Why protest action is failing

Key actors in Civil Society, including significant political opposition, must come together to engineer successful protest action in a Barbados space.

The late General Secretary of the BWU and support team

The attempts by Caswell Franklyn of Unity Workers Union and others to galvanize protest action by Barbadians is commendable. In a democracy the opportunity for citizens to exercise a right to protest must be protected. History is replete with many examples where protest action by civic minded citizens forced change from those targeted.

One of the biggest protest actions in Barbados was the march in 1981 led by a powerful Barbados Workers Union (BWU) to protest the sacking of David Gilkes by BARTEL. In 2017 there was the BLP led march that attracted thousands to signal to an incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) its increasing unpopularity.

The other protest action of interest was against the construction and lack of transparency of an untested gasification plant by an unproven Cahill Energy. Although the protest did not take the form of thousands marching on the streets, it was effective in generating ‘noise’ and concern among a cross section in the society – traditional, non traditional media or word of mouth were used to catapult the population into a tizzy.

The above mentioned protest actions make for interesting study.

Many of the protest movements we have seen this year were catalysed by single events: moments which ignited long-held grievances and concerns. The most internationally recognizable is the murder of George Floyd in the United States, but there are many more examples of deaths or serious abuses that created a spark.

What Makes a Successful Protest?

In a Barbados context given our conservative streak, it definitely requires a ‘seminal event’ to trigger mass public support. On paper it would be reasonable to assume that the inability of the NIS to adhere to standard governance requirements to produce timely audited financial statement, inability of successive NIS Board of Directors to hold successive Ministers of Finance accountable, disbursement of NIS funds into questionable projects along with other non compliant decisions should be enough to pique public’s concern and galvanize protest.

The question to be asked – why would thousands not have joined the march yesterday? In the mind of a lowly blogmaster the answer is simple with too many reasons to unpack.

At the top of the list are those leading the protest action. Although many have tremendous respect for Caswell Franklyn, including the blogmaster, he does not have the national appeal to influence a cross section of Barbadians to march. He is perceived as a trouble tree and lacking influence by the establishment. This label will always distract from any attempt by him to draw attention to a cause even if it just. Caswell and his group have been unable to attract brand name personalities to the group from other trade unions, private sector agencies, NGOs , youths and minority groups.

The blogmaster mentioned minority groups because it is with the minority group (White people) the economic wealth and power structures reside in Barbados. One of the reasons for the strong blow back from protest action against the Cahill gasification plant was that the upper middle class; minorities were all in against the project and joined blue collar support (or was it the reverse) and a Mia Mottley Opposition expertly capitalized on the opportunity. There was also full mobilization of social media platforms of which Barbados Underground payed a small part.

Fast forward to today, there is no significant audible or visible political opposition and that powerful minority will always be reluctant to associate with Caswell’s protest group. Unfortunately for Caswell- unlike Frank Walcott- he is a lone wolf because the BWU and NUPW have been neutered. Prime Minister Mia Mottley huge brand and personality continues to suck the oxygen from our space which is NOT healthy for a fledgling democracy. It was interesting to observe Prime Minister Mottley and BWU General Secretary Toni Moore walking almost hand in hand on Kadooment Day.

Let us go back to the drawing board and move from the perception of being too disparate by collaborating with key actors in civil society to be able to capitalize on the next seminal moments that becomes available to achieve effective protest action.

44 thoughts on “Why protest action is failing

  1. “In a Barbados context given our conservative streak.”

    aka perpetual slavemindedness, corrupt mindedness..call it what it REALLY is…

    These trigger words, conservative etc, etc, etc , were handed down to slaves who have no idea what they mean within the colonial context. .

  2. Caswell is the wrong person.

    He lost his credibility with Bajans in 2018 when he became the “opposition” “senator” appointed by the Reverend Joe the BLP member of the House of Assembly.

    Anything associated with him or Reverend Joe is doomed to fail.

    He has a lot of knowledge but no sense.

    If it is that he is seeking forgiveness and redemption then he should know that confession comes first.

    So what exactly are his motives?

