Organized Chaos: Traffic Here, Traffic There, Traffic Everywhere

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Santia Bradshaw

There is significant road remediation currently being undertaken in Barbados, when completed it is expected traffic congestion will ease on the highways and byways of Barbados. Add activity associated with celebrating Independence Day (Barbados National Day) and Christmas Day rapidly approaching, it explains the organized chaos on the roads every hour of the day.

If national productivity is defined as gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked i.e. the use of labour inputs better than just output per employee ( one does not have to be Joseph Stiglitz to conclude there is a big national problem to be solved. Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart once described the inconvenience caused by the poor state of local roads as a ‘transitory inconvenience’. Another one of those quotes that rival former Attorney General Maurice King’s ‘no gangs’ in Barbados. Ordinary people were thought at high school an efficient transportation system is an integral component to a performing economy.

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LGBTQ Killings – what it portends

The Blogmaster does NOT support hate speech or hate crime and abhors bigotry and prejudice wherever and whenever it shows. However, there is the obligation by democratic societies to protect the right of citizens to practice freedom of speech. How societies evolve to be inclusive will have to be managed sensibly by today’s leaders. There is no room for the usual rhetoric.

Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law.

— United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, May 2019
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Course Correction Urgently Needed

BU Murder Tracker

The BU Murder Tracker confirms violent; gun crime has become endemic in our tiny society. The 40th murder occurred last Friday and it is possible with about 6 weeks to go in 2022 two more murders to surpass the 2020 number of 41 maybe reached. It is a stretch to suggest Barbados will ‘challenge’ the 48 murders recorded in 2019, the highest recorded in our history.

There is a resignation by the blogmaster that the Barbados leadership at the policy making AND non governmental level lack the nous to successfully implement effective monitoring, enforcement and social approaches to revert to a norm where a murder was big news on the island. One only has to reflect on our helplessness to stop the minibus culture that has taken root since the 80s, our inability to address concerns repeatedly raised by the Auditor General, a contentment to maintain landfills instead of executing an effective waste to management program, growing traffic congestion and lawlessness on the roads, the sloth to wean the country from fossil fuel consumption AND last but not least our burgeoning court system.

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Time to mash brakes

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

November is recognised as the month those who lost lives in the First World War are honoured. Also, it is the month Barbados celebrates its independence from England on 30 November 1966. During this month the blogmaster will welcome our usually loquacious Prime Minister to take a pause from her international schedule to include what some in this forum consider important updates in her Independence Day message.

It seems to the blogmaster that in the last four years with the country lurching from from crisis to crisis and indicator on the misery index doing poorly, we have a people who need to get the mojo back. How do our leaders both political and other in civil society work to restore the confidence of a people?

A good place to begin is to make sure project 1, project 2, project 3, policy 1, policy 2, policy 3 are well researched with relevant information gathered to guarantee efficient implementation. During the process Barbadians – all groups in civil society – must be adequately consulted and treated with respect in the process.

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A Time to Pause, Reflect, Change

Minister of Home Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams

The majority of Barbadians will awake to the news government paused its asinine plan to rename Independence Day to Barbados National Day. Although some of us understand the sterile rationale for the decision, how can our leaders forget the human considerations to making decisions that involve human beings? It is obvious the budding legacy of Prime Minister Mottley’s government will be the number of initiatives and projects which had to be paused, cancelled or were poorly implemented.

The blogmaster does need to be prolix to articulate the stupidity of the decision to rename Independence Day. It must be an insult for sensible Barbadians to be forced into having this kind of a debate. Perplexing is how the largest Cabinet in our history approved the decision – or did they. How is our government so detached from public sentiment to have mismanaged a simple matter of celebrating two important events on the national calendar?

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Independence Time – A Time to Reflect on the Role of Prime Minister

The recent Cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Mia Mottley has caused tongues of political pundits to wag. The Cabinet changes came a few months into a second term after an early general election called in January 2021.

