Beware the Trojan Horse @Ministry of Education

 

One of the many observations made about the “useless” Auditor General reports is that the obvious corruption exposed private sector players to have been involved in questionable government contracts. Regrettably malfeasance in public office is endemic to how many governments govern in the region. Some will say it is the lure that attracts members to the political class.

In 2019 there was a debated issue in Antigua around a flawed procedure followed in the acquisition of 6000 e-books for $9 million used in secondary schools. The supplier in the matter was an Indian firm, FortunaPix. At issue was a license fee per user in the amount of $5 million not brought to the attention of the Cabinet of Antigua when the matter was considered for approval. This issue reminded the blogmaster about an issue raised by the Auditor General of Barbados regarding the inability of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to have meters read wirelessly – 2019 Auditor General Report Provokes a Yawn.

It was reported in Barbados this week 5th formers and teachers preparing for CXC CSEC exams next month will be able to access an application known as LernPrep for free up to July 31, 2020. The supplier of the App, FortunaPIX.

Fifth-form students preparing for CXC CSEC final exams in July, now have some help thanks to a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and US-based digital education company, FortunaPIX.

Students and teachers may now access the CSEC Exam App, known as LernPrep, free of cost until July 31. The test preparatory app is a product of OneLern, a brand owned by FortunaPIX.

See CBC Barbados reportFree CXC CSEC Exam App Launched In Barbados

Here are a few questions that spring to mind to what looks like a ‘sweet’ deal.

  1. The free partnership expires on July 31, 2020. What happens next?
  2. The partnership was consummated by Radleigh Consulting…a company responsible for “business and investment” NOT education. Can Barbadians expect an explanation about the “fit for purpose” capability of Radleigh Consulting?
  3. As for FortunaPix, will they be looking to send the Government of Barbados an invoice like they did Antigua and Barbuda recently? See – https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/an-e-textbook-scandal-rocks-antigua/

With a revenue of $21M and “island connections” it cannot be that hard for outside investors to get a foothold in the Caribbean market at this time of need. Especially with the reluctance by government to operationalize Integrity Legislation. Is this another case of all that glitters is not gold?

 

123 comments

  • Who are the principals behind Radleigh Consulting? Where are they based? What was their introductory fee? Why does Barbados (Caricom) need an education app from a ‘Indian@ company?
    At this stage in our development we should be able to develop our own apps. What is the deal with Fortunapix after July 31? Who introduced Radleigh Consulting to the Ministry of Education? Why is the prime minister of Barbados giving them a reference? Is this normal?
    Every policy initiative by this government confirms that we are a failed state. It is going to end in t ears.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Critical Analyzer

    ‘the “useless” Auditor General reports’ are not useless. Auditing is probably the only profession left that has improved on their integrity out of pure necessity. They must maintain their reputation by consistently producing accurate reports otherwise they will not get work.

    Blame needs to be placed squarely on the shoulders of those with the power to do something about the reports and don’t. If you own a house and ask an engineer to do an assessment on your roof and he says your roof has in holes that need fixing, are you going to blame the owner or the engineer when the rain pours and you get soaked siting on your sofa watching TV?

    The only solution is to re-examine the procurement process, plug the loopholes and start dishing out partial or total loss of future pension depending on the severity of the breaches of the process.

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  • BDLP Corruption

    DID THIS CONTRACT GO OUT TO TENDER? Who got a cut?

    The Caribbean has always been an exciting and viable destination to set up an off shore business, a corporate hub to launch into the North American and Latin worlds or to simply a destination to relocate for a better quality of life.

    The economies in the Caribbean are all experiencing an upshift, and these small island states are slowly increasing their ranks in global business and economic indicators, attracting more and more foreign direct investment to their shores.

    However, unless you know how to navigate the peculiarities of doing business or relocating to the Caribbean, processes, approvals, and applications may take longer than anticipated. Once you are here, having a friend on island to show you the ropes always helps.

    Through our network, clients will have immediate access to key decision makers and the top local and international executives operating or living in the region to navigate through these (what may seem rough) Caribbean seas.

    Headquartered in Barbados, Radleigh Consulting can help launch any business in the English speaking Caribbean. With a strong focus on legal and tax advice, corporate services, strategic communications, media relations, marketing and crisis management, Radleigh Consulting can be there every step of the way, ensuring that you are linked with only the very best.

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  • Friends & Family

    She is well connected as PM friend and Jessica Odle-Basil friend https://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/82167/barbados-hospice

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  • @BDLP

    From the names of the principals of Radleigh they seem to be offering services they are not qualified to give. Why does the government of Barbados need so many ‘consultants’ to carry out roles that a 25000-strong civil service should be more than capable of doing?
    We need to challenge these government decisions in court.

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  • Is Jessica Odle related to Tudor the undertakers? Who is this Sodeen woman?

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  • State capitalism … fascism!!!

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  • Can’t be anything other than be corrupt so what’s new.

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  • It is an app, with free access ending July 31st. CXC ends the first week in August. I would assume and hope that being an app (part of a full suite of online learning apps that is accessible from anywhere in the world) it would be available for purchase by all CXC students across the Caribbean going forward.
    The government would have been silly to tender, rather than go directly to a firm with a track record in learning apps, given the urgency–CXC exams start July 14th. Did they tender for the Harrison Point facility? No, and for obvious and similar reasons!
    The Radleigh people are not building the app, therefore why must they be experts in education? This is hilarious coming on a blog where most are experts in everything.
    Seeking clarity on what “facilitated” means, however, is valid.

