On behalf of the BU household the blogmaster extends sincere congratulations to Dr. Grenville Phillips. In this space we have had our differences of opinion but through it all there is nobody who doubts that you are a well being Barbadian.
I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded a Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Hertfordshire, after 5 years of doctoral research in structural engineering.
The member of parliament for St. Michael West Neil Rowe was this week charged with rape, it has been widely carried in the social and traditional media. The fact that statement details given to the Barbados Police Service (BPS) by the victim was leaked is also of interest. It is the second time in recent weeks the BPS has been accused of a breach in confidentiality. The blogmaster agrees with those who opine the BPS will find it challenging to carry out its job in the circumstances and must hastily address the matter.
This past September 26th the Dart impacted a small asteroid known as Dimorphos, 285 hours later the Hubble Space Telescope caught the image, noticing material debris NASA announced they wanted result of this experiment, that the Spacecraft known as Dart was able to alter the asteroid’s orbit.
Why is this event important? It is the first time humanity purposely changed the motion of a celestial object. What is the fuss? Well do you remember Dinosaurs and how they became extinct? A massive asteroid struck the earth long ago, and the disturbance created a massive climatic/environmental disaster, filling the earth’s atmosphere with debris for years. Nothing could grow in such an atmosphere, so these dinosaurs died in time. Such an event can happen again. That is one of the reasons NASA and many other global agencies study the stars daily, studying how celestial objects motion works, and looking for objects of interest.
It started as a private project in 2006 under the name Cinnamon 88 Ltd and through the years morphed to Clearwater Bay Ltd a company registered to do business in 2010. The project has straddled both administrations starting with the late David Thompson and now rest uneasily with the incumbent Mottley who was a legal advisor to the failed project while in opposition. An interesting side note – Avinash Persaud also played a role and would have assisted in him being able to drive the luxury sports car he zips .
We fast forward to the recent 2021 Auditor General report with the following note on Clearwater Bay Ltd can be found.
In my 2018 and 2020 Reports, I indicated that there were some concerns surrounding the accounting treatment of a loan guarantee made by the Government of Barbados through its’ company, Clearwater Bay Limited in the sum of $120 million. This guarantee was in relation to the construction of the proposed Four Seasons managed hotels and villas. The sum of $120 million had appeared in the books of the Government as a receivable for a number of years but was completely written off in 2018. I had previously indicated that enough information was not provided to my Office as to the nature of the arrangement between Clearwater Bay Limited and the developers. I also stated that, in any event, the entire $120 million should not be written off since the lands on which the project was being built were valuable; instead the value in the accounts should be written down rather than to be completely written off.
Based on information made available to my Office, Clearwater Bay held a mortgage over the real property and after the loan was called, Government was required to honor its guarantee and a payment of $124.3 million was paid to the bank. Action was then taken by the Government company to recover the monies expended through a sale of the property.
In respect of the sale of the property, a review of the records at the Land Registry Department indicates that the property has been conveyed to a private company. However, there is no evidence of consideration being paid. Matters surrounding the sale and ownership of this property are complicated and is currently the subject of litigation which is ongoing.
Please help us expose the full extent of the historical activities and alliances of the deeply corrupt (and allegedly criminal) Lord Mandelson: including, in particular, his longtime involvement with the child sex traffickers.
I started serving as the deputy chair of the Government Industrial School in Barbados (called the GIS), on the appointment of the Governor General and at the pleasure of the Minister responsible for reformatory schools on August 1, 2018. I must admit that although by that time I had been working with women and girls’ advocacy for just about 18 years I did not know much about the school. Every child who grows up in Barbados will get a threat or two about being sent to the school for being ‘own way’ but the truth is not many people who grow up in middle or upper class Barbados will ever interact with the institution.
The Government Industrial School was opened in 1883, forty-nine years after the abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean. The major purpose of the school was to house children who did not have parents or whose parents did not have the means to provide for their children. The Industrial Schools across the Caribbean extracted free labour from children in exchange for shelter and clothing. Flogging was allowed in the Schools and researcher, Dr. Shani Roper reported in a recent online forum on the topic of “Children in State Care” that records show that Barbados used the most flogging. The early 1900s saw the passage of two pieces of legislation – the Reformatory and Industrial Schools (1926) and the Juvenile Offenders Act (1936). These two pieces of legislation are still what govern the fate of children inside the juvenile justice system in 2022 Barbados. Despite the amendments to the Act over the years it is still archaic and ill-suited to govern a modern juvenile justice approach. It is gaps such as this in colonial repair that tempered my excitement about Barbados becoming a republic in November 2021. If you are still governing the future of Barbados under repressive, colonial law, what sense is it to expend money we borrowed from the International Monetary Fund on extravagant ceremony when the lives of the majority of Barbadians stand to see no improvement or material change?
