Are they Serving People or Serving Themselves?

Submitted by Paula Sealy

Labour needs to have a voice at the table. In the past this meant the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) had its senior officers contest general elections. It was also common for the General Secretary of the BWU to be nominated as a Senator at the pleasure of the Governor General. It is assumed this practice will continue with the President of the Republic as the Head of State.

I remember PM Mottley speaking of trade union leaders of the past who served as politicians during the 2020 St. George North by-election campaign. We were reminded of the work of the unionists we now recognise as National Heroes.

Mottley was in her pomp. She proudly said that she “went for Toni” to ensure that labour had a voice. This statement should have caused tremors across the rank and file of organised labour. It insinuated that labour was voiceless.
A man known for his love of philosophy and habitual philosophical utterances, it was the view of Freundel Stuart that the Social Partnership was a philosophical absurdity. 

At the end of the Mottley administration, that comment has been proven to be profound. He was right. If the Social Partnership serves labour as well as the government and the private sector would there be any need for Toni Moore or any union leader to be seated in the Lower House today? There is the insinuation that labour remains voiceless otherwise. This is an insult to the working class.

If the BLP courtship of Moore sought to consolidate labour and license its voice, why should we expect the rights and interests of workers to be acknowledged by the social partners under normal circumstances? Ask Caswell. This represents the philosophical absurdity and identifies the trade union movement as a blunt object among sharp knives in the Partnership.

If the Partnership accommodates labour and there is a Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations have the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Chief Labour Officer been on vacation been during the nurses’ strike? 

The DLP announced its candidate for St. Michael South East and another union leader has thrown his hat into the ring. This is another hat for him to add to that of teacher, poultry farmer, political party officer and real estate vendor. 

He has said that he always wanted to be an MP. The BUT was always a means to an end. But to what end for the union?

The image of trade union leaders will not improve for his ambition.

22 thoughts on “Are they Serving People or Serving Themselves?

  1. @David
    I expected nothing with Toni Moore. Here she basically said the Union movement isn’t working and that’s why it was best to join the ruling party. Clearly “leadership and servitude at its best.” Only question is who’s leadership and service to who!?

    Just observing

    • She has been very quiet during a period labour constituents should reasonably have expected her to be strident at a time the rights of workers are being understandably squeezed. It will be interesting to observe how the ongoing labour dispute plays out in SGN on 19 January.

  2. The article is full of lies and propaganda.

    Since 1966, trade unionists, socialists, welfare recipients and other lazy laggards have ruled the country. Even our so-called national heroes consist almost entirely of a collection of socialist beggars. A nation with the mental attitude of those subjugated on the plantation. No entrepreneurship, only dependent labour, like slavery.

    That has ended since 2018. Our honourable government has not only brought the rebellious unionists to heel, but also encouraged entrepreneurship with low tax rates and improved payment morale.

    We do not need more rebellious financial illiterates like Barrow who have to beg their white masters at theIMF every 10 years, but an economically liberal government.

    Therefore, the people and the party should continue to support our Supreme Leader who has initiated these policy corrections since 2018.

  3. It is probably too late to register a brand new party for this dog race
    but I am surprised that there is no Ⓐ anarchy party running 🖤 in 2022
    seeing as there is no queen and no constitution and no future for you

    Here is a Blast from the past during Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 1977
    she is going Platinum in 2022

    The Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The U.K (official video)

    Anarchy In The UK / Sex Pistols
    Right now
    I am an antichrist
    And I am an anarchist
    Don’t know what I want
    But I know how to get it
    I want to destroy passerby

    ‘Cause I wanna be anarchy
    No dogsbody

    Anarchy for the U.K.
    It’s coming sometime and maybe
    I give a wrong time, stop a traffic line
    Your future dream is a shopping scheme

    ‘Cause I, I wanna be anarchy
    In the city

    How many ways to get what you want
    I use the best, I use the rest
    I use the NME
    I use anarchy

    ‘Cause I wanna be anarchy
    It’s the only way to be

    Is this the MPLA?
    Or is this the UDA?
    Or is this the IRA?
    I thought it was the UK
    Or just another country
    Another council tenancy

    I wanna be anarchy
    And I wanna be anarchy
    Know what I mean?
    And I want to be an anarchist
    I get pissed, destroy