Prime Minister Mottley under our system of government practiced has the authority to appoint and disappoint regarding the composition of Cabinet and there must be good reasons in her mind for the changes. She has loudly signalled to the public her confidence in beleaguered Minister of Education Kay McConney and to a lesser extent Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins who was transferred to Energy and Business Development, International Business and Trade. Of interest is the fact Cummins has not had to face the electorate. We have also seen the elevation of Corey Layne to Minister of State in the Attorney General’s office for responsibility for crime prevention.

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9-day Wonder Redefined – A Matter of Governance AND Holding Public Figures Accountable

It is running more than 14 days since the IDB sponsored Science Test 11 year olds were coerced to complete. If one follows the newsfeeds the noise in the public space although fading continues to demand answers for the disrespect shown to children, parentss and actors in the school system. The kernel of dissatisfaction is the covert manner offensive questions were clandestinely inserted in the MOE/IDB sponsored Science Test.

The blogmaster has made his position known in an earlier blog – checks and balances were compromised at every step of the management process – which includes the Ministry of Education as the government agency responsible under our laws for administering education and the last defence, the management at the schools which without question allowed non school personnel for a period to assume responsibility for young children on different occasions.

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The New Constitution: Barbadians Must Insist on the Power to Recall

The Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) started its work this week under the banner ‘Have Your Say’. The blogmaster encourages Barbadians to make time to submit opinions on what a NEW Constitution should look like. In the same way we are proud to promote agreements. titled the Bridgetown Accord, we must not be afraid to frame a New Constitution which represents a model for SIDs and even MDCs. 

One of the initial contributions to the CRC identified the need for fixed terms for the prime minister. The blogmaster would add the importance of including the power of recall. The level of cynicism and apathy by the citizenry makes recall mandatory in the NEW Constitution. This would help to rekindle hope for our failing system of government. 

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Democracy, Apathy and the National Insurance Fund

For many years the blogmaster and others have posted voluminously about the importance of the citizenry actively participating in the type of democracy parodied from the former colonial master. While no man made construct is perfect the system of democracy practiced by the Western world is described – some will say by the cynics – as the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried. 

Several reasons (excuses) have been offered for the increasing cynicism, distrust and apathy being directed by Barbadians at government – with decreasing voter turnout to elect members to parliament and poor turnout at town hall meetings to critique government sponsored initiatives is a good litmus test.

In recent days the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley has finally had to declare to the public the sorry state of the National Insurance Fund (NIF). For political reasons she indicated that the condition of the NIF was brought to her attention in June of 2022. However, keen followers of local affairs will recall that after winning the 2018 general election she stated publicly the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was in a mess and the government will have to circle back to it at some point. Also the 2015 NIS Actuarial Review along with Walter Blackman and other social commentators sounded off concerns about the rate NIS pension benefits were outstripping savings going back to the 2015 NIS Actuarial Report

Here is something we know, Prime Minister Mia Mottley CANNOT deny the poor state of financial discipline in the public service evidenced by over a decade old Auditor General reports. Can we reasonably assume she will assemble ALL permanent secretaries and relevant personnel as a matter of urgency to correct the problem? Surely poor financial management in government departments must be made a priority to ensure there is efficient use of scarce taxpayer resources? Then again didn’t the late prime inister David Thompson assemble the top management of state owned entities (SOEs) in 2008 to warn better was expected and how has that progressed 15 years later?

We are here now and Barbadians have been promised the opportunity to participate in stakeholder sessions to help with reimagining a NEW NIS Scheme. The blogmaster anticipates there will be energetic public participation given the threat of reduced NIS benefits and possible changes to eligibility. 

Do Barbadians understand the reason for the current state of play at the NIF – as one example – has a lot to do with the disinterest demonstrated to actively participate in our democracy? The disengagement has created a situation where the tail is wagging the dog and given rise to a marauding political class. Imagine if the same noise currently polluting the public space about the NIS was able to be sustained on the many other serious issues always confronting the country. 

