As if it Never Happened

Solutions Barbados
Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

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

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


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

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The Phartford Files: Agenda for a Third Party – Part 3

Submitted by Ironside

I ended part 2 of this series with the following:

Whether it is one third party or a coalition of third parties fighting the 2023 election is irrelevant. The important thing is to break the two-party system domination. Therefore, there are three things we have to do from here on: 1. Focus! 2. Focus! 3.Focus!

As I also pointed out in then, it would be foolhardy of any third party to count out the DLP. In point of fact, as long ago as October 2018, the DLP has started to get is political machinery in gear. Furthermore, Mr. Mayers, General Secretary of the party, had hinted at possible by-elections given that “a Member of Parliament…is very ill” and alleged that the head of one of the St. Philip candidates was “on the cutting board”.
Source: ‘Snap goes the Poll’, Barbados Today 10/29/18

Against the background of the above, I wish to raise the following two issues in relation to the agenda for a third party:

1. If Guyson Mayers is correct, should the PdP also prepare for and contest a by-election if and when it occurs?
2. Should the PdP fight the next election as a coalition?

Issue #1
On balance, I would answer in the affirmative with respect to this issue. The main advantage of such a move would be to test the waters for the new configuration that is called the PdP, birthed and bathed as it is, in controversy.

Of course, the question is whether the party has the resources to do so. I would argue that given the localization of the contest, the party should be able to drum up the resources. The real practical issue, however, is whether the party has such an election in its strategic focus and more importantly, the political machinery to tackle it.

Issue #2:
The issue of whether the PdP should fight the next election as a coalition is definitely a point open for debate. Peter Wickham does not think that the current opposition led by Joseph Atherley has a chance. Addressing the question of how Barbadian would vote if an election were called today he opines:

I don’t see him [Atherley] making it because…once parliament is dissolved Atherley ceases to be relevant ‘cause he has no political party to speak of, they don’t have any branches, they don’t have any branch movement…no branch chairman”
Daily Nation, Thursday 28 November, 2019

Is Mr Wickham’s opinion based on current/ recent research? The fact that he does not state so suggests the negative. The context in which Mr. Wickham spoke, a Rotary event, is also very interesting. Did he believe that he was speaking to a predominantly BLP oriented audience?

Those matters aside, if the deficiencies possessed by the PdP are as posited by Mr. Wickham, there is cause for concern for its status as a viable third party. Ergo, a coalition of some sort to fight the election will be necessary. But that raises the question of the readiness of the PdP and the “other third parties”.

I have always been very concerned about the issue of the readiness of “alternative parties” to fight elections in Barbados. It is quite clear that there is dearth of strategic (=medium to long term) thinking among the newer parties. Consequently, their appearance on the scene is almost without exception, ad hoc, i.e. for the current election only.

Such a non-strategic approach will not get a third party much traction – or respect for that matter – from the majority of the electorate. For this reason, the approach taken by Solutions Barbados re the 2018 election: that is engaging the Barbadian electorate some three years in advance, has to be commended. Where the party fell down is another matter.

The modus operandi has got to be that as soon as possible after the last election, party strategists get down to doing the hard research and planning to define the contours of a strategy going forward to the next election and even beyond. In the intervening years, that strategy has to be fleshed out and refined.

This is the same basic message that business students all over the world hear in any strategy management class. I am not sure, therefore, why any political party would think that its management is an exception to these strategic principles.

So the question is: Are the third parties, PdP in particular, listening to Mr. Wickham and to the strategic principles being enunciated here?

I wish to reiterate that there is mental space out there for a third party. However, as I have explained in previous instalments, capturing it will not come without a sustained battle.

Barbadians are by nature short-term thinkers. We are very much unlike many eastern peoples, the Chinese in particular, who are long-term thinkers. Speaking generally, that explains why we wait until a hurricane is upon us to buy emergency supplies, why we do not save and why we are always late! It is ingrained in our DNA. In the social psychology of Barbados, it is a major theme!

Now is the time for those who are committed to the development of a third party to get on board. Now is the time for such a party /parties to define their philosophy and goals and seek to attract quality membership. Three months before the election will definitely not do it. It’s all about three things: 1. Preparation, 2. Preparation, 3. Preparation!

Does the DLP Have a Credible Voice?

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

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

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

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

The Mottley Saga – A Promise of Change but More of the Same

Submitted by Sunshine Sunny Shine (SSS)

mia mottley

Posted to Imgur

When the Mottley led BLP were in opposition, startling revelations by them suggested that the then DLP Stuart led government was corrupt, dishonest, and happily kept silent on important matters that should have engaged the public’s interest.

Mottley, agitated by the sequence of disturbing events unfolding under Stuart and his team, fought to have a moral basis established in Barbados politics. She pursued this basis by first tabling a move to have the then speaker of the house, Michael Carrington resign on grounds that his action in a money matter involving an elderly gentleman was unethical and immoral. So incensed was she, that several walking out of parliament became the protest action norm against this obvious condoning of inappropriate conduct.

She furthered her quest for moral politics by bringing the integrity of Freundel Stuart into the spot light. Stuart who wanted persons to believe that he was honest and upright, lied to the Barbadian people when he said he was unaware of the doings in the Cahill deal, when he had signed of on it many months before.

Fast forwarding to the Mia Amor Mottley who is now Prime Minister of Barbados, we are left to wonder what happened to that ethical and moral compass she brought to bear against Stuart and his DLP colleagues. A compass that many felt would be the change that Barbadians long for. Unfortunately, it was short lived.

For starters, there are serious accusations against two of Mottley ministers in the form of Payne and Marshall that have not once been addressed by her. If Carrington’s action was unethical, then any claims concerning inappropriateness by two ministers should have brought her moral compass to bear down on them.

Then there is the matter of her bloated cabinet versus those struggling civil servants sent home as the sacrificial few to keep the whole intact. Why only the bottom and not the top. Certainly this is ground to bring your ethical compass to forefront of things and show Barbadians that you everyone must make sacrifices including the top.

Then there is the tweaking of the constitution to accommodate two friends, but no investigations launch into the financial issues surrounding those of the Democratic Labour Party accused of corruption. Or. no quick move to have legislation put in place to deal with minister corruption, collusion, and wheel and deal.

The SSS has frequently stated that Mottley is a rogue and if she is to believed, otherwise, it certainly cannot be proven when she wants to bestow upon her father a knighthood that is not deserving at this time.

Senator Franklyn Speaks – Uncaring John King

Minister of Sports & Culture, John King

In six short months, Minister John King has revealed a previously uncaring side that was not readily apparent during the last elections campaign, by displaying a callous lack of empathy for persons that have been retrenched from the public service.

According to the Sunday Sun of November 11, 2018, he stated that we were wasting a lot of time talking about layoffs. Well Mr. Minister layoffs hurt, especially if it is your only job and your only source of income and you have: children to support; bills to pay; and you are in danger of losing your home because you will soon have to default on your mortgage. Mind you, he held out a little hope for those affected, when he predicted a turnaround in two years. In the meantime, what are they expected to do – eat grass?

He forms part of the largest governing administration in the history of this country and I don’t see him volunteering to make the sacrifice for the common good. I well recall the current Prime Minister, when in opposition, suggesting that the Stuart cabinet should have no more than twelve members. Now she has twenty-six which, to my mind and her previously stated position, is more than this country needs.

Why can’t Minister King take a two-year layoff since he is so comfortable doing it to others, particularly the lowest paid public servants. To be fair to him, I don’t think he knows what he is talking about. He can’t be aware that his administration is retrenching permanent employees, and doing so contrary to the law which requires that their posts must first be abolished by parliament. To date no order has been laid in parliament, in accordance with section 13 of the Public Service Act.

Worst yet, I don’t know how the minister and any of his colleagues can sleep comfortably at night knowing that this category of worker is not entitled to unemployment benefits from National Insurance, and they are not given any form of severance payment. Instead, this caring administration is paying retrenched permanent and pensionable employees with their own money.

I don’t think that any voter in the last election expected this savagery.

Open Letter to Media Practitioners

 Submitted by an Anonymous blogger

arbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM)1

Journalism in Barbados is dead and unfortunately no one seems to know when it died. Was it one single event or a series of events? Perhaps we can point our fingers to defamation laws or perhaps we can point our fingers at the close ties between the media and the government or maybe it is the business class. You don’t think journalism is dead? Let me show you why I think it is.

Apes Hill

In 2015 the Apes Hill project owned by Bizzy Williams borrowed 25 million from the NIS “Dat is the people pensions.” Apes Hill has since “defaulted” on this debt  according to the upper echelons of NIS with not so much as a blink of an eye. I’m just a nobody and know this, I have alerted the various political parties and they seem unbothered, whispered in the ears of the media and they seem unbothered.

This article isn’t about “poor” Bizzy though so let me continue, hopefully a journalist can interview him and ask him if he even plans on returning the money. But moving on…

Corruption Allegations

In like every year since independence allegations of corruption existed ? Honestly I’m not old enough to know or remember, but it feels that way. The BLP elite fan the flames of allegations, while stating there is evidence of over-invoicing and other questionable practices, but somehow not enough to bring anyone before the court. They are playing a dangerous political game and any reasonable journalist would ask about the evidence or stop writing about it. For example you allege to have evidence of various overpaid lawyer fees yet fail to bring it to court? Surely the government has access to not only to the old paper trail, but also to the bank accounts of government to generate new statements. I’m sure a journalist can figure this out, so what is the issue?

Alternatives to Defaulting?

From my extensive research as a non journalist countries don’t default on their debt; it is exceedingly rare. From the Washington Post to The Economist that point is reiterated over and over again. My simple journalistic question is this;

“If a country goes to the IMF to improve its creditworthiness, why default and then go to the IMF?”

Let me ask that a different way, what sense would it make publicly telling your bank that you are are going to refinance and their is nothing they can do about it (defaulting) and then hoping that a future bank or lender would want your business.

Journalism Under DLP rule

Before some partisan person states that I have DLP bias I should perhaps state that journalism under the DLP was equally as woeful. The only thing I’m thankful for is that the media really did their job in helping to oust the persons who brought the economy and country to its knees. Perhaps one could argue that journalism wasn’t dead in the months leading up to elections, the media struck back? So kudos to the media there for that small victory, however if the media were perhaps doing their job the economy wouldn’t have gotten so bad and perhaps we wouldn’t even had had the DEMs again in 2013, but alas that is history.

Investigating, shaping the minds of the public  

Perhaps the media houses had too much control in any case and this dilution of power is a good thing and the tradeoff is simply shoddy journalistic standards as the media can no longer afford to retain the best talent. Perhaps we need more civic minded persons to write and speak out or perhaps only experts not auditors speaking out as economists or politicians speaking out as professionals beyond their scope. I don’t have all the answers so don’t mind me either for I’m not a journalist.

P.S. Advocate, Nation or Barbados Today(pretty sure Barbados Today wished a reporter recently) I apply to be a journalist as of mid October 2018 Terms and Conditions apply. Perhaps I can contribute in some small way.

2nd P.S. Freelance only ! I don’t wish my NIS going to well never mind.


Humble farmer

Government MUST Clear the Air on the State of the NIS Fund, it is Our RH Lifeline


Ian Carrington, Director of Finance

Ten  years have elapsed since the 2008 global financial meltdown left Barbados exposed for the open economy we have been taught it is in primary school. Across the Caribbean our little economies find themselves in the same boat with high debt to GDP and rotting infrastructures, rising corruption and a dearth of leadership.

Barbados WAS considered the gem of the Caribbean.