  4. Consciousness and culture

    In Algeria, we have realised that the masses are equal to the problems which confront them. In an underdeveloped country, experience proves that the important thing is not that three hundred people form a plan and decide to carry it out, but that the whole people plan . . . even if it takes them twice or three times as long . . . the time taken up by explaining, the time lost in treating the worker as a human being, will be caught up in the execution of the plan. People must know where they are going and why.
    The politician should not ignore the fact that the future remains a closed book so long as the consciousness of the people remains a closed book, so long as the consciousness of the people remains imperfect, elementary and cloudy. – Frantz Fanon in Wretched Of The Earth.
    In a radio interview about and leading up to the republican transition, I made the point that we could make all the constitutional, institutional, governmental or symbolic changes we want to.
    Ultimately, the fate of the nation and its people rests upon the consciousness of the people themselves.
    A nation is not the land mass, the government, the constitution, its policies, its laws, its symbols nor even its history. A nation is the collective consciousness and culture of its citizens. You can change the government, the constitution, the law, the history, the symbols or even the landscape. These changes are only meaningful to the extent that they affect the consciousness and culture at large.
    It is perhaps the fact that we are only a few generations removed from the slave plantation that explains why it is so hard for some to see the nation and its citizens in anything other than economic terms.
    Barbados is still just real estate and a source of labour to some, and maybe now a market of consumers as well. This lack of consideration of Bajans as full human beings with spiritual and/or psychological needs leads some politicians to believe that all they have to do is put money in pockets and food on tables. It leads people to ask questions like, “Why de yutes suh vex?” when the youth today have so much more than their elders did materially. They don’t understand that, as Bob Marley said, your belly could be full and still you could be hungry.
    In all fairness, the task of transforming consciousness and culture is not easy to accomplish.
    We would have to take the time, energy and resources necessary to explain, educate and treat ourselves like human beings.
    We would have to really
    believe that the people were equal to the problems that confront them, that the time spent in explanation and education would be worth it. We would have to take the time to open our own consciousnesses. But as long as we see progress only in terms of economics, technology or infrastructure, the road to the future is a dead end.
    In Fanon’s terms, it is a closed book if not paved by a transformed consciousness and culture.
    Despite Fanon’s warning, this is a fact that politicians across the world ignore. It is not easy to quantify the value of time spent in explanation and education. It may seem too expensive and not worth the effort, especially when there are pressing immediate concerns and fires to out.
    In the heat of a crisis, transforming consciousness and culture is easily overlooked. But it is also easily overlooked in good times too, when we feel we can coast. But experience and history have proven that in the long term, without a transformation in consciousness and culture, progress is often short-lived and gains are easily lost. We’ve come as far as we can with our current levels of consciousness and culture.

    Adrian Green is a communications specialist. Email: Adriangreen14

    Source: Nation

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  6. Gabby, Lalu protest on Sandals beach

    By Carlos Atwell

    A small group of protesters clashed with security at Sandals Resort in St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church yesterday over a longstanding beach issue.
    One of them was cultural ambassador The Most Honourable Anthony “Gabby” Carter, who was at one point physically involved in an altercation with the officers from Amalgamated Security Services.
    The issue goes back to 2017 when management of Sandals placed signs along the beach marking out what it said was their property. The signs read “Only Sandals registered guests permitted beyond this point” and quickly drew the ire of beach operators, National Conservation Commission rangers and activists.
    The resort has maintained repeatedly over the years it was not trying to privatise the beach but only sought to protect guests from untoward attention from illegal activity.
    Yesterday, activist Lalu Hanuman invited Carter to view the beach along with Frank Johnson, who was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Barbados for 40 years and another guest, who requested anonymity.
    Carter ventured past the signs and engaged with the guests, quickly drawing the attention of the officers. After an increasingly loud verbal exchange, the officers unsuccessfully attempted to physically remove Carter as Hanuman protested and Johnson filmed with his mobile.
    Eventually the officers left the protesters alone.
    Carter told the Sunday Sun
    afterwards: “I have a problem with these signs. They are illegal, they are in the wrong place, too far down the beach. All I am saying is let them put the signs where they belong, this is not Sandals property here. That is a façade, that is wrong, that is misleading and I am saying to the Press we have got to rectify this problem, not only on this beach but on every single beach in Barbados [where this happens] and in the Caribbean. This is injustice and we will not stop our struggle for justice . . . [some people] are trying, in a subtle and insidious manner, to bring private beaches to the Caribbean,” he said.
    Hanuman described Sandals’ policy as a form of apartheid. He also had an issue with a nearby stone breakwater which caused people to go through the property of next door Turtle Beach hotel to go around. He said if Turtle Beach blocked off the path, people would be barred from moving across the beach at will.
    “In apartheid South Africa they had signs on the beach saying ‘whites only’ and in effect, this amounts to that, not being disrespectful to tourists. A number of other places are also preventing the general public from access to
    the beaches and in the context of Barbados, our beaches are our parks. We have very few public parks in Barbados and this is where the public comes for exercise and recreation,” he said.
    Johnson said they did not want Barbados to become like Jamaica, which already had private beaches.
    “The public of Barbados is at the grace and favour of Sandals. One day we will wake up and here will be like Jamaica. Capturing beaches and calling them private enterprises has got to stop,” he said.
    Attempts to reach management of Sandals for a comment were unsuccessful.
    National Conservation Commission general manager Ryan Als said the general rule was the crown owned 30 metres from the high water mark but there was usually overlap when it came to beach front properties. He said in the case of Sandals, ownership had to be determined by surveyors but he could not comment further as he was not aware of the specifics of the matter, adding he would look into it.

