Right from Wrong

Once upon a time to determine right and wrong seemed a very straight forward undertaking for Barbadians. The majority of Barbadians identified with shared values that anchored a behaviour to infuse a culture uniquely and satisfyingly Bajan. The result was a harmonious society- a key element to our brand and identity.

The world has become a complex place to navigate for governments and individuals. There are the neoliberals. There are the socialists. There are the relativists. Not to be ignored are the centrists. All operating under a system of democracy. Our ability as a people to reconcile has resulted in a polarizing effect to how we manage our business, hardly ever room for compromise. In the last two decades the fight by groups advocating economic and social equality has created intractable positions, leading to what many are forecasting – a dystopian world. 

The truth is, Barbados has been battling a crisis of cultural identity in recent years. In the 70s Trinidadians and other nationalities flocked to Barbados, impressed by our well ordered society. Those were the days we ran a balanced national budget. Nowadays, important decisions are being made for us because successive governments have racked up unconscionable debt to satisfy consumer demand, restricting government’s capacity to initiate needed developmental initiatives because of the lack of fiscal space. We have discussed many times how we have surrendered Bajan culture to be invaded from over in away.

The previous government charted a roadmap to aggressively develop the renewable sector. A decade later why are fossil fuelled vehicles not the main offering for consumers? Why has government not issued a stop-sell on the procurement by the public sector of fossil powered vehicles? At minimum impose a cap if there is concern about facilitating a smooth transition? Involved in the growth of the renewable sector is the ability to influence EMERA’s roadmap to generate and distribute a fit for purpose power system that meshes with a national strategic plan. David Simmons in the 70s as the member of parliament for St. Thomas promised Barbadians Mount Stinkeroo would be shutdown. In 2014 the former government attempted – through covert and questionable means – to foist a plasma gasification plant on Barbadians the likes never seen anywhere on the globe. It is 2021 and there is no project in the works to address waste disposal in a sustainable way. This includes an inadequate sewerage system. 

Year after year we read the Auditor General’s reports that expose incompetence and malfeasance by public sector agencies often times acting in collusion with private sector players, yet nothing is done to hold the various players accountable. The most important fund on the island is being used as government’s ATM with no pressure from Barbadians to produce timely audited financials and actuarial reports. At election time there will be the usual huff and puff then forgotten until the next time.

These are a few examples of a failing governance system and the degree Barbadians have abdicated roles and responsibilities the system of democracy practised affords us.

The permeable serves to introduce the big question to the new Barbadian. Do we have what it takes to shift trajectory? 

49 thoughts on “Right from Wrong

  1. Our ‘independent’ story a charade
    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. – Lord Acton. It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.
    – Mahatma Gandhi When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.
    – David Brin A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.
    – Thomas Paine The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
    – Albert Einstein THE AUDITOR GENERAL in Barbados publishes a report every year in Barbados with the same result – nada, zilch, zero, nothing.
    How many people in Barbados are insane enough to think that the next Auditor Generals’ report is going to achieve anything different from all the ones before it? Why is this?
    The political powers in Barbados, along with the public servants they direct, are unaccountable. A vote every five years by the electors for the mythical Scylla or Charybdis (the lesser of two evils) does not hold any politician accountable.
    At the same time, the civil servants have a 70 per cent implementation deficit, according to the international agencies, which is diplomatic jargon for only achieving 30 per cent of their deliverables – a poor, failing grade under any evaluation system. Given this situation, the only “independence” Barbados has is “political independence” which the politicians and their civil servants love because it allows them to be free to do, or not do, exactly what they want and not have to account for it.
    In this interdependent world, few countries are truly independent. Barbados is dependent on a host of other countries for the supply of most, if not all, of its essential goods and services, including food, pharmaceuticals and other goods and services – we cannot even feed ourselves, far less the monkeys. Barbados is also dependent on the foreign tourists – the descendants of the colonisers – to supply the necessary foreign exchange that will pay for our imported goods and services or we could starve.
    As a result, this whole “independent” story is a charade or sham designed to distract and divert the public from truly realising that our “independence” is only “political independence” for the benefit of the politicians and not the ordinary “man in the street”, who has swallowed the
    tale “hook, line and sinker”. It is the reason why there is now such lack of trust for the political class in our community. It is the reason for the anger and hate that abound in our fair land.
    Why is it that all of the “dependent” countries in the region (that is, those countries that are still on the coloniser’s premises) have higher human development indices and a tiny fraction of the international debt compared to the supposedly “independent” countries? It must also be noted that those “dependent” countries, still on the coloniser’s premises, are not much less “independent” than we are. The only real difference is that their leaders are accountable to a higher authority.
    Are our leaders suggesting that this is the price of their (sic) “political independence”? Will a change to “republican” status achieve this political “accountability” which we so badly need? I have not come across a single person in Barbados or elsewhere who thinks that the removal of a symbolic “head of state” will achieve anything other than maintain that independence charade or sham. Maybe that sham should be termed a “scam”. Like water in the proverbial sink-hole vortex – round and round we go . . . .

