The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Paper it is Written On…

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

The late US film producer, Samuel Goldwyn, is usually credited with first saying that a verbal (sic) contract is “not worth the paper it is written on”. In this statement, he would strictly have erred in at least two particulars; first, he probably meant “oral” instead of “verbal” which is the adjective for “in words” and not for “spoken”, so that even a written contract is verbal in the true sense and, second, he was also wrong in law since most oral contracts are legally enforceable except where statute requires that an agreement be in writing or be evidenced in writing.

But then Mr. Goldwyn was also known for other similar pearls of wisdom – He is reputed to have averred, “I don’t think anybody should write his autobiography until after he’s dead”, and when informed by one director that a script was too caustic, Goldwyn is alleged to have responded, “To hell with the cost. If it’s a good picture, we’ll make it!”

Mr Goldwyn’s first exegesis came to mind last week as I reflected on the diligent preparations being made by the respective political parties for a general election that may possibly be a twelvemonth or more away. As the Barbados Labour Party continues to rub shoulders with the citizenry and to stage its weekly constituency canvasses, the Democratic Labour Party appears to have settled on its slate of candidates for the campaign, having last week deselected three of the candidates that represented the party in the 2008 general election. The fact that among those deselected was one candidate who had been beaten in the constituency by a mere handful of votes signals the earnestness of that party to regain the reins of governmental authority.

Amidst all this, the collective third parties are equally busy with their nominations of candidates. It is not this form of preparation, however, that brings Goldwyn’s dictum to mind. The staging of public meetings at which the respective programmes of the parties will be made known to the electorate will naturally follow the current nomination process and will itself precede the written outlines of these policy proposals in the form of glossy manifestoes sometime later in the campaign.

It is at these latter two stages that we will have cause to wonder whether these verbal (both oral and written) promises to the electorate are indeed “worth the paper they are written on” or whether they are mere allurements held out to attract the unthinking into choosing one party’s candidate over that of another party in the thirty constituency elections that collectively comprise the whole.

The observant reader would have noticed that I have chosen not to refer to these promises as “contracts”. This is so for the strictly legal reason that a contract is accepted to be a legally enforceable agreement and, try as hard as I might, I am unable to detect in the political promise, if it may be so described, any hint of an agreement on the part of the electorate as opposed to simple notice of the policy proposals. Nor is there any truth in an assertion that they are legally enforceable.

First, it would be difficult to pinpoint with any degree of certainty which of the multiple promises might have caused the majority of a constituency to vote for a particular candidate and thereby supply the necessary consideration for that promise made by his or her party, whether it be the enactment of integrity legislation, the proposal to establish an office of Contractor General or the soonest passage of freedom of information legislation. Or even to revoke the current fee paying arrangement by Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies.

In any event, there may be good reason to believe that electoral support is not as linear as might be supposed, but owed rather to an eldritch combination of family tradition, candidate recognition and personality, bandwagonism and, perhaps, to rejection of the incumbent for articulated reasons of “doing-nothing-for- me-personally” or of “not-being-seen-in-the-constituency-since-the-last- election”.

It may be in this context that some have expressed the view that such proposals are not promises at all, but are mere moral representations of future conduct whose realization is cribbed, cabined and confined by the opportuneness of the circumstances prevailing at the time in future most appropriate for their fulfillment.

It is in the aspect of legal enforceability, however, that the analogy has its clearest failure. While there may be the politico-moral enforcement of failed promises by an elector through a refusal to cast his or her vote for the candidate of the breaching or misrepresenting party, the very vagueness of the link between the political statement of intention and the collective electoral support of a constituency converts this form of recourse into a mostly dead letter.

In fine, my thesis is that the political promise, proposal, representation, undertaking or howsoever it may be termed is demonstrably not worth the paper it is written on. And calling it a covenant or a guarantee does nothing to change its essential nature.

Please permit me to express sincere sentiments of condolence to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Eli Edwards, Attorney-at-Law and quondam Public Counsel, who was called to higher service on Thursday last. Eli was a skillful prosecutor who clearly had the public interest at heart. May he rest in peace.

A blessed Easter Sunday and holiday to all my readers.


  • David

    Would Lah have been subject to recall for his work as an MP or Minister? hahaaaaa!


  • @ Enuff
    Bushie …You were convinced in 2008 too! The same kind of incoherent and unpragmatic policies impressed you
    You only need to refer to BU’s archives to confirm that you are WRONG….. but then again you are probably becoming acclimatised to being wrong…. 🙂


  • @ Enuff
    Would Lah have been subject to recall for his work as an MP or Minister? hahaaaaa!
    His work as a minister was no more his fault than the ‘work’ of the chicken farmer in his role as Supervisor of Insurance.

    The “person to be recalled” is the one who appointed CLEARLY unqualified persons to such critical positions – PURELY as bribes in the interest of ‘politics of inclusion’….

    haaaaaaa THAT!!!


  • @enuff

    Yes he made mistakes and some will say he was better suited in a support role.


  • David – Mistakes? What a choice of word!!

    Bushie – Your fan belt soon pop, keep spinning.


  • @Artax, I get your well-scripted personal assessment of Lashley (although a few of the anecdotes are ‘interesting’ to say the least) but how do you get to the summary that “‘ Accept it or not, the truth is Lah did not present any initiative to alleviate poverty”.

