The Caswell Franklyn Column – Trade Unions Accepting Bribes/Concessions from Government

While addressing the last annual general conference of her union, the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Toni Moore, complained about what she saw as union busting tactics being employed by Cost-U-Less. She sought to connect the granting of duty free concessions by Government as the reason why that company felt “empowered” to engage in such tactics.

To be honest, that reasoning escaped me but somehow it was sufficient to bring down the ire of the Honourable Chris Sinckler, on her. And in a nonsensical retort, while addressing his party faithful he claimed that it was logical to conclude that since Government has given the General Secretary and the BWU tax concessions on a Mercedes Benz, Ms Moore felt empowered to be bashing Government.

If that is the quality of the reasoning of the person who holds the portfolio of Minister of Finance, it is no wonder that the country is in such dire straits. The General Secretary has raised an issue that impinges on the constitutional rights of workers. Any half decent minister of the Crown would have been grateful for that information and join her in an effort to protect the dignity of the workers of this country, whom he is sworn to serve. What has made this minister so cocky that he can make light and be so disrespectful of the genuine concerns of the people whose votes he would be seeking in the upcoming elections.

Even though his behaviour is below that expected of a senior political figure, he has drawn attention to two issues, tax concessions and union busting. They are too serious to be sidestepped by the dismissive twattle of a government minister, who is more interested in providing comic relief for party members, at a branch meeting, than dealing with fundamental workers’ rights issues.

Union busting has become so pervasive, especially during this prolonged recession and the authorities have failed to adequately deal with the problem for the sake of maintaining jobs. Ms Moore has correctly stated that people are losing jobs because they have committed the cardinal sin of becoming union members.

In accordance with section 40A of the Trade Union Act, it is a crime to dismiss a worker because he has become a member of a trade union. However, in my experience, the police were not aware that it constitutes a criminal offence. Unfortunately, when such a matter is reported to police, they do not take it seriously and no action is taken against the offending employer.

In an attempt to put the General Secretary on the back foot, the minister revealed that BWU had benefited from tax concessions on a Mercedes Benz. However, in my opinion, while trying to embarrass Ms Moore, the minister effectively shot himself in the foot. He must now explain the basis for granting tax concessions on high end vehicles for the two major unions.

Before I go further, I must make it clear that I am not accusing any trade unionists of wrongdoing, by accepting charity from employers. But to me, as the Americans would say, the optics are bad.

If you were to hire a lawyer to represent you in a matter, and thereafter, discover that your representative was taking undisclosed gifts from your opponent. How would you feel? Now pray tell me, how is that different for trade unions to take undisclosed concessions/gifts from the employer, especially when the law requires disclosure.

In accordance with the Duties, Taxes and Other Payments (Exemption) Act, the Minister of Finance may, by order, exempt any person, business or undertaking from the payment of any duty, tax or other money. However, section 4 of that act provides that any such order is subject to negative resolution.

Section 41.(2) of the Interpretation Act explains, when a statutory instrument is subject to negative resolution, it must be laid in Parliament for forty days, and during that period, either house can by resolution vote to annul the instrument. Any such order must also be published in the Official Gazette.

I have made a diligent search and can find no evidence that any such order was ever published. I am therefore asking the honourable minister, when did he comply with the law, in relation to granting tax concessions on motor vehicles for the leaders of major trade unions? And if he had not done so, why the secrecy?

Champagne taste and mauby pockets have brought trade unions into disrepute.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Fractured BLP October 9, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    So you like to compare Buybadus with Trinidad (a country that practically owns the commercial body of the same) when it suits your politically-tainted convenience?

    So why not carry the comparison to its illogical conclusion and tell us if the former T&T CLICO policyholders were able to get some compensation but Bajans can only rely on fair-weather promises made since December 2012 and being fed like turkeys for Xmas in 2017?

    We can bet on it that the Trinidadian taxpayers have been receiving their tax refunds (their own money made available to government as a short-term loan) since 2013.

