The George Brathwaite Column – DLP’s Dodge

George C. Brathwaite (PhD)

“The least we can expect from our leaders is to deal with the ‘issues of real life’, [and] provide at the very least … shelter, healthcare, education, sanitation, and transport” – Senator Dr. Jerome X. Walcott, 2016).

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) performed sufficiently impressive to put Barbados as the number one developing country in the world by the end of 2007. The BLP team comprised of persons devoted to service such as Mia Mottley, George Payne, Dale Marshall, Glyne Clarke, Ronald Toppin, Kerrie Symmonds, Trevor Prescod and others inclusive of Lynette Eastmond who now chairs the unknown United Progressive Party (UPP). Between 1994 and 2008, the BLP managed to bring unemployment down from a very scary 26.5 % to as low as 6.5 %. The BLP as a team serious about governing and running the affairs of Barbados met numerous challenges, scaled many hurdles, and maximized the opportunities that would boost Barbados’ socio-economic fortunes.

Owen Arthur remains the longest serving Prime Minister and, arguably, the most adept Minister of Finance in post-independence Barbados. Throughout his tenure as prime minister, Arthur stood tall on the democratic socialism of Sir Grantley Adams. He was emboldened by the embrace of JMGM ‘Tom’ Adams, and encouraged ‘only the best’ for Barbados. Even Errol Barrow’s thrust for ‘friends of all, satellites of none’ helped Arthur to carve a developmental niche for Barbados that was compatible with the needs of the country and satisfying for the expectations of the people, regardless of their social status. The BLP’s public policies and programs offered increased socio-economic prospects and, the scope of much legislation was captured in the cloth of higher earnings and distributive justice. By global indicators, the BLP had in three election cycles placed Barbados on the verge of stepping up to a higher status of economic and social development.

Then came 2008 and a politics of uncertainty that seemed lopsidedly incestuous. Divisiveness replaced the politics of inclusion and determined leadership. Thousands of Barbadians presumed that they would have been better off with the re-entry of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to the governance arena. The politics of innuendo, was emotively practiced by David Thompson, and won the day over the diminutive leader. Some commentators speculated and unjustly followed the DLP’s fabrication that Arthur’s politics had become arrogant and emitted intimations of malfeasance. For almost a decade under the spectacle that ‘Barbados is more than an economy, it is a society’, the DLP has been a beleaguered government. During this DLP sojourn, Barbados has not become a failed state; nor has every implemented measure of social or democratic development showed regress. Rather, the DLP has dodged and wobbled regarding Barbados’ development.

The signs have pointed to an economic shallowness that is compounded by policies which induce societal backwardness. The DLP’s choices and policy preferences superficially appear paternalistic, but have more regularly been dismissive of critics. Cabinet Ministers attempt to control everything from the national discourse to who gains access to tertiary education. In effect, the DLP government under its current leadership, has largely denied and dampened the expectations of Barbadians through inertia, threat and control mechanisms. The result is that Barbadians are poorer and worse off in mid-2017 than in January 2008.

The abject disappointment for the Barbadian population regarding the DLP’s approach and actual performances in public policy can be realistically set against a series of unending tax-grabs, and the several botched fiscal initiatives which have become characteristic of the DLP’s return to government. Failure abounds in many places, and the DLP has created multiple ways to pursue a blinkered focus of development in which unsound judgements have made progress a pitiful lament. Social services have become appalling and under-financed by the DLP. Access to basic social services appears more difficult and disconcerting for Barbadians.

For example, the provision of basic services under the DLP regime, such as providing clean water and proper sanitation, has been acutely problematic and prolonged. The troubling experiences of residents in St. Joseph and other northern parishes, cannot be hosed away by any momentary gush of water. The fact is that for too long, these rustic folks were unable to consistently access clean water in their homes. On the issue of sanitation, workers of the Sanitation Services Authority (SSA) deserve medals of commendation for their work despite the atrocious approach of Minister Denis Lowe. Since 2013, Barbadians saw nasty evidence of the terrible dereliction of duty emerging from the DLP Cabinet. On several occasions and sometimes over months, the garbage build-up in Barbados became unbearable in terms of size and stench. It was disgusting that Barbadians were forced to accept the SSA’s plight of operating with a regular working fleet of five or six trucks due to the negligence of the substantive Minister, while the garbage unhealthily swelled – thereby becoming eyesores for the nation and our tourists.

