2022 Auditor General released

Perennial concerns raised in 2022 Auditor General Report

The annual spectacle of the 2022 Auditor General Report being laid in parliament has generated the usual palaver. This time around the big ticket issues raised feature the National Conservation Commission (NCC) and Wyndham Sam Lord’s Castle.

So far Minister Adrian Forde who is responsible for the NCC has quickly refuted concerns about fraud, however, he admitted the NCC breached government’s procurement policy (see page 67). Minister Ryan Straughn has refuted Auditor General Leigh Trotman’s finding of being unable to account for 165 million in spend incurred by the Sam Lord’s construction. Straughn explained that the Mia Mottley government took the decision on assuming office to take the project off budget to create fiscal space (see page 32). By the way, are we happy with Struaghn’s explanation to what happened with Four Seasons/Clearwater Bay transaction?

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Politicians too fat, cabinet too large, too many consultants

One day coming soon some disgruntled persons will attempt a Sidney Burnett Alleyne.

On the 15 July 2023 Prime Minister Mia Mottley sat down with veteran journalist David Ellis (see 90 minutes interview below) to answer questions raised early in the administration after she became the first woman to win government on 25 May 2018.

Interview with Prime Minister Mia Mottley

The blogmaster from time to time has circled back to this interview to use it as a measure of performance of Prime Minister Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) from 2018 to the present.

You will hear her stout defence for appointing the largest Cabinet per 1000 of population in the world. She will now argue the fact her government was reelected in the controversial snap election in January 2022 and won another clean sweep confirmed the electorate bought into government’s playbook. The blogmaster is of the view it was more a case that in the land of the blind a one eye woman is queen.

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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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Players laughing at we 2

…sources supports the view that a number one goal for the big money ‘players’ in Barbados is to craft ways to grow overseas bank accounts.


Very recently the blogmaster overheard veteran journalist David Ellis on the airwaves imploring Barbadians to ‘up de ting’ if we are serious about wanting to hold the political directorate accountable. He asked, [paraphrased] why are we satisfied with switching from BLP to DLP every other election cycle with the same problems brought forward unsolved and getting worse.

The truth, there is a humdrum and predictability to public debate in Barbados. The result is that the establishment will never be challenged to change the way it operates. What has become clear is that people power in Barbados is virtually non existent. We bicker and complain but lack the know-how to ‘package’ our discontent to that of people power.

In recent weeks the Savvy on the Bay affair has raised more questions than answers with other concerns adding to the mix. It is clear the public is being fed stories from different sides of the matter and to date Allan Kinch seems to be winning in the court of public opinion. There was a deal and now there is no deal – why has the Planning and Development Department (PDD) ignored Kinch’s application? Why has Kinch proceeded to alter the property without PDD approval? The blogmaster is not so naive to believe Kinch of Savvy on the Bay comes to the table with clean hands. He is a player.

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‘Players’ laughing at we

We have a few rich people who are able to facilitate large local transactions and receive offset offshore requires attention from local authorities.

In recent days the blogmaster has had the irresistible urge to ‘mumble’ in words a concern. It is a concern many Barbadians are unaware. It centres around how ‘players’ in Barbados operate to influence decision making by decision makers.

In BU’s early years the late Denis Lowe featured in many blogs when evidence surfaced he was an errand boy for Peter Allard of Graeme Hall Sanctuary fame. The plan was for Allard to fund his campaign, in return he would have no choice but to be compliant. Too many are ignorant to the fact it isn’t elected politicians who call the shots, it is the faceless others that contribute to finance campaigns and hold keys to important gateways.

It is a puzzlement why the previous government – then Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler – redirected funds from the Industrial Credit Fund to ensure Mark Maloney was paid for an obviously overpriced Grotto project. It was a project that attracted unfavourable comment in the Auditor General’s 2016 Special Audit report with predictably no repercussions. This was at a time government owed too many small black business persons. To be compliant the government had to ignore a protrusion at the entrance of Coverley Gardens, a prefab construction next to the flour mill on the renamed Mighty Gryner among two that come to mind.

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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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Africa under attack

Too many African countries under performing. Professor Lumumba exposes the Trojan horses operating in Africa.


