From lost decade to clawback period

How can this Mia Mottley earn credibility regarding Mission Transformation but ignore incompetence within the bosom of her Cabinet?

Minister of Education Kay McConney

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in unprecedented manner won the last two general elections. It should be noted the two general elections occurred in 2018 and 2022 – a period of just over three years – in a system where a general election is constitutionally due every five years.

The electorate had enough of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) given the state of the economy during the so called lost decade. Barbados is a two party system, a duopoly, therefore when there is time for a change the country has only one alternative. A reasonable conclusion to make is that the opposition party whether BLP or DLP do not win elections but rather sitting governments lose.

Political pundits often discuss why the third party movement has not gained traction in Barbados in a climate of rising cynicism and apathy being experienced by the electorate. A good answer is that there are multiple factors at play – no appreciable difference in political ideology, ragtag candidates who want for coherent articulation, lack of structure and resources to list a few.

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MPs pay hike maybe in the works

No bigworks project gets done without the approval of the prime minister.

A few days ago Dr. Ronnie Yearwood fresh from being reelected President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) posted a provocative tweet. To be expected his tweet generated the usual 7-day public discussion.

It is useful Yearwood decided to play his hand on what is regarded as a contentious matter. It is obvious he has been advised to develop a more aggressive perspective on the issues to improve resonance with a politically ‘tone deaf’ public. A different approach by the DLP to entice support from an apathetic and cynical public is required from a DLP struggling for relevance, Yearwood must employ superior leadership qualities to repurpose a political party clinging to the tattered coattail of Errol Barrow as well as surviving in a space where the political oxygen is being controlled by Prime Minister Mottley.

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DLP Rumble

The election of a President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will be held this weekend at the annual general conference to run from August 18th to 20th. On the ballot are David Estwick, Ryan Walters, Richard Sealy and incumbent, Ronnie Yearwood.

The election of a President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will be held this weekend at the annual general conference to run from August 18th to 20th. The interest of the country is piqued because with no other credible alternatives available the DLP represents the government in waiting.

What has spiced interest for many is the fact the DLP has had to accept two significant defeats in the last two general elections. So significant it was the party did not win a single seat. Although many prefer in the wake of the shellacking a credible third party movement would have emerged, it has not. Although disappointed, we have to console ourselves that the duopoly will be with us for the foreseeable future.

The blogmaster does not have a dog in the fight BUT being a keen observer of local politics, a few observations of a light nature on the current state of political affairs in the DLP camp are merited.

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Too much jucks and wuk ups!

Wuk up and jucks left right and center!

Submitted by Observing

Now that the crop over dust has settled it is clear that we were always in the wukking and jucking season. Videos and photos all over social media shows the old, young, black, white, slim, fat, rich and poor jucking down the place and wukking up like mad.

And, as if on cue, we the people continue to bend over and tek these jucks sometimes without even looking back to see who the owner of the banana is.

We get juck down with a change to NIS. Now the big boss begging for everyone to come on board after the fact.

The BTMI CEO get juck all the way cross the ocean over to Africa. Guess he couldn’t wuk up good enough!

The NCF juck down revelers with a whopping 13 hour jump and 8 hour wait that ended in darkness and jumpers in distress. Then they put their hands up, rolled their batties and told us that it was the best Kadooment ever.

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As if it Never Happened

Solutions Barbados
Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

My life may be described as before and after 2015. That is the year I started Solutions Barbados in response to Prime Minister Stuart’s instruction. Everyone has a right to speak, but he explained that getting into the political trench was the way to be heard by the Government on economic matters.

I was later informed that I had committed Barbados’ unpardonable sin. I should have joined one of the two established parties instead of starting a new one. PM Stuart did not specify that critical point.


I was informed that my penalty would be to be blacklisted by all organisations controlled by the two established parties in Barbados, including: business and professional organisations, schools, churches, clubs, and the media. I did not believe then that they had such control. Eight years later, despite being out of elective politics since 2020, I am no longer an unbeliever.

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The DLP is Dying

A predictable event has fired up yet again in the DLP.

It was obvious to the greenest political pundit Dr. Ronnie Yearwood would have to face a challenge for the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) sooner or later. Many subscribe to the management concept leaders emerge and therefore Yearwood must be able to fight off all comers to establish his bona fides. Although true in theory there is a reality that nuances the political landscape of Barbados given the results of the last two general elections and how it has decimated the DLP brand. The DLP may no longer be considered a credible altenative. If the DLP perform as miserable at the next general election, Barbados will have a constitutional crisis on its hands.

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been reduced to a comatose state because of two significant defeats by a Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in 2018 and 2022. Former DLP President Verla De Peiza for her futile effort leading a DLP in shambles post the so called ‘lost decade’ had to resign. There is a reality that the DLP decision makers must accept, little has occurred since 2022 to positively reposition the DLP brand in the minds of a cynical and apathetic public. It does not mean Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the BLP enjoy the best support. What is means is that in the land of the blind, a one eye woman is Queen.

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Rest in Peace Sir Lloyd

The Late Sir Lloyd Sandiford

Sir Lloyd Sandiford died yesterday at the age of 86 years old, to be expected the tributes have been pouring in about the good things ‘Sandi’ did. The reality is that the late Sandiford will be recorded as one of the more unpopular Prime Ministers of Barbados surpassed in recent times by his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) colleague former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

For many Sandiford will be remembered for three things in local political history. He suffered a mutiny that resulted in a no confidence motion – see BU files. He presided over the imposition of an 8% cut on public workers salaries. The consideration, to prevent a devaluation of the Barbados dollar. Finally he is credited for being the Minister of Education who transformed our educational system.

It is a courtesy often extended to speak glowingly of the dearly departed. May you Rest in Peace. Your presence will be missed by the BU household.

I Forgive You

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

I normally take my best advice. Therefore, I wish to publicly forgive those whom I have publicly criticised for doing me harm.

I forgive the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration for confiscating part of my retirement savings and pension, changing the laws of Barbados to make that theft legal, and not allowing me to access all the remainder of my retirement savings until the year 2033.


I forgive the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration for what the BLP called “the lost decade”. During seven years of that decade, I was not allowed to tender on construction projects in Barbados because of their corrupting procurement policy.


I forgive our politically partisan professionals. They include: economists, accountants, lawyers, journalists, and political scientists who criticised behaviour when it was done by the political party they did not support, and praised the same behaviour when it was done by their preferred political party.

I forgive our established media, who work with their political party to suppress the voices of credible Barbadians, so that the media’s audience is mainly informed about the views of the media’s political party.

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Remove Kothdiwala from Commission

Submitted by D.Douglas Smith

A concerned group of citizens, as well as myself, continue to be shocked by the public comments of one Khaleel Kothdiwala, the individual who the prime minister tried to appoint to the senate, even though the constitution did not allow it.

Most recently he has hitched himself to the debacle at the ministry of education with the outrageous survey conducted in the schools. He claims to be a youth advocate, so how could he seek to defend the disgraceful survey? How can he be a youth advocate, while at the same time being totally blinded by his loyalty to the ruling regime? Who gave him that title? How could his judgement be so poor that he can support this terrible survey?

He has used his column in one of the local newspapers to peddle propaganda on behalf of the regime. He has defended the activities at Four Seasons raised by the Auditor-General, he voiced support for the regime’s agenda of debt, debt and more debt, and he has called for the interests of tourists to be put ahead of local people, while wanting locals to keep wearing their masks like good servants. Check his columns and you will notice a clear dislike for the majority of Barbadians and a complete blind loyalty to the regime and his hatred for the DLP and the other opposition.

Therefore, how can Barbadians feel comfortable that he is sitting on the committee to review the constitution? What are his qualifications to sit on that committee anyway? He has shown that his first interest is the regime, so how will the public feel that their concerns will be taken seriously by this young man, if those concerns do not line up with his regime’s agenda? What will happen to information collected by the committee? The Prime Minister must explain to the country why Kothdiwala is there, among other people who are generally well-qualified. What was the purpose of putting him there?

We demand that Kothdiwala be removed with immediate effect from the constitutional reform commission, in the interest of fairness. We call on Barbadians to boycott the commission until Kothdiwala is removed. They are asking the public to email them recommendations, we ask Barbadians to refrain from doing that until he is removed. If they ever get around to townhall meetings, we call on Barbadians to refuse to attend those events. He cannot stay.

The public demands that Kothdiwala must go!

On behalf of concerned Barbadians,

D. Douglas Smith

Today Ends Barbados’ Lesson on the IMF

Submitted by Kemar J.D Stuart, Director Business Development , Finance and Investment Stuart & Perkins Caribbean

However On September 28th 2022 the Prime Minister of Barbados announced the details in regards to signing another IMF program. Included in this new IMF program is pension reform and reform to state owned enterprises

In the press conference earlier this month the Prime Minister when asked by a reporter she venomously denied that pension reform will be included in this new IMF program but it will be done in the old program which ends september 30th today .

The mention of the credit rating agencies, keeping Barbados’ credit rating at stable is nonsensical as Moody’s already indicated publicly in a release that Barbados will not be downgraded as long as it signs another IMF program. Barbados has not regained access to international capital markets after the voluntary default in 2018.

Prime Minister Mottley said it was difficult to say how deep state owned enterprises reforms would be under the new program . This is a confusing statement as the government circulated a survey previously under the first program asking citizens which SOE’s should or should not be privatized.

The strategy to cut as many SOE’s from government funding is still in place. The strategy is to fund them via a tax or levy or privatization . The PM made reference to urban and rural development which will be merged into one department, she made mentioned of CBC which will be privatized , the BWA will be privatized as the first hint of this plan was when former Water Resources Minister Charles Griffith indicated that government is appointing a 20 man water committee to tackle the water woes. The committee is made up of a list of wealthy businessmen , BWU leader Toni Moore , Director of Finance Ian Carrington who was the IMF press conference , Dr. Clyde Mascoll, as quizzed by myself, admitted on Brasstacks that the government is now seeking to find the right price for water. The IMF in 2007 recommended that to achieve savings and to reduce the amount money government spends on BWA that automatic price increases will address the cost prices imbalance in deliver of water to Barbadians

The PM hinted that she provided an additional 30 Million to BWA instead of increasing prices , as this program progresses the BWA will face a price increase in water rates once the electricity rate increases. Transfer funding to entities such BWA are to be cut as part of the IMF deal and in observation of other countries worldwide under IMF programs saw private water companies emerging when the conditions took their toll on governments , the GAIA is still in negotiations to be leased out

The new IMF program will continue to focus on digitization of the public service as the impact of Covid-19 pushed many economies to focus on delivering services online. The government declared that their policy is to take Barbados into fully digital and cashless society under the original BERT plan

The recent tongue lashing and attack by the Acting PM Santia Bradshaw on government workers who are attached to economic programs such as the Ash program is a bluff to create reasons for the cutting of these programs as a condition of the new IMF program. The programs were always intended to be temporary but were used as tools to hand out jobs for election purposes. That vile tongue lashing was unnecessary when the truth could have been told. In order to bring improvement in the government’s fiscal position all covid related expenses and ash expenses will go. The implementation of a fiscal rule to limit domestic deficit financing will tighten in.

The writing is on the wall as further expenditures cuts in government will see some thousands of government workers laid off under the new program. The wage bill of government which stood around $850million is the one of the main consumers of government funds and the IMF recommended that it should be cut.

As the PM spoke about the UK’s currency devaluation as a reference to Barbados not being as bad as other however the continued borrowing of foreign debt to keep the 2:1 peg avoiding external devaluation comes with measures to implement an internal devaluation which is one of main reasons why prices are so high in Barbados. The internal devaluation comes in the form of government laying off workers and cutting the wage bill, reducing funds allocated to Ministries , reducing and cutting pension monies , placing caps on capital expenditures and overall cutting government provided income. Dr. Kevin spoke of how government is going about the internal devaluation while speaking with Lisa Lord on CBC tv in an interview.

The mention of Barbados having 17 Billion in debt in 2018 vs 13 Billion today is numerically true but disingenuous and misleading because the government simply wrote off $4billion in debt overnight owed to Barbadians overnight in a very draconian debt restructuring and still has not repaid those debt. The CBB lost $1B and still needs to be recapitalized and this is another missed target under the first IMF program , the NIS lost close to $1B , treasury bills were cut to the value of $1B causing Barbados to make world economic history as this action only ever occurred in Russia 1998, Ukraine 1998 and Uruguay 2003 . The last $1B were in overdrafts , government guarantees, SOE debt and arrears. The danger that locals face moving forward is that there is a high chance of another debt restructurìng and reprofiling happening where the bond payments that government promised these creditors are postponed. The likelihood of local creditors being repaid in cash is extremely low and precedence has shown that government can abuse it’s parliamentary majority by using the clause included in the debt restructuring bill which states that only 75% of creditors need to agree to any changes for new debt restructurings.

One last potential abuse of power is the government’s new thirst for compulsory acquisitions of land. Under the government’s passage of the debt settlement bill in parliament persons whose land has been taken under the Land Acquisition Act, section 4 made provision for those persons whose land was acquired by the government to be paid in bonds, this provision also covers all legal claims or outstanding liabilities.

So the question must be asked of government , once they compulsory acquire the properties in St Lawrence Gap will the property owners be paid in bonds according to the law passed via the Debt settlement bill?

Politicians Make Promises and Tell Lies

From time to time the blogmaster retrieves the various manifestos shared over the years by the two main political parties in Barbados and it makes for interesting reflection. It is obvious the objective by the BLP and DLP is to baffle a gullible electorate. Have a read if you are a doubting Thomas –

The blogmaster was drawn page 30 of the BLP manifesto titled Rebuilding the Economy, Financing National transformation. Notwithstanding the country had to battle the Covid 19 pandemic for the last 3 years there is a view that with an unprecedented large Cabinet the government should have made more progress implementing several of the promises made in the 2018 manifesto. 