    In what realistic context can ANYONE ever have that as a mandate?

    Entire political systems built on that base-line perspective have ‘failed’.

    If Lashley’s broad tenure is taken in real terms it seemed to me that he had some very worthy successes.

    Ascribing an ‘impossibility to him is a demerit on us certainly not on him.

    Poverty can never be alleviated because some people simply make inherently ridiculous decisions (12 children with four different fathers is inherently ridiculous sans a mental imbalance); and Bajan leadership help the poor to help themselves, not to take the poor to the next level.

    Poverty alleviation needs draconian ‘social engineering’ decisions, unpopular directives on what folks in poverty can and cannot do until they graduate from that despair; a process of continued education and guidance and instilling a mindset and focus of ‘I want to be a millionaire’ (draconian thoughts as I said).

    @Vincent, where did Skinner create a mountain of a ‘straw’ man and where did Artax ‘set the record straight’??

    We apparently fool ourselves that the sausage we buy in the attractive package is not made from a combination of ingredients that can look very gross and nasty on the production floor.

    Artax, provided a glimpse into the production of Lashley’s political sausage…it took nothing away from Lashley’s brilliant movements to and fro…his attractive packaging!

    And the reason that he would never be a straw-man in the eyes of many – regardless of his standard human failings- is due to the fact that he made all those machinations based on his desire to help the people in his community…not for direct personal aggrandizement.


  • @Dee Word

    A manifesto pledge of Arthur’s BLP was poverty alleviation. A review of Hammie lah performance would indicate he was weak in implementing policy frameworks to wrestle with what we all know is a tall challenge. He never failed on the photo ops and showing concern though.


  • @ de pedantic Dribbler

    alleviate means make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe.

    This has been done in Barbados for years. Why do you think government employed people to watch grass grow along the roads in Barbados ?


  • Caswell Franklyn

    I have been around and closely associated with politicians for most of my life and I can say, without sensible contradiction, that Hamilton Lashley is the most genuine politician that I have ever met. He cared more about the welfare of others than he cared about himself. Mind you, some people exploited his caring nature but that is only a reflection on them. Some people would give out of their abundance but Hammie gave all that he had and then went into debt to continue assisting others. I was Chairman of the credit Committee of a credit union and can testify to that but my oath prevents me from saying more.

    Hammie is in a class by himself. I don’t mind what the naysayers have to say, he is in a class by himself.

    Sent from my iPad


  • Poverty can be ALEVIATED by creating employment.


  • @ de pedantic Dribbler

    As usual, you must oppose everything I contribute to this forum and have seen it fit to respond on the basis of my “poverty alleviation” comment only, while describing the other content as “interesting.”

    I must admit that your intelligence far exceeds mine, so perhaps you may want to explain “(although a few of the anecdotes are ‘interesting’ to say the least.)”

    Additionally, you may also want to explain “… took nothing away from Lashley’s brilliant movements to and fro…his attractive packaging!”


  • Bushie

    Cuhdear………Bushie – Your fan belt soon pop, keep spinning.

    Yuh means tuh sez dah evahbody dun noh dat yuh mawnin wurds ain nuffen tuh do wid de ones pun a nite……wuhloss

    Little does he know that the belt pop already,the pump spinning and the engine overheating with hot air flying all over…….we will keep that as our little secret….eh…


  • @ Caswell
    What fascinates me is the gall of some
    who seem to think that Hammie was some
    simpleton who was manipulated by the
    BLPDLP. They don’t even want to give
    him any credit as a sensible politician.
    They will never admit it but they would
    rush to call Mottley and Thompson “bright”
    young politicians ( when that was apparently
    applicable) but to them Lashley was just
    some community worker with no mind of
    his own. It is therefore no mystery why
    Hammie experienced rampant class
    discrimination in both the BLPDLP.
    If many of the inferior candidates seeking
    political office, were to build their political careers on the Hammie model, the country
    would be better served.
    Whenever genuine grassroots people
    surface in the national light they are those
    waiting to pull them down or belittle them
    in some form or fashion.
    You are absolutely correct when you state
    that Hammie is in a “class by himself”.


  • @William

    Hamilton Lashley was NOT a poltician. He was coopted by politicians to identify with a segment of the population. Like Artax we will leave it there to not tarnish the reputation of Lashley -suffice to say he was an excellent community practioner which is how he always described himself.


  • To David and Hants, granted my interpretation of ‘alleviating’ went far left towards the context of ‘eradication’.

    The basis of my remarks that it is a difficult process still stands however.

    @Artax, you sir are a highly strung fellow. The nature of blogging is offering opinions.

    It is beyond amazing that I could highlight that I agree with your text and also highlight a point of disagreement and yet you contend that “you must oppose everything I contribute to this forum”. Is that Waterford level of comprehension? LOLL.

    With due respect but that is dismaying. Have I often not given kudos for your contributions…are you THAT sensitive!

    So to your questions: — “perhaps you may want to explain “(although a few of the anecdotes are ‘interesting’ to say the least.)”—-

    I was struck by the DT anecdote. No doubt it is as stated but life has thought me that things are not always as they may appear. Generally being acquainted with DT I never saw or experienced him as really snobbish or as we Bajans would say ‘scornful’.

    Thus I perceived that there had to be more to that mortar than that anecdotal pestle. It was a minor issue either way thus my throw-away comment.

