Saving Barbados Through Local Government

Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

Barbados is in a state of crisis,and what is now required to effect a rescue of our country is a massive injection of accountability and people participation in our system of national governance .

In my opinion, the best– and perhaps the only – way to achieve this is to establish a serious and meaningful system of community-based Local Government that would enable ordinary citizens to exercise some control over the ship of state and to contribute desperately needed creativity, intelligence and energy to the administration of the country’s public affairs.

And please don’t tell me about the currently existing system of so-called Constituency Councils, for that is a sham ! It is nothing more than an unelected partisan appendage of the currently ruling Democratic Labour Party administration, and is beholden to the Government Minister who ultimately sanctions the selection of all of the so-called councillors. Indeed, this institution is so useless that the only thing it is known for is the staging of the annual David Thompson Memorial Football Competition.

 

No, I am talking about a serious system of local community-based governance that is based on the principle of elections; that is autonomous and not subject to the diktat of any government Minister; and that is given a mandate to carry out substantial and critical public functions.

Such a system of Local Government could be structured around the currently existing thirty (30) political constituencies, with the residents of each Polling District in a constituency being permitted to vote for and elect two representatives of their Polling District to sit on the Local Government Council of their constituency.

All Polling District candidates would be individuals who are resident in the Polling District, and they should be required to contest the election as individuals and NOT as representatives of any political party or other institution. Furthermore, no electioneering should be permitted in Polling District elections other than having the Electoral and Boundaries Commission publish the CVs of each candidate, and each candidate being permitted to address their fellow residents at a Town Hall meeting convened by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission. And, very importantly– all elected Councillors will serve on a totally voluntary basis.

 

This type of electoral exercise would produce thirty (30) Local Government Councils composed of some twenty (20) members each, thereby constituting an overall pool of six hundred (600) Local Government councillors. In addition, each Local Government Council would elect its own presiding officers– Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer– and will meet regularly as a Council in order to make decisions about and coordinate the constituency-based work of the Local Government Council.

 

 

 

In addition, the thirty Council chair-persons would also regularly meet together in a Chairpersons’ Caucus under a revolving Chairmanship, to make decisions about and coordinate the NATIONAL duties of the pool of six hundred (600) Councillors.

And since this Local Government system will be taking over some of the functions that are currently performed by the central Government, our Parliament would include an annual financial allocation in the Government’s annual Budget to be divided equally among the thirty Local Government Councils – financial allocations that would be audited every year by the Auditor General. (Parliament could also free up additional funds by curtailing the currently existing practice of Government annually giving money to the MPs of the two traditional political parties to pay the salaries of their constituency secretaries.)

Each Local Government Council would be required to establish a modest office in the geographical area of the constituency that it represents, and to have attached to it (perhaps on secondment from central Government) a full time professional Social Worker.

Each Local Government Council would perform the following functions or services for the people of their communities :-

1. POLICING OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

 

 

 

The pool of six hundred (600) Local Government Councillors will be available to carry out a number of national duties, including — for want of a better word– the “policing” of several important government agencies.

 

There are many government agencies that are supposed to be serving the Barbadian public, but which are falling far short in their performance. Prime examples would be the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (patients dying due to negligence and equipment failure) and the Barbados Water Authority (a major sewage crisis on the south coast of the island). The existence of some 600 Local Government Councillors would make it possible to set up a number of “Oversight or Public Accountability Committees” to investigate and “police” the public service operations of all Government agencies that interact with and provide critical services to the public. For example, the members of a QEH Oversight or Public Accountability Committee would be given the right (by appropriate legally binding regulations) to walk into and inspect any department of the QEH; to receive complaints from the public; and to hold meetings with the QEH Board in order to have discussions about the problems and to suggest and demand accountability and remedies . Similar Oversight or Public Accountability Committees would police the Transport Board, the National Housing Corporation, the Barbados Water Authority, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Welfare Department, the Government Polyclinics, and the list goes on.

2. OFFICE OF CONTRACTOR GENERAL

 

Yet another critical area of national life that Local Government Councillors could usefully help to police is the awarding of government contracts. At present, individual government Ministers play key, and even determining, roles in the awarding of contracts pertaining to their Ministries, and as a result, the system is vulnerable to rampant corruption. The solution is to establish a centralized, insulated, and autonomous “Office of Contractor General” to deal with the awarding of all major government contracts, and to permit representatives of the Local Government system (in their capacity as the eyes, ears and conscience of the people) to exercise an oversight role in relation to any such newly created Office. The ultimate role of the Councillors will be to ensure that every precious dollar of the taxpayers’ money is properly accounted for!

