well. It delivered the goods. It kept us fairly stable. No system is perfect so we will have disequilibrium from time to time. He, who wants freedom from turbulence , will have to wait for the second coming.

  2. The practicing political system has kept us stable for many years. We had people in authority who had an understanding of fiscal competence. Unfortunately we have a group ruining rather than running our Government with zero knowledge of checks and balances and with no desire to listen or learn. With 19 downgrades and the P.M still brushing them off as nothing and with utterances of they are not showing the positive things we are doing! Well Mr. P.M if they are positive things why are we being continually down graded to junk bond status?

    • @Bernard

      Have to admit some of us continue to struggle with your comment that things will evolve don’t worry perspective.

  3. Going on elsewhere. Is Barbados a Utopia?


    The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them


    They betrayed you for chump change

    by T.C. Sottek Mar 29, 2017, 8:20am EDT

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Republicans in Congress just voted to reverse a landmark FCC privacy rule that opens the door for ISPs to sell customer data. Lawmakers provided no credible reason for this being in the interest of Americans, except for vague platitudes about “consumer choice” and “free markets,” as if consumers at the mercy of their local internet monopoly are craving to have their web history quietly sold to marketers and any other third party willing to pay.

    The only people who seem to want this are the people who are going to make lots of money from it. (Hint: they work for companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.) Incidentally, these people and their companies routinely give lots of money to members of Congress.

    So here is a list of the lawmakers who voted to betray you, and how much money they received from the telecom industry in their most recent election cycle.

    Got a tip for us? Use SecureDrop or Signal to securely send messages and files to The Verge without revealing your identity.

    Note on the data below: donations include contributions from corporations in the telecom industry and employees of those corporations (individual and non-individual contributions). The largest donors tend to be corporations which contributed funds to the candidate and / or the candidate’s leadership organization (PAC). All figures only reflect donations tallied for the candidate’s most recent election — many have received total sums much larger than the figure reflected over the course of their career in Congress. Figures are from federal election data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics (

    Additionally, it’s important to note that the communications industry is one of the largest lobbying groups in US history; internet providers and the telephone companies before them are notorious for spreading wealth across the aisle. Regardless, one party seems more responsive to the industry’s demands.

    US Senate






    Alexander, Lamar




    Barrasso, John




    Blunt, Roy




    Boozman, John




    Burr, Richard




  4. That’s what I love about the US media, they have no problem publishing a list of names of politicians who betray taxpayers….that is the true definition of journalism, they even oublish the amount if bribe,.that falls under FOI.

  5. For bajans and others who were not aware that African countries were colonized and Africans enslaved by many different countries for hundreds of years, the timeline varying from country to country within Africa.

    “The fund would promote energy, education and housing projects as well as a land reform in #Namibia, the Sächsiche Zeitung reported this week.

    Germany’s Namibia Commissioner, Ruprecht Polenz (CDU), announced the atonement plans on Monday evening during a discussion with journalists in Berlin.

    The fund would be accompanied by an official apology from Germany for the colonial crimes against the Herero and Nama peoples during the German colonial period. “The question is only in what form the apology takes place so that it can also be accepted by the Namibian government,” said Polenz.

    Berlin ruled what was then called South West Africa as a colony from 1884 to 1915.

    Incensed by German settlers stealing their land and cattle and taking their women, the Herero people launched a revolt in January 1904 with warriors butchering 123 German civilians over several days. The Nama tribe joined the uprising in 1905.

    The colonial rulers responded ruthlessly and General Lothar von Trotha signed a notorious extermination order against the Hereros.

    Rounded up in prison camps, captured Namas and Hereros died from malnutrition and severe weather. Dozens were beheaded after their deaths and their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin for “scientific” experiments.

    Up to 80,000 Hereros lived in Namibia when the uprising began. Afterwards, only 15,000 were left.
    However, so far the German government has not officially referred to this colonial crime as such, and has previously refused to pay reparations, arguing that Germany’s contributions for development aid were for the benefit of all Namibians.
    The announcement of the fund comes after the Herero and Nama peoples went to court in New York in January to seek reparations for the alleged genocide and injustices of German colonial rule.”

  6. Bernard Codrington March 29, 2017 at 9:23 PM #

    The evolution of the system can be helped by community activists educating the populi at community centers around the island on a regular basis.