    Letter to the Nation

  2. Once upon a time to determine right and wrong seemed a very straight forward undertaking for Barbadians. The majority of Barbadians identified with shared values that anchored a behaviour to infuse a culture uniquely and satisfyingly Bajan. The result was a harmonious society- a key element to our brand and identity.


    Precisely … and from Quaker times!!

    That’s why the Quaker ethos of Harmony is expressed as place names all over Barbados.

  3. I have to update a comment
    “I saw it as a B or D thing, but there is also a group that knows better, but will not take a firm stand …”

    Now, I see that this independent group has an uncomfortable feeling deep down inside and that “the truth will out”

    Realization that the words of the Nike commercial “Just do it” cannot replace a national discussion has set in.

    The discussion has to be wider than Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just say No’ and the alternative ‘Just say Yes’ slogans.

    Have a great day.

  4. Just agreeing with the Blogmaster … for once … and explaining why he thinks the way he does!!

    Been a downward slide to oblivion since.

  5. “Given this situation, the only “independence” Barbados has is “political independence” which the politicians and their civil servants love because it allows them to be free to do, or not do, exactly what they want and not have to account for it.”

    at least people are seeing the truth as it stands and VOICING IT….

    these corrupt laggers and salary suckers can only have political power from the PEOPLE who giveth them that power AND can TAKE IT AWAY…it’s time to take away BLPs power….they never respected or appreciated it from inception because it comes from Black people…and the first thing they have ever seeked to do with it is SELL OUT….and keep the Black/African population perpetually at very the bottom of the socio-economic ladder…

    “Will a change to “republican” status achieve this political “accountability” which we so badly need? I have not come across a single person in Barbados or elsewhere who thinks that the removal of a symbolic “head of state” will achieve anything other than maintain that independence charade or sham. Maybe that sham should be termed a “scam”.

    a scam of collossal magnitude, they are still in charge of the legislature and can create MORE DAMAGING anti-Black/African laws with their criminal minoritiy friends to continue the captivity of the descendants and use them as leverage to enrich themselves only and upgrade to even more damaging crimes against the people and their descendants….get rid of Mia and that criminal gang once and for all..

  6. @ David
    Cultural penetration has been an issue since the late 60s.
    There are no new problems in our governance . COVID and other developments, some beyond our control, have exposed the skimpiness of our socio – economic existence.
    Our major failure has been our inability to direct and control what we had the ability to manage.

    • @William

      Some truth but culture penetration has more influence today with the rise of the internet, ease of travel and the made globalization construct.

  7. Many said it was wrong for the govt of Barbados to place Robyn Fenty ( Rhianna as Ambassador youth to Barbados
    Now her name and image is being shown all over Barbados media with congratulatory messages and comments because of her financial status on becoming a billionaire
    Makes for wonder how many who cuss and opposed her social status are sending her well wishes

  8. The substantive arguments cannot be denied.

    However, they are predication on the false notion that Barbados was ever some “harmonious” society in the historically recent past.

    Indeed, there is no record of this ever being so.

    During the slavery epoch there were always uprisings.