The blogmaster found the presentation posted by Professor Lumumba enlightening. The similarities between the struggles of many African countries and the Caribbean are striking.

Corruption in Public Life

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Political scientists, the Integrity Group and the Private Sector have urged the Senate to pass the Integrity in Public Life Bill (2023) without delay. They claim that it is in our national interest. If these groups are politically compromised, then passing the Bill may not be in the public’s interest.

We are told that Barbados’ reputation depends on it being passed since only two countries in this world do not have Integrity legislation, Barbados and Syria. We seem to have forgotten that Transparency International annually ranks the most corrupt countries. Every year, all but one of the top 10 most corrupt countries have integrity legislation – which is clearly ineffective.


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Politicians Trying Again to Enact Integrity Legislation – Sitting Judges to Get a Bligh

Of the 30 Barbados Labour Party (BLP) members of parliament it was reported 24 supported the Integrity in Public Life Bill in the Lower House last week. The country will wait to see if the Bill passes the Upper House where it was defeated three years ago.

Already there is criticism coming from some quarters regarding the exemption of sitting judges, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Auditor General. Attorney General Dale Marshall explained that existing terms and conditions of employment makes it difficult to include those groups of public officers but new appointments will be included. Some will say given how problematic enacting integrity legislation has been for the last thirty years, let us start the ball rolling.

Of course if (when) the Bill is passed by the Upper House there will be the big job of operationalising by appointing an Integrity Commissioners and allocating required budget to ensure its effective working. There is reason to be concerned, several years after the creation of the Employment Rights Tribunal it continues to be negatively affected by being under resourced by government.

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What is happening at our largest credit union?

For some time Barbados Underground has been expressing concern about the ‘noise’ emanating from the largest credit union in Barbados. For many Barbadians at home AND in the diaspora the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union (BPWCCU) is seen as the alternative to the banks. It is therefore of concern to observe the quality of interventions being offered at meetings of the membership.

Unlike the banks members have the opportunity to participate in the affairs of the credit union by offering themselves to be elected to the Board of Directors, Supervisory and Credit Committees and tabling resolutions designed to improve the management of the credit union. The level of ‘filibustering’ routinely occurring at annual general meetings and special meeting called exposes a trend of a minority membership intent on showcasing a high level of ignorance and/or pursuing narrow interest at any cost.

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NHC got jokes

The following notice piqued the interest of the blogmaster. Hopefully the irony of the announcement is not missed by an educated Barbadian citizenry.

Ian ‘Cupid’ Gill – Chairman of NHC

Offices in NHC Building closed 

The offices of the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Maintenance, the Treasury Department and the National Housing Corporation (NHC), which are located in the NHC Building on Country Road, St Michael, will be closed on Monday as a result of environmental issues.

It is due to reopen on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

The Treasury Department has advised that those who wish to access the cashier and customer services for pensions may do so at the General Post Office, Cheapside, St Michael.


How many Excess Deaths in Barbados being covered up?

Late last year Prime Minister Mia Mottley advised the country after one of her jaunts that a deal was in the making with the Rwandan Government to establish a pharmaceutical industry in the region, the first of its kind. Mottley further updated that the Rwandan Food and Drug Administration and the Barbados Drug Service and Ministry of Health and Wellness had started discussions to advance the matter.

See Related Link: Prime Minister Strikes Major Pharmaceutical Deal With Rwanda

A few days ago Chief Medical Officer The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George was quoted in the media as saying Barbados was, “considering the possibility of establishing local vaccine manufacturing capabilities in response to the challenges brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic”. He explained the Covid 19 pandemic had exposed an inequity with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) unable to access the vaccine therefore compromising the ability of public health authorities to protect vulnerable members of the public.

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Prime Minister Skerrit’s Jeep Ordered off the Road

This is not the first time Prime Minister’s Roosevelt Skerrit’s name has been mentioned negatively on Barbados Underground. The BU family will recall his name was associated with a few prominent others as having an interest in the local Cost-U-Less. Here is the 2013 blog Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?.

The blogmaster is encouraged to read that in some places, some citizens are not afraid to challenge the establishment. Unlike Barbados the Commonwealth of Dominica has enacted and operartionalized the Integrity in Public Office Act of Dominica. Since the 70s successive BARBADOS LABOUR PARTY (BLP) and DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY (DLP) governments have been promising Barbadians to enact transparency laws.