Today, Barbadians are fighting to escape the clutches of intergenerational poverty. Young men and women are doing their best to cope with the vagaries of underemployment, and the exploitation that has become commonplace in badly skewed power relations. Low and middle-income families are trying to adapt to lifestyles which negate the terrible effects of non-communicable diseases. Yet, these same people are forced to live through depressed earning capacities and lesser disposable incomes, while being kept at the periphery of tertiary education. Bright young minds hang on through bursary but they simply cannot keep abreast of the inflationary DLP policies that pushed the prices of food, medicines, and daily maintenance through the ceiling.

Shamelessly, DLP Ministers and the parliamentary group continue to shout down those who disagree with their antics or are critical of their long lists of shortcomings. Just recently, Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett instead of utilizing his energy to address hunger, homelessness, and joblessness which are all affecting his constituents and thousands of Barbadians throughout the urban corridor, preferred to pitch his tent on the party mound. Blackett accompanied by several DLP surrogates, mocked the reality that is suffocating the masses. Blackett carried his charade ‘into the constituency to distribute the FACTS’ according to the DLP’s propaganda team. Boasting that the DLP has a ‘stellar record’, the Minister has had little or nothing to show that has improved the lot for the aged, the poor, hurting parents or the many childless women who lack anyone to come to their welfare assistance. DLP supporters are themselves finding it difficult to remain silent on public policies that have brought about more pain than gain for Barbadians under the Stuart-Sinckler combination.

In another display of castigation from the DLP, it was Senator Jeptor Ince’s turn to demonstrate the type of behaviour that can occur when ignorance conflicts with haughtiness. Ince, insulted the private sector in Barbados when he short-sightedly ranted that the sector is “an extension of the public service and a parasitic plant in the bosom of Government.” Senator Ince made no apology or even worthy qualification, although he felt it necessary to say that entities comprising the local private sector “have no grounds for complaining.” Ince implied that the private sector and Barbadians in general should simplistically accept whatever is offered by the Minister of Finance and the DLP Government. If Ince’s remarks were signs of a pyrrhic victory, then it is more worrisome that Barbadians are fed-up with the current socio-economic situation about to be unleashed in Barbados after July 1st.

Indeed, things are becoming harder and unbearable under the austere vice-grip of Finance Minister Sinckler. The DLP’s severe strangulation and/or reduction in the provision of social services to the citizens and residents are alarming. The seemingly uncaring or badly incompetent DLP government continues to make a deplorable mess in public transport, on top of the deficiencies seen in sanitation, education, healthcare, and other needed services. Even with the heavily subsidized public transportation system, bus-shortages and inadequate designation of routes, are like daily slaps in the faces of the poor masses who depend on public transportation for maintaining their livelihoods. Who can forget the moving and deceptive DLP advertisement in the lead up to the last general elections? It ultimately floored Arthur and a realistic approach to discussing privatization and people empowerment.

The DLP must realise that the adequate provision of basic social services is an input into aggregate economic activity and national productivity. Prime Minister Stuart is Barbados’ National Productivity Champion for 2017. It was Stuart that asserted productivity is “the pivot on which the entire society spins,” and consequentially, Barbadians young and old, will struggle daily to stave off the punitive and counter-productive measures of Finance Minister Sinckler. Doubtlessly, conceit, vanity, and failure have become synonymous with the post-2008 DLP Cabinets. The DLP’s dodge ought to bring its demise in the next general elections.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email:


  • Now let s hear what the doom and gloom brigade has to say. after all the bull shit talk about govt backing down


