The Jefferson Cumberbatch Column – A Caribbean Tragedy

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

In 1960s Barbados, many looked forward on Friday afternoon to a publication called the “Calypso”. My late mother and I were among them. It was a newspaper that, according to my best recollection, consisted of stories of entertainment and the lighter stuff much like the traditional Friday afternoon newspapers in some regional jurisdictions such as Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

As the Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged some of the regional islands a week or two ago, my mind reverted to a character in the Calypso newspaper that had his own eponymous cartoon, the impressively witty, fashionably dressed (stingy brim, continental pants and all) and unapologetically chauvinist, gap-toothed “Kalypso Kat” and one panel in particular that we read with perhaps more enjoyment than we should have.

“Why,” queries one lady of Kalypso Kat, do they name hurricanes after women only? “Simple”, responds Kat, “that’s because dey dangerous like wunna”

Of course we have progressed to a more equitable distribution of the names of hurricanes since those days and nowadays for every Anna there is a Bernard and, for every Jacques, a Jillian. However, Kat’s mansplaining in that strip of long ago would have seemingly been borne out by the havoc wrought in some of our neighbouring islands by Irma and Maria while Jose eventually dissipated and harmed no one.

I have chosen to title this piece “A Caribbean tragedy” for obvious reasons. After all, the lives lost and the severe and probably irreparable dislocation caused to some in Anguilla, Barbuda, Tortola, Dominica and, for geographical comity, Puerto Rico, by these hurricanes are, indeed a tragedy of significant proportion.

But two other events are also tragic in nature even though neither might have displaced a single roof or directly caused a loss of life or livelihood. These are first, the niggardly and negative response of some individuals in Trinidad & Tobago to the selfless appeal by Dr Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister, for some Dominicans to be accommodated in that country where it was practicable to do so.This negativity was a clear display of selfishness by those responders, but it may go even deeper than it appears at first sight.

Since most of the Dominicans would be presumed to be mainly of one ethnicity and given the similar ethnic identity of the administration extending to them a helping hand in their hour of need, it might have possibly been perceived that some electoral advantage would most likely inure to the Rowley administration if those relocated individuals were ever granted the franchise in Trinidad & Tobago.

This might appear a fantastic deduction to my readers, but one of the cases that we treat in the law of defamation is that of a successful defence of qualified privilege on the basis of self defense of reputation on the part of a Trinidadian Senator who, stung by an imputation of dishonesty applied to members of his own party by a talkshow host, sought to respond in kind and suggested that the publisher of that accusation was himself part of an electoral strategy by Dr Eric Williams to permit the entry of Grenadians such as the publisher himself into Trinidad so that they would vote for Dr Williams party and thus perpetuate his hold on power. The defence of qualified privilege succeeded in the subsequent action for defamation by the talk show host against the Senator. The ratio was that the defendant was entitled to defend himself by a response of similar kind against defamatory imputations made about him. The significance of ethnicity in the Trinidad & Tobago partisan political environment is not to be taken lightly.

The second incident relates also to political partisanship and demonstrates the extent to which this phenomenon dominates the regional discourse in that it might assume eminence in a conversation as to relief for victims of this catastrophic act of nature.I refer to the accusation leveled a couple of days ago against the Prime Minister of Dominica by opposition political forces that the distribution of received aid was being effected along partisan lines.

Perhaps someday one of our political scientists with time on his or her hands will seek to explore the nature if the connection between the gain of political capital and material assistance to victims in times of natural disaster.

Indeed, it seemed for a brief while last week that the identical discussion might even enter our neck of the woods with the accusation that there had been a less than commendable national attempt only to offer relief to those in the ravaged islands, an imputation that would now have been displaced by the sterling work of the nation’s security forces and the use of Barbadian craft to transport both supplies to the islands and some individuals to safety.

The connection is indeed intriguing; an administration that is adjudged to be delinquent in its efforts at rescue and assistance is unlikely to gain favor with an electorate sympathetic to the victims, while one that is liberal with its assistance is more likely to find electoral advantage.One apt title for such a study would be “The Politics of Natural Disasters,” but then, what do I know?

Indeed, to conclude, there are more than a few commentators who credit anecdotally the 1986 entry of former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, into the Lower House as the representative for St Peter to the flood relief accorded to the constituency by the then governing administration during that period.