Here is a story of interest posted in the Antigua News.

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Transparency Required with award of GAIA Contract

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

The government of Barbados has planned a lease and awarding of a $300M contract to an unknown company to run the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados  for up to 30 years. The winner of the  $300 M contract to lease the airport would be granted a concession or lease to expand, operate and maintain the airport until the end of the contractual period of 30 years. Up until release of this article  the company’s identity remains unknown to date June 8th 2023,

There should be nothing to hide when handling an important government asset such as the airport, however the government of Barbados keeps falling down on transparency and the fight against corruption. I relied on international sources to get information on this contract and that is unacceptable. The  Barbados government can be cited as withholding information as no updates on the status of the tendering process can be obtained locally.

In February 2021 GAIA project coordinator, Gale Yearwood speaking in an interview with BNamericas confirmed a delay to the airport’s planned privatization. Yearwood reported that, “the government of Barbados, GAIA Inc. and its advisers took the decision to review the transaction to ensure that it meets the needs of and remains attractive to the shortlisted bidders, government, GAIA Inc”. International media reports indicate  and can be quoted as saying that the Barbados government has not since July 2021 updated the status of its tendering process in regards to the leasing of the GAIA airport. Greater accountability is required on the $300M airport contract.

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Beyond Recall

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

The Barbados Statistical Service has reported that Barbadian households are spending a larger amount of their income on education [1]. Normally this would be good news, but if the education obtained was at tertiary level, it is not good news for modern Barbados.

People who complete tertiary-level education may develop independent thoughts. Independent thinkers tend to think for themselves, rather than blindly accept what others tell them. Most Barbadians who complete their tertiary-level education tend to leave Barbados.


The World Bank’s study on emigration [2] shows that Barbados is one of the few countries on Earth where most of its tertiary educated population left. The consistent figure was over 60%. In 2000, Barbados had the 13th highest brain drain rate (emigration of skilled workers) among 191 nations on Earth at 61.4%. A decade earlier in 1990, it was 63.5%.

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The Cheltenham Affair

The matter covered by Barbados Underground for more than a decade between Sir Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham versus Everton Cumberbatch continues to play on the civic minded among us- see BU Archives. The blogmaster has a problem with a very senior lawyer AND elder of the governing Barbados Labour Party (BLP) continuing to be selected for important national appointments while a serious complaint is pending with the Disciplinary Committee (DC). It is instructive to note the DC is blocked from doing its work- if it had any intention of doing so- because Cheltenham has been granted an injunction pending the completion of an application of a judicial review as reported in the Nation as follows:

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Government failing the transparency test

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

In the name of transparency, integrity & accountability Minister Ryan Straughn should account to the public by answering the question as to where is the public register of all government issued contracts over $1M as mandated by the BERT since December 2021?

To quote from transparency international “Covid-19 was not only a health crisis but a corruption crisis”. I am calling for a full audit of the government of Barbados’ covid-19 expenses.

The issuing of government contracts to respective business players comes under the microscope and luckily the IMF in it’s Article IV consultation & Memorandum of Understanding of Economic & Financial Policies with Barbados, displayed vision in asking the Minister of Finance Ryan Straughn to table a Public procurement Act 2021 in order for crisis related expenditure to be tracked and traced.

The minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn explained that the new legislation was necessary as it was mandated by the BERT austerity programme. BERT was amended In May 2021 and a new line item was supposed to be listed in the 2021/22 budget which required all COVID-19 related government issued contracts in excess of $1M BDS be reported to the Barbadian parliament

According to the agreed IMF MOU of Economic & Financial Policies both the contract and the names of successful bidders of government contracts along with a public register of all government contractors were to be made available in the Barbados corporate registry by the end of 2021.

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Haunted by a poor backbench and ‘poorakey’ parliament

The backbencher (backbench) in the parliamentary system of governance practiced in Barbados has an important role to play. Backbenchers are available to sit on the important working committees of parliament or add to the bench strength of the government if the prime minister is dissatisfied with the performance of members of Cabinet. In an ideal situation backbenchers are free to speak unencumbered by the convention of collective ministerial responsibility.