    You will soon eschewing such a comparison when the corporation called Buybadus is forced to devalue its Mickey mouse dollar to bring it in line with its ‘parent’ owner.


  • Prodigirl

    You can bray as much as you like !

    Three nil in yuh a$$ !

    2008 , 2013 & 2018 …..!

    You don’t have an LEC !

    You doubt me …..ask Edmund Hinkson !!

    George Payne is a THIEF…..ask Edmund Hinkson…..!!!

    Mia Mottley is a CROOK…..ask George Payne !!!

    Mia Mottley is a DESPOT…..ask Owen Arthur !!!!

    Mia Mottley is a SERPENT in white ……..ask Maria Goddard !!!!!

    Look 👀 at the calibre of candidates you bringing to the Barbadian electorate !!!!!

    And talking bout BLP…….. unity ???

    Away with your CRAP 💩


  • Miller

    Go back to the sewer !!

    You have been preaching…..DEVALUATION of the. Barbadian dollar 💵 since you join BU !!!

    You have been preaching …..that the DLP govt would be a one term government by January 16, 2008 !!

    Don’t mess wid we ‘ New Dems ‘ we ain’t easy …,,.we does tax yuh tail till yuh pay we – wha yuh owe ??!!


  • Maria Agard


  • Do you think people want to hear this drivel at this time?


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    “Well, Well and a whole host of bloggers who have to defend a party. Should these people be labelled bribe takers or simply party lovers?”

    TMY…..please post the evidence where you have ever seen me defend any party in Barbados, Canada or US….particularly Barbados…everybody gets a piece of my mind….I love no party, never accepted anything that was not due to me from any government foreign or local or ministers or politicians. ….never bribed anyone to do their jobs.

    ,…I do not see the appeal of or aspire to become a yardfowl…it’s way below my intelligence level..

    If you or whoever now have a sudden attack of conscience or fright and are waiting to see me back any political party, ministers or candidates….while knowing all the corrupt players and the criminals in the minority population who bribe them…yall got a long wait.

    What I am patiently waiting for is to expose a current matter in the supreme court…and knowing their track record of being greedy and can’t help being dirty, I just might get the opportunity. …….that will serve the purpose of exposing all the nasty players in both political parties who like to take bribes from, be owned by and are slaves to the little nasty indian criminals like Katuppa-Harris who is destroying Barbados…with their guns and drugs, human trafficking and money laundering…..

    ….so ya better dont be within splashing distance when I start.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    “that PM Stuart & Finance Minister Chris Sinckler does not govern Trinidad.”

    Since when do you govern someone that you allowed to own you…

    Yall can’t even control the minority criminals in Barbados….or lock them up, they do as they like….

    ….instead ya join them in destroying the country like the useless black cowards and wusses that ya are, always have been ….and always will be.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Fractured BLP October 9, 2017 at 1:45 PM
    You can bray as much as you like !
    Three nil in yuh a$$ !
    2008 , 2013 & 2018 …..!”

    Wouldn’t that then be even steven as in1994, 1998 & 2003?

    The only difference is that in 2018 Buybadus will be a junkyard of an economic basket case with Haiti its running mate.

    Well, if the multiplier effects on prices due to the NSRL and the 2% commission on forex purchases are not significant devaluations of the purchasing power of the Bajan dollar then Mia Mottley has an LEC (London Education Certificate if you can grasp the pique of sarcasm as a play on your ignorance) and Stinkliar has a PhD in econometrics.

    It is not only the sewer rat miller you should be cursing but (as you put it) those lying slimy rating agencies and other lending institutions which have been expressing similar concerns and will soon be doing something about it come December as your much deserved Xmas gift.

    But as the saying goes: it takes one sartorially-black sewer rat called Steve from the cesspool on George Street to know a ‘boar’ cat from BU chasing poor Steve around a dark ‘broken-down’ cabinet full of blind monkeys.