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  • anytime you see consultancy groups popping up for services that can be done locally, look out, stealing is being legitimised.

    these are old tricks. bring in a group to consult, pay them an exorbitant fee for services that purportedly cannot be sourced locally, you get a 10% fee later down the line, they get their normal fee or a slight enhancement, you find positions for your lackeys and then call that wally.

    this is the template for this Govt.

    we will also see this when BWA announce its investigation into the malfeasance

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  • Enuff June 20, 2020 6:46 AM

    Those are rather ‘richly’ informed comments coming from a man who claims no connections to or hands-on awareness of the inner workings and decision-making processes conducted under the current administration.

    BTW, how come you have so much time on your hands to get so deeply ‘involved’ in such miniscule matters when you should be in the chair at those high-level meetings to discuss the erection of 35 storey buildings while you remain taciturn as a town rat in the act of climbing the Bajan erection called Lord Nelson in broad daylight?

    But we forget that you are a man of many talents capable of lying in any bed to satisfy his political desires.

    We are surprised you haven’t seen how your master, the multi-millionaire MAM No.2 has gone and put his money in another cookie jar of broken investments. Now where does that leave the erection of the Lighthouse on the Bay but in the dark??

    We will leave you lot of deceitful MFs to the likes of Adonijah and his Rasta brethren!

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  • …this is the template for this Govt.

    we will also see this when BWA announce its investigation into the malfeasance…

    Correction, this has been the template for all our governments.

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  • a way to get around the tendering process is to send out request for proposal (RFP) targeted at businesses which are considered leaders in the particular area you want to do business. inform them about what you are striving for and then they send you their business proposal as to how this can be achieved.

    on the surface this sounds good and above board. dig deeper and you will see Govts either hiring a particular company to structure the RFP (as Govt claims it has no personnel who could so do) or constructing the RFP is such a way that only a certain company (often which is affiliated with the minister and or friends) can meet the requirements.

    often the company which structured the RFP will have a clause in its present contract that says nothing in its present contract should preclude it from bidding for substantive contract which it is now structuring. in other words – it can answer the RFP that it is now completing.

    Govt often claims it has to do this because it is rushed for time, the normal tendering process is too cumbersome, and there is no one in the country that could do the job. about 1% of such claims are correct.

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  • (Quote):
    this is the template for this Govt. (Unquote).
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    A template inherited by the previous DLP administration from the OSA regime and now easily adopted and adapted to fit the agenda of the current one.

    Isn’t it the same MO Donville employed too often and got his ‘left’ hand stuck in the kickback cookie jar made of too much ste(a]l smelted in the US of A?

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  • David,

    as far as i am aware ‘all our Govts’ are now in power at this time. that notwithstanding, wasnt this Govt elected to break this cycle?

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  • “The government would have been silly to tender, rather than go directly to a firm with a track record in learning apps, given the urgency–CXC exams start July 14th. Did they tender for the Harrison Point facility? No, and for obvious and similar reasons!”

    Here they come again with the expertise and the urgency….

    Do you remember how quickly a deal was signed with White Hoax just after the elections? How urgent and pressing it was to have this deal? One would have to be a fool to believe that the search was started after May 24.
    More importantly, do you recall how one of the justifications for White Hoax was their impressive expertise in debt reconstruction?

    Well it looks as if they dusted off that old explanation, removed the name White Hoax and replaced it with FortunaPix and sent out the same apologists to start the ball rolling.
    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me; what do they say about fool me thrice? Are we going to turn the other cheek seventy times seven?

    Here’s their 1, 2, 3, 4 plan.. urgency, expertise, Enuff, and then the rest of the Mugabe Defense force.

    Enuff of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Why would this government deal with a company cast under a cloud in another island. The land of the former Birds. Even if the Indian company is bona fides the optics man from a government that promised THE COVENANT OF HOPE man!

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  • @ Greene
    RFPs can also lead to cartels. Company officials talk to each other. This is a problem with rules-based regulation. What is needed is a principles-based public sector, so that people masquerading as so-called ‘consultants’ (in the UK consultants are middle class people without a proper job, they are business pimps, really), cannot interject in every aspect of government business. It is not a free service, they add their bit on top of the charges.
    A properly constituted civil service can provide expert advice to ministers; if ministers ignore advice from their civil servants then they should be asked to explain.
    Education is sour core product for the development of Barbados. In 2020 we should not be bashing our heads against a brick wall about our young people’s education.
    This is a further sign, if proof was needed, of a lack of strategic vision, leadership and transparency. These are the symptoms of a failed government.

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  • David,
    the short answer is that it knows it can work with this company to achieve the results it desires. recommendations would have been sought from Govt representatives in Antigua. politicians have their network like everybody else.

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  • It would be interesting to find out who did the due diligence if it was done or alternatively who recommended the Indian company. More importantly though, where is any attempt transparency.

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  • @Hal,

    agreed. havent heard that term ‘principal based’ since the FSA was absorbed by BOE.

    every one of my two cent mates have a consultancy. a real joke, they are. 99% of them are bollocks to fool the tax man, and Caribbean politicians because they want to be fooled.

    i am predicting that when the AG sets up his Integrity Unit it will be manned and or set up on recommendation from a British consultancy group and will be restructured 2 years after that.

    i also predict that the AG will set up this unit a year before the elections for a second term

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  • It’s a beautiful morning where I am.
    Soccer is back live again and even though they are dubbing it with the noise of the crowd it’s not he same.
    Have a great day Barbados.