The quality of the backbench under a Mottley tenure has raised its head again during the just concluded Estimates Debate. The lack of elected members of parliament to form an opposition has created a farcical situation of the government having to manufacturer opportunities to question and probe policies. 

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The Changing Dynamics

The author’s name withheld at the discretion of the Blogmaster – David

Man makes plans not knowing the plans God has already made or how he will bring his plans to pass. Six things have occurred recently in Barbados that may change the path of our trajectory.

With the deadline for the Trident ID being April 1st there has been an increase in anxiety in the general population.

With a background in gun violence during the past decade, suddenly, the gangs have made a truce and all the deaths by gun fire have stopped.

Then a week ago, some of the former wards of the Girl’s Industrial School won their case and the wandering laws under which they were institutionalized were deemed unconstitutional and struck off the law books.

The very next day, the country learnt that the government had passed the Barbados Identification Act two years earlier in 2021 to restrict freedoms and the ability to vote by citizens. In essence, it appears as though the wandering laws had been replaced by a plantation pass (Trident ID card) proving that plantation slavery is alive and well in Barbados.

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A Media and Political Directorate Gripped by Silence

We boast of being the best positioned on the corruption perception index (CPI) in the Caribbean AND of being a model democracy. In fact traditional indicators reported by Transparency International and other watchdog agencies support the position. We should not be lulled into thinking that all is hunky dory because some “surveys which form the CPI … based on responses from academics, country specialists and business executives”, closes the matter. The question to be answered is what would be the results of similar surveys sent to Jane and John Citizen reveal.

The blogmaster like others is of the view we should be concerned about the level of white collar crime at the citizen AND corporate level which includes private and public sectors. Unfortunately the existing structure ‘undergirding’ our culture of doing business makes it a challenging undertaking to significantly attack corruption. There are several examples to explain.

The average man in the street is aware how licenses in the public service vehicle sector have been distributed for many years. If you know a minister or high ranking official at the ministry of transportation, for a small contribution in some form, a license can be secured. Note the interaction between citizen and public official. Often times the citizen represents wealth and high social standing standing in the society. Therefore one can understand how positions taken are supported and sustained in wider society. Every where a political system exist, politicians and public officials are inclined to corrupt behaviour because greed from time immemorial is known as one of the 7 deadly sins. 

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The 2023 – 2024 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure

The following was received from a BU family member – Blogmaster

The Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year 2023-2024 was laid in Parliament last week. Started in 2019 a new format has been used for the Estimates debate in Barbados. Senior Civil servants are now required to come before the Finance Committee of Parliament to account for each programme being funded by the tax payer and answer any questions which MPs have about programmes or projects for which they have the responsibility of executing.  These hearings will begin tomorrow Monday 20th of February as the Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straugh explains in this video.  The Minister further gave a preview of the administration’s spending priorities in the coming fiscal year.    


After contracting sharply in 2020 by approximately 14 percent due to travel restriction brought about the the Covid 19 pandemic, Barbados’ economy recorded a fairly robust recovery in 2020 of 10.5 percent, meaning, that the economy is still about 3 percent below pre-pandemic levels. In 2022 we also saw a major increase in government revenues, some of which can be attributed to higher economic activity and greater transaction taxes due to elevated consumer prices caused by imported inflation. The projection for 2023 is that the economy might grow by between 4 and 5 percent, if this holds then Barbados could return to or slightly surpass pre-pandemic levels this year.   

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Politicians and lawyers continue to laugh at we

In yesterday’s press there was a reminder of Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham’s appointment as Chairman of the Parliamentary Reform Commission (PRC). The mandate of the PRC according to Attorney General Dale Marshall at a recent press conference is to review the structure and function of parliament. 

The other news of interest was the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) calling for action from government to address “issues affecting the rights of persons in police custody…protocols governing the conduct of attorney’s confidential communication with accused persons’ (Nation newspaper 13/02/2023). The BBA was reacting to the discovery of a cellphone in recording mode found in the interview room where attorneys at law interview clients.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in its 2018 Covenant of Hope states at item number 3, ‘The Barbados Labour Party stands for good and transparent governance’. Similarly under Aims and Objects item (g) of the Guidelines of the Barbados Bar Association (Chapter 363) it states- ‘To settle questions of professional conduct, discipline and etiquette’

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Tangled Webs and High Light Bills

Submitted by Observing

The good thing about having wall flies as friends and white rum bottles as magnifying glasses is that sometimes the random story pops out. Last night under the moon in the glare of a pint was one of those nights.