    • WHO AUTHORISED YOU to ‘speak’ on behalf of all Barbadians, especially knowing there are several people who DO NOT share your views. Hence, you should”ve prefaced your silly, presumptuous comments with: “In MY opinion……”

  3. Protesters have better tools and weapons to win, they should organize along those lines…more productive…less spies…and out of the glare of the self proclaimed “conservatives”…aka…slaveminded and corruptminded.

    Kofi Annan was a total genius and knew that one or some of us would one day somewhere pick up on what he said and caught the frequency,…only thing with regurgitators and artistes of obscurity they know nothing about ancestral connect….so never understood that no begging… dependant borrowers have any weight to punch above….and they repeated the nonsense too often and for way too long……giving me exactly what i needed to know they were frauds..

    Plus, they have been thoroughly observed within the precincts of the UN and fool no one….

  4. Artax
    on August 13, 2023 at 8:34 AM said:
    Rate This

    WHO AUTHORISED YOU to ‘speak’ on behalf of all Barbadians, especially knowing there are several people who DO NOT share your views. Hence, you should”ve prefaced your silly, presumptuous comments with: “In MY opinion……”


    Just bring impartially observant of a factual matrix

    • RUBBISH!! ‘Factual matrix’ is inapplicable and inappropriate under the circumstances.

    • SSA workers: Pay us!

      INDUSTRIAL ACTION is looming at the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA), says general secretary of the Unity Workers Union (UWU) Caswell Franklyn.

      He gave that warning yesterday after he said the SSA refused to pay several workers who were called in to work on two of the recent holidays, CARICOM Day and Emancipation Day.
      “The guys were asked to work, they went in and they did work, but now management at Sanitation decided they are not going to pay them for those two bank holidays. That is unfair,” Franklyn said.
      He made those comments to the DAILY NATION at UWU’s Sixth Avenue Belleville office, where the outspoken union leader met with several aggrieved employees.
      Although there were several issues on the table, the staff said that at least 30 employees, including tractor operators and general workers, were told they would not be paid for their time.
      The general manager at the SSA, Janice Jones, did not comment on the matter when she was contacted yesterday.
      Efforts to reach Minister
      of Environment Adrian Forde were unsuccessful Franklyn, however, said his union would not stand for it and had endorsed his members to withdraw their service.
      “It is unreasonable and it amounts to constructive dismissal where a person turns up for work and you don’t pay them. A person in that situation could terminate his own services but if they do that, they have to fight to get compensation, and these fellows want their job.
      “One of the problems was that one of the pieces of equipment was down, but that is not their fault. The union has authorised people to come out and support them. If they do not pay them, and I doubt they will get paid by tomorrow morning, the sanitation workers at the landfill who are members of Unity, will not work,” he added. (TG)

      Source: Nation

  5. Yolande……I agree with you that protesters have better tools and weapons to win this fiscal battle. I don’t believe that this particular struggle requires boots on the ground.

    • No it dont, they only need guidance, and knowledge on how to utilize the available tools in their collective arsenals..

      ..but i cant get involved more than i have been for the last 11 years…,too much conflicts of interest developed along the way…..am doing the best i can under the circumstances.

      Hopefully those with mirror image experience, knowledge and skillsets can assist…

    • Someone called the population this morning …”lambs for mutton”….if they dont understand what that means, no one can help them..

  6. Cur-sed be the peacemakers for they toooooo shall inherit ‘hell’.

    All peaceful actions have long failed.

    Have they not killed your prince of peace?

    And have they not killed MLK too, his wannabe.

    We’re talking about those who control the City of London and Wall Street, the same bloodline.

    Those having a two quadrillion dollar, 2 000,000 000,000,000, interest in making all forms of protest inert.

    Unfortunately, many serve them, as is this and every government Barbados has had.

    Cornel West, Christopher Hedges, Horance Campbell and Noam Chomsky.

    West, like Kennedy, political aspirants, continues to amaze. A man with an unquestioned brilliant mind.

    But a mind still firmly teethered to White, Judae-Christian, central fslsehoods even as he exist within the time of the greatest Afrikan intellectual rennasaince since Kemet.

