Another Heather Cole Column – Republic or Monarchy?
“Whoever has the gold makes the rules”
Medieval Kings were created by wars and conquest and passed on their titles to their descendants. There are no kings in Western democracies. The majority in Europe are ceremonial relics of antiquity so it is highly irregular that successive governments in Barbados have created a strange phenomenon where they elevate men to the position of kings at the expense of the public purse after Independence legally ended colonialism. Perhaps it is intended to complete the gratification of the island being called Little England. It has been done decades ago for the Williams brothers and is now being done for Mark Maloney by the previous and present Administration.
The present Administration is now in the habit of sayings one thing and doing another. In theory, the Prime Minister says that she is moving the country to Republic status, notably with only a few cosmetic changes in the current system. In practice, this is not what has been happening. We have all been witness to a series of events starting with the last Administration, all of which seem bent on elevating one man in a position above all Barbadians by way of lucrative contracts and secretive sweet heart deals. In other word the making of a king. There was Coverley peppercorn deal, the Grotto, being on the board of the Central Bank, Chairman of the Boards of LIAT, the Government’s agent to buy vaccine that resulted in a scam and the list is not complete.
As far fetch as it may seem, is the change to republican status only an illusion? As act of cognitive dissonance as one writer called it a few days ago of saying one thing yet doing another.
This may be all speculative, however, what is fact is that for every asset given to Mark Maloney, there is a corresponding loss to the livelihood of present Barbadians in terms of assets that can earn revenue, to reduce taxation, to pay workers and revenue to provide for health care if the assets are put to good use.
The wealth present and of future Barbadians are also tied up in these assets so it is mind boggling why time and time again, the government is bent on giving them all away to one man. If this is what is happening, it is beyond logic that any sitting prime minister of Barbados would agree to such for financial contributions to their party or even worse if that person has sinister information on the Prime Minister. One might question what gives Mr. Maloney the audacity to approach government with these schemes and one must also question the integrity of persons elected to service who have the same audacity to misuse the funds from the public purse. It is instances like these that are the precursor to rampant corruption in any country.
In the quest for Republican status, one must not forget that the Crown owns a considerable amount of lands. The government has not mentioned what the status of the crown lands will be in the transition to a Republic. Literally, in a Republic land must belong to the people first and then their representatives. It will not like Crown land that did not belong to the people. In this grey period of transition what will happen to those lands will more be given away? Is there an existing list of crown lands to be viewed by the public?
Land is a scarce and expensive commodity in Barbados. The average man in the streets may not even be able to afford a 5,000 square feet plot of land a $25 per square feet. If he can afford it, then comes the difficulty of building a house on the said plot of land. It makes one wonder why the government of Barbados is continuously giving away this asset to a Billionaire who has already made his fortune as the expense of the public purse. Why can’t everyone else be able to enjoy their luxuries especially someone who sit in the majority 95%?
The latest acquisition that we now know of is that the 27 acres of land at Chancery Lane has been given to Mr. Maloney through a partnership with the government and is in the process of developing it at the disadvantage of the persons who live nearby. It was simply too good for them. There has been a video making its round on social media. This could be 235 lot of 5000 sq ft each for middle and low income housing!
One hopes that the Prime Minister realizes that with only 166 sq miles available, that this unnecessary giving away land is not sustainable. One may therefore have cause to wonder, if when the lands runs out will Mr. Mark Maloney will be given ownership of the beach and the sea.
If Mr. Maloney wants to be king, he has a choice, try his hand in elected politics since the Prime Minister already has her exit plan in place or start a war to conquer the 95%.