Freedom of Expression in the Constitution of Barbados

Submitted by Samantha Walker

Dear BU

I called VOB, after listening to the woes of a female caller who was in the midst of her story and the word “politicians” was mentioned.  The programme was immediately CUT from the air.  It was resumed with the knowledge that you had missed the most “important” part of a person’s opinion.

As a listener and citizen, I called Mr Ellis, at VOB, who explained the necessity for them to cut defamation out of the broadcast, to avoid being sued.  My professional opinion is, as a Counsellor…  “tailoring the person’s opinion to suit certain individuals”.  If open conversation is not had about the “citizens” problems, what is the  purpose of VOB and the society, as a whole.  This process divides the nation.   Divide and Rule.   We hear “pay taxes, where to, how to, when to” openly over the news, TV stations and media.  Yet we do not have the right to “freedom of speech”, in the 21st century.  Long given to citizens of the USA and the UK, who we supposedly follow in most cases but not when it concerns the citizens.

Do you have any idea how this can be moved forward so “we” can be given the rights that they report we already have.

Page 1 of the 2016 Human Rights Report, The Executive Summary and quote:

“Barbados is a multiparty parliamentary democracy.  In the 2013 national elections, voters re-elected Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of the Democratic Labour Party Observers considered the vote generally in accordance with international standards, despite allegations of small-scale vote buying.   (vote buying can sway a decision no matter how small).

“Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. The most serious human rights problems were unprofessional conduct by police and violence against women and children. (These are not the most serious, all human rights problems are serious,, what about corruption)

“The government took steps to investigate and prosecute officials who committed abuses.” (I haven’t seen enough prosecutions of officials, how can we change this or report to those who might be able to intervene?)

(2)  PM Stuart holds reparations discussions, took place on 3rd May 2017 and yet no feedback for the population.

PM Stuart holds reparations discussions

Strategies to further the region’s reparations agenda were the focus of discussion when Prime Minister Freundel …

How can we get our PM to update the nation on the above’?

Stuart,  is the Chairman of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery, received a progress report on the reparations efforts, and suggested several approaches to advancing the region’s agenda…… (The people have a right to know what approaches the PM has suggested)

A citizen, tired of all the injustices


21 thoughts on “Freedom of Expression in the Constitution of Barbados

  1. They all need to stop that crap, stop muzzling free speech.

    The only reparations the people on the island need is for the descendants of slave masters in buckingham palace stop claiming that they still own people in the Caribbean and blighting their lives by calling them subjects of a dead empire….that is more important than money.

  2. @ Samantha Walker the most practical and economical response to your concerns above re free speech is a quote generally associated with Churchill but which originated with a Spanish philosopher….

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    The Starcom CEO Mr Ellis knows his history of ‘politicians’ taking the company for which he works to the legal cleaners and I suspect he is quite wary and weary of it happening again.

    A rather simply asked ‘free speech’ query at the said VOB site to a former tourism minister caused much trouble back 10 years ago!

    So any Bajan news outlet is justifiably skittish due to our rather restrictive libel/slander laws that cramps them.

    How that will be changed is hard to answer as the politicians have no incentive to upgrade the laws just as they have absolutely no incentive or intention to implement integrity legislation.

    All we can surmise is that Ministers in both parties acquire top-class financial advisors automatically on gaining office thereby affording them the opportunity to immediately transform their personal assets of thousands of $$ and a home to lavish million $$ portfolios, a plantation property or even property in Florida or Belize.

    We are free to ask about it …just can’t say anything remiss about the pol and their money in public on radio or in the press.

  3. Citizens of any type, form, class, creed or influence are not given the privilege to question the conduct of any politician. Even in the presence of proof, like the legitimate question David Ellis ask that corrupt stinking rich is ass thieving rat call, Noel Lynch, the system, set up to protect political skulduggery, kicked in to win his case. The question still remains, and that is, where did Stinking Noel Lynch found all that money to buy a whole plantation and its lands, and still had the means to refurbish it. We know that he would have done it under the cloak of a loan, he would tell persons he still paying back after 10 years. But we know that is just the smoke screen as the money in kickbacks keeps him comfortable to reimburse that smoke screen loan. Now the corrupt thieving so in so has walked off into the sunset to enjoy the riches that he knows he did not earn, but all part of the draw down deals during his time as Minister of Tourism.