Last week the government received a donation of personal equipment supplies and Minister of Health (former chairman of the controversial NIS) took the opportunity to remind Barbadians so far, fighting the pandemic has costed government about 100 million dollars. The ministry of health should be congratulated for being transparent and efficient to share the cost with the public. We will wait to have the number validated by the Auditor General.

While congratulating the Minister of Health for being able to share the cost to fight the pandemic so far – why should we be congratulating for this anyway – the public has seen roadblocks to ascertain the cost of the Barbados Digital ID Project. It is ironic that Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Davidson Ishmael has been unable to share projected and or actual cost given the type of ministry he is responsible. It is too much of a big pill for the public to swallow he has no idea the cost of the project. He was quoted in the press as saying – “I am going to provide the public with the costs related to this project very soon. The thing is, we have the information relative to the cost [but] that information is spread across many financial years, many different components, many different agencies, departments and ministries”. 

The blogmaster understands the ID project has had several iterations across financial years straddling BOTH administrations. Is Minister Ishmael saying that at minimum he is unable to share cost incurred under his BLP government with the caveat information will come at a later date regarding prior years expense? It is the height of arrogance by the minister and flies in the face of this government’s pledge to be transparent. Is this another case of public servants messing up the bookkeeping by being complicit with politicians in the award of contracts to private sector players?

In today’s Nation the editor in chief Carol Martindale calls out government ministers for not returning calls to journalists pursuing information in the public’s interest. Again a read of the 2018 BLP Manifesto promised a government committed to being transparent. In reality, it is about making promises to win votes from a gullible public, or shall we say damn lies. Is the proclamation of Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation still a promise?

We have a Ministry of Health quick to toss around a 100 million dollar price tag for propaganda purposes, BUT, in a another ministry there is a veil of confusion about how tax payers dollars have been allocated to the Barbados ID project. Why do we have annual Estimates debates and Appropriations Bills? Surely Minister Ismael can tell the public he serves monies allocated to the project under his term? Is this a case for the Auditor General to unravel in a special audit? This maybe the case based on what the blogmaster was been made aware. If only public servants would do the damn job and stop politicians from interfering ways.

60 Love Can Lose

It would be remiss of the blogmaster if the yesterday’s 2022 Grenada general election was not highlighted in this space. Keith Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) won consecutive general elections in 2013 and 2018. The Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won consecutive general elections in 2018 and 2022. Today the Prime Minister of Grenada is 44 year old Dikcon Mitchell who led the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to office based on preliminary reporting 9 seats to 6. To his credit 75 year old Keith Mitchell won his seat.

Another example of the people expressing its will in a democracy. Time will tell if the NDC is able to satisfy people expectation or another case of shuffling chairs on the deck of the Titanic. It exposes Mia Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) should NOT take its unprecedented mandate for granted. Less than a year into a second term and there is growing discontentment from Barbadians largely because of increasing harsh economic conditions brought on by negative movements in the external market. The main political opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) – not dissimilar to the NDC – is led by a new young Dr. Ronnie Yearwood. In fact Dickon Mitchell was invited to speak at the DLP’s Extraordinary Conference on 1 May 2022. The win should help to inspire Yearwood and his team to what is possible. 

Some of us recognise the winning of a general election does not translate to manna from heaven, although it relieves concerns about a threat to ‘democracy’ by becoming a de facto one party state. Grenada like Barbados is a small island developing state which makes the job of governing for any government a challenge.

In the case of Mottley and Barbados one suspects if Yearwood is able to present a set of believable plans for Barbados and surround himself with a tean that is perceived as credible, who knows what is possible next election round. The recent decision by the Barbados government to borrow $256 million is not resonating well with the public. In theory many Barbados may understand we need to fix roads and attend to physical infrastructure BUT at what price. The debt stock of Barbados is north of 13 billion!

The blogmaster will continue to retreat to a position some do not accept. Citizens must continue find ways to agitate against our governments – to hold feet to fire. Politicians are in the business of popularity even if it comes at the expense of the people who elected them.

DLP on Political Warning

It is 148 days since the last general election in Barbados. The result returned the Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) the office in unprecedented manner and forced the DLP to jettison Verla De Peiza as President- replaced by Dr. Ronnie Yearwood who has been in seat for 49 days. Is it too soon some are asking for a coherent policy position to be emanating from George Street?

The saying goes that extraordinary times require extraordinary people, there is no denying we are living in extraordinary times. That said, it is a reasonable expectation by Barbadians to expect those presenting themselves for public office to hit the ground running. The system of democracy- even if a parody of the Westminster system practised by Barbados- requires a strident dissenting voice. In Yearwood’s defence he is president of a private entity and his first obligation is try to infuse a DLP suffering near political coma.

President Dr. Ronnie Yearwood recently made a statement challenging government’s ‘proposed plan’ to tackle cost of living. The blogmaster’s position has always been it is a difficult undertaking for a party in opposition without full grasp of the public purse to offer constructive alternatives. Yearwood is understandably trying to piggyback on issues resonating with the public. On the other side of the issue, Mottley has the task of managing an economy still spluttering from the shock of 2008 global meltdown and the so-called ‘lost decade’ which followed. 


BU’s Artax analyzed Yearwood’s recent cost of living recommendations. It was not complimentary.

Yearwood isn’t proposing anything NEW.

From economists, political scientists, members of special interest groups, contributors to social media platforms, former DLP president DePeiza, Lynette Eastmond, Joseph Atherley, Grenville Phillips II, aspiring politicians…… to the ‘average man and woman on the streets,’ criticised the size of Mottley’s Cabinet and the number of consultants, almost immediately after she announced them, following the May 24, 2018 and January 19, 2022 general elections…….and have been calling on her to reduce the number since then.

The 1% levy on persons earning $6,250 per month was also heavily criticised. But, I can’t understand how its removal would help poor people.
Perhaps Yearwood could offer further explanations.

From the inception of VAT in 1998, the DLP and BLP while in Opposition, have asked and promised to expand the ‘basket of goods,’ only to reneged on their promises after ‘taking up the reins of government.’

“Remove the excise tax on fuel by 40 cents per litre and to offer relief to pensioners,” has also been previously suggested.

“Calling on Government to bring forward the reverse tax credit of $1300 for people earning below $25,000 per annum,” also requires further explanation, especially when one takes into consideration that the DEMS reduced the reverse tax credit to $650 during the recession.
How does he plan to finance $1,300 to be paid to an increase in the number of persons who would become eligible?


Who are the members of DLP’s economic team? Under former president De peiza it was not clear. In the current challenging economic times, compounded by the perilous state of the economy, quality people, quality decisions must form part of a DLP looking to be perceived as competent by an apathetic and cynical electorate, especially in the area of finance.

DLP Supporters Must be Feeling Punch Drunk

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP)- that beleaguered twin of the duopoly- is in the news again, what is new?

It has been reported that the widely debated two appointments to the Senate will be made today at last by the President of the Republic of Barbados. The press report in today’s newspaper names the two to be Dr. Kristina Hinds and Dr. Charleston Brathwaite. This has come about because the government withdrew a proposed contentious constitutional amendment to allow opposition parties to appoint Senators even if they failed to win seats in the Lower House.

The second news of concern for the DLP informs of the suspension of Pedro Shepherd and Alwyn Babb from the public service with half pay for contesting the last general election under the DLP banner. The BU family will recall this matter was highlighted on BU in the lead up to the 2022 general election see link:

Picking and Choosing

Posted on by David 57 comments

The DLP leadership and supporters must be feeling punch drunk with all the blows it has been getting, and not just lately. It had to endure the enigmatic Freundel Stuart’s stewardship after he was selected the compromised candidate when perceived shining star late prime minister David Thompson unfortunately died in office.

The DLP may still have the last laugh and in the process recoup a little credibility if its acolyte in former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite wins the appeal to the CCJ seeking to invalidate the decision to constitute the Upper House with 18 members. 

In related news he public was advised recently by de facto president of the DLP Steve Blackett 4 nominees have been selected to contest the vacancy left by the abrupt departure of Verla De Peiza. Time will tell if the leader selected will bring the leadership to whip the DLP into a fit for purpose shape.

The blogmaster’s regret continues to be the inability of others to step forward when there is a vacuum of political representation in the country. Where is the legitimacy in an argument which criticizes the two main political parties but worthy citizens are unwilling to offer themselves for public service to present a credible alternative.


Crisis of Governance – No Damn Labour Party (NDLP)

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was founded in 1938 and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in 1955. For many the BLP and DLP dubbed the Duopoly are the only political parties we know. In recent years both political parties have been criticized for not being sufficiently progressive to sustain a quality life for the majority of Barbadians, present and future generations. Noticeable has been the inability of alternative parties to establish themselves as credible alternatives in a ready environment.

In 2018 and 2022 the BLP won both general elections with an unprecedented consecutive 30 to zero result. While political supporters of the duopoly have understandably contrasting feelings about the results, the more independent minded continue to be very concerned. 

A strong democracy depends on quality political parties. Strong political parties depend on quality members. In recent years both DLP and BLP have been unable to attract quality individuals to stem rising voter apathy and cynicism. No need to listen to the taking heads who try to justify declining voter turnout with statistical speak. Unbiased political pundits agree that today’s voter across the globe “appear to be turning away from traditional political organizations”. It forces the question – can the democracy practiced in Barbados survive without fit for purpose political parties?

The Barbados system of government which is a parody of the Westminster system is predicated on the “public’s trust in the integrity of government”, one that embodies “a framework of ethics, professionalism and transparency”. It has become obvious EXCEPT for rabid partisan supporters our political system has been hijacked- whether it is because of a less than meritorious selection of candidates or anonymous sources of funding for political parties that flavour how decisions are made when politicians ascend to government. There is a growing bloc of disenchanted citizens- here and elsewhere- who represent a view the time has come to usher in a more direct participation by citizens to how we govern. Find ways to diminish the role of political parties and the professional political class. The days of the ‘grassroot’ politician whose sole objective was to selflessly serve the public is a faded ideal.

Barbados presents a good case study to prove the notion of a system of government failing because of a declining political party system. There is the BLP with its charismatic maximum leader- remove Mottley from the BLP leadership and there is a good chance the party will flounder to mimic the death throes being exhibited by the DLP. In the meantime and in between time the people are left with no option than to vote for twiddledee or twiddledum.

The majority of Barbadians despite our boast of being an educated people hesitate to discuss governance issues in a meaningful way. That is unless cloaked in a salacious, adversarial and contentious theme. There is the saying, a people always get the government it deserves. Across the globe this is being witnessed.

Sound of Silence

Freundel Stuart was the prime minister of Barbados in the period 2010 to 2018 after assuming the caretaker role from David Thompson who became sick on the job soon after the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was voted to office in 2008. The legacy of Stuart’s stewardship is still being written although some pundits at this early stage are happy to label it worse than the Sandiford administration. The tactic engineered by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) – the other member of the duopoly – has enjoyed success with branding of the Glorious Years as The Lost Decade.

The failure of a third party movement to gain traction in Barbados means the health of our democracy is nexus to well managed DLP and BLP political parties. A strident dissenting voice is a feature of the Westminster system we try to model – the lacuna created by the recent general election and ensuing legal challenge regarding how the Senate is constituted is a case in point. A good argument can therefore be made that the business of political parties is the public’s business although classified private entities. In fact the unwillingness of quality citizens to offer themselves to join political parties who aspire to selflessly serve the public is at the heart of the type of governments we are saddled.

Some of us who comment on political matters are not surprised at the dysfunctional state of the DLP. It was not difficult to forecast. Barbadians except for the rabidly partisan are turned off by the quality of politics and governments we have been getting since the Tom Adams era which ended in the mid 80s. The blogmaster opines both DLP and BLP political parties have been rotated to govern the country based on the level of voter apathy and lack of credible alternatives and little to do with substance. The unprecedented 30-0 victories at the polls by the BLP in 2018 and 2022 should give Barbadians reason to pause. The BLP despite making several mistakes in a brief tenure of just over three years the political opposition was unable to gain the public’s trust.   The quality of our system of government whether we like it or not is tied to the quality of individuals attracted to serve in political parties. There is that symbiotic relationship only a fool would deny.

Today makes 32 days since the last general election and except for a public position in response to a contentious offer from Prime Minister Mottley to participate in a discussion about accepting two Senate seats, the DLP has been silent and irrelevant in the public space. Sensible observers appreciate it will take the DLP time to assess, reorganize and mobilize BUT there is a reality to be considered by the DLP and onlookers. The silence coming out of George Street is consistent with the ‘glorious years’ of the Stuart administration and the longer it persists, the more difficult it will be for that party to be perceived as a credible alternative. The blogmaster is aware the DLP has skin in the game based on the matter that is before the court brought by AG Brathwaite – who we know is acting de facto for the DLP. Some of us are not so stupid to believe otherwise.

This is a cry for a different type of citizen with a passion and body of work for serving the public to join the two main political parties. An organization assumes the character of its members. If we want our governments to change how business is done, it must begin with the quality of personnel attracted to political parties. Today it is the DLP in crisis, it is not inconceivable the BLP may find itself in a similar position when Mia Mottley demits office whether for a forced or unforced reason. If that happens all of us will be adversely impacted.

The type of government we get starts with YOU!