    Such a mind should have long seen that the presidentcy of the USA can never be made to serve other than the rulers of the earth. And that he who temporarily occupies it is nothing but window dressing.

    Both he and Kennedy, even Trump, should know that unless business as usual is always the order of the day, that they toooo will be “Kennedied” or “Kinged”.

    In broad daylight!

    And Franklyn only possesses nusance value, within this schema, unfortunately.

    But West’s fellow traveler Hedges, both of whom have for years taught within the prison system, as part of they peace and justice work, should be honest enough to tell him that this talk about removing the over 800 American military bases from around the world shall lead to his death.

    All of them!

    The ideological contradictions within the peace camp, whether marching for workers’ rights or against nuclear weapons, is that all the gains made over 200 years have been clawed back by interests within the City of London and Wall Street.

    These include, all the nuclear arms control agreements, except one which is barely holding on. Workers’ organizations, with the advent of neoliberalism, have been almost totally hollowed out, defanged, to name a few.

    How many other cheeks must be presented to the demons, as established narratives demand?

    Horrace Campbell, a Jamaician at Syrause Uni, and Noam Chomsky, though not at all Judea- Christian minded, in the least, are both still wedded to the same peace and justice narratives as West and Hedges.

    For all of them there must never be violence regardless of the circumstances. This is where we hold a minoritarian view.

    Our conclusion has long been that their discourses best serve the interests of the demons within the City of London and Wall Street.

    The works of all four are required reading, still.

    • Was just pontificating on if the local wannabe elites had done things intelligently and differently, instead of focusing on being the face of Empire from 1994, focusing on birthrights that don’t belong to them and now never will….how much differently things could have been…am saying this from a position of knowledge…

      wonder if they have any hindsight 20/20 vision to see they should have defended and protected the treasures they were gifted instead of allowing greed and cravenness to take center stage….now look at the ginormous mess they created that must now be cleaned up…wonder HOW they think all this will end….weee know they have no remorse….and no one in their right minds would want to be an ally of judases.

      A question i keep asking over and over, why do so many desire elite status via THEFTS from those who look like them…where did it get ya but famous everywhere….but only to be watched and NEVER TRUSTED …..party’s over….ya got a case to answer…maybe several more later….go home..

    • According to that website, Haynes ceased to be a director in 2010. It didn’t indicate when he began

  7. It’s failing because of your democracy.

    1) David Hundeyin, West Africa Weekly

    2) Kit Karenburg, Grayzone.

    For the amateur researchers who dare to challenge a pro. Two sources.

    We cite the case of the recently selected president of Nigeria Tinnabu.

    A bagman, drug dealer, underworld figure living in Chicago who was caught by the FBI with drug money.

    Having not prosecuted him, it’s fair to conclude that he’s been turned into an asset by the gangsters in Washington.

    The investigations are even suggesting that the United States rigged the count to steal the election from John Obi, who was leading in most polls.

    So we here have a man who paid for the former president of Nigeria to be elected with David Axelrod, from the DNC, and a former Obama aide, who managed Buhari’s campaign.

    A Buhari campaign paid for by Tinnabu.

    Paid, on the basis that his, Tinnabu’s, turn was next.

    During the count Tinnabu was lagging. But at 4 in the morning all suddenly changed.

    So we woke up the to meet a declaration by the Commission, that the criminal, drug dealer, Tinnabu, was leading.

    His election is now being contested in the Nigerian courts. Further, Hundeyin is also reporting that Tinnabu’s presidential academic certification, as qualification to be on the ballot, was fraudulent, with evidence.

    Conclusion! Given the war party aimed at Niger, to keep Afrika servile. A pending court decision which is likely to run Tinnabu out of office. The clear implication that Tinnabu is an American asset. Who either illegally or immorally or both imposed a soft coup on the peoples of Nigeria.

    A man who now dares to speak of the coups in the Sahel, as if imbued with lily white moral garments.

    If we can get a Nigerian judge to hear the cases lodged! A proviso.

    It becomes pellucid that the underlying structures of this false democracy have long failed. That the stinking Americans from whom is derived meaning, a sense of being, is so rotten, to the core, that all levels of peaceful protest will be no more than a waste of rasssoul time.

