Mottley Don’t be a Moe!

During the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) 81st Annual Conference in Queen’s Park on Saturday, Mottley described Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley, De Peiza and Solutions Barbados’ leader Grenville Phillips as “Eenie, Meenie and Miney” who were poor alternatives to the BLP Government.

[Nation Newspaper 27 October 2019]

The political barbs Prime Minister Mia Mottley lobbed at the three visible faces who represent the dissenting voice of political parties in our democratic system has evoked some public comment. Mottley in an address at the 81st Annual Conference of her political party used the occasion to rev up her political base – throw some reed meat at the loyal subjects. To intuitive political observers this is standard fare.

Have we forgotten not too long ago in order to avert a constitutional crisis serious consideration was given to creating Senate seats for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP)? That idea was scrapped presumably because our system of government is derived from a first past the post and not propositional representation. Bishop Joseph Atherley conveniently defected to the Opposition side and as they say the rest is history.

Leaders of organizations anchor positions taken based on values and purpose partially influenced by management philosophers of the past like Elton Mayo, Peter Drucker, Henry Gantt, Edward Deming et al. Political leaders will cite Machiavelli, Madison et al for the same reasons. Unlike Verla De Peiza, Grenville Phillips II, Joseph Atherley et al Mia Mottley – the political animal that she is – will not ignore the opportunity to stoke her popularity within the party. Imprinted on her mind are the faces of Dale Marshall, Ronald Toppin, Gline Clarke and George Payne who were instrumental in ousting her as leader of the BLP to make way for the return of Owen Arthur in 2010.   So far she has adhered to Sun Tzu’s advice to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Mottley wears the scares of her confrontations within the BLP to give currency to the position by many that politics is as a blood sport.

To cut a log story short, Mia Mottley is Prime Minister of Barbados AND leader of the Barbados Labour Party. This blogmaster anticipated her message to the annual party conference would have been laced with the usual political rhetoric and hyperbole.  What Phillips, Da Peiza and Atherley must do is to exercise political gravitas in the counter to be seen as relevant in the minds of the electorate. Make no mistake, the average Joe will entertain a political actor who is not averse to riposte.

The Prime Minister at the Conference threatened to withhold a subvention Owen Arthur approved (Cabinet decision) for all political parties represented in the House of Assembly. Richie Hayne’s of the National Democratic Party (NDP) received the subvention of $150,000 when he displaced  the BLP as the official Opposition. The subvention is allocated in the Estimates to Parliament under the authority of the Clerk of Parliament to disburse to the Leader of the Opposition to assist with administrative expenses. Arthur was sensible enough to appreciate a democracy is as strong as a quality opposition.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley should immediately suppress the temptation to rescind the practice of giving the subvention to political parties sitting in parliament. Given the overwhelming majority of the BLP sitting in the Lower House why has she made this an issue?

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

185 comments

  • Amazing Caswell, Reverend Joe and Ms Drakes could coddle together a few politicians who could claim to th have been voted for by voters who oppose the BLP.

    Absolutely amazing.

    A lot of credit due Grenville for not getting caught in this nest of vipers!!

    Like

  • @John
    Parliament consists of Her Majesty [rep by the GG], the Senate and the House of Assembly. Members of the House of Assembly are ELECTED. Under the constitution they are PERSONS, who may/may not have offered themselves as representing a party. If you choose to vote for a PERSON because of their party affiliation, that is your business. But you are voting to elect a PERSON. So 30-0 means nothing, for 30 PERSONS have been elected. Their lawful assembly thereafter, and once none of the constitutional requirements have been breached, is legitimate.
    If one of more decide to sit as not representing the party under which they were associated, at the time of their election, so be it. Ms.Agard sat independently because the party booted her out, Bishop Joe chose to leave, the result is the same.
    “Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Leader of the Opposition he shall appoint the member of the
    House of Assembly who, in his judgment, is best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not
    support the Government, or if there is no such person, the member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the
    support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader” [Bdos Constitution 74(2)]

    There is no mention of anything but an elected person.

    Now should two other currently elected members of the House of Assembly decide to leave the party with which they were affiliated at the time of their election, and together form a Party, then one of them will likely become Leader of the Opposition. [being able to command a majority of those members who do not support the government]

    Why do you persist that 30-0 is relevant to legitimacy.

    As I have written before, the term in Canada, another Westminster offshoot, is “official party status”. To qualify, political parties must command the support of a certain minimum number of elected persons. In Barbados, it seems it is one person, and that person must identify with a party.

    Like

  • Ms.Agard sat independently because the party booted her out, Bishop Joe chose to leave, the result is the same

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

    There is where your thesis collapses!!

    Ms. Agard sat independently in an existing Parliament which was then prorogued (love dat word) and ceased to exist.

    She was already a member of Parliament.

