Getting the House in Order

Last week, Prime Minister Mottley reshuffled Cabinet, against a backdrop of a calamitous convergence of events in 2020, not as a reflection of past performance, but of future need.

Only the dishonest can deny that two years in, Barbados has seen stunning progress from an Administration which promised so much and has thus far appropriately delivered, in three key ways.

Firstly, government set about repairing the previous disastrous decade. Economically, the inclusion of three ministers in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the high-profile advisors has borne immeasurable fruit in the remarkable turnaround from the precipice of economic collapse to a 6% surplus. William Duguid and Peter Phillips oversaw a significant road repair programme, as well as the purchase of new buses, and Trevor Prescod similarly saw the purchase of garbage trucks, all of which had been long neglected. None can forget the phenomenal speed with which Wilfred Abrahams’ Water Resources Ministry removed sewage from the streets of the South Coast.

Secondly, government responded to present challenges. Edmund Hinkson and subsequently Dale Marshall have overseen a steady and significant decline in most major crime, such as rape, robbery and burglary, though murder remains regrettably stubborn. Under Minister Caddle and Prof. Persuad, there has been an infusion of investment and Dr Greenidge masterminded the balanced, fair and cogent BOSS to respond to our nation’s most pressing challenge. Under John King, government committed $1 million for creatives and sportspersons for digital projects during the challenging COVID period. Abrahams has aggressively sought a resolution to the northern water woes, on which significant work has been done. Neil Rowe supported his minister, Cynthia Forde, who both oversaw increased funding for Welfare over the last two years, and who both played a crucial role in the human response to the social and economic calamity wrought by COVID.

Finally, government has been consistently visionary in charting the future. Abrahams was tasked with implementing Government’s policy to achieve either fossil free or carbon neutrality by 2030, significantly helped by Duguid and Phillips’ purchase of electric buses.  Kerrie Symmonds has not only made substantial steps toward rejigging tourism even before the pandemic, but he has also continuously expressed a commitment to the small players in the industry from the taxi operators to the smaller hotels. Dwight Sutherland leaves Small Business with his signature legacy being the implementation of the Trust Loan programme, by which nearly 3,000 small businesses have been given a much-needed boost on the path to wealth creation for ordinary Barbadians, and thus in a real sense, Sutherland, more than any other minister, has overseen a tangible programme to make “black lives matter” in the economic sphere.

Clearly then, much has been done. However, government is not about reminiscing about past success, and Ms Mottley has demonstrated that she is not going to do that. Rather, she has taken the new set of facts which we face, and has made necessary adjustments to position the country to be best able to stave off the effects of the pandemic, as well as build back stronger, as any sensible household or company would.

Therefore, she has wisely introduced Sen. Lisa Cummins to the all-important tourism ministry at this critical time. Sen Cummins has not only been the most successful chairman of the Port, but also accumulated impressive experience in diplomacy, international trade policy, industry building and development policy, all of which are crucial skills for the person at the helm of tourism at this time. Ian Gooding-Edghill also brings with him significant experience after two stints chairing the Transport Board.

Barbadians, all of us, must now join with the PM and also commit to making our own personal adjustments as we go forward. These adjustments can include continued adherence to the COVID protocols, increased economic ingenuity in the potentially rough period ahead, commitment to the maintenance of social order by rejecting the influence of organized crime, so that we do not destroy the precious gains made, increasing your on-the-job economic productivity, caring for our environment and personally committing to reduced carbon footprints, as well as eating well and other measures to maintain health so that we do not become state burdens by continuing the worrying rise of NCDs. Those are but a few of the individual commitments which can be made, so that like the Prime Minister, we can better position ourselves and our country for the future.

27 thoughts on “Getting the House in Order

  1. partisan superficial tripe penned by someone whose lips looked like they drank the koolaid. doesnt even attract rebuttal

  2. A balanced and neutral article. Very nice.

    As a neutral observer, may I add that our government has also been very successful in imprisoning former ministers, respecting same-sex partnerships and getting foreign top-performers on board to replace local lazybones. As a cherry on top of the big cake, so to speak.

    No other government has made so much progress in the liberalisation and modernisation of Barbados. In 10 years Barbados will have completed the journey from the mental backwardness of the plantation to the modern society of the 21st century.

    However, our government must not rest on its laurels in combating the opposition’s racism and fascism, which is directed against minorities in order to divert attention from the opposition’s misdeeds.

  3. @ David

    Someone just told me there’s a message circulating on social media that Owen Arthur died.

    Have you heard anything?