Barbados woke up to the appointment of an Acting Registrar by the name of SD. Congrats SD!!!

But, does the average Bajan know the intertwinnings, interwranglings and woven webs that may have an impact on their lives and cost of living?

Let the rabbit hole begin.

SD according to LinkedIn is the substantive Chief Legal Officer in the Ministry of Housing.

Recently she was the Acting Public Counsel for the Ministry of Energy and Business Development.

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Politicians Must Stop Fraternizing with Underworld Characters

In much the same way successive governments have struggled to implement a ‘fit for purpose’ economic strategy- so too have successive Attorney Generals and Commissioners of Police failed to effectively stop violent crime. 

It is accepted that an important strand to defining good leadership is the ‘ability to organize in an effective and efficient manner’. It has become evident after years of a business as usual approach by the hierarchy of the police and government that the two key have surrendered to serving narrow interest. 

During the last decade there was an underground buzz about questionable characters like Bounty Killer courted by ministers in government. On the 2018 campaign trail there is the dramatic video of Mia Mottley in the company of questionable characters as well.

Mia Mottley in the company of…
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William Duguid Agreed Politicians Laughing at ‘WE’

It is no secret the blogmaster fell in love with late Prime Minister David Thompson’s sweet mouth. He seemed earnest about his public spiritedness, especially addressing the introduction of integrity and freedom of information laws. He ran a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) campaign based on a promise to attack corruption in public life. He led the DLP to victory in 2008 and although he fell sick and eventually died in 2010, there was an expectation among the electorate the DLP would have and should have delivered on the promise to enact transparency legislation. A manifesto is a social contract and should mean something to HONOURABLE men and women?

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Talking Garbage

There is a lot that can be said about Barbadians and the way we manage garbage disposal. The observation is true at the household and country level. In many developed countries garbage is treated as a raw material to convert to energy and in the process contribute to protecting the environment. Prime Minister Mia Mottley has become a spokesperson since being elected to office in 2018 on environmental issues in the international arena, it is therefore ironic that in the country she leads, we continue to oversee a primitive garbage collection AND waste disposal system.

A peeve of the blogmaster is to be subjected to the perennial call from public relations persons employed by the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) – Alf Padmore is the incumbent – asking Barbadians to desist from including green waste in garbage to be collected by the SSA. Nobody ever heeds the calls, including SSA workers, who are always willing to please the many households served. The increase in built-up neighbourhoods in Barbados and concomitant lifestyle guarantee that green waste will be ‘trashed’. Isn’t a manicured lawn integral to the look and feel expected of the heights and terrace?

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Christmas Reparations

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

Christmas is one birthday party where we celebrate as if we do not like the person, but attend to eat the food and meet our friends and relatives.

A birthday party normally celebrates the current age of the person.  But not Jesus’.  We seem too embarrassed by what He said as an adult.  So, to feel a measure of control we try to keep Him in His place – as a baby in a manger. Perhaps this Christmas, we will respect Him enough to celebrate Him as He is.


Jesus revealed how He would judge everyone at the end of the age, and he repeatedly explained what He requires.  He claimed that many were on the easier broad road that leads to destruction because the narrow road to life was more difficult.  He noted that people could choose the road to life, and then decide to leave and travel on the easier path – that leads to destruction.  Nope, back in the manger for you.

Jesus repeatedly explained that forgiving others is critically important to where we will spend our after-life.  We get on the narrow road by asking God to forgive us for the debts we owed.  God promised to forgive us – but in the same manner that we later forgive others.

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Face it and Fix it!

Submitted by Akil Daley

Since Independence many of our public institutions have had little (if any) serious structural changes to make them fit for purpose in the new global environment. The inefficiency of governmental bureaucracy has plagued our public institutions for decades and has hampered effective service delivery to the masses. These public corporations are no longer fit for purpose and drain finances through yearly subsidies and transfers accounting for most of the shortfall in financing afflicting these institutions.