 

3. COMMUNITY   WELLBEING TEAMS

 

It would be the duty of each Local Government Council to ensure that troubled or deprived children, and the elderly, needy, and disabled residents of their Council area are all properly looked after, and that no-one is permitted to fall through the proverbial cracks. Thus, a Community Wellbeing Team – organized and led by the professional Social Worker assigned to the Council–  would be established to check on , and to procure and provide assistance for such ‘at risk’ residents. Indeed, Councils–with the assistance of their Social Workers– will liaise with such agencies as the National Assistance Board, the Welfare Department, the Division of Youth Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the National Disabilities Unit, the Department of Emergency Management , BARP, and local churches to ensure that no-one is neglected. Furthermore, Councils will pay special attention to the wellbeing of elderly residents who are in need of care-giver services, and will organize training for persons who are willing to undertake care-giver duties for elderly members of their family.

4. SANITATION / ROADS

 

Where there are emergency cases of garbage pile-ups, excessive overgrown bush, or potholes in the minor roads of the Constituency, the Council will not have to wait on and beg the Sanitation Service Authority, the National Conservation Commission, or the Ministry of Transport and Works. Instead, the Council will be able to respond immediately and independently by contracting a community-based service provider and his or her local community-based workers to clear away the health hazard or to carry out limited patching of the road. In addition, the Council would be mandated to engage in general environmental and anti-littering campaigns in the communities that make up the Council area, as well as to undertake responsibility– in collaboration with the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) — for clean up and repair operations that may be required in the wake of hurricane and storm systems.

5. EDUCATION

 

The Ministry of Education would be required to consult with the Local Government Council on the appointment of Boards of Management of all government schools within the Council area, and to permit at least one Councillor to sit on each school Board . A much closer relationship between schools and the communities in which they are located will emerge as a result of this.

6. WELFARE

The Local Government Council will supplement the work of the central Government Welfare Department  by administering an “Emergency Local Welfare Fund” for residents of the Council area, as well as for students attending schools within the Council area.

7. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND SPORTS

 

Local Government Councils will assume responsibility for establishing Boards of Management of the Community Centres (and community playing fields) within the Council area, and – in collaboration with the National Sports Council and the Community Development Department– for establishing and overseeing community development and sports programmes .

8. VENDORS’ LICENCES

 

Local Government Councils would also be responsible for the granting of vendor’s licenses within the Council area, and for identifying locations where Wayside Vendors would be permitted to operate.

9. COMMUNITY FORUM

 

Provision will be made in the Rules or Standing Orders of  Parliament obligating both the House of Assembly and the Senate to give consideration to all recommendations made to them by Local Government Councils in relation to all parliamentary Bills. And the Local Government Councils, in turn, would be required to hold regular public Community Forums where the residents of the Council area will meet under the auspices of their Local Government Council, to discuss parliamentary Bills and any other relevant aspects of the public affairs of the country.

10. PLANNING PERMISSION

 

The Town and Country Planning Department and the Ministry of Economic Affairs would be required to consult with the Local Government Council before deciding whether to approve applications for major construction or other development projects within the Council area. In addition, Councils would be expected to play an important role in the putting together of Government’s development plans and annual budgets by advising the various Ministries and government departments as to the needs of their Council areas for such things as roads, housing, health clinics, jobs, and sporting / recreational facilities.

If implemented, this system of Local Government would bring thousands of new citizens into public life and would be a training ground for future national leaders. It would also renew and reinvigorate the civic life and spirit of our country , eradicate corruption, and help to raise standards throughout the Public Sector.

And most importantly, it would create a state of affairs in which responsibility for the public affairs of Barbados– responsibility for the failures and the successes– would reside not with a mere thirty Members of Parliament, but with the entire body of citizens!

Maybe, just maybe, we can still save Barbados through a system of Local Community-based Government. It is certainly worth a try.

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52 Comments on “Saving Barbados Through Local Government”

  1. Bernard Codrington January 27, 2018 at 10:57 AM #

    Barbados is already a micro-country with several layers of bureaucracy already. With a population of 280000 persons and modern means of communications in a densely populated area, no politician can claim that he does not know the concerns of the populace. We are really catching at straws to find quick fixes to simple problems. It is greed and fear that is driving the apparent discomfiture . We need to own them and work on them.

    In any case why do we expect the world to behave as divined by our limited understanding. We need a big dose of humility among those who consider themselves leaders.

    Like

  2. Wily Coyote January 27, 2018 at 10:57 AM #

    More corrupt burecracy weighing heavy on the taxpayers pocket. Anyone that thinks more burecracy will solve BARBADOS problems is monkey feed, ie: NUTS.