DLP in Drift Mode

A week after the snap general election and no surprise, Prime Minister Mottley continues to suck the air out of the local, regional and to a lesser extent the international news space. As if a second 30-0 shellacking for opposition parties wasn’t enough and a new look Cabinet, her recommendation to appoint teenager Khaleel Kothdiwala to the Upper House has blown up news streams on traditional and social media.

An observation of the Barbados landscape in recent years has been the dominant personality of Mia Mottley as leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). In contrast the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) -the other major political party- competed with late Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and of recent Verla De Peiza who both possess seemingly introverted personalities. 

The blogmaster does not have to analyze numbers to understand the psyche of the Bajan voter. We prefer alpha personalities to lead the country. Stuart through happenstance was an outlier who benefited from a sympathy vote commingled with the cuhdere mentality of Barbadians that a government deserves a second term. We can only speculate if the late David Thompson would have been able to overcome the stink of CLICO to breathe fire into the party.

Of immediate concern to civic minded citizens has been the inability of a political opposition to favourably appeal to the electorate in two recent general elections -not to forget the by election in St. George North. Political parties although private entities decisions made have national significance. The resignation of Verla De Peiza with immediate effect has ensured the DLP’s voice will be less credible in the Barbados space for at minimum the next three months – a special conference is scheduled to filled the leadership role in the party. It does not help with the rebuild of DLP’s image that the interim President is Steve Blackett, a member of Stuart’s Cabinet and willing participant on the platform of that infamous Waterford Stadium political meeting. 

A surface scan of DLP actors serves up slim choices to lead the party at a critical juncture. The task to rebuild the party and at the same time be a strident opposition voice is a gargantuan one. On the weekend a suggestion was made by Hartley ‘Kingmaker’ Henry the DLP should look to the diaspora for candidates to lead. On the current political trajectory unless there is a catastrophic occurrence the DLP can anticipate another defeat in five years.

On the assumption the DLP will struggle to regain relevance in the eyes of the electorate in five years, what does it portend? A splinter of the party if old heads continue to make it difficult for the DLP to reimagine itself? A credible third party made up of disaffected members from the BLP and third parties?

Interesting times ahead.

There is the national debate about the new Constitution to come. It is evident based on the results of two recent general elections, there is a lacuna to be addressed.

Another Abracadabra Moment

In 2018 the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won all 30 seats in parliament. It created what pundits described as a political dilemma for the government because the Barbados Constitution recognizes the role of the Leader of the Opposition.

At the eleventh hour Reverend Joseph Atherley who was elected to the House of Assembly on a BLP ticket decided to cross the floor and like magic the constitutional crisis was averted. Before Atherley saved the day there was a move afoot to amend the Constitution to provision for two senators to be appointed by the Governor General from the losing political party winning the most votes. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) would have been the beneficiary of the amendment. However, we recall campaign manager Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris criticized the move to manufacturer an opposition presence in the Upper House. His reason – a political opposition should earn its place in parliament.

…Robert “Bobby” Morris, said they would rightfully reclaim their seats in the legislature in time and there was no need to take up the offer.

However, George Connolly, one of the new candidates who ran in St James Central and who lost his deposit, took an opposing view. I’ve heard the comments of ‘Bobby’ Morris and I have a lot of respect for him, but I disagree vehemently with the position that he took on that. I think we need a voice, and a senatorial voice is as good a voice as any. You can’t effect any major changes, but certainly you can have a voice. So I am in total agreement if the offer is made that it should be accepted, he told Starcom Network yesterday.

In hindsight given the outcome of last week’s general election the government should have amended the Barbados Constitution to address the lacuna in the improbable event a political party again won all the seats. A discussion being had across Barbados is whether there will be another convenient crossing of the floor by a ‘disgruntled’ BLP member days after campaigning successfully on a BLP ticket in the mold of Atherley or if the shelved 2018 amendment to the Constitution will be dusted off.

Whether there is the convenient crossing of the floor by a member of parliament to create a leader of the opposition in the Lower House or amendment to the Barbados Constitution to create same in the Upper House, it is unfortunate a dissenting voice has to be created arising from the first past the post system we practice. In this regard the blogmaster does not agree with Morris that the DLP should refuse to participate in the Upper House if the opportunity is created to do so. There are commentators like Dr.Kristina Hinds who posit a view there are avenues outside of parliament to make ones voice heard. 

The blogmaster’s view is that parliament provides a prominent space for an opposition voice in our system of government. It gives the opposition earned exposure that helps to create a national profile for the political party given the credibility it adds through participation from in the bowels of the parliamentary system. The country witnessed how former Senator Caswell Franklyn did it with good effect. We should not trivialize the optics of opposition participation in parliament by the public.

There is concern two unprecedented 30 to 0 mandates pave the opportunity for the Mottley led government to run roughshod over the views of members in civil society. Especially given her rambunctious leadership style. Decisions taken by the government of Barbados in the coming days have deep implications for our way of life to come. 

God Bless Bim!

Democratic and Barbados Labour Party Candidates 2018 vs 2022

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Democratic Labour Party Candidates – 2018 vs 2022

Early this morning (very early) I posted my analysis of Barbados Labour Party candidates 2018 vs. 2022. Now it’s time to have a look at the candidates the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) fielded in 2018 and what they are bringing to the 2022 elections. I will not go over the methodology used, as it is…Read More

Barbados Labour Party Candidates – 2018 vs 2022

UPDATE 1: Having received reliable information on the birth year of Senator The Hon. Kay (she is 54, not 55), I have updated The Table. No updates were required to the Discussion Points and the Age Distribution Chart. This is a revised post to the original one that was made on January 11 (and removed…Read More

Minorities Laughing

Debate about the commitment of the two political parties honouring promises outlined in glossy manifestos aside, the documents serve a useful reference for citizens to hold political parties accountable.

All agree the last twenty years in particular have gotten progressively challenging for Barbados and Barbadians. The outgoing government with its bevy of financial consultants have focused mainly on executing macroeconomic arrangements. However, the harsh economic condition of the last decade and a half has meant less disposal income and some destruction of wealth for the middle and upper class. Of equal concern to the blogmaster is the lack of investment opportunity for wealth generation available to Barbadians, especially after the domestic debt restructure.

What does a check of the manifestos share with the public by the two main parties – Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and Barbados Labour Party (BLP) on plans to address the lack of investment opportunities?

The DLP makes no direct reference in the manifesto about a plan to create or facilitate opportunities for Barbadians to invest. It is embedded in general and vague language. The BLP’s message is more direct – see page below.

This is important because it is no secret the economic pie is disproportionately owned by minority groups in Barbados, comprised of less than 10% of the population. Why would majority Black political parties not prioritize implementing policy to afford mainly Black Barbadians greater opportunity to invest? Some will dismiss the manifestos as fluff, BUT, what else does the citizen have to hold the parties accountable?

There is little doubt in the mind of the blogmaster who added to the coffers in the last 20 years.

There is little doubt in the mind of the blogmaster who added debt.


A Freundel Stuart 2022 Utterance

Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was promoted to speak at a DLP St. Michael South spot meeting in Britton’s Hill last night at 7PM. The blogmaster searched for a recording of the meeting to satisfy a mild curiosity about what the former Prime Minister had to add to the national discourse. Try as we might only a 1 minute clip has surfaced so far on social media.

Do they Care?

Submitted by Observing

In the silly season we tend to look only at politics, but it is also Covid season.  A look therefore at the recent election call through the eyes of a pandemic situation is necessary

The charts above show statistics  for Covid Cases and Positivity Rates in December. Remember we came from highs of 400 and rates of 20+% in October and November

Since then we have learned about Omicron which was first recorded in November, spread around the world by December 1 and reached the Caribbean a week or so later

What did Barbados do?

We relaxed the policy at the airport without consulting BAMP, botched the rollout of Safe Zones without consulting the Unions, started home isolation and stopped contact tracing without initially letting the public know.

Now on December 27, 2021 snap elections are called.  18 months early.  Let that sink in.

The government holds ALL medical information, projections and forecasts.  He/she is aware of all potential national security and health issues.  They more than anyone, know what the attached charts and regional situation is showing. Yet, despite this, there was a mad unilateral rush to Republic and now another mad unilateral rush to an election 18 months early.

But, just for comparison, let’s look at a few other recent elections regionally

  • St. Lucia, held July 26, 2021. 7 day Covid average at announcement = 7
  • St. Vincent, held November 20, 2020: 7 day Covid average at announcement = 0.86
  • Jamaica, held September 3, 2020: 7 day Covid average at announcement = 18
  • Trinidad, held August 10, 2020: 7 day Covid average at announcement = 1
  • St. Kitts, held June 5, 2020: 7 day Covid average at announcement = 13
  • Barbados to be held January 19, 2020: 7 day Covid average at announcement = 72…and climbing

 I think we get the picture.

In the above cases, constitutional constraints mean elections HAD to be called soon. In Barbados’ case, no such demand existed other than political or individual calculation.   A Prime Minister asked once when will leaders lead.  Leaders do not plunge their people into a state of uncertainty, in a pandemic, in the season of Advent, before the start of school with not even their own people being aware just because “they felt like.”

  • Leaders bring people together of all stripes and loyalties to heal divisions real, perceived or created by themselves.
  • Leaders go beyond just talk and live up to the ideals and values that THEY said they would.
  • Leaders take care of home drums first then worry about attention abroad after.
  • Leaders build trust through transparency and honesty. 
  • Leaders focus on all persons, not just a select few.

I think we all know that this election was not called based on national goals or unity. The general public and the electorate are clearly secondary considerations. 

Keep safe whenever you campaign or wherever you vote.  Long live the Republic.

Silly Season Time Again

A short three years ago in 2018 then Prime Minister Freundel Stuart remained in office for 90 days beyond the five year anniversary of the first sitting of parliament permitted under the Barbados Constitution. Three years later incumbent Prime Minister Mia Mottley has called a snap general election eighteen months before it is constitutionally due. 

The early ring of the bell has caused tongues to wag with rumours and rumours of rumours rolling off the social media conveyor belt. The blogmaster reconciled a long time ago that political parties are in business to win general elections and this is the single consideration to reflect on when evaluating and commenting on political issues.

Every election cycle we hear talk about the need for the enactment of fixed term, campaign financing legislation etc. When the winner is announced on the night of the 19th January there will be further calls campaign financing laws and amendment to the electoral laws etc. To be expected, nothing will be done to address the issues raised by the politicians who raised them.

This week there were howls of protests from members of the public when it was discovered the voters list was posted online with personal information. The majority of Barbadians were oblivious to the fact the Representation of the People Act was amended in 2020 to make legal what occurred. What it has exposed is the lack of interest the majority of Barbadians have in what is debated in parliament. It should make the debate promised about the Barbados Constitution very interesting.

The blogmaster will resist the usual political punditry at predicting who will win which ‘seat’ on the 19th. Given the current hopeless economic state of affairs in the country, it seems a pointless exercise to expect B or D will make a difference. Both political parties have to bear responsibility for where we are today. Do not expect manna to fall after nearly fifteen years of famine.

The blogmaster and others have blogged many times on governance issues, however, BU dashboard shows these blogs record lower hits than the others. What does it say about our ‘intelligence’ as a people? 

The government you elect is the government you deserve.

Thomas Jefferson

Will average Barbadians be encouraged to seriously debate the merits of imposing fixed term laws to eliminate the opportunity for a prime minister to attempt to manipulate the result of an election? The blogmaster is not optimistic. Stuart tried in 2018 and supporters of the Democratic Labour Party defended the decision. Mottley three years into a five year term has done similarly and Barbados Labour Party are stridently defending the decision. Around and around we go, when it will stop nobody knows.

What will be the issues this time around?

Same old, same old – NTSH

BLP DLP Same Party – NTSH

The blogmaster checked the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) website and the list of candidates to run in the upcoming general election is not current. The same observation for the DLP with a general election on the horizon only 16 candidates are listed. Needless to say manifestos are also a work in progress with the DLP website offering a ‘Coming Soon’ disclosure. Given the perilous state of the social and economic affairs in the country, should we be satisfied with the lack of urgency shown by the major political parties to ready its ‘political machinery’? Should the electorate be satisfied by the lack of urgency?

One expects after the Michaelmas break political parties AND operatives will ramp up activities. Unfortunately barring a divine intervention the next general election contest will be between the two major political parties pejoratively dubbed the Duopoly. Like many countries across the globe Barbadians have shown little appetite for third parties who for the most part have been unable to attract quality candidates and craft a compelling alternative message.

The next general election will be interesting for many reasons. At the top of list of political pundits is how the DLP will bounce back from the unprecedented 30 to zero drubbing in 2018. On the flip side there is a BLP managing a sick economy made worse by the ongoing panic resulting in a conservative 17% unemployment number. It is a scenario ready made for a political opposition to make good progress. Then again there is the political adage oppositions don’t win elections. Governments lose them. The Mottley government must be aware the pandemic has given rise to an anti-government sentiment with several losing general elections in the last year.

Will the central theme of the next general election be about which political party has the superior inferior leadership? How about the economy stupid. What we know is that tired narratives of old should not apply. We have a more enlightened electorate and active social media. The blogmaster is the eternal optimist. Then again what are the political options that spell a departure from the tired policies of the Duopoly? Credit to the government it has been promoting increase use of technology to improve efficiency to manage our affairs and forging linkages to non traditional markets BUT the same old issues remain. Have a read of post 2018 Auditor General reports, the state of the National Insurance Scheme, public debt accumulation, irrelevant education system to enable Barbados to compete in a global market, over-reliance on tourism, passive private sector; entrepreneurial class, declining social behavioral, increase lawlessness etc etc. Although the government is not solely to blame for everything ailing the country, it sets the tone.

Where do we go from here?

