Who Johnny Cheltenham think he is?

Sir Richard Cheltenham (l) Leroy Parris (c) Larry Tatem (r)

Last week the government promised to make another attempt to enact The Integrity in Public Life Bill. Our honorable members of parliament from the two main political parties have been promising Barbadians integrity legislation since the mid 70s. And they say a promise is comfort for fools.

On a blog posted 24 January 2023 with the title Doyen of the Political Class Attorney at Law Sir Richard Cheltenham Ignores the Court, we were reminded the prominent among us can ignore the laws of the land. If they are members of the political directorate all the more influential in flouting the law.

How can a former minister of government and former Queens Counsel now Kings Counsel (Senior Counsel) ignore a summons from the entity responsible under the law for hearing disciplinary complaints? Who Johnny Cheltenham think he is? For the record, Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham is the brother of Patterson Cheltenham, CHIEF JUSTICE OF BARBADOS.

SIR Richard Cheltenham would have received a summons mirroring the document below.

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Doyen of the Political Class Attorney at Law Sir Richard Cheltenham Ignores the Court

Submitted by 4Justice
SIR Richard Cheltenham, senior legal officer of the Barbados Court and Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Elder

Has Sir Richard Lionel Cheltenham KA., KC, Ph.D been called by the Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association for grave professional misconduct and is in breach of 22 of the clauses of the Legal Profession Act?

The Barbados legal eagle was ordered by the disciplinary Committee to submit a sworn affidavit to the complaint #31 0f 2020 and appear for the hearing of the complaint. How could such a case escape the media when other attorneys in breach with the same professional misconduct are being prosecuted and imprisoned?

Scott informed the committee that the Sir Richard, summoned called by this court, with status and authority of the High Court, will not be attending the second hearing in March.

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What are we doing about importation of drugs, guns and violent crime?

BU Murder Tracker

Another three weeks to finish 2022 and the murder on the weekend pushes the year to date recorded number of murders to 41 which equals 2020. The state of violent crime in Barbados in recent years brings the 48 murders recorded in 2019 into play. Of deep concern to the blogmaster is the inability of the leadership in the country to effectively address the problem.

Last week the blogmaster read about 140 murders recorded by The Bahamas and it is no secret Jamaica has been declaring state of emergencies as a measure to arrest the murder rate for over 50 years. The outlook does not look good for Barbados that we will be able to reduce the murder rate using regional trending as the basis of conclusion.

The scourge of drugs is generally accepted as feeding criminal activity in Barbados – specifically gun crime. Further, we have the untouchables operating in the shadows of society who pass as upright citizens responsible for financing the importation of drugs and guns. The blogmaster is sure, very sure there is collusion between various actors in the first, second and third sectors of Barbados. For some reason a video of then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley posing with certain characters come to mind. What are we doing?

We (the people) must speak up.

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Guns and More Guns – Murder Statistics January to October 2022

Acting Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce

The young and the reckless are having access to guns at an “unprecedented” level, with police admitting they have “not yet touched the surface” on the issue.

Attributed to Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce
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From QC to KC, all this talk bout going Republic too

There is, perhaps, no greater call upon citizens anywhere than to act with pride and industry. It is, therefore, a blessing that those words, pride and industry, consummate our national motto. Herein, we discuss the role ‘titles of honour’ play in spurring a country’s productive forces. Firstly, by discussing a seemingly small debate within legal circles with immense import for us today and our future.

Queen’s Counsel are Queen’s Counsel under the ‘Crown in right of Barbados’ whose artefacts are, for all practical purposes, grandfathered within Barbados’ constitutional fabric. Arguably, this great colonial “reservation” within our republican system allows Queen’s Counsel to retain said titles since they were conferred upon them personally at that time.

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Why was the information leaked is the question

The member of parliament for St. Michael West Neil Rowe was this week charged with rape, it has been widely carried in the social and traditional media. The fact that statement details given to the Barbados Police Service (BPS) by the victim was leaked is also of interest. It is the second time in recent weeks the BPS has been accused of a breach in confidentiality. The blogmaster agrees with those who opine the BPS will find it challenging to carry out its job in the circumstances and must hastily address the matter.