    AND — “you may also want to explain “… took nothing away from Lashley’s brilliant movements to and fro…his attractive packaging!”—-

    I thought I had explained pellucidly. You described the workings (sausage making) of the Lashley political actions. There was nothing there which in my view reflected negatively on him. I still thought he was a brilliant tactician.

    Is that now fully explained??

    And let me apologize in advance. If I continue life and thus continue to blog here I will attach to (NOT attack) your remarks from time to time.

    Please get over yourself…this is an opinion forum and that is what the blogmaster wants…lively discourse.

    If we all agree then what is the point!


  • Well said Caswell.


  • @ David

    Exactly!! I agree with your comments 100%.

    Lah was always one to ADMIT that he was “NOT a politician” and he knew politicians “coopted him to identify (their political parties) with a segment of the population.”

    Introducing academics into the discussion is nonsense, when clearly no other contributor mentioned Lah in that context.

    @ de pedantic Dribbler

    I wanted to allow your comments to go “over my head,” especially taking into consideration that, with the Thompson comment, you are essentially implying Lah and I are being untruthful, which is the basis of your “created disagreement.”

    However, your hypocrisy comes to the fore when you want me to accept that you being “Generally being acquainted with DT (and) never saw or experienced him as really snobbish or as we Bajans would say ‘scornful’,” “there had to be more to that mortar than that anecdotal pestle.” By making those comments are you not also EXHIBITING SOME MEASURE of SNOBBERY?

    Likewise, I being “generally being acquainted with” Lah, YOU MUST ACCEPT I BELIEVE his version of what transpired. And I could mention many more things that occurred, but will not do so in this forum.

    Additionally, if Lah had approached the politicians and convinced them into embracing him as a candidate for the BLP and DLP, because of his community orientation and subsequently using that attribute to his advantage, then I would agree that “he was a brilliant tactician.”

    However, it was the politicians who APPROACHED and used him, as David mentioned, “to identify with a segment of the population.”

    Lah was not readily accepted by some members of both BLP and DLP. He also lost favour with Arthur and was removed as Minister of Social Transformation, but was subsequently appointed as Government’s adviser on poverty eradication and the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

    Note, Lah rejoined the DLP and Undene Whittaker remained Government’s adviser on poverty eradication and the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

    Furthermore, because I do not want to divulge any personal information, I will not engage in this Lashley debate any longer, especially with individuals whose knowledge of the man is based on “hear say.”


  • To come on BU and repeatedly hold an anti-corruption stance, and lament the need for good governance, accountability and transparency then deify Lah, epitomises the vacillatory nature of many of BU’s self-appointed intelligentsia.


  • Good father above on the Easter period of penance I ask your forgiveness…. Artax, are you just blithely desirous of being absolutely repetitive or do you seriously not read posts carefully.

    I said “I was struck by the DT anecdote. No doubt it is AS STATED (emphasis added) but life has thought me that things are not always as they may APPEAR (again added).”

    Good heavens bro where did I say that you or Lashley were untruthful.

    Geezus, I presume that Harold Wharton had already retired or otherwise did NOT teach you English comprehension Waterford…LOLLL….because if he did I am flabbergasted…the old boy must have been losing his mojo!

    Life has thought me- to repeat- that things are not as they appear. If DT stopped at the door I don’t know that it meant he was not keen on venturing into the room with Lashley because of implication of him being class conscious, snobbish or such.

    THAT was my ONLY point. I thought that was ‘blind man on trotting horse’ clear.

    This entire Lashley brouhha is amazing to me. Of course he was a politician. The man was a representative for his people.

    The fact that he did so well that BOTH political parties CAME to HIM is an advertisement of his BRILLIANCE and Success.

    That is the freaking crux of representation: getting the notice and support of the people in power. Lashley did that superbly.

    Was Dr King a ‘politician’. Was Helen Keller a ‘politician’. This debate makes no sense.

    Of course they were all ‘politicians’ in the sense that they worked diligently and purposefully for the rights and to the benefit of groups of people. And in the case of Lashley he then also became an elected rep.

    But that apart as a vigorous community organizer he was always acting in a ‘political’ context to give his community voice and get aide from government.

    And let’s get away from these personal innuendos. The man was a public figure and he surely was tempted by several people and offered all types of inducements; he surly made errors along the way but from a ‘distance’ he appeared to be the epitome of what a ‘true politician’ should be!

    The problem here is that HE was the real ‘politician’. The others are a bunch of frauds.


  • @Dee Word

    Surely you cannot be so naive to misunderstand what the context ‘Lashley is NOT a politician’ means?

    By the way -can comprehension be taught?


  • @enuff

    Let us agree those who are aware agree with you Lashley made some ‘mistakes’ let us leave him alone, his heart was in the right place.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David who wrote ” By the way -can comprehension be taught?”

    Yes David. I was taught comprehension in primary school in Barbados. lol


  • David, that is exactly the point.

    In EVERY explicit AND implicit measure of the word politician, I would say that Hamilton Lashley was certainly one.

    I mentioned Helen Keller before. You know of course that many current ‘elected MPs’ developed via groups like Lions, Rotary and so on. When Dale Marshall or Ed Hinkson were plying their wares in their respective groups were they not being ‘political’ beings even then…I mean as part of their organizations’s strategic push on the Bajan scene.