With all of our problems – some of our making – others caused by the vagaries of life’s existence- the blogmaster is concerned that after five months in office no definitive statement has been formally issued by the government about the current and future state of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

  • Is the NIS fund still marketed as our life line?
  • Was it established to provide financial support to citizens in the golden years?
  • Is the knowledge that we have a well managed NIS  fund an emotional comfort for the citizenry?

It appears from all the talk we have been hearing the NIS Fund is under threat. Given the catastrophic impact a failing fund would have on the Barbados society Prime Minister Mottley would do well to schedule another press briefing to lay the issues on the table and outline, what is the plan to stabilize and rescue the fund after it was used as a lender of last resort to add debt like no other time in modern history. To add to the problem, we have been told the former government didn’t pay 400 million dollars in employee deductions to the fund.

The blogmaster has posted several blogs about the lack of management demonstrated by successive NIS Boards and by extension government. The latest Actuarial Review is late (what is new?). Audited financial statements of the fund have not been laid in parliament to comply with the law for many years. Several projects funded by the NIS and decisions taken have been questionable.

  1. Prime Minister we need to know when the Actuarial Review due will be completed or if it was completed when will it be made public?
  2. Prime Minister we want to know when will the audited financial statements be laid in parliament and soon after be made public?
  3. Prime Minister we want to know on what basis Ian Carrington who was director of the NIS fund during the lost years has been given a leading role in the BERT execution in his current role as Director of Finance?
  4. Prime Minister we want to know why Dr. Justin Robinson remains active given his leadership role on the important Boards of the Central Bank and NIS Boards.
  5. Prime Minister we want to know who will be held accountable for the unconscionable squandermania of NIS funds in the last ten years.

In the debt restructure project the IMF document details that:-

NIS: T-bills, treasury notes and debentures. T-bills held by the NIS will be swapped for the new 15-year debenture; and its treasury notes and debentures will be exchanged for a 20- year discount debenture. The debenture will have with a 2-year grace period. Principal will be reduced by 17.5 percent at the issuance of the security; after the 2nd successful review under the proposed EFF-supported program, principal will be reduced by an additional 12.5 percent of the original principal; and after the 4th successful review under the proposed EFF-supported program, principal will be reduced by a final 5 percent of the original principal. Interest will be paid at a rate of 4 percent per annum for the first 3 years, followed by an interest rate of 8 percent per annum for remaining years.

Leading into the last general election the blogmaster had a brief exchange on Facebook with the former Chairman Justin Robinson about when current NIS financial will be laid in parliament- his response did not give hope the matter will be resolved anytime soon.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley you have been a big advocate for transparency AND accountability in government. We waiting to see!

No Time for Propaganda Mia!

kevin-greenidgeA couple days after Prime Minister Mia Mottley delivered an address to the nation with the Attorney General Dale Marshall in attendance- we have been informed that Dr. Kevin Greenidge, the Barbadian IMF economic advisor on secondment will provide an update on the BERT Program at 11AM.

The blogmaster has promised not to bare the knuckles with heavy critique of government’s policies until after six months to give the new government a reasonable time to signal to the country how it intends to tackle the huge economic crisis we have been gripped since 2008. Although only five months since the Mottley government won the 24 May 2018 general election in unprecedented fashion the blogmaster feels compelled to emit a growl to show concern given the parlous state of affairs.

In stark contrast to the former Stuart government- labelled the government of silence- it is obvious the incumbent sees a good communication plan as critical to successfully implementing its austere policies. In recent weeks the blogmaster has become wary that the type of information being shared has shifted into the realm of propaganda. It is important Mottley does not betray the unprecedented trust the electorate has deposited on her wide shoulders. She is reminded that to whom much is given much is expected.

Clearly the optics of appointing the largest cabinet in our history does not fit well in the minds of many Barbadians, especially the political partisans. It does not matter that the salary cost to pay the large Cabinet and consultants is negligible in the context of government’s budget or that it compares favourably with the former government. An important trait of a good leader is to exude and demonstrate empathy. The message of government to gain buyin of the citizenry will lose credibility if those being adversely affected by BERT I do not perceive that elected politicians are not equally feeling the pinch. She can initiate the best strategy by over communicating with the electorate, it will not work if the actions of government are perceived as ‘impersonal’.

Clearly the decision to touch the Barbadian middleclass  AND body corporates in the ‘pockets’ has served to attune many to the serious state of the economy. It should serve as a reminder to a disengaged citizenry that it should hunt 24/7 for ways to actively participate in government. The blogmaster and members of the BU family have been warning this day would come when the government is forced to siphon from the saving of Barbadians to support the unsustainable policy of unbridled conspicuous consumption.  All of the economic indicators paint the horrific story. What is unfortunate although understandable is that it only when people are personally affected that they respond. For years the Auditor General has detailed cases of malfeasance that the important working committee of parliament – PAC – has failed to pursue.  For years we have witnessed bold face evidence of contracts awarded to the ‘boy’ as a way of legally channelling tax dollars into the pockets of a few. For years we have witnessed the mismanagement of SOEs because of successive government giving jobs to the boys and girls and not others who are more competent. BU’s pages are littered with ALL the examples to explain the current state of the country finds itself. The few examples are symptoms of the decay that has been gnawing at the bowels of our society for years.

While the focus is on the economic performance of the country we should not forget there is also bound to be a negative impact on the social landscape.

There is no doubt the country has to suffer more pain in the continuing attempt to extricate itself from the economic hole it finds itself. Barbadians were asked to hold strain for 10 years by the former government, this will not make the task of the incumbent easy. It is very important the Mia Mottley government takes decisions which demonstrate she is walking with and holding hands of the people who will have to suffer more pain. We understand her challenge of keeping a large backbench ‘happy’. The blogmaster suggests she will have to give the electorate credit for dealing with backbenchers that will risk destabilizing the government at this time for less than honourable reasons

Mottley is a millionaire, she is not in the seat to secure a salary. Do the right thing and stop the pandering to interest groups in and out of the party!



BLP and DLP Laughing at We

“Eternal Vigilance is the price of democracy”

  • Thomas Jefferson

In recent days the blogmaster has been reflecting on the fact professionals in Barbados that have accrued questionable track records do not seem to suffer reputational and career damage.

What triggered the reflection?

Thousands of innocent Barbadians whose only ‘crime’ was that they trusted successive governments to properly manage the affairs of state invested in government paper and as a consequence have been asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.   However, successive government continue to RECYCLE professionals and prominent others to Boards and other positions without being ‘disciplined’ for glaring non performance. Some will say it is the people that created the predicament we find ourselves. The blogmaster will say not all of us, it is a first past the post system!

It has been a disappointing feature of the Mottley government to witness a few names popping up on Boards and diplomatic postings which can be described as a slap in the face of Barbadians. Where is the political morality?

It is early days in the BLP administration but the saying first impressions count haunts the blogmaster. John Citizenry must play our part by increasing our vigilance.

Here is an old blog posted March 16, 2015 titled A Culture Of Diminishing Corporate Governance.

A Culture Of Diminishing Corporate Governance

The CLICO Mess has brought into focus a bigger issue, the lack of a reliable governance framework. BU maintains we have witnessed a catastrophic regulatory failure which continues to challenge all jurisdictions CLICO operated. This view is contrary to William Layne’s who continues to dumb down the role of the regulator.

The CLICO Mess has exposed corporate governance as only a term of art, to be used by the learned in our midst to demonstrate astuteness.. The mind boggling revelation by ex-CLICO directors on the weekend that many decisions made by Leroy Parris was down unbeknownst to them. Who are some of the directors you ask? Tony Marshall a retired Barclays banker who would have operated in a corporate environment at a senior level – Tony Marshall in your position as Chairman of the NIS Board the public wants to know what is the status of the financial statements. Here is a reminder of your Press Release.  Dr. Basil Springer a local management guru who founded Systems Caribbean Limited before he sold it. Woodbine Davis a former Solicitor General, Leslie Haynes, a member of the legal profession who wears silk and the former president of the Bar. To Dr. Frank Alleyne’s credit he has pleaded no comment.

It is not enough for these ex-directors to distance themselves from Parris and CLICO, they need to explain why if they were kept in the dark about decision taken by the company why they remained on the board of directors in one case for 14 years?

BU family members millertheanunnaki  and An Observer  engaged this matter on another blog – see the following exchanges:

See relevant link: The Company Director Checklist – Barbados

[millertheanunnaki]Put on your thinking cap and delve into your legal training, experience and presumed knowledge. In spite of the Pontius Pilate like and even a cock crowing Peter disavowal by some of the former members of the Board of Directors of CLICO is it still possible for these directors to be sued jointly and severally for negligence or lack of due care?  From what was expressed in the newspaper, it might be possible to draw a conclusion that any fiduciary responsibilities entrusted to the board of directors were continuously neglected with no publicly stated or expressed concerns raised with the executive management of the business.  A very sad reflection on their overall supervision achievement along with the Auditors apparent indifference. What are the chances, legally speaking, of an aggrieved policyholder bringing a case of contributory negligence-or in the case of BIPA a class action suit- against these directors and by inference the independent auditors who would have expressed a “fair” opinion on the reliability of the financial statements prepared by the executive management – read full comment

[An Observer] Man you are now getting down to serious OBJECTIVE discourse from which we may both benefit and which it is hoped will make fellow bloggers better informed.  you have done a public service by reproducing sec 95 of the Companies Act of Barbados . That section immediately follows the heading  ” Duty of Directors and Officers ” . This section clearly imposes a STATUTORY DUTY OF CARE ON ALL DIRECTORS. In my view therefore , if you have such a duty of care imposed upon you then , concomitantly , you may be censured for a BREACH OF THAT DUTY. It is therefore to be inferred that I hold the view that Directors in breach of that duty imposed by the Statute may be brought before a court of law. I believe that the disavowal by those Directors of any knowledge is a piece of corporate mumbo jumbo and really unworthy of repetition by serious commentators. They should therefore be taking steps to instruct counsel on their behalf, notwithstanding that one of them is himself a QC – read full comment

[millertheanunnaki] One is glad- or even “gay” in its original meaning- that a keen observer is able to appreciate the multi-faceted tentacles of the law that can be extended if only to garner a modicum of restitution that can be brought to the aggrieved policyholders- primarily to those holding priority life insurance contracts, and secondarily, vested pension interests – read full comment

Then for anyone to set aside the potential invocation and application of provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering & Income Tax legislation would be relying to much on the miniscule fines that can only be imposed under the superficial opprobrium and pussycat “slap on the wrist” penalties available under the legislation regulating financial instruments marketed by the Insurance industry – read full comment

To reinforce the point that directors on boards in Barbados seem to be serving to garner director’s fees –  those who attended the BLP Haggatt Hall meeting heard Opposition Leader lamented the Auditor General’s Report which confirms that many statutory corporations and government agencies are many years behind in presenting up to date financial statements.

The Grenville Phillips Column – The Four Horsemen

The Barbados Economic Recovery Team is administering their bitter medicine in small doses.  They appear to have learnt from Guyana’s experience with the IMF, where the Guyanese politicians used a big spoon.  Since the result will be the same, it is less messy and less socially disruptive to slowly boil the frog.

But, why must the frog be boiled at all?  We do not.  But it is the only method that the Barbados Economic Recovery Team (BERT) understands or received their training, so they appear stubbornly unwilling to review any other solution.

There are no boundaries warning of danger that they will not cross, no promises so sacred that they will not break, and no cases deserving of compassion that they will not ignore.  Like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, they are pursuing a singular focus – severe austerity to all who are not at or near the trough.