    In the post slavery period laws were simultaneously passed to enrich Whites while others were enacted to criminalize hucksters on Roebuck Street. This continues until today with the criminalizing of beach-vendors, for example.

    In the 60’s and 70’s it was Errol Barrow passing the Public Order Act as William Skinner reminds us.

    In more recent times Jim Crow 2.0 has seen a massive tranfer of public goods to private hands using a variety of devices.

    Where has been this socalled harmony?

    Such claims are pregnant with meanings and are generally aimed at victim-blaming for perceived societal ills as imposed by the very elite forces in whose defence they are misguidedly conjured.

    • @Pacha

      Are you nitpicking? In the 60s and 70s the village/community shared the burden of raising children. The church, police et al played a leadership role and importantly respected.

  9. David
    There has always been a level of understanding amongst oppressed peoples.

    But understanding was never a prerequiste for cooperation.

  10. And they’re off!

    I am an independent person. Neither B nor D.

    1) Nobody said that there should not be a discussion on the constitution. But NONE ON BECOMING A REPUBLIC! If we must depend on the British to keep us in line then the racists are correct. We are inferior beasts and savages! Think on these things.

    2) Britain is also corrupt. Very, very corrupt.

    3) We were kept in line by threats brutal beatings and other barbaric punishments and the Christian lie of a hellish lake of fire.

    We have rid ourselves of those atrocities and done nothing to replace them.

  11. “In the 60s and 70s the village/community shared the burden of raising children. The church, police et al played a leadership role and importantly respected.”

    Once upon a time… I remember when… women wore skirts and blouses… and respected men… and children obeyed their parents

    Prove It, Uncle Charlie


  12. I remember when Police couldn’t come in the dancehall

    Thee Piece Suit and Thing

    JBC Days & Proper Education Dub

  13. I wonder if David remembers the 1937 uprising when the police killed starving people to protect property!

    And if we speak about police beatings as being wrong now, why is he “waxing lyrically” about days when the beatings were even worse?

    And why can’t he understand that if there is no respect for the Church, it is probably because the young ones now understand that the Church does not deserve it?

    How many stories of sexual abuse and cover up does he need before he understands that the eyes of the younger people have been opened to hypocrisy and this is the result!

    A “do as I say and not as I do” society. So called elites with two personae.

    Young people have had enough of it!

    If one builds ones house upon the sand, it will indeed topple with a gust of wind.

    Our foundation was faulty. We must face that and build a new one. But this time we must build on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    One thing WURA is correct about is that we have our own demons to exorcise.

  14. “I wonder if David remembers the 1937 uprising when the police killed starving people to protect property!”

    How old would David have been in 1937

    In the 1937 uprising me never did born

    Mr. Cop

    Please Mr. Cop….Cool down now
    Please Mr. Cop ….Down to the ground

    Cool down your temper…Mr. Cop
    Cool down

    Hear me when I say, I said
    Cool down your temper…Mr. Cop
    Cool down now

    Put a smile on your face while passing through
    Put away the frown and that awful screw
    Were just sipping a cup and having some fun
    And it’s better than in the streets busting gun.

    Tell ’em me say tell ’em

    Cool Down your temper Mr. Cop,
    Cool Down
    We’re just licking a cup I said,
    Cool down your temper…Mr. Cop
    Cool Down now
    Said we are just sipping a cup

  15. Keep your eyes on the United Arab Emirates to see what your local well known cocaine/drug traffickers are REALLY doing down there…..and don’t think you can trust for one second who sent them….the Black majority need to keep their EYES WIDE OPEN and not shut….you need the African continent now more than ever…at least it’s your ancestral port.

  16. DavidAugust 4, 2021 11:36 AM


    Are you nitpicking? In the 60s and 70s the village/community shared the burden of raising children. The church, police et al played a leadership role and importantly respected.


    1860’s and 70’s or 1760’s and 1770’s or 1660’s and 1670’s?

    You’ll find century doesn’t matter.

    Harmony, Hope and Contentment were all passed down from generation to generation, century by century.

    The links are truly broken now by the dummies we got running ’bout here..