    Author has to come up with more creditable ideas than this if he wants to be taken seriously.

    Like

  3. David Comissiong January 27, 2018 at 11:34 AM #

    Bernard, I am not purporting to hand down some edict from on high. Rather, this is a proposal from a small group of citizens for consideration by our fellow citizens.

    Wily Coyote, we are not proposing any heavy bureaucratic approach here. We are proposing a totally voluntary system– other than the paid professional SOCIAL WORKER that would be assigned to every Council to assist with its on the ground community work. Please read the proposal with an open mind.

    Like

  4. Theophilius Gazerts 259 January 27, 2018 at 12:02 PM #

    Mr Comissiong, I gotta a lotta respeck for you so don’t tek me wrong. I hungry and not too bright so I can’t read too long.. I gotta ask
    1) If I spending my time on this thing, do I get paid? I gotta eat
    2) If there is no payment then you have discounted a large number of Bajans
    3) Do we get to keep the 30 jokers or does this system eliminates them

    I try to get my head round these things, but the poor head does let me down

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  5. Bernard Codrington January 27, 2018 at 12:25 PM #

    @ David C at 11:34 AM

    I suggest that you take your advice and reread your proposals with an open mind. And while you are doing so ask yourself these questions:

    1) Are these services being provided by GOB agencies already?

    2 ) What hidden costs will they incur for the taxpayer in terms of material and personnel?

    3)Do these volunteers work ?
    If they are working ,surely their substantive employers are paying for this volunteer service.

    4) If a service is voluntary how can the taxpayer insist on accountability?
    Right now the taxpayer is being ignored. Are the volunteers genetically modified? Why will they behave differently?

    Just responding to your open mind requests.

    Like

  6. Dr. Simple Simon January 27, 2018 at 12:54 PM #

    Idealistic, but…

    I’ll just comment on this one:

    “Where there are emergency cases of garbage pile-ups, excessive overgrown bush, or potholes in the minor roads of the Constituency, the Council will not have to wait on and beg the Sanitation Service Authority, the National Conservation Commission, or the Ministry of Transport and Works. Instead, the Council will be able to respond immediately and independently by contracting a community-based service provider and his or her local community-based workers to clear away the health hazard or to carry out limited patching of the road”

    We are ALREADY PAYING Sanitation Service Authority, the National Conservation Commission, and the Ministry of Transport and Works to carry out the described tasks. WHY do we have to pay, and then beg? And if we can’t get PAID workers to carry out their assigned tasks, where are we going to find these magical workers who will WILLINGLY AND FREELY do those tasks which PAID employees REFUSE to do?

    I am just a Simple Simon, but I think that if workers fail to do, or refuse to do their assigned tasks then we should FIRE them, and the sooner the better. When we tolerate foolishness what do we expect to get but more of the same foolishness.

    Not one of us tolerates a worker at our homes not working, why do government employees get away with this foolishness?

    Because their supervisors/management lets them.

    I can tell you of a time I went to a government agency and the manager, a heavy drinker, was busy drinking rum with “his boys”, mostly political hires from his village/district, and no it was not lunch time…and in any event employees should be forbidden to use alcohol and other narcotics during working hours.

    Slack management/slack workers.

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  7. John January 27, 2018 at 1:45 PM #

    How did Local Government work before it was ended in the 50’s/60’s?

    Is there anything to be learnt from that experience?

    Do we need to reinvent the wheel?

    Like

  8. David Comissiong January 27, 2018 at 1:52 PM #

    The Councilors will be public spirited citizens who are prepared to volunteer their time , energy and intelligence, just like the public spirited citizens who give of themselves to their churches and service clubs.

    However, each Council will be voted an annual sum of money which will be under the control of the Council, and which they will expend in carrying out their year-long programme. It will be up to the Council to decide how they spend the financial resources annually– once the expenditure is within the stipulated mandate.

    Since the Councils will be stepping in and quickly and efficiently carrying out some work in their community that central government would otherwise have to carry out, it means the burden on central government is lessened, and hence some of the financial resources that would otherwise have gone to the relevant central government agency could be diverted to the Local Government Councils.

    An example would be the current multiplicity of pot-holes in the MINOR roads of communities all across Barbados. The longer these pot-holes remain unrepaired, the worse they become. We would not recommend Councils touching the major roads of our Country (that should be left to MTW) but surely once small pot-holes begin to appear in minor community roads, the Council can step in and quickly effect minor repairs– utilizing financial resources voted to the Council annually.