    Reverend Joe then had no Parliament in which to sit.

    It had to be formed with an opposition which did not exist.

    One can’t form an opposition because it can’t elect a leader … proposer and seconder needed.

    Even two is dicey!!

    Three definitely can work.

    Like

  • The concoction of the PDP reinforces my point.

    Reverend Joe, Caswell Franklin and Crystal Drakes are straw men set up to concoct a Parliament.

    The candidates who won a few votes from people who voted against the DLP are being drawn in an attempt to legitimize the three straw men.

    All it does is to delegitimize those candidates as their votes are being used effectively to support the party against which they were cast.

    So I say again, credit is due Grenville for remaining above the fray … sprats if you like!!

    The DLP is also due credit as well.

    Like

  • Bishop Joe simple represents an absence of a presence on the opposition benches.

    His own words!!

    Like

  • He is a straw man and his two appointments as opposition senators are straw too.

    Like

  • @John

    How many do you intend to repeat yourself?

    Like

  • A word to the wise you say
    You assume wisdom is prevailing and present

    Like

  • Never talked about PDP until now … it never existed!!

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John at 12 :37n AM

    Please do not try to mislead the BU Household so early in the morning. We expect better of a No. 1 like you. GP the No.2 does much better. LoL!!

    Caswell, Ms. Drakes nor the Rev made the claims that you have attributed to them. This is another figment of your very creative mind.

    Like

  • Mottley and her Press Secretary Roy Morris visted a friend in the QEH in his last dying days and Roy Morris spilled all the freinds dirty laundry referncing his last days on this earth on social media
    The story is heart wrentching and no friend would go to any extent to reveal such gawdawful moments about a friend on social media
    Furthermore no one would want to be remembered by those moments

    Like

  • Roy Morris you are a real dirt bag

    Like

  • Caswell, Ms. Drakes nor the Rev made the claims that you have attributed to them.

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

    What claims have I attributed to them?

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John

    Please re read your referenced submissions at 12:37 AM and at 7 :20 AM.

    Like

  • John
    November 4, 2019 7:04 AM
    “One can’t form an opposition because it can’t elect a leader … proposer and seconder needed.”

    John,
    Are you 100% certain that the leader of the opposition must have a proposer and seconder?

    I ask that question because BU readers will undoubtedly remember the DLP winning only 2 seats in 1999 (David Thompson, St. John and Denis Kellman, St. Lucy) and both MPs refused to support each other.

    Back then, we therefore had two opposition factions, from the same party, made up of 1 member each. David Thompson was named the Leader of the opposition and nobody kicked up a fuss about the constitution not being adhered to. No one mentioned the need for a proposer or seconder.

    Why is this situation different?

    Liked by 1 person

  • “Because of the 30-nil drubbing it received in the May 24 General Election, the party can no longer benefit from the $150 000 it received annually from Parliament for the last 21 years.
    That money, which is paid quarterly, is part of the $300 000 subvention set aside for political parties which have elected members of Parliament. The sum is intended to assist these organisations with their daily administration costs”

    Laughable indeed because depending what is suitable to our agenda we tend to sweep certain issues under the carpet. As a member of the BLP at the time; Mr Atherley’s appointment as opposition leader was unconstitutional and the Government had the numbers to correct the situation but the legal luminaries chose not to speak out .

    Laughable because if it is indeed accepted that the Constitution does not recognize political parties then subsidizing political parties from the public purse must be surely unconstitutional as well.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Walter Blackman

    I agree with you. The appointment is at the discretion of the GG. The person who appears to be leader of the Party. Mr. Thompson was political leader of the DLP.

    Like

  • There is a difference between a convention and a constitutional principle. Under our system, we elect individuals, not parties. The convention is to have a leader of the Opposition, but it is not a constitutional position.
    Member of parliament are not there as members of parties, but as representatives of constituencies, that is what is meant by representative democracy.
    Some of us may be familiar with the clash between direct democracy (referendums) and representative democracy (parliament); that is why the Dutch have banned referendums.

    Liked by 1 person

  • John
    November 3, 2019 11:31 PM
    “One thing is sure, it (the PdP) ‘ent getting my vote if it exists when the roll is called over yonder!”

    John,
    BU is a microcosm of the wider Barbadian society. If we were to take a snapshot of the percentage of voters on BU who said that they would vote for the PdP, the current percentage is 0%. Approximately the same percentage might apply to the general voting population.

    Therefore, there is absolutely no basis right now on which anyone can project the PdP winning at least 18 seats in 2023.

    Piece Uh De Cock spends a lot of time trying to convince the PdP that he could serve them as a political
    strategist and advisor, but so far they have completely ignored him. He, in turn, has refused to come out and say that he would definitely vote for the PdP.

    Of course, these are early days yet and things can change drastically with the passage of time.