This ill-advised formula can be blamed for the structural adjustment program Barbados now faces which prescribes bitter reforms to our statutory corporations. We must now as a country focus on how these services will be rationalized, paying special emphasis on the most vulnerable and needy.

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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 (www.oecd.org) 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.

See related blogs:

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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.

See Related Link:

@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!

Nation Publishing MUST Do Better

There is the saying often posted in this space that the price of freedom (democracy) is eternal vigilance. A necessary component to safeguarding our freedom (democracy) is a relevant media. An extract from The Role of Media in Democracy: A Strategic Approach authored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) states:-

A free, objective, skilled media is an essential component of any democratic society. On the one hand, it provides the information which the polity require to make responsible, informed decisions. On the other, it performs a “checking function” ensuring that elected officials uphold their oaths of office and campaign promises and that they carry out the wishes of the electorate.

The blogmaster is reminded everyday since March 2007 when Barbados Underground (BU) went live on the WordPress platform the importance of a relevant media. We recall the VOB Sunday Brasstacks show when social commentator and retired hotelier Adrian Loveridge was forced to contribute to the program from a separate studio because it was the condition for the participation of former Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch.

During one of last week’s VOB’s Brasstacks shows the blogmaster was again reminded of the naked manipulation of traditional media by a caller (was it you William?) who questioned the Nation Publishing company’s decision to anoint Khaleel Kothdiwala a columnist to replace Dr. Kristina Hinds. The caller’s simple and well articulated logic was – with the BLP in total control of the Lower House, why select Khaleel who is a BLP card carrying member. It does not mean Khaleel lacks the capacity to share a perspective on a myriad topics, however, making Khaleel a columnist ensured the leading publishing house in the country slammed the door on an opportunity to improve vigilance in our democracy.

This is not a personal attack on Khaleel, he obviously is an intelligent young man who is committed to be a BLP sponsored politician. And it is his right, to align with a political party of his choice. This is an attack on the Nation Publishing for allowing itself to be manipulated directly or indirectly into making Khaleel a columnist. We may speculate this is the Nation Publishing being opportunistic by contracting a young man whose star is rising or that ‘someone’ made a telephone call.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Blurred Mirror Image

Submitted by William Skinner

In a recent post @TheoGazerts, suggested that my mirror image of our country, at this critical juncture, would be interesting. My mirror image of the country has not dramatically changed over the last fifty years. I still see an extremely conservative people, afraid of our past and extremely timid about our future. Too many are devoted to a nostalgic period, which is not returning and even those who profess to want change usually wilt, when the enormity of engineering it is revealed.

There are many who have thrown an old bed sheet over the mirror to hide the image they do not want to see. We have moved away from Little England and are now apparently living comfortably in Little Brooklyn. An amazing irony, of creating the often-maligned Diaspora, right here in Bim!

The cultural penetration, that most progressive voices warned of in the sixties, has been realized and there is extraordinarily little, that successive administrations, have done to curb our enthusiasm for things foreign. Our collective image of Barbados is one littered with sunworshippers from the tips of St. Lucy to Christ Church. Even the utter devastation wrought by COVID, and the persistent tremors in so-called source markets, from where we hail the blistered bodies with specks of sand, have not deterred us from putting our already slender economic future in such sunburnt fun seekers. But that is who we are and more frighteningly, whom we want to be.

We dare not remove the old bed sheet. The image of a well-functioning political engine, as our Prime Minister, now considered, the shining light of the Caribbean and a global political influencer emerges. Adroit at entering the kitchen and recreating dishes, which have been long tried and left to freeze, thawing them out and declaring those new recipes for development. The classical image of skillfully warmed-over soup now dominates our mirror image.

It is the image of a country, that obviously depends on the political docility of its populace to embrace and endure, the corrupt and sinister collective leadership of two political parties, which have long emptied their bowels of any remote semblance of progressive socio-economic policies.

I still visualize, a new and vibrant citizen emerging from our current predicament, within the next quarter century. Our youth are showing exceptional talents in business, the arts, and all aspects of social and economic endeavors. In many instances their ability to overcome the obstacles are rooted in the fact that most of them inherited no generational wealth, to propel them to the next level.