  17. Back in the 60s it was right to discipline children by flogging
    Now at present discipline by flogging or vocal outburst is wrong
    Really! has our society learned anything from the past
    Children presently have become uncontrollable and in some cases unmanageable
    Parents today are turning to selfhelp books as a learning tool to raise or manage their children
    Back in the 60s none of which were available
    However the family circle was not built solely on the input of immediate family but a combination of neighbourhood values and morals which are presently missing in today’s society
    There is so much that can be learn from the 60s
    Yet some would rather throw out the baby with the frying pan
    Cuh dear

  18. “Just agreeing with the Blogmaster … for once … and explaining why he thinks the way he does!!”

    Wait… are you saying David is trolling BU

    Tic Boom

  19. big business..

    it will be interesting to see if they will rename the prison and police force.


    A former cop and a Guyanese national were both remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds earlier today, after being arraigned on drugs and ammunition charges.

    Attorney-at-law George Adolphus Bennett, 60, and his co-accused, Dharma Rudradeo, 33, appeared at the Supreme Court before Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes, who remanded them until August 13.

    Both men, jointly charged, were not required to plead to the charges of possession of cannabis, trafficking in cannabis, and possession with intent to supply the drug.

    According to police, the charges stem from a quantity of cannabis allegedly found at Bennett’s residence during the execution of a search warrant by members of the Drug Squad on July 30, 2021.

    The weight of the illegal drug was 253 kilograms, with an approximate value of $2.02 million.”

  20. “Yet some would rather throw out the baby with the frying pan.”

    Note to self: If AC offers you some fried food say No… Bathing baby in frying pan. Cooking with bath water.

  21. Any one took notice how rude unmannerly children are today
    Some people call that being progressive
    Children who can engage in adults conversation when the adults are conversing on personnel problems
    Is that what is expecting of the today’s children who can dictate what is best for themselves while parents are taught to shut up and remain silent
    Is that the “new right”

  22. Gazzerts

    Note to self: If AC offers you some fried food say No… Bathing baby in frying pan. Cooking with bath water.

    Lol 😂😂😂😂

  23. David

    We accept your rights to go for good-sounding memes.

    Words oft repeated, not located in truth, but with resonance to a petite nationalism.

    They are well-founded within the tapestry of lies surrounding us all.

  24. I usually have no difficulty with most young people.

    All it takes is for the adult to lose the hypocrisy and get real.

  25. Lawson…heard they caught ya at Pearson with a fake vaccination certificate and fined ya S20,000 CND…..if ya don’t answer, we know ya in jail…

  26. Keep letting them in dont stop, the more ya let in the more the disease will circulate, lots of them like Lawson, got fake vaccination certificates claiming they were vaccinated…

    “The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has issued a Level 3 travel health notice for Barbados.

    This notice has advised people to reconsider travel to Barbados, as a result of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) “indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country”.



  28. Waru ya got a spare 20 grand to loan me. I swear ..I thought he said do you have papers for your alsatian ….

  29. I am surprised that there is no comment on here about the atrocious attack on the St.Vincent PM.

    I am no big fan of his, but when political life becomes violent, which has never before happened in public in the Eastern Caribbean, apart from the communist takeover of Grenada and the murder of Maurice Bishop et al by malcontents, we have an issue.

    This is a sad day. I hope that PM Gonsalves recovers well.

  30. Crusoe…i know many people don’t believe it, but Haiti is a part of the Caribbean community, although the crime was carried out by a gaggle of people far and wide, the island is known for political violence and assassinating presidents….and they were the ones who got rid of chattel slavery in our ancestor’s lives that causes us to at least feel that we are free although still a mirage…..the very first republic in the western hemisphere.

    and a stone to the head is not an assassination attempt as the fraud is projecting, it’s an assault….whether real or contrived..