The importance of a robust governance framework cannot be underscored as it relates to ensuring an efficient implementation and management of policies, accountabilities and performance to name a few components. If Barbadians are as intelligent as the size of the national allocation to the education budget suggests, there must come a time IQ/EQ is tangibly demonstrated through citizen advocacy even if it has to resort to civil disobedience. History is replete with examples to support meaningful change is only achieved when extreme positions are taken.

Donville Inniss Incarceration Exposes a Culture of Corruption

The dent to reputation suffered suffered by Barbados when former Minister Donville Inniss was jailed in the USA for money laundering should make for interesting commentary. To be expected a gullible population continues to focus on the obvious. Why was a former minister charged over a measly USD36,000.00?

What Barbadians should be more concerned about is the incarceration of Inniss should bring into focus how business gets done in Barbados. We have so many examples whether Cahill under the former administration or the Radical vaccine scam under the current administration to finger only two.

White collar corruption and malfeasance is always hard to ringfence in any country because the gatekeepers of justice are the powerful in society. Unfortunately in island states like Barbados, it becomes more difficult because of the incestuous nature of the beast resulting in incompetent watchdog agencies as a result of nepotism.

The following insightful comment was posted by Northern Observer. We need to lift our game as citizens in a democracy showing fissures.

@David I cannot comment on AT (Alex Tasker), I don’t know the person. What can be observed is the senior management at ICBL did not appreciate the finer points of what they were doing. What none of know is the inner workings.

Did BF&M have other issues with IRS/DOJ?

What was the relationship between the CEO-CFO at BF&M, and that CFO/others and ICBL personnel.

I mean, even after discovery, it did not have to be disclosed. Who actually found it? It was two relatively small amounts…somebody could have created paperwork after the fact. Yet, somebody also decided that wasn’t going to happen.

Imagine somebody at BF&M was upset they didn’t get the ICBL CEO job. Let’s face it, II (Ingrid Innes) wasn’t particularly well qualified, and an outsider at BF&M. The decision to disclose may have been to sink her. In the myopic Bajan view it was to get DI (Donville Inniss). But the intent may have been to get II fired, and it ends there. Maybe they were after AT. Sometimes when you don’t appreciate the ‘big picture’ a decision is made, which has ramifications one didn’t foresee.

Northern Observer

Carlisle Bay Matter – What’s in the Mortar

Submitted by Plain&Simple

So it came to pass that some land was advertised for sale in the newspaper
Clement Gill and Earl Carlisle both submit sealed tenders as this what was
required of those Interested in purchasing the land. Is my understanding
only a few people did submit.

So de tenders were unsealed by de board Clement Gills offer was
considerably higher. Board tells Clement Gill that his offer was the
highest but the land is really worth more so they want a million more.
Clement Gill agreed and Agreement for sale was done and deposit paid. All
above board.

Some very strange things transpired after deposit was paid…. Board kept
delaying until court case has to be filed. Clement Gill got a few calls one
that told him Earl Carlisle’s son seems to have been at a party where he had
some “kill devil” but it did not seem to have effect or perhaps it did…
Anyhow it turns out Earl Carlisle’s son decides he is going to tell a body
very close to Clement Gill that they will soon own the land being sold and deposit already paid on….
Well now yah know that a phone call was quickly made. Next thing not to
many weeks later Elephantas Gorganous a local contractor (don’t let yah mind
go wild because I am sure it’s not who you think) calls Clement Gill and
says Gilly man I though you were buying that land but Earl Carlisle contact
me with some plans for what he wants built there…..