    Like

  • I have been critical of Mr. Atherley and considered his alacrity in grasping the role of Opposition “leader” to be no more than a self- serving stunt on his way to a more lucrative retirement. However, I will admit that some of his criticism of the Gov’t has stung and this is why the subvention is now in the news cycle.

    The PM was very happy to have Mr. Atherley save her from a Constitutional dilemma and welcomed his new found acuity and no one raised an eyebrow about the “subvention” until the BLP most recent gala.

    As in KJV “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away……

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Charles Skeete at 9 :35 AM

    To assist you at arriving at a meaningful and useful conclusion may I ask some questions ?

    Is Rev. Atherly now a member of a political party?

    Is he not an elected member of the House of Assembly?

    Surely these facts qualify the PDP as a party with an elected member in Parliament?

    Is the “subvention” to political parties, with the additional caveats,illegal?

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington
    November 4, 2019 9:41 AM
    “@ Walter Blackman
    I agree with you. The appointment is at the discretion of the GG. The person who appears to be leader of the Party. Mr. Thompson was political leader of the DLP.”

    Vincent Codrington,
    I agree with your main point that the GG has the discretion to make the appointment.
    However, there is a slight detail that you might have forgotten.

    David Thompson’s mind appears to have been frazzled by the humiliating and unprecedented electoral defeat of 1999. So much so, that he fled from the leadership of the DLP like a political vampire fleeing from a voter’s silver crucifix. It is precisely for that reason that Denis Kellman withdrew his parliamentary support of David Thompson.

    Clyde Mascoll became leader of the DLP.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Sergeant at 9 :53 AM

    You must add “Blessed is the name of the Lord”, if not some man/ woman is going to claim that he/ she can give and she/he can take. But I agree with you. Most political positions can change within a twinkling of the eye. A word to the wise.

    Like

  • Putting all the yardfowlism aside as a Barbadian my concern here is will we have a valid opposition to face the next elections?

    So many opportunities for debate have slipped by those claiming to be opposition over the last few months, from the so called ” debt savings” to open and frank discussion on the lack of a growth plan just to name a few. As a result I am genuinely concerned how those wishing to oppose expect the public to view them as worthwhile.

    If we follow this to the obvious conclusion can we expect another 30 to 0 victory for the Bs at the next elections? Also more worrying is will issues that the public need making aware of continue to go unchallenged between now and then?

    Unlike many here who bicker over the grain thrown to them by their masters, my concerns run way deeper. With the lack of an informed opposition who will make sure the public understands the intricacies of what is discussed in our hallowed halls?

    Like

  • @ John A

    Our media will act as an opposition.

    Like

  • @ the Honourable Blogmaster your assistance please with an item here thank you

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John A at 10:17 AM

    Behave yourself. What make you think that with a literacy rate of over 90% and a numeracy rate of over 60 % that the electorate need politicians to lead their thinking and decision making? As Hal points out the press and BU will need to put all the relevant data in the public domain. The age of the Superior Intellect is over.

    Like

  • Barbados Underground Whilstelblower

    @ Mariposa

    Roy Morris you are a real dirt bag
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Can you cut an paste what this formerly alleged Pedophile Rapist had posted on Facebook for those of us who have not seen?

    Like

  • @ Vincent
    @Hal

    As for the press and BU I only putting my money on one of them and it ain t the press!

    Vincent as for the the numeracy rate at 60% I not sure there. So you telling me to work for the press one of the qualifications is that you must fall outside the 60% then?LOL

    I say so cause I see alot of nonesence numbers recently went unchallenged! Wait I wonder if you got to be outside the 60% to be in opposition now too? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Vincent

    Don’t forget we was begging the leaders for certain critical data recently that we ain’t get yet either. So regrettably we still need debate and disclosure. As far as the leaders concern we is only a few noisy ass bloggers that ain t got nothing to do when the day come!

    Liked by 1 person

  • The Roy Morris discussion was had on the QEH blog below. No need to rehash it here.

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    @David. Nice article.

    @Donna. Behind all our level of civilisation and sophistication, fundamentally, human beings are still animals to the core .The two main reasons we are not tearing each other apart are because of religious pacification for some and the law enforcement arm of the state for others. Without these two forces to balance the primordial animal instinct inside of us, life would be brutal .

    Liked by 1 person

  • John
    November 4, 2019 9:21 AM

    Caswell, Ms. Drakes nor the Rev made the claims that you have attributed to them.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What claims have I attributed to them?

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

    VC

    I haven’t attributed any claims to any of them!!

    I have only let Reverend Joe make his claims in the Youtube clip.

    Like

  • fortyacres,

    I have only recently come to that understanding since watching more of the international news. All the world is a jungle, some of it a concrete jungle and humankind seems to still live by jungle law, survival of the “fittest”.

    Scratch the surface veneer of civilization and sophistication and the animal core is exposed.