The story that recently appeared in the local press of a six-year-old girl, selling her first piece of art, is the best way to sum up the hope of the nation. We must invest in the cradle our end up as old broke and broken citizens in the grave.

Those who may want to declare this piece as pessimistic and a warped sense of a fading nationalism, should remember that optimism devoid of realism, is nothing more than delusion. It is high time to remove the old bed sheet from over the mirrors and see it for what it is; and change it.

Happy to oblige @TheoGazerts.


Viva Barbados

Viva the Caribbean

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.

Auditors Caught Cheating

In recent weeks the world is being reminded how military tension in faraway countries can effect us at our front doors. We have become a global village with economies that are interdependent. Some countries blessed with natural resources will negotiate the economic tempest without catastrophic fallout, others will be exposed as not very resilient.

How quickly we have forgotten the role international credit rating agencies played in the 2008 financial crisis. Analysts agree that mortgage-backed securities were given safe investment grade rating – the objective: to encourage highest profit making. The rest as they say is history with some countries like Barbados with opened economies unable to recover to pre-2008 economic performance.

The experience of the 2008 financial crisis emphasizes the importance of oversight bodies implementing robust, relevant governance infrastructure to minimize recurrence of seismic events of 2008. In Barbados we witnessed a local version of poor governance with corruption added to the mix which led to the collapse of CLICO. Many Barbadians have suffered immeasurably as a result, some crossing to the great beyond after losing lifelong investments and nest egg savings.

PwC Canada has been fined more than $900,000 by Canadian and US accounting regulators over exam cheating involving 1,100 of its auditors. 

The watchdogs found that the Big Four firm failed to spot that staff were sharing answers in professional exams between 2016 and 2020 because of shortcomings in its internal standards and test supervision. 

The Canadian Public Accountability Board fined PwC Canada C$200,000 while the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board imposed a $750,000 penalty. The PCAOB, overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, has powers to sanction foreign accounting firms if they are licensed to carry out work for US clients.


This week another international PwC fined over exam cheating involving 1,100 of its auditorsnada Fined by US for ‘Widespread’ Cheating on Training story caught the eye. PwC Canada has agreed to pay $750,000 to US audit regulator after it was discovered over 1200 of PwC professionals shared or received answers to internal training tests. It makes the average person question the trust given to certifications and attestations issued by financial accounting houses who are responsible for shoring your confidence in the financial space.

PwC employees fined by US regulator represent the culture of that organization. The blogmaster will confidently opine PwC was caught in the dragnet this time around but the unethical behaviour probably exist elsewhere. One can only speculate the extent audit comments and management letters are compromised because of actors with questionable ethnics who represent oversight bodies such as the PwCs and others.

In Barbados we tend to avoid probing these kinds of issues as the CLICO episode exposed. Regulators being fined routinely has become a regular anyway. Not one day so far.

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!

Evidence of a Solution Seeking a Problem in the Current Governance Arrangements of Barbados!

Submitted by Roland R Clarke PhD (UPenn 95), Caribbean Energy Consultant, Member of the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN), Barbados – www.linkedin.com/in/rolandclarke

A solution is only required when there is a problem for resolution.  It seems to me that the kernel “problem” in Barbados’ governance arrangements at this time, is the failure of the President to act with timeliness in using the power bestowed to that office under the current Constitution.  For me, this is not a problem per sec, but rather a potential lost opportunity.

In order to resolve that particular “problem”, all that needs to happen is that: 

(a) The President should reach out to those who are known to be in opposition to the Government within the context of our recent national general elections; or 

(b) Politically active “individuals” from the known non-government political parties could/should offer themselves to the President to serve as Opposition Senators. This notwithstanding that any “qualified person” can offer themselves to the President irrespective of party affiliation or otherwise; AND

(c) The President shall use her best judgement to make the final decision and selection of two Opposition Senators.  

One more thing, the Prime Minister (PM) must select one more “qualified” individual to be a Government Senator. The notion of “keeping a seat” for an unqualified individual is untenable.  That problem could easily be fixed after the fact.  It is also recognised that not all qualified individuals may be available right away to take the oath of office and sit in the Senate.  The key is for the PM to make the selection NOW. 