Anyhow time does pass as time always does and the sleeping giant was no more
and there was great hope because fair is fair and was believed to be …
One more for now and then a rest…. So yah know Babadas small and BabBajan is
be far and wide and it does mek yah feel everyone connected to Babbadus
somehow well is like that yah see … so one fine day a body is come from
yonder and tell a story about a board that try to sell to the lowest bidder
on a government tender… them did want to sell dis land to Earl Carlisle even
though Clement Gills bid was higher so a particular body on dat board did
stand up as an Honest body and say no it can not be. De body said the land
worth more and Clement Gills bid higher than Earl Carlisle so that can not
fly… so dis is how a extra million get ask…. I doan think they thought
Clement Gill would pay it but he did… as for Earl Carlisle I hear something
bout him renting land from government for free….. yes there is more in that Mortar indeed there is much more. Lord have mercy on us all if it all spill out

2021 Auditor General Report Hits ‘Bestseller’ List, Again

Auditor General, Leigh Trotman

The 2021 Auditor General Report is in and guaranteed to be another best seller. As usual Auditor General Mr. Leigh Trotman and team outlined a number of incomplete and questionable transaction done by our public servants.

What Barbadians can be guaranteed arising from the 2021 Auditor General Report is that the 2022 report will be more of the same. Although former Opposition Leader Bishop Joe Atherley has voiced concerns about a moribund Public Service Committee (PAC) during the current dispensation with no elected opposition in the Lower House – the question for the good Bishop is tell when has the workings of the PAC ever made a difference? Mind you the blogmaster is not disputing the fact the PAC is designed to be an important working committee in our system of governance.

Since taking the post of Auditor General in 2006, I have requested the filling

of a number of vacancies, and a few additional staff have been supplied. However, the

rate of loss of staff due to retirement, transfers or resignations has far outweighed the

number added. This has resulted in a chronic shortage of manpower, especially at the management level, and results in Executive Management having to take on additional

responsibilities, such as leading audit teams, which is not the best use of this resource.

2021 Auditor General Report

To be honest the blogmaster stopped reading after the Auditor General’s introductory comment on pages 9 and 10. What is the point of reading the same old same old that continues under BLP and DLP governments? There was high expectation given to the public by Minister Ryan Straughn in the finance ministry when the 2019 Public Finance Management Act was passed in parliament. To date state owned entities (SOEs) have largely ignored a key requirement of the ACT which is to present timely financials. We wonder why apathy, cynicism and significant disengagement by citizens continues to grow. Can we seriously describe what we practice as a relevant democratic system of government?

How can a people have confidence in any government of Barbados- including the BLP incumbent with its unprecedented 30-0 mandate- if it is unable to demonstrate an adequate financial management standard of public monies? The NIS fund and Clearwater comes to mind.

Why does the Auditor General have to repeat year after year, whether B or D government, that he does not have adequate resources to efficiently give account how public monies are spent? Instead the BLP administration had no problem establishing a Public Affairs Unit which many believe duplicates the functions of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS). We know why ‘dont’ we?

#tired #NTSH

Death of Lawyer Sparks Wrath!

The death of the Lovell family formerly of Breezy Hill, St. Philip continues to be a talking point. The event as reported is unusual for Barbados not accustomed to a family that included young children perishing in questionable circumstances. The blogmaster will resist speculating about how the event occurred.

However, it is interesting to note one of the deceased persons was lawyer Allison Alexander-Lovell who was sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee for withholding $160,000 of client’s monies in 2016. It is reported she was due to reappear in Court this week on the matter.

The blogmaster as a human being joins the majority of Barbadians who are sorry the Lovell family met untimely deaths. However, it has not gone unnoticed the ire many Barbadians have taken the opportunity to direct at lawyers. For many years lawyers have been known to sit on clients funds and important legal documents for unreasonably lengthy periods; sometimes for always without fear of being sanctioned by the Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee. 

The fact that successive governments have been composed of members of the legal profession has stoked public cynicism that this is a profession that is about preserving the establishment and the way it does business at any cost. The blogmaster has cited too many examples since its inception in 2006. One of the more blatant examples is a sitting Speaker of the House Michael Carrington who had to be ordered by the high court to surrender monies to a septuagenarian former client without having to step down from serving as Speaker of the House of Assembly AND with the blessing of then prime minister Freundel Stuart. You cannot make this stuff up.