One issue that concerns me in all this is the seeming helplessness of the region in the face of these hurricanes. I am not aware of any research studies that are being conducted regionally to avert the destruction wrought by them and even the suggestions as to how best to avoid losing the roof of one’s dwelling to the winds of the hurricane, while laudable and important, are still accepting of the theory that the hurricanes will and must come. We speak glibly in the region of the need for research…to isolate the effects of decriminalizing marijuana…to discover the most effective means of gaining reparation for slavery. Doubtless impotent issues. Is there none interested in avoiding or mitigating the incidence of hurricanes and their consequent destruction?


  • @Hants

    Not ignored at all. Like you correctly said the Internet is not as structured as the peer review journal or the tightly regulated websites of some others.



  • When he goes AWOL it means one thing- he is ‘sulking’.


  • Hants October 7, 2017 at 10:27 AM #
    RE most of what I post on BU is ignored



  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Georgie Porgie October 6, 2017 at 7:34 PM
    “quid dixi scripsique, dixi scripsique
    what I hate is important to me whether nobody anybody or who evr care or not
    miller can go to——————you know where
    he can speculate and do as he pleases but
    i.e being sarcastic and complimentary at the same time.”

    But GP, as a ‘real-real’ doctor (unlike Denis Down-Lowe or even Georgie Porgie Braffit) you ought to know that “being sarcastic and complimentary at the same time” is an English disease.

    It’s called “Asteism”: a backhanded (or left-handed) compliment.
    What a ‘flatteringly’ useful word!

    GP, now that we have a common enemy in your friend with the porcine features, why can’t we both bury the hatchet stained with the homophobic blood of Pres. Obama (remember once a president always El Presidente).

    Clearly you know the ancient proverb on statecraft: ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’.

    Can we kiss and make up to fight our common enemy in that empty vessel called Shallow Hal Austin, the porcine runt?

    And you know what they say about empty vessels, no?
    Unless they are ‘genuinely’ inscribed with the hallmark “INRI” they are nothing more than piss-pots.

    Here is a piece of advice offered in a ‘most’ ironic style:
    Stop using Latin to make your point.

    Just use the Queen’s English, for God’s sake will you! We don’t want to upset Hal causing him to blow his top to discharge a blast of hot air all the way from Britannia, now do we?


  • miller
    re you ought to know that “being sarcastic and complimentary at the same time” is an English disease.

    It’s called “Asteism”: a backhanded (or left-handed) compliment.
    What a ‘flatteringly’ useful word!

    between me and you THAT IS SHITE




  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Georgie Porgie October 7, 2017 at 11:16 AM


    And all along I was under the mistaken impression it was that of humans especially those that eat a lot of pork.

    The prodigal son in your book of myths must have had a very hard lesson to learn.

    In any event the Chinese make full use of both as a ready-source of animal manure to grow the food crops and vegetables and to farm their fish for export especially to places like Bim.

    No wonder Bajans are so hooked on Chinese-made food especially the takeaways laced with MSG.


  • As man David….

    Don’t you just admire how Bushie has managed to forge that unlikely (and unholy) alliance between GP and the anunnaki?

    You done know that between the two o dem …. Hal is a dead man blogging…
    ha ha ha

    …looka how Bushie now put two of his bitter enemies …to kill a third one nuh!!!!
    Life is good…!!





  • Bush Tea again. Wishing me dead. Are you an undertaker? Say something sensible for once. This blog provides Jethro Miller PGCE(FE) with his only social outings and you, a grand father, with entertainment..
    Let us talk about those opposing Dominicans settling in Trinidad, or something you know about. Jethro is far too bright for both of us.


  • Hal Austin October 7, 2017 at 2:29 PM #
    Bush Tea again.
    Say something sensible for once.



  • 16 Unanswered Questions About The Las Vegas Shooting That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Talk About
    By Michael Snyder, on October 3rd, 2017

    The public is not being told the truth about what really went down in Las Vegas. As you will see below, the evidence is mounting that there were multiple shooters and that this was an operation that was planned well in advance. But according to the mainstream media, a 64-year-old retired accountant with a flabby physique that had no military training whatsoever and that wasn’t very experienced with guns was able to pull the whole thing off all by himself. We are being told that Paddock was a “lone wolf” that didn’t have any ties to terror groups, and since he is now dead nobody is ever going to be able to interrogate him. But the American people definitely deserve some answers about what took place, and that means that all of us should keep digging.

    The following are 16 unanswered questions about the Las Vegas shooting that the mainstream media does not want to talk about…

    #1 Photos of Stephen Paddock’s hotel room have been leaked, and one of those photos appears to show a suicide note. Why hasn’t the public been told what is in that note?