    The Lions Club donated a major center at the QEH of course and Rotary and others have done other major projects. Step outside the strict Webster definition of politics.

    That type effort reeks of ‘political too and fro’.

    And had Lashley remained only a ‘community organizer’ I would still label him a ‘politician’. And frankly based on what he was doing up there in the Pine a good one too!

    And yes of course, comprehension can be taught.

    The nuance of words and structure. What is the writer’s tone as well of course. And all that must be considered after reading carefully – a first gloss and then a more analytical review…and ALWAYS devoid of one’s own preconceived perspectives.

    That is added afterwards! LOLL.


  • @ David

    The de pedantic Dribbler seems always to be questioning my level of education (as he usually does) and finds it necessary to go through my contributions with a “find tooth comb,” looking for silly arguments to substantiate his belief.

    Although you and I made similar comments about Lah, the dpD has to prove that I am wrong.

    @ de pedantic Dribbler

    Rather than SCROLL PAST my incomprehensible comments, why do you find it necessary to respond?


  • @Hants

    How was the comprehension taught?


  • William Skinner

    Imagine: A man represented a constituency in the House; was a minister of government; actively participated in canvassing for political parties; received a salary from the public purse by virtue of being a parliamentarian and somehow he is not a politician. Owen Arthur can now claim he was not a politician but an economist !!!
    Comprehend that, David !


  • Sigh…@Artax. You are a good man no doubt but clearly do not take disagreement well.

    Please note I originally responded to @William’s post yesterday and too agreed and then pointed to an area of disagreement.

    I have agreed and made nuanced disagreements with the Blogmaster repeatedly across a few blogs over this long ‘weekend’.

    Bro, English ‘comprehension’ at secondary school is fundamental…it was a smarty catcall… not a knock on your academic qualifications….there is that comprehension ting again!!!

    And don’t we all come to BU to respond to posts!

    Were you such a prissy dude in high school too. LOLL. Lighten up…why should I give the proverbial ‘two wuk-ups’ bout your qualifications.

    Do your ting, do it boldly and get on with it!

    Again, a big SIGH!


  • @ de pedantic Dribbler

    Rather than SCROLL PAST my incomprehensible comments, why do you find it necessary to respond?

    “Again, a big SIGH!”


  • @William

    There is a literal argument and a nuanced argument. And yes we believe comprehension cannot be taught.


    Hammie’s road of highs, lows

    Hamilton Lashley being greeted by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur when he switched over from the DLP in 1998.

    Published on: 9/12/08.

    by Trevor Yearwood

    Hamilton Lashley’s departure from the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) brings to an end a strained and at times embarrassing ten-year relationship between the two.

    Some in the party may have regarded him as brilliant in conceptualising strategies for the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities.

    But he will also be remembered as the maverick who openly criticised the Government’s own policies and publicly lambasted state institutions for turning off the water or changing the locks of people in arrears and creating miles of red tape.

    Part of the embarrassment was associated with his oversight of the controversial Urban Development Commission (UDC) as the first Minister of Social Transformation.

    He came under fire for paying $11 500 for cutting down an ackee tree in 2003 and for hiring contractors who produced very shoddy work.

    Some of the embarrassment to himself and the party had to do with his on-and off-radar battle with veteran politician O’Brien Trotman, the UDC chief.

    Lashley wanted him sacked in 2003 but then Prime Minister Owen Arthur recalled him, dealing a blow to Lashley’s public image.

    But Lashley’s tenure as a minister had its highlights, including creation of an impressive blueprint for fighting poverty.

    He implemented programmes under which poor people, including single mothers, were weaned from the welfare roll through trainingand job offers.

    He launched a programme under which scores of small artisans were encouraged to establish their own business, were trained in managing a smallfirm and offered Government contracts.

    The social activist also launched a controversial Community Technology Programme under which hundreds of people, some elderly, were trained in computer basics to improve their employability.

    Lashley will probably be best remembered for an aggressive anti-poverty stand that included a relentless search for help for the poor, including shelter for families forced on the street through fire, broken relationships and other problems.

    The man who calls himself simply "The Rastaman from the Pine" entered the political fray in 1994, even though he privately admitted he did not like politics because

    it was "a dirty game".

    He scored a win on a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) ticket when Erskine Simmons decided not to contest the poll.

    In 1998 he switched to the BLP and a yearlater retained the seat in the general election.

    Privately, he conceded that despite the victory he had his share of problems with a number of BLP colleagues bitterly opposed to people who had crossed the floor.

    From the start, he had made it clear he was not a politician but was prepared to use politics to get help for poor people.

    While his forthrightness won him praise among the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities, party members privately chastised him for "shooting from the lip".

    This happened when he repeatedly supported Venezuela’s controversial PetroCaribe oil arrangement, even though the Arthur Government had rejected it out of hand.

    It also happened when he was accused of using Government funds to pay the bills of his constituents.

    His removal as Minister of Social Transformation in an early 2006 Cabinet reshuffle did not come as a surprise to many.

    There was some comfort for Lashley in the fact that he was later appointed Advisor to Government on Poverty Eradication, but he complained that he lacked the necessary staff and resources to do the best job.

    In the Pine, where he has spent many years, he is regarded as something of a folk hero who has fought for better street lighting, improved roads and upgraded housing.

    He is listed as the man who created a blueprint for developing The Pine, tackling a host of problems through the Pinelands Development Council.