    But I believe in creation AND evolution.

    Liked by 1 person

  • John,
    Are you 100% certain that the leader of the opposition must have a proposer and seconder?

    I ask that question because BU readers will undoubtedly remember the DLP winning only 2 seats in 1999 (David Thompson, St. John and Denis Kellman, St. Lucy) and both MPs refused to support each other.

    Back then, we therefore had two opposition factions, from the same party, made up of 1 member each. David Thompson was named the Leader of the opposition and nobody kicked up a fuss about the constitution not being adhered to. No one mentioned the need for a proposer or seconder.

    Why is this situation different?

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

    Robert’s Rules!!!

    2 >0!!

    The point to realise is that whether or not 27-3 is taken as the threshold below which a nullity exists, we will get a crappy “Government”.

    In that respect it could be said a nullity does not matter!!

    The only way it will matter is if at a later date someone tests the legitimacy of the Government in court and calls into question all of its agreements and appointments.

    But, it doesn’t matter at all whether there is a nullity or not in the normal run of things.

    We will still get crap … a nullity if you like!!

    So 28-2, 27-3, 26-4 etc will produce a nullity of a Government …. only thing is it’s validity can’t be questioned at a later date.

    Like

  • John,
    BU is a microcosm of the wider Barbadian society. If we were to take a snapshot of the percentage of voters on BU who said that they would vote for the PdP, the current percentage is 0%. Approximately the same percentage might apply to the general voting population.

    Therefore, there is absolutely no basis right now on which anyone can project the PdP winning at least 18 seats in 2023.

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

    I haven’t made any predictions.

    The only projection I am making is that if the PDP happen to be around and actually runs candidates in 2023 or whenever, I won’t be voting for any!!

    IT started bad and can only end bad.

    Like

  • @ John

    There is no constitutional position of Leader of the Opposition. It is convention. If you are not sure stop bluffing.

    Like

  • Section 74: The Constitution of Barbados.

    (1) There shall be a Leader of the Opposition, who shall
    be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under
    the Public Seal.

    (2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint
    a Leader of the Opposition he shall appoint the member of the
    House of Assembly who, in his judgment, is best able to command
    the support of a majority of those members who do not
    support the Government, or if there is no such person, the
    member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the
    support of the largest single group of such members who are
    prepared to support one leader:

    Provided that this subsection shall have effect in relation to
    any period between a dissolution of Parliament and the day
    appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under
    the Public Seal.

    Liked by 1 person

  • “There is no constitutional position of Leader of the Opposition. It is convention. If you are not sure stop bluffing.”

    For a man whose intellectual acumen is held in awe i cannot believe you do not know that there is provision for a Leader of the Opposition under Section 74(1) of the Constitution.
    Surely you must be aware that the Prime Minister must consult with the Leader of the Opposition on certain recommendations to the Governor General.
    You have to be bluffing

    Liked by 1 person

  • @HA
    “74. (1) There shall be a Leader of the Opposition, who shall
    be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under the Public Seal.” [Barbados Constitution]
    https://www.oas.org/dil/The_Constitution_of_Barbados.pdf

    How can you state there is no constitutional position Leader of the Opposition? (p63 onwards above)

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Northern Observer

    Apologies. I was talking about the Westminster model. I should have made that clear. I know nothing about the Barbados constitution.

    Like

  • @John
    what about Robert’s Rules…they are AMERICAN….they have not a flying flamingo to do with anywhere else?
    Here you are back at some fictional measure of 30-0, 27-3, 20-10 etc etc, and then claiming that has some relevance to validity of Parliament. The people (electorate), elect 30 persons to serve. Their party affiliation is of NO concern to the constitution.
    READ the Constitution!!!!
    https://www.oas.org/dil/The_Constitution_of_Barbados.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  • “Is Rev. Atherly now a member of a political party?”

    If suitably registered yes he must be but that is not my point my point is that the constitution does not recognize political parties and thus why should political parties benefit from the public and if by someone’s ingenuity they do benefit then all parties should benefit right or wrong

    Like

  • Owen Arthur in his wisdom – say what else you will – realized that protecting a fledgling political party has a close association with also protecting the democracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Charles Skeete
    “As a member of the BLP at the time; Mr Atherley’s appointment as opposition leader was unconstitutional”
    Where does the Constitution say anything about the party association of any of the elected members of the HoA. It is about commanding the support of elected members. The Constitution does not even mention the word Party, as it relates to a political umbrella organization.

    Liked by 1 person

  • If suitably registered yes he must be but that is not my point my point is that the constitution does not recognize political parties and thus why should political parties …(Quote)

    Plse explain, if the constitution does not recognise political parties, how then does it recognise a Leader of the Opposition? Is the Leader of the Opposition the leader of the senior minority party?