    Others may see the connections between the local Mottley dictatorship, the American planted, criminal, regime, in Nigeria, and why when systems have so failed no amount of peaceful projections can give them a renewed life.

  8. PACHAMAMA……….You truly are a Gutter Sniper and a cowardly one at that.

    “Others may see the connections between the local Mottley dictatorship, the American planted, criminal, regime, in Nigeria…..” Wasn’t Mia Mottley elected by a majority vote? Is Mia a drug runner? Is she a forger? Come out, come out and answer.

    On the African thread I mentioned that skeezebag Bolo Tinubu (don’t care to spell correctly). You peeped over there,researched him, then ran to this thread talking shite bout amateur researcher challenging a pro. Is this the same pro that bluffs and lies on this blog constantly?

    That ugly man is nothing for me to search nor research. I mentioned him in relation to the bullying of Niger.

    WTF does he have to do with this local thread other than to attempt to slander the PM?

    Weren’t you the one on this blog years ago giving props to corrupt Buhari talking shite about what a great President he will be, or words to that effect?

    You are so effing pathetic. You make me sick.

    You stay posting lies on this blog to puff up your arse and I’ll stay on you like white on rice. LIAR!

  9. Hate to disappoint

    But this writer did not and has not read you up to now.

    Certainly not any post before the moniker was thusly written.

  10. So wait!
    Pacha… you gwine tek those licks in your burro just so…?

    What ‘writer did not and has not read you’ what!!??
    Defend yusself !!


  11. Bushie


    I have not read the article above either, beyond the title

    Based on that, made comments that were predetermined.

    Why read the article! When we know the thinking of the writer already. The issues involved.

    Other comments were and are irrelevant within this schema.

    Do you have any idea how many things are just skimmed?

    Or barely looked at.

    Was it not you who has on occasion talked about noncommissioned officers?

    By the way, you are always one of the few exceptions to that long standing rule.

    Finally, this is nearly comic relief these days. Days not meant for cussing or fighting bout things of little or no interest.

    No thank you!

  12. NorthernObserver
    on August 13, 2023 at 9:04 PM said:
    Rate This

    According to that website, Haynes ceased to be a director in 2010. It didn’t indicate when he began



    That’s the billion dollar question!!

    Her’s what I swore in the Canadian proceedings on 12 November 2007 about Caribbean Commercial Trust about a land deal taking place in the late 1980’s.

    I was deposed in Canada a whole day by a barrage of lawyers on my affidavit and not one contradicted this statement.

    You can check how Caribbean Commercial Trust fits or fitted in to the CLICO web if you are so inclined.

    Leslie Haynes has been tied up with Cyril Duprey and CLICO from the 1980’s.

    37. Another company that has performed a similar flip transaction is Caribbean Commercial Trust. Leslie Haynes has been on the board and Lawrence Duprey who I have been told was a Canadian. This land or part of it was sold to Texaco.

  13. Not only most things dont get read by me lately, but even less will get read now…

    You do not promote FORGERS of conveyances, wills, title deeds assents….people’s estate documents….theft of lives generationally….common class thieves, wannabe elites who have NOTHING to offer but more of the same, and never will…..too famous for their or anyone else’s good….

    Pacha…due to certain information…am more embarrassed than ever to let anyone know i am in the orbit of such forever failures…..my instincts were right to slowly bow out, hours later…i saw why…..totally justified.

  14. Irony of all ironies. Corporate elites whose associates are perhaps guilty of refusing to pay in workers contributions to the NIF, are now giving advice and in some cases begging/ demanding an ease in their well established private pension funds.

  15. Peaceful Revolutions occur when 10s or 100s of 1000s of normal people are in agreement with each other and form a movement to fight against oppression.

    Movements are generational and are not about figurehead leaders like JFK, RFK, MLK Jr., Malcolm X who were murdered, but are about the subjugated common people they represented. New probes are now demanded into four history-making assassinations.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) has called for probes into deaths of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

    Sensi Addict x Music Addict
    It is also alleged that {cough} {cough} The CIA attempted to shoot and kill the Rasta man called Robert Nesta Marley who was popular with youths and was a threat due to smoking marijuana and playing music.