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  • @David

    “due diligence”

    What makes you tink due diligence was not conducted. It would have went something like this. Company approaches high level civil servant, minister of government etc. to facilitate an idea for people to get some corrupt graft $. Now the due diligence starts, let’s approach known corrupt suppliers and see who’ll let us skim off the most for ourselves. Behind the scenes undocumented negotiations are now underway, expedience is primary as they do not want any leaks of info at this stage. Supplier(s) offering the best graft proposal given the nod, then a photo op and announcement of a GREAT DEAL THE HAS BEEN NEGOTIATED AND THE EXTREME BENEFITS TO THE COUNTRY. Several new Mercedes purchased, houses renovated etc.

    SAME OLD SAME OLD.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ TheOgazerts June 20, 2020 7:30 AM
    “Well it looks as if they dusted off that old explanation, removed the name White Hoax and replaced it with FortunaPix and sent out the same apologists to start the ball rolling.
    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me; what do they say about fool me thrice? Are we going to turn the other cheek seventy times seven?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You could have ‘hit’ serendipitously upon a hidden connection like the broken water mains of the BWA where all the consumers’ money goes.

    Why do you think the man with the affected accent dubbed the All Seasons slick(ed) hair back salesman is still around in the background as the Medici of Advisory & Consultancy services?

    If Hal A. was really worth his journalistic salt he would have been on to this investigative trail like a hungry Ivy road dog smelling out a discarded pilchard can.

    Liked by 1 person

  • When you want to know about a company start by googling the name of the company.

    I spent half hour googling and so can you.

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  • There is no evidence that there is malfeasance with the deal only that it smells.

    @Khaleel, over to you.

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  • Miller
    It is called RESEARCH! Note David refers to Khaleel for insider info, not me. FYI, the meetings this week were about a 40-storey and a 26-storey. If you’re going to be fixated on proving I am a liar….keep up!

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  • How many Caribbean educators were involved in creating the ” specifications ” for the “CSEC Exam App, known as LernPrep” ?

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  • The reactions here prove to me once again that we just oppose for opposing sake. In 2018, 237,245 students sat CSEC exams. CSEC exams is a yearly event. The app is free until July 31st. The more apps a developer has for Android/Apple the better for them. Go figure!

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  • @enuff

    There is a transparency element to the transaction not satisfied. What is the plan or expectation after July 31.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Referring to the auditor general reports as useless was a reaction to rising of apathy and cynicism in the population about a check that is supposed to promote and protect good governance and it doesn’t. All governments members of the duopoly have failed at making it work. The time has come and gone to answer why.

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  • @ Enuff June 20, 2020 9:38 AM

    No Enuff, it’s not a ‘fixation’ but a checklist on your antecedents.

    From sitting in the decision-making room in awarding contracts to be vicariously transported to sit in some metropolis to sit in a high chair to pronounce upon the construction of 40 and 26 storeys of buildings made up of tall stories.

    What you are proffering to justify the absence of public tendering can also be applied to the nefarious deeds committed under the previous administration especially when it involved the ‘giving out’ of the BWA water and sewerage contracts.

    No one is against your blind support of any political party. Just don’t make yourself look like a bleeding fool by lying unnecessarily to justify any decision your political friends make, whether good or bad.

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  • Looks like the same old pattern

    First he/she rushes out with a weak defense and appears to indicate a sound knowledge pf the process or lack of process of selecting a company.

    Then the horde (MDF – Mugabe defense force arrives) and tells you who is a jackass, who is a D, who is supporting Caswell, the enemies list, and how great Mia is.

    Did you notice how they put up the bat light and called for Koochie Koo, Koochie Koo will then waste time and occupy the crease like he is a Geoffrey Boycott;

    Then the front man will do a superman/Clark Kent conversion and retreat claiming he/she has no insider information; he/she don’t know Mia, etc.

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  • Nonsense about malfeasance. The basic fact that the ministry is interacting with a so-called consultancy is itself unethical. How many civil servants are there in the ministry? What unique information/knowledge did these so-called consultants bring to the table? What was their fee? Why is Ms Mottley giving them a reference? Is this a reference based on government work or is it a personal one?

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  • The opposition is once again continuing its campaign of lies. The image of our minister implies that she is caught up in corruption. We really should distance ourselves strongly from such statements!

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  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    In Mia were transparency and good governance promised. It was a promise that was meant to ensure that the type of governance under the DLP, never, ever happens again. To this end, Mia ensured that her rhetoric kept in line with the upset nature of the masses.
    What happened to all the transparency, open governance, and keeping Bajans abreast with the manner in which the government undertake its financials. She is very much aware that the Auditor General reports do not paint a pretty picture of how each successive government has operated in cloak while their daggers pierced deeply into the treasury under the guise of various schemes intended to line pockets and make many merry.
    The fact that she has not done one shite to show that she will make the office of auditor general fitter and stronger to delve into the nasty doings of crooks on both sides, shows clearly that it makes no sense seeking to understand why 6 is half a dozen.
    As I have repeatedly said, I will give credit where credit is due, but when Mottley can fix it so that a statute of limitation protects the prominence, give tax breaks to help the relatives, and friends can get the constitution bent to accommodate their positions in the senate, neglecting the auditor general reports on the thieving and unaccountable financial nonsense that goes on in ministries, tells me that Mottley is simply the playing the game, pampering the asses of the foolish with pretty speeches, while the suffering grows and the pain increases.

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  • @Sunshine

    The president has spent all her adult life aiming to be prime minister of Barbados. Now she has achieved her ambition, we now know there is nothing else to her.
    No vision, no idea of the kind of Barbados she would like to see. All she has done is moved on to bigger things – she now wants to be world class.
    Empty speeches, gesticulating, finger pointing, bogus claims, it all means nothing if it is not coming from a good place. Ask her if Black Lives Matter? As her if police officer Everton Gittens will face the courts?
    Part of this is that the BU commentariat has a very short attention span and Mottley knows this. @Mariposa we need you more than ever.

