Another Heather Cole Column – We Need Solutions to We Big Problems

“Babylon system is a vampire sucking the blood of the suffers.”

Bob Marley

A drought causes cracks in the soil exposing what is beneath the surface of the earth. It seems that a 9-year drought in Barbados has exposed every problem that laid dormant in its society. Barbados has a crime problem that if not arrested will make life miserable on its 166 square miles, affecting not only the lives of the persons who live there but also inflicting reputational damage on the tourist industry.

Gun related crime has become a fundamental threat to the rule of law, the conduct of good governance and an imposition on society. The combination of these three elements suggests that gun violence is now normalized in the public domain. If left unchallenged, it is implicit that little Barbados will reach the ranks of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica with their rampant gun related crimes.

Over time both political parties have failed to take the necessary action to reduce gun violence. Their actions were never enough and have fallen short of addressing the source of the problem. However, society on a whole must be willing to go the extra step to eradicate this fraction of crime from the island.

It is not good enough to only have reactionary measures. For decades, we have thrown our own under the bus with excessive punishments when in essence the triggers were really pulled by some persons who live in grand houses far away from the turmoil that they created.

To date gun related crimes that end in murder have reached epic proportions and the entire island is having discussions about this topic. I have listened to the Acting Commissioner of Police, The Attorney General, Members of the Opposition and read statements by the leaders of two of the newly formed Political Parties on this matter. One thing that stands out in my mind is that this storm has created the perfect example of over-analysis of gun related crime in Barbados.

In their analysis, most solutions were to address a symptom of the problem. Very few persons even stopped to consider the real problem. When they did, some did not provide a solution.

We all know that some words can frame a narrative, while some can twist it completely out of context, causing us to lose the true focus of the problem. We also know that personalized narratives are specific and that the interpretation of generalized narratives varies according to who is reading it.

I listened carefully to the narrative of the Acting Commissioner of Police. It was specific but I realized from his statement that there is no holistic approach to solving gun related crime in Barbados. The Acting Commissioner’s focus is clearly on one aspect of the problem as he is now seeking to have dialog with other law enforcement agencies on the matter. It leads one to the conclusion that to date he has been satisfied to fight a battle while a raging war is going on.

In his narrative, the Attorney General was too generalized and not coherent. It was almost as though he was complicit to the crime of importing guns. He blamed the presence of the sea as an enabler to the crime. Then he spoke of addressing the problem of importing guns after the fact. I did not see the rationale for making a customs officers take a lie detector test after he had let the contraband into the island. The concept must be prevention. He did not mention any linkages of the economic deprivation and the growth of poverty as impacting or increasing gun related crime.

In my opinion, the root cause of the problem is the importation of guns. My solution is therefore simple, removing the importers of drugs, the persons who turn a blind eye to the importation or accept bribes, and removing from society the persons who sell the youth a false sense of attainment and recognition.

My solutions to this crisis comprise, an investment in body cameras that all customs officers must wear on duty. All items entering the island through the ports of entry and the post office must be scanned.
In these days of advanced technology, it cannot be too difficult to develop an application to track the movement of vessels in the sea that are possibly bringing in guns and drugs. The coast guard and its patrols need to be enhanced. The police must be empowered to go after people in high places who are known gun and drug importers. We as a people must not elect politicians who are rumored or known to engage in corruption. We must press them to ensure that the laws are implemented.

And what about our youth who are the targets of the importers? It is no revelation that Barbados has failed its youth. It is the end result of breeding discontent and hopelessness for decades. Every time one passes and sees young men liming on the block it is an acknowledgement of a failed education system that only awards academic excellence and throws crumbs or nothing at all to the other abilities.

The most vulnerable are now reaping what we have allowed to be sown. If we are all content to leave things just as they are and only make a public outcry when another person is murdered, we must change our Coat of Arms, removing the word “pride”, because there will be nothing left to be proud of 10 years from now.

As Elombe Mottley recently related to me, we must open community based avenues by which our youth can become recognized and feel a sense of accomplishment through sports, the arts and social activities. We can no longer choose to ignore the drug dealers and gun peddlers who are filling up their heads with a false sense of pride which makes them choose violence and reckless indifference.

In the final analysis, until we acknowledge the real problem, and implement meaningful solutions to deal with the problems as well as the consequences of the problems, we will be fighting a battle but will never win the war.