    #2 Were there additional shooters? A taxi driver clearly captured video of an automatic weapon being fired out of a lower level window. A video from another angle and brief footage captured by Dan Bilzerian also seem to confirm that automatic gunfire was coming from a floor much lower than the 32nd floor room that Stephen Paddock was located on. And if you weren’t convinced by the first three videos, this fourth video should definitely do it.

    #3 Why were law enforcement authorities discussing “another suspect on the fourth floor”, and why isn’t the mainstream media talking about this?

    #4 As Jon Rappoport has pointed out, it would have been impossible for Stephen Paddock to kill and wound 573 people in less than five minutes of shooting with the kinds of weapons that he is alleged to have used. So why won’t law enforcement authorities acknowledge this fact?

    #5 How in the world did Paddock get 42 guns and “several thousand rounds of ammo” into his hotel room without anyone noticing?

    #6 How did someone with “no military background” and that wasn’t a “gun guy at all” operate such advanced weapons? Because what we are being told by the mainstream media just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. I really like how Natural News made this point…

    Far from what the firearms-illiterate media claims, these are not systems that any Joe off the street can just pick up and use to effortlessly mow down 500 people. Running these systems requires extensive training, experience and stamina. It is physically impossible for a guy like Stephen Paddock to operate such a system in the sustained, effective manner that we witnessed, especially when shooting from an elevated position which throws off all the ranging of the weapon system.

    Far from being a Navy Seal, Stephen Paddock is a retired accountant senior citizen with a gambling problem and a flabby physique. The only way he could have carried out this shooting is if he were transformed into a human superweapon through a magic wand. I’m calling this “Mission IMPOSSIBLE” because of the physical impossibility of a retired, untrained senior citizen pulling this off.

    #7 Why was one woman telling people in the crowd that they were all going to die 45 minutes before the attack?

    #8 Why did it take law enforcement authorities 72 minutes to get into Stephen Paddock’s hotel room?

    #9 Why did Paddock wire $100,000 to the Philippines last week?

    #10 Why was Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, in the Philippines when the attack took place? Did she know what was about to happen?

    #11 Was Paddock on antidepressants like so many other mass killers in the past have been?

    #12 Why was ISIS so eager to take responsibility for this attack, and why was the FBI so quick to dismiss that connection?

    #13 Apparently Paddock had earned millions of dollars “through real estate deals”. If he was so wealthy, why would he all of a sudden snap like that?

    #14 Why did he move so frequently? It is being reported that Paddock had 27 different residences during his adult life.

    #15 Why were nearly all of the exits out of the concert venue completely blocked?…

    In essence, the concert trapped the people, preventing them from escaping, and denying them the ability to seek cover. From there, sustained, full-auto gunfire is almost impossible to survive.

    From Fox News, a caller named Russell Bleck, who survived the shooting, said live on air, “There were ten-foot walls blocking us in. We couldn’t escape. It was just a massacre. We had nowhere to go.”

    #16 Why was a country music festival chosen as the target? Was the goal to kill as many Trump supporters and other conservatives as possible? And is there evidence that Stephen Paddock was connected to Antifa in any way?

    At first I thought that this was a fairly straightforward story too, but the more I have dug into it the more complex things have become.

    Personally, I have come to the conclusion that Stephen Paddock definitely did not act alone. That means that the others involved in the shooting are still out there, and they must be brought to justice. Let us never forget what these extremely wicked individuals did to innocent civilians such as 27-year-old Tina Frost…

    A 27-year-old woman has lost her right eye after a bullet ripped through her face during the Las Vegas concert massacre.

    Tina Frost remains in a coma in hospital after undergoing surgery to remove the bullet that became lodged in her eye when a gunman opened fire on the crowd of country music fans on Sunday night.

    Frost, who is originally from Maryland but moved to California several years ago, is expected to remain in the coma for a week.

    Whoever did this is going to pay greatly. Yes, I do believe that Stephen Paddock was involved. But he did not act alone, and the mainstream media is doing the public a great disservice by ignoring all of the evidence that this was not just a “lone wolf” operation.


  • @ Hal
    Who called you Bozie..?? … Your name is David?

    Why don’t you wait until your trough is put ….before you bubble in it…?