We should not be surprised since this austerity was foreseen.  For the uninformed, first, they will reduce our salaries with high taxation.  Then they will reduce our savings by ensuring that our salaries cannot pay for our normal monthly expenses, so we will be forced to use our savings.

Then they will reduce our pensions through debt restructuring, which is a method of breaking sacred promises made to investors, including to our pensioners.  Then, they will facilitate the reduction in the asset value of our houses when homeowners are unable to pay their monthly mortgage payments and the banks foreclose, which will over-supply the housing market.

Finally, they will orchestrate the brain-drain of competent professionals from Barbados by exclusively rewarding their most incompetent and most partisan yardfowl supporters, and frustrating the most competent among us.  This makes the country’s local businesses internationally uncompetitive , which is the ultimate aim of international financiers who entice irresponsible short-sighted politicians to get their nations into unsustainable debts.

Our dollar does not need to devalue for us to arrive at the same place – which is the devaluation of our salaries, savings, pensions, assets, professionals, and local businesses.  We are just taking the scenic route down.

There have been several tour-guides employed along the way, to encourage us that our suffering is essential to Barbados’ economic recovery.  They have been dispatched to tell us that we must patriotically bear the pain, while they gorge on spillage as their masters feed.

Let me clarify that if severe austerity was the only path out of our economic problems, then I would join the partisan yardfowls, not at the trough, but in encouraging all Barbadians to bear the suffering for the sake of the next generation.  However, there are at least 4 non-austerity plans on the table.  Yet BERT is on a mission that will make us suffer, and they will neither be dissuaded by us, nor restrained by the BLP administration, from their singular purpose.

The last administration followed the same economic plan.  It was not called BERT, but multiple variations of a medium-term economic strategy that continually failed to meet its targets.  This time the plan is the same, but the actors are different.

Former Prime Minister Stuart gave the former Minister of Finance a long leash to inflict measured austerity.  The current Prime Minister has unleashed what seems like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to inflict severe austerity, and a rodeo clown to keep us distractedly entertained.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

The Grenville Phillips Column – Violating the Prime Directive

Dr Michael Howard’s many questions were recently answered by the Barbados Economic Recovery Team (BERT) economist, Dr Greenidge.  Hopefully he can answer our single question.

Let me first state that BERT’s austerity-based solution will likely work.  The austerity is supposed to be very severe, for as long as it needs to be until it works, which is expected to be many years.

The severity and duration of the foreseen suffering of the Barbadian public was the only reason why we designed a non-austerity alternative.  When we tried to share it with the last administration, we were promised that the only way it would be heard is if we entered the political trench.  We naively believed the promise, entered the trench, but were never allowed an opportunity to be heard.

To our knowledge, two other entities independently designed non-austerity plans, resulting in three non-austerity plans on the proverbial table.  But Solutions Barbados was the only entity that entered the political trench.

We now have a new administration and a new promise by a new Prime Minister.  Her first directive was that all ideas should contend.  Therefore, our question is: why has BERT not allowed a review of any of the non-austerity plans?  If it was an oversight, then since Dr Greenidge seems to be the BERT spokesperson, can he spare 2 hours to meet with us to assess our plan?  If he is too busy, then can he authorise a non-partisan accountant and/or economist or a panel of them to review our plan?  If it was not an oversight, then why is BERT violating that prime directive?

I am fully aware that Dr Greenidge’s traditional training would not likely have included non-austerity methods, much a surgeon’s would not likely have included alternative natural methods.  Therefore, let me suggest an analogy to hopefully spark his interest in what he may not know.

Let’s say that there are two main approaches to treating cancer.  The traditional more popular surgery, drugs and radiation (chemotherapy) which traumatises the body, and the alternative-health natural remedies mainly consisting of herbs, diet and exercise, which do not traumatise the body.

The traditional medical practitioners have convinced the Government that theirs is the only way to treat cancer, despite the proven success of alternative-health methods.  Therefore, traditional practitioners receive all of the national health budget and prestige, and are viewed as credible.

Traditional medical practitioners are not normally trained in alternative health methods.  However, rather than learn about them to improve patient-care, many use their prestige to irresponsibly ridicule what they do not understand, and dismissively reject alternative-health practitioners as persons on the fringe.

When we were facing economic ruin, the traditionalists recommended the only thing that they understood, namely, traumatic austerity.  Others designed alternative non-austerity non-traumatic solutions.  Dr Greenidge is urged to resist the temptation to be close-minded on this critical matter.

Since I may not get another shot at this, let me try to reason with him.  This may be a hard task since he may still be euphoric that an agreement appears to have been reached with the IMF, and he has the support of the private sector and unions, who are trying to convince us that the austerity that we are about to experience in exchange for an IMF agreement is unavoidable.

He should be aware that IMF personnel also agreed with our non-austerity plan, but they thought that it contained a fatal flaw.  They said that it depended on the unions’ support, and based on the unions’ adversarial relationship with the DLP administration, they thought that the unions would never agree.  However, we met with the NUPW, BWU and CTUSAB, and all three agreed to participate.  Therefore, the IMF’s singular concern was effectively resolved.  Mr Greenidge, please allow both ideas to contend – for the public good.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

The Grenville Phillips Column – Choking on Spillage

While you were distracted, our politicians voted themselves a 5% salary increase at a time when they are pondering how many public workers to send home. The senate rubber-stamped the bill as expected. The additional annual salary of $7,500 for Ministers to purchase their breakfast suggests that the journey of suffering for most Barbadians will be very long indeed.

That is not a criticism of the current administration. Rather, it is an explanation of the game that we are all forced to play. There are those of us who have witnessed the behaviour of our politicians over many election cycles, so we have seen this game being played several times before. For the uninitiated, let me describe the plot.

The DLP gets in, increases their salaries, claims that there are too many public workers, sends home thousands of BLP supporters and hires thousands of DLP supporters who appear to do very little. Meanwhile, the BLP accuses the DLP of victimization, and being grossly corrupt and incompetent.

Then the BLP gets in, increases their salaries, claims that there are too many public workers, sends home thousands of DLP supporters and hires thousands of BLP supporters who appear to do very little. Meanwhile, the DLP accuses the BLP of victimization, and being grossly corrupt and incompetent.

We are currently in the cycle where the BLP is in Government, so we can expect thousands of DLP supporters to be sent home, and be replaced with BLP supporters later on. We can also expect the DLP to accuse the BLP of only sending home DLP supporters.

While politicians increase their salaries, the Central Bank normally admonishes workers to be reasonable, responsible and realistic in their wage negotiations. They are told that they could put the national economy in jeopardy. Meanwhile, our politicians continue to eat our breakfast and hire more of their supporters at our expense.

The great tragedy in all of this is that those who have seen this game being played multiple times know what is to come, but they cannot escape the nightmare. The BLP/DLP have a prime directive to protect each-other from scrutiny, keep each-other well-fed, and keep voters divided and ignorant.

Those who are older may have deciphered the game and its inevitable outcome, but believe that they are powerless to change it. Why? Because they know that skilled political operatives have an easy task convincing a new set of gullible voters to happily vote against their and their neighbours’ self-interests, so that the politicians whom they worship can continue to feed at the trough.

We had a chance to escape this reoccurring nightmare a few months ago. Many good people offered themselves as competent alternatives, and I watched in dismay as political operatives, pretending to be non-partisan, tried to destroy others’ stellar professional reputations. Why? For the sole purpose of desperately trying to secure their places near the trough, and enjoy spillage as politicians feed.

Political operatives did their best to convince the electorate that this time it would be different. On reflection, I think that they may be correct. This time, they have crossed too many boundaries of decency in their quest for spillage for there not to be consequences.

For those of us who understand this tragic game of which there seems to be no escape, the concluding sentence of George Orwell’s classic, Animal Farm, may finally dawn true. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Senator Caswell Franklyn Responds to Facebook Video Accusing Ministers George Payne and Dale Marshall of Fraud

[Barbados Underground] The following was shared by Senator Caswell Franklyn in response to the following question –





Is there any light you can shed on the lady and her mother posting videos to Facebook accusing Payne and Marshall of some unscrupulous action?

“David, Blogmaster

I know more than most about the situation which led to these two people defaming Marshall and Payne on Facebook.

This matter arose out of the sale of land of the late Ermine Atwell. She was the widow of Melvin Atwell, attorney-at-law. The two people making the allegations about Marshall and Payne are Ermine’s sister and niece.

Ermine was a recluse who lived alone with her dog, Zena. For a number of years Ermine would call me every Sunday, unless I was out of the island or there was a problem with Cable and Wireless. We would talk about every conceivable topic, one of which was her sister’s and Niece’s efforts to get their hands on Ermine’s land.

According to Ermine’s version, the sister Ieft Barbados in the sixties and did not look back, not even to attend their father’s funeral in 1975. Then out of a clear blue sky the sister returned to Barbados, and only made contact with Ermine by way of a lawsuit to get portion of Ermine’s land that formerly belonged to their father. The sister lost the case.

Ermine was willing to help her sister if she had asked but was hurt and angry that the sister took her to court. As a result, she vowed to me that the sister would get nothing from her and as far as I know, Ermine was taking steps to make sure that the sister would get nothing.

Ermine died suddenly and I don’t know how far she had gotten in disposing her property. I know that Ermine believed in George Payne and Rawle Eastmond but had chosen George to deal with her legal matters.

I did not comment before for two reasons: I was not asked; and Marshall and Payne should be able to take care of themselves.”

The following documents posted to BU’s Facebook Timeline:


Barbados’ Systemic, Attitudinal Problem

[Barbados Underground] The following exchange took place between the blogmaster and BU family member Observing between 6:15AM and 9:17AM on 16 August 2018 – David, blogmaster

Blogmaster’s comment:

The situation unfolding in Barbados is reminiscent to what unfolded in Greece. We want to live like there is no problem. Some MPs and Senators want increase remuneration. The unionists want pay hikes. We want every brand of cornflakes on the supermarket shelf. We want the latest ride etc, etc, etc.

Observing’s reply:

Therein lies the problem. As Bush Tea says ad nauseam, our issues are systemic and attitudinal. We want everything the way it was, without sacrifice, without taxes and without austerity.

The BLP deserves their honeymoon but until forex stops leaking, shite stops being pumped into the swamp, government expenses match revenue and we stop borrowing to make our statistics look good we will always be in ducks guts.

  • re. OSA – that 2 billion forex came from sales of entities, international business and increased land prices
  • re. DJT – attempted to keep things as they were in a depressed climate that never had a chance of recovering
  • re. FJS – did nothing really.

So here we are. Promises galore, plenty smoke and mirrors, press conferences grandmudda and then what…..

Same sub cultures, same socio-economic divide, same irrelevant education, same lackadaisical public sector attitude, same low productivity, same square pegs in round holes, same political decisions rather than practical ones.

Why? Because we like it so. Because the last bunch were so bad, that this bunch can now do wrong. Because if you applaud one, it means you are pulling down the other.

The rhetoric is laudable, I await the results. NUPW and BWU for another thread, I’ll reserve comments on.

Was Michael Carrington VAT Registered When he Invoiced the BIDC 706 thousand dollars?