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  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Hal Austin

    You might just be right. How much time do you need to establish mechanisms to address the AG reports? The answer is no time at all because they will be no time spent on dealing with any of the issues coming forth from those reports. Compared that to the time it took Mottley to bestow her beloved with a Knighthood, change the constitution and give tax breaks is a clear indication that Mottley does not intend to address the brokenness in government finances. After all, the current set up is what got a lot of them rich beyond their wildest dreams. I am inclined, therefore, to say that Mottley is merely keeping up appearances while her base benefits, and begging- suffering idiots sing her praise.

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  • David
    “What is the plan or expectation after July 31.”

    Does CSEC end after July 31? Isn’t the app designed to prepare students for exams based on the CSEC curricula and questions from past papers (standard practice for Caribbean students preparing for CE, CSEC, CAPE, UWI etc)? Does it allow practice questions, instant feedback on scores, errors, correct responses etc? I must be misreading the purpose of apps and how they make money, if the plan going forward for this one is not obvious.

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  • @enuff

    Time will tell.

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  • Miller
    “From sitting in the decision-making room in awarding contracts to be vicariously transported to sit in some metropolis to sit in a high chair to pronounce upon the construction of 40 and 26 storeys…”

    I don’t know what room I sat in when contracts were being awarded. Do remind me.🤔

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  • The possibility of victimization limits speaking out about the lack of adherence to Government’s financial rules which frustrates the auditor general’s purpose.
    We are caged animals assigned roles that seemingly we can never change unless we opt to leave the cage in an healthy or unhealthy state of mind or body.

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  • William Skinner

    @ Hal
    There are two ministries where any government, can breed corruption easily: Education which has been a cesspool of both professional and corporate corruption for decades. Going back decades ago to the textbook scam and more recently Edutech.
    Construction speaks for itself re: Mark Maloney ; spanning both major parties.
    The irony here being that we are vicious against the private sector for seeking work permits for jobs they claim they can’t find Bajans to do , while we turn a blind eye to governments spending millions to hire consultants for jobs , that you correctly noted, can be easily done by civil servants, whom we claim are lazy and have nothing to do.
    It has reached such a ridiculous stage that an independent candidate, in the last election, is now a consultant in the Ministry of Agriculture!
    “Garbage in garbage out“

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  • William Skinner

    June 20, 2020 8:59 AM
    @ David
    You said
    “There is no evidence that there is malfeasance with the deal only that it smells.”

    So , pray tell old chap, what smells?
    BTW old buddy, if there is no malfeasance or evidence in the deal, why would it smell?

    “Things get curiouser and curiouser”
    ( Alice in Wonderland)

    Liked by 1 person

  • It smells because we need to have been given more details by government officials about the deal. Do you know that malfeasance took place William?

    >

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  • over the last 20 years the term consultant has been degraded to the extent that all it means is an independent agent who is used to bypass the normal workers in the civil service so as not to pay benefits and through whom one can facilitate graft.

    in a place like Bim where there is an army of civil workers of all kinds when you hear the Govt is hiring consultants in the form of gurus, czars and other hangers-on, beware, the deck is stacked and in more ways than one

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  • @ William
    There is an absence of ethical behaviour in our politics and a deference by our citizens that is terrifying. We allow politicians to promise us the moon when campaigning and, when in office, proceed to pilfer the national exchequer as if it is their ATM.
    They share out jobs to family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and supporters as if jobs were going out of turn a blind eye to the unethical, often criminal, behaviour of their friends and fellow parliamentarians, yet the people remain silent. We get the governments we vote for, even if not what we deserve.
    @William, education, as you know, is our most important institution, the foundation of our future, yet party after party, government after government, Bees after Dees, have continued to neglect it.
    They do so for a number of reasons. First, because it does not impact on them as a family; they send their children to Canada (a favourite with white Barbadians), the UK and US, to be educated, or at least for their higher education, and for their early years education, to private institutions in Barbados.
    The only way to stop this is by barring all privately educated children from being eligible for Barbados scholarships and other national awards. Once you have done this, the educated and articulate middle class professionals who would drive up the standards in our schools will come out campaigning, rather than keeping quiet.
    Until then, it is a dog eat dog world; crabs in a barrel; a social Darwinian survival of the fittest and best connected.

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  • William Skinner

    June 21, 2020 7:13 AM
    @ David
    You wrote:
    “It smells because we need to have been given more details by government officials about the deal. Do you know that malfeasance took place William?“

    No, no, no, no.

    That’s why I asked.

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  • Barbadians as a matter of routine must ask questions, probe the issues, constantly call our officials to account. We tend the cherrypick issues based on what?

    The rise of citizen journalism continues to embarrass the fourth estate.

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  • William Skinner

    @ Hal
    Imagine that people can pay $4000 to send little Jonnie to a private school
    then the masses whom littleJonniee is taught to avoid have to facilitate his secondary education at the best public grammar schools in the country. Little Johnny then goes on to the UWI and then again the same masses , sweltering in the heat of the minibus; dilapidated houses and working for less than $300 BDS per week underwrites his education.
    In the meantime , we talk about equality and a level playing field.
    No wonder then , that Comrade Trevor Prescod, a government minister, recently said that the poor are getting poorer and of course that was a serious indictment of his government ,after two years in office but who pays attention to such statements.
    On June 3rd Nation newspaper Comrade Prescod said:
    “….. poverty was increasing and that some low-income workers were resorting to building plywood houses
    …..there is a necessity for a building code ….but in a very pragmatic sense what I am experiencing is because of all that is happening around us ; the society is being driven back into abject poverty”