    He often says he grew up in poverty and knows what it feels like to go to sleep hungry.

    His early jobs included working in The Civic, a friendly society that operated at the top of Swan Street, and in a garment factory.

    He later worked with the National Assistance Board (NAB), which he said played a key role in his fight to help poor people.

    At the NAB, he oversaw the maintenance of the welfare houses, deploying the painters and the carpenters.



  • David

    He often says he grew up in poverty and knows what it feels like to go to sleep hungry.

    This statement conflicts with his origins as indicated on this blogg……begs the question what else is suspect in his statements?


  • Jeff Cumberbatch

    @Vincent, a clock striking thirteen!


  • Biting my tongue.


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Mr Blogmaster David, good get re article on Lashley.

    But please clarify what you mean that “…And yes we believe comprehension cannot be taught.”

    You have operated a blog over the last 10 years and you have overseen surely millions of words here; you certainly parse the various topics with nous and a clarity of purpose and yet you make such a statement.

    Were you and your team born with these levels of comprehension!

    People spend many hours in classes learning and dissecting the vagaries of logic; consultants and lawyers are paid well to ensure that the message dispatched is pellucid and appealing with little room for misinterpretation or lack of comprehensions and yet you can boldly make such a statement.

    I know friends who spent some school years unraveling books from Sartre, Shakespeare, Camus and all that sort of ting; and not to forget those who battled Latin. All them feel empowered that all that helped them more readily comprehend their business texts and even deciphering technical details.

    You are of course familiar with the psychological teachings of people like Watson who firmly believed that given any young child he could ‘condition’ and groom them to success in myriad and any field regardless of the pedigree of their ancestry.

    So I am at a lost frankly by your statement. Are you just having a facetious lark!


  • “He came under fire for paying $11 500 for cutting down an ackee tree in 2003 and for hiring contractors who produced very shoddy work.”

    “It also happened when he was accused of using Government funds to pay the bills of his constituents.”

    @ David

    I was going to include the above points in a previous contribution, but chose to write: “He also lost favour with Arthur and was removed as Minister of Social Transformation,” without going into detail.

    Through Delisle Bradshaw, under whose portfolio National Assistance Board fell, Lashley gained employment at that establishment as a Housing Officer and was responsible for writing up contracts for artisans who were deployed to repair or build houses.

    After the 1986 general elections, the NAB Board, under the chairmanship of Dr. Farley Brathwaite, made a number of posts redundant, including Housing Officer and retrenched a number of employees from the Housing Welfare Department of the NAB. The Board was of the opinion that the Housing Officers appointed under the previous BLP administration were unqualified and they employed a number of DLP supporters, under the new title of Technical Officer. The other related posts were renamed to Welfare Officer.

    As Housing Officer, Lashley was responsible for writing up contracts for the artisans. He was “taken down” from that position and appointed as Store Room Keeper.

    It is alleged Lashley’s tenure as Social Transformation Minister came to an end mainly due to how and to whom the $2M allocated to the poverty Alleviation Fund was disbursed.

    These developments reminds me of another reason why I am not fond of politicians. Recall after the DLP won the 2008 elections, the new appointed Minister of Social Care, Chris Sinckler, said he inherited a “mess” at the UDC and it was later revealed that a number of people from St. Michael South East received business loans without collateral or what some individual referred to as “grants.”

    When Lashley rejoined the DLP, those who often spoke publicly about the “mess” immediately became silent and the much talked about “$11,000 ackee tree” became an issue of the past.

    The following report makes for some very interesting reading:


  • It is always interesting to hear bloggers go to great lengths to establish that someone is “not perfect” after all. No one said that Lashley was perfect. That condition can only be found among us here on BU …who feel free to cast stones as we are no doubt without sin.
    Bushie does not even CARE if Hammie is guilty of being a poor politician. What always impressed about him was that he CARED about poor people …and was DRIVEN to serve their needs.

    99.9 % of us here on BU would be piss poor politicians …if we were to get involved with the two shiite mafia parties that we have.
    Walter Blackman will turn out to be piss poor; The new wonder boy Dr. Yearwood will be a piss poor lackie; Caswell was piss poor when he tagged along with the BLP; Mascoll was piss poor in BOTH DLP and BLP.
    If even Bushie joined one of them, …the whacker would probably malfunction, and the shiite would pile up…
    If you join with the Devil, you WILL become a demon.

    Caswell impress now because he DONE WID THAT SHIITE.
    Hammie impress now because he DUN WID DAT!!

    Hammie is an outstanding example of a COMMUNITY-CENTRIC focus…. a refreshing reminder of the traditional African village chief, who is committed to the good of the dispossessed.

    UNFORTUNATELY, he allowed himself to be guided by the prevailing albino-centric focus on materialism as a means of addressing the problem of poverty….and accepted the temptation to join with the “Devil” when taken to the mount….

    Hopefully, he (like Caswell) has learned from his mistakes, and is now a FAR better man for the experiences. He certainly is ahead of all those here who still look to these shiite politicians to solve our problems….

    Liked by 1 person

  • fortyacresandamule

    It is always quiet easy for us on the outside to criticise politicians, (and rightly so) who are flawed beings, working in a flawed system. As Bushie rightly concludes, 99.9% among us, given the same opportunity , would have failed just as miserably.