    Source: Nation

  7. The right to be paid

    Last week the nurses “upped” their industrial action (just when we were all focused on the election) and engaged in a peaceful march and protest through Bridgetown with placards in hand and chants of “No Retreat, No Surrender”. Although the industrial action has continued longer than anyone anticipated, my support remains with the nurses.
    This administration has shown greater regard for every other industrial action that took place between 2019 and 2020 than they have for the nurses’ strike. Even the LIAT workers, many of whose contracts are with the Antigua and Barbuda government (and not Barbados), received more favourable treatment from this administration.
    Yet the Government continues to decline requests to meet with this union and its nurses and apparently also restricted The Most Honourable Jeffrey Bostic from meeting with the parties. So how ironic is it that Barbados Labour Party (BLP) posters are plastered all over the island which describe Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley as “strong and caring” and “safer with Mia”.
    I suspect the 100 nurses who marched on Thursday may disagree and may constitute 100 fewer votes for the BLP. This is a risky political move by the current administration since a large part of the electorate may also be excluded from voting due to COVID-19.
    Nurses’ resolve remains
    In an interview given after the march, Senator Caswell Franklyn explained that the resolve of the nurses remained because “they think they will starve us out, but the nurses are accustomed to not being paid”.
    It is a sad state of affairs when employees do not fear losing pay because non-payment represents the status quo. Imagine being gainfully employed and yet unable to consistently meet basic needs due to the failure of your employer to honour the employment agreement – that is, payment in exchange for the services you provide. What then is the point of showing up to work? The fact that these nurses continued to provide their services for several years despite receiving inconsistent pay is testament to their dedication to their profession. It’s unconscionable for any person to suggest otherwise.
    There can be no greater indictment on an employer than failing to pay or to regularly pay staff for work actually done. The very essence of the employment contract is that the employee will provide his services in exchange for payment.
    Failing to pay an employee for actual work carried out represents a fundamental breach of the employment contract, which goes to the root of the contract and can entitle the employee to treat himself as constructively dismissed.
    Inconsistent salaries
    Unfortunately, nurses are not the only Government employees who complain of receiving inconsistent salaries. The Government must do better to honour its payment obligations to all its employees and third-party contractors. Remember the complaints by those who were retained to clean up the ash fall? Even members of the COVID Monitoring Unit have complained on social media of receiving less salary than was initially agreed.
    While less prominent, there are some instances of employees within the private sector who also work for months without being paid. We saw media reports of staff at the Advocate newspaper who did not receive their salaries due to existing litigation over the estate of the late Sir Anthony Bryan.
    While I understand employers may sometimes experience difficulties in meeting payroll, there are compromises that can be agreed with employees that are more mutually beneficial.
    Consider placing employees on short time or temporary layoff to allow them to receive some unemployment benefits. Where the salaries need to be temporarily reduced, consider granting employees more vacation days, reduced working hours or workload to make up for the reduction in salary.
    However, it is never reasonable to expect the same hours of work or commitment from an employee who cannot rely on an employer to be consistent with payment.
    We must support the right of an employee to agitate over non-payment of salaries, rather than overlook or normalise the occurrence. What else is the point of employment if not to be paid?

    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters. Email:

  8. “It is a sad state of affairs when employees do not fear losing pay because non-payment represents the status quo. Imagine being gainfully employed and yet unable to consistently meet basic needs due to the failure of your employer to honour the employment agreement – that is, payment in exchange for the services you provide. What then is the point of showing up to work? The fact that these nurses continued to provide their services for several years despite receiving inconsistent pay is testament to their dedication to their profession. It’s unconscionable for any person to suggest otherwise.”