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  • @ William

    Trevor Prescod is rooted in sound politics. He is fully aware that much of what passes for government policy in terms of tax breaks, waivers, etc is in fact the transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy. I will be disappointed otherwise.
    He is fully aware that our ordinary primary and secondary schools are under-resourced, while the wealthy can afford private tutorials for their children.
    Many of our protestors can fully understand when whites inherit privilege and social and career advantages, what they do not fully understand is when the immediate benefactors of these advantages are black, they get confused.
    They mix up race, colourism and social status. They seem to think if a white police officer shoots George Floyd that is lynching; but if a black police officer in Barbados comes out and shoots his neighbour, that is unfortunate; or if the son or daughter of a brown-skinned Bajan get a pick as a consultant that is the price of a good education. They also like titles, Drs and PhDs, and MAs in something called political sociology from the LSE, or being lawyers.
    @Wiliam this will continue until the people say enough is enough.

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  • @Hal

    when you say the privately educated receiving Barbados scholarships, what do you mean? as far as i am aware, you are only eligible for a Bim scholarship if you attend a public secondary school or BCC, and they are very few private secondary schools in Bim.

    if you mean privately educated primary school students who then go onto public secondary schools, i dont see an issue.

    yes, some send their children to uni overseas but as far as i can tell except for socialisation and the option to seek citizenship, at least in the case of Canada, i dont see any advantage in that. in fact i think it is a waste of money.

    i must admit that my children were privately educated for secondary school and got first at uni in the UK and the equivalent of first in Canada. nevertheless to me they are no more educated than anyone who went to uni in the WI.

    from my personal point of view, when i left Cawmere having completed 6th form and went to the UK i knew more than many comparable UK students. it is my considered opinion that we dont know what a sound education we get in Bim. that notwithstanding we need to veer our academics toward the technical and vocational more.

    i am v proud of my education i received at Cawmere especially in 6th form where i did liberal arts subjects. even though i have degrees and other professional qualifications it prepared me for the world.

    like every human i made a lot of mistakes professionally and personally but through it all my 6th form education and the argumentation we involved ourselves in with our teachers and among ourselves are what i remember most and what have underpinned my personality and how i view the world. thank you Bim and Cawmere.

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  • @ Greene

    As any experienced educator will tell you, early years education set the foundation for later progress. The white community and the black middle class professionals nearly all pay for private tuition for their children, even though they may formally be going to public schools.
    It sets them up to pass the 11+, and with continuing tutorials, they outperform their other class mates, therefore putting them in an advantageous position for life.
    Hardworking working class boys have to struggle to keep up. I remember a few years ago the chairman of BU, in reference to Tom Adams’ son, said he had heard politics being discussed at the family dinner table.
    I benefited from Mr Greenidge’s private lessons like many of my contemporaries, and we did not have dinner table conversation in my home, but rum shop ones – more interesting and informative.
    I will never forget that intervention by the BU chairman, since it set the tone, it told us of a mindset, of how ordinary people see the middle classes and accept their bogus status.
    @Greene, much of what we are discussing now as a nation should have been discussed fifty years ago. That we are doing it now is further proof of the failure of our political leaders.
    You talk about the quality of education we GET in Barbados. I would say the quality of education we USED to get in Barbados. There is a difference.
    You may recall I mention St Giles quite often in this blog; I am sure I do not get over the full impact of that education to readers. Just thinking of J.O. Morris, the old headmaster, brings tears to the eyes. His dedication, his commitment, his empathy, to rich and poor, can only be seen now from decades later. It was at St Giles that I firsts thought I liked this education lark.
    But, sadly, I have seen younger men than myself coming on BU and rubbishing with apparent confidence, what I call old Barbados. Those old values and customs gave me enormous bragging rights with my white colleagues in the UK (including, funnily enough, the Transport Board).
    It was that education that earned us our reputation down the islands. But our bad historians do not know, or care, about our actual social history.
    I will end on this: for over 100 years we have been spending taxpayers’ money on Barbados Scholarships, but in that time has never done an audit of cost/benefit. Think about it.

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  • @ Hal,

    we may all be guilty of looking back at our school days thru rosy tinted lens. i went to a rural primary school and when the common entrance came up we received lessons from the school itself. we went to lessons during the Easter break for an hour or two. those days the teachers and the village awaited the results with baited breath and successful students were celebrated.

    wrt the Barbados Scholarships nowadays v few students from traditional poor background win those. yes we will find that those who could afford extra lessons and whose families are affluent enough to afford that win scholarships. sometimes the winners’ parents and or siblings were previous winners too

    whilst that is so i dont know whether i would stop it. there is a need, i believe, to recognise and celebrate outstanding results. whether that has to be in the form of fully paid for govt scholarships and mostly paid for exhibitions is another matter. at one point i was in favour of means testing for Bim scholarships and for uni education but i have since witnessed the erosion of middle class earning power to the extent that some of them are working poor.

    i have a friend whose son struck her car. when she came on the scene she cried. he had no licence and she had let his friend drive him to an appointment but on the way back he begged the friend to drive. she was crying because the insurance would not cover him and breaking down she admitted that she only had a $1000 in her account and was still paying the car loan and a mortgage. on top of that she had sent him away to college where he had partied hard and was failing.

    i say all that to say that the so called middle class in Bim is a farce. they are living on borrowed money. so i have reservations about paying for uni education and stopping the Barbados scholarship awards at least the monetary portion of it.

    to answer your question, an audit will reveal that many of them dont return to Bim but i am not sure that is a bad thing. Many, like me and i am not a scholarship winner, support family, have property, direct tourists to Bim or generally remit money to Bim

    Like

  • I believe the Passaic Valley Water Commission is like our BWA. Note that these contracts are for non-competitive bidding, but they are published.