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Problem: Landlord vs Tenant

A story carried in the Nation newspaper with the headline NHC Evicts Tenant on the 29 September 2022 caught the eye. The tenant was evicted after falling $100,000 in arrears. It became a court matter in 2014 and a court order was issued by the Barbados Court of Appeal to evict handed down in April 2022 according to the report. The report suggested the tenant felt comfortable racking up the rent because she was a close friend of a politician affiliated with the government of the day. for sure other reasons are at play.

There are several issues inquiring minds should want to unpack arising from the report.

We understand a culture of nepotism operating in Barbados is entrenched to the point it is defended as a right of practice. That a tenant would feel emboldened to occupy a taxpayer subsidised housing unit since 2011 and refuse to pay a single cent in rent is probably the tip of the iceberg. Let us not forget the decision government took regarding squatters at Rock Hall in order to be politically expedient. 

  1. Why did the case take 12 years to reach a point an eviction order was finally issued by the Court of Appeal in April?
  2. What does it say about inefficient processes required to seek justice?
  3. What does it say about how the NHC as agent for government prosecuted the matter?
  4. Who dropped the ball in this matter to the point taxpayers are left holding the bag to the tune of $100,000 plus legal and other cost incurred with the case?
  5. Stories are heard daily about the grief landlords have to endure with uncooperative tenants. If the government had to initiate a 12 year process and tens of thousands dollars to evict a single tenant, what hope is there the process will be less accommodating for John Citizen? 
  6. One suspects there is more to the matter detailed in the Nation newspaper – isn’t there enough historical information to support we have a problem?

A problem that can be defined by the sloth of government bureaucracy, a moribund justice system AND a citizenry unwilling to actively exercise its civic duty.

See Nation article.


NHC evicts tenant 

Almost $100 000 in arrears, says state-owned entity

by MARIA BRADSHAW

mariabradshaw@nationnews.com

A WOMAN WHO OWES the National Housing Corporation (NHC) close to $100 000 in rental arrears accumulated over a 12-year period, was finally evicted yesterday from the unit she was occupying at Country Park Towers, Country Road, St Michael.

Court marshals swooped down on the third storey unit early yesterday morning and began moving out furniture and other household effects in the presence of the woman and her daughter.

The rental arrears is said to be the most owed by a tenant in recent times.

Last April this newspaper reported that the NHC had won a judgement in the Court of Appeal for $86 000 against the delinquent tenant for the outstanding arrears while the court had also granted the state owned entity permission to take possession of the unit. Since then the arrears had continued to increase and was said to now be at $94 000.

When contacted about this matter, the NHC issued a statement through its public relations department indicating that the action, though unfortunate, was unavoidable.

Court order

“The eviction process this morning was carried out by court marshals in accordance with a court order issued. This has been an ongoing legal matter dating as far back as 2014, when the court originally granted an order for eviction as a result of outstanding arrears. At that time, the tenant was granted leave to appeal the order. However, she took no further action and the court reinstated the order last year. This process was completed today,” the statement read.

It added: “This is an unfortunate situation, one which we at the NHC worked hard to avoid, as we normally do in these circumstances. Long before this became a court matter in 2014 our finance department sent numerous statements advising of the outstanding arrears. Several letters were also sent and many calls were made to the tenant in an attempt to come to a suitable arrangement to settle. These are steps the NHC ordinarily take when clients are in arrears. However, during this time the tenant made no attempt to cooperate with us either by making payments towards the arrears or rent. Evictions are not taken lightly by the NHC, especially in these times. This is definitely not the route we wish to take. We tried everything in our power to come to a mutual agreement to avoid what eventually unfolded today.”

Reports indicate that the woman moved into the high rise unit in 2011 shortly after it was built but never paid a cent of the $207 weekly in rent even though she was gainfully employed.