48 thoughts on “Another Heather Cole Column – We Need Solutions to We Big Problems

  1. This article is certainly a lot closer to the truth than some of the talk from our politicians. Some of the basic things suggested could have a very big impact on the amount of guns and drugs entering the country. Body cameras for customs officers would be a good start. But the unions would battle that one for sure. It is really the politicians that need to act and to make sure that policy and laws are followed. It seems that currently in many cases the buck just doesn’t seem to stop anywhere.

  2. Here is a solution, regional!

    Slow ride

    THE CASH-STRAPPED Transport Board has been paying a Trinidadian consultant $22 000 a month to get 200 defective buses back in operation, the Sunday Sun can reveal.David…

    • What is the role or status of UCAL?

      We need star boy minister Michael Lashley to share with the public the roles Simpson Motors, TransTech and a few others are playing in the rape of the Transport Board.

      What is the state of the finances. Is the Transport Board servicing the NIS loan?

  3. More arm-waving from Heather.

    Many unsupported claims. Blames guns for the evil behaviour of those who misuse them. Blames nearly everyone for the problems of unemployed, “hopeless” youth except the youth themselves, who have all managed to squander at least ten years of free education in order to place themselves “on the street.”

    Note to Heather: Barbados does value all kinds of abilities. Already places a heavy burden on taxpayers and imposes a special levy on employers to fund various alternative education programs. Have you heard of the Vocational Training Board? The Polytechnic? The Community College? BIMAP?

    And then there are the opportunities to emigrate and re-invent yourself in another society. Which Barbadian cannot find a way to move to Canada or even the UK, given the privilege of visa-free travel. Then there is the United States the US (notwithstanding Donald Trump).

    Blame crime on the criminals.

  4. You are wrong to think that ‘the importation of guns’ has anything to do with the problem. Two of the recent murders were with collins’.

    Some time in the 70s as this country entered a non-sugar phase of prosperity it became possible to survive and even thrive without a regular job. Images of professional coral-bead necklace sellers on Accra beach are burned into my childhood brain. The same sellers soon realised that many of their potential customers really wanted weed. The recent case where a tourist (actually a cruise ship employee enjoying a day off) on Accra beach asked an Island Constable where he could ‘score some weed’, was directed by the IC to a beach vendor, then was arrested by the PC standing next to the IC, is typical. The beach vendor was not arrested, he was simply providing a tourism service. The foreigner lost his job and spend days in gaol.

    So now we are in the third generation of ‘fatherless unemployables’. Young people whose father (who doesn’t live home) and his grandfather (who he never knew) have never held a regular job or paid a single cent in tax of NIS but managed to survive anyway in the amazing Caribbean family-support network.

    These people are totally dependant on hustling an income on the beaches or in the streets and marijuana is integral to their lifestyle as entertainment and livelihood.

    So how do we make these people contributory citizens?

    First of all, we need to turn the useless BDF into a centre for national conscription. Anyone 16 – 18 years old not in school or paying NIS should spend two years being taught what their fathers weren’t there to teach them. If they learn nothing more than dress, punctuality and respect for authority the effort would have been a stunning victory. They could leave with three khaki uniforms and a letter of recommendation for employers.

    Secondly, we need to catch all the rest of the hustlers in a different tax system.

  5. I forgot to state the obvious: where there are illegal drugs there are guns. Legalise marijuana, take away the violence from the trade and make more tourists happy.

    • @Bushie

      What is FB saying, isn’t unemployment number listed at about 9% and falling?

      On Sun, Jul 23, 2017 at 12:19 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:


  6. David, people not seeking jobs have never been listed as unemployed. The numbers would be shocking if they were.

    We have no idea of the scale of the ‘fatherless unemployable’ problem.

    • @FB

      Why is the political class depending on if B or D occupies government allowed to pass off these numbers without question by an educated class including media? It is the difference between developed countries like the USA and UK where ‘numbers’ distributed by government are vigorously questioned.

  7. @ Chad, Why do the Common Entrance Exams exist? Are they a prerequisite to attend the Polytechnic, BIMAP or BCC?

  8. Heather

    Why are you against testing and exams?

    Don’t we need basic standards?

    The Common Entrance exams don’t deny opportunity. They sort students according to their various aptitudes. Do you want a complete blockhead occupying a coveted seat at Harrison College? I think not.

    • The issue is not about the exam, it is about how we prepare the children for the exam and based on the results how we stream those children to maximize on their potential.

  9. As Chad implies, testing and sorting of humans happens from the day we are born to the day we die.

    To pretend that not doing it at 11 years old is somehow going to make a child’s life better by delaying the inevitable is ridiculous.

    In years to come plumbers, masons and carpenters will be earning more than computer technicians as the free market deals with skill demands like it deals with all other supply and demand.