What should citizens demand from political parties given the signs of the times. What role must traditional media play to assist in the the transformation to ensure relevance. Recently the blogmaster viewed asocial media posting of a young female journalist who appeared to be besotted with Prime Minister Mottley because she was handed the opportunity of an interview. How does it contrast with trade unionists of yore who refused on principle to drink and break bread with those on the other side of the table?

A read of the tea leaves indicates NTSH.

One Term Government?

The electorate of Barbados decided to give the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) an overwhelming and unprecedented mandate on the 24 May 2018. The result was a repudiation of a hapless Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration led by Freundel Stuart, as it was a belief by Barbadians in red bag-promises from Mia Mottley. We know the proclivity of human beings to want to believe in something, anything if it means being blinded to facts. Barbadians have shown themselves to be no different.

As we prepare – how time flies even when not having fun – to enter the early phase of another election cycle, the question being discussed quietly in some circles – is it possible the Mottley government could become a one term government? It harrows the mind of the blogmaster that after a 30-0 drubbing of the DLP three years ago some are open to the possibility of the incumbent suffering the ignominy of an Alan Chastanet in St. Lucia. 

The pandemic is proving to be an x-factor driving unpredictable human behaviour, beleaguered electorates suffering from economic fatigue has seen governments of SIDs struggle to govern. An absurdity tossed up sometimes by political talking heads is that some elections are good to lose. Is it possible this is the case for Verla Depeiza and her unready team? A scan of the DLP’s ‘newly minted’ website suggest the party is a work in progress.

Barbadians accept that the DLP represents the only option as the credible opposition party going into the next general election (The blogmaster was unable to find a website of the official opposition party led by Joe Atherley). We are therefore vested in a competent DLP being equipped to share alternative, progressive programs and to present a competent team to implement same to move the country forward. Based on what we have seen can we say – are we there yet?

The honeymoon period has disappeared for the Mottley government and much of its post-2018 political capital. Although the blogmaster is not convinced at this point Mia Mottley will suffer the fate of Alan Chastanet at the next poll, there is a level of apprehension in some quarters driven by the hostile environment governments of SIDs are presently negotiating. Making it more difficult for the experienced Mottley are rookie mistakes made so far, helping to reaffirm a perception that six of one, half dozen the other. 

It is unfortunate given the level of political apathy shown by the electorate, it has not given rise to a vibrant, credible and alternative political movement. One must conclude there are serious underlying issues preventing Barbadians of integrity and the other prerequisite characteristics to offer themselves for public service. The result has been successive governments who lacked the ability to sustain Barbados’ position on the socioeconomic ladder.

Now that Vela Depeiza has shown her mettle to win against internal combatants George Pilgrim from old guard and upstart outsider Guy Hewitt, is Verla battle harden enough to take on Mia Mottley?

The Duopoly: BLP and DLP Must Step Up!

There is the saying he who plays the piper calls the tune. As it pertains to the political sphere, whether abroad or local – players with deep pockets who contribute to political parties expect when said party wins office, political contributions will covert to influence. There is enough evidence in post independence Barbados to agree.

In May of 2018 the electorate gave the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) an unprecedented mandate of 30 to 0. A prevailing opinion leading into that general election was that the level of apathy and cynicism was tailor made for a genuine third party movement to take root.  Unfortunately we had a situation which confirmed suspicions – our best citizens are not motivated to present for public office. To support the point, combatting the duopoly in 2018 were political parties led by Alex Mitchell, Bajan Free Party, Neil Holder, Barbados Integrity Movement, Steve Hunte, Kingdom Government of Barbados, Mark Adamson, People’s Democratic Congress, Grenville Phillips, Solutions Barbados and Lynette Eastmond – see Caribbean Elections  for list of candidates.

It is a fair conclusion to make that a credible so-called third party will not be an option for Barbadians any time soon. The alternative is for quality individuals to infiltrate the Barbados and Democratic Labour parties to act as change agents. Given the entrenched culture of the duopoly some will argue this is a near impossible task but it must be done.

The blogmaster is a keen observer of local politics and it is obvious both political parties have become slaves to a ‘democratic’ system that promises the electorate A but on winning office must reward B the campaign donor. What it means is if neither of the two main political parties when in government implement laws to better regulate campaign donations, nothing will change because every election cycle the duopoly will start with the advantage. Why would the duopoly lead change especially if the citizenry is not overly concerned with ‘boring’ governance issues?

Where do we go from here?

Political students are taught when there is a gap in the expectations of a people stoked by the political directorate, and the inability of said political directorate to deliver on promises made, there is a likelihood this will breed revolution – peaceful or violent based on the triggers. 

Barbados is a country stalled at the crossroads, heavily indebted, crumbling systems and infrastructure, uncomfortable crime level, an educational system not fit for purpose, moribund court system, inefficient garbage and sewage systems, 1970s economic model and a people with diminishing esprit de corps.

Every day the blogmaster listens to the old guard criticizing social media instead of embracing it to co-opt the support of the new guard. Instead we have so-called social media influencers whose ignorance or deliberate misinformation is allowed to go unchallenged. We have immerse ourselves in a culture of divisiveness. We have shown an inability to negotiate and reconcile difficult issues. There was a time a win win solution was the sole objective, now it is win lose.

On this blog we have had robust debate about the merit of a gradualist approach to confronting challenges as a Small Island Developing State. Across the globe – to a lesser degree in Barbados – there is evidence of declining political influence given the level of public protest actions we have been witnessing. It is evident to this blogmaster the citizenry is beginning to adopt public protest action as a means to express dissent instead of the traditional avenues entrenched in our governance system.

We are a country at the crossroads. The level of disharmony in the country does not bode well for a better Barbados. Leadership in the country must find pathways to rebuild trust between the people, private and public sector arms of society.  Rightly or wrongly civil society has ceded leadership responsibility to political parties. From this premise like minded citizens and actors in civil society will have to exert pressure on the local duopoly and others in the political sphere to reinvent by constructively engaging the general public to win back trust.



De Peiza versus Hewitt – (D)LP for Democratic

The annual conference of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is scheduled to be held from 18th to 22nd of August 2021. Although political parties are technically private clubs, parochial decisions taken have national ramifications. In this instance the establishment and incumbent President of the DLP Verla De peiza will be challenged by newcomer Reverend Guy Hewitt IF all things remain the same.

The blogmaster is confident the establishment candidate will win the contest. Neither of the two main political party have shown an appetite over the years to embrace a ‘rock the boat’ approach to doing its business. Although Hewitt is a political neophyte compared to De peiza, his entry to the political space in a short three months has spurred a hitherto lethargic DLP into unaccustomed activity. For more than a decade the DLP has developed a slow to respond culture, inherited from the leadership styles of former leader of the party Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and carried on by incumbent Verla De peiza.

It is unfortunate with 2023 quickly approaching and the possibility of an early bell, the DLP has to be distracted by a leadership challenge. DLPites will explain the situation playing out between De peiza and Hewitt by saying the DLP manages its affairs democratically and the party will be stronger for it. The blogmaster begs to differ. A strong leader must be able to command the respect and support of a political party at this stage of the election cycle.

The blogmaster watched the video of the combined DLP St. Phillip branch meeting held last week at which challenger Guy Hewitt delivered a ‘çall to arms’ speech. Even more interesting, he commanded the public endorsement of former ministers Ronald Jones and John Boyce as well as former member of parliament James Paul. Whether the public supports these three from the old guard or not, one suspects there is residual support within the bowels of the DLP for them. Added to which, former member of parliament representing St. Lucy Denis Kellman continues to withhold his endorsement for De peiza who is the DLP candidate selected to run in his former constituency. 

All credit to Guy Hewitt who appears willing to fall in line should he lose the election. Unfortunately it will not erase doubts expressed about De Peiza’s ability to inspire a lacklustre DLP to win against the marauding political personage of Mia Mottley. All things considered the DLP can do no worse if Hewitt is selected to contest a Christ Church riding.

If anything is to be deduced from the unprecedented shellacking of the DLP in the 2018 general election, it is Barbadians have become impatient with the game the duopoly plays perennially of winning by default. We want the kind of representation from political parties willing to hold themselves accountable to the the citizenry. Regrettably a third party is not an option.

Reverend Guy Hewitt, it is official!

It is official, the Reverend Guy Hewitt was nominated by the DLP St. John branch to enable his contest for the post of President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). After the unprecedented defeat in 2018 a view emerged that the DLP must be prepared to give itself a ‘bush bath’ and to present fresh faces to the electorate in coming elections. In recent weeks the incarceration of former DLP minister Donville Inniss and utterances of former Minister Denis Lowe of CAHILL fame have caused many to wonder if the DLP has what it takes to take fresh guard.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth”. John 17: 17

To be honest Reverend Guy Hewitt has equipped himself very well since his declaration to oust Verla De Peiza from the position of president of the DLP. In a recent hard talk interview with veteran journalist David Ellis he surprised many with his performance. It is ironic the main arguments from his detractors is that he has not been observing PROCESS. Where was he in the last 3 years. When the party need help. Why did he change his mind a week after saying he was not interest. Why has he been working outside the country. Has he been paying his dues to be a card carrying member of the DLP. Why did he bail from delivering the Errol Barrow Memorial lecture etc etc etc.

To hell with process. Tell it to the Auditor General.

It is obvious to outsiders – DLP members members regard the public offering a perspective on the interesting contest developing between Reverend Guy and incumbent Verla De Peiza as outsiders – the establishment of the DLP is behind Verla De Peiza. Without doing a serious focus group analysis, it is evident to outsiders the bold challenge by Guy is good for the DLP and the country. Win lose or draw, onlookers want to see fresh political entrants who are inspired to challenge the old way of doing things. There is a view the best way for anyone seeking to create change, is to lead the change from within. Those who have been critical of the duopoly and the ensconced culture that has produced two political parties bereft of ideas in 2021- if we are to judge from the current state of the social and economic landscape in recent years- must be smiling a little,

The usual talking heads will say Reverend Guy Hewitt is a political neophyte who has not paid his dues to be deserving of serious consideration for party leadership. On the other side of the debate, others will counter by suggesting leaders emerge in times of crisis and who will deny that the DLP is in crisis at this time? They will say the timing is wrong for the DLP to be engaged in an internal battle for leadership with a maximum of two years to the general election. Those pushing back will suggest the DLP does not have a realistic chance of winning the next general election, it is a better strategy to support purge-letting events and to excoriate political cancers once and for all. To date the DLP has not released a full slate of candidates to suggest to onlookers it is battle ready for 2023. It has been taking too long for the only credible opposition party to show how agile is has been since 2018 to resurrect the party. The sloth management style of former leader Fruendel Stuart appears to be that of Verla De Peiza.

For the ‘outsiders’ we want the best man or woman to win because Barbadians everywhere are vested in the outcome. We are not outsiders. The DLP is the government in waiting, especially with no credible third party to offer serious contest. Is the Reverend Guy Hewitt the man to fuse life into the DLP, a political party that has been unable to offer fresh ideas and programs to the electorate post 2018?

Time will tell!

Is Guy the Guy?

Barbados Underground posted a view on May 22 in the blog Is Guy Hewitt the Way, Truth and Light for the DLP. On June 2 the goodly Reverend Guy Hewitt in a turnabout from a couple weeks earlier declared his interest to challenge Verla De Peiza for the presidency of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).

This is an interesting development for many reasons. At the top of the list – two years from a constitutionally due general election the DLP should have its slate of candidates available to the public to take advantage of the little time available to sell an alternative message. Ardent political supporters will vote for the colours. What about members of the electorate who want to be given the opportunity to process what the DLP candidates have to offer? We have allowed our political parties to take the vote from citizens for granted.

We will not agree on every issue. But let us respect those differences and respect one another. Let us recognize that we do not serve an ideology or a political party; we serve the people.

John Lynch

The DLP is led by Verla De Peiza, a lawyer who has managed to retain the leadership of the DLP for 3 years at a difficult time. According to political talking heads Peter Wickham and George Belle, Hewitt does not have a ghost of a chance of winning and by presenting himself at this eleventh hour, he is essentially making himself a nuisance to the process at a time the party should be advancing its preparation for the 2023 general election. That said, the process to elect the president of the DLP is democratic and unless the Reverend withdraws before the vote, it presents another interesting development on the political landscape of Barbados.

The blogmaster has followed Guy Hewitt’s journey from the early 2000s when he was a junior priest at Christ Church Anglican Church- never one to mince words he has always articulated his messages with panache and of late his social and political missives have infused the political mill with fodder worthy of commentary. 

The Reverend throwing his hat in the ring raises a couple of imponderables. Will the DLP apparatus seriously elect a political neophyte to lead the party at this juncture of its resurrection post 2018? How would electing a priest as President of the party be perceived by the electorate? There is the perception ‘politics’ is a blood sport. Reverend Guy Hewitt is a man whose primary role as a priest some will argue diametrically conflicts with that of a politician. 

The local landscape is crying out for a new kind of politics. Political apathy in the general population continues to rise especially in the youth segment. The upside for the DLP is that challenger Reverend Hewitt brings an effusive personality to the political equation in stark contrast to the incumbent. Is it the difference maker that will get him elected? At the bare minimum it may be infectious.

Honeymoon Period Over for Mottley Government

Swordplay and ripostes are a feature of the political landscape of any country. Two years out from a general election constitutionally due in 2023 we have started to see a ramping up of the political vitriol and rhetoric by the two main political parties.