A part of the responsibility of the Board of the School was to conduct inspections to ensure that all was well with the various stakeholders within the School. The fact that I had enough audacity to actually carry out the inspections was what eventually led to me losing the pleasure of the Minister and being fired in March 2021, for choosing to whistle blow publicly when I learnt of a 14-year-old girl resident being held naked in a cell under the conditions of solitary confinement. That incident was not where my journey with anomalies related to the children in care began. It was very much the ‘straw that broke donkey’s back’. When I started the tenure, the institution was run by an individual who was very proud to note that he had been at the institution since 1982. He had grown accustomed to commanding the institution with no reporting lines and no oversight from anyone. He was not required to write annual reports nor financial reports. Although the School is a government entity, it had never attracted the attention of the auditor general nor other state control mechanisms like the Child Care Board. The administration did not take kindly to my questioning or inspection. On my first visit to the Government Industrial School, I requested to see the breakfast service for the male residents of the School. Numerous people had reached out to me with complaints about how the children of the facility were being fed. That visit, breakfast was served around 8: 30 in the morning. I remember asking whether dry cereal and fruit was put out before that. I was told that it was not. The reason for my question was that the residents of the GIS would have been accustomed to a routine that required them to be at school by 8:30 in the morning. Many of them, unless they lived across the road from the school they attended would have had to be awake between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning to catch school buses or other types of transportation to school. Having breakfast at 8:30 put them 3 hours behind their usual schedule.
The breakfast served at 8:30 consisted of canned spam fried with two or three crackers per boy and a cup of hot chocolate. There was no water offered, there was no fruit offered and there were no alternative food selections. The breakfast offered was not enough to satisfy teenaged boys. Trying to report what I had seen quickly brought me into another realization about the set up of the School. The Board of the Government Industrial School is advisory. That means that the Board only creates policy positions and passes those onto the Minister. Based on how government structures in the Caribbean work, the Minister would then have to pass the requests back to the permanent secretary of the Ministry who then instruct the senior administrative staff of the school. The cumbersome reporting lines are a part of the disconnect in policy and practice at the School.
The second major concern for me was the lack of educational and skills training programming at the School. The GIS is housed under the Ministry of Home Affairs, like the adult prison facility. There is no official document or memorandum of understanding establishing a status between the School and the Ministry of Education. There is no clear protocol on whether residents remain on the register of their substantive schools. The residents who can continue schooling in regular educational settings are not allowed to do so. There is an ad hoc programme of education offered by the staff of the GIS, but there is no curriculum developed, there are no individual educational plans created for the children and the ones who do complete Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) certification are largely self taught. In contravention of the rights of children deprived of their liberty, children who complete CXC while resident at the GIS have that printed on their certificates. In a small society like Barbados that is a branding that is hard to overcome in the job market.
A third frustration I quickly ran into was how the outdated and archaic frameworks for juvenile justice in Barbados were continuing to have negative impacts on children in the juvenile justice system. Although there were mounds of policy documents, reports about concerns that UNICEF had highlighted and commitments to update laws and change practices at the mistrial and governmental levels, the same abuse that was outlined by residents of the institution as far back as the 1980s and continued under my tenure as deputy chair. Simple actions had not been taken. For instance, UNICEF reclassified children in the juvenile justice system into children in conflict with the law and children in need of care. Given the history of the industrial schools in Barbados and the Caribbean, where children were criminalized at Emancipation or in the interwar years for not having family or for being poor, these two clear streams of children was an important step in terms of modernizing the juvenile justice system. It paved the way for the removal of old archaic charges such as wandering to be discarded. There are institutional abuses at both sections of the Government Industrial School but the charge of wandering has gender specific implications for girls.