    “assassinated: Christophe, Henri: 1807-20: Black: 13 : suicide: Petion, Alexander: 1807-18: Light: 11: died in office: Boyer, Jean Pierre: 1818-43: Light: 25 : overthrown: Riviere-Herard, Riviere: 1843-44: Light: 1: Overthrown: Guerrier, Philippe: 1844-45: Black: 1: died in office: Pierrot, Jean Louis : 1845-46: Black: 1: overthrown: Riche, Jean Baptiste: 1847-47: Black: 1: died in office: Soulouque, Faustin: 1847-59
    Faustin Soulouque, President. 1847 – 1849–Faustin Soulouqu e, Emperor. 1849-1859. overthrown. Fabre Nicholas Geffrard. 1859 – 1867. overthrown. Sylvain Salnave. 1867 – 1869. executed. Nissage Saget . 1870 – 1874. full term. Michel Domingue = 1874 – 1876. overthrown. Boisrond Canal . 1876 – 1879. overthrown. Lysius Felicite Salomon. 1879 – 1888. overthrown. Francois Legitime. 1888 – 1889. overthrown

    Between 1911 and 1915, seven presidents were assassinated or overthrown in Haiti, increasing U.S. policymakers’ fear of foreign intervention. In 1914, the Wilson administration sent U.S. Marines into Haiti”

  31. @ David,
    Lashley is a thousand percent,bang on, correct. Strangely enough, I was about to write an article on this subject.

    We have a population of under 300,000. Why the need for political parties?

    • @TLSN

      We have been thought a consensus style of doing things is always better. We have inherited an adversarial for of politics from the mother country which comes with all of its warts. It will never change unless there is blood shed.

  32. https://www.nationnews.com/2021/08/07/deadline-missed/

    does the criminal social partnership understand that BLACK PEOPLE HAVE RIGHTS under international and other laws….well i understand that the attorney general was either served legal documents or at least warned…not sure which…….that is what has been said in the last couple days….i would imagine he would now have to go through international laws with a fine tooth comb….people are watching..

    “We have a population of under 300,000. Why the need for political parties?”

    to massage egos, for the descendants of the enslaved to pretend they are elite with pedigree, be corrupt, tief and sellout……there is absolutely no other use for any of them..

  33. Calls for new development finance framework


    Sat, 08/07/2021 – 5:28am

    One development economist is calling for the creation and implementation of a new development finance framework.

    Speaking during the SRC’s ‘Facilitating Private Sector Investment for SDG Achievement in Caribbean SIDS’ Webinar, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, world’s leading development economist and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at the Colombia University revealed that he had been frequently making this call.

    “So my idea of what I’m pressing every day inside the UN, and internationally, is that we create in the coming months, a new development finance framework that looks honestly at what’s happened with COVID, that looks honestly at the SDG needs, that looks honestly at the climate change agenda, both the mitigation side and the adaptation and losses and damages side, and that we view our situation in the world today, akin to the situation in 1944 or 45 when the Bretton Woods institutions were created because the world leaders knew we need something new for the future of finance; because that’s what we need today,” he said.

    “We need a financial system that doesn’t direct all the money to the rich countries, but that enables a massive investment programme for development in the rest of the world and does it on a fair and inclusive and equitable basis.”

    Sachs believed that there needed to be a massive scale up on the balance sheets of the multilateral development banks and special funding for countries in vulnerability, like the Caribbean region because of climate change, that reflected the historical responsibilities of the world.

    “I’m hoping is that we can really rev up this discussion, and reach some serious new policies and politics, at least by the time of the G 20 summit in Bali,” he said.

    “In 2022, Indonesia will be president of the G 20 next year. That is a good forum for us because it is a forum in which the voices of the developing world are represented and we’ll be leading this effort. It’s good for the Caribbean that it’s going to be in an archipelago country next year, one that understands islands. They even have more islands than you do 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago, so they know how threatening climate changes, and I think we can make some special advances there, so I’m looking forward to a good period of intensive work together.”

    Source: Barbados Advocate

  34. Country cannot take more lockdowns’


    Sat, 08/07/2021 – 5:27am

    Government should forge ahead with a plan to fully reopen the economy and strike the balance needed to manage spikes in COVID-19 cases, ease curfew restrictions and avoid future lockdowns that would cause businesses to close again.

    That is the view of Kemar Stuart, Director of Business Development, Finance and Investment at Stuart & Perkins Caribbean. Stuart is adamant that the Barbados economy cannot afford another lockdown, and he said while there has been a recent spike in cases, once the cases do not rise astronomically, he believes the country can get over this latest hurdle and get more economic activity going.