    Click to access notice-of-contract-award_06_10_2020.pdf

    Like

  • I believe the Passaic Valley Water Commission serve a similar purpose as our BWA. Note that these contracts are for non-competitive bidding, but they are published. Here is the link. Explore at leisure

    https://www.pvwc.com/notice-of-contract-award-6-10-2020/

    Like

  • How it should be done…

    Here is New Jersey District Service Water Commission with links for Requests for Bids and Requests for Proposals

    https://www.njdwsc.com/public-info/pages/request-proposals

    Like

  • I hope you noticed the transparency.

    The worst contract is probability a no-bid contract with the terms hidden from the public.

    They act as if it is their money and we are too stupid to understand how the money was spent. That is a fertile ground for corruption.

    Like

  • So far from the info deposited in the public no money was passed because the App is free for a limited period.

    Like

  • Thanks.
    But how does it end?
    Time will tell.
    With the absence of information we must wait snd see.

    Like

  • Here is what we know, both governments have been found wanting when it comes to transparency in public office and good governance. We citizens have a right to be cynical and distrustful of decisions taken by the political class.

    >

    Like

  • David
    I glad you have come around to realising how an app for CSEC prep is advantageous to a developer in the business of online exam prep after July 31st.

    Like

  • Theogaz

    “Looks like the same old pattern. First he/she rushes out with a weak defense and appears to indicate a sound knowledge pf the process or lack of process of selecting a company.”

    I never have insider info, I use my lil brain. Now I repeated what David said and you talking a pile ah shite. Just when I thought you were starting to make sense. Stupse.

    Like

  • Let’s agree that there are several interests with the national interest being one of them.

    If it is in the national interest then I will gladly link hands with the MDF and pursue the cause.

    If it is in the duopoly interest, we will part ways. Therefore, more piles will be headed your way.

    Like

  • Remember reading on the US Embassy website some years ago that AmericanS should allow their children to attend primary school here but send them to attend High School in US because the school curriculum here was limited.
    Remember studying with college students at UWI and realizing unlike us they liked being spoon fed, was good at memorizing but had challenges analyzing.
    Realized that scholarship winners still focus on the traditional professions and few opt for technical fields
    Realized that SJPIT was now for students with 5 CXCs and not like before for those with a technical bent and few CXCs
    Know that the leading student lending body parameters supported students from the lower economic income level but there was always a battle adhering to this
    Recognized the perception that a degree gave mobility caused too many to study Social Work; a degree that provides little or no work mobility.
    Accept that education in Barbados does not teach the soft skills or basic financing or focus on analysis.
    Accepted this society does not like change but cliquing, bullying and mocking. Sadly the engines on our economic machine are worn and though they can no longer sustain our past lifestyle, nothing is being done to fix them.
    Scholarship & exhibition winners have strategists supporting their aspirations. Study hard with additional lessons if necessary & without having to perform a task at home to win these prizes. Meanwhile those from the lower economic income must access Cuba or Chinese scholarships. Thank God life is a journey & not a destination

    Like

  • The more things change the more they remain the same?

    Like

  • If Ruth A Holder is the wife of a BLP politician, It is completely reasonable to expect that she could feed at the trough and on the IMF fattened calf.

    However she is probably the most qualified Barbadian available so we should wish her success in her endeavours.

    Liked by 1 person

  • David
    This job was advertised. Again I ask, should a Barbadian be barred from a government job because he/she is related to or married to an MP?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @enuff

    Not at all. She must eat. All we are doing here is spotting a light on the appointment on the wife of a prominent government MP.

    Like

  • To a job that was advertised. The husband is not a member of Cabinet far less the Minister of Transport and the woman is qualified. You realise how slippery a slope this is if we start to go down the road of degrees of separation? We always lacking context.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @enuff

    He is the Speaker. Have no issue with if she is qualified BUT it does perpetuate the belief in the public place that it is a boys AND girls club re political class.

    Like

  • lets flip this. i wonder what the commentary would have been like if this was the wife of the speaker under a DLP govt?

    Like

  • @ Greene

    A big party of the problem is that people who may be perceived as having an improper connection with these positions must control themselves and not apply for certain positions.
    But trouble is, in a small community with limited opportunities, most senior and middle manager positions are in the public sector. It is a wider issue of ethics in public life and trust. Once the public loses trust in our leaders then everything they do, however innocent, will be suspect.

    Like

  • Greene
    You should go flip through the latest AG Report or the news story about Mr.Parris being in custody for $3.3M Gate. Then re-think your query. Read the expert’s point in the 2nd para about smallness.

    Like

  • you should flip thru the AG reports for the 14 years the BLP was in power and the issues connected with the building at the top of Kendal Hill, the GEMS project, Harwood, the half million dollar public bathroom etc.

    Parris was also close to OSA, was he not?

    Like

  • @Hal,

    the BLP campaigned to fix all the so called graft, nepotism, jobs for friends and family that they said were ubiquitous in the DLP’s 10 years. MAM and the Bees promised transparency and regulations to fix all this.

    Like

  • lets flip this. i wonder what the commentary would have been like if this was the wife of the speaker under a DLP govt? {Quote}

    @ Greene

    For uh intelligent man, you does always come with these simple foolish yard fowlish comments.

    You mean the same like when your Speaker khah way that old man money and refuse to answer when the man call he?

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @enuff
    “and the woman is qualified”
    for what? apart from the names of past employers, and education, what experience does the candidate have as a Director (leader) of anything, or experience in the field of transportation.
    I must say, the continuance of the GoB to locate candidates for public posts from ‘within the family’ is quite astounding.