Hal Gollop invoiced the BWA 1.5 million

The startling revelation that Hal Gollop submitted an invoice in 2017 to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) for 1.5 million dollars continues to raise eyebrows. See BU’s blog post – Hal Gollop’s 1.5 Million Dollar Invoice which went viral. It was also revealed that former Speaker Michael Carrington submitted an invoice to the BIDC for $706, 450 for providing legal services relative to “the $32M sale of a BIDC at Lot A1 Newton Business Park, Christ Church to Gildan Activewear Properties (BVI) Inc. in 2010. This is the same Carrington who had to be ordered by the High Court of Barbados to pay a septuagenarian client his money. See BU’s blog post Tales from the Courts–Justice Jacqueline Cornelius Makes Speaker of the House Michael Carrington PAY XXIV.

In response to a query from the blogmaster whether the incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government can challenge the invoice, BU family member Artax shared the following:

David BU

I read in today’s Mid-week Nation [15 August 2018] that, while speaking in parliament yesterday, Ronald Toppin queried the fee of $706,450 former Speaker of Parliament Michael Carrington charged BIDC……..

………for providing legal services relative to “the $32M sale of a BIDC at Lot A1 Newton Business Park, Christ Church to Gildan Activewear Properties (BVI) Inc. in 2010.

Toppin said based on his calculation of the scale of fees, the legal fee paid for the BIDC property sale should have been $322,500.

David BU, it becomes more interesting.

According to Toppin, subsequent to the conclusion of the land sale in 2010, Carrington wrote a letter to the BIDC in 2011 in which he indicated that…… at the time the transaction completed…. he was NOT registered for VAT……..

……….and requested the BIDC pay the VAT Division on his behalf……..the VAT of $92,146 his legal fees incurred.

As a QC (and LEC qualified lawyer….. hahahahahaha), Carrington’s earnings would obviously have been above the VAT threshold of $80,000…….hence, in keeping with the VAT laws…..he should be VAT registered.

The dishonest Carrington…. not being VAT registered…… expected the taxpayers to pay on his behalf…….VAT of $92,146 he incurred on his legal fees.

Perhaps the BLP may do something about Gollop’s invoice……..

……… especially if one takes into consideration that one of the services rendered as listed on the said invoice was for preparing a conveyance for the project site to Innotech…….under circumstances where a conveyance was NOT necessary……..

…………because the project site was owned by the NHC…

The reason why Carrington wanted the BIDC to pay the $92,146 on his behalf was because BIDC was obligated to issue him a “goods and services” slip as required by the BRA (Inland Revenue at the time).

And an amount of $709,450 BIDC paid to a service provider, would obviously incurred VAT……and “open a can of worms” for the goodly gentleman.

A check of Carrington’s tax records would have revealed he was not registered and since the fee was above the $80,000 per annum VAT threshold, non payment of the VAT portion would have incurred interest and penalties…….

……..and perhaps an audit of his earnings from 1997 to 2010 to determine if he filed VAT returns and the amount of VAT he did not pay to the VAT Division as required by law.

Wilfred Abrahams’ Press Conference: Disposal Wells NOT Injection Wells, National Crisis in the Making

[Barbados Underground] The information shared in yesterday’s press conference by Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams that the South Coast Sewage Plant AND the Bridgetown Sewage Plant are in a state of sorry repair- although improved functionality pre 24 May 2018 have been reached- should continue to be of concern to ALL Barbadians.

The revelation that there was no transparency around the procurement process to sink the ‘injection wells’ at Graeme Hall, confusion about the depth of the wells tax dollars paid a contractor to sink…and so on.

Listen to the unbelievable revelations by minister Abrahams.

The George Brathwaite Column – Discrimination or Prejudice?

Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.” – (Charles Dickens – – ‘Great Expectations’).

Recent events in Barbados have challenged social and political commentators to keep a balanced keel. There are perilous appearances, uncertain circumstances, and grotesque infiltrations penetrating Barbados’ social spaces. The famous writer Agatha Christie long determined that “the impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” It therefore takes sobriety to unmask ‘appearances’ and explain aspects of the phenomena happening in Barbados. By implication, Barbadians must be mindful of exposing discrimination and prejudice wherever these are prevalent while correcting Barbados’ social order of things.

The terms discrimination and prejudice convey negative connotations that usually lead to some form of injustice. Discrimination may be defined as ‘a selectively unjustified negative behaviour toward members of the target group that involves denying individuals or groups of people equality of treatment’ (Henkel et al., 2006: 101). The same authors define prejudice to be ‘an unfair negative attitude toward a social group or a person perceived to be a member of that group’ (Ibid.). Either way, both discrimination and prejudice are damning on a society. Inevitably, the state and its agencies should also come under the microscope. How does the state relate to conflict emerging from different social groups and class interests? One contention is through proper, impartial use of its institutions. Surely, institutions are developed over time and are the ‘products of interaction and adaptation’.

In our social world, institutions are contextualised through formal rules, procedures or norms, symbol systems, cognitive scripts, and moral templates that provide the ‘frames of meaning’ guiding human action. Everyone ought to be equal under the law; but incidents have happened in Barbados that render this supposition false. Quite recently, Barbados’ LGBT community marched to celebrate ‘gay pride’ and to garner support for those on the receiving end of ‘bigotry and venom’ which is displayed by ultra-conservative factions in the local society. Mischievous church leaders, known to scream homophobic contempt against the LGBT community, became an evangelising brigade claiming that international “agencies are attaching aid and economic support and technical assistance to the LGBT agenda” as an attempt to re-colonise Barbados.

Wielding their religious swords against the LGBT community, the evangelising brigade in accusatory tones contended that the LGBT community was actively trying to impose ‘sexual preference’ and ‘homosexuality lifestyles’ on most of Barbados’ population. The evangelising brigade additionally suggested that the local LGBT agenda is desirous of finding ways ‘to deconstruct marriage and to reconstruct it to legitimise same sex partnerships’ in Barbados. The suggestion is a hypocritical absurdity; no appeal has been made nor has such a proposal ever been declared a policy position by any Barbados government. Barbadians appear more concerned with lifting the economy and attracting investments that will promote economic growth and provide jobs.

In a blurring of lines between the protective state and the moralising church, it is fair to ask: why should individuals and groups with differing identity characteristics be denied the right of non-discriminatory treatment by another group claiming to enjoy that very right? Non-discrimination is a human right protected under Barbados’ constitution and under the United Nations charter of which Barbados is a signatory. Individuals who remain silent eventually give tacit approval without realising that silence may well be rooted in cowardice or even dishonesty. Despite the moral perfectionists and religious zealots, numerous Barbadians are discussing issues pertinent to their well-being.

Meanwhile, issues of race and ethnicity, and morality and tolerance have resurfaced. After reports of a drug find by the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) on a vessel owned by a major local firm and to which, at least two prominent directors of the company were onboard, the serious implications of race and ethnicity waded across Barbados with caustic energy and speculation. Insinuations and mostly uninformed assumptions were augmented by the clamour of ‘whiteness’ in contrast to the ‘poor black man’. This relic of colonialism and trigger for social conflict floated overtly and covertly, thereby exposing the double complex of dominance and inferiority in the nation’s psyche. Barbadians emitted perceptions of discrimination, prejudice, and injustice while complaining of patterns of practice happening from the lofty positions of officialdom and authority.

Barbados is to be reminded that some social groups are more likely to be prejudicially affected and discriminated against than others. For instance, on the treatment of vendors and the disparity that exists within the public transportation system, persons argued that the terms of engagement are ultimately unfavourable to the ‘small black man’ trying to earn a living. It is argued that class prejudices are discriminatingly reinforced by state-actions. Whether by racial slurs, ethnic separation, or inflections taken against the monied class, several views fuel claims that there are at least two societies in Barbados comprising the Medes and the Persians – the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Indeed, sociologists argue that ethnicity “results from inter-ethnic relations, whenever two different groups or societies come into contact and establish various modes of spatial, political, economic, cultural and social relations”. The occasional outbursts from affected Barbadians serve to highlight forms of institutional discrimination.

Surely, institutional discrimination is often perpetuated and maintained through the consolidation of practices rooted in culture, myth, and/or tradition. The occurrences of last week coughed up several dismayed Barbadians, although few may have been caught by surprise. Deep-seated fears that have never been adequately settled were once again revealed. Many felt that considering the scope of power relations, preferential treatment would be extended to a couple of ‘big-ups’. The sheer visibility of ethnic/racial differentiation and dominance also revealed the inferiority complex of many. Even those by-passing skin-tone, focussed on titular appearances; they further insinuated that status and wealth favoured the entrapped couple above the poor black man. Sadly, an eager majority appeared ready for public prosecution and conviction.

Soberly, a few balanced opinions were less judgmental. These minority voices sought to open the space for understanding. They demanded appropriate action rather than commit to final positions. These Barbadians were clearly hopeful that the legal system with its processes and arrangements would result in justice rather than conspiracy. Of course, a rush to judgment would in no way help to untangle the historical webs of inequality, nor would it allay the concerns of those steeped in prolonged hypocrisy. Even the usually low or sometimes hushed voices, called for the clear hollowing out of a space for novel forms of equal treatment under the law. There was caution summoning the ‘Quick Draw McGraws’ not to dismiss the professionalism of the RBPF or Barbados’ judicial system. However, the lamentation implying that Peter must pay for Paul still rings loud in the public sphere.

Clearly, the people’s hope for justice is a good call; but the quest for justice ought not to disregard facts and fairness. Noted political philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau advised: “Do not judge and you will never be mistaken.” Accused persons, regardless of the hue of their skins or the colouration of their money, must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. There are set criteria for the granting of bail; what may fit and apply for one individual may differ for another, particularly if the ‘other’ has antecedents and is known to the police and the courts. Although “you can’t get rid of injustice by being quiet about it,” Barbadians must be civic-minded and remain guided by the rule of law. There is only ‘one’ Barbados.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email:

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Enhancing the Freedom of Democratic Expression

One immediate consequence of the annihilation of the Democratic Labour Party in the last general election in May has been to create a vacuum in the populist democratic discourse that requires for its optimal existence the publication of an alternative view to the official dogma.

I am already aware that there exists what I called in a recent column, “a semblance of opposition” in the form of a Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House, and his two Senatorial appointments in the Upper Chamber but, apart from one member of this grouping, who I know for certain will not allow anyone to think for him on any issue, this opposition does not appear to enjoy as yet a sufficient degree of distance from the governing administration to be regarded as a consistent source of alternative views.

In any case, I am speaking of a more radical (in the true sense of that word) alternative point of view; one bred out of the instinctual populist analysis that would take each official political assertion with a grain of salt and synthesize it for accordance with what the commentator considers best for the country.

Granted, these are early days yet, and the governing Barbados Labour Party administration is still in its “honeymoon” period, and thereby entitled to some concession from the citizenry in respect of any errors of judgment that it may commit.

What ought not to happen, however, in a democracy is that this sentiment should result in any alternative view being considered as heretic and its proponent being instinctively deemed a pariah whose views do not deserve a hearing.

Already, I can sense that there are those who are uncomfortable with any criticism of this administration and more so, if that critique comes from a member of, or one considered to be a supporter of the outgone Democratic Labour Party [DLP] administration. Frequently, on the various social media, one encounters the expression of sentiments that suggest that any view critical of an initiative by the current administration is to be abhorred on the basis that on May 25 of this year, the electorate determined that there should be no opposition to the BLP government and moreover, that the DLP should have no further say in the affairs of state.

The first of these propositions runs counter to our traditional understanding of the democratic praxis and, as recent events have demonstrated, the framers of our Constitution never contemplated the occurrence of such a scenario. That it has eventuated may be owed to factors not immediately relevant to this discussion, but it is at least doubtful whether the result of the election unequivocally indicated the preference of the populace for a one-party state, where “no [other]damn dog barks”.