    • @Artax

      It seems the news is true after all. It is being reported he died just after midnight.

      Owen Arthur, may he Rest In Peace.

      Former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur Has Died

      Published:Monday | July 27, 2020 | 12:00 AM

      Arthur … was Barbados’ fifth Head of Government and the longest serving Prime Minister, working in that capacity from 1994 to 2008.
      Former Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur has died at the age of 70.

      Arthur died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Monday morning at 12:26.

      He had been ailing and was admitted to the facility last week with heart complications.

      In announcing the death, the Government of Barbados extended sincerest condolences to his widow, Julie; his daughters, Leah and Sabrina; and his extended family.

      Arthur was Barbados’ fifth Head of Government and the longest serving Prime Minister, working in that capacity from 1994 to 2008.

      He also served as Opposition Leader from 2010 to 2013.

      However his entry into politics at the national level dated back to 1983 when he was appointed as a senator.

      A year later, Arthur was elected to the House of Assembly.

      He remained in politics until his resignation as a Member of the Barbados Labour Party and an MP for Saint Peter on March 6, 2018.

      Arthur was replaced as MP by Colin Jordan, who has now been appointed to coordinate the funeral of the former Prime Minister.

  4. Has a flippant remark been removed to be replaced with an acknowledgement of the sad and unfortunate death of the former prime minister?
    Condolences to his relatives and friends.

    • Prime Minister Arthur is reported to have died at 12.26AM. You couldn’t post a condolence without snaring? You are a piece of work. Any more comments to detract from the moment will be deleted.

  5. Wood wants probe
    Ex-BLP man also tells Mia to remove Weir
    FORMER MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE Anthony Wood is calling on the Mia Amor Mottley administration to launch an investigation into the awarding of certain contracts and to relieve Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir of his portfolio, to give the party a fighting chance in the next general election.
    In a tell-all meeting yesterday titled Delivering On A Promise: The Story Behind The Disclaimer Notice, held at Clara’s Hide-a-way, Nursery No. 2, Four Roads, St Philip, which lasted three hours and five minutes, Wood said that as deputy campaign manager of the last general Election, which saw the Barbados Labour Party winning all 30 seats, he campaigned heavily against corruption. He also suggested there was a measure of corruption within parts of Government and he could not be associated with such.
    On May 24, he posted a newspaper notice disassociating himself from Weir. Since then, Weir, instead of addressing the disclaimer, said his energy was focused on assisting hundreds of residents in his St Philip South constituency. Wood also handed in his resignation as chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC), an agency which falls under Weir’s ministry.
    Among those in attendance were Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley, his People’s Party for Democracy and Development spokesperson on health Paul Gibson, former Democratic Labour Party Minister of Social Transformation Steve Blackett, and former deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Lennox Chandler.
    Last March, subcontractor Paul Clifford, on his first day on the job, plunged 70 feet to his death off the roof at Portvale Sugar Factory. The contractor was Tarico Building Works, but Clifford was hired by Innotech Services Ltd. to fix the

    roof on the main building at the Blowers, St James factory.
    Contract concern
    Wood said the awarding of contract to Tarico was cause for concern as proper governance had not been followed.
    “The first time a [BADMC] board member knew of that contract being awarded was when he heard on the radio like everybody else that the man plunged to his death at Portvale . . . . I spoke to that board member and three others, and they all corroborated each other’s position – that this contract was awarded to Tarico Building Works without reference to proper procedure and there was no board involvement with the adjudication when [the minister] submitted this for that work to be done at Portvale Factory,” he charged.
    “You all understand why I have to disassociate myself from Mr Weir? I am not saying that he is involved in it. All I can tell you is that the body of individuals who have fiduciary responsibility to provide proper oversight for contracts at BADMC and BAMC [Barbados Agricultural Management Company) was not sought.”
    Wood, who served two terms in office under the Owen Arthur administration, said he had much more to say, but wanted to make known his motivation for disavowing himself from the party of which he was a member for 35 years, and from Weir. He quit the BLP in a June 26 letter, citing the BLP’s failure to honour campaign pledges from the 2018 poll.
    “I can’t support this party’s lax approach to dealing with standout corruption. I know that the day is coming soon when there will be electorate pressure brought to bear on this administration, to force them to stop, reflect and take fresh guard.
    “The same way I have disavowed myself from the . . . nastiness in the constituency, it is in the interest of the Barbados Labour Party and its image for Miss Mottley to shift the tree and do what is right with the electorate,” he said, as he called on the Prime Minister to de-select

    Weir as representative for St Philip South.(RA)

    FORMER BARBADOS LABOUR PARTY Cabinet minister and ex-St Philip South MP Anthony Wood explaining why he disassociated himself from the current MP Indar Weir.
    (Pictures by Lennox Devonish.)