    Like

  • Everybody on BUnow has accreditation as a Constitutional lawyer
    The bone of contention that revolves is the is problem points a stern finger at Mottleys intention to use law to fight her political battles and enemies in the most vicious and undemocratic way
    How can any one pick teet to defend these actions.
    Wrong is wrong

    Like

  • @charles skeete November 4, 2019 1:39 PM

    Your argument is well put and, dare we say, ‘balanced’.

    There is no Constitutional backing for such a subvention.

    Could as well give the money to the Salvation Army or any other NGO who is providing a more worthwhile service to the Bajan society.

    However, MAM is standing on shaky legal grounds if the intention is to disregard ‘Precedence’ where the Atherley-led PPDD is concerned.

    He is the HM LoO and, de facto speaking, should have the backing of some political party machinery to enable him to convince the electorate that his party of ‘committed’ individuals are capable of forming the government in waiting and able to perform a better job and not just to oppose the government in Parliament.

    Liked by 1 person

  • “if the constitution does not recognise political parties, how then does it recognise a Leader of the Opposition?”

    The constitution makes PROVISIONS for OPPOSITION PARTIES…as it relates to yardfowlism, corruption, using the political system as a WEAPON against the people to destroy the judiciary etc…….keeping the people in a vicious 60 year old cycle of B vs D….nowhere is it written in the consitutuion that any of this is legal…but DBLP clowns never hesitate to violate even the constitution…to misuse it..

    Like

  • So in essence the way Caribbean governments misuse their constitutions with their petty, trifling small island nonsense to stay in power, using the people as pawns, demeaning and degrading them to mere voters and nothing else, get angry when they do not vote for them and once elected use spite and terror as punishment……..none of that is constitutional or legal…and the people should STOP THEM from doing it..

    Like

  • “The constitution makes PROVISIONS for OPPOSITION PARTIES”
    you too are advised to read the Constitution. Use ctrl F with party and see how many times and in what context the word PARTY/PARTIES are used? The Constitution makes no such provision.
    In fact, I cannot recall if the candidate on a ballot is identified by personal name only, or by name and party? But that is a matter for the Elections Act, not the Constitution.

    Like

  • @Northern Observer

    We have had this discussion many times on BU, especially on Jeff;s submissions. There seems to be a ‘perverse pleasure’ to stay hitched to a point even if it is wrong wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  • My apologies, I’m still a newbie. While I read several of the Dean’s articles, they were usually above my pay grade.

    Like

  • Do not allow some here to waste your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Barbados is a de facto para socialist dictatorship lead by a de facto President.

    If the BLP wins the next election by 30 to 0 we will become the Republic of Barbados.

    Like

  • “Plse explain, if the constitution does not recognise political parties, how then does it recognise a Leader of the Opposition? Is the Leader of the Opposition the leader of the senior minority party?”

    (2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint
    a Leader of the Opposition he shall appoint the member of the
    House of Assembly who, in his judgment, is best able to command
    the support of a majority of those members who do not
    support the Government, or if there is no such person, the
    member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the
    support of the largest single group of such members who are
    prepared to support one leader:

    “IS BEST ABLE TO COMMAND THE THE SUPPORT OF A MAJORITY OF THOSE MEMBERS WHO DO NOT SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT” OR COMMANDS THE SUPPORT OF THE LARGEST SINGLE GROUP OF SUCH MEMBERS WHO ARE PREPARED TO SUPPORT ONE LEADER.

    You worked at the prestigious BBC and so should be able to easily read, mark, lean and inwardly digest that the operative words in one instance are ” SINGLE GROUP”

    and that is why Mr Atherly’s appointment remains Ultra Vires because he does not command the support of any members in the House of Assembly who do not support the Government and does not command the support of any largest single group of members who are prepared to support him BECAUSE NONE EXISTS.

    and a simple constitutional amendment given the numbers of the Government could have corrected this and rendered validity to this critical appointment in our system of governance as easily as it was done to facilitate the appointments of Senators McConney and Adams to the Senate and the appointment of the Chief Justice.

    and while you are musing read the Barbados Independence Bill moved by Secretary of State for the Colonies(Mr Frederick Lee) 28th October, 1966 and you will,discover that the representatives of all three parties in the Barbados Legislature all agreed on the aim of separate Independence.

    Like

  • @Northern Observer

    Have a read:

    The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – A Semblance of Opposition
    Posted on June 24, 2018 by David 124 comments

    So great was the degree of disgust felt with the governance of the outgone Democratic Labour Party administration that the vox populi determined at the recent general election that it should not even be permitted to constitute Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in the next Parliament. Nor did the electorate consider that any other group of individuals should do so.