  7. @ Vincent 8:01 PM

    Quite true that is part of the evolutionary process . Just make sure you make your input. The rest is out of your control. The tares must be allowed to germinate with the wheat until the Day of Reckoning. Pun intended.

  8. @ David @ 12:04 PM

    A good teacher rejoices when a student struggles with old/new ideas. He says Eureka . He has achieved the objective of inspiring the student to think for himself. I myself struggle with some of the ideas that are expressed by members of the BU Household on a daily basis. It is all part of the learning process. It is not necessary for man to agree in all or any of the areas of this life.

  9. V H @ 10 :33 AM

    It was more like an interview followed by a question and answer session lasting 90 minutes. He talked mostly about the Irish experience in the 2008 recession. They took on an IMF programme but it was home grown. They had a Strategic Plan. They knew what their national objectives were and sold it to their citizens and to the IMF.

    A strategy which I believe the BU Household has and is promoting,generally speaking. He thinks the same or similar approach will work for Barbados. He is opposed to externally imposed recovery plans.No one knows ones capability better than the local experts. But the citizens must buy into it and must be kept informed. That is Transparency, transparency.

    That is my understanding of his advice/message.

  10. @ Vincent ,

    He also agrees with me that devaluation of a country’s currency is not a solution . It can lead to further expectations of devaluation from which a country seldom recovers. But we have seen that play acted out here in the Caribbean ,haven’t we?

    • @Bernard

      What is coming out in the sound bites is the sense of urgency Ireland embraced when confronted with the economic challenge.

  11. Bernard

    Many have suggested to the MoF what homegrown solution to carry to the IMF and his response is that a devaluation will occur…..if as he says he has not been,how does he know that?

    All agree that a devaluation will not benefit the country and I have no doubt that the IMF can be made to understand that.

    In my opinion this Administration has made up its mind on what they will be doing up to the election bell and all they are doing is playing to the gallery with the OSA non offer,the PMs 2 committees who have already reported which we have heard nothing about and this Irish chap who was engaged some months ago by Worrel…….we await the next ploy.

    • @Vincent

      Don’t be naive, there is an election to be won. Going to the IMF in the silly season does not compute.

  12. Vincent,

    Who are these people who agree that a devaluation would not benefit the country? In fact, the country badly needs a devaluation and now.

  13. @ David # 11:40 AM

    The question to me was what did I glean. If you gleaned something else. Good for you.

    But do bear in mind that the economic challenge presented itself to Barbados and Ireland at the same time. So it was urgent since late 2008.

  14. Hal

    You have been told and explained to by others far more eminent than me about the devaluation being of no benefit to country,so simply re-read them.

  15. Why are we now taking Ireland seriously, an economy that crashed and burned during the financial crisis and was saved only by its membership of the EU. Tell them to deal with the crooks who stole all that money from Irish banks. They still have hundreds of homes empty and collapsing. Ireland has got nothing to teach Barbados – although Barbados has a lot to learn.

    • @Hal

      That is a galvanise of bucket of cold water you just poured on the people economic forum held yesterday.

  16. @ David,
    @ Vincent

    Why are you getting your knickers in a twist? The situation has to be worked on sooner or later, whether the DLP, BLP, CUP and all the other Ps form the next administration. Nature hates a vacuum. Is something going on here that somebody is not being transparent about?
    The present administration said they have an home grown plan which obviously is not working. Do you not think it is wise to give somebody else a chance who has a credible recovery plan?
    You have 12 months. Work on it. And stop playing mass.

    • @Bernard

      Of course it will work itself out, guess who will have to suffer the cost though. And the more protracted the greater the cost.

  17. I have mentioned to a former colleague that in Barbados they are taking the Irish management of the economy as a model. He laughed down the phone as if he was going crazy. I know a few Irish people invaded Barbados during the boom years, including one or two who have since faced fraud charges. But that is different to taking them seriously as macro-economists. Stop making me laugh.
    I will tell you how Ireland makes its FDI, as a gateway to the EU – they speak a sort of English, corporation tax is low and the people are well educated and easy to train. Just have a look at how the housing market collapsed.
    Bajans – black and white – will listen to anyone but fellow Bajans. Just ask the economic illiterates who talk about foreign reserves and no to devaluation.
    They are intellectual sponges, they soak up the consensus.