    OPPOSITION LEADER Bishop Joseph Atherley (second right) was among those who turned out for yesterday’s meeting. He, like Wood, served as a minister in the Owen Arthur administration but years later would resign from the Barbados Labour Party.

    Source: Nation Newspaper

  6. @ David

    Sometimes you have to “IGNORE” background noises from the ‘keyboard bullies.’

    I offer condolences to Prof. Owen Arthur’s widow, daughters, relatives and friends.

  7. The man has no class, is it the “Barbadian living in the UK condition”? Condolences to Mr.Arthur’s widow Julie, his daughters and entire family.

  8. @David,

    why dont you open a separate blog so that we can properly mourned Mr Arthur? May he rest in peace.

    also one for the Wood / Weir bassa bassa

  9. Trouble maker or honest politician ?

    “Former government minister Anthony Wood has demanded that a criminal investigation be opened into the award of a contract to a local company to repair the roof at Portvale Sugar Factory.”

  10. Why is government involved in attaching solar panels to Coverley? How much is the contract worth?

  11. It is perfectly normal that contracts for such tiny sums are awarded in a fast procedure. In emergencies, public authorities are even allowed to award contracts for hundreds of millions of dollars in a fast-track procedure. The former BLP-person has totally lost his way here. Either he revokes his unproven assertions or he will have to pay for it on the Heroes’ Square at the pillory under the blazing sun.

    Our Most Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Lord Dale must not show any weakness here as they did with the insolent, outspoken Senator. Punishment must be swift to discourage imitation!

  12. Feuding ex-MP claims threats

    Former agriculture minister Anthony Wood says he and his family are receiving, what he considers, threats because of his decision to withdraw his support for the current Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir, and resign from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

    The former St Philip South parliamentarian shocked many of his BLP colleagues and the party faithful when in May, by way of a paid newspaper disclaimer, he apologised to constituents for endorsing his successor during the 2018 General Election.

    During a discussion dubbed: Delivering on a promise: the story behind the disclaimer notice, Wood told those gathered at Clara’s Hide-a-way in Four Roads, St Philip on Sunday night that persons were employing “strong-armed, not so strong-armed and weak tactics” to keep him quiet.

    This he said included threats via anonymous notes posted at the Six Roads post office to himself, his wife and other close relatives which he planned to share with the Royal Barbados Police Force. In addition to one commentator going as far as to scandalise his name on social media.

    “Of course, when you do something like that you only encourage me to tell more of the truth because believe you me, I am fearless,” Wood maintained.

    Stressing that he will not be silenced, Wood revealed that he resigned from the post of chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Company (BADMC) because he witnessed incidents of corruption that ranged from nepotism in the hiring practices in the ministry, money intended for the ministry’s feeding programme being diverted to pay the salary of a public relations consultant, to the illegal awarding of contracts.

    He said it was especially important for him to speak out to maintain his reputation because these infractions go against the message of stamping out corruption in public office.

    “You could imagine we talking about serious business and we got some lackeys ‘bout here in this constituency all that they are concerned about is keeping a man entrenched so that he can get a second term like me. You imagine that? That is what representation is reduced to? That once you get involved you ought to be assured of two terms to get pension, oblivious to what else is going on in the country, what is happening in the constituency? All they are concerned about is that I am trying to stop Mr Weir from getting a second term. Well if that is what you all feel then I don’t want to disappoint you then. . . . I do not want to disappoint the lackeys in the constituency, in the branch who feel that that is my motivation, “ he said.

    Wood, who was a member of the BLP for 35 years before his resignation, said that he had no sinister intent to undermine the party. Rather, he declared to those present including Opposition leader Bishop Joseph Atherley and former Democratic Labour Party Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite that his intention was for the BLP to get rid of people who by their actions are lack thereof, undermine the same party.

    “I’m not undermining them by my statements because my statements are all truthful,” Wood contended while calling on Prime Minister Mia Mottley to sack Weir.

  13. @ Baje

    It is all well and good talking about integrity legislation, but unless we are committed in the principle in spirit it is not worth a jot. What is the relationship between this government and Maloney? What is the relationship between the government and the so-called Social Partnership?
    Plse do an audit of government asserts sold since May 25, 2018, the purchasers and the expressed purposes for the sales. @Baje, I have said that come 2023 there will not be a Barbados worth fighting for. We are on the way.