    This was an eventuality never contemplated by the framers of our Constitution either expressly or at all. The effect was to create a minor constitutional crisis. History will record that for reasons that up to now remain a matter of pure conjecture, His Grace the Bishop Joseph Atherley, who had campaigned as a candidate for, and as a member of the Barbados Labour Party, decided to break ranks with the governing administration in Parliament and to have himself appointed as Leader of the Opposition.

    Though perfectly constitutional in my considered view, this has proven to be a most unpopular development. Some, including Professor Emeritus of History, Pedro Welch and others, have doubted its conformity with the constitutional text, arguing that a literal interpretation of the relevant provision contemplates a plurality of members in order for a parliamentary opposition and hence its leader to be lawfully constituted. Unless the literal interpretation leads to a manifest absurdity, the argument continues, then the words of the provision should be given their natural and ordinary meaning.

    While I understand and respect the force of this view, the literal meaning of a legal provision must be enabled by the accepted canons of interpretation, including the one that the plural includes the singular as provided by section 4 of the Interpretation Act, Cap 1. Otherwise, as I have pointed out before, the Constitution would have effected the unlikely and patently absurd requirement that the Prime Minister and Governor General must always be male. The canon that “he includes she” is of the same genus as that of “the plural includes the singular” and the former is not to be treated as self-evident while the latter is reduced to the level of “quirkdom”. In any event, as I have also argued, the Governor General is obligated to act in this mater on her own judgment and so long as she was satisfied in her mind that Bishop Atherley was best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government”, or that he commanded the “support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader” then the matter was put beyond pale.

    However, the appointment has also proven to be unpopular on both sides of the local political divide. The Chairman of the Barbados Labour Party, the political party under whose aegis the Bishop contested the parliamentary seat in the recent general election, has publicly rebuked Bishop Atherley for his conduct in “crossing the floor”, and has called on the goodly MP to declare whether he has left the party or intended to do so, accusing him of dishonourable conduct. According to one report, Mr Payne is quoted as saying, “I was hurt and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Every night during the election campaign . . . nobody articulated these policies any better than the Honourable Member for St Michael West . . . and [he comes] to this House and asks questions like: If Mia’s plan is home-grown or facilitated by the IMF; if we sent signals to the electorate of the path ahead; will the Dems be investigated for malfeasance?”

    The stridency of this reproach should have served to allay the suspicions of all but the most cynical, not a few in number, that regard the Atherley defection as nothing but a plot hatched by his party to ensure the absence of a parliamentary voice for the Democratic Labour Party for the duration of the current Parliament.

    Some disfavour for the appointment has also come, quite naturally, from the DLP, which perceives itself as the rightful heir to the legitimate voice of parliamentary opposition once it does not possess the reins of government.

    In my opinion, the Atherley appointment, though necessitated by the Constitution, is an inadequate and unsatisfactory replacement for an organized Opposition party that is backed by competent research and technical know-how so as to be instinctive presenters of alternative policy initiatives and critical assessors of official dogma. The electorate clearly thought otherwise.

    In spite of his best efforts in this regard, Bishop Atherley will always be perceived to be either overly accommodating or traitorously hypocritical in his analyses of government policy in Parliament. This is but another instance where constitutional theory does not accord with practical political reality.

    One matter that has seemingly not gained popular currency but that still concerns me however is whether a House of Parliament that is inadequately constituted is competent to pass any legislation. This is in reference to the Senate that passed the recent Constitution (Amendment) Act even though it did not comprise the number of members required by the Constitution to be regarded as the Upper Chamber in section 36(1). I commented on this earlier and wondered whether I was not caviling on the ninth part of a hair, but a discussion with a senior counsel last week confirmed to my mind that much might have been effected in the name of constitutional governance in recent weeks that required deeper and more careful thought.

    PS I extend sincere condolence to the family and friends of Sir Fred Gollop who passed last week. I became acquainted with Sir Fred relatively recently when he joined me as the only Barbadians serving on the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission [RJLSC], the body charged with the management of the Caribbean Court of Justice. I found him to be, in Chaucer’s words, “a verray parfait gentilknight” and am not at all surprised at the multiple stated descriptions of him as “dignified”, “quiet”, “genial”, “humble” and “wise”. May he rest in peace.

    I extend my sincere condolences too to the relatives and friends of another reader (!) of this column, the late Professor Emeritus of Education, Earl Newton, who recently shuffled off this mortal coil. Unfailingly polite, Earl was fiercely proud of his alma mater, Combermere. I recall that he and Professor Andrew Downes took me to task in the Senior Common Room one day when I dared to compare that school unfavourably with another. Rest in peace, Sir.

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  • does Mr.Atherly not command himself, and is one of the 30 persons elected in the last election. And in the judgement of the GG represents a majority. Is majority not “the greater number”, where 1 is a number, and since 1>0 represents a majority. I am unsure the constitution required amending. It gives the GG great latitude…”in his judgement”

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  • I find agreement with the learned Dean, though he is far more thorough.