There is no doubt in the minds of political observers the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) took management of a poorly performing economy in 2018. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) before its historic defeat was reported at one point to be borrowing 50 million monthly from the Central Bank of Barbados to meet salary commitment to the public sector, and the financial position of the NIS fund had deteriorated as a result of operating as government’s ATM. The foreign reserves dipped to a low level, for the first time Barbados achieved junk status credit rating and had become a pariah in the capital market. The parity of the Barbados dollar was under attack with predictably the D-word being mentioned as the ‘lord and saviour’ of our economic problems.

The Mia Mottley led BLP immediately on winning office took unpopular decisions to default on local and foreign debt by hiring White Oak Advisory, a boutique financial advisory outfit based in the UK see Barbados creditors fume at ‘absurd’ $27m advisory fees. Appointed the largest Cabinet some suggest in the world on per 1000 of population supported by the tagline – many hands make light work.

Along with taking over a poorly performing economy, external events have not been kind to the incumbent. The DLP in 2006 had to manage the economy during a global recession and in 2019 the BLP has had to manage the economy in a COVID 19 induced pandemic. That said, members of households although sympathetic to macro issues are always more concerned with bread and butter issues; maintaining an acceptable quality of life.

After 3 years in office the gloves are off and the performance of government – notwithstanding the challenges presented by the times – is attracting greater public scrutiny.

Enuff a pro-BLP BU commenter posted the following in defence of government’s performance and what is in the implementation pipeline.

  1. … who is about to redevelop the same Temple Yard through the UDC?
  2. Who about to give 50 acres to youth at Wakefield for farming?
  3. When your opponent is in your strongest seat racking up achievements and with zero seats in parliament your leader (Verla De Peiza) runs away, you’re in a bad state.
  4. More frightening is the leader in trying to get a foothold in St.Lucy is reported as saying “there is really a lot that needs to be done in St Lucy”, this is after the parish was represented in Parliament by a DLP member for 32 unbroken years starting in 1986, 18 of which the party was the government.
  5. Added to this are the topics she focused on water and buses when the BWA busy laying mains in St Lucy, a desal plant is in the works, more buses are coming and a mass transit framework. So that platform dead in the waatuh!
  6. The fact is that Dems can’t handle the government’s performance and know that with 2 years still to go another beating awaits. QEH upgraded A&E opening early next month.
  7. More HOPE housing coming, including St.Lucy and St.John.
  8. Vending legislation coming.
  9. National digital ID, licensing authority sorted (ASYCUD a lot of early noise too), new ways to pay and receive money, new mechanics and bodywork clusters.
  10. Scotland District rehab
  11. More buses
  12. More road improvements.
  13. New recycling and garbage collection.
  14. Vineyard project, new reservoirs, more water from Ionics.
  15. IL (the legislation for the commission has already been passed), whistleblower legislation etc etc all before the next election.
  16. KLM and Aer Lingus starting flights later in the year. Yuh remember empty Gol from Brazil? The Dems would do better to send a bowling machine.

Discuss for 5 marks.

Little Island Big Cabinet

The Barbados government recently launched the Little Island Big Barbados campaign and immediately those responsible are having to defend against a torrent of criticism from the public. The thrust of the concern: the campaign is a tired concept several islands have used to promote tourism for which Barbados is whispered to have forked out $700,000.00.

In the blog BLP and DLP Cancer of Adversarial Politics the blogmaster raised concerns that are applicable in this case. 

Yesterday the Reverend Guy Hewitt (also see: Is Guy Hewitt the Way, Truth and Light for the DLP?) was featured in the news in clarion voice calling for the resignation of Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins. The good Reverend as spokesman for the DLP- our government in waiting- has the right to call for the resignation of Cummins. If we want to promote a culture of high performance built on meritocracy, when mistakes are made or persons perform poorly, there should be consequences. Although the facts of the matter have not been disclosed to the public – pending an internal investigation by Chairman of the BTMI Roseanne Myers – there is enough smoke to the story to suggest public concerns are valid given the large sum allegedly disbursed for the campaign.

Source: DLP St. Andrew Facebook Page

A takeaway from the imbroglio for the blogmaster is the use of the resignation tactic by politicians on both sides of the aisle. It was not too long ago the incumbent Attorney General (AG) Dale Marshall called for the resignation of then AG Adriel Brathwaite. There were calls for the resignation of Michael Carrington to resign as Speaker of the House Assembly the revelation he had to pass around a hat to collect donations to make good on a client’s monies owed. The blogmaster joined strident calls for Denis Lowe to resign after the Cahill Expose. Fast forward to the present there have been calls for Dale Marshall over concerns about crime, before that it was Wilfred Abrahams and the sordid practice by GIS staffers to emotionally and physically abuse detainees at the GIS, whomever is responsible for the fiasco at Barbados Revenue Authority re car registrations and the latest Lisa Cummins to step down or be fired. They all survived the job. No doubt when the dust is settled so too will Lisa Cummins, one of those Mottley has pencilled in on her succession plan.

A critical examination of the way recent governments have operated in Barbados is that firing has not been a go to option. The calls from political talking heads for opposite members to resign is all about generating froth to feed a perception of relevance in the eyes of a disengaged and unsophisticated electorate. One has to go back to Arthur’s obvious firing of George Payne and Elizabeth Thompson to find good examples of ministerial sackings. Some may offer that a reshuffle is a form of demotion given the pecking order of some ministries, it is not a firing.

In the climate of adversarial politics the DLP is doing what the system allows for a political party to seek traction and visibility in the eyes of the public. Especially two years out from a general election.

BLP and DLP Cancer of Adversarial Politics

The politics practised in Barbados is based on the adversarial system borrowed from the colonial master. There is the opposite more consensus (constructive) type of politics but such as approach seems esoteric and anathema to who we have been educated to be. 

The first past the post system gives the victor the spoils and leaves no room for political parties to meaningfully collaborate on issues of national importance. To observers a key differentiator between political parties in the adversarial system is the ability to generate criticism even when it is not warranted. The result is a torrent of vacuous commentary useless to adding value to what is required.

There is a thin line to observe when critiquing the ability of a people in a well functioning democracy the right to dissent that has oversight for the collective. The challenge will always be the ability of the national leadership to contribute to an ethos that encourages cognitive reasoning.

We enter a period of transition to a Republican style system to signal to our people we must be craftsmen of our fate to continually search for ways to unshackle our minds from mental slavery. Whether in thought words, deeds and use of symbols educating our people that indigenous and original thinking must define and give vent to who we are as Barbadians must be prioritized. This critique must extend to the system of politics influencing how we govern.

In simple analogy, if there is a tumour in the body the best chance of survival is to remove it. If we survey the social and economic landscape of Barbados it is honest to surmise that there has been an alarming degradation of systems and quality of life for Barbadians; there is an inertia that breaths life to the cliche we suffer from implementation deficit, a casual acceptance that indiscipline in our people is reflected in wanton lawlessness; crime, disrespect for the environment and so on. To the detractors, quality of life is based on the criteria of the human development index.

To fundamentally change anything one must effect changes at the root cause. The governance system has relaxed to the point people participation is only required when the political class calls an election. Placing an X on a ballot is just one means of citizen participation in a healthy democracy. We have to modify the current system of governance to encourage every day citizen participation. We must be able to leverage from the majority of what is deposited in the national knowledge pool. The culture of secrecy by central government and the public service, a legacy of our colonial past has to change.

Nearly 50 years our elected officials (DLP and BLP) have avoided enacting and operationalizing transparency legislation. Talking heads from both political parties and members of the political class present ‘compelling’ reasons why the legislation and supporting activity has not been implemented AND we supinely accept it. Who should be blamed for the current state of affairs? The politicians mirror YOU, YOU, YOU. We were raised in the same neighbourhoods, attended the same schools, hangout in the same bars and restaurants, marry into families. Politicians are not aliens, they are born from the same environment we are part. For there to be meaningful change YOU, YOU and YOU must lead the CHANGE.

You, You and You must become more involved in the running of the country. Demand more from our leadership via the channels available, protest action and other forms of civil disobedience. Disengagement is not a sensible option.

Looks Like the DLP Playing the Long Game

The blogmaster read Nation newspaper Barry Alleyne’s report De Peiza sticking with the process and was finally convinced the raison d’être the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) continues to go about a methodical candidate selection process. The system of governance and politics practised in Barbados makes it the business if ALL Barbadians to want a strong political Opposition. Say what we will about the need for a third party movement the DLP is the only current credible option in our political orbit.

The article reminded Barbadians that the DLP is sticking with a vetting process that sees ALL members of the party being “eligible to apply and all are subject to the same vetting process – no exceptions, not even for me” [Verla]. To date the DLP has announced only three candidates to run in the upcoming general election constitutionally due in 2023 – Verla De Peiza, Andre Worrell and Ryan Walters. Political pundits agree the DLP will not win the next general election and the leadership of that party is correctly playing a long game, that is; taking the necessary steps, now, to set yourself up for long-term success.

Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson of the UK is quoted that a week is a long time in politics. There are two years to go until 2023 if Prime Minister Mottley goes the full distance. President Verla De Peiza and the DLP has a rapidly closing window to line up the political ducks and allow sufficient time for those candidates with a legitimate chance of winning to deploy effective ground strategies. The raging pandemic will not help.

It should be obvious the biggest campaign issue in the next election will be the economy and jobs. By the time the bell is rung public transportation, garbage collection and water challenges in the North will be non issues. Coincidentally Chairman of the SSA reported yesterday the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and the waste management arm of Barbadian company Innotech Services Limited will be implementing a ten-month project to change how garbage is collected and processed in Barbados.

For too long the blogmaster has been commenting about the lack of a credible DLP spokesperson on financial matters. The best research indicates President of the DLP Verla De Peiza is the ‘shadow minister’ of finance. This is a key area the DLP as it prepares for the next election will have to address. There is a reason the label Lost Decade has stuck to the DLP. It is widely accepted by the public the last DLP administration badly mismanaged the economy and for this reason former Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler seems to be reluctant to show his face in public with any frequency.

This brings us to the other point to note in the Barry Alleyne article. David Estwick, Stephen Lashley and Dennis Lowe appear to be more than mildly interested in returning to the political fray. The blogmaster has commented many times were those candidates to be selected it will be a mistake. It would open the floodgates for the BLP to rehash 2018 talking points.

DLP Ready or Not …

On November 11, 2020, Moore received 3154 votes in the by-election. Floyd Reifer of the Democratic Labour Party was the nearest challenger with 1 327.Grenville Phillips of Solutions Barbados earned 95, David Walrond of the opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development got 80, Ambrose Grosvenor of the United Progressive Party 70 and the Bajan Free Party’s Alex Mitchell received ten.” – Nation Newspaper 12/11/2020

The result of the St. George North by election year exposes reasons to pause for those who worry about the current state of governance in Barbados. Historically we have managed the affairs of state well enough to have earned the label ‘a stable political country’. However, the result of the 2018 general election created an unprecedented situation where for the first time the OPPOSITION in the House of Assembly was not comprised of members of a party who faced the electorate under a different party banner. Instead, Bishop Joseph Atherley saved the day by crossing the floor to be anointed the Leader of the Opposition by the Governor General.

The decision by Atherley to cross the floor averted a constitutional crisis many continue to argue (including this blogmaster) and the rest is history to cite an often used cliché. Despite his best effort to be the dissenting voice inside and outside of parliament Atherley his People’s Party for Democracy has been unable to win measurable support from Barbadians. The result of the St. George North by election validates the position. The other conclusion political pundits are certain is that the third party movement in its current form has been rejected by the electorate.

A general election is constitutionally due in 2023 and surprise surprise the main political parties to contest will be the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP). In other words the DLP represents the government in waiting. It means therefore the general public is vested in a fit for purpose political opposition whether it is occupying parliamant or on the outside. An irony often discussed when this matter surfaces is to highlight a political party is a private member organization, yet it must be ready to take over the job of managing the weighty affairs of state.

Whether we like it or not the DLP represents the only practical legitimate political opposition voice in the mind of the public- although it failed to win a single seat in the last general election. To compare with other countries the DLP is the entrenched other member of the duopoly like the Democrats and Republicans, Labour and Tories or JLP and PNP to name three.

The inability of the DLP so far to list a full slate of candidates to contest the 2023 general election is a concern.

The inability of party leader to elevate her national profile in an environment screeching for a political alternative is a concern.

The inability of the DLP to speak authoritatively on economic policy is a concern.

These are not exhaustive concerns and the one not mentioned and possibly the biggest is the potential collateral damage from Donville Inniss’ verdict due to be handed down next week in New York.

DLP Hopes to Win by Default

In the last thirty six hours the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had reason to retract a declaration of some candidates to contest the next general election. With the election constitutionally due by 2023 political pundits have suggested the DLP should have completed the task by now. We understand President Verla De Peiza’s explanation that the selection of candidates is involved and requires time to ensure a task is well done. That said, a learning entity will transform as required to ensure adaptability in the space in which it has to successfully operate. The sloth and deliberate way the DLP continues to operate mirrors former prime minister Fruendel Stuart as leader and continues to haunt the DLP.

The importance of a strident dissenting voice in the type of democracy practiced by Barbados has been robustly discussed on BU’s pages. Whether some like it or not the DLP despite the shellacking in the 2018 general election is still perceived as the legitimate political opposition. Although Senator Caswell Franklyn has done his darnest to fill the role, the political party he represents does not have the legitimacy to be perceived as a legit political contender. in fact savvy political pundits accept that the creation of the People’s Development Party was contrived to avoid a constitutional crisis. History is expectant with revelations.

The challenge for the DLP will be making an impact during a pandemic where candidates making themselves known through traditional methods have to be curtailed. Accept that the effect of COVID 19 will be with us best case for the balance of the year. More importantly is the opportunity for new candidates to get comfortable in the role. It is not good enough Barbadians continue to elect governments by ‘default’. We need our governments in waiting to be forced to advocate alternative and relevant programs designed to catapult the country’s economic and social development.