  16. Exercise your Greatness
    Together the ants will conquer the elephant.

    Police everywhere
    Justice nowhere

    Revolutionary But Gangsta
    In USA black youths protest against the Police because they can be shot for holding a hot dog 🌭 that the Police thought was a gun 🔫.

    Hip Hop celebrates 50 years.

  17. Blimey, that has got to be the laziest, lousiest shite for a protest ever! Why does kadooment revelry have more energy than that ‘protest.’ There’ no way these people are worried ’bout insurance/pension/retirement.

    Where does Mia and her Crew meet? Aren’t they in Parliament on weekdays? If you really want to be heard or make an impact won’t you show up in Parliament and make a stink on a working day?

    What de?

    • It is convenient to protest on the weekends when the majority of people are off work. It does not matter the better time for an effective protest. The protesters should be commended for exercising their civic duty but there is a naivete that is unfortunate.

  18. When you have been a brass bowl, and used as a topsy for eons…
    and have come to accept it as normal…

    Define ‘protest’.

    • @Bush Tea

      In the context of civic responsibility in the democracy we practice protest must be organized in a manner to send a message and or be disruptive.

  19. @ David
    In order for there to be meaningful protest,
    JOB NO 1 is that of ‘self actualization’.

    Why would someone with zero self value protest being exploited?
    Why do you think politicians LOVE to provide gifts and handouts to keep masses in the mendicant, pitiful frame of mind?

    How come we have NO examples of our politicians using the LAW to empower and enfranchise the poor and destitute whom they claim to love and represent? … but bizzy and MalMoney never lacks for government support?

    It is..
    …Because when a brass bowl comes to REALIZE their true worth, THEN you would see what protest against shiite looks like…

    Job #1 – Know thyself.

    • @Bush Tea

      Does the average Joe Citizen have the civic awareness/nous to behave at the level you described? If no it means quality leadership must be priority- chiefs and Indians?


      If a quality sports program is to become a reality then quality leadership must rise to the fore. You should recall Observing’s mantra on the blog.

  20. @Bushie
    The phrase “temet nosce” appeared in the first Matrix movie. Loosely translated means know thyself. That movie is a fitting analogy for where we find ourselves. Moving around daily blind to who we are and our own individual purposes. Social and psychological “exploitation” is a natural consequence.

    Successful protest action requires either leadership that stays the course and attracts masses to the cause (a la Clement Payne/The Grand Old Duke of York) OR organic mass based online and physical group think that cannot be ignored by those in charge and grows naturally (e.g. Republic Day).

    Sadly, there are little to no causes on this rock that provides for either of these two circumstances. We always “react” when it is too late. The political class (except Freundel, lol) and money wielders class manage the affairs to ensure that no “tipping point” ever comes even if discontent exists.

    Just observing

  21. A good but disturbing film to watch is “Till”

    The true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting his cousins in Mississippi.

    These events kick started the Civil Rights movement which has been an ongoing continuous battle from Emmett Till to George Floyd and beyond.

    Emmett Till Antilynching Act

    This bill makes lynching a federal hate crime offense.

    Specifically, the bill imposes criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 30 years, or both—on an individual who conspires to commit a hate crime offense that results in death or serious bodily injury or that includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

    This bill has the status Became Law

    Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:

    > Introduced
    > Passed House
    > Passed Senate
    > To President
    > Became Law

    Hot Like A Melting Pot 🔥
    (aka Lightning and Thunder, aka Voice Of My Father)

  22. Does the average Joe Citizen have the civic awareness/nous to behave at the level you described?
    Of course not!
    Nor does the regular ABOVE average brass bowl!
    Shiite!! Not even Pacha….

    The ‘nous’ of which Bushie speak requires a level of knowledge that, while FREELY available to all who genuinely wants it, is perhaps the single most ELUSIVE characteristic of modern life.