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  • does Mr.Atherly not command himself, and is one of the 30 persons elected in the last election.

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

    Sho’ ’nuff

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  • (2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Leader of the Opposition he shall appoint the member of the House of Assembly who, in his judgment, is best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government,

    or

    if there is no such person, the member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader:

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

    … and the group was?

    … and the members are??

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  • For heavens sake, the BLP won 30-0.

    There is only one group inside the House and all of its members support a single group!!

    If all of its members support one group then it is impossible to find any member in opposition to the single group!!

    So there can be no leader of the opposition …..

    … no opposition senators

    … no Parliament

    … and no Government!!

    If by some magic there appears a leader of the opposition and two senators, then they must be straw men!!

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  • I ask that question because BU readers will undoubtedly remember the DLP winning only 2 seats in 1999 (David Thompson, St. John and Denis Kellman, St. Lucy) and both MPs refused to support each other.

    Back then, we therefore had two opposition factions, from the same party, made up of 1 member each. David Thompson was named the Leader of the opposition and nobody kicked up a fuss about the constitution not being adhered to. No one mentioned the need for a proposer or seconder.

    Why is this situation different?

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

    It actually isn’t different!!

    2 can’t work either and here is why!!

    It is also a nullity as is 1 and 0!!

    This is what applies in the case of 2.

    “if there is no such person, the member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader:”

    You call them factions, I call them groups, like the Constitution.

    Do you see why 2 can’t work?

    Because if there are only 2 members of the opposition and they can’t agree then each member constitutes a group.

    But the GG has to choose from the largest single group which does not and cannot exist!!

    So the least number of members which the Constitution comprehends is 3!!

    Because no one kicked up a fuss does not mean we had no Government!!

    O$A presided over a nullity from 1999 onwards until the election when the number in opposition rose to 3 or more!!

    So Ms. Mockley has been there and done that already!!

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  • An interesting question would be, do the years MPs sits in a mock Parliament count towards their pensions?

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  • I see no QED.
    You admit “each member constitutes a group”. And that it is “in his [GG’s] judgment, is best able”.
    You keep returning to a 30-0 number, which is baseless. PEOPLE are elected, NOT PARTIES. Yes, 30 citizens of Barbados were elected. End of election.
    The group was Atherly. The member was Atherly.
    The issue is not mathematical. The GG is asked to exercise her judgement, which may include whatever she deems relevant.

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  • Piece:

    You would know when Atherley made the promise if you were paying attention. You are at Atherley’s right hand, so how could you have missed it?

    When you are have sold your soul to the dark side, and become consumed with hatred, you tend to see only what your master wants you to see – which is nothing good. You and your handmaiden can now continue with the hate.

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  • @ Bedroom Policeman

    A pleasant good night to you

    I don hope that your consultancy job ar the Barbados Water Authority DOES NOT KEEP YOU OUT SO LATE ALL THE TIME!

    N o wonder you are posting so late at night!

    I am lost about the selling my soul to the PdP but in time you will explain that cryptic remark for the benefit of BU FAMILY & HOUSEHOLD (which definition has been incorrectly inverted because family is decided by sanguinity while “household” is predicated on by venue and loose adoption as Moses was of the household of Pharaoh BUT NOT BLOODLINE)

    A question Bedroom policeman

    Do you mean “sold your soul” or “sold your services” as your consultancy to the government of Mia Mottley presents?

    How can you be decrying Mugabe Mottley as such an evil leader YET YOU WUKKING FOR SHE?

    You not only is a megalomaniac but you Stoopid as a Mountain Goat!

    Who is my “handmaiden”? Freedom Crier? My man, I does cuss she regular too so doan go there!

    Who you mean?

    I

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  • @ the Honourable Blogmaster your assistance please with an item here for Bedroom Policeman aka Grenville Phillips thank you

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  • Because if there are only 2 members of the opposition and they can’t agree then each member constitutes a group.
    But the GG has to choose from the largest single group which does not and cannot exist!!

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

    The simple conclusion I make from this logic is that a group cannot be one member!!

    A single member is called an independent!!

    Suppose there were 3 or more independents.

    Suppose none of them could agree.

    Then there would be 3 or more equal “groups” if 1 independent constituted a “group” and the GG had to make a choice.

    The GG could not make a choice because there is no largest “group”.

    Now, if 2 or more independents in such a situation could coalesce and become a group, the GG could make a choice but there would always be the possibility that the 2 would disagree.

    With all the discretion in the world the GG might exercise he/she has to choose the leader of the largest single group if all “groups” consisted of 1 independent!!

    To make a decision in such a situation he/she would have to rate one member as more important than another.

    Constitution does not countenance that, all are supposedly equal except the PM who is “First among Equals”!!

    This is not rocket science!!

    It is simple math.