    Like

  • Greene
    OSA din write a false invoice implicating a QC wrongfully though. The job was advertised and the lady seems adequately qualified based on the job description in the ad. I thought nepotism is about unfairness? You want the interview panel scores?

    Like

  • Let them eat cake.
    President Mugabe dispenses yet more largesse to the Inner Circle.
    Yet more square pegs in round holes.
    And yet yard fowls trying to defend the indefensible.

    To a job that was advertised. The husband is not a member of Cabinet far less the Minister of Transport
    Nothing to see here folks. Corruption and nepotism can only happen if a job is not ‘advertised’ or if a job falls under the direct ministry of a family connection.

    Like

  • Can anyone source the ad? Just want to read the fine print where it read “ A preferred candidate has been identified” 😊

    Like

  • @ Greene

    The president has done as she promised. Changed the constitution so that childhood friends can sit in the Senate, and gave her dad a knighthood. She is a lady of her word.

    Like

  • Northern
    I am tired of your type of thinking. Tired! It is outdated. What are the functions and duties of the Transport Authority? What is the role of the Director and why would experience in the field of transportation be a prerequisite to effectively manage? Based on your reasoning, we should just have a revolving door of directors and managers? But wasn’t the lady a senior manager in the private sector? When it was the Exec Chair at QEH, the argument was it should have been advertised. Now it has been advertised, a different story. We need to stop masquerading as progressive thinkers. All yuh just like saying things because it sounds good. Laughbly, BU gang members are each experts in everything and know everything without an iota of experience in one. But one must have experience in transportation to head a transport authority. 🤣🤣

    Like

  • @ Enuff June 23, 2020 11:43 AM
    “Greene
    You should go flip through the latest AG Report or the news story about Mr.Parris being in custody for $3.3M Gate. Then re-think your query. Read the expert’s point in the 2nd para about smallness.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If you think you can assign any kudos to your ‘red’ friends for the arrest of the leper Greenverbs fella you better don’t step into this nest of red ants to open any CLICO Pandora’s box.

    Even your opposite number Green(e) must shitting bricks about what has happened to his DLP friend and former financial backer Green(e)verbs.

    Will the get-rich-quick Hal the Galloping lawyer be also shivering in his tax-dodging boots?

    Thank goodness for the roles the EU and OECD are playing in naming and shaming the GoB for its blatant refusal to allow the sword of Justice to do its job.

    The aggrieved former CLICO policyholders should show a bit of gratitude to the ‘white shadows’ which have let down the gauntlet by telling the local political cabal of corruption that ‘you either make an example of one of your local scam artist and conmen or we will continue to ‘blacklist’ your country by consistently classifying you as an uncooperative tax haven.

    We are left to wonder who is next on that list of sacrificial lambs in order for the current administration to attract the ears of those holding the aces in the offshore banking and financial business poker game.

    Will it be any one connected with the Donville “Gate” affair but still receiving protection from the local political and law enforcement dons?

    We shall be contacting our ‘friends and connections’ in the EU and OECD for the low-down on this scoop.

    ‘Those who seek equity [ in the court of international business] must come with clean hands.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @enuff
    BE TIRED. Nothing in the release, and we know these things get padded to the max, speaks of “managing” anybody, it speaks of ‘marketing’ and having held ‘senior positions’. The interpretation of “senior” seems to vary widely.
    Her linked in profile says she left MG 10 years ago, as the ‘Caribbean Area Manager’ (was she managing staff or a region?) and since then has been the Office manager at the law offices at Holder Chambers. (I will guess the other employers listed were prior to MG?) How come this most recent extended experience never made the announcement?
    DO YOUR HOMEWORK @enuff. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-holder-7721a615/
    And then you are musing, that consumer packaged goods and office manager at a small law firm is easily transferable as to the head (Director in Bajan speak) of anything? transportation experience not needed.
    https://ta.gov.bb/About/Mandate/
    The Transport Authority’s primary function is to plan, monitor and regulate the public transport system in Barbados.
    Based on the provisions of the Transport Authority Act 2007-28 some of the primary functions are:
    to undertake planning for the public transport system
    to monitor and regulate the public transport system
    to issue, cancel, suspend licenses of drivers and conductors of public service vehicles
    to issue, suspend or revoke permits in respect of public service vehicles
    to restrict the use of motor omnibuses, minibuses and route taxis to specified routes
    to regulate and restrict the number of motor omnibuses minibuses and route taxis on specified routes
    to supervise the conduct of business in the passenger terminals
    to publish current information on public transport services
    to establish timetables to be observed by drivers and conductors of motor omnibuses minibuses and route taxis
    to determine the siting of lay-by and the location of bus stops for the picking up and setting down of passengers using motor omnibuses, minibuses and route taxis

    NOW, read the posting, which incidentally appeared several days BEFORE the former occupant’s departure was formally announced

    And you are still of the opinion that intimate knowledge of the transport sector in Barbados is merely an ‘nice addition’ to management skills? That ad was written for her!!!!

    All I can say, is the general qualifications of applicants must have been ‘below average’. They must have had nuff nuff applicants based on the requirements.
    #timetoshedtheyardfowlcape

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    my error, I cannot read dates, the prior holder of the position departed in 2019, not 2020. hence long before the job posting appeared

    Like

  • Here are two sources for the job. The second link may require a little work on your part.

    https://www.caribbeanjobs.com/Director-of-Transport-Job-102254.aspx#

    Like

  • there is graft and then there is graft. the various assistant ministers, gurus, czars, advisers and other hangers-on can be considered nothing more than sinecures granted by MAM. so much so that it may represent legal thievery for want of a better term. it is right in your face. those who have eyes will see it. those with a bee in their bonnet with defend it.