The list of candidates hurriedly withdrawn by the DLP revealed an unhealthy sighting of old candidates. Some of the old names triggered a flood of bad memories in the mind of the blogmaster who understands it is more about winning for political parties, not trying to satisfy political utopianists.

It boggles the mind that a government after being given an overwhelming mandate in 2018 whose first task was to administer a ‘’haircut’ to domestic and foreign bond holders – followed by a few missteps managing the pandemic has not created the opportunity for opposition politics to thrive. Instead we have witnessed one of the most lackluster performances by the political opposition as far as the blogmaster is concerned since 2018. The BLP and specifically Prime Minister Mottley continues to suck the energy from the Barbados political landscape. So much so that if a general election were to be called tomorrow a solid prediction would be another BLP victory albeit with a reduced majority.

It is important Barbadians elevate our level of awareness about civics matters to appreciate the importance of pressuring political parties to transform. Delivering public service must be accepted as serious business, a sacred honour. So far the DLP as the only game in town has done nothing post 2018 to justify the label of government in waiting.

The following is an extract from what is being circulated:

The nominated are as follows:

St. Lucy        Verla De Peiza
St. Andrew   Oldwin Skeete
St. Joseph     Randall Rouse
St. John         Andre Worrell
St. Thomas   Khadija Collymore
SJN                 Charles Worrell
SPN                Michael Lashley
SPW               Dr David Estwick
SPS                 Neil Marshall
CCE                Dr Denis Lowe
SMNW           Ryan Walters
SMWC           Curtis Cave
SMN              B. Ricardo Harrison


Election Day in St. George North

Today the electorate of St. George North will vote for a member of parliament to fill the vacancy created by the ‘retirement’ of Gline Clarke. The blogmaster’s assessment is that it will be a straight contest between Floyd Reifer (DLP) and Toni Moore (BLP). Of the so-called third parties Grenville Phillips should retain third option in the number count. We can debate if Barbadians are ready for a third party or is this a case of the quality of the options presented. The blogmaster respectfully suggest the latter.

The result of the election will answer a few questions for political pundits.

  • Has the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) regain its standing as the credible alternative in the eyes of voters?
  • Despite managing the affairs of state in the most challenging period post independence, will the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) be able to convince the SGN electorate that it is the most competent to govern at this time?
  • Will Grenville Phillips increase his penetration of support in the constituency to forge the way for third parties in the future?
  • How large will the protest vote be which has been fomenting in a climate of austerity for the last 3 years?
  • Has the last 90 days of campaigning confirm the urgent need for electoral reform in Barbados?

So far by-election activities has been largely peaceful in keeping with Bajan tradition. Let us continue to make the country proud by delivering an uneventful event. The blogmaster’s vote will be cast for David Walrond, the agriculturist and community practitioner.


Submitted by Caleb Pilgrim

While one must never forget the past, nothing is to be gained by overly rehashing the historic failures of the previous DLP Administration. These speak for themselves. Cheap excuses do not suffice, either.

Nor do recent attempts by “the old guard” to reincarnate and resurrect themselves after their May 2018 near absolute annihilation. Pray tell what is their relevance today in terms of party viability, political vision, and Barbados’s future? Others have already asked what do they offer now that they could/should not have offered before. They would better be invited to rest in perfect peace.

But, in moving forward, let us essay a slightly different approach, notwithstanding partisan chatter about the “Deceased Labour Party”.

Assume that women make up a rough majority of the Barbadian people, say 51%+/-. Assume further that the Barbadian women MPs, in terms of Parliamentary seats, typically number at most a disproportionate 20%+/-, despite the fact that women make up more than a 51%+/- majority of the population.

Recognizing such widespread disparities in demographics, a number of universities long ago introduced programs aimed at empowering women and helping to enhance their prospects for electoral success, e.g Women Political Campaign & Mentorship Schools at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the Institute of Politics; the short annual Women’s Campaign School (WCS) at Yale Law School; the LBJ Women’s Campaign School at the University of Texas at Austin; courses at Fordham University; the University of Florida; George Washington University. etc. There is obviously a reason for the existence (raison d’etre) of such campaign schools.

The DLP’s “old guard”, given what some perceive as their apparent hubris, their previous erratic behaviour, perhaps their inattentiveness amid other paramount concerns, must or should have known of such women campaign schools at some point during their ten years in office and utilized such training opportunities to mobilize a cadre of more representative candidates.

One example, the WCS curriculum at the YLS, includes staple topics such as:

  • Fundraising
  • Budgeting
  • Messaging
  • Paid Media
  • Press Operations
  • Grass roots organizing
  • Voter targeting
  • Ethics
  • Polling and research
  • Get out the vote
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Digital campaigns

Participants have come from far and wide including Panama, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Australia and the UK.

The course purports to be intensive and involves 12 hour work day each day and the basic cost is a mere US $1,800. Arguably, a minor investment, where materials, tactics, strategies and information can be adapted, and participants encouraged to share if not teach other would be candidates in different constituencies. Other courses, including those at graduate level, point to the professionalization of politics rather than the usual jokes and tragicomedy.

Finally, while the BLP has proposed referenda on transition to a Republic etc, the DLP should not shy away from big issues, e.g whether there should be a referendum as to Barbados establishing a system of proportional representation (PR) instead of the old “first past the post” system which, among other causes, brought the DLP into the political wilderness. (Obviously, with a 30-0/ 29-1 majority there is no incentive for the current Administration to entertain PR; but all other parties and interested individuals might see it differently).

The Deceased Labour Party – Part Two

Dear Editor,

“Considering that Barbadians live better and Barbados functions better when the DLP is out of office, their time in the wilderness is for the best.”

The Deceased Labour Party – Part One

The above assertion from the first article in this series is perhaps contentious and thus, a point worthy of excavation. 

Firstly, from an economic perspective, in its first period in office, the Democratic Labour Party claimed to ‘accelerate industrialistion and job creation’. However, when they left office in 1976, they left a country with inflation sky-rocketing and unemployment had reached 25% of the ‘true labour force’. Waste and inefficiency had become pervasive in the public sector. In absolute terms, the same number of people were employed in 1976 in light industry as when they came to office in 1961. Acreage available for agricultural production had declined, as well as output. The cost of living was also rising with phenomenal increases in prices and few will forget the mismanagement of the 1973 oil crisis. 

In the DLP’s second period in office, the economic calamity of the 90s is well known to all. Again, this was originally induced by the international economic realities of the 90s, but the situation was handled terribly, resulting in the social upheaval and economic chaos of that period. 

Finally, there are few who can deny the stark economic reality of 2018. There had been a complete erosion of investor confidence, Barbados’ credit rating was on a perpetual track of ‘downgrade’, foreign reserves were through the floor, ‘home-grown plan’ after ‘home-grown plan’ had failed to achieve its objectives, taking us around a roundabout of economic calamity, or what the then government called ‘turning the corner’. Cost of living again was sky-high, and taxation was unevenly distributed, thereby disproportionately affecting the working classes. 

Turning to the social aspect, Barbados has had to confront a chequered colonial past, necessitating a suite of social programmes for the aggrandizement of the working classes. 

Before the DLP came to office in 1961, free education had been introduced at four secondary schools, a basic feeding programme was instituted at primary schools providing children with milk and biscuits, the feasibility study and draft legislation for the NIS was prepared, the first public housing units were constructed, a myriad of legislation to protect workers was introduced and loans were provided for higher education and housing for civil servants. 

One wonders how many of those achievements have been misleadingly attributed to the Democratic Labour Party?

After the DLP was booted from office in 1976, minibus operations were legalized allowing small players into the industry, illegitimacy was removed from the statute books, plantation tenants were given the opportunity to own their land, phenomenal strides were made to make men and women more equal in society delivering a ‘new deal’ to women, electricity was provided to the entire island including rural areas, unemployment benefits were introduced and the NCF and NSC were created. 

In the DLP’s column, they have Mr Sandiford’s work in education in the Barrow years, the School Meals Service started by Mr Barrow, and the expansion of the previously started free education, national insurance and public housing. 

Clearly then, much of the social infrastructure on which this country is founded was not built by the DLP. To a large extent, the Democratic Labour Party has continued and expanded the programmes of others. 

Finally on the political front, Mr Barrow must be credited with leading Barbados into independence and his vision and inspiration and Mr Sandiford for creating the Social Partnership.

However, the DLP did not win universal suffrage and full ministerial government for Barbadians. Their commitment to regional integration has also wavered, particularly in the last dispensation, with scarce interest being shown to CSME, as well as the fanning of xenophobia by Mr Thompson’s administration.

It was the DLP that dismantled local government for short-term political gain, and in the process stripping Barbadians of an important layer of democracy. Few might remember, but the DLP also opposed the creation of the EBC, clearly being more comfortable with an electoral office operating out of the PM’s Office.

Concludingly, when one looks at what has been achieved when the DLP has been out of office as well as the failures when they have been in office, what conclusion can be drawn? Does it not appear that the DLP has not been more successful than their political rivals, in terms of achievement? Does it not appear that, especially since the passing of Mr Barrow, they have been stripped of any vision? Does it not appear that Barbados has done better when the Democratic Labour Party has been kept out of Bay Street? When we answer those questions based on the unimpeachable evidence above, is it not so that we are much better off for their time in the political wilderness?

Finally, next week, an assessment of the 65th Conference itself.

Khaleel Kothdiwala 

Reform or Die II

Submitted by Ziggy Greene

I was listening to Senator Caswell Franklyn yesterday on Starting Point an Antiguan talk program. The host asked Franklyn about the recent political goings-on in Barbados and in his inimitable style answered forthrightly. The topic turned to the prospects of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) now that it was unrepresented in parliament. Franklyn replied inter alia that the DLP and its founder leader Barrow were one and the same. And since Barrow’s death the party has been dying- a very interesting and insightful comment. I must say I agree with that assessment.

Senator Caswell Franklyn’s interview with Starting Point Talk Show

Thanks Caswell
I wanted to write about the link between founders and the continuation of what they started, especially political parties. In the case of the DLP, this is very crucial as it is facing what I believe is an existential crisis. We have seen the old faces of the party led by their front man George Pilgrim battling with the two year installed Verla De Peiza for leadership of the party.

What does this portend
If the DLP retrogresses to the leadership that led to a 30-0 drubbing at the 2018 polls will its prospect be any different in 2023? I think not. Their ineptitude will be forever associated with the disastrous economic plunge of Barbados whether or not they are solely to blame, whether they inherited a stacked deck or world events did them no favours. That they see it fit to challenge the new leadership of De Peiza is either a failure on her part to stamp her authority on the party or they think the recent kinks in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) armour presents an opportunity for their resurgence. It is not lost on me that when the BLP were pushing investigations into alleged fraudulent activities under their stewardship they were silent but when Chris Sinckler , one of them, was given a pick in a Mottley Committee, they crept slowly out of the woodwork.

How will it play out with DLP party voters
So the choice is between Verla De Peiza and the old guard. Between a break from the past- if you can call De Peiza that but I will in this instance- and a continuation of a failed regime. How forthcoming will the old guard be when they address DLP party voters? Will the warning of Ulrich Beck in his book Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity in 1992, that we make decisions according to information derived from politicians and experts who in most cases are self-serving, ring true?

Really, what it is that the old guard can offer that they didn’t before? That brings us back to Franklyn’s comment Barrow and the DLP are incontrovertibly linked. I am not for one moment postulating that the old guard represents Barrow’s philosophy, far from it. I am positing however that at some point for a party to carry beyond its founders, it must reform and reinvent itself. We cannot do so with the old guard. And just as our society is transforming into a new modernity from the vestiges of the past or as Beck puts it, ” freeing itself from the contours of the classical industrial society” the DLP must pry itself from the shadow of Barrow and the stench of the old regime and transition into a new modernity.

In our first piece on this subject I submitted that DePeiza must articulate these changes clearly and with some alacrity. And with pressure from the old guard and a bye election in St George north on the horizon more than ever these changes are needed now.

See Related blogReform or Die

Reform or Die

Submitted by Ziggy Greene


Voter annihilation
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was wiped out in the 2018 general elections in Barbados. It lost all 30 seats that constitute the House of Assembly. So devastating was the defeat that the DLP won only one or two of individual constituency voting boxes. Previous strongholds of St John and St Lucy were swept away like coastal lands in a tsunami. Many pundits, political and otherwise, have prophesied, more in hope than serious thought, that the DLP is now dead and defunct. It is deceased they declare; it cannot rise again. Good riddance to bad rubbish was how one Barbados Labour Party supporter, a friend, framed it.

And so it seems after the election if one drove along George Street, Belleville, the headquarters of the DLP affected a forlorn and shabby appearance, a reflection of the state of the party. For weeks nothing was heard from former Cabinet Members. Not even from the former PM Freundel Stuart; he remained as silent after the loss as he had been during his leadership.

The show must go on
Nevertheless after sometime, an election for party leadership was held. It pitted Guy Hewitt, former UK High Commissioner from 2014-2018 against Verla De Peiza, a previous unsuccessful candidate for the party. Hewitt represented a break from the past and De Peiza a continuation thereof albeit one who was never in government. Without going into the reasons why, De Peiza won.

Can DePeiza make the DLP viable again?
That is question on the lips of party faithful and Barbadians who want to see a robust opposition. After two years in the leadership role it is difficult to tell if the question has been answered. What comes out of George Street is an amalgam of worn out political utterances and defensive statements that give no clue to the personal political underpinnings of Miss De Peiza or what a DLP Administration under her leadership would portend. There is no inkling on where she stands on the pressing issues that plagued Barbados, whether it is crime, social or economic concerns.