Girls who were facing family instability, which often resulted from them being raped or molested were being charged for wandering as they tried to escape abuse. Girls who were in other state facilities and facing abuses who tried to escape these environments were charged with wandering. Girls who had started normal teenaged exploration of sex with boys in similar age category to them were charged with wandering. In many cases, these children only came into contact with the juvenile justice system because their parents reached out to the state apparatus to try to seek help and support for their children and not because they wanted them incarcerated. The parents were then overruled when their children were made wards of the court and although their parental rights were never officially revoked, they lost the ability to make medical decisions for their children, educational decisions or further decisions about legal outcomes. When girls are charged with wandering in Barbados, they are forced to have vaginal examinations as a part of the police investigation process. They are given the morning after pill as well. Even if attorneys at law representing the children or parents do not give consent, these measures are taken.
The juvenile justice system in Barbados is completely broken and despite the country having international obligations under conventions such as CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention of Belém do Pará, old colonial practices persist. The Minister has a substantial amount of power to change the situation at the GIS. While the previous Minister has released some of the children in the facility in need of care, under the current Minister girls charged for wandering continue to be criminalized. Unless the region and the world pay attention, the children of Barbados will not be safe. Coloniality has killed out national conscience and only worldwide outrage can awaken change.
Submitted by Don James (MASTER MEDIA STRATEGIES, INC)
In honor of my late husband, Cuba Gooding Sr. – who was a dual citizen of America and Barbados – I, Shirley Gooding and family, send this congratulatory message to the country and people of Barbados for becoming the world’s newest Republic. My husband passed in 2017. However, there’s no doubt that if he were living, he would have attended the recent regal ceremony to witness Barbados’ removal of the British monarch as its Head of State after almost 400 years.
As the matriarch of the Gooding family, which includes sons and actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omar Gooding, daughter and actress April Gooding, and stepson and musician Thomas Ware Gooding, we share in your joy and vision of becoming a prosperous Republic.
The Gooding family has a long history in Barbados. My husband’s ancestors were brought to the country as slaves in the late 1700s into the early 1800s. His father, Dudley MacDonald Gooding, was born in Bridgetown in the late 1800s. Dudley’s parents, William Gooding and Edith Augusta Walcott Gooding, had and raised many children in Barbados. Dudley ultimately lived in Cuba before migrating to Harlem, New York but always had a true love for his home country of Barbados.
Cuba Sr. and I first visited the lovely country of Barbados in 1998. My husband, who was the lead singer of the legendary R&B-soul group The Main Ingredient for 47 years, was humbled and mesmerized to walk on the same soil that his father and ancestors once walked. The visit inspired my husband to seek Barbados citizenship, which was granted in 2001. It was perhaps his proudest honor. Over the years, he often visited Barbados to meet relatives or perform with The Main Ingredient or as a solo artist.
As Barbados begins a new and exciting chapter as a new Republic and with a new Head of State, my family congratulates President Sandra Mason, the country’s first-ever president, who has now replaced Queen Elizabeth II as the country’s Head of State. We commend Prime Minister Mia Mottley and her role in Barbados’ forward movements. In addition, we congratulate R&B and pop icon Rihanna for Barbados honoring her as its “National Hero.” My husband greatly admired Rihanna for her unwavering love for Barbados and saw her as a gifted and phenomenal singing star, recording artist, and performer.
In addition, we send our love to all the people of Barbados. May God bless you in your new era as a thriving Republic. Please know that our family is proud to have deep Barbadian roots and rich Bajan blood in our proud lineage. You will always be in our prayers and an intricate part of our future. We look forward to visiting again.
The blogmaster extends sympathy to the family of Douglas “Slanty” Trotman who died today.
You know the poor and unconnected black man has to work 3 times as hard as the white man in the white man’s land but 6 times as hard as the white man in his own land. From March 3rd.. persistent delay in giving a date.Nov 18th .. will see the outcome”
(Douglas Trotman November 2021)
It is unfortunate Trotman died before securing legal fees earned from the compulsory Acquisition of property known as Sam Lords Castle. The blogmaster understands the transaction was frustrated by the Mottley government.
The documents filed with the Barbados detail the sorry tale.
The blogmaster continues to follow the story regarding a call to BARP’s membership to attend the AGM- the rule requires 200 members in good financial standing to achieve a quorum.
It begs the question why the Barbados Association of Retired Persons with close to thirty thousand members representing a cross section of the local population has been unable to raise a quorum. One far fetched reason is that the meeting being convened via ZOOM, far fetched because BARP has a significant 50s professional membership. BARP has rescheduled the meeting for December 06, 2021 via ZOOM in difference to the prevailing COVID 19 condition.