    What we should be doing is elevating the polytechnic and other skills-training to UWI standards rather than treating our ‘hands-on’ learners like they are second class students because they can’s regurgitate book-learning in an exam setting.

  10. Shiite man!!
    The way Frustrated is going today, Bushie can hand up the damn whacker yuh!!

    Know what!!
    Bushie taking it in for a service today…..

  11. As I’ve said before on other occasions in this forum, it would be nice if we could take care of all the dunces by providing an unlimited number of apprenticeships and other “learning-by-doing” opportunities for every occupation under the Sun.

    The problem: We are still a poor country with scarce resources. Learning-by-doing is expensive and time-consuming. Classroom instruction — the much-disparaged “book learning” — is cheaper.

  12. “THE CASH-STRAPPED Transport Board has been paying a Trinidadian consultant $22 000 a month to get 200 defective buses back in operation….”

    @ David

    ………….. And the Transport Board cannot pay UCAL.

    The Transport Board prefers to pay Trans Tech Inc. $30,000 to fix a bus transmission, than to pay UCAL $8,000, under circumstances where UCAL still has to fix transmissions that were previously fixed by Trans Tech.

  13. blame the useless negropean ministers for fostering and nurturing the criminal environment in the majority population generation after generation by raping them of opportunities that taxpayers and pensioners worked hard for…

    all these decades of concessions should be divvied up between at least 500 black entrepeneurs and innovative black business people for expansion and job creation for black youths on a yearly basis ….that is the criteria for the money…20 years of concessions, 20 years of job creation, generation after generation…use your brains to create jobs or lose the money….it will create results…

    instead the slaves of parliament have given away hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions and the majority population`s money to a minority class of selfish racists for the last 30 years, who pay slave wages, do not want their employees unionized, hide all their profits outside of Barbados and do not repay NIS loans…

    as if that insult was not enough, any little halfassed white crook or conman/conwoman from US, UK Canada or further afield who claims to have a great idea to rip off taxpayers or pensioners money, are given decades of concessions, pay slave wages, practice racism, dont want unionized workers, hide all their profits outside of the island, pack up and run when their businesses start failing, owing the treasury and NIS hundreds of millions and leaving jobless employees behind, or they just sell their businesses to their foreign counterparts…. and repeat….

    the slaves of parliament refuse to get that they are disenfranching successive generations of blacks, creating an environment for recidivist criminal activities and stagnating any growth in the majority black communities generation after generation…

    the ministers and politicians are the problem, have always been the problem…

    look at the state this government has everything in….giving away money and concessions that belong to the majority people and should be going to the people to drive progress and growth, for 30 years they have done the opposite.

    look at Owen`s St. Peter….no progress.

  14. “David Bartholomew, an engineer who worked with the public transport system in Trinidad, was hired by the Transport Board in March 2016 to undertake the repair of the buses on an initial six-month contract.”

    “Apart from his salary he has been provided with a vehicle, housing accommodation and airfare twice a month back to his homeland.”


    From March 2016 to July 2017 = 17 months @ $22,000 per month = $374,000.00. Then include airfare twice per month, housing accommodation and a vehicle.

    And there has not been an improvement in the quantity of buses available for service per day.

    The DLP yard-fowls will find all types of reasons to defend this shiite.

  15. WW&C

    Do you know that Canadians (most of them racists) hide at least $20 billion or $30 billion of Canadian money right here in Barbados?

    So if some white people are taking money elsewhere, other white people are bringing money in.

    • @Chad

      What is the point you are making. Barbados has a double taxation treaty with Canada and some crumbs fall off the table to support operating cost to manage the funds by locals and?

  16. Why can’t students with differing abilities attend Harrison’s College? Romero Lashley’s video on refocussing the delivery of education in on this blog. It is spot on.

  17. All the issues have been taken care of by Heather, Frustrated Businessman and Chad. What is preventing us from implementing them? Looking for some great leader? Why do we not implement them individually where we are?
    Where there is a supply there is a demand. The solution is twofold eliminate the demand and eliminate the sources and suppliers. If we do not do this we need to ask: ” Who are the beneficiaries?” Then deal with them directly.

  18. “The Barbados Workers’ Union right now is under the control of the Barbados Labour Party. The executive council of the Barbados Workers’ Union is made up mainly of Barbados Labour Party supporters. The NUPW too,” Bobby Morris said as he delivered today’s lecture at the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) headquarters on George Street, as the part of the DLP’s weekly Astor B Watts lunchtime lecture series.”