  • Oh Well, Well, you tink ah wud label u as a briber. I was showing Caswell that if within a democratic system someone use transparency and give you duty free to Tom, Dick and Harry…..Why would he state it is a bribe. What I would call a bribe is when any minister from any of the political parties who strike a deal with a massive contract costing tens of millions and an envelope is past with ah million. Some would call it commission, some will call it productivity bonus, some will call it a golden handshake, someone call it going beyond they duty, some will call it pay back time and we the taxpayers will call it bribery.

    However, the nameless characters I mentioned will call a spade a spade and might be unfortunately labelled. We all know the real party dumberts. who will forsake family and principle for party.


  • The bottomline in this case is that the waiver of the duty is at the discretion of the MoF. It is not a standard offer.


  • Where there is smoke, there is fire.

    With all of the talk we are constantly hearing about kickbacks and overpriced contracts if the BLP does not appoint a type of a “Special Counsel” to go after what tok place with these major contracts, they will be forever damned as six of one half dozen of the next.

    These dems’ behaviour in office have tainted Barbadians opinions of politicians forever.

    Go to a cocktail reception and all you hear is who get what bribe. It is appalling. I was at a function recently and heard of a demand for a bribe of one million each for four people.

    Their lackies are screwing the taxpayers royally, feeding largely at the trough…………any price they pull from their head is paid. Just look at the Caves’ contract, the BWA contract, and lawyers associated with the party are getting million dollars per legal matter. There are two names one hears all the time.

    We hear of contracts now negotiated in the US and the kickbacks are left overseas.

    Woe is we and as Bushie says our arse is grass.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    “some will call it pay back time and we the taxpayers will call it bribery.”

    That is why it’s their names knocking around on the blogs and being shared across each coast as corrupt and not those who are not involved in their criminal activities..

    Up to this point, none of them are acting as though what their are doing is criminal and illegal, they are all waiting for people to forget the Weare murder to start up again, especially at those ports of entry….they know bajans got short memories for certain things.

    But I am just waiting for that filthy one that believes the supreme court is his because he bribed the former CJ for years.


  • Hi David

    Update your General Elections countdown clock.

    It is not 4 more months to Election Day !

    Miller & Prodigirl would be glad to know that date for the next general election in Barbados 🇧🇧 will be Tuesday May 22, 2018.

    Now remember fellas I trashed you on February 21 , 2013 , last time out de gates !!!

    Now I have chosen another date ……22 this time ‘!!!!!!

    Dems NOW……Dems AGAIN ‘!!!!!!


  • Wake up, folks,

    Every official in the Caribbean can be bribed. Bribes belong to the Deep South, like sauce and cheese to Pizza.

    If you would like to change the course, very drastic measures need to be implemented.


  • @Caswell

    BU understand that James Paul and Henderson Williams have taken a tight grip at COB.


  • David

    That is not how I see it, Henderson Williams and James Paul among others have taken steps to protect COB from misguided members who would destroy the credit union if they can’t control it. This misguided group assisted by their incompetent friends at the financial Services Commission were trying to take over COB. Williams and Paul led the group that literally saved COB.

    I know they are Dems but despite the mismanagement being visited upon the country by their colleagues, those two have gone against the grain and made a positive difference at COB without any fanfare.

    Sent from my iPad


  • Caswell all of our entities in civil society appear to be under the grip of members of the political class. What does it say about civil society in general? The politician has one master, one agenda. Do not now what useful purpose it serves for politicians to be controlling the second largest credit union in Barbados. Before then there was Lynette Holder. Just the other day were you not highly critical of Paul for his ‘activity’ while on the Board?


  • David

    I frequently complain about politicians infiltrating every NGO, from trade unions to PTAs. That said, however, you asked me about what I understood to be the current position of COB with Henderson Williams and James Paul serving as President and Secretary respectively. I tried to be fair in my response and indicated that their “firm grip” served the best interests of COB at this time.

    You are correct when you stated that I was openly critical of James Paul in the past. As a result, he was not re-elected to the Board of Directors or Credit Committee. Five years after that, he offered himself to the members and was elected to the Board. The members re-elected him after that five year period so who am I to question that? This time around his actions helped to save COB, politician or not.

    Sent from my iPad


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