  • @ Bust Tea

    I expected the demolition job to be aimed at Hammie sooner or later because those who say they know him so well were always using the caveat that they did not want to “expose” him as if he were some criminal.
    They refuse to give him credit for the role he played in exposing the simple fact that there is no difference between the two parties and his tremendous community work guaranteed him political success and he was brilliant in its execution.
    They see him as nothing more than a pawn for those whom they have elevated because they believe that he did not have the brains to outfox them.
    Their whole analysis of Hammie is rooted in nothing more than classism.
    They are so peeved that Hammie achieved so much that they are now presenting his entire work history to prove that he was a recipient of their political masters’ generosity.
    It is a shameful and undignified attack on the man’s character while pretending that they are his buddies.


  • Coming in at the tail end and having seen and read the Honourable Blogmaster ‘s link and that of De Ingrunt Word aka Dribbler I will weigh in with the Blogmaster.

    Composition Writing AND exercises in Comprehension can be delivered but the fact is that the nuance of what I think the Blogmaster, this specific one, is saying is absolutely right.

    And, because a set of people dissect Sartre or Shakespeare DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY accord them Comprehension Skills either, since the skill of sequencing does not accord Comprehension.

    Not all teachers are educators and vice versa yet and educator potentially has greater potency with their skill sets than the teacher, all things being equal.

    While a simple and simplistic example It is like two officers arriving at a scene of a burglary and one taking copious detailed notes and measurements while the other not having taken as many is able to sequence the information and integrate it with past experience, his data bank of the modus of criminals he knows and quickly and correctly arrive at the name of the perpetrator of the crime.

    There are people whose reading skills are superlative, 2,000 words a minute, but cannot arrive at a cogent summation of all the info read even if their life depended on it.

    ” a man has, two horses at his zoo, he receives 3 adders on loan, how many MAMMALS does he HAVE in total?”

    The first thing that such a question requires is an understanding of what an adder is? What a mammal is and the nuance of the verb to have versus own.

    One puts it to you that if one replaces the word mammals with animals, and the verb have with own and the point the Honourable Blogmaster is making will quickly come into focus.

    As a person who supports integration of teaching disciplines what I would say is the for any comprehension exercise to work it has to be reinforced by multiple streams ACROSS THE FULL SPECTRUM OF INFORMATION DELIVERY.

    So if you are teaching a child English and Maths or whatever at primary level the principle of Reading and Comprehension MUST BE ENFORCED SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ALL DISCIPLINES


  • @ fortyacresandamule

    I have often mention in this forum that I’m not fond of politicians. and expressed my displeasure when Walter Blackman mentioned his desire to rejoin the DLP to become a candidate in the next election.

    I believe individuals such as Caswell Franklyn, Walter Blackman, Hamilton Lashley, Rodney Grant and Kammie Holder, who have so much to contribute to Barbados’s development, should not align themselves with political parties.

    They could establish Non-governmental Organisations to achieve that objective.


  • Human nature is such that when it comes to critically analyzing an individual someone likes, they prefer to “pick and choose” certain characteristics rather than examine different perspectives to give a balanced view of that individual’s character.

    I presented two perspectives on Hammie Lah, one which praised his community work and what he was able to achieve through Pinelands Creative Workshop and what I perceived as his flaws as a politician. Nowhere in my “analysis” did I make any statement to attack Lah’s educational capabilities or mentioned I would “expose him.”

    Education and classism were introduced by a political reject who often comes to BU to make scathing attacks on other people. The hated and contempt he has for these individuals are manifested in his writings. Perhaps his hatred for other politicians is as result of him being “peeved that they achieved so much” more than he was capable of.

    Ironically, the “brilliance” he tries to exhibit in this forum, his work and canvassing were not enough impress voters into guaranteeing his success in the political arena. He was rejected at the polls by an overwhelming majority, evidenced by him losing his deposit in the process. Hence, within a few hours, he went from being a “POLITICAL ASPIRANT” to become a “POLITICAL REJECT.”

    David BU presented an article that outlined Lah’s work history and I endorsed the comments. As such, the political reject is being disingenuous in his comments.

    Reference was made to “pretending that they are his buddies,” from a man who pretended, unsuccessfully, to be a politician. A man cannot claim to be another person’s friend if he cannot be critical of that friend and tell them when they are wrong.

    However, Lah’s record is there for all to see, while the reject does not have anything to offer but come to BU to be overly critical and obnoxious, while displaying the bitterness he still carries in his heart.

    Accept your failures and move on.


  • Artax April 18, 2017 at 8:15 AM #

    Point well made and NGO(s) can then become a pressure/lobby groups to keep whichever party is in power on their toes.


  • fortyacresandamule

    @Artax &Vincent. In our political sytem where the-winner-takes-all, not even the opposition in parliament have enough influence much less an outside pressure group.


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Ok David re April 18, at 2:58 AM on the same page. And @Pieces’ offered a well turned sentence for review. This response is a bit lengthy even as I try to be as succinct as is possible but it’s an expansive subject, so I have made two entries.

    First up, commentary from the link actually supports my base point although the Prof Willingham argues that the evidence and studies do not show an ongoing corollary, to put it simply, that reading comprehension ‘practice makes perfect’!

    I come away with a very different interpretation however. Here’s why. (First, some base assumptions: Literacy is accepted and there is no learning disability.)