Sources revealed that when summoned to a meeting at the NHC, the woman had indicated that she was “a very close friend” of a politician from a previous administration and was recommended by that person to occupy the unit.

A source said following last year’s court order the NHC served notice on the woman to vacate the premises but she did not move out, which forced them to go to the chief marshal for possession.

The source further revealed that the woman’s possessions which were taken away by two trucks yesterday, would be marked and placed in storage and she would be given an opportunity to collect them.

Speaking on this matter back in 2020, George Edghill, deputy chairman of the NHC board, had pointed out that when the new board was appointed in June 2018, the tenant was already in arrears of over $55 000. He said the board had at that time instructed the legal department to

take all appropriate legal action to repossess the unit.

Yesterday an NHC official reiterated that while the NHC always worked with tenants who were going through financial hardship, it would not tolerate tenants who were employed but refused to pay rent.

During the court proceedings the NHC was represented by attorneys Roy Alleyne and Nicole Gibson while Kings Counsel Michael Lashley appeared amicus curiae for the tenant after her attorney Denis Headley asked the court for leave to withdraw.

Failing Recurring Crime Fighting Tactics

Barbados is currently experiencing another crime wave and to be expected it is being politicized which is part of the problem. How does the crime problem get fixed if family members and friends protect the criminals? Same people who were responsible for giving birth to the very monsters terrorizing the country?

This is an oversimplification of the problem to make a bigger point – observations suggest traditional tactics supported by a slow justice system and ‘not fit for purpose laws’ are being used to tackle the crime challenge. Sensible people know the approach being undertaken by authorities will NOT arrest the problem.

From an enforcement angle BOLD measures have to be taken to send messages to the criminal element of a zero tolerance to crime, especially gun crime.

On the other side of the issue, parents and guardians have to also be held accountable. Many in our neck of the woods will not condone Rodrigo Duterte’s methods, it is bitter but it works based on Philippine’s crime index. The time has come and gone for creative crime fighting solutions to be implemented albeit Barbados’ once pristine reputation ican be found in the toilet.

Blogmaster


The following comment was posted by BU family member Artax to the Number of Murders On-track to Surpass 2021 blog.

Over the years, we’ve been having discussions on BU about the crime situation in Barbados.
And, there will obviously be attempts by some persons to politicize the situation.

I agree with AG Marshall “that the recent spate of killings resulted from gunmen in specific “groups” targeting each other,”…… and not “gangs,” as Trisha Tannis is suggesting.
Marshall would’ve obviously made his observations based on certain intelligence.

However, as I mentioned in an October 25th, 2020 12:28 PM contribution to another ‘crime thread,’…… “if one examines the gun crimes carefully, it is evident they were on the rise since 2014 and a gradual increase was expected.”

On November 11th, 2015, an ‘Updated Homicide Study’ by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit revealed that 42% of the approximately 140 homicides recorded between 2010 and 2014, were as a result of guns…… ‘a trend observed as far back as 1992, and which continued to be the most common method used today.’

Evidence suggests that several persons who died as a result of shooting were not involved in ‘gangs,’ but died as a result of retaliation or revenge, petty ‘beefs’ involving women, drugs money, robberies etc.

For example, November 29th, 2014, 31 year old Ricardo Francois and other men were at bar in Danesbury, Black Rock, when some men got out of a car and started shooting.
Francois was found dead behind the shop, while four other individuals were injured…… one of whom was the son of Ricardo ‘Rick’ Bryan.
On September 1st, 2016, Ricardo ‘Rick’ Bryan, 46, of Black Rock, St Michael, was shot multiple times by three men as he exited his vehicle, outside the Lucky Horseshoe Saloon & Steakhouse in Warrens, St Michael.