  18. Hate to piss on your parade…
    I’ve always believed that these island are too small and lack the sophistication to properly utilize the political machinery they inherited. We play the game and move chess pieces around, but we are ‘not on the world stage’, we are in a sandbox and are prisoners in our own minds. The end products will always be a Fumbles or a Stinkliar.

    I admire your desire to fight against your destiny and to punch above your weight, but you are in a death spiral and weighed down by the force of gravity. Keep on fighting, at least you will delay your demise.

  19. These islands have great potential and at their very best could be an example for other countries to follow, But the political system first divide limited human resources into two camps and then pit them against each other. It is folly to believe that both parties with their divergent views can both have the solution to the proglem that confronts the island and so we spiral downwards. We will have moment of brilliance, but we afre marching towards our …….

  20. Methinks we spend too much time and money playing politics and are missing the boat on together resolving issues affecting the economy.
    Could those with a sincere desire to serve our countrymen please TEAM up to help design a new platform from which our affairs may be managed in a more businesslike manner, without the pretense and promises. Responsible leaders, letting the public know that forex will be unavailable for many consumer items and to start putting more food that can be produced locally on the menu, that wishful expectations may be dashed due to a host of public sector positions becoming uncertain and that hardship will ensue would be a starting point.
    Plan your trips, start carpooling, clean up your own surroundings, conserve energy regenerate some waste; including water. Batten down the hatches before the waves wash over the bow. Apologies for preaching gloom but facing the approaching storm, head on could prevent otherwise pending doom. Regardless of windfalls expected, deficits must be closed and the first cost we should all agree to cut is that of our traditional government structure. With modern technology, we can have more effective and efficient decision making instituted directly by citizens, without the BMW and Mercedes, expensive air-conditioned offices and travel allowances allotted to geographical constituency parliamentary representatives. We must innovate and create a new participatory democracy model.

    • @Andrew

      Good meat to chew on but we are a nation hooked on the ‘good stuff’, that is, rampant conspicuous consumption. Significant change will only come with the shock of hitting rock bottom. We have the Greek experience don’t we.

  21. @ Andrew
    Andrew Simpson April 1, 2017 at 4:39 PM #

    Should we now in this current timeline of the twenty first century to be setting ourselves up to undergo expectations as if we are in a post war era of the nineteenth century?

    Cuts/ retrenchments equal unemployment equals……

    I applaud your call to innovate and create a new participatory democracy model.

    We can also move forward executing nation building strategies and techniques without taking bread from peoples mouths by retrenching.

  22. FOR THE VISIONARY CLAIM OF GOOD GOVERNANCE…an alternative solution.

    The construct and purpose of any legitimate government is to facilitate the needs of society, promote opportunities and
    generally provide and protect a well structured society with benefits for all.

    The National Debt is defined as “mortgages on the wealth and income of the people of
    a country.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1959.)r
    Our wealth, …. our income…..then WHY is it that a GROUP of persons referred to as
    “GOVERNMENT” proceed to INCUR DEBT against a nation without the consultation of the people of that nation?


    Communities (11) and a
    Central Government (1).


    Constituents of Communities/Parishes respectively establishes executive bodies and select
    their representatives for Central Government by way of fair elections using the
    RANK CHOICE VOTING SYSTEM and paper ballot only. Collectively, they, the Constituents define
    the needs of their Communities/Parishes as well as collectively create an
    oversight body of Central Government.

    COMMUNITIES also..

    ESTABLISHES the terms and conditions of employment FOR their COMMUNITIES’ REPRESENTION
    Determine their collective representatives have impeccable records of service to others and free of any criminal records.
    Retains the power of recall of their representative to Central Government.
    Can demand any audit/report at anytime for community consideration or and have the same made public.
    Call for an investigation into any matter that is deem a community or public concern.
    By collective agreement of communities, pursue any legal actions for any corruption discovered within Central Government.
    Conduct FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS using the Rank choice voting system and paper ballot only.


    Central Governments’ core members are those elected representatives of the communities/parishes, which in
    turn also elects a Head of State. They are further supported by the advice and direction of
    professional technical Associations across the board for what ever determination is required.
    Central Government facilitates the petitions of the communities, provides the infrastructure to facilitate the electoral process
    at the community level and is responsible for the management structure for governance inclusive of Audits and Reports to the Communities.
    Decisions on International affairs are first put to the collective communities, and findings advanced by their representatives and debated
    for further debate by Central government and related Association bodies in an established timeline.