    Out of the starting blocks, Mr Blogmaster I suggest that the mere reference to the link falls within the scope of comprehension and its ability to be ‘taught’, because as a result of ‘learned’ behavior or your awareness and appreciation of the complexity of the subject you directed me to this researched article.

    Should make logical sense to you, I expect!

    Now, in the article itself the Prof used some compelling examples which I repeat below but interpret very differently.

    **1- He said, “I pointed out that a critical feature of reading comprehension is the need to tie ideas together via inferences. Consider … : “We’re not going on that vacation to Miami after all. My wife could get only get vacation time in July.”

    He continued that in order to…
    “ understand the meaning, it’s not enough to understand each sentence on its own; you must understand that the second statement is causally related to the first (time off only in July caused the cancellation of the Miami vacation) and the causal connection requires some prior knowledge of Miami (that it’s uncomfortably hot in summer) and of people’s preferences when they take vacation.”

    Oh, really I ask!

    To comprehend that sentence it is NOT necessary to know that “it’s uncomfortably hot in summer” or for that matter get any idea “…of people’s preferences when they take vacation.”

    Those are indeed inferences that may be drawn but they are totally unnecessary to comprehend the basic scope of the sentence which is ‘simply’ a measure of why the vacation was cancelled …That can be achieved by properly relating the two logical sentences.

    Logic, word usage and relationships can certainly be taught. So too can drawing inferences actually but that is a completely different matter regardless and is not needed to necessarily comprehend any sentence.

    In basic speak, life is a continuum of related events so it’s impossible (or absurd) to posit that we humans cannot learn how those links work and build on them to understand (comprehend) other aspects and complexities of life.

    Let me highlight Prof Willngham’s own comments to reinforce the point.

    ** “Gail Lovette and I (2014) found three quantitative reviews of RCS instruction in typically developing children and five reviews of studies of at-risk children or those with reading disabilities. All eight reviews reported that RCS instruction boosted reading comprehension, but NONE reported that practice of such instruction yielded further benefit. The outcome of 10 sessions was the same as the outcome of 50.”

    This clearly shows that basic reading comprehension can be taught. The fact that there was no additional ‘comprehension’ growth beyond a certain point is not persuasively relevant to the debate.


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    To continue from above….

    @Pieces’ used an interesting example. He stated that “a man has, two horses at his zoo, he receives 3 adders on loan, how many MAMMALS does he HAVE in total?”.

    And he continued “ the first thing that such a question requires is an understanding of what an adder is? What a mammal is and the nuance of the verb to have versus own.”

    Valid other than the distinction between ‘have’ and ‘own’; that is incidental to an adequate comprehension of the sentence idea.

    A reasonable comprehension mainly requires being taught how to logical progress through a sentence like this: the focus on key words like mammals and animals. If that is achieved then there is guaranteed success.

    For example, even if there is no prior knowledge of the word mammal – which speaks to the person’s education RATHER than comprehension per se – then the ‘student’ may still respond ‘he has five animals at his zoo’.

    To me that is comprehension: not entirely accurate to the question asked but it shows a clear ability to carefully decipher information and offer a rational and reasonable response.

    That definitely can be taught and also evolves from practice and repeated analysis.

    Prof Willingham validates that although he takes the exact opposite interpretation. He noted, that…

    ** Thus, we might think that an obvious route to improving reading comprehension would be (1) to get students to relate the ideas across sentences and (2) to get students to notice it’s a problem if the ideas in a text don’t hang together coherently. These approaches represent two categories of Reading Comprehension Strategies (RCS)… “

    ** “Here’s why I say that using these strategies doesn’t really make the child a better reader. We’re tempted to think that teaching RCS is like coaching. A baseball coach tells a batter to mimic the sort of things that an excellent hitter does… The idea is that by doing what good hitters do often enough, these practices become second nature, and so the amateur’s hitting skill improves. Likewise, if we prompt the beginning reader to do what more successful readers do, in time these techniques will become second nature.

    ** “But we can’t actually tell the reader exactly what to do because comprehension depends on the particulars of the text. “

    What the professor omitted is that good hitters (or cricket batsmen) must always react to the particular pitcher (bowler) in addition to their practiced skills. Thus the ‘comprehension’ to execute effectively is based not only on those batting skills but also from studying similar bowlers.

    That complete analysis the – past and the present situation – is the key to success. So to with reading comprehension.

    I use the same data points as the Prof but come away with a very different interpretation.

    So senors, David and Pieces this is an extensively researched subject as the article shows and there is no way that we can settle it here in the confines of such brief posts.

    Yet my simple take-away is that comprehension is about appreciating what to look for, how to relate what you have practiced and learned to the current situation (or reading) and executing same to achieve a successful outcome.

    It does not mean we can all do it supremely well. It simply means we CAN be taught to do it.

    And even the article says … it can be taught … to a point of declining returns!.