    The hypocritical Bobby Morris should be ashamed of himself.

    Morris conveniently forgot when both the NUPW and BWU were controlled by the DLP. He forget when he, Frank Walcott, Evelyn Greaves and Leroy Trotman were appointed as minister or senators by DLP administrations.

    Here is a man who is receiving “free money” for the TOKEN position as CARICOM Ambassador, at the expense of Barbadian tax payers.

    You don’t hear Morris on matter pertaining to CARICOM, but he can find the time to give history lectures and lectures at the DLP headquarters.

  19. all these tiefing, rip off consultancies should be banned, the ministers pretend they know what they are doing, prior to being elected, as soon as they are elected….they need a consultant, at taxpayer`s expense, with perks, to tell them what to do,

    if they dont know what to do as elected officials, they should not present themselves as candidates..

    22 thousand dollars month, with house car and trips back home, on taxpayers dime for nearly a year to tell Michael Lashley he needs skilled mechanics to maintain TB`s fleet of buses at all times.

    Lashley is a scamp and fraud and should lose his seat for ripping off taxpayers and being an all round parasite…

    right Carson.

    no wonder the people are weary, they are having the life sucked out of them by negropean parliamentary slaves, deliberately.

  20. David as you know employmenthat stats in accepted analysis run the gamut as FB alludes. In nominal terms they are listed from U1 to U6 with latter building on all the levels before and then supposedly capturing all persons who are even discouraged from seeking work thus not filing any employment requests and those considered under-employed.

    That number is generally larger of course and nary a political incumbent would cite that…they all reference generally the U3 number.

    Recently of course one US candidate broke all norms and offered a 28% – 30% unemployment rate…

    So what is real? It seems to me that even in Bim the data metrics are available but the media, politicians and we the public simply take from them what bests suits us

  21. Heather at 10 : 10 am.

    Simple. The students of higher academic abilities will be disadvantaged and prevented from achieving their highest potential.

  22. Heather

    Have you ever tried to teach a class with students of very different abilities and aptitudes.

    It is pure hell for the teacher, and the results are usually unsatisfactory for all involved.

    You obviously dislike smart people.

  23. Chadster…..first of all, Canada is shutting down that scam, tax evaders will go to prison, it disenfranchises Canadian youth…let`s be fair…

    secondly…..the idiots of parliament should have asked for higher percentages to help tax evaders hide money….they are cheap hoes.

    thirdly…it`s about time the slaves of parliament use their brains, that money comes to easy, let them sweat, the hardest thing they do is tell lies to be elected….look how lazy they have become….look at Michael Lashley.

    the youth in Barbados can see this and feel hopeless……

    instead the slaves of parliament have given away hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions and the majority populations money to a minority class of selfish racists for the last 30 years, who pay slave wages, do not want their employees unionized, hide all their profits outside of Barbados and do not repay NIS loans…

    as if that insult was not enough, any little halfassed white crook or conman/conwoman from US, UK Canada or further afield who claims to have a great idea to rip off taxpayers or pensioners money, are given decades of concessions, pay slave wages, practice racism, dont want unionized workers, hide all their profits outside of the island, pack up and run when their businesses start failing, owing the treasury and NIS hundreds of millions and leaving jobless employees behind, or they just sell their businesses to their foreign counterparts…. and repeat….`

  24. Heather what really is your theory on education?

    Your 10:10 AM remarks re “Why can’t students with differing abilities attend Harrison’s College? ” can be construed many ways particularly as I missed Lashley’s video.

    In simple terms what is wrong with having students who display above average academic ability from being fast tracked differently from those who are not?

    Testing is a function of life and someone will display better skills than another….that does not mean the second or third person will also not succeed in life.

    So what exactly are u saying by suggesting that one school with a reputation and history of having academically strong students should have students of “differing abilities” … Isn’t that what happens now..???

  25. @ David 10 : 26 AM

    We elect governments and pay taxes to do things which cannot be achieved individually.
    Do you know how much would be achieve if some of us became surrogate fathers and mothers to some of the young persons who have delinquent parents? And it costs nothing or very little. A word of advice, a look of disapproval, a hug,or a smile when the child does something great. Yhe personal touch is always preferable than the scial formal and impersonal government agencies.

    • @Bernard

      Does such an approach though worthy effectively plug the holes in the bucket caused by a flawed national strategic policy in this case education? Who is responsible for implementing a national policy that will enable and empower the individuals you point to?

  26. @Bernard, that’s an interesting concept noted @ 10:46 or should I say a ‘very dated’ one.