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  9. David Comissiong January 27, 2018 at 2:01 PM #

    Folks, we have to find a way to turn Barbados around and get it on the right (and righteous) path. It is in that spirit, and with that objective in mind, that all of us have a duty to advance and constructively critique ideas.

    Like

  10. A Bajan January 27, 2018 at 2:24 PM #

    While I disagree with Mr. Commissong I must applaud him for bringing ideas to the table – I genuinely believe he is a patriot and has the best interest of the country at heart.

    Barbados actually needs less government and not more. I am a Barbadian who lives abroad in a country which actually has no postmen believe or not – as a Barbadian I could not fathom the thought initially. But what I have seen actually work is that the society where I live is highly efficient with Government having a minimal role in the society. They provide security via the police, healthcare to those who can’t affford although health insurance is mandatory, education, infrastructure and regulation only where necessary. The economy is private sector led, there is a high rate of entrepreneurship. This is what Barbados, less government and more empowerment of our people – it is time to let the people be “masters of their own fate.”

    Like

  11. John January 27, 2018 at 2:31 PM #

    There is something that has gone fundamentally wrong with the thinking of Bajans to the point where many are unrecognizable as Bajans.

    From a quick google of local government in Barbados it looks like there was a report on local government done back in the 40’s/50’s.

    I get the impression he was saying that it made no sense having 11 separate vestry systems, it was a waste of resources.

    Whatever he said, local government did work for centuries.

    It looks as though each parish raised its own funds through taxes.

    I have a 1911 receipt my Great Grand Mother got for paying parochial taxes – land taxes.

    I also have a 1908 receipt for Police and Highway taxes.

    It makes sense to move away from that system of government because it is inefficient.

    What is missing today is the contribution the agricultural economy made to the appearance of Barbados as a garden.

    Something went very wrong when government was consolidated.

    It is almost as though people stopped thinking.

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  12. John January 27, 2018 at 2:36 PM #

    Somehow, people need to change their way of thinking …. maybe a few good people is all that is needed to set an example to follow.

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  13. Hal Austin January 27, 2018 at 2:36 PM #

    We cannot talk about local government without mentioning Ernest Deighton Mottley and the animosity which led Barrow to dissolving the institutions. We must also mention the flawed introduction of undemocratic constituency councils, which are meaningless and should be got rid of.
    We need more democracy and local councils should have responsibility for schools within their areas, street lighting, social services, street cleaning and repairs, and other services nearer to the users.
    Local government must be about decentralisation.

    Like

  14. David Comissiong January 27, 2018 at 2:47 PM #

    Dear “A Bajan”, whilst I do not support your vision of a Barbadian society in which Government is reduced to the minimalist “watchman state”, I do believe that People Empowerment and Participation is the key to our condition of crisis. I firmly believe that– blessed as we are with a society as small, compact, cohesive and organized as Barbados is– we have not nearly begun to explore our potential for direct, people participatory governance.

    A careful reading of our Proposal will reveal that what we are proposing is all about people empowerment and participation, and the exercise of accountability in relation to the agencies of central government by the mass of ordinary citizens.

    Like

  15. A Bajan January 27, 2018 at 2:59 PM #

    @David Commissong. Does empowerment not mean let people decide and find their own way? What is more empowering than crafting ones own faith by grit, hard work and innovation. Successive governments have shown they are prone to corruption, and vulnerability to special interests, and promotion of self interest for the purpose of maintaining power.

    There is also the math of it all. Large governments whether centrally or local require funding from private citizenry and the private sector. Basic economics is that large governments crowd out other elements of society.

    And unfortunately our fiscal position cannot carry it any more.

    Like

  16. Bernard Codrington January 27, 2018 at 5:21 PM #

    Governments by definition are not corrupt. It is the individual, who ,whether he is in central government , local government or privately occupied , corrupts the system : and he should be ostracized / constrained.

    Like

  17. 45govt January 28, 2018 at 4:06 AM #

    I(t is always amusing to hear the ‘ideas’ of someone who has never held a real world job.

    Like

  18. whiteHill January 28, 2018 at 6:52 AM #

    Must we constantly nit pick every RH idea or suggestion put forth at this time. We are in deep shit here in Barbados which has been brought about by both political parties, this occurred because we as citizens entrusted for too long our destiny to a few elected persons who don’t have our best interest at heart. We need to shake this sloth and somehow finds ways and means to play an active and meaningful role in the governance of our lives beside marking an X every five or so years. Sitting on our asses and taking pot shots at every person or idea will not see us out of the clutches of those who only want to get rich quickly. No one is gonna help us but ourselves…The revolution is not gonna be televised and wine is not made from water anymore.