    Bushie would waste time wishing you dead….?
    Only the good die young. You will probably see 100 years old…

    …too besides, you have been a ‘blogging dead’ now for YEARS… not much left for Miller and the traitor Porgie to kill off…


  • David

    Do some follow up on this story making the rounds .

    Reliable sources have indicated that Mia Mottley, accompanied by Miller & Prodigirl , left the island on Friday for London.,,,,, to purchase an LEC !

    I would be astounded – if true – that Miller & Prodigirl would be part of such a mission..,,….after steadfastly for the past 2 years declaring that MAM does NOT require an LEC 😇😇😇

    What could have possibly led to this ” Road to Damascus ” EXPERIENCE …,,, if true ????


  • @Vincent

    The point has been well made that the recent tragedy that has seen the destruction of the economies of Anguilla, Dominica, BVI and a few others should bring into focus agriculture. Coming back to Barbados, given the high rainfall we have been experiencing and the single digit sugar production of last season, whither the sugar crop 2018?


  • David

    The political class is as yet not seized of the future potential of the sugar cane industry with its myriad possibilities for this islands longevity.

    We see a number of plantations headed by the CLICO 2000 plus acre plantations under bush waiting presumably to convert them into concrete jungles and rake in short term cash to the overall detriment of the country. Note the longer the lands are under bush the more expensive it becomes to bring them back under cultivation.

    We have the MoAg. complaining that he cannot do anything in his area as the MoF is not releasing funds agreed upon at cabinet level.

    Then we have the CEO of the BAS who is also a member of parliament on the govt side, complaining on a regular basis about how the govt is not doing the correct things by the farmers.

    Do you really think that Ag. has a future in Bim with the present thinking.


  • @Vincent

    We need to learn from the recent tragedy caused by the CAT 5s. What about all those acres of agricultural lands where river tamarind was planted? It shows if we are properly motivated we can mobilize resources to this sector. What a waste!

    On Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 6:27 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:



  • David

    UWI Principal just stated(VoB 4.30 news) at the opening ceremony of the new Agriculture multi-million dollar project on 28 acres at Dukes St.Thomas that this will revolutionise ag. on Bim and the wider Caribbean with great money earning potential.

    ……we await the actual facts in order to do a critique.

    …….why did it take them so long to get it off the ground?

    …….who is in charge of it?


  • @Vincent

    We wait!


  • “The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus will soon be deepening its relationship with China as it embarks on an Agro-Business Project on 28 acres of land at Dukes, St. Thomas.”



  • @ David wrote ” We need to learn from the recent tragedy caused by the CAT 5s.”

    Barbados has had the expertise to grow all the food needed for Bajans.

    There are challenges for farmers the biggest of which is people tiefing crops but that is not an insurmountable problem.

    As long as Bajans have the money to buy cornflakes and chiquita bananas the importation of food will continue.


  • In the 80s both China and Isreal had access to hundreds of Govt. lands all over the island.

    …..The Isrealis tried to teach drip and weed control…still used

    ……The Chinese at the Home,tried mushroom production but poison spores kept invading….dead

    ……The Isrealis outfitted the then new Graeme Hall Min. of Ag, HQ with solar cooling…… it uses electrical A/C.

    I wonder what new techniques that will be taught by them…….UWI been teaching Ag. in T&T as well as here…..will they be phased out…..have a curricula chane…..the mind boggles.

    One wonders why the Min. of Ag. was not heard on it or a govt spokesperson……we await the CBC 7.00pm news.


  • @Hants

    There is another problem. Production cost is high. As it stands, it is cheaper to import than to increase agricultural production. We have to fashion a plan given the structure of our economy.


  • @ David,

    As long as you can pay for imports there is no problem. doan worrybe happy an drink more rum.

    an wen de hurricane mash up….. beg.

    Rest assured Bajans in the diaspora will join the relief agencies and send food , water and money.


  • Barbados will now benefit from the demise of our Caribbean neighbors.

    This coming tourist season is going to be mega. Nuff money to buy canadian bacon and Crown Royal,


  • David

    I posted the UWI Ag. plan to you……it might be time to have another airing of the future of Ag. in Bim……note nothing really new in what was presented all of it dates back to discussions of the 90s and even a similar exercise on 16 acres in the Scotland District.


  • Acknowledged Vincent, will have a look.


  • . after steadfastly for the preceding(a) 2 years declaring that MAM does NOT command an LEC 😇😇😇

    What could feature possibly led to this ” Road to Damascus ” EXPERIENCE …,,, if honest ?


Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s