  • George’
    In response to my contribution you said:”…you are free to be critical …”
    Isn’t that what I am? You acknowledge my right to be critical and I have been, so what’s your beef. I reread what I wrote, and what you wrote and I am correct in my assessment. Since before 2008 we have had our discussions, and no doubt we will continue over time, because we see things differently.
    You guys want to get to heaven, or inherit heavenly gifts, but you have no intention of doing what is necessary; like making the necessary sacrifices, or dying, before you can reap the sweets. The Dems, in 1984 succumbed to the inability to accept the sacrifices necessary and threw out the DLP; reducing the Party to two seats. The sacrifices were made and the BLP inherited an economy on an upward growth path. This lasted for 14 years, but by the time they were thrown out the growth had reached and begun on a downward path. Once more the DLP have to give the country another dose of the Castor Oil, and after this purging stability will be obtained. Thus if you win the next election, the DLP would have made the country accept the sacrifices, and be once more on a growth path.
    George I have every right to be critical of what you wrote, because the picture is the same.
    Government is not a manufacturing company that makes products for export, or for sale, that they can sell overseas. It has a largePayroll, It has many branches and statutory corporations that depend on it for funding; it has many agencies that depend on transfer payments to meet their own payrolls. The major means of earning revenue is through taxes and tourism revenue. Import substitution should be mandatory, and this is where I criticize this government. They should ban certain imports, and make import substitution of others mandatory.
    Enough for now.


  • Today the lil mangy mogrel Artax come nibbling at my heels but by afternoon Sinckler had thrown a big rock in he ugly face fuh me lol
    bro dat is wuh happen to public nuisances


  • Good…. Over to the Unions…..Shut shop.


  • The unions shut shop and the workers ass would be grass , Remember last time when the Unions call out workers the johnny Annankani had no money to pay them got wages lost and went begging govt for help , this time around he might have to pay all expense for all the workers the govt let go , so u johnny no.2 you better tell him to be prepared for a longggg fight
    Country First jack


  • William Skinner



    You are aware the austerity measures the MoF continues to roll out are as harsh as the IMF would have been read cheap forex WITHOUT the balance of payment support? Despite the 6 year dose of bitter policy prescription mounting debt service continues to be the issue given our inability to generate forex. Bear in mind the low reserves will never fuel investor confidence which is required for foreign direct investment to flow. Tourism revenue cannot pay the bill Barbados on its own.”

    Repeating the problem does not make it disappear. You are talking about the worst of two evils. You have no real understanding of what the IMF does to small open economies especially those like ours who are not competitive in exports.

    ” There is further consideration entangled with the doctrine of “trade liberalisation” and an “open market economy.”There is evidence aplenty that such approaches to economic development in a period of adjustment do not work in the best interest of the country,as the present tug of war between Japan and America suggests. But there is an example closer to home.In an insightful article,Perspectives on Adjustment -Type Programmes And and Economic Development in the third world with Special Reference to the Caribbean,” Kari Levitt recognised the difficult choices that we, as a small economy, have to make during the present period of adjustment and notes our vulnerability to what she calls ” the balance of payment disequilibria’ brought to the fore by the difficult issue of ” how the burden of adjustment is to be distributed between classes and sectors of society”and most critically ” who decides, by what process are policies determined, and whose interests are served by the policies of adjustment” Drawing on the Jamaican example of 1985 in which debt/GNP/ ratio ratio reached 195 percent, and debt export ratio reached 273 percent, one of the highest in the world, Levitt noted that Jamaica had found itself in a ” TOTAL DEBT TRAP”…..forced to accept every imaginable liberalization conditionality which could possibly have been required of any country”
    In layman’s terms what Levitt means is that Jamaica’s debt is almost twice as much as the value of goods and services the society produces or close to three times Jamaica’s exports. The Trinidad and Tobago case is not as bad as the Jamaican situation, but it is very clear that the liberalization of Jamaica’s economy and the opening up of the island’s market to foreigners did not lead to the salvation of the society or dynamic economic growth. It simply led to the weakening of the Jamaican economy and left it more firmly in the hands of foreigners and with debt it will never be able to repay. Despite the liberalization of trade policies, the people of the country grew more impoverished seeking to rival the people of Haiti and Guyana. In thsi context, Levitt’s warning is important. She says:
    Under pressure from the local private sector, ans as a conditionality required by the Inter American Development Bank-now an important U.S., policy instrument-and again as a conditionality required by the Enterprise of the America’s Initiative(EAI) for debt forgiveness Jamaica liberalised the exchange rate in September 1991. Jamaica was advised that this would reslut in the return flow of dollars parked in foreign accounts. Well, the pundits were wrong; a speculative attack on Jamaican currency brought the country to the brink of political and social breakdown by april 1992, as the [Jamaican dollar broke through the 30 to one barrier.”
    ( From Eric E. Williams Speaks Essays on Colonialism And Independence) Introduction
    Edited by Selwyn R. Cudjoe.