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  19. John January 28, 2018 at 7:29 AM #

    I like action … doers.

    One day perhaps we will wake up and decide the potholes around where we live need fixing and the garbage needs moving and we will get up and do it.

    Too much governing is a bad thing.

    Like

  20. Bush Tea January 28, 2018 at 7:49 AM #

    Thank you David C
    At least there is one Bajan with some clear vision, and who is not a hopeless brass bowl.
    Good luck trying to convince the dead about life.

    There is no more difficult job than trying to convince a poor, hopeless, brass bowl
    …that what he has been doing is fundamentally flawed……

    Like

  21. Fractured BLP January 28, 2018 at 8:27 AM #

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20180127/news/8000-potholes-in-need-of-repairs

    Hi folks

    Reading the link above we cannot help but admitting that Barbados 🇧🇧 is not alone .

    Congrats to His Majesty King 👑 Freundel Jerome Stuart and his team for strenuously addressing Barbados’ own.

    And we don’t have the abundance of resources like our neighbor.

    Like

  22. David January 28, 2018 at 8:34 AM #

    So you are saying that Barbados is NOT the model Black Country that it use to be. You are happy to cite Trinidad has the benchmark, a country where its citizens flooded Barbados in the 70s and 80s to shop, visit, live etc.

    #JA

    Like

  23. Talking Loud Saying Nothing January 28, 2018 at 8:36 AM #

    Mr David Comissiong you have made some excellent proposals. Barbados should be a paradise with her small and homogeneous population. That it is not, is due to the fact that her citizens have allowed their politicians to run amok. The country has been mismanaged.

    What holds Barbados back is its slave legacy.

    @John,

    I have to agree with many of your points. Barbados was both a beautiful and a well organised country when your ancestors had the whip hand. Since then we have had numerous philistine black governments who have destroyed the current Barbados. However, you will have to admit that Barbados heydays were built on the back of my enslaved ancestors.

    How can we restore this country? That is the question.

    Mr Comissiong is on the right path but alas the Bajan population irrespective of their racial origins are a narrow-minded people. I have travelled a great deal and can assure you that Barbados compares unfavourably to so many countries that i have visited.

    Like

  24. David January 28, 2018 at 8:38 AM #

    @Talking Loud

    He needs help.

    Like

  25. Talking Loud Saying Nothing January 28, 2018 at 8:56 AM #

    @ David,

    The UK black diaspora could bring real change to Barbados if only they were accepted. But they are seen as being irritants and at worse mad in their ancestor’s country.

    I see in David Comissiong a critical thinker a man who could live comfortably anywhere in Europe. His views would be embraced or discussed openly by many irrespective of their political background.

    However in Barbados he is probably viewed as a loner and a man with eccentric views that do not fit the atypical Bajan character.

    I am the wrong man to ask. Speak to Hal Austin

    Like

  26. Talking Loud Saying Nothing January 28, 2018 at 9:01 AM #

    Fractured BLP is a good case in point and is a reminder to us all why the country is drifting aimlessly.

    Like

  27. David January 28, 2018 at 9:19 AM #

    You are correct that David C is regarded has an irritant by the so-called Black middle class, however, when he achieves anything of not that uplifts the whole society they are silent. What we have to appreciate is that citizen advocacy is a tenet of a well functioning democratic society.

    Like

  28. Enuff January 28, 2018 at 9:36 AM #

    DC
    The principle of a participatory approach is supported; however, I am not so sure about some of the proposed mechanisms. They are too parochial and ignore the spatial-economic realities. Given Barbados’ size, a more strategic approach to many of the matters you’re attempting to address is required. Parochialism breeds nimbyism.

    Like

  29. David Comissiong January 28, 2018 at 10:16 AM #

    Any system that we propose has to be based on the actual realities of our Barbadian society. In light of the fact that the political division of our country into 30 constituencies has become part of our popular and accepted conceptualization of the structure of our nation, I think it makes sense to simply use that structure and build upon it.

    I WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS JOHN BRIEFLY THOUGH. John — like many of us– often bemoans Barbados’ fall from a higher level of social achievement that it had attained in the past. However, John consistently locates that state of higher level social achievement in the colonial past when a white racist plutocracy ruled the land. This is a terrible misconception.

    Barbados was actually a social hell-hole for much of its history, and I am not merely referring to the slavery era of our history. Even as recently as the 1930s and 40s Barbados was a social hell-hole. Just go and read the reports of the Deane Commission of Inquiry or the Moyne Commission of Inquire. Read Clennel Wickham’s descriptions of the white racist barbarians who monopolized the House of Assembly in the 1930s. Read William Sewell’s “The Ordeal of Free Labour”.