  14. @Hal,
    ITAL will come but they are giving the girls and guys some time to do their thing before they cant. see Wood’s statement above, to wit –

    “Stressing that he will not be silenced, Wood revealed that he resigned from the post of chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Company (BADMC) because he witnessed incidents of corruption that ranged from nepotism in the hiring practices in the ministry, money intended for the ministry’s feeding programme being diverted to pay the salary of a public relations consultant, to the illegal awarding of contracts.”

  15. @BAJE “money intended for the ministry’s feeding programme being diverted to pay the salary of a public relations consultant”


    The Ministry has or had a feeding program?

    Who was being fed? How does one get on to the feeding program?


    Haven’t hear from my MP nor my priest since COVID19. I know that my name and address are available to both, and my phone numbers and email address to my priest as well.

    But I have a sister who often remarks that “apolitical old working class black women like we are the last class, the lowest class, nabody cares ’bout we.

    But we try to outlive people who hold such views and engage in such practices.

    And you know what?



  16. @ Greene

    The background noise is deafening. After two years, a government without any vision, and a one-dimensional economic policy based on the contradictions and confusion of Fiscal Space, BERT, BEST and BOSS, there is still no attempt to look in detail below the bonnet to see what people are buying.
    It is economic snake oil, hocus pocus nonsense. It is easier to be abusive and distractive then to contest the details. We have a government in which a consultant to the minister of finance can publicly correct a minister without a single word of reprimand from the press or public.
    We have a political culture in which a businessman with his fair share of public contracts opens a middle of the road restaurant and all top politicians from the prime minister to a former prime minister to senior civil servants were in attendance.
    We have a situation in which prime Crown land is sold to private business people (a repeat of the unfair purchase of Ms Ram’s property to pass on to a private development) without a full debate in parliament. When I describe this form of government as an autocracy, at best a presidency, the dense are highly critical.
    Our democracy is in serious trouble.

  17. @ Cuhdear Bajan,

    The FEED programme is to be managed by the Barbados Agricultural and Development Marketing Corporation (BADMC), and according to Minister Weir, not only is it expected to heighten agricultural production in Barbados, but also provide increased market access for local farmers.Mar 13, 2019

  18. Nation Newspaper EDITORIAL

    PM must consider Deputy
    PRIME MINISTER Mia Amor Mottley’s Cabinet shakeup last week was still lacking in more than one significant way. It is not about the super-sized team she still leads but the lack of a particular position, even if not constitutionally required.
    She has opted to continue without a Deputy Prime Minister, an important even if not required position.
    The position has no standing in law and carries no formal duties or tasks. It was a position ignored by her predecessor Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, even though he had been appointed Deputy to David Thompson a few months after the Democratic Labour Party’s election to office in 2008.
    Mottley had the unique privilege of leading her Barbados Labour Party to win all 30 seats in the House of Assembly in the May 2018 general elections, and as such seems truly the primus inter pares – the first among equals – evident to her parliamentary colleagues and the rest of the country.
    Mottley served as the Deputy to Owen Arthur when he led the administration from 2003 to 2008 and also served Minister of Economic Affairs and Development from 2006 to 2008. Her role as Deputy Prime Minister was clearly substantive, not ceremonial. This is why it is bemusing that she has left the role absent and denying Barbados of good succession planning at that level.
    While the title of Deputy is honorary and may not automatically mean assuming the Prime Minister’s post if the holder becomes incapacitated it is still understood the individual becomes second in the order of precedence in Cabinet and being groomed for the top spot. Mottley must be mindful of the need for a second-in-command as became evident during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when she took a break from her official duties due to illness. Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw took the reins of office and did so without any public criticism.
    Bradshaw was seen as the logical choice since she had overshadowed former Minister of Housing

    George Payne and Attorney General Dale Marshall, both of whom may have originally been seen as the presumptive choices. Payne is out of the Cabinet while Marshall can consider himself fortunate to be still there given the public’s reaction on social media to the reshuffle.
    We appreciate that even if the leader identifies a successor, it is still left to the party’s rules and structures to ultimately choose their successor.
    But, effective succession planning can prevent bloodletting which has dogged many political parties in the jostle for power and leadership.
    The message must be clear that if there is a sudden vacancy at the helm, there is a specific individual to take over. This sends an important message to the public, to investors and the international community that we are confident and clear about any the transition of office and leadership.
    Mottley must be mindful of the need for a second-in-command as became evident during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when she took a break from her official duties due to illness.
    Source: Nation Newspaper (30 July 2020

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