    Sounds familar ?


  • Carson C. Cadogan


    “There are some nations that are rich enough to waste their democracy by shutting down their government from time to time, for the pleasure of it, by making gridlock the normal and familiar feature of the functioning of their system of governance, and by making opposition to everything proposed by their leader the main political strategy of key political institutions.

    “In the Caribbean, we cannot afford such a luxury, especially since the countries have to grapple with a range of threats that go beyond the ordinary and which threaten to overwhelm them. For us, there can be no sensible option than to embed harmony and co-operation at the centre of our governance, and to do everything necessary to ensure that the partnership works,” the former Prime Minister told the audience.”

    Owen Arthur


  • Hants,
    Representatives of the IMF come every year for the Article iv consultations, so don’t read anything in their presence.
    “…had to endure excessive hardships during their time of water shortages.”
    Read Drought.
    “So called” drought. Why say “so-called?” Are you being Trumpian? It was not so-called. It was a real real drought.


  • George;
    “…Access to basic social services appears more difficult and disconcerting for Barbadians”
    Do you know why? Because these social services cost money. What little there is in the treasury has to be doled out judiciously, so some will be more difficult to access, and will be disconcerting to those who try to suckle dry tits..


  • Carson C. Cadogan

    “”Mottley is the DULLEST, MOST UNINSPIRING, and MOST UNGODLY Opposition Leader in the post-independent history of Barbados.

    She continues to practice law in this country without the necessary due legal qualifications – qualifications that today ALL ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW practicing law in Barbados must have.””



  • An IMF mission visited St. Kitts and Nevis during April 18-May 4 to conduct the 2017 Article IV consultation. [1]

    Notwithstanding a difficult international environment, St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy is expected to grow again in 2017 for the 5th consecutive year. St. Kitts and Nevis’ strong macroeconomic performance owes much to the robust Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) inflows and their spillovers to the economy, as well as overall prudent macroeconomic policies. Against the background of elevated risks to CBI inflows and risks associated with completion of the debt-land swap, the mission focused on measures to safeguard macroeconomic and financial stability, including by strengthening the fiscal policy framework and reducing reliance on CBI inflows, and necessary reforms to attain sustainable, inclusive growth.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Alvin Cummins June 22, 2017 at 8:16 AM
    “…had to endure excessive hardships during their time of water shortages.”
    Read Drought.
    “So called” drought. Why say “so-called?” Are you being Trumpian? It was not so-called. It was a real real drought.”

    Alvin, isn’t Barbados is a 166 sq miles 2×3 atoll in the Atlantic Ocean?

    Any genuine or ‘sustained’ (“real, real”) drought in Bim would result in the entire island being affected.

    If there was indeed a drought how come many other parts of Barbados were fully serviced with some never experiencing any shortages or outages?

    How come the situation was rectified as soon as tremendous political pressure was brought to bear to expose and embarrass the authorities, both the bureaucratic officials and political directorate?

    It was primarily a direct result of piss-poor management all around and like the shitty situation with the South Coast and Bridgetown sewage fiasco some managerial heads were put on the chopping block as sacrificial lambs to appease the thirst of revenge from the consumers and like Jesus on the cross to pay for the sins of the political botched jobbers.

    But what can one expect from an administration when the moronic likes Jester Inch and Stinkliar are in charge of the economic financial decision-making process of a country that has fallen over the last 5 years from international standing once held in high esteem but has been downgraded from being a highly valued borrower to junk bond status of a financial pariah.

    BTW Alvin, my great-grand mother and grandmother did not allow the miller to attend Cawmere instead of Harsun Kolig to allow people like you to rub politically-tainted shit in his intellectual face.


  • William

    Why do you persist in comparing ourselves to Jamaica when the reality of how the two economies reached this stage,its land mass,its productive sectors and population is quite different to Bim.

    St.Kitts despite its size and 60,000 population is an excellent microcosm of our situation and should be used to critique the IMF involvement in small developing countries.