    Just to give one example– in 1937 no more than 3 per cent of our youth had access to secondary school education. Just imagine that– out of every 100 Barbadian youth only 3 got the opportunity to go to secondary school.

    The reality is that the Bajan hell-hole was only turned around after BLACK BAJANS got their hands on political power; took control of the House of Assembly; and used the legislative and executive power of government to do something meaningful for the masses of our people.

    The REAL social progress that Barbados made was made under Black political and trade union leaders beginning in the 1940s and gathering pace in the 1950s with the implementation of universal adult suffrage.

    The Barbados that attained position number 19 on the United Nations Human Development index was the creation of Black leadership and social conscience.

    It is therefore wrong to suggest that Barbados experienced any Golden Age under the rule of oligarchic racist white politicians. In fact , the exact opposite is the case.

    DAVID COMISSIONG

    Like

  30. Enuff January 28, 2018 at 12:26 PM #

    DC
    Yes we have 30 constituencies, but they are not presently perceived as indivdual bodies where local concerns trump national objectives. For one the constituencies are not all the same, and there are clear spatial inequalities. Even in large countries with local government systems akin to what you are proposing, the strategic agenda takes precedence. This is so for one simple reason: benefit to all. I, however, support the participatory budgeting/evaluation etc, and I have raised that here on BU numerous times.

    Like

  31. Bush Tea January 28, 2018 at 12:47 PM #

    @ Enuff
    Your 12.26 pm is a waste of BU space….with all due respect.
    Nothing there contradicts DC’s substantive points….indeed you seem to re-emphasise his argument for decentralisation since if the constituencies ‘are not all the same’ then their different priorities DESERVE special and specific considerations.

    Why can’t you just defer to superior logic gracefully …. like Bushie would…
    (if we should ever experience such an occasion…. that is)

    LOL
    ha ha ha rahhhhhhh!!!
    Murda!!

    Like

  32. Enuff January 28, 2018 at 12:57 PM #

    Bushie
    There’s no contradiction. The fact that there are differences requires a strategic rather than a parochial approach. Strategic does not mean unsuitable. I must say this is rich coming from someone who supports a flat tax, which in essence is void of acknowledging differences.🖐🏾

    Like

  33. John January 28, 2018 at 1:01 PM #

    Barbados was actually a social hell-hole for much of its history, and I am not merely referring to the slavery era of our history. Even as recently as the 1930s and 40s Barbados was a social hell-hole. Just go and read the reports of the Deane Commission of Inquiry or the Moyne Commission of Inquire. Read Clennel Wickham’s descriptions of the white racist barbarians who monopolized the House of Assembly in the 1930s. Read William Sewell’s “The Ordeal of Free Labour”.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The whole world was/is a social hell hole, why would Barbados be any different!!

    In the 30’s and 40’s for instance Stalin had starved more of his own people in the Ukraine than died in the whole of World War I … and of course, Hitler and his Socialists were coming to power.

    Mussolini and his facists/socialists had been in power in Italy since the 1920’s.

    History is pretty unequivocal …socialism has its flaws … major ones to besides, byond comparison with anything that has ever existed in Barbados …. EVER!!!

    Barbados was the cradle of the anti slavery movement!!

    Like

  34. David Comissiong January 28, 2018 at 1:02 PM #

    I WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS JOHN BRIEFLY THOUGH. John — like many of us– often bemoans Barbados’ fall from a higher level of social achievement that it had attained in the past. However, John consistently locates that state of higher level social achievement in the colonial past when a white racist plutocracy ruled the land. This is a terrible misconception.

    Barbados was actually a social hell-hole for much of its history, and I am not merely referring to the slavery era of our history. Even as recently as the 1930s and 40s Barbados was a social hell-hole. Just go and read the reports of the Deane Commission of Inquiry or the Moyne Commission of Inquire. Read Clennel Wickham’s descriptions of the white racist barbarians who monopolized the House of Assembly in the 1930s. Read William Sewell’s “The Ordeal of Free Labour”.

    Just to give one example– in 1937 no more than 3 per cent of our youth had access to secondary school education. Just imagine that– out of every 100 Barbadian youth only 3 got the opportunity to go to secondary school.

    The reality is that the Bajan hell-hole was only turned around after BLACK BAJANS got their hands on political power; took control of the House of Assembly; and used the legislative and executive power of government to do something meaningful for the masses of our people.

    The REAL social progress that Barbados made was made under Black political and trade union leaders beginning in the 1940s and gathering pace in the 1950s with the implementation of universal adult suffrage.