    I do agree that individual responsibility and guidance can go a long way.

    But this is an era where neighbours absolutely refrain from providing evidence to authorities that can solve crimes for the fear of their lives!

    Admittedly that too is nothing new as there has always been a sense of community silence in the face of whatever was de massa authority….but can one equate this scourge of drug fueled crime and murder on our doorsteps as some equivalent of a hated authority to validate such silence!

    So can we really hark back to a time when a neighbour could scold us or report our shennanigans and expect gratitude from our parents, when now one is liable to get a warm cuss to mind you own business or worst find a bullet coming through the front window!

    Individually we can help and many still do, but the on ground reality is yet very foreboding.

  27. Frustrated

    And that’s why the the amalgamation of the SJPP, BCC and Erdiston into UCB makes a whole lotta sense. We could have created a platform for STEAM education, but the current lot saw it fit to focus on more 6th form schools and renaming schools, leading to fees at UWI.

    • Was it this government that promised to rollout the University of College of Barbados that would have amalgamated the entities you mentioned? What happened?


  28. As Elombe Mottley recently related to me, we must open community based avenues by which our youth can become recognized and feel a sense of accomplishment through sports, the arts and social activities.

    Well said by Elton……This country needs direction,a country plan,a vision to mobilise its populace into action that will result in a sense of self worth,well being.

    The idea of dealing with criminals is by building more prisons is flawed thinking like believing more policing is required to get rid of guns.

    Hemp is a profitable crop and should be legalised in this country and put all of those knowledgeable farmers in Dodds back on the land producing crops.

  29. We should be asking Michael Lashley if the Transport Board buses have any insurance at all..

    We know if CGI insurance insures 500 houses in an area, only 3 has reinsurance and should anything happen, like a disastrous hurricane, only 3 houses are covered and may get pay outs, despite home insurance policyholders paying monthly premiums 497 houses do not have insurance…..same with the cars that are not insured but policyholders pay monthly premiums.

    So….are those transport board buses insured or not, that is what every voter should ask Michael Lashley when he slithers around their houses, pimping for votes….and ask him for proof that the buses are insured, before promising him any vote.

  30. even worse, should read;

    We know if CGI insurance insures 500 houses in an area, only 3 ARE ACTUALLY insured.

  31. i wonder if this could ever make sense to the negropean slaves of parliament.

    was talking about this just this morning, direct all the decades of concessions, contracts and loans inwardly to the majority black population, it`s their money, with the stipulation that jobs are created yearly for black youths….therefore reducing crime…

    self reparations, therefore reducing any need for paper reparations..

    increasing the powers of spiritual accounting for the guilty..

    Bushman..what ya think..will this send the imps of darkness crazy too,

  32. does Fruendel the denier realize that he needs everyone of those votes from the same people he has been betraying to even dream of being reelected…which will never happen given his multiple treacheries and outright lies….to the people.

    `PM speaks out on current impasse
    Added by Kobie Broomes on July 23, 2017.
    Saved under Local News, Politics
    Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has denied all claims that his Government is indifferent to the demands of public officers for pay increases or that he did not respond to the request for a tripartite meeting before tomorrow’s planned march by private sector and trade union members.

    Speaking today at a luncheon of the Democratic Labour Party’s Christ Church West branch, held at Almond Bay Hotel, the Prime Minister made it clear that he would not allow the trade unions to dictate the Government’s fiscal policies.

    “It is not true that there has been no dialogue, it is not true that the Government is indifferent to the demands of public officers for increases . . . it is true that the Prime Minister of Barbados was told to meet or to schedule a meeting in order to avert social unrest which is a coded way of saying if you don’t meet there will be social unrest,” Stuart said.

    The Prime Minister said that even though he held the portfolio for National Security and Defence, he could not deal directly with any social unrest.

    “The phrase social unrest can only mean one thing, creating a situation where the society is thrown into chaos. I have said it is a matter for the Royal Barbados Police Force . . . if we get to that stage,” he said.

    Stuart added that he would be a traitor to let unelected officials determine how Government runs the country.

    “I would be a traitor to those who fought for universal adult suffrage,” Stuart said of “elements that have not faced the electorate but who want final decisions on Barbados’ policies and Barbados’ future to reside with them and them alone”.

  33. Heather
    I was not aware that there was a group called the network of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women(RMAAD) which was formed some 25 years ago in the Dominican Republic.The grouping meets in Montevideo next Tuesday to celebrate and review its work and achievements.Is Barbados a member?The theme that poverty has a face and a colour is so true for the black man and particularly the black woman

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