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  • Primus inter pares (Ancient Greek: Πρῶτος μεταξὺ ἴσων, prōtos metaxỳ ísōn) is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for someone who is formally equal to other members of their group, but is accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their seniority in office.

    There are no seconds or thirds!!

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  • BarbadosToday page 20

    Gaston Browne warns CIBC .

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  • Well……..at least we know they cannot rest comfortably because…….the people GOT THIS..

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  • @Hants

    Brown is a very busy man, he also wrote to Harvard reminding them that reparations are owed to Antigua for the use of profits emanating from Antiguan slave labour that helped to build Harvard Law school.

    About CIBC, he wants Antiguan entities to have the right of first refusal to CIBC’s assets in that locality, which is what he also demanded from Scotia seems to be a lot of money floating around in Antigua these days.

    https://268today.com/local-news/antigua-renews-calls-to-harvard-university-for-reparations/

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  • “idNovember 4, 2019 1:45 PM

    Owen Arthur in his wisdom – say what else you will – realized that protecting a fledgling political party has a close association with also protecting the democracy.”

    Say what you will it could only be ignorance of or contempt for our system of governance for Owen Arthur to unconstitutionally allocate funds to political organizations not recognized as valid entities in the Constitution. These organizations like the church should be funded by members and supporters.

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  • “and so long as she was satisfied in her mind that Bishop Atherley was “best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government”, or that he commanded the “support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader” then the matter was put beyond pale”.

    I always regarded this as a cop out.
    Long before Professor Welch’s opposition to Mr Atherly’s appointment; i was firm in my view that the appointment was unconstitutional in that the provisions of Section 74(1) were clear and concise and in need of no interpretation. Matter of Fact, Mr Cumberbatch in response to my early submission was moved to remark ” you have a point Mr Skeete albeit inchoate”
    The Governor General cannot turn night into day.
    The question is – Was Mr Atherly “best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government”, or that he commanded the “support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader”
    If the answer is ‘No’ then the Governor General should not have appointed him.
    “satisfied in her mind” does not stand alone.

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  • How does the Constitution determine how a government allocates subventions?

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  • “Because if there are only 2 members of the opposition and they can’t agree then each member constitutes a group.
    But the GG has to choose from the largest single group which does not and cannot exist!!”

    Although the dissension between Mr Thompson and Mr Kellman and particularly by Mr Kellman himself was well publicised : there is no evidence to indicate that an approach was made to the Governor General by Mr Kellman withdrawing his support for Mr Thompson so in effect he Mr Kellman remained “the majority”commanded by Mr Thompson

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  • DavidNovember 6, 2019 11:28 AM

    ‘How does the Constitution determine how a government allocates subventions?”

    This is the domain of Parliament validated by the Constitution but theConstitution does not recognize POLITICAL PARTIES PER SE but a group of elected members- so fledgling parties with unelected members do not qualify as a group and even so it would not be in Mr Arthur’s prerogative to give unless provided for in some piece of legislation approved by Parliament which is a creature of the Constitution.

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  • A government can give a subvention to any group it wished.

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  • “One matter that has seemingly not gained popular currency but that still concerns me however is whether a House of Parliament that is inadequately constituted is competent to pass any legislation. This is in reference to the Senate that passed the recent Constitution (Amendment) Act even though it did not comprise the number of members required by the Constitution to be regarded as the Upper Chamber in section 36(1).”
    Jeff Cumberbatch

    In the midst of this ongoing debate, I have been reflecting on Jeff’s concern. As a result, I have also become concerned.

    Has our constitution been amended in an unconstitutional manner?
    If so, are those amendments legal?
    If they are illegal, how do we make them legal?
    If they are illegal, should we allow their provisions to have effect?
    Does their illegality taint and poison (i.e. have a cascading effect on) laws passed subsequently?

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  • .. and of course is the Dean still a Deane and not a Judge?

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  • Dean!!

    Freudian slip or autocorrect??!!

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  • “DavidNovember 6, 2019 2:10 PM

    A government can give a subvention to any group it wished.”

    Maybe so in the literal sense but not in practice.

    Expenditure of monies from the Consolidated fund must be governed by /incorporated in/ or related to some Statute.Banana republic some might think we be they are rules governing the expenditure of public funds. The Financial Administration and Audit Act provides that :

    Accounting officers must promptly account for money which he is accountable under the appropriate Heads of Expenditure, programmes, sub-programmes and Estimates.

    Accounting officers are responsible for sums of the department voted on by the House of Assembly and must spend sums in accordance with the purpose that Parliament intends.

    Certain organizations receive subventions from Government but such subventions are provided for in the Estmates under -GRANTS TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS

    A MInister under whose portfolio a Statutory Board falls might have more flexibility in the disbursement of funds/grant voted by Parliament under his charge since he is so authorised..

    Like

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