While the latter contention may be electorally true, at least at a parliamentary level, that rejection should be perceived rather as one qua DLP parliamentarian/candidate and not qua Barbadian citizen, so that even a member of that party that was rejected by his or her constituency should still retain the civic entitlement to air publicly his or her views on the prudential administration of the state. It would be unnecessarily churlish, un-Barbadian and undemocratic to believe otherwise.

In this connection, our Constitution does not expressly guarantee the right to freedom of political expression, as does section 4(e) of the Trinidad & Tobago Republican Constitution 1976 that declares the existence of the right “to join political parties and to express political views”. Rather, ours contents itself with a general right of freedom of expression which would doubtless also include the freedom to air political views, both in the narrower and broader senses of the word “political”.

Nonetheless, this freedom of expression is not unrestricted and is expressly made subject in section 21 (2)(a) to any law “that is reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons…” There are some other express restrictions besides but it is principally upon the law that seeks to protect the reputations of other persons that I should wish to focus my essay.

There is a quaint myth among some Barbadians that our defamation laws are incontrovertibly “archaic”. This perception or rather misperception is owed to the fact that the type of imputations that pass unsanctioned in the US for example would cause the publisher to be mulct in substantial damages in this jurisdiction. In fine, this is owed to the fact that we do not enjoy the public figure defence that obtains in some jurisdictions there. According to this, the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press required a rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his or her official conduct unless the claimant proves that the statement was made with actual malice, that is with knowledge that it was knowingly false or made with reckless disregard as to its falsity.

No such defence is expressly provided in our Defamation Act 1996, although that is not the fault of the drafters of that Act, since, even in the state of New York, the defence is a judicial, and not a statutory creation. It may thus be argued that given the form and nature of our constitutional right to free expression, one that pays due regard to the reputations of others, it should hamstring any similar judicial initiative here.

Owing to the need to meet an arranged deadline, I must end here for today. Next week, I propose to continue this discussion on the extent of our freedom of speech and its effect on our defamation laws and to introduce discussion of freedom of information that, I will submit, is a necessary corollary to an enhanced freedom of democratic expression.

DLP Sighting!

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Is about to awake from a period of political stupor since it was shellacked at the May 24th general election. For the sake of a practicing democracy many Barbadians wish the party success electing new officers.

Unfortunately we have not witnessed any of the third parties fight for the space left vacant by the DLP. We will have to wait to see if a reincarnated DLP does enough to recapture its position of one half of the duopoly.

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The Grenville Phillips Column – Bearing the Sword in Vain

Jesus asked His followers to forgive other people in the same manner that they wanted God to forgive them.  With this being the standard, how do we want God to forgive us?  Do we want to be forgiven entirely?  Do we want to benefit from being given another chance, as if our offence had never occurred?

This type of forgiveness is very easy for us to receive, but it is very difficult for us to give.  But giving it is the only way that we can receive forgiveness from God.  Jesus explained that the way to life is relatively more difficult, and we can see why.

If someone harms my neighbour, then I have no standing to forgive the offender on behalf of the one harmed.  That is the responsibility of the person who was harmed, and for their benefit.  If a person rapes or steals from my neighbour, my neighbour must decide whether to forgive the offender or not.  However, there is a context to this type of forgiveness.  We trust that the state will sort-out those who grievously harm us.  The Biblical teaching on this matter follows.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:3-4)

So while we forgive the offenders, we also have a reasonable expectation that state will arrest, charge, convict and sentence them.  We do not expect the state to “bear the sword in vain” and simply forgive them, so that they can boast of this lunacy and harm us again.  We do not expect the state to refuse to act on our behalf by claiming that vengeance belongs to the Lord.

When the state decides to behave like a child, then the system breaks down.  Individuals forgive for their own benefit and emotional healing. However, they must be confident in the Government’s management of the judicial process.  Who among us will advise a victim to forgive a serial rapist whose serial actions are facilitated by the state?   Would this not encourage popular vigilantism?

If the BLP administration is insistent on forgiving all of those who have engaged in bribery and other forms of corruption against us, then they should compensate those who continue to be affected by their bribes.  The offender should not be the only beneficiary of the Government’s leniency.

Corruption can account for approximately 50% of a construction project.  If we are to believe our politicians who regularly accuse each other of gross corruption, and the auditor general’s annual report that suggests that little is well, then we may be significantly overpaying for construction and other contracts.

Instead of paying $50M for a project properly valued at $50M, we may be forced to be repaying in the order of $100M.  That is why we may be paying VAT, land and other taxes, not for any improvement in government services, but to repay the bribes that others are enjoying.  If this is so, then if we want improved service, then we will be called upon to pay additional taxes for water, sewage, sanitation, and the like, which we have already paid for with other taxes.

Those who worship political parties are expected to justify anything and everything that their political party does, no matter how much it harms others.  But why are private sector business leaders, who publicly objected to every new tax before the general election, actively encouraging the Government to lay these unnecessary additional taxes on the public?

If the BLP and DLP are indeed the same party, with a sworn prime directive to protect each-other from scrutiny, then the BLP’s proposal to forgive all BLP and DLP politicians for any past corrupt behaviour is consistent with this directive.  So is the proposal to allow them to keep any bribes that they may have accumulated.  However, why must we be forced to keep repaying any bribes, that if forgiven, they will be allowed to legally enjoy?

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

The George Brathwaite – Saving Grace with a Blue Economy

The potential of our coasts and ocean to meet sustainable development needs is immense. And, if they can be maintained in and/or restored to a healthy and productive state, the ocean will play an even more important role in humanitys future. (Mark J. Spalding).

The horizon is laced with opportunities for Barbados to overcome the awful indices that characterised the last decade. The tastelessness of poverty, joblessness, high debt, widespread indiscipline, stagnation, huge piles of garbage, unkempt roadsides, and littered coastlines can all be tackled and rectified. There are encouraging signs that Barbados will eventually emerge from its inglorious economic decline and value-thwarted society.

Decisive leadership has re-emerged in Barbados to help take the nation out of its dangerous plunge. Businesses and households are now being challenged by the prime minister and government to exceed the crippling effects of structural constraints and a highly indebted economy. Private citizens are crying out for job and entrepreneurial opportunities. Generally, the society is demanding a development framework that ensures a fair distribution of wealth and one that allows for social justice to become commonplace.

Clearly, new levers are being pulled for Barbados to enhance its productivity and to become regionally and globally competitive. Since May 25th, the popular discourse is reflecting hope amidst the difficulties. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration, under the determined leadership of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, expresses a welcoming confidence and creativity. For instance, PM Mottley, in one of her far-reaching moves, established the very important Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy.

In the 2018 Throne Speech, the Governor General asserted that: My Government has identified the Green and Blue Economies as areas in which new policy directions can redound to the benefit of Barbados long term economic, social and environmental development.” The colossal value of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy ought not to be underestimated. The vital role was emphasized in the Throne Speech indicating that the Ministry was: “charged with responsibility for preserving Barbados coastlines, our marine environment, the health of our reefs and the habitats of our marine plants and animals. It will ensure sustainable use and development of our fisheries, our marine assets, resources, minerals and species for sustainable recreation and decent livelihoods for those who make a living from the sea.”

Essentially, the Ministry will cultivate a policy course for the sustainable use and protection of Barbados’ continental shelf and economic zone encompassing the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the expanse of the island’s marine resources. Moreover, such things as effective coastal management, saving and replenishing local coral reefs can have positive impacts on localized resources by increasing the aesthetic value of coral reefs for tourism and creating reef habitat for fisheries purposes. Even against climate change, Barbadians ought not be pessimistic, nor should they be cynical to the daring nature of adjusting to the concept of the blue economy.

Barbados must continuously seek and find alternative ways of doing things and achieving positive results to boost the economy and enhance citizens’ livelihoods. This is precisely why the BLP is unpacking ‘new planks for economic growth’ that are ‘fit for purpose’. While it is true that de sea en got nuh back door, many villages, communities, and individuals already have histories of thriving from the proceeds of the sea and marine environment. For example, the communities of Bathsheba, Consett Bay, Paynes Bay, Oistins and others are well documented for their impacts on the men and women depending on pelagic yields for their leisure and survival. Additionally, Barbados’ fisherfolk have over the years, been able to gain sufficient to feed their families and build homes and other enterprises.

Despite today’s challenges and the phase of uncertainty that grips the country, Barbadians must be prepared to be problem-solvers. Joyce Meyer contends that change is always tough. Even for those who see themselves as agents of change, the process of starting a new thing can cause times of disorientation, uncertainty and insecurity.” Barbadians must determine and act in the best ways to come to terms with the possibility of alternatives and different approaches to promoting economic growth and national development.

The tendency to resist change hangs on a knotted dilemma. Barbadians ought not be clinging to fear nor be blindly stuck to tradition. Both PM Mottley and Minister Kirk Humphrey are embracing research and intrepid. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, therefore, must perform on the mandate to safeguard key decisions and strategic investments that were made over the years. Surely, there may be no guarantees of success in any sector, but the sea is a place of vast and untapped resources that could serve to nurture and spur extraordinary economic growth for Barbados.

Barbados must maintain its commitment to the green economy, despite the low attention by the previous administration on the related matters of energy, ecology, environment, sustainability, and climate change adaptability. The notion of the green economy is equally as pressing but it can be more costs invasive than gravitation to the blue economy.

The previous point is instructive because as the BLP administration insists, ‘the maritime resources must be enjoyed by the nations people in a sustainable manner’. Nevertheless, the exciting, wealth-laden prospects for Barbados rests across the great expanse of these maritime domains that offer differentiated resources of commercial value. There are various foods for human consumption, resulting in benefits for human health and nutrition. Also, there is the oil and gas sector that the current administration considers to be vital given the importance of energy to productive capacity. The water itself favours activities that can assist in tackling scarcity.

Surely, the effective turn to the blue economy can bring lucrative economic returns emerging from multiple resources and activities. The BLP’s deliberate policy framework for the blue economy is very likely to substantially increase entrepreneurship in many areas of endeavour. Indeed, the probability for widescale employment across many linked sectors is a welcome. The blue economy can be expected to encourage attention on the additional dimensions of food security, the beautification of the island, leisure and sports tourism, and the strongest support for sustainable national development.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email:

A Grenville Phillips Column – Loopholes for the Guilty

My perspective of the Integrity in Public Life bill is informed from my unique experiences since entering this political trench three years ago. My situation is different from other politicians because I am outside of the BLP/DLP protective umbrella, and the tip of the spear protecting all Solutions Barbados candidates from harm to their reputations. From this perspective, the weaknesses of this Bill are glaring.

In my opinion, the Integrity in Public Life bill appears to facilitate Barbados being turned into an unaccountable police state. I know that this seems ludicrous. However, it seems to be the most likely explanation for the inclusion of loopholes for the guilty and the removal of established protections for the innocent. I will list a few of them below.

Section 4.1 a) & b): This section identifies the functions of the Commission. One of the stated functions is to record and examine gifts forwarded or given by persons in public life. There appears to be no mention of gifts received by such persons in this section. For the avoidance of doubt, it should be included.

Section 6.2: The Commission shall be treated as a law enforcement agency. However, it appears to have more power than the police and judiciary, which is concerning if it is used in a politically partisan manner. Whoever controls the Commission can clear their guilty friends and punish their innocent perceived enemies with impunity.

Section 9.1: The Commission employs an Investigative Office, who must not be a member of the Police force. According to section 15.1, he can arrest persons, deliver them to the custody of the Police, and seize and retain any documents or materials that he thinks is relevant.