  4. The question the BU household has had to come to grips with in the last 10 years is to question if Barbadians have the nous to appreciate the importance of challenging government to impalement transparency legislation.It calls for a grasp of civic among other understandings of a practical nature.

  5. David at 6:15 AM

    Do you really think Bajans go to school at the stand pipe ? They know civics well enough.

    Our philosophy is “A thief from a thief does make God laugh”. I am sure when you attend funerals you see none of the material wealth interred with the dead. In the final analysis ill-gotten wealth does not benefit the the recipient. It does not improve how he feels about himself or how the public sees him. This is the real wealth …..well being. And it is not cheap.

    Idealistic and obvious, but true.

  6. Re Freedom of Expression.

    This term has a limit. It ends at where your freedom encroaches on my freedom. Someone has to make a judgement call. In this case it was Mr. Ellis’s. He has to protect the interests of his employers, and his own. Sometimes it make sense to err on the side of excessive caution.

  7. Yes There is Fredom of Expression embedded in The Barbados Constitution, NOT Freedom to run around making Libelous statements about Persons. BIG DIFFERENCE, and VOB has the right to do what it did, and that is also why EVERY News media has a Delay on their respective Broadcasts.
    Now!!! If there is absolute PROOF of wrong doing, (Charge/Conviction) then you can talk about that unrestricted.

  8. So whats the purpose of VOB, or CBC. With that statement by VOB they become “fake news”. Why can’t they be sued if the PM, or Minister makes a promise on their network if that promise isn’t kept. It clearly goes beyond reason. In the courts you have a defense, and prosecution soliciting testimony again each having their own opinions.

    • We should bear in mind that it is often the threat of a lawsuit that drives the media house to pay. Often they go the route of paying to avoid testing in court after receiving an ‘opinion’ from a house lawyer, a member of the fraternity. The Noel Barney Lynch $70,000 settlement comes to mind.

  9. David

    This discussion has me puzzled as I recall that Jeff Cumberbatch stated in one of his contributions that the muzzling of the press was a myth and that we possesed the best laws regarding freedom of speech,he further stated that the media instead of running scared should test the matter in court i.e. allow a statement to go out and dare some one to sue them.

    May I suggest you contact Jeff and see if I was mistaken in my understanding.

    • @Vincent

      Are you aware of any defamation cases brought by anyone against the media houses that have been lodged in the Courts?

  10. David

    Exactly,hence my question as to why are they scared based on Jeffs statement??

    To the best of my knowledge the Chicken and Ram one is still in front of the CCJ…….DT was the last lawyer dealing with it,not sure who has it since his death.

  11. N Lynch sued starcom when he was politician. He got thousands of dollars. Is this LW or the caller going to give Starcom $$$ when they get sued? I dont like the lot of cutting and censorship neither but until the law is changed, there isnt much you can do. So long live the blogs, even ND, FB, youtube, and all other forms of non-traditional media.You can express yourself more freely on those mediums that on the call-in programs until the laws change.

    • @Kevin

      Do you read and or understand the comments posted? How can you reference the law if the media houses are unprepared to test any matter in court? As it stands they refer the matter to a lawyer and are guided by an opinion.

  12. Journalists in Barbados cannot be faulted for “protecting their jobs”.

    Where are they going to work if they get fired ?

    3 newspapers and a few radio stations and one TV station.

  13. @ David, why dont you reveal your identity, and put your solution to the test. Be hero the traditional media houses needs. You’ll have my support.

    • @Kevin

      A predictable response. Here is a little secret, in 2007 a BLPITE would have uttered a similar view.

  14. @David June 7, 2017 at 1:44 PM “The Noel Barney Lynch $70,000 settlement comes to mind.”

    Barney must be sorry enough that he persued that route. Isn’t that nonsense one of the reasons that the electorate later cat spraddled he and the BLP?


    He shudda lef’ de $70,000 ‘lone and hold ‘e Cabinet Minister pick.

  15. Kevin June 7, 2017 at 7:58 PM “You’ll have my support.”

    Have your support what?

    Are you sure that you even have a pot to piss in?

    Or a window to throw the piss through?

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