A key agenda item to be discussed at BARP’s AGM is to approve a team to intervene in the upcoming Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) rate review. The BARP president has raised public concern regarding the impact an increase in the electricity rate will have on its membership. The inability of BARP to raise a quorum to be an intervenor at the rate review goes to the root of our failing as a people to actively participate in civic engagement activities.
The blogmaster looks forward to BARP being able to host a successful AGM on December 06, 2021.
BARP considers protest against proposed BL&P rate hike
The Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) is concerned that the hike in electricity rates proposed by the Barbados Light & Power Company, (BL&P) will be burdensome and unbearable for its members, and plans to intervene on their behalf. BL&P has applied for a substantial increase in its rates and tariffs that would see the domestic rates per kwh increase between 33.3 per cent and 42.9 per cent, and the cost for new service (below 200 amps) jumping from $50 to as much as $130. BARP is hoping to assemble a highpowered team of individuals of various skills to protest the steep increase. “Since all rates are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), such a steep increase will be even more severe for our members. We must make our voice heard, not only for our members but for all ratepayers,” said BARP president Marilyn Rice-Bowen. She confirmed that the proposed intervention will be discussed at BARP’s annual general meeting which will be held next Monday via Zoom.In its 1,300-page application to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), the BL&P said that following adjustments for rate-making purposes, its profits fell from $53.4 million in 2019 to $28.7 million in 2020. The BL&P had also stated that its application for a rate hike was only its second in 40 years, and acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent ashfall and Hurricane Elsa, had on ratepayers. (BT)
Back in 2019, I wrote a series of articles on KFC in the Caribbean. Today, I am following it up with a look at Little Caesars in the Caribbean, and in particular, a price comparison of one of their menu staples (and a personal favourite of mine), the Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready Large Pepperoni pizza.
Before I do that, a few words on my research methodology. Firstly, I defined the Caribbean as member and associate member states of CARICOM. Secondly, using Google, I searched for CARICOM countries with Little Caesars locations (and websites). Thirdly, the prices are the final price paid by customers (including tax). Finally, I included the price of a large pepperoni pizza in the USA for comparison. The USA price was obtained from the Real Menu Prices website. All local prices were checked and converted to USD, on November 21. Currency conversion was done via the Xe Currency Converter website.
Miss Ram always find ways to be in the news mostly in an unfavourable light. Her latest flirt with the local newsfeed is that she has been exposed selling an unapproved, inferior off the shelf Covid 19 rapid test at her hardware store Builders Value Mart. A local press report quoted Miss Ram as saying:
Let me do my own research because I like to understand things. I will have to investigate because when I do certain things, I check first. I don’t know where the error has occurred, were they not known or what has come up. But if it is definitely banned and if they have done it, definitely it will go off the shelves right away.
It was drawn to the blogmaster’s attention the product highlighted below is the real macoy which is sold for about three times what Miss Ram is/was selling her inferior imitation.
The question on the lips of onlookers is – why would Miss Ram import Covid 19 rapid test kits during a pandemic without seeking approval or validation from the Ministry of Health? Whose side is she on besides greed?
A few months ago the blogmaster relented to a request from two post-grad students and shared a few insights. The result in the paper attached – CASE STUDY REPORT – What are the motivating factors for news blogging? The Case of Barbados Underground.
Unfortunately the information sharing from Barbados Underground was not as free flowing as should have been ideal but the paper is a fair effort. The reason the blogmaster agreed to share – there is an urgent need for more bloggers to setup on platforms like WordPress to secure more control of the content and therefore be protected from the tentacles of the establishment. Posters to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are beginning to battle with interference from the publishers AND we know how easy it is to report a post on those platforms.
The blogmaster takes this opportunity to express deep appreciation to all contributors and commenters to Barbados Underground from the inception (est 2007).
One encouraging approach of this Mottley government is the obvious policy to forge closer links with the Mother Country. Many are smiling at the news an MOU was signed to pursue trade, investment and knowledge sharing opportunities with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Also the alliance between Kenya and Barbados which saw a two day conference which brought together business people across different sectors in both countries.
The detractors will continue to moan that improving alliance with Africa countries is being being pursued because traditional source markets have dried up, so what!