Members of the legal profession in Barbados should be aware of what is referred to as the ‘tipping point’ – ‘defined as the point at which a series of small changes or incidents become significant enough to cause a larger, more important change’. Let it not be stated this blogmaster is stoking ‘insurrection’ against the legal fraternity, the blogmaster has friends and family who are members. Notwithstanding the affinity, rising anti-lawyer sentiment in the country is real and will not take many more changes to set the cat amongst the pigeons. 

We are living in harsh economic times, citizens will not continue to be docile while access to money and property are withheld from them by greedy, corrupt lawyers. The time has long past for the Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee to switch from PR mode to one of policing its members in the interest of the public it serves. There is also a role for government as policy maker to protect the public it swore to serve.

Constitutional Review Commission Established

The promised Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) was legally constituted today. Acting President of Barbados Reverend Jeffrey Gibson administered the oath in the absence of President Sandra Mason. Some will say it is better late then never. Prime Minister Mottley promised before the last general election that a review of the Barbados Constitution was high on the agenda should her political party be returned to office. The former government attracted criticism in some quarters by moving the country to a republic in November last year without substantive change to the Constitution.

The country awaits the opportunity to submit feedback to the CRC. We live in hope the opportunity will be grasped by ordinary Barbadians who have shown themselves to be increasingly apathetic and cynical to governance issues.

The blogmaster is disappointed the decision was not made for members of the CRC to come from a non political background. It is also unfortunate the calibre of some members appointed to the CRC do not command this blogmaster’s support. How ecstatic some of us would have been if Judge Jefferson Cumberbatch was seconded to the CRC.

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@Bajans #getupstandup

During the 2022 General Election analysis Dr. Kristina Hinds made the point that given the overwhelming mandate the BLP received from the electorate, citizens will have to be the guardians of our democracy – words to that effect. To be expected she was descended upon like the vulture having caught a whiff of the dead. Yet here we are several months later with no elected opposition and an ineffective dissenting voice in the public space. A space in which the government lead by larger than life leader Mia Mottley continues to suck all the attention.

The current predicament Barbados finds itself will only be constructively attended to if citizens become more engaged in the democratic process. What is civic engagement?

Civic engagement means participating in activities intended to improve the quality of life in one’s community by addressing issues of public concern, such as homelessness, pollution, or food insecurity, and developing the knowledge and skills needed to address those issues. Civic engagement can involve a wide range of political and non-political activities including voting, volunteering, and participating in group activities like community gardens and food banks.


Barbadians like the majority of global citizens have become politically polarised which means the opportunity for good sense to prevail is lost. Given where we find ourselves, how can citizens of small Barbados swim against the tide to be persuaded we need to switch paths? We must become more engaged in the governance process and be less concerned about the cost of Netflix membership.

Here is a Democracy 76 bucket list put out by Brookings targeting citizens to assist with boosting civic engagement. Although made for the US market there are suggestions Barbadians should borrow from to make relevant to our environment.

1. Read and subscribe to daily local, regional, or national newspapers.

2. Facts matter: Is your news source trustworthy? 

3. Fill your pocket with democracy. Pick up pocket-sized constitutions for as little as $1.

4. Get the facts on any politician or political candidate.

5. Talk with someone who doesn’t share your political views.

6. Attend a discussion or event in your community or school about an issue you want to know more about.

7. Shadow a public servant for the day to learn how our institutions work.

8. Visit a museum. Learn about local, regional, and national history, and about those who have taken civic action in the past.

9. Visit a library. Librarians can point you to important books on our American democracy.

10. Deep dive into the constitution. 

11. Use a highlighter when reading news articles to note points of interest, subjects that you agree/disagree with, or questions that you would like to know more about.