Once the Parliament is fully “constituted” as per the argument of at least one constitutional lawyer of national repute, then any and all constitutional changes could be properly laid before the Senate AFTER the fact. 

In sum, the current impasse is artificially and prematurely created. It only serves to potentially lay bare an intent to insert “political parties” into the Constitution of Barbados for the first time at least since 1966. So far, I have not heard any objections from any political party (as a corporate person in its own right) to the proposed change to the Constitution regarding the insertion of a role for political parties. The silence of the political parties speaks volumes.

Clearly, the solution has predated the problem!

I assert that the premature creation of the problem above also lays bare the potential for a qualified citizen and resident of Barbados to seek leave of the President to bring a Constitutional motion against the President, if such a motion cannot be brought immediately and directly before the High Court of Barbados. Surely all concerned citizens and residents of Barbados would wish for the most vaunted governance institutions of Barbados to be protected at all times. We must protect the King of our National Chest Board, should we not?

The constitutional basis for my analysis above is given in alphabetical listing as follows:

A. Choosing the Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of Barbados:

Section 74(2) of the Barbados Constitution states in part:

“(2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Leader of the Opposition he shall appoint the member of the House of Assembly who, in his judgment, is best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government, or if there is no such person, the member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader:

Provided that this subsection shall have effect in relation to any period between a dissolution of Parliament and the day on which the next election of members of the House of Assembly is held as if Parliament had not been dissolved…” etc..

B. Two Senators to be Appointed by the Leader of the Opposition. I took the liberty of pre-supposing that these two Senators would be “in opposition” to the Government. However, the Constitution is silent on my supposition. See

Section 36 of the Barbados Constitution states:

“36. (1) The Senate shall consist of twenty-one persons who, being qualified for appointment as Senators in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, have been so appointed in accordance with the provisions of this section. 

(2) Twelve Senators shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, by instrument under the Public Seal. 

(3) Two Senators shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, by instrument under the Public Seal. 

(4) Seven Senators shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in his discretion, by instrument under the Public Seal, to represent religious, economic or social interests or such other interests as the Governor-General considers ought to be represented:

Provided that before appointing any person under this subsection the Governor-General shall consult such persons as, in his discretion, he considers can speak for those interests and ought to be consulted.”

C. The two Houses of Parliament “may” meet at the time for a limited purpose at the time of writing this article.

Section 50(1) of the Barbados Constitution states:

“50. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House may regulate its own procedure and for this purpose may make Standing Orders. 

(2) Each House may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at or to participate in the proceedings of the House shall not invalidate those proceedings.”

D. The issue of a quorum is only relevant during the “sitting” of the Senate. It seems to me that a “sitting” can only occur after the initial establishment of the Senate. See –

Section (52) of the Barbados Constitution states:

52. (1) If at any time during a sitting of the Senate objection is taken by a member that there is not a quorum present and, after such interval as may be prescribed by the Standing Orders of the Senate, the person presiding ascertains that there is still not a quorum present, he shall thereupon adjourn the Senate. 

(2) For the purposes of this section a quorum of the Senate shall consist of eight Senators besides the person presiding.

E. The President is “required” to act in lieu of the Leader of the Opposition, “under the current circumstances in Barbados” at the time of writing this article (at least in my opinion given the use of the word “shall” below). 

Section 75 of the Barbados Constitution states:

“75. During any period in which there is a vacancy in the office of Leader of the Opposition by reason of the fact that no Leader of opposition. person is both qualified in accordance with this Constitution for, and willing to accept, appointment to that office, the Governor-General shall- 

(a) act in his discretion in the exercise of any function in respect of which it is provided in this Constitution that the Governor-General shall act in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and

(b) act on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in the exercise of any function in respect of which it is provided in this Constitution that the Governor-General shall act on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.”

Reference: Do note that the quotes above are taken from the full text version of the Barbados Constitution, posted on the web site of the Organisation of American States (OAS). Since the posting of this full text document, the Barbados Parliament has recently documented thirty-six (36) instances of constitutional amendments in a piecemeal fashion on their website. My current understanding is that the thirty-six (36) documents speak to amendments having to do with the recent transition to republic status by Barbados. See the full text version of the Barbados Constitution at – https://www.oas.org/dil/the_constitution_of_barbados.pdf

My two bits,