    “I don’t see another shutdown being possible, but if one was to come, it would have to happen before November for sure, before the start of the winter tourist season. And I don’t see it happening when school resumes in September, so if it was being contemplated, it would have to be now and we are not there yet,” he told The Barbados Advocate.

    Stuart also touched on the matter of COVID-19 vaccinations, as he urged the Government to hold off on any thoughts regarding mandatory vaccination. He said however, that they can still encourage persons to get the shot, while continuing to push the importance of wearing masks, sanitising their hands and social distancing, to help keep the virus at bay. In a statement earlier this week, the economist also talked about mandatory vaccination, advising against it, as he suggested that the possible implications could be damaging for the country.

    “The recent talks around mandatory vaccination may have adverse negative effects on the economy via increases in voluntary unemployment, civil protests as seen across Europe; the present likelihood that vaccinated persons still contract the virus; and lastly, if vaccine compliance remains low, then consumer bases of businesses will dwindle,” he warned.

    Meanwhile, on the matter of tourism, he spoke of a dependence on tourist inflows to encourage increases in local opportunities for work, but he warned that even visitors who are vaccinated can prove to be problematic. He made the point while noting that there were recently in excess of 20 fully vaccinated persons in isolation at Harrison Point. With that in mind, he said that to base a successful projection of future performance of tourism in Barbados on an increase in vaccinations has proven to be flawed, since, he stated, those who get the shot can still contract and transmit the virus, therefore cause disruptions of daily economic activity. (JRT)

    Source: Barbados Advocate

  35. Ambassador Abed starts tenure

    Sat, 08/07/2021 – 5:26am

    After having his appointment as Ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced in March this year, His Excellency Gabriel Abed officially began his tenure at the beginning of this month. In a statement made available to members of the media upon the receipt of his credentials, Ambassador Abed stated that he was full of hope.

    Calling the commencement of his time as Head of Mission his greatest honour, Abed noted that he was wished the greatest success in the execution of his duties by Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Omar Saif Ghobash. With Ghobash stating that he hoped bilateral relations and cooperation could be enhanced between the two countries through Abed’s posting, the co-founder of financial technology company Bitt noted that due to the UAE’s standing as a technological leader in the world, he would be orchestrating yet another digital framework that would change the way we do things. “It is because of this foundation of digital greatness in the UAE that I will be launching Technology Diplomacy (the future of diplomacy as I see it) to create technological bridges between nations, bringing Barbados and the UAE hand-in-hand now and into the future. As you would appreciate, as the pioneer behind central bank digital currency, Technology Diplomacy is inspired by my

    passion for blockchain.” he said.

    Going on to say that he expected the benefits for both countries to abound, he added that he held the interests of Barbados first and foremost. “The possibilities are endless and the future is exciting as I seek to bring strengthened connectivity and mutual benefits to our nations, well beyond global trade and investment. Though these are important, I equally look forward to the transfer of knowledge and supporting our national and sustainable goals and development. I go forward with a multitude of objectives on paper and Barbados in my heart.” the Ambassador stated.

    Source: Barbados Advocate

  36. Politics is poisonous and cancerous.


    One of Haiti’s Richest Men Denies Links to Moise Murder PlotBy 

    Jim Wyss

    August 7, 2021, 8:00 AM AST

    Reginald Boulos says he’s under attack by political foes

    Boulos speaks as questions swirl around investigation

    Reginald Boulos

    Just a few weeks ago, Reginald Boulos, a prominent Haitian businessman, was planning his first presidential run in one of the hemisphere’s most chaotic and troubled nations.

    Those plans ended July 7 with the brazen murder of President Jovenel Moise and subsequent allegations that Boulos, 65, might have helped finance the country’s first presidential assassination in a century.

    Speaking from an undisclosed location outside of Haiti, Boulos said the accusations and rumors are keeping him from returning home and seem designed to sideline him politically.

    “I had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Jovenel’s death,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday. “Nobody could have imagined this would happen except the people who planned it, financed it and did it.”