12. Vote: Local, state, and national elections matter! 

13. Make sure you’re registered to vote.

14. Make a voting pact with your friends or family. Collectively commit to register and vote. Remind each other regularly. Make a plan to go to the polls together!

15. Volunteer to register voters. 

16. If you are a boss, give your employees time off to vote. 

17. Volunteer to work at a polling place. 

18. Offer to drive elderly voters or those without transportation to the polls.

19. If you own a business, offer discounts to people who provide proof of voting on election days. If you work at a business, ask your boss to consider this.

20. Prepare to vote by checking ahead of time what is on the ballot, your polling place, and what you need to bring. Many states require identification such as a license or passport.

21. If you are voting by absentee ballot, pay attention to deadlines and follow all the steps in the instructions.

22. Mark the date 

23. Communicate with your elected officials to share your views on issues you care about. A letter, phone call, or visit are still the best ways to contact them.

24. Write an op-ed or letter to an editor.

25. Attend a city council or community board meeting. 

26. Advocate for civic education in schools. 

27. Join a political campaign. Volunteer for your preferred candidate.

28. Become an ambassador supporting digital citizenship education 

29. Join the Parent-Teacher Association at your local school.

30. Get involved with the local school board. 

31. Join a political party. 

32. Run for office. If you don’t like the candidates you are choosing from, put on your shoes and run for office.Build community

33. Identify a problem in your community and work with your neighbors to fix it. Neighborhood street sweeps and playground refurbishment are just two examples.

34. Plant a tree or garden in your community.

35. Share the #WeThePurple Teacher Toolkit with teachers in your community for good ideas on civic engagement activities for young people.

36. Volunteer to serve as an officer or member of a group in your community. 

37. Visit someone else’s place of worship.

38. Keep watch on children who play in your neighborhood.

39. Paint a mural in a public space (with permission).

40. Pick up trash in your or someone else’s neighborhood.

41. Start a book club and invite your neighbors to participate.

42. Serve as a juror. If you are called for duty, remember our judicial system can’t work without citizen jurors.

43. Collect food for those in need.

44. Visit a nursing home or hospital.

45. Donate blood or plasma.

46. Take a first aid class. 

47. Clean up the local park.

48. Clean up a local river or lake.

49. Start a bowling league or another activity that you enjoy that might bring people together.

50. Help others in an emergency.

51. If you own a gun, participate in a gun safety course.

52. Host or be an exchange student. Rotary Youth Exchange is a good place to begin.

53. Shop local and support small businesses.

54. Contribute financially to a cause, even $5 can help. 

55. Support the teachers at your local school. 

56. Volunteer at a museum.

57. Volunteer at a public library.

58. Volunteer at a pantry, soup kitchen, or food bank.

59. Volunteer at a community garden.

60. Volunteer to coach a youth sports team.

61. Volunteer to lead a youth group.

62. Volunteer at a community center.

63. Volunteer to help veterans. The USO is a good place to start.

64. Volunteer to help teachers. Chaperone school trips to the local city hall and share your experiences engaging with your community and government.

65. Do a year of service. 

66. Choose to work at a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping others.

67. Become a substitute teacher.Get social

68. Host or attend a debate watch party in your community or university.

69. Host a Purple Conversation with family, friends, or in your school or community to discuss ways to foster civic engagement. Use the tips on facilitating open dialogue from Living Room Conversations.

70. Follow and like #WeThePurple across social media.

71. Host a picnic or block party in your neighborhood and (respectfully) talk about your views.

72. Use your consumer power to support companies whose values you believe in.

73. Go out and talk to people, use your hands, and your time.

74. Invite friends and neighbors to watch a documentary on a topic affecting your community.

75. Use your social media accounts to post uplifting information relevant to making our society more civil. The University of Virginia has a helpful guide on civil discourse when talking about politics.

76. Recruit a friend and start checking off items in the “Democracy 76” checklist together!