    Even more nauseous is that although it’s no secret that the nurses are not paid for months at a time and still turn up for work, they maliciously send debt collectors to chase them down for money with threat of court action, so they are now forced to find the money how they could or end up before the courts…..and still go to work every day under that stress and trauma..

    Slave Society Barbados.

  9. “The resort has maintained repeatedly over the years it was not trying to privatise the beach but only sought to protect guests from untoward attention from illegal activity.”

    they are lying, they know they got away with privatizing the beaches in Jamaica and now importing their racist, apartheid activities to Barbados because they were given the greenlight by corrupt governments…was not one seen recently in the news taking a painting from a new resort, now managed by the next generation of briber minorities, who said in the newspapers they were given permission by government to build a wall to stop beach goers from accessing the sea…oh they will build a narrow footpath to appease the docile and make sure it’s just as inaccessible.

  10. The fact that this ‘beach’ issue surfaces every year means that a single strong message is not being sent to these hotel owners.

    In the presence of witnesses with a camera, Gabby had a tussle with two guards. What if he was alone?

  11. ” the Government has divided union leaders into “friends” and “enemies”. Thus, breakdown is pre-ordained based on the identity of the principal actors. How else can we interpret Minister of Housing Denis Kellman’s open expression of disappointment in the fact that while his Government had made [PEDRO SHEPHERD] the leader of the Barbados Union of Teachers “look good”, he was now leading the anti-Jones brigade. It begs the question as to why or whether other union leaders had been treated differently. It is clear, however, that a climate of hostility has been fanned, rather than quelled, by the Government’s approach.”

    Pedro Shepherd sold out the teachers for 30 pieces of silver since he did not get the position he was promised by Freundel. He expected something bigger than a place on the board at the Rural Develipmwnt Commission.

    He is boasting in the paper about 700 appointments he got for primary scchool teachers. He betrayed the union again. He took the all the credit for those appointments for himself at the BUT conference in 2018 too. Then he lost the presidency. Santia may be lazy, tall, red and sexy in his eyes but he is treacherous.

    And Dennis Kellman knew it too. Pedro Sheoherd is all about himself.

  12. Two months ago he said, “If we must go back out in January, we the teachers and students will have to go, but only if we have the necessary protocols in place. It must be a safe return. We cannot return simply because people believe that the country should reopen or simply because people believe there are deficits in our children. We will return if the school plants are safe for our return.”

    • Why would Pedro Shepherd make such a silly chauvinistic comment on the platform about Bradshaw? It is interesting it has not been receiving the same outrage as Dawn Armstrong.

  13. Where is your fire
    Catch your fire
    Barbados politics is dull
    Last year over 2,000 people were rioting in the Capitol Hill in USA

    Police didn’t do anything as they were white
    if they were black it would have been different
    1 black man in USA can make Police scared for their life
    and they shoot them dead

  14. Moore: Union recognition bill coming

    A TRADE UNION RECOGNITION BILL that will bring security to workers desirous of joining a trade union will be rolled out within the coming months.
    Toni Moore, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St George North, and general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), made this disclosure on Sunday night during the BLP’s Mega Manifesto meeting, which was streamed live.
    “The BWU is in its 80th year, and do you imagine that for 80 years, and since 1966 – since the time of our Independence – we have been fighting for trade union recognition? That should come as a surprise for us,” she said.
    “In 2022, as I stand before you on January 9, the trade union still don’t have formalised trade union processes. So that when a union wants to get involved, to represent working-class people, there is no clear automatic way of determining how that recognition is going to go. Rights matter! And in this Barbados Labour Party, the BWU is proud that in a matter of months we will be rolling out a trade union recognition bill that will bring security to workers who want to join the trade union and for who, at this time, joining the trade [union] can be ‘iffy’ because that is the very time you lose your job – when people see that you are trying to have representation.”
    During her 34-minute presentation, she also said that as outlined in the manifesto, workers of United Commercial Autoworks Limited (UCAL) will have the opportunity to achieve their objectives “as Government will be vesting all the equipment in the public sector to UCAL, to allow them the wherewithal to sustain the company, and workers in that company would be able to get the shares that they could not get for so long”. Moore added that people who invested in UCAL will be beneficiaries.
    The union leader noted that since 1994, the then BLP Government made a good commitment to workers of the BWU to set up an ownership programme under UCAL – to bring enfranchisement
    to working people. She added that regrettably, for almost 28 years, UCAL was not allowed to thrive because successive governments “did not see the need to work with UCAL to make it flourish”.
    She said that while the BWU’s role in the BLP “does not mean that automatically with a snap of the finger or the wave of a wand, everything will automatically change”, the BLP administration would continue to secure jobs and address other issues facing the masses, including that of ensuring Barbadians across the board will be able to afford health and medical insurance.
    Moore, who won the St George North seat in November 2020 in a by-election to replace Gline Clarke, again defended her decision to run on a BLP ticket. She said she was unapologetic in so doing, telling the upbeat crowd gathered at Lower Estate, St George, that her fight was for the working class people, and all Barbadians.
    “I am proud tonight to be the voice of labour sitting on the inside working with a team that has a social consciousness; that is committed to be people-centred; that is committed to improving the lot of working people and their families, that is committed to you. A Government that is committed to drilling down and drawing deep and pulling from deep to ensure it addresses the concerns of all of us,” she said. ( CH)