A person can make a complaint about the Investigative Officer’s behaviour, and the complaint is directed to a 3-member panel appointed by the Governor General (section 20). Two members of the panel are persons who were previously politically appointed to their positions.

The panel can dismiss the complaint, regardless of the evidence, if they think that it was made in bad faith (section 21 a). They can also dismiss it if they think that an investigation or further investigation is not necessary or reasonably practicable (section 21 b). These can easily be used as loopholes to facilitate the politically partisan behaviour of a rogue Investigative Officer.

Section 10.1: The Commission has the powers of a judge of the Supreme Court to summon and examine witnesses and demand documents. In section 10.3, the Commission is not restrained by the rules of the Evidence Act which were designed to protect all of us. The Commission can take into account opinion evidence, which the Evidence Act restricts.

While it is reasonable that opinion evidence may be relied upon during the investigation phase of the process, the Bill should clearly state that the Commission must not rely on any “opinion evidence” to determine someone’s guilt.

Section 11.1 b): This section appears to entitle a summoned person to be compensated for expenses as if he had been summoned to attend the Supreme Court on a criminal trial. However, the person can only be paid whenever and however the Minister of Finance decides. The Commission can also decide to simply not allow the summoned person to claim any expenses.

The common trend when persecuting political competitors is to attempt to bankrupt them, which can automatically disqualify them from being candidates. To have a person continually attend hearings for weeks can accomplish this aim, which is why the Evidence Act entitles innocent summoned persons to be reimbursed for both their time and expenses. This is natural justice since a person cannot refuse to appear when summoned without consequences.

The Evidence Act appears to be carefully designed to protect innocent persons from political abuse. Why is the Commission being directed to deviate from this established practise of natural justice?

Section 11.4 d): If a person insults a member of the Commission, then he is liable to be fined $10,000 and imprisoned for 6 months. A person who is subjected to obvious unfair treatment for as long as a politically compromised Commission decides, knowing that he will not be reimbursed for his time, is vulnerable to objecting improperly.

Section 11.5 a): A person shall not be compelled to incriminate himself. However, according to section 11.4, he is liable to be fined $10,000 and imprisoned for 6 months, if he does not turn over documents. It should be clarified whether he can be compelled to turn over documents that can incriminate others, who in-turn will likely incriminate him.

Section 14 d): The Commissioner of Police must provide constables to do whatever the Commission directs. This can provide a politically compromised Commission and Inspector with an appearance of legitimacy.

Section 32.5: Once a person has retired from public life for 2 years, then he cannot be investigated. If it is a member of the Commission, then he cannot be investigated once he has retired for 5 years. These are glaring loopholes for persons who have already retired. Also, persons can easily walk over this low hurdle by directing that bribes be paid to them 2 years after their retirement.

Section 33.1: If a member of the Commission is to be investigated, then the Governor General, after consulting with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, shall appoint a single person tribunal to investigate. If the person is declared to be innocent, then their expenses must be paid from the consolidated fund within 3 months (33.5 b). Why must the tribunal only comprise one politically appointed person, and why the double standard regarding compensation?

Section 40.2: Where a Member of Parliament of the Senate has acquired a prohibited interest, which would be a violation of the Act, then the Commission shall not issue a determination if the Politician or Senator confesses, and the Commission believes that if they kept the prohibited interest will not affect the person meeting his obligations. This is another glaring loophole for a politically controlled Commission.

Section 45.7 a) ii: If a person receives a substantial (over $1,000) gift, then they can keep it if the Commission decides that the gift was not intended to provide favourable treatment. What likely reason would someone give a substantial gift if not for in exchange for favourable treatment?

Section 48: No prosecutions of persons in relation to restricted gifts shall be pursued after 5 years of a person’s retirement from public life. This allows the guilty to go free with no consequences whatsoever, they simply need to be patient.

Section 56 a): A person charged with corruption can be found innocent if he can claim that he had no knowledge of the circumstances giving rise to the act of corruption. This is a weak but allowable defence in this bill.

The section for whistle-blowers is extremely weak to the point of being almost ineffective. There is no confidential reporting and no financial incentive for whistle-blowers – the proven main ingredients of an effective whistle blower program. In the US, their highly successful Securities Exchange Commission’s program allows whistle-blowers to report anonymously, and rewards them with up to 30% of the amounts recovered. Why are we designing an almost ineffective system when there are highly effective systems available?

First Schedule

The Commission shall comprise 4 political appointees, plus one lawyer and one clergyman. This has the appearance of a political commission. The main reasons for political commissions is to protect the politically favoured from scrutiny and persecute those not politically favoured.

A less partisan Commission and disciplinary panel should have a majority of persons who were never politically appointed, and who treasure their professional reputations too much to be corruptible or intimidated. Fellows of Chartered professional institutions would have spent an adequate amount of time complying with their institution’s code of ethics, so they should be less likely to be corruptible.

The Bill is written in a manner that it can easily be misused. That is not how our laws should be written. There are no meaningful protections for the innocent to avoid political persecution, and glaring loopholes to protect those with provable evidence of corruption and bribery.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

1991 National Democratic Party Youth Program

Submitted by William Skinner

I have shared this in answer to Artax, who asked if it [NDP Youth Manifesto pledge] was available on line. Note that $20m. in 1991 is about $32m. at today’s rates. The NDP would have spent $100m. on the youth between 1991 and 1996, if it had won the government. That is equivalent to $160m. today.

Yet in 2018 we are hearing a government is going to spend $10m. on some youth entrepreneur program. This is half of what the NDP would have spent in 1991 almost thirty years ago.

Programme For Youth (National Democratic Party (NDP) 1991)

$20m On young

The single most important failure of the old political order is its failure to create sufficient opportunities for young people of working age, to make productive and dignifying use of their time, energy and talents.

As a result, too many able young men and women have been left to drift aimlessly and become enmeshed in a sub-cultural life-style which all too often leads to the destruction of character, mind and body. If ever the young people of Barbados needed help, hope and inspiration, they need it now.(1991)

The National Democratic Party has identified employment, moral example and the opportunity for constructive self-expression as the priority needs of the young people of Barbados, and an NDP Government would be bound by a solemn charge and promise, to seek to meet these needs.

In accordance with this solemn undertaking, an NDP Government would:

  • Spend $20million a year on special programmes and projects for the youth of working age
  • Establish a well staffed Business Advisory Centre to encourage and facilitate the entry of youth into the world of business;
  • Expand the curriculum of all trade services offered by government agencies to include basic training in business management, marketing, communications skills, etiquette and deportment;
  • Upgrade and expand the Apprenticeship Programmes;
  • Provide “start-up kits” for any person who has graduated frorm the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Skills Training Programme, or from any other approved programme of training and is desirous of working in the area in which he or she has been trained;
  • Introduce a scheme whereby employers registered with the scheme will be paid $75 per week, for one year for every additional person between the age of 17 and 25, who is employed;
  • Provide adequate funding and administrative for the Barbados Youth Council.
  • Involve youth in local government.
  • Appoint a representative number of young men and women to serve in the Senate and on Statutory Boards.
Reference: National Democratic Party 1991 Manifesto pages, 23/24

Related link: 1994 National Democratic Party (NDP)

The George Brathwaite Column – Efficiency Without Job Cuts: Mia and the IMF

“Representative democracy is a messy means of translating collective desires into optimal levels of government service provision; the absence of referenda and direct forms of balloting for specific goods and services leads to an oversupply of government.” – (Howard A. Frank).

Forthright discussions on the state of Barbados’ economy, including criticisms on how it is being handled in contradistinction to how it was handled over the last (lost) decade, ought to be encouraged. The fact is, multiple views can prove useful in a small developing nation characterised by structural deficiencies, immense vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards, and the tendency for a population to resist change. Given the overwhelming mandate that has been given to Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the governing Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration, Barbados can ill-afford the luxury of uncritical adventurism at this time or in the immediate years to come.

Against that backdrop, the new Prime Minister has set in motion a pattern of governance that encourages ‘information sharing’ from government to the people and vice versa. Certainly, and as noted in other global jurisdictions, information sharing is about unlocking the many islands of information stores across government and to discover the value of that information … help ensure that information is available to the right people at the right time – providing governments at all levels with improved capacity to save lives, improve lives and to better protect the community.” With the new BLP government wanting to meet the expectations of its people, the expansion of national awareness by putting relevant information into the public domain for feedback – whether positive or negative is a welcomed path. People, as the key stakeholder in any construction of good governance, will demand that the information flow continues and is accurate.

Barbadians will surely insist that the Mottley-led administration legitimates the exercise of information sharing. This avenue is possible through legislation, and specifically through a Freedom of Information Act. The upside of an Act facilitating information sharing can somewhat equate to satisfaction for the public; it also shields the executive arm of government from allegations of unnecessary secrecy, stealth, hidden agendas and claims of maladministration. Against the numerous calls for transparency and accountability in government, coupled with fulfilling another manifesto pledge, the legislative formality coupled with the present actions of a communicative administration will likely gain favourable respect across political boundaries. Indeed, the early evidence from the current administration is a confidence booster, and it helps to rebuild the trust that had been badly dented between the governing and the governed during the period after 2010.

Focus turns to the vexing and recurring problematic of achieving efficiency and effectiveness in Barbados’ public service. Barbados’ public service has been in the limelight mostly for the wrong reasons. Most persons are aware that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has had missions in Barbados on the invitation of PM Mottley to see how best and in what ways the Fund can help in the Critical Mission as presented by the Mottley-led team. After its last visit, the IMF reported that despite “significant progress has been made” by the Government of less than two months, the next phase of fixes will require “reducing expenditures – notably by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services, reducing government transfers to state-owned enterprises by reviewing user fees, exploring options for mergers, and providing stronger oversight.”

Undoubtedly, the workings of and the decisions made on the public service will continue to affect the daily lives of all Barbadians in one way or another. At this moment, one is compelled to ask: how does Barbados go about fixing problems regarding the size, cost, efficiency, and productivity levels of its public service? Of course, this is without having to do harm to thousands badly needing to maintain their employment. Before his elevation to be the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Mr Cleviston Haynes stated that: “The public sector budget currently exceeds $3 billion, prompting some to question whether we are getting value for money and whether services are being delivered efficiently.” Thus, another chasm in the prevailing circumstances would be: how best can the very concept of information sharing assist in the processes leading to an optimal public sector/service which will also usher in drastic improvements in the delivery of services?

Certainly, with the high debt and fiscal drag that has derailed the many efforts for economic growth, the Mia Mottley administration is challenged to be innovative, nimble, and to overcome the internal pressures to improve public sector performance and at the same time contain expenditure growth. On the face of it, there are factors such as Barbados’ ageing populations and increasing health care and pension costs that will add to the budgetary burdens. After all, the country is weighted down by the high levels of taxation and they are demanding that the Government be made more accountable for the things being done with taxpayers’ money. So that while encouragement can be given to those near retirement in the service to take an immediate package, one must still consider the financial costs and any skill deficits that could obtain.

It may matter that Barbados was not in the best position for empirically evaluating the work being done in the public service. The latest Auditor General Report indicates that a lack of ‘adequate resources’ and ‘operational autonomy’ have hampered the Auditor from performing the duties of the office. If anything, successive Auditor General Reports would concretise the number of abnormalities, wastage, and inadequate reporting that have taken root in Government Ministries, Departments, and in statutory bodies. Barbados must develop ways and means for enhancing the capacity of the public to demand and monitor the performances of its main and statutory departments.