  • Let’s see now.What has this DLP excuse for a government done for the good people of Barbados.First they tinkered with the Tom Adams highway at the Upton/TAH junction.Then they tinkered with the D’arcy Scott roundabout confusingly converting it into an elliptic accident prone turnabout.Next they honoured Hammy-La frequent party switching and erected the Hammy-La Crossover by his constituency the Pine.Then instead of replacing the worn out 1881 underground water mains which-in leakage is at 60%,they got a BOLT built BWA headquarters not far from the former BWA headquarters.So all staff now comfortable but St Joseph people going to the High Court for relief due lack of water and having to pay for the said lack of water.The next thing the inepters did was give away 40 years of tax free concessions to Sandals so that the tourism earnings are now showing less than ever before because Butch holding all the money outside Barbados because it is paid outside Barbados and Butch outfox Stuart,Sinckler and Sealy(the new 3S company) and only paying starvation wages to a few Bajans.Adrian say he saw Appleton Special but no Mount Gay.The last thing the jokers did was erect a shrine to the devil with the fork in his hand at the Garrison Savannah with Stuart doing the service of dedication since he is a pastor to the Marchfield Church ‘o God and he know how to percolate in these high things.
    Oh one last thing for which the guys will be remembered.They wrecked the economy and devalued the lives of the citizens.Even the US got devalued…one observer thinks it is 7:1.


  • fortyacresandamule April 18, 2017 at 3:02 PM #

    It has been bandied about that Sandi was threatened after he lost the no-confidence,with the with holding of monthly remittances to govt by the private sector if he did not call elections.

    True or false that is the power that we are talking about being held by a number of groups,we also have the unions with the power to shut down the ports…..what needs to be developed and it will take time,is for community groups to create power by their activities.


  • How can we claim to be living in a civilised society when some barbaric magistrate can jail a man for stealing four bottles of energy drinks? This is barbarism of the worst kind by some demented authoritarian brute.
    Instead of rambling on abut the economy, which most commenter do not know anything about, what about this injustice?
    Where is the bar association? Where is the shadow attorney general? Where are the members of parliament? Where is the church?
    Or, in Barbadian morality, is such a sentence fair?


  • In what may be the single largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in U.S. history, Massachusetts prosecutors announced Tuesday they’re going to throw out 21,587 criminal drug cases. The cases were all prosecuted based on evidence or testimony supplied by a former state chemist who admitted to faking tests and identifying evidence as illegal narcotics without even testing the evidence. The chemist, named Annie Dookhan, pleaded guilty in 2013 to tampering with evidence during her nine years working at a state crime lab in Boston. During that time, thousands of people were convicted based on her false statements. Tuesday’s announcement is a major win for civil liberties attorneys and public defenders who spent years in litigation fighting to have these drug cases dismissed. Many of the so-called Dookhan defendants have completed lengthy prison sentences and continue to suffer the consequences of being convicted of a drug offense, from not being able to get jobs to already being deported.
    Annie Dookhan was born Annie Sadiyya Khan in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago in 1977.[3] She moved to the United States when she was a child and eventually became a citizen.[4] In 2003, she was hired as a chemist at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.[5] She married Surrendranath Dookhan in 2004.[3] (Wikepedia)

    A sick criminal justice system.


  • Are we concerned about the quality of criminal justice in Barbados? Are we going to keep quiet while a man is jailed for 12 months for stealing four bottles of energy drink? Whatever his criminal record, is this judicial fairness? Why is justice not on the political agenda?


  • OMG, @Hal you were over here kicking a storm of protest on some serious justice issues…. particularly 12 months for basic shop-lifting.

    Why was the case not heard and discharged…guilty or not guilty as you suggested

    But I contend that more so than a “… sick criminal justice system” it’s the too many law officers and other officials in the justice system who are the sick ones.


  • @ Hal
    How many bottles should he be allowed to steal, and for how long …before he is jailed?
    What do you think the magistrate should have done instead?
    The problem with our criminal justice system is not that petty criminals get jailed…. it is that major criminals don’t get the guillotine….
    Your solution is that everyone gets to do as they like…?
    You are a product of your adopted society.


  • Caswell Franklyn


    I must side with Hal on this one. Remember Speaker Carrington? How many bottles did he carry away? Oh, I am starting to remember now; it was not bottles of anything. And he did not get a day. He got to keep his job and a clean Police Certificate of Character.

    Sent from my iPad


  • Bush Tea,

    I did not say if found guilty he should not be punished. But 12 months for stealing four bottles of energy is barbaric, no matter his criminal past.
    I am sure you are an expert on sentencing, but I am willing to bet I have been reading about the subject longer than is necessary. Barbarism is barbarism.
    We need to bring social justice on our political agenda and not the monotonous crap about economics.
    Our magistrates in the main abuse their authority, especially one psychologically damaged woman. She should be driven out of the job.


  • @ Caswell
    Did Bushie not refer to our failure to apply the guillotine in cases like Carrington’s?

    @ Hal
    You are still to say what your ‘just’ sentence would have been in this case.

    You may be surprised to know the background to some of these ‘petty’ cases.
    Many murders and serious woundings arise from ‘petty’ cases which, if dealt with up front, may seem harsh to the uninformed and the uninitiated.

    This is the same old defeatist, lukewarm (Dribbly) approach where, to avoid the possibility of making a mistake, we NEVER apply the death sentence for murder…. for fear we kill an innocent person.
    …Yet we have no qualms about allowing idiots to drive vehicles up and down the damn place every day… killing innocents at a rate that defies logic….. and with ZERO consequences.

    It takes WISDOM to lead successfully.
    …and some things may be beyond some pay grades.


  • Bushie,

    I am going by the newspaper report which states he was charged and found guilty of stealing four bottles of energy drink. Nothing about murderers nor taking other offences in to consideration.,


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