Forty-four (44) year-old Jerome Oneal ‘Wild Geese’ Bovell of Spring Garden, Black Rock, St. Michael, was shot and killed in Goddings Road, St Stephen’s Hill, Black Rock, St Michael, on June 28th, 2017.
It is alleged Bovell was a ‘hit man’ and responsible for the death of Stephen Leonard Agard, 47 years of #10 Valley, St. George, who, on June 10th, 2017, was shot multiple times while standing outside his vehicle, which was parked on the compound of the old KFC building in Black Rock.

I’m sure everyone remembered when a man walked into Sheraton Center Mall, shot and killed 33 year old Damien Trotman, on March 22nd, 2019.

Another fact is, there are ‘hit men’ in Barbados. Men who are willing to kill anyone for cash or drugs.

Information and statistics about crime in Barbados is available to the public, enabling anyone desirous of having a rational discussion on the issue, to do so.

-Artax

Court Kicks Rap Brown’s Case Down the Road

Ashford ‘Rap Brown’ Jones

In a blog dated 19 October 2019 Barbados Underground highlighted that legendary local sleuth Ashford ‘Rap Brown’ Jones was snared on an ammunition charge.

Approaching 3 years later the 75 year old Rap Brown Jones has been successful having his case postponed again until 31 January 2023. The blogmaster will reserve the obvious comment.

Electric Light and Power (Amendment) Bill 2022 – Citizens Fighting for an Equitable Stake in Ownership of New Sector

Tricia Watson – Attorney at law

There is a strident debate being waged by a group of citizens led by Tricia Watson to have the Electric Light and Power (Amendment) Bill 2022 withdrawn by the government of Barbados. At the root of the challenge is the surreptitious approach government through uncouth Minister Kerri Symmonds to introduce a Bill to evade early public scrutiny AND the lack of a robust documented procedure for making the application process to generate electricity transparent.

We have finally reached a point in Barbados where the liberalisation of the electricity supply affords the opportunity for government to ensure ordinary Barbadians are well positioned to be enfranchised by the limitless financial potential of an emerging sector. The eminently qualified Tricia Watson (and company) has been dogged in critiquing the Bill which to their credit forced the original draft to be amended to current text.

The blogmaster is not qualified to enter the weeds of the debate BUT knows a thing or two about the urgent need for improved governance and the need to create opportunities to distribute wealth on an island where a few control a disproportionate amount of the economic pie. As long as humankind exist there will be demand for electricity. It is important non traditional players are given a fair chance to secure an equitable stake in a sector about to boom

In 2022 we should not be having this type of conversation as it relates to empowering non traditional owners of capital. Here is another one of those opportunities where a majority passive citizenry can constructively engage by entering the debate posting to Barbados Parliament website, calling the talk shows, sending articles to traditional and social media, bombarding everywhere Kerri Symmonds has a social media presence to name a few.

You are encouraged to follow Tricia Watson’s Facebook account for informed updates.

https://www.facebook.com/tricia.watson.940

Barbados Murder Statistics January to July 2022

Submitted by Amit Uttamchandani

There have been at least 18 murders for the year so far. The data presented below covers January to July 2022. The steps involved in this analysis are similar to my 2020 analysis.

Table 1 – Murders in Barbados January to July 2022

Read more @caribbeansignal.com

Honouring Laws in the Breach

Yesterday the blogmaster allocated some time to listen to Minister Ryan Straughn’s (opening 40 minutes of the video posted) moving the second reading of the Amendment to Financial Service Commission (Amendment) Bill 2022. The purpose of the amendment was to validate a fee regime to support the Financial Services Commission (FSC) being financially self sufficient. The other reason was to address an issue of FSC Board being able to carry out its function if a board member is absent. There can be no disagreement that relevant financial regulation is important to protect citizens and maintain a sound financial environment. Over the years Barbadians have suffered financial loss with the failures of New India, Trade Confirmers and in recent years CLICO. The job to maintain a robust financial framework is never ending.

During Straughn’s contribution to the debate a few random thoughts came to mind:

◦ He spent some time addressing the need of government to respond to the emergence of digital currencies including crypto. The blogmaster wondered about the inadequacy of existing legislation to cater to gullible citizens who engaged in popular Ponzi schemes like Blessing Circles and others. Last year an official of the FTC indicated authorities were working to strengthen existing legislation. We wait.