Moreover, the problems of measuring and quantifying the benefits of services to the public must be able to withstand scrutiny with timeliness in reporting. Clearly, for there to be significant improvement of public service accountability, PM Mottley must reinforce the dilemma that Barbados now faces to those under her charge so that they would not go down the same disastrous road as previous administrations. The current Leader of the Opposition will of necessity have to isolate personal sentiments from the compulsion to act in the best interests of those without legitimate voice and presence.

Beyond the manner of occupying a place in parliament, the BLP administration must fast-track its emphasis on broadening and utilising electronic government (e-government). This e-government refers to government’s use of technology, particularly web-based internet applications to enhance the access to and delivery of government information and service to citizens, business partners, employees, other agencies, and government entities. In Antigua and Barbuda for example, e-government has had the effect of contributing to several cost and time savings thus being more conducive to the ease of doing business. More generally, the maximising of e-government increases the potential to help build better relationships between the government and the public by making interactions with citizens smoother, easier, and more efficient. Indeed, government agencies report using electronic commerce to improve core business operations and deliver information and services faster, cheaper, and to wider groups of customers. Quite naturally, ongoing training and retooling for efficiency within the public service would compliment the adjustments and reforms. So that instead of searching to find persons to join the unemployment roll, emphasis would be on matching skills and acumen to the public services to be delivered.

Barbados is challenged on reducing expenditures but with the application of political will and decisiveness, win-win situations can be achieved. It is even more meaningful that the current administration persists in information sharing so that the private sector and the trade unions are part of key decision-making bodies. The ‘social partnership’ must play a formative role in the solutions to existing problems in the public sector. Providing stronger oversight, as has been called for by the IMF, will be PM Mottley’s best held ‘wild card’ and should likely ease tensions going forward with the restructuring and reforms that must happen if Barbados is to become the best that it can be.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant.   Email:

The Jeff Cumberbatch – Constructive Opposition

It could scarcely be considered unfair or invalid to argue that the appointment of Bishop Joseph Atherley as the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament was not a universally popular one.

From those who considered that a literal interpretation of the Constitutional text does not accommodate an individual MP being appointed leader of the Opposition in the absence of a plurality of likeminded individuals; to some members of his own party who questioned his sudden volte-face after his successful electoral campaign on a BLP platform; and to others who saw themselves robbed of the likelihood of a voice during this iteration of parliament, given the stated intention of the Prime Minister; they all questioned the propriety and validity of his appointment.

To date, no one has sought to challenge the appointment in a court of law however, and while I myself had expressed in this space some equanimity as to how his contributions might be perceived, it now appears, if we are to judge from his contributions to the recent parliamentary debate on the Integrity in Public Life Bill 2018, as reported in the Barbados Advocate for last Thursday [p.9], that the goodly Bishop has settled firmly into his role as the effective conscience of the people in Parliament.

First, he questioned a perceived link between the political class and certain criminal elements that, even with the protection of absolute privilege, he does not appear to have named. His larger point here was made in the context of electoral campaign financing, which he suggested ought to be the subject matter of legislative enactment.

As to the Bill itself, Bishop Atherley is reported as querying the omission of judges from the list of “specified persons in public life” in the Second Schedule. The newspaper report does not indicate whether there was any ministerial response to this query but it was the subject matter of court action in Trinidad & Tobago in the case of the Integrity Commission v The AG of Trinidad & Tobago.

There, by an amendment in 2000, the then governing UNC administration had included judges as among persons in public life subject to the Act. However, after objection from the judges, the Integrity Commission sought a determination from the Court as to whether having regard to the provisions of the Constitution and the Integrity in Public Life Act, judges and magistrates were indeed persons in public life subject to the provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act as amended.

Mme. Justice Jones, who heard the matter, thought that subjecting the judges to the provisions of the Act constituted an alteration of the terms of service of those Judges appointed before the Act came into effect; impermissibly sought to control the manner in which judges function in their office; and sought to discipline judges in their capacity as judges in a manner that was contrary to the constitutional provisions designed to ensure the independence of the judiciary. She concluded therefore-

In my view… the provisions of the Act which allow for action to be taken and punishment to be inflicted against a Judge for duties imposed in the capacity as Judge are inconsistent with …the Constitution.

Her Ladyship also found that the inclusion of magistrates ran counter to the need to maintain a level of independence necessary to ensure that Magistrates as members of the lower Judiciary were accorded the autonomy appropriate to their status as members of the Judiciary.

In this regard, she determined-

“…not only is the provision giving the Commission some disciplinary control over the Magistrates inconsistent with the Constitution but, given the statutory provisions establishing the Commission, an exercise of disciplinary control over Magistrates by the Commission would not provide the insulation acknowledged by the Constitution to be necessary to ensure that the independence provided to Magistrates as members of the Judicial arm of the State is not eroded.

It bears remarking that Barbados has expressly included magistrates in the copy of the Bill that I have seen on the Barbados Parliament website.

As an adjunct to his contribution on the Bill, Atherley also raised an issue that has been in the public domain since it was recognized that the patently dissuasive monetary penalties proposed in the original public draft of the Act had been substantially reduced (from between $250 000 on summary conviction and $500 000 on conviction on indictment to between $10 000 and $20 000 respectively.

The official responses to this query do not appear to have been particularly cogent. According to another section of the printed press, the Honourable Attorney General is quoted as averring that the figures will “revert” to those originally promised. He did not consider that an explanation for the alteration was warranted or mattered at this point-

“There is an explanation for why the fines came down and it has nothing to with political will, but at this point I don’t think any explanation matters.”

Another member of the Cabinet offered an explanation in yet another section of the press. According to the Honourable Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Mr Wifred Abrahams, in Barbados Today, “…the changes were made by the parliamentary draftsperson responsible for preparing the Bill for presentation in the two houses of Parliament with a view to ensuring that the fines were consistent with other domestic penalties…those fines were changed without reference to the drafting Committee or to the Attorney General…”

This is, by itself, a surprising revelation. I have always been informed that the draftsperson is a mere amanuensis or scribe of the legislative intendment of the policymakers rather than a determinant of such policy. And while I could understand a drafter pointing out a patent inconsistency with a constitutional requirement, this is not alleged by Mr Abrahams. Indeed, the sole requirement of the supreme law in respect of punishment that might impinge on the current debate is that in section 15(1) to the effect that

No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.

This clearly does not apply here without more.

Comparatively, in Trinidad & Tobago, for failing to make the required declaration or for making a false declaration, a person in public life is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for a term of ten years; and where the offence involves the deliberate non-disclosure of property the Court may, in addition,

(a) where the property involved is situated in Trinidad and Tobago, declare that it be forfeited to the State;

(b) where the property involved is situated outside of Trinidad and Tobago, order that an amount equivalent to the value of the property (the value to be assessed as directed by the Court), be paid by the person in public life to the State.

Now, that is dissuasive punishment and for non-disclosure merely besides.

The Grenville Phillips Column – Empty Promises

I am scheduled to be deployed to Haiti shortly to assist them in their recovery efforts.  However, the recent social unrest, which resulted in deaths, property damage and flights into Haiti being suspended, may put those plans in jeopardy.  With the Government awaiting the IMF’s directives, Haiti’s experience is relevant to Barbados at this time.

The IMF directed the Haitian government to implement severe austerity, which included an almost doubling of fuel prices.  When the fuel increases were announced, the people rioted.  It should be remembered that the IMF also directed the Guyana’s government to double the income taxes on the Guyanese.

Having had over 10 deployments to Haiti following the earthquake in 2010, including during their elections, I do not think that the increase in fuel prices is the root cause of this crisis.  They know that sacrifices have to be made to improve their economy, and they have made them in the past.  However, after suffering for so long, the Haitian people hate being tricked.

Their political candidates promised to address mismanagement and corruption if they were elected.  The people expected improvements in government efficiency, and arrests of those accused of corruption, before being targeted for austerity.  However, to have austerity forced on them, without the promised efficiency and arrests, appeared to be too much for the people to bear from a Government that promised to be different.

As we canvassed during the recent elections, people wanted to know what Solutions Barbados would do about the gross corruption in which both established political parties have repeatedly accused the other of engaging.  We promised the most effective policy to address corruption.  Both payers and receivers of bribes would have to pay a fine of 10 times the value of the bribe, and whistle-blowers would be rewarded with the full value of the bribe.

Surprisingly, most people were not satisfied with this response.  They wanted the guilty politicians imprisoned.  However, our policy was not to imprison non-violent offenders, but to fine them.  So while we understood what the people wanted, and could have positioned ourselves to benefit from the 26% swing away from the DLP, we were unwilling to damage our reputations by promising what we were unwilling to deliver.

We promised Barbadians prosperity without austerity because it was possible – and it still is.  We promised to improve efficiency and reduce wastage in the public sector, by implementing the customer-focused international quality management standard, ISO 9001, because we could.  We promised to effectively address corruption in the most effective manner possible because we could.  However, the people wanted ‘blood’, and those skilled in political public relations gave them exactly what they were accustomed to receiving from politicians – empty promises.

It is very easy to simply ask people what they want, and then promise them what they have asked for with no intention of ever fulfilling those promises.  Any Solutions Barbados candidate who engaged in that sort of behaviour would likely be voted out of the party at our next meeting.

The public were led to believe that savings from the proper management of the public service would fund their expensive manifesto promises, and not increased taxes.  The public were also led to believe that the arrest and imprisonment of corrupt politicians would immediate follow the general election.  If the BLP and DLP are indeed the same political party, governed by the same prime directive to protect each other from scrutiny, then no arrests should be expected.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

Hobson’s Choice | Debt Default or …

The following was posted as a comment by Northern Observer to the Congratulations to Ambassador David Comissiong blog. It is a comment that resonates with the blogmaster for the commonsense perspective it shares about the huge challenge facing the country given the diminishing forex reserves and inadequate foreign inflows – David, blogmaster   

“Mia unilateral decision to default on debt”

This is a horse you need to dismount. When a doctor tells you somebody has stage 4 cancer, and their life expectancy is 4 weeks, do you expect them to live for a year? Or you display anger towards the doctor, because you felt he didn’t consult with others? You haven’t heard it from 5 doctors, and they told you some weeks before the ‘patient was doing better’. So wha happen?

The continued decline in the Barbadian Sovereign Credit rating, told all of us in the financial world that a death was imminent. Junk status, is a polite term for saying, default is not official but imminent. The lower the junk rating, the more imminent the default. If you hold debt instruments, do not expect a full and timely settlement.

While I am all for transparency, I am unsure what you wanted the GoB to ‘discuss with the people’? Skinning local bond holders (which may still happen), does not solve the Fx problem of repaying monies in Fx, when your Fx reserves are perilously low. Rather than an official default you can try negotiating with each party, it takes time and can create animosity (and legal recourse) if one debtor feels treatment has been unequal. Default places all of them into the same basket. And buys time, and lowers expectations.
Default is a result of 13 consecutive years of accumulating Debt, and when the servicing costs exceed your ability to meet them.

So what would you like the GoB to discuss? That they will sell the Hilton and BNTCL for rock bottom prices and use the funds to pay down foreign loans. That the GoB will actively seek buyers for the BWA and any other asset of value, which can be used to bolster the Fx account. For what? Foreign lenders are not lending us money, whether we meet current loan terms or not. Foreign lenders have no collateral claims.

Defaulting was not a choice. The only choice was whether it happened now or at a later date. This way we get to keep (at least for now) the few meaningful public assets we have left. I can never ‘support a default’, but for the people of Barbados this was the “best” decision.