  • The Barbados today article shines spotlight on Mia advantage to having family connections to the fisadvantage of others and how corruption can played an illegal hand in having laws legalised

    Vincent you are such an hole here you go regurgitating the IMF diatribe. St Kitts is presently selling out its people birthright to suffice the International lending agencies only a half brain maniac would do such a disservice to the people to make a bunch of one armed bandits happy


  • There is this deferential mantra about the IMF coming in to Barbados as if they are out of this world as economists. I have said before. That is not the case. The Brettons Woods organisations have a base as far as qualifications and experience are concerned for recruits, after that it is more important which country and region of the world they are from than how bright they are. They seek to be representative.
    So, in essence, their views are no more powerful than any good post-graduate’s.


  • Hal

    Who is spouting this deferential mantra about the IMF?

    Who is extolling the virtues of economists,theirs or others.

    Our present debt situation is dire(local& to a certain extent foreign), achieved due to mismanagement over decades,none of our govts have been able to divorce country from politics……I think we agree so far.

    So do we try for the umpteenth time the failed policies of the duoply or do we look for the cheapest source of funds to deal with our immediate concerns?

    None of the ideas floated here or the MoF are geared to solve our immediate concerns,they are all about medium and long term solutions………but we need to get ourselves out of ducks guts first……tells us how with the least amount of pain possible.


  • Vincent,
    Your memory is not very good. We have made all kinds of recommendations on BU – including some ideas from you. The problem with Barbados is not ideas, but a stubborn finance minister in over his head and an ‘educated’ idiot as prime minister.


  • Hal Austin June 22, 2017 at 10:34 AM #

    Again we agree…..hence we need to force them via the Unions to do something unfortunately the only card they will play is the IMF one albeit late…….we the public need to know in order to plan our future.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Hal Austin June 22, 2017 at 10:34 AM


    Now you are cooking with dry cow dung instead of wet cane trash.

    The problem with Barbados is one of management of the country’s fragile economy.

    Barbados has always been buffeted by economic shocks relying on very few tradable resources to eek out a good standard of living.

    The difference between punching above its weight and going under or sliding like a true banana republic has been its former pool of good nationally focused leaders; not the crap floating on top today.


  • David

    Very bad optics and unnecessary inhibition prior to general elections.

    Its all about the politics not the people…..we have to suffer in order for them to play their games to get re-elected.


  • @Vincent

    Isn’t Barbados a member of the IMF since 70s?

    Has Barbados not accumulated SDR close to 400 million?

    So what is the point of our membership?


  • William Skinner

    “”@ Vincent Haynes June 22, 2017 at 9:04 AM #

    Why do you persist in comparing ourselves to Jamaica when the reality of how the two economies reached this stage,its land mass,its productive sectors and population is quite different to Bim.

    St.Kitts despite its size and 60,000 population is an excellent microcosm of our situation and should be used to critique the IMF involvement in small developing countries.”

    Vincent, I am not comparing Jamaica and Barbados. All I did was draw on an historical reality that is not considerably different form ours. For example inner city crime in Chicago will have some similarities to crime in our city environs: guns, drugs, disregard for life and limb, problems in the school system.
    The root cause is the same. When you look at the demographic and economic structure along with the political system, you will see the same patterns throughout the region.


  • William Skinner June 22, 2017 at 10:51 AM #

    What is this to do with going to the IMF?

    One Jamaican reality that never occurred here was the Seaga led party telling the businessmen to take their money out so that Manley would be starved….the money never came back.

    Note our banks are overflowing with money…..the govt is broke not the country……the populi have no faith in this govt……harsh facts of life.


  • @Vincent

    Just to add context to your comment.

    What we have is a lot of Barbadian dollars NOT foreign currency. What the government is doing is to reduce discretionary and other spend to avoid a pull on dwindling foreign reserves. We have two different issues that of necessity must be comflalted.


  • Sunday June 25th, UPP Candidate for St. Michael East, Paul Forte will hold his first Spot Meeting to discuss with Constituents the many issues facing them along with his proposals for change.

    The meeting will be held at 2nd Avenue Licorish Village, St.Michael. Sunday June 25th, at 5pm – 7pm.


  • St Michael East belongs to Prescod. He is a man of the people.


  • Carson C. Cadogan

    Hal Austin June 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM


    Then why does he not help the poor in that constituency?

    Old houses, poor roads, overflowing wells, shootings, crime infested, hunger,
    He never did anything for the people of that constituency when the BLP was in power as they like to call it and he certainly is not doing anything now.

    Nothing but a nuisance!!!!!!


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