    BTW isnt it coincidental that ministers’ wives are now the in thing

    Like

  • The truth is I stopped reading him.
    However, if HA can call for the return of Mariposa, then 🙂 I must call for the return of Koochie Koo”
    @Koochie Koo, we need you more than ever 🙂

    Like

  • Northern
    Now you’ve done your research what in the list of functions and duties makes experience in transportation necessary to be an effective Director? You are a fossil!

    Like

  • ‘Now you’ve done your research what in the list of functions and duties makes experience in transportation necessary to be an effective Director? ‘

    BTW: I reached Director level at a former company. \
    Now that I am aware of your square peg to round hole philosophy and minimum qualification of a Director title at some time in life, I hope you will give TheoGazerts the nod for any Director post that I applied for.

    PS: I hope you will accept my friend’s application for DCOP. He was a horner man and claims he has ‘deputy’ experience.

    Yuh gun kill muh.

    Like

  • Wuhlaus! can you spot the difference?

    Sandra Forde: Bank Manager, no experience in transportation, General Manager at TA
    Ruth Holder: Office Manager, no experience in Transportation, Director of Transport at TA

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @enuff

    read
    **Provide ADVICE on ALL aspects of public TRANSPORT policy…..
    Pray tell, how can somebody provide ADVICE, when they don’t know crappo about transportation or transportation policy.

    Tell us, is S.C.Johnson and offshore holding company, and what function did the candidate provide there?

    Imagine the Director of the TA, is only required to have FOUR YEARS of senior (whatever the hell that is) management experience. They didn’t even fabricate the typical line of “increasingly senior positions”.
    This is a sham hiring and you know it.
    All you have latched onto is my line..”OR experience in transportation”. It diverts from nothing. This is a sub-par candidate, who may well meet the low requirements of the job posting.
    keep calling me names, it looks good on you.

    Like

  • i think he/she is a bright lad/lass, but too lazy to think through to a position and vigorously defend it.
    Believes that if you throw paint at a wall some of it will stick. Paint job done.

    Boys and girls “Have a great night. It was fun”.
    I demand that we bring back Koochie Koo.

    @Koochie Koo, we need you more than ever 🙂

    Have a great night Barbados.

    Like

  • I have been on this blog pre-2018 election calling for a different mindset about how we view recruitment in Barbados. My position has not changed. The fact that folks here struggle to grasp the idea of maximising intellectual capacity by understanding that there are roles where competencies rather than experience/degree in the subject matter are key is sad. It is this attitude that fuels the constant refrain that B’dos has too many lawyers. When the issue maybe too many lawyers practising law. But hey I guess when you’re talking to retirees and political aspirants this is expected.

    Like

  • @Enuff

    Spare me the selective outrage, you are just a more literate AC always ready to defend this Gov’t’s actions at every opportunity. One can understand if you stuck to policy issues but you even rise to defend its personnel decisions when someone raises a quizzical eyebrow. I recall the recent cases of the Hospital Administrator and the Deputy Comm. As they say in cricket you don’t have to play every ball and if you had let sleeping dogs lie after NO questioned the propriety of Ms. Holder’s hiring, he probably wouldn’t have dug into her resume to show all and sundry that the hiring looks even more problematic when it was revealed that for the last ten years she was her husbands Office Manager, now it appears as a typical “inside “ hire. (BTW it was “David” who alerted the blog to the hire) For that you resort to name calling, referring to him as a fossil.

    I wish there were more fossils like NO on the blog, I always find him to be informative, inquiring and knowledgeable. Speaking of retirees didn’t the Gov’t hand over the running of the Senate to a retiree? What is that saying about people in glass houses?

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    The struggle isn’t to grasp that individual competency is key, the struggle is, WHO determines, WHO is competent to do what?
    What is competent? Acceptable and satisfactory? There is much ‘judgement’ involved. And it becomes a slippery slope, when a Board of Directors, many of whom are appointed by the Minister in charge, get to determine ‘competency’ in lieu of experience or degrees, and the general public sees the most competent candidate, is now for the second time, a spouse/partner of a sitting Minister. Concepts like patronage and nepotism creep into the evaluation of competency. This is not to say they are ‘not competent’, but the optics are blurry. And why governance rules in many organizations prohibit spouses (direct family) to work within the same umbrella organization. It is also highly demoralizing to other employees, when they get passed over, and the most obvious competency is whom the new boss shares a bed with, or is related to.
    Mind you this happens the world over, most however, try to be more discreet. Particularly positions which have few measures of performance.

    Like

  • @ Enuff June 23, 2020 9:02 PM
    “It is this attitude that fuels the constant refrain that B’dos has too many lawyers. When the issue maybe too many lawyers practising law.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You come over always, on BU, as a man with his fingers in (too) many political pies.

    So how come you are refusing to tell the BU family which ‘lawyer’ acted as the complainant (as required by the CoP) leading up to the arrest of your friend Greenverbs Parris?

    It certainly can’t be any of the AGs, can it be?

    Was it you then, Enuff the man of many talents by using the Crimestoppers Hotline?

    Like

  • @ Sargeant

    It takes a particular person working for a PR and marketing firm in New York which employed only two black people, an Antiguan graphic artist and a Bajan, and felt so proud about this that he boasts about it.
    Ordinarily any decent black person would ask serious questions about such an employment policy. But, no, he felt even more special when he was asked to chair a conference of a large number of people (dozens? Scores? Hundreds?) to be the only black person in the room.
    But, thanks to Google, he (I think he identifies as a he) is informed about everything.

    Like

  • @ Sargeant,

    Like

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