    The Barbados that attained position number 19 on the United Nations Human Development index was the creation of Black leadership and social conscience.

    It is therefore wrong to suggest that Barbados experienced any Golden Age under the rule of oligarchic racist white politicians. In fact , the exact opposite is the case.

    DAVID COMISSIONG

    Like

  35. Bush Tea January 28, 2018 at 1:11 PM #

    “Strategic rather than parochial approach”? these are not mutually exclusive terms.
    You think Bushie went to school with Stinkliar? ..that is a shiite statement boss….

    Something can be parochial AND strategic. It can also be strategic – and completely discriminate against some constituencies – ask Denis Lowe.

    The flat tax is a mechanism to SIMPLIFY a complex scheme that has complicated itself into meaninglessness. It also makes EVERYONE into proud TAXPAYERS ..according to their means…AND it simplifies enforcement and collection.

    The current ‘differences’ is that you and your big-shot friends get to use wunna big foot tricks like donald trump – and pay ZERO taxes…. while begging for concessions …and pushing government to tax BASIC stuff which represents 100% of the expenditures of poor people and .000001 % of that of people like Bushie.

    Do you have any LOGICAL points that challenge DC’s postulations?
    ..or are you ready to defer gracefully…?
    LOL

    Like

  36. John January 28, 2018 at 1:23 PM #

    Just to give one example– in 1937 no more than 3 per cent of our youth had access to secondary school education. Just imagine that– out of every 100 Barbadian youth only 3 got the opportunity to go to secondary school.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Today, more than a third of the students who enter secondary school leave with no certification!!!

    Imagine that!!

    Like

  37. Hal Austin January 28, 2018 at 1:28 PM #

    Talking Loud Saying Nothing January 28, 2018 at 8:56 AM #

    The UK black diaspora could bring real change to Barbados if only they were accepted. But they are seen as being irritants and at worse mad in their ancestor’s country.(Quote)

    @Talking Loud, they know that. That was the thinking behind the Diaspora gathering every two years, but instead of listening to people with experience, we have to tolerate Maxine McClean and her ilk preaching to us about how we can contribute.
    I will give two examples: local government is the biggest employer of Bajans (and other Caribbean people). A Bajan middle manager in social services at a London council manages a bigger budget than ministries in Barbados with a wider range of services. No one is saying that they have it right, but at least they are worth listening to.
    Or take nursing (NHS) or Transport for London; a senior or middle manager on London Buses or any health authority has a breadth of experience far more than the Transport Board or the QEH.
    Or take the police, we have had a number of black police in the Met (many of them Bajans) of middle and senior rank, including at least one person of ACPO grade (Chief Constable). The commissioner of police in Barbados is about the rank of a superintendent in the Met. Do you think they will talk to our serving or retired officers about policing? Madness.
    Or, finally, Bishop Wilfred Wood, sat on the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure (I believe his papers are at Cave Hill), yet it seems to me that very few people in Barbados call upon his experience. Interestingly, people still trek from the UK and US to feed off his wisdom.
    That is Barbados; it is one reason why I always advise young people who seek my views on whether they should return to Barbados to work not to do so, unless they can support themselves.

    Like

  38. Hal Austin January 28, 2018 at 1:29 PM #

    John January 28, 2018 at 1:23 PM #

    What percentage of school leavers go on to university and what percentage graduates?

    Like

  39. Enuff January 28, 2018 at 1:34 PM #

    Boss, we are talking about an overall strategic approach to national development, not skullduggery. Of course parochial could be strategic in nature too, BUT you would not expect local opposition to a local strategic objective. One would imagine that local objectives would be the brainchild of the local councillors based on Commission’s proposals. National, however, presents a different scenario. I am in no battle with Commissiong since we agree on the principle of wider participation, we just differ on some of the modalities. But I can say that I have more experience and understanding of how what we are discussing functions than you and Commissiong combined, so I see no need to defer. You mean big shot friends like the businessmen (do they even pay employees’ NIS) that make up your party of the month? Anyhow, i am done with you; as I have said before simple concepts elude your superior brilliance.

    Like

  40. Fractured BLP January 28, 2018 at 2:18 PM #

    David Commissiong is a peculiar complex !

    He was first a DEE !

    Then through opportunism he fled to the NDP !

    Now fueled by inbridled greed he got in bed with the BEEs !

    Not satisfied with his insatiable desire for relevance he became the SINGLE voice and member of the Clement Payne Movement !

    With such a ” Stellar record of achievements ” I am not surprised 😳 that DC is still in the public sphere seeking some semblance of RELEVANCE !!