Every party suffers defeat
At some point a party will lose an election. At some point the political philosophies of a party will clash with the wishes of voters. Between 1932 and 1952 during and after the great depression, and the Second World War Americans favoured the Democratic Party for its social policies. Between 1980 and 1992 the Democratic Party was in opposition to the Republicans in presidential elections when Americans opted for the conservative policies of Ronald Reagan. At home, the DLP won 24-3 over the BLP in 1986. In 1999 the BLP defeated the DLP 26- 2 and in 2018 30-0.

It ought to be pointed that the Democratic Party in the US began life as a conservative party and the Republicans as more liberal per the America definitions of those terms. They flipped ideologies around the 1970s although it can be argued that the change started around 1932 when FDR instituted social and welfare reforms to combat the great depression. In Barbados, there is no defined political ideological demarcation between the DLP and the BLP. Demonstrably, political parties form and reform or reinvent themselves according to the philosophies of their leaders and members, and the voting tendencies of the public.

The DLP Party must reform
Without doubt it must. But how is that to be achieved? My advice would be to first apologise to the citizens of Barbados and to DLP members if there is a distinction or if such a specific apology is warranted. Sorry for not living up to expectations of those who voted for the DLP, Sorry for besmirching the values and name of Errol Walton Barrow and those who started the Party and carried its banner for many a year, Sorry for the failures of the past 8 or so years. Pledge that it would never be repeated. That would represent a break from the past and signal a new dispensation. One rightfully may argue that it may anger some members not least the old guard from the previous administration and that may be true. I say so what? But an apology is not the end all.

Political reform – a review
Jose Moroni in a 2009 paper about Brazilian politics considered the question of political reform and advanced seven basic but fundamental challenges, that any serious attempt at political reform must overcome.

There are to quote Maroni:-

  • Male dominance: Any system of political, economic, industrial, financial, religious or social organization in which the vast majority of the senior positions in the hierarchy are held by men.
  • Patrimonialism: Political conduct on the part of dominant elites in the exercise of public government functions whereby public resources (of the State and/or its institutions) are appropriated as if they belonged to these elites.
  • Oligarchy: A form of government in which power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of individuals who are in many cases united by family ties or political connections, and who belong to privileged social classes. Typically, oligarchies tend to be dominated by men and to function in a patrimonialist way.
  • Nepotism: The practice of individuals in positions of executive power in the State apparatus granting favours by awarding jobs to their relatives.
  • Cronyism: The exchange of favours and mutual preferential treatment by individuals in executive positions in State structures and public services.
  • Personality cults: Creating cult status for individuals in the political sphere, which leads to the devaluation of political debate and the de-politicizing of conflicts.
  • Corruption: When individuals appropriate or re-allocate public resources for private ends and are able to act with impunity and maintain themselves in power. Another aspect of corruption is that it is a way of usurping the power that rightly belongs to the people.

For ease of reference, Moroni succinctly explains those challenges. To varying degrees and deferring terms, these are comparable issues that plagued Barbados.. Nevertheless this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are other issues like encouraging a more broad-based economy, debt and debt financing, the welfare state, civil service reform, crime, targeted free university education, technical and vocational schools or studies, same sex marriage, school zoning, legal reform, and single sex schools. Coterminously, there is the matter of in- house DLP recalibration surrounding attracting new members, candidate selection restructuring, and maintenance of party headquarters.

Back to Moroni
Addressing the political scene in Brazil, Moroni offers up more incisive guidance for reform, which on examination has exogenous appeal. He advises reformers to-

  1. Strengthen direct democracy;
  2. Strengthen participative democracy;
  3. Improve representative democracy (the electoral system and political parties);
  4. Democratize information and communications;
  5. Democratize the judicial system

How germane, given what has been trending in Barbados. The President of the Senate recently resigned and has been replaced by a party insider, with no reason given for the particular appointment. The Chief Justice has retired and advertisement for a replacement has been broadcasted. Despite that, critics are confident that a party affiliate is a surety for the post.

And with the recent Throne Speech and the intent of the Government to implement measures towards same sex civil unions and republicanism, there has been some furore over whether Government should proceed unilaterally in the case of becoming a Republic or by way of referendum, as it has for same sex marriage notwithstanding the civil union stop gap.

Such political angst is ubiquitous in democratic forms of government but there are lesson to be learnt here for the DLP. Changes are not easy. They are disruptive and divisive, but they are inevitable.

My Advice to DePeiza
Scrutinize these political reforms posited by Maroni. Juxtapose them against the political landscape of Barbados and your ideals for the DLP. In detail, pen how you would realign the political principles of the DLP taking into account this framework. Promulgate it to the public along with any other reforms that you deem necessary under the circumstances.

Above all, mean it, and demonstrate that you do. We must know where you stand. We must know where you intend to take us and above all we must believe you. You may not win the next election and you may not win any election but you would have propelled the DLP into the future and perhaps ensure its existence.

The Deceased Labour Party – Part One

As the 65th Annual Conference of the Democratic Labour Party nears, it is appropriate to examine that disastrous political party, which I shall do in a series of articles. 

The Dems have faced an existential challenge since the death of its most beloved leader, E.W. Barrow. That the DLP has failed to build up a sustainable political movement after this tragic event, is perhaps best seen in the fact that the DLP’s list of notable achievements as a government seems to stop in 1976. Let us set aside the fact that the Democratic Labour Party has had two failed administrations since 1986, and that their last dispensation was particularly awful, and that to this day in 2020, they remain bankrupt of ideas and inspiring leadership. Let us look, presently, instead at the DLP’s paltry electoral performance since 1991 to illustrate the deep hole which the Dems have found themselves in, long before their much-deserved rout in 2018. [Note: the analysis which follows does not include the 2018 election, which is clearly a remarkable statistical outlier].

Since 1991, there have been six elections, three of which the DLP have won. However, a closer examination reveals something more interesting. In 1991 (with historically low turnout), a mere 1,075 votes gave the DLP another term in office. Similarly, in 2013, had two seats or 164 votes swung the other way, Barbados might have been saved the peril of the 2013-18 period. The post-1991 period simply has not been the DLP’s “golden era”, to put it mildly. 

While the national picture is bad enough, a microanalysis at the constituency level reveals a party which simply has not created or maintained a solid, winning support base, even though the DLP is said to have more grassroots supporters than the BLP. 

St Michael East is a somewhat marginal seat, however the Dems have done little to translate Joe Tudor’s commanding lead in 1991 and ‘94 into enduring success. 

Where the BLP has been able to pull off substantial margins when they have won St Michael West Central (when you remove 1994), the DLP has not achieved anything more than a 4% margin of victory, since Wes Hall in 1991. 

In reliable constituencies, they fare no better.

In St Michael West, after Branford Taitt, the DLP has not risen above 53% of the vote share at any time.

In St Philip South, since 1991, the Dems have won the seat four times, but have never made it back to 1991 levels, in terms of vote share. 

St Michael South Central is much the same. The BLP has only won the seat once at its highest tide (again excluding 2018). However, since 1991, the DLP has not risen above 54% of the vote share in any election

In St Lucy, apart from 2008, there has been no significant expansion in vote share for the DLP, beginning and ending the period with 53/54%

Not only is the DLP not entrenching themselves in ‘safe’ and DLP leaning seats. They have also failed to make any tangible inroads in areas that are historically unfriendly to them, making it much harder for them to ever hope to turn those seats into DLP seats.

Apart from Byer-Suckoo’s win in 2008 in St George South, the Dems have remained consistently under 44% of the vote share since 1991. 

In St James North between 1991 and 2013, DLP vote share fluctuated but ultimately returned in 2013 to the 1991 level of 45% showing little long-term growth.

The DLP faces a tough road ahead and will almost certainly remain in Opposition for quite a while to come. To get through the rough times, you should have a reserve store to fall back on. A mixture of terrible candidate selection and bad governance since 1991 has made that store remarkably thin, even without considering 2018 and the disastrous mouthings of their members and leadership since then.

Can they survive this time in the wilderness? Probably. It would be politically immature to count them out just yet. But certainly, if not dead, the Democratic Labour Party is, now and for the foreseeable future, comatose. Considering that Barbadians live better and Barbados functions better when the DLP is out of office, their time in the wilderness is for the best. Next, we delve into the quality of their performance, in and out, of government.

Explaining the LOST DECADE

Posted as a comment by Greene to the Government Using Throne Speech to Signal Fresh Guard

(minor edits by the Blogmaster)

Over the years and with experience, I have found that humans don’t analyse events properly and thoroughly. They come up with excuses and not the proper aetiology for why events occur. Thus they solve for the wrong problems or don’t learn from past events making the same mistake over and over- a recurring loop so to speak.

Take for example the so called lost decade between 2008 and 2018 where it is often bruited about without proper analysis that BIM lost its way. Because that was the period BIM’s economy plunged in line with the economies of most countries- a period roughly between 2008-2016 known as the great recession, a PM who was not a great communicator when not on the campaign trail, and where the populace believed that Govt MPs got rich beyond the salaries of their offices.

However, if the period prior to this is examined, you would find that on the face of it the economy was travelling at warp speed in line with but lagging the tremendous economic growth that visited the rest of the world. We had an effervescent PM perhaps because of the economy and he enjoyed great political freedom and gravitas, MPs got rich over night with little push back from the citizens because everyone was in an economic state of euphoria. This for the most part was the period between 1994-2008.  There were many scandals from the GEMS project to Greenland to Hardwood to the Kensington Oval redevelopment to the Barrack Building to EDUTEC not necessarily in that order and that is only a few. What really marked that period for me was there was no attempt at building a sustainable black economy. Government’s capital projects were mostly, if not all routed towards the traditional money class Bajans who do not reflect the racial make up of most Bajans.

I have always contended that that period signalled the no return point for BIM. The desecration of the West Coast, the sell off of Government lands, the borrow and spend policies by Government, followed by the borrow and spend habit of the population at large, the rise of land prices and other prices with no comparable rise in salaries, the stupid mantra of land is only an asset and the push to make BIM a first world country built on credit and piss poor laws and enforcement thereof, were a milieu for disaster.

It was a slow burning crisis that just needed a catalyst to set events in motion as BA Turner theorised in his 1978 seminal work called Man-made Disaster as distinguished from natural disasters although it is arguable whether there is a difference. He posited that all disasters have an incubation period where latent pathogens go unnoticed or if noticed excuses are created, erroneous analysis made, or cultural habits prevent proper fixes

All the signs were there of system failure- huge national and personal debt, corrupt politicians, a population spending beyond its means, weak legal infrastructure, dilapidated island wide physical infrastructure, a failing unreformed civil service, an uncaring and expectant public, an unchecked criminal underbelly, and a greedy private sector.

Then entered a deep recession as I mentioned above (2008-16) and the flaccid DLP regime after Thompson. It failed to arrest the slide if it could have. It is my contention that would have called for a PM and Cabinet with huge cajones to effect systemic changes that were needed and long overdue, an understanding civil service and a pliable private sector and public. None of that was present and none of that could have been, given the heady days of the previous years and the expectations that those days would continue and hence the deep disappointment that they didn’t.

That the DLP didn’t recognize this pending disaster or if it did, did nothing, is what Turner (1976) called rigidity in organisations, inability to handle multiple issues, ignoring warning signs, and a tendency to minimise problems that often negatively impact disaster mitigation. And so the DLP was blamed for the drastic economic slide of Barbados and was soundly embarrassed at the polls. It did not win a seat and won 1 or 2 constituency voting boxes.

Returning to Normalcy
The present Govt headed by MAM labelled that period the lost decade and every ill that BIM ever suffered was located there. No attempt was made to differentiate the period of PM Thompson from the period of PM Stuart and none was made to examine whether they inherited any problems from the previous administration. Perhaps because some of the new MPs were in Cabinet in the 1994-2008 period, it was enough to give Bajans a place to direct their anger at the failings of the DLP. As Drubek (1994) contends, the politics around accountability substitute systemic failures for individual guilt. And as Boin (2005) points out, even when this is known, leaders spin this information to assign blame away from them-selves.

From deliberately defaulting on the debt repayment, to BERT, to BOSS, to BEST and the rest, MAM and the BLP have sought to return to normalcy, if normalcy can be defined as the period between 1994-2008. They have been diverted partially but not entirely by; COVID, legal missteps (ACOP bungling and the failure to pass Anti Corruption law in the Senate), and policy issues (Ministry of Education numerous faux pas).

That leads into the question of capability to solve problems. Capability in government often relates to political leaders and government department possessing the technical and financial, organizational and policy wherewithal to respond to the matters at hand (Cigler, 2007). Effective response may be hampered by lack of delegation, spotty decision-making and inadequate communication (Paton and Jackson, 2002). Furthermore, apathy (political and public) to pending problems, budgetary restraints and organizational dysfunction militate against disaster planning and response (Drabek et al., 1981). It is a matter of argumentation whether such issues depict the present BLP under MAM

To the very present
So here we are after a Throne Speech that inter alia, sees BIM becoming a Republic next year, civil unions for gay couples, and a host of financial manoeuvrings which are yet to be digested fully by the public. Suffice it to say the prospect of civil unions is an easier sell than gay marriage, and becoming a Republic are the topics occupying the minds of Bajans. Some ask whether this Thorne Speech hullabaloo was a reset or more hot air from a PM who loves to talk but delivers very little in terms of substance. I will state definitely I don’t see a reset. Moreover, the question that remains is, are we in a recurring loop?