    Moise’s murder is still being investigated and more than 40 people are in custody. But Prime Minister Ariel Henry and other top officials have said that the true criminal masterminds are likely at large. And they’ve insinuated that only a few rich Haitians, including Boulos, have the financial resources to organize the broad conspiracy that involved hiring more than a dozen former Colombian soldiers.

    Moise’s widow, Martine, told the New York Times that Boulos had much to gain from her husband’s death, citing his presidential aspirations, his ongoing legal troubles and the government’s decision to freeze his bank accounts.

    Read More: ‘Big Fish’ Behind Haiti Murder Still Unidentified, Minister Says

    Boulos says he doesn’t know any of the people who have been arrested or are being sought and has never “provided any funds directly or indirectly” to any of them.

    The frozen bank accounts Moise mentioned contained about $30,000, a modest sum compared to the $18 million he says that he and his companies pay, on average, in taxes to the Haitian government every year.

    As for his presidential aspirations, Boulos says Moise’s death has wrecked his chances.

    “The false accusations have damaged my standing in the country,” he said. “Contrary to what people say, I have absolutely nothing to gain from this killing.”

    Political Play

    Boulos worked as a doctor in the Cite Soleil shantytown for 14 years before opening his first convenience store in 1997. Now the Boulos Investment Group has a chain of grocery stores, car dealerships and real estate holdings.

    In 2018 he formed the MTV Ayiti political party and joined opposition voices calling for Moise, 53, to step down. But he said overthrowing — much less killing — Moise was never mentioned in his political circles.

    “Our fight was a democratic one,” he insists. “We were working to build a strong party, and in less than two years we had 33,000 party members and we were preparing to go to a free and fair election.”

    In Boulos’ telling, the government recognized him as a political threat and tried to undermine him in the courts. “And now they have invented baloney accusations to scare me off,” he said.

    Local media have said Boulos is a billionaire, a label he denies. “I’m well off but I’m not wealthy,” he said, describing himself as a “multimillionaire” who’s likely not among the country’s 50 wealthiest people.

    Stark Divide

    Even so, his riches are conspicuous in Haiti — the poorest and most unequal nation in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly 60% of Haitians live below the poverty line and the wealthiest 20% control more than 64% of the nation’s wealth, according to the World Bank.

    The stark divide has led to class animosity that Moise exploited by railing against “oligarchs” and “elites.” Boulos concedes Haiti’s inequality is a serious issue and that the nation’s unscrupulous rich are part of the problem.

    “The elite wealthy people want to make money and they don’t want to pay taxes and they live off contraband and corruption — and then go and spend the money in Miami,” he said. But it’s in politics where the corrupt can “go to sleep poor and wake up rich.”

    Reginald Boulos raises his fist as Haitian protesters march through the streets of Port-au-Prince on Feb. 28, 2021.

    Photographer: Reginald Louissaint Jr./AFP/Getty Images

    “We have seen that with president after president,” he said, citing a report from Haiti’s high court in 2020 that found that successive governments from 2008 to 2016 had fraudulently misused more than $2 billion in aid from Venezuela’s PetroCaribe subsidized fuel program.

    “It’s not a sin to be rich,” he said. “It’s sin to prevent other people from getting rich.”

    Fear of Home

    Boulos says he left Haiti June 25 on a business trip to the U.S. and had planned to return on July 9 when he heard of Moise’s murder.

    “I have not been back to Haiti since,” he said. “With all the allegations that were promoted against me, and with the First Lady pointing the finger at me, I fear for my safety in Haiti.”

    Others share Boulos’ concerns. Haitian investigators told local and international media that they had gone into hiding after receiving death threats and were being pressured to include Boulos and others as potential suspects in the case.

    Boulos said the only chance of finding Moise’s killers and those who ordered it, is to guarantee the investigation’s independence by putting it in the hands of the international community. While U.S. and Colombian authorities are assisting, the case is being led by Haitian officials.

    “The investigation has already been botched” Boulos said, referring to apparent political meddling in the case. “But I want the truth to come out.”

Leave a comment, join the discussion.