    What a pity !!!

    Like

  41. Fractured BLP January 28, 2018 at 2:21 PM #

    • unbridled

    Like

  42. John January 28, 2018 at 2:54 PM #

    Hal Austin January 28, 2018 at 1:29 PM #
    John January 28, 2018 at 1:23 PM #
    What percentage of school leavers go on to university and what percentage graduates?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No idea but probably small.

    The problem is with our expectations, the way we think.

    After Slavery, there were about 80,000 slaves.

    A large percentage were children.

    They had little or no education but I will bet they were 10X smarter than the children of today!!

    They might not be able to operate a computer or cellphone, but they could grow food!!

    Like

  43. Hal Austin January 28, 2018 at 2:56 PM #

    John January 28, 2018 at 2:54 PM #

    The school children who die the matriculation in the 1950s were far better educated than many of our graduates today.

    Like

  44. Bush Tea January 28, 2018 at 4:23 PM #

    @ Enuff
    Bushie takes your 1.34 pm as a graceful concession.
    Well done.

    Like

  45. SuckaBubby January 28, 2018 at 10:46 PM #

    David Comissiong, Good night sir.

    Your ideas can work as I have a similar idea as to how Barbados should be governed.However for your idea to work ,I believe you have to demolish the 30 constituencies and relegate it to parish boundaries and realign how Ministries , exist and function.

    Constituency obsolescence with poorly (conceptualized and run) Ministries is possibly the biggest conduit for corruption and economic mismanagement in Barbados.Ask yourself how can you have two sets of houses separated by a gap but are in different constituencies but their socio-economic destinies and outlook on life can be shaped so differently depending on their representation?

    Its this basic idiocy that breeds a fallacious class system with an illogical however effective divide and conquer strategy literally looking out your front or back door.

    You are a bright man, I wish you well and success in your endeavour.

    Like

  46. John January 29, 2018 at 7:59 AM #

    They might not be able to operate a computer or cellphone, but they could grow food!!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It isn’t to say children today cannot grow food.

    They have been educated to believe that agriculture is beneath them.

    Their thought processes have been messed up!!

    Fix this and other aspects of thinking and you fix Barbados!!

    Like

  47. John January 29, 2018 at 8:02 AM #

    The reality is that the Bajan hell-hole was only turned around after BLACK BAJANS got their hands on political power; took control of the House of Assembly; and used the legislative and executive power of government to do something meaningful for the masses of our people.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    ….. and now, Barbados needs to be saved!!!

    Ithas been destroyed.

    Is it BLACK BAJANS who have caused the demise?

    No, of course not …. all Bajans bear responsibility!!

    Fix the thinking!!

    Like

  48. John January 29, 2018 at 2:48 PM #

    I was speaking with someone this morning in the Supreme Court Registry and he pointed out that if lawyers cannot get the court system to function, why would you expect them to get the country to function?

    I have to say, I was taken aback at the simplicity of the observation!!

    Like

  49. millertheanunnaki January 29, 2018 at 3:23 PM #

    @ John January 29, 2018 at 2:48 PM

    Then you have not been reading the prescient contributions from our voodoo sage Bush Tea over time.

    BT has been preaching the same ‘Jeremiah sermon’ from day 2 and we are almost at the end of day 6 with the devil’s pitchfork in sight.

    Brass-bowlery, brass-bowlery, nothing but Bajan brass-bowlery to the left, right and centre!

    RIP, Amused!

    Like

  50. John January 29, 2018 at 8:30 PM #

    I WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS JOHN BRIEFLY THOUGH. John — like many of us– often bemoans Barbados’ fall from a higher level of social achievement that it had attained in the past. However, John consistently locates that state of higher level social achievement in the colonial past when a white racist plutocracy ruled the land. This is a terrible misconception.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What I have always said is that there must have been something or somethings that kept us together for 300 plus years.

    What was the glue?

    What tore us apart?

    I have always said we were brainwashed into thinking we had more differences than we did.

    It is all about fixing our thinking, which has to happen on an individual basis.

    We literally have to rebuild ourselves before we can talk about saving or rebuilding our country.

    Like

  51. John January 31, 2018 at 6:06 AM #

    I have a 1911 receipt my Great Grand Mother got for paying parochial taxes – land taxes.
    I also have a 1908 receipt for Police and Highway taxes.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    Believe it or not, the total taxes on approximately 12 acres of land just over 100 years ago was about $12.00

    The same land today attracts about $9,500.00!!

    This is what supports socialism and makes land ownership in Barbados an activity of a lunatic!!!

    Like

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