Verla or George, Verla or George…Verla it Must be

Some of us are looking to the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) later this month with more than a little interest. It is after all the other half of the duopoly that has ‘ruled’ Barbados without serious challenge for the last 60+ years. Since its decimation at the polls in 2018 the electorate has observed President Verla De Peiza struggling to keep pace with her counterpart. All agree De Peiza was dealt a bad hand, however, she accepted the job and it is what it is. The AGM will give Barbadians the opportunity to acquire a more informed position.

The DLP brand despite the unprecedented defeat in 2018 is ‘seared’ into the political psyche of Barbadians. This has made it difficult for a third political party to create a foothold to offer serious challenge to the duopoly. In the short term the electorate will have to make do with the main combatants being DLP versus BLP contest in 2023 when the next general election is constitutionally due.

To the surprise of many including the blogmaster there has been the appearance of the ‘old guard’ offering themselves as candidates for posts. Of interest is the contest between George Pilgrim who will challenge Verla De Peiza for the presidency of the party. Pilgrim was the long standing general secretary of the DLP during an unflattering time. As hard as the blogmaster tried to apply logic to Pilgrim’s decision to challenge De Peiza, there is no logic except to state the obvious- it is his democratic right to run if he satisfied the nomination criteria of the party.

The blogmaster anticipates De Peiza will overcome Pilgrim’s challenge, she must because he is a weaker candidate. Pilgrim represents everything the electorate rejected in the DLP two years ago. There is no credible alternative on show with the 2023 general election appearing in the political rear view mirror. You may recall the result of the vote in the DLP stronghold of St. John between Charles Griffith and George Pilgrim. The final result Griffith 2,963 to Pilgrim 1598. Should the performance in a general election influence internal nominations and elections? Political parties are in the business of harvesting popularity. The DLP needs a president guaranteed to inspire members of the party and to be the architect of a good strategic and tactical plan. Members of the DLP have hobson’s choice, what gives De Peiza the edge is that the DLP headquarters located at George Street was literally allowed to rot under Pilgrim’s watch.

A political party is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.

The Electoral Knowledge Network

Given the design of our political setup the DLP is a private entity and is permitted to manage its affairs as outlined in its constitution. Decisions taken at party conference however have implications for the country especially in an entrenched duopoly. We have an inkling what is De Peiza’s plan – see link. There is no recent update on Pilgrim’s Facebook page to indicate he is politically active.

In both parties over the years we have seen a tendency to recycle the same old, same old. Rising apathy should be a barometer for political parties that the public is expecting more or expect to be punished with laughter at the polls. Unfortunately a vibrant democracy requires more from citizens than placing an X every five years.

Denis Lowe Go Away!

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him – Niccolo Machiavelli

The blogmaster read a report in the press yesterday that former Minster of Drainage (and the Environment) Denis Lowe,  “still has fervour for politics” and intends to throw his hat in the ring come next general election due in 2023. There was an attempt to make his intention serious by giving the story prominence on the front page of the Nation newspaper.

The blogmaster is challenged to present a cogent response to Lowe’s outlandish desire to offer himself as a candidate in the next election.  This is a man who left his ministry with a handful of garbage trucks and had to resort to commandeering MTW trucks and bobcats to remove piles of garbage from the streets of Barbados. What Lowe will be most remembered for is an attempt to foist a gasification waste to energy plant on Barbadians under the cloak of night. Cahill Energy … anyone?

The Nation newspaper reported Lowe’s desire to contest the next election was ratified by the Christ Church East constituency. The blogmaster notes the interesting comeback from president of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla De Peiza when asked to comment, the party will make candidate announcements at a later date”.

Political pundits are left to ask – how come the leadership of DLP Christ Church East  is so out of touch with the political reality prevailing in the country? What would have motivated a handful of individuals to ratify Lowe’s selection at this time? What would have motivated them to retrieve a spent, incompetent and shady  Denis Stephenson Lowe from the political dust bin? By the way, has he been given a clean bill of health? We recall he had to be away from office for unacceptable periods of time.

The blogmaster criticized Verla De Peiza when she allowed Stuart to share his specious concerns under the party banner earlier in the year. Once again this blogmaster is suggesting she should move with haste to excoriate political skeletons associated with Stuarts unpopular reign. At a time Prime Minister Mia Mottley continues to suck the political oxygen from Barbados’ political space,  Verla De Peiza leader is being undermined by political fiends stinking up her leadership space. If De Peiza wants to establish the party as hers, if she wants to match and surpass Mottley, she must respond with a ruthlessness borrowed from the Machiavellian handbook. If she does not the label of ‘watchman’ will flourish.

The ratification of Lowe by the constituency raises the perennial issue discussed many times on the blog. The private selection of candidates by the duopoly who eventually find themselves elevated to members of the cabinet. BU has posted several blogs exposing Lowe as a stool pigeon and plan for Peter Allard going back to when he was appointed to the Senate.

It is time for political parties in Barbados to reinvent themselves. Men and women must hold their noses and offer to serve. We can implement the best systems to ‘democratize’ the process, it will not work as intended unless intelligent  people with copious integrity raise their hands.




28 Million Taxpayers Dollars …

Truth be told the blogmaster thought he had witnessed it all – Greenland, GEMS, Golden shower, police station at Crab Hill to name a few. Today’s Nation newspaper front page has knocked the blogmaster for six.

For the last two years of the DLP’s ‘lost decade’ period and the first two of the BLP, a building estimated to cost 28 million dollars, constructed with tax payers Rh dollars has been labelled a sick building with not one Rh person or stick of furniture having graced the doors of the new Sanitation Service Authority HQ.



SSA Sick Building

Two Poorakey FORMER Prime Ministers


Verla De Peiza, Leader of the DLP


@David,what rot are you talking? the DLP will be out of govt for at least 10 years. do we really think any person from the last bunch will be around politically at that time? your admonishment is a nonsense under those circumstances. Barrow and others were rejected too. politics is a strange game and the rejected can become the chosen in a wink of an eye politically

The comment quoted was posted by Greene in response to criticism of Verla De Peiza’s leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). It reveals the electorate’s biggest problem.

There has been a lot of chatter about the decision by former prime minister Freundel Stuart to speak after two years of silence. One of the characteristics of Stuart’s tenure was his unwillingness – some suggest reluctance – to engage the public on the many issues of the day. This detachment from an electorate he was elected to serve permeated his team. The ethos which shrouded his tenure provoked his reference to a sleeping giant who others should be fearful about awakening.

This blogmaster has no intention to be prolix on this matter, the BU family has sliced and diced Stuart matters to bits over the years. Those who prefer to drag a political carcass across the trail to stink up dispassionate analysis, it will not work.

For some time progressive BU pundits have opined that the Bajan electorate has ceded its civic responsibility to the political class.  Key tenets upon which our so called democracy is built require a strident advocacy by the PEOPLE to act as a whip to the political class. What we have is a situation – referred to as the duopoly –  where the Opposition party pays its penance for two terms and is re-elected as the de facto government in waiting.  Some of us have exposed the fault line in our governance system, however, the majority of people have become intoxicated by the games politicians play and do not know B from bull’s foot as it relates to civic engagement.

The last two prime ministers Freundel Stuart and Owen Arthur represent about 25 years in office between them. Is it too much for the electorate to expect them to add value to the governance landscape – post prime ministership – with the objective of making our democratic systems better? For this reason elders in ancient societies have been allocated pride of place and  were pivotal transferring knowledge to mould societies for the better. Instead what we have had is Arthur demonstrating a level of bitterness not worthy of mention AND one Stuart outburst labelled by political pundits as froth over substance.

Some of us have had enough!

it is in this context the blogmaster states categorically there is no merit to Stuart given airtime under the banner of the DLP, if it wants to be taken seriously as being in the vanguard of change. Stuart is free to mirror De Lisle Worrell by posting his thoughts on a website or vblogging on YouTube. The political class has no problem disrespecting the electorate by demonstrating arrogance in office, breaking promises (manifestos), however, the electorate – according to some – must extend all courtesies to Stuart by being receptive to his mouthings on his descension from Mount Olympus. This blogmaster says no!

Two years on it is evident no credible third party movement has emerged. Although disappointing, it is a reflection of the scant regard quality citizens hold for aspiring to be members of the political class. We are what we eat, our governments are composed of poorakey members.

A reinvigorated and reborn DLP is important to a well functioning governance setup in Barbados. One does not have to be blessed with the acuity of the best political pundit to know Verla De Peiza lacks the gravitas in personality to lead the emergence of the DLP.  To have allowed Denis Lowe, Ronald Jones, Adreil Brathwaite et al to hijack her agenda- if there is one -is the biggest indication she does not have control of the party.

Three more years to go Verla, or less!

Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart Breaks Silence

Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in a rare public appearance since the last general election delivered a speech last Sunday at the DLP St. Philip North branch meeting. Thanks to Piece the Legend for the following audio snippet. So far the blogmaster has not been able to locate the full speech by Stuart (some people will say disappointing).

Additional link posted by Ping Ping.


Barbadians Carrying the Weight of Cahill Waste

Who is Quantum Energy and are they new beneficial owners of the Cahill Waste To Energy idea. Who owns the Garbage in Barbados? …

Kammie Holder (posted to Request to Remove CAHILL blog 2018)

At some point on Day 3 during the just concluded Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Annual Conference, Prime Minister Mia Mottley referenced that the controversial Cahill agreement may potentially cost taxpayers millions. It seems the agreement was crafted to permit the transfer of ownership to other parties who have signaled to the government there is a high expectation said agreement must be honoured.

The Cahill matter is near and dear to the BU blogmaster because Barbados Underground played a small part in the dissemination of confidential documents that exposed the less than transparent manner then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government consummated the agreement with Clare Cowan and Cahill Energy Barbados.

Another reason: in the Upper Chamber of Parliament then leader of government business Maxine McClean and Verla De Peiza (now leader of the Democratic Labour Party) described BU blogmaster as a traitor for posting Cahill confidential documents which exposed the DLP Cabinet as less than transparent with the electorate of Barbados. Some will say the electorate is enjoying having the last word given the result of the May 2018 general election. The blogmaster respectfully disagrees.

It is long passed the time to satisfy public expectation to hold public officials accountable. If there is a whiff of evidence the stink of malfeasance permeates, we must move to a stage where elected officials pay the price. In Barbados former ministers et al routinely transition to private sector to benefit from rotten seeds planted while in government. Why should ordinary citizens be expected to tighten the belt and others be allowed to go scot free all the Rh time?

There will be a price to pay if social justice issues are not factored into the way we manage our affairs. Especially during this period of austerity we are struggling to negotiate. It is ordinary people who have seen retirement investments in government securities negatively devalued, ordinary citizens have seen fees charged rather than interest credited to savings accounts at financial institutions. In the interest of all that is good we must not allow members of the political class to conspire with the economic class to the detriment of ordinary people.

How on God’s earth the people of Barbados- taxpayers, will remain silent to the pronouncement by the prime minister of Barbados  Barbados stands to lose millions because of the Cahill “frustrated contract”?

What manner of people are we to allow a class of  people to continually rub the brown stuff in our faces and every where?




Does the DLP Have a Credible Voice?

In recent days we have have had controversial Minister of Environment making the news. He appears to have taken umbrage to the decision by the government to re-purpose the Sanitation Headquarters built under his watch. One wonders who is the person he alleged prevented the opening of the building.  It appears he has overcome health concerns.

Before Lowe’s sighting last weekend President Verla De Peiza gave the government a failing grade. One has to accept that the DLP membership in its infinite wisdom selected De Peiza to lead the party and supported the effort by electing Irene Sandiford-Garner the deputy. Should onlookers conclude that an emboldened Lowe will be followed by former colleagues? What will their mouthings do to compromise the DLP rebuild after the shellacking in the last general election?

The following snippet was sent to the blogmaster’s inbox reported to be written by Political Consultant Reudon Eversley – Do you agree with the author?

So Verla, the perennial electoral loser, is giving the Mottley
government a failing grade in its first 500 days. The comment is not a
surprise. It reflects a new aggressive negative politics of doom
coming out of George Street. However, the comment  speaks volumes of
how far the once great party  — now a fringe group since the last
general election — has slipped into lalaland in the last year and
half. Verla should be speaking instead about how successful she has
been in turning around the fortunes of the Dems who are growing more
and more frustrated and desperate under her ineffective leadership. By
this time next year, if current rumblings are anything to go by, she
may very well be political history because the patience of those
waiting in the corridors is running out. After the Dems brought
Barbados to its knees in the stagnant post David Thompson period
because of failed leadership and incompetence, there could be no
overnight miracles. The comeback will be gradual but I am satisfied
that the rehabilitation of Barbados, not just economically but on all
fronts, is well underway. Clear signs are there. Confidence, for
example, is back. The only people not seeing it are the  Dems in
blinkers. Miss Mottley has done an admirable job. She has led from in
front. She is the chief marketer of Barbados internationally — an
important task neglected by the Dems in the previous 8 years. Miss
Mottley is growing in stature and respect on the world stage and it
will redound to the benefit of Barbados. Look at the prestigious
speaking engagements she is getting. Look at the positive press she is
also getting internationally.  In the region, Barbados is being
respected again. Friends in the region who  used to call and lament
the drift they were seeing under the Dems are making the most
complimentary comments about Barbados’ leadership again. I am
politically independent. Since resigning from the Dems over five years
ago because I did not wish to align myself with political failures, I
belong to no political party. I am a political professional and my
views are non-partisan. However, I am supporting Miss Mottley because
I want the best for Barbados and the performance of the Dems in their
last stint in government shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that they
are not the best for Barbados.