The challenge is, you choose not to accept, the Barbados public financial condition was as bad as it is, because you felt all the less-than-positive comments were coming from people you labelled as ‘the enemy’. They were B supporters. Many were, not B as in BLP, but B as in Barbados. They saw the bandages, they heard the prescriptions, and each time the bandage got changed, the wound was worse than before.

Choose Bajans: Urgent Fresh Elections or an IMF/DLP Programme of Austerity and Suffering Even Worse Than 1991?

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

The downgrade by Standard and Poors is proof that, you can hijack the truth – even hold it hostage for a short time (as it is now crystal clear the DLP did before the February 2013 general elections) but “truth” will always escape and expose you, as the DLP is now finding out.

Before the February elections, Barbadians were assured by the same DLP that said that: it will not “cheat;” it will not “steal” and it will not “lie” – that the economy was “stable.” But soon after February, “truth” was able to escape and the country heard “for the first time” (despite an alleged report to the nation during the general election campaign when nothing was said) that the QEH could not pay a multi-million-dollar bill for medicines and that the Transport Board had spent $30 million it did not have and having done that – licked-out an overdraft for a further $10 million. You see part of why Barbados is in serious trouble?

Trademark fiscal recklessness like the Transport Board spending that $40 million it did not have  – will hardly escape the Auditor General but it constitutes the same cost overrun the dems  said will not happen – under a DLP Government?  Do you see why you need to urgently reel-in the DLP and why no patriotic person in Barbados; sensible person within the Caribbean or  respected institutions around the world –  have confidence in the DLP; trust them or want to risk taking them seriously?

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Notes From a Native Son: The Time has Come for all True Barbadians to Put Country Before Party

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

After a few days in Barbados, mostly resting, but spending time with friends and acquaintances alike, I have returned with a feeling of deep sadness for a nation for which I have a very deep affection. But, we have a situation in which the national political discourse has been reduced to a leading minister inviting the leader of the official Opposition to strip naked and run down Broad Street, our main thoroughfare, to grab attention. While, at the same time, the governor of the central bank could announce that the economy is in recession and the minister of finance, the captain of the nation’s economy, did not see fit to respond to, the Opposition did not speak out on, our academic economists kept their opinions to themselves nor did our feeble media see it fit to inform their readers.

As I have said before, the nation is in serious crisis, only this time it is much worse than it previously was. Yet, there is an epidemic of denial: a police force that is imploding and cannot properly guard against organised criminality, medieval religious practices and family abuse. We are a nation that has lost faith in itself, when we could appoint a Canadian – repeat the word, Canadian – as head of our football association and every spare bit of land bought by dubious foreigners because our policymakers are addicted to foreign reserves. The New Barbados has also lost its moral purpose, its sense of decency, as is reflected in the obscenities that desecrate the airwaves as a matter of course; of the total national silence when a toddler can make sexual gestures over an apparently drunken woman at Crop Over, our leading cultural event; when our leading news paper thinks that pornographic pictures of juveniles having sex in a class room is newsworthy. Even more, not a single senior executive or director of the publishing firm has made a public statement about the obscenity. If ever there was a case for ordinary Barbadians to show their power as consumers and ban that publication, it is now. This is a long way from the nation I know as a young man, when, in the 1960s it was exporting people to work on London buses, trains and in the national health service, routinely gave them a printed booklet on how to behave in Britain. Those were days when the nation was concerned about its global reputation as reflected in the behaviour of its citizens.

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For Love of Country… a Coalition Government

Submitted by Napolean Bonaparte

Heads of Government :  Stuart, Arthur, Mottley, Sinckler
Minister of Finance : C. Mascoll
Attorney General : K. Symmonds
Minister of Tourism :  D. Inniss
Minister International Business: D. Marshall
Minister of Transport: M. Lashley
Minister of Culture: T. Prescod
Minister of Education: G. Payne
Minister of Labour :David Estwick
Minister of Health : R. Jones
Minister Housing Land: R. Sealy
Minister Agriculture: R. Toppin

Ministries to reduced eleven. Salaries of Ministers reduced by 25 %. Permanent Secretaries salaries reduced by 15%.

Pure Confusion from MAM

Submitted by Douglas

Can the two major political parties work together for the good of country?

Can the two major political parties work together for the good of country?

Pure Confusion From her first day on the job the Leader of the Opposition had promised to raise hell in Barbados. On the day she was sworn in she had sworn that she would be “sparing no punches”. So indeed Ms. Mottley came out of her corner fighting. She indicated that, “the Opposition was prepared to let Government introduce its new programmes free from ‘advice’ from the BLP, but once it was divulged her team would voice its concerns.” This indicates that the Leader of the Opposition never had any intention to work with the Government to take this country forward. Now what is all of this talk about, “For love of Country”? Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has sought every opportunity to paint the worse picture of Barbados possible. One would recall her use of the term, “Economic Terrorism”, in her response to the Estimates debate on March 18th 2013.

Before the world and for ever recorded in the most prestigious record of a country’s history the Leader of the Opposition chose to make political mileage from an unfortunate incident which had occurred the day before involving visitors to the country. Whenever she gets an opportunity to speak she speaks of a Barbados filled with suffering people and on the brink of collapse. One must agree with our Honourable Prime Minister that the BLP led by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is out of touch with reality. “The Barbados filled with suffering people and on the brink of collapse is a figment of the opposition BLP’s imagination.”

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Chris and Mia Welcome You to Club Barbados!

Submitted by William Skinner

Chris Sinckler, Minister off Finance (l) Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition (r)

Chris Sinckler, Minister off Finance (l) Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition (r)

The apologists, supporters, assorted scribes and defenders of the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party, should now hold their heads in collective shame, after the embarrassing and bizarre spectacle that took place in our parliament, on Tuesday 23rd, October 2013.

The pathetic spinners are trying to convince the public, that both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party take for granted, that each side has won. The unvarnished truth is that our parliament was the location, of a shameless, nauseating display of BLP/DLP political grand standing and showmanship that easily surpassed what the horse racing fraternity expects on Gold Cup Day! My sincere apologies to the horses for even mentioning them when speaking of this sorry group of political misfits.

For where else in the world could a no – confidence motion, so lacking in confidence, be foisted on the public? Where else could a government, strategize that to ignore the motion was the best way to treat an electorate that recently returned it to office? This administration has made a deliberate attempt to be arrogant while it bungles and fumbles.

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Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler Reacts to Criticism on the Eve of No Confidence Motion

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Yesterday [21/10/2013] David Ellis of Voice of Barbados shared audio of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler [MoF] and Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley. BU finds the audio interesting because of the comments which the MoF directed at David Ellis, Dennis Johnson, Corey Layne and Netafari Caddle in their role as talk show hosts. Listen and be the judge, justified you think?

Although the focus today [22/10/2013] is expected to be on a motion of No Confidence brought by the Opposition against the MoF the broadside by the MoF on the media should be of concern. At a time when the country should be fixated on finding ways to surmount the economic challenges this is where we find ourselves. Is it not interesting both political parties eventually become confrontational with the media?

Listen to the MoF’s comment followed by the Leader of the Opposition

Time to Usher in an Era of Political Maturity

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

Owen Arthur, Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley MP, Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Owen Arthur, Former Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley Leader of the Opposition, Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Good Evening,

Fellow Barbadians, let me say how pleased I am, that our recently held general election was incident free and fair. Let me congratulate all the candidates for maintaining the democratic process and thanks to all those hard working citizens, who ensured that the highest standards of conduct prevailed.

Let me specially congratulate our main opposition, the Barbados Labour Party, on its success although the party of which I currently have the honor of leading, the Democratic Labour Party was victorious on this occasion. As you know, the result was very close and while the Democratic Labour Party was returned to office, the voters clearly showed that they are looking to both parties to solve our problems. In other words, while we are buoyed by the victory, we realize that these are challenging times and both parties have put the health of our economy, as their main priority.

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Playing Politics at Every Turn – Are Barbadians Serious?

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

Kerri Symmonds, Deputy Leader of the BLP was reappointed to the Senate after a widely publicized marital dispute. 

Kerri Symmonds, Deputy Leader of the BLP was reappointed to the Senate by Owen Arthur after a widely publicized marital dispute.


I have long held fast to the belief that hypocrisy like the broken trident is symbolic of things Bajan. As I listened to Brasstacks today [Oct 18, 2013] on the Voice Of Barbados, I was reminded why. Caller after caller demanded to hear an apology from the minister of finance Chris Sinckler. Not because every single strategy….short, medium or long term employed by the minister has failed miserably, not because he has been fitted with a cloak of ignominy as the first ‘economist’ to be stumped by a decimal point, but because of a play that if nothing else is certainly par for the course as it relates to what we have accepted as party politics in the country that we all claim to love so much. Are we serious here?

We are burdened with an administration that has clearly lost its way, or better put has not yet found its intended path. A government that through its indecisiveness cannot frequently address the nation, and here we are allowing the real issues to be over shadowed by a proffered opinion, one politician about another. Are we serious here?

To the feminist movement that now demand and rightly so the instant halt to disrespect of our women, I ask you this. Does the name Andrea Symmonds ring a bell?  It was right here in this very forum that this writer read that the source of her distress was pressured to demit office by none other than Mia Motley, only to be reinstated in a nanosecond by Mr. Arthur who had forced Miss Motley from her position. Where were you then? When the steps to Senator Sandiford-Garner’s office were coated in human faeces back in 2008 where were your melodious voices then? Remind me of the stance you took when the police forcefully took the cameras from the female journalists a few years ago.

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Barbados Labour Party to File Motion of No Confidence in Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition to file motion of no confidence against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler - CLICK on image to listen to press conference

Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition to file motion of No Confidence against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler – CLICK on image to listen to press conference

Prime Minister Stuart: Life in Barbados Continues as Normal

Submitted by Douglas

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart delivered a wide ranging address at the Democratic Labour Party’s St. Philip North Branch meeting at the Hilda Skeene Primary School on Sunday, 13thOctober 2013.  In a packed room of branch members and party supporters, the DLP President and Prime Minister took the opportunity to thank the constituents of St. Philip North for their overwhelming support for Member of Parliament and Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley in the February 2013 General Elections.

He then went on to reassure those gathered that life in Barbados is normal despite what they had been hearing from an Opposition which he described as, “a hastily put together coalition of the restless, reckless and the rejected.”  He dismantled all of the recent Opposition attempts to foment unrest in Barbados by explaining the country’s position as it relates to the management of the economic challenges by protecting the foreign exchange reserves through the deficit reduction programme introduced in the 2013 Budgetary Proposals.

His wide-ranging presentation dealt with the payment of UWI tuition fees by Barbadian students, the status of temporary employees in the public service, the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, the Transport Board and the CCJ’s Judgement in the Shanique Myrie Case.

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A Ring a Ring o’ Roses: BLP DLP Same Party

Mia Mottley, Opposition Leader

Mia Mottley, Opposition Leader

Less than one year after the last general election and the sense in the BU household is that the country continues to be gripped in election mode. This is despite the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) having won the general election albeit by a narrow margin of two seats. The inability of the Stuart led government to bring Barbadians together and get on with improving the lot of the country has been a bane to many. To some the narrow result confirmed the disgust which the electorate has with the two main political parties.

Here is the flipside. BU is not convinced by  the alternative proposals which were championed by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) during the last general election campaign. There was the privatization argument which backfired, however, the thrust of the BLP’s offering is centred on maintaining a service economy read tourism and international business. Not to forget the promise of a more aggressive offshore oil exploration program. The BLP faithful appear not to accept