    Source: Nation

  15. Doubt over Jan. 24 return to class


    SOME TEACHERS SAY they are looking forward to a safe return to the physical classroom, but the jury is still out on the proposed January 24 return.
    Following the
    Christmas holiday, a circular from the Ministry of Education published earlier this month stated school would resume online from yesterday, while officials worked towards a January 24 face-to-face restart for some classes.
    However, acting president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), Rudy Lovell, said with increased daily cases of Omicron, they had since received no correspondence from the ministry on the return to schools.
    Want to be safe
    “Generally the feeling on the ground is that teachers would like to get back into the classroom but obviously they would want to do so safely. Given what was said about Omicron and the fact that it spreads more rapidly than Delta, we would want to be cautious,” he told the MIDWEEK NATION.
    Lovell noted it was reported that schools were closed on account of one case of Omicron, but with reported community spread they were taking all precautions.
    “We are anticipating a meeting sometime soon. We can’t say when that will happen, but we are ready and waiting to have a meeting with the ministry,” he said.
    While making it clear he could not say what will happen come January 24, Lovell said they remained guided by the Ministry of Health.
    “As I alluded to, if school is closed on account of one case of Omicron and we have community spread, it would say to me that we should not or cannot have school based on the fact that community spread is greater than the one case we had,” he said.
    Principal of Wesley Hall Junior School Herbert Gittens reported that things went smoothly yesterday and he received no complaints from any member of staff.
    “We’ve been experiencing the online process about a year now and teachers are pretty competent in delivering online. The more we do it, the better we will get and the less challenges are going to come,” he said.
    However, he acknowledged some challenges, including technology, malfunctioning devices and tiredness of teachers and students from sitting in front of devices all day would remain.
    “But teachers are going to continue to do their best and try to assist while we battle with online schooling,” he said.
    Herbert, who is also the BUT’s general secretary, said the various teaching unions were having ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Education and health authorities as to a road map for the return to school plants, which would continue into this term.
    “Given how fluid the situation is, we can only continue to have these talks and to watch the situation. With the guidance of the Ministry of Health, when it is safe, we can at least have some level of return to the classroom,” he said.
    Gittens said benchmarks were set regarding the roadmap, some of which included 70 per cent of teaching staff and ancillary staff vaccinated, six feet distancing at primary schools and three feet at secondary schools.
    “All of those discussions would have been happening prior to the announcement of the Omicron. Now you have the new variant and it spreads more rapidly than the Delta, as the [Chief Medical Officer]
    would have said, [and] would have changed the road map that was being discussed. We can only now wait and observe what the conditions would look like going forward.
    Looks unlikely
    “The ministry would have indicated January 24 as a possible return, but that is just around the corner so now that looks unlikely and they may have to come up with a new date to work towards,” he said. Principal of the Daryll Jordan Secondary, Stephen Jackman, reported he had not received any negative reports following school yesterday.
    Jackman, who is also president of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools, said they too remained committed to working with the various ministries to ensure a safe return to the classroom. Regarding the January 24 proposed return, he said they remained guided by health and education officials.
    “We will manage the numbers returning to the classroom so it will be safe for staff and students,” he said, adding that he expected a blended approach until otherwise stated.
    Efforts to reach Chief Education Officer Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw for an update on the situation were unsuccessful.

    Source: Nation

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