◦ The release of the 2021 Auditor General (AG) report has again exposed the inadequacy of the oversight framework to address exceptions raised by the AG. It must be said that many of the AG’s findings do not mean money was stolen, it maybe a case of incompetence of personnel and an inefficient systems. The blogmaster recalls Straughn speaking to the 2019 Financial Management Act and how it was intended to demand greater accountability from State Owned Entities (SOE). It is fair to conclude after four years in government the legislation has not delivered what was intended. Concerned citizens should be worried why successive governments have been unable to enforce the intent of legislation on the books.


◦ On the BU platform concerns have been repeatedly posted about unacceptable delays of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) generating timely audited financial statement AND posting actuarial reviews. The NIS is arguably one of the most important SOEs given its importance to supporting quality of life for citizens in the golden years, a vulnerable time in the life cycle. What use has existing legislation served to ensure a robust oversight framework? Even when there was a duly constituted Public Accounts Committee (PAC) it was ineffective. Today there is no PAC.

The blogmaster recognizes the need to regulate the financial market with fit for purpose laws, however, one is forced to ask – with voluminous existing legislation are we better off for it given the current state of play? The takeaway is that it requires more than laws to create a harmonious and effective market place. We also need improved people management and enforcement of the laws already on the books.

Where do we go from here?

The House of Assembly – Tuesday 19th July 2022

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

Crime and Violence Expose Leadership Vacuum

It has been a period of uncomfortable crime and violence that has engulfed Barbados. To be expected there is finger pointing, gnashing of teeth and frustration by the public directed at the authorities. There is resignation that lawlessness has become an entrenched behaviour and the relatively quiet and orderly society that characterised Barbados society in days of yore has gone the way of the dodo.

In 2009 the blogmaster posted a number of blogs around the theme weeds were starting to shoot up on our well manicured lawns. Many commenters suggested the blogmaster was being an alarmist. In fact the same observation was levelled when BU highlighted our dysfunctional court system in the series Tales from the Courts. Sadly our leaders with the citizenry complicit because of apathy and cynicism has led to the current state of things. 

…the deviance must be tackled in the homes but guess what, we have many children who don’t live in homes. This means the government by proxy must play the role as step-father, or stepmother for that matter…

Barbados Underground (2010)

The breakdown and decline in the social fabric of Barbados society did not start ‘yesterday’. The blogmaster again recalls the hullabaloo when a decision was taken to bring Vybz Kartel and Movado to Barbados by the Barbados Youth Action Program (an organisation affiliated to government) under the chairmanship of then Minister Hamilton Lashley. It bears reminding Lashley is known as a social practitioner par excellence. These were two dancehall artists known for smutty lyrics and behaviour. Minister Ronald Jones at the time to his credit expressed displeasure at the staging of the show. Then there was the public disagreement between then Commissioner Dottin and his deputy Bertie Hinds about staging the show. This is an example to illustrate how key leaders in our small society were unable to see the obvious, a government affiliate promoting a Vybz Kartel Movado show at a time when deviant behaviour, especially by our youth, was a concerned.

The other example of double standards fast tracking the decline of the society was the so called Trojan Riddim saga – How de Yutes Get so?, a group of artists known in the music underground for pushing smutty and anti social lyrics released a video to YouTube which provoked Prime Minister Mia Mottley to demand the artists remove it. The artists ignored Mottley, however, a few weeks many of the artists were included in Barbados Labour Party (BLP) sponsored activities. Soon after government continues to contract artists who were involved, Lil Rick, Peter Ram et al.

The examples cited are representative what will inevitably occur if there is a lack of leadership. It will be supplanted by the prevailing subculture. Is it too late to stem the anti social behaviour enveloping the global space? Probably yes although the blogmaster being the eternal optimist will never say never.

Who will show us the way to the truth and the light?