    In past times when our forefathers KNEW that they were ignorant, a few GENUINELY sought this knowledge and wisdom by trusting in the ONLY source of Wisdom.
    Nowadays, with free ‘eddykashun’ having contaminate most of us with false pride and false ‘knowledge’ (that continues to produce EVER DECLINING results), we are much TOO PROUD to submit ourselves to the TRUE source of knowledge and wisdom.

    This is why our ‘uneducated’ grand parents OUTDID our current ‘graduates’ and managed to accumulate SIGNIFICANT national assets, which their expensively ‘eddykated’ grand children are now selling, pawning and giving away to foreigners…like rabid PARROs, while borrowing – though KNOWING that we are unable to repay.

    Indeed, what Bushie is seeking to show, is the MASSIVE ROLE that YOU have taken upon yourself via BU (whether you realize it or not), to highlight the existing IDIOCY of our situation, and to suggest the URGENT NEED for change, and the GLORIOUS potential that there is for success.

    There IS a GOD, and that God works in mysterious ways to achieve the desired ends….

    @ Observing
    Even worse than moving blind, ..we are not even aware that we are not aware…
    A hopeless situation …
    UNLESS of course the Blogmaster can JOLT us awake from our nightmare…. LOL

  23. Convenience……..the hallmark of a lazy, cowardly, complaining populace who’d rather “tip-toe through life just to arrive at death safely.” Stay in convenience.

  24. Jah God Rastafari is upright and he loves uprightness
    Them bend and bow all to the string oh yeah the foundation is the one ruined
    You say how good so and so is, don’t give me that Mr. So and So is a wicked

    • Pension reform proposals fair, says Mottley
      Government’s newest proposals for pension reform are fair and reasonable, declared Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley yesterday.
      However, she added, that did not mean they could not be adjusted if the country’s growth continued on an upward trajectory.
      “It can’t happen next year or in the next three years,” she told Barbadians during an almost two-hour nationally televised address from Ilaro Court. “But we will have to do actuarial reviews like medical check-ups.”
      The Prime Minister said Government had chosen to protect people who were already 60 years old, but more importantly, would stretch out how Barbadians’ pensions were affected, since the retirement age would not move to 67.5 years until 2028, and to 68 years until 2034.
      Add to that, Barbadians pensioners are by far the best remunerated in the Eastern Caribbean, she said.
      Mottley not only doubled down on her administration’s twopronged approach to trying to stabilise the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) in the next 11 years, but also brought statistics provided by the NIS to buttress her point.
      She revealed that Barbadians’ contributory pension of $1 052 was by far the highest in the Eastern Caribbean, well ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (BDS$900) and The Bahamas (BDS$792).
      She added that 52 per cent of the Barbadians whose pension started in 2000 were still alive up to the middle of last year, and being paid pensions by the NIS.
      “They drew pension at 65 years old in the year 2000, and you are now 88 years old. If people are living at that rate, it is a wonderful thing. The life expectancy when the NIS fund was founded was about 67 years old. Today, the life expectancy is 77 for men, and just over 80 for women.
      “But if we want that, we have to be able to make adjustments at the other end,” Mottley said, while noting it was this situation which led to the latest proposals.
      “We had to look at the options we could have to make adjustments.”
      The Prime Minister said increasing contributions could lead to businesses becoming less competitive, and self-employed people having to dig deeper into their pockets.
      “The impact on future growth is where it would hurt us most in the future.”
      The Prime Minister said it was important Barbadians realised the path the country had taken in the last half-decade.
      “We’ve done well over the last five years but I need us to stay focused. We’ve had five challenging years, but we’ve come a long, long way from where we were when we first inherited this Government.”
      She said there was need for a pep talk because some detractors wanted to take advantage of the fatigue citizens were facing, having come out of a difficult period highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
      “I ask you to bear with us. The damage we inherited was deep. Swift and decisive action was needed, largely because we did not have foreign exchange,” she said, adding that Government intended to recapitalise both the NIS and the Central Bank.
      That help included giving the NIS Government bonds worth $457.5 million and paying $143 million into the NIS unemployment benefit fund in a short two-year period, she stated.
      “What we are doing is taking pre-emptive action to make sure there is no crisis,” Mottley said. ( BA)

      Source: Nation

Leave a comment, join the discussion.