    ESTABLISHES the terms and conditions of employment FOR membership of the CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.
    CREATE/REFORM systems of transparency for/of accounting, accountability and auditing.
    TRANSIT/limit/share control other than vital responsibilities with the private sector.
    NO complete privatization or monopolies.
    STREAMLINE SYSTEMS for ease of business, engaging less bureaucracy.
    Compulsory audit and their reports are made public.
    PROMOTE and FACILITATE collective community base organizations to manage
    their needs and requirements for sustainability of the basics, et al.
    REFORM the political structure to manage the collective community base organizations.
    MANDATE elections by RANK CHOICE VOTING and by paper ballot only.(no electronic base counting).
    DISALLOW CORPORATE FINANCING of election candidates, only limited Public financing allowed.
    ALL VITAL AREAS of government receives EQUAL funding and attention including audits and reports.
    For and by the CONSTITUTION, all ACTS and LAWS be reviewed, repealing the OUTDATED, biases, omissions and
    loopholes and amending to concur with current societal experiences.
    REVIEW and UPDATE the mandate of the POLICE FORCE.
    Make the MILITARY more of servitude to the community and State.
    By REFERENDUM/consensus/opinion consult the citizenry and by press conferences give reports of
    all meetings of an International nature. NO COMMITMENT to TREATIES et al without first obtaining approval
    from citizenry.
    NO GOVERNMENT BUSINESS is deem secret, sensitive GOVERNMENT BUSINESS is release by
    application and record of such. REPEAL THE SECRECY ACT.
    TAXATION must reflect fairness. Eliminate personal income tax, eliminate subsidies, tax haven
    facilities and breaks. Eliminate/limit concessions to offshore business apply rules and monitor.
    RETAIN vat on consumables (local foods excluded).
    Eliminate YEARLY LAND TAX, a one off tax added to any purchase of land. Your purchase IS YOUR PROPERTY.
    ESTABLISH OUR VERY OWN CENTRAL BANK (not foreign own or controlled).
    PHASE OUT FOREIGN BANKS and facilitate CREDIT UNIONS, regulate all banking FOR DEVLOPMENT OF THE STATE and
    in our interest of the family unit.
    ESTABLISH A COURT OF CONTRACT and DEEDS for disputes, contracts written in verb adverb and not
    in the correct parse syntax grammar contains much fiction and deceit, hence curbing this fraud and
    perjury, eliminating the interest fraud and extortion.
    All foreign consultancies declared as advice only and decisions made only by open debate.
    All AIR SPACE is declared non experimental. Permission required.
    STIMULATE the ECONOMY via the CIRCULATION OF MONEY… stagnant money is non-beneficial.
    Create a FOOD BANK, Restrict CHEMICAL BASE and Modified foods. Promote healthy lifestyles.
    RETURN FREE EDUCATION, promote and facilitate innovation and business acumen and development.
    Utilize idle Crown and Corporate lands for lower income housing and food production.
    Pensioners and minimum wage of General workers $500. per week.
    Cease the forfeiture of personal information as in fingerprinting and mug-shots for the benefit of
    employers and international data bases.
    HAVE THE POWER TO APPOINT (Ombudsman, Ambassadors etc.)
    Establish a new economic policy compatible to and projected for sustainable development, by gauging and
    enhancing current economic performance.
    Institute measures to curb capital flight.
    Any decisions made by the Chamber of Commerce or the Employers Federation that relates to regulations or standardization of employees
    must first be ratified by Central Government and Central Government must have a sitting representation on their administrative bodies.
    Determine ALL LEGAL MATTERS OF THE JUDICARY by level and related time space TO ADJUDGE.
    Halt needless borrowing. Any borrowing will be for Community Development purposes only.
    RESTRAIN from imposing taxation on deposits of customers of Credit Unions and allowing the said Credit Unions room
    to develop their products and expansion.
    Abolish the Central Bank of Barbados…NO,
    Reasons being, to remain the regulatory body of the local banking sector, International transactions of the diaspora and facilitator of government economic business.Therfore it is necessary to be in COMPLETE CONTROL of its ownership, mandate and policies, and independent of Government control and foreign influence in decision making and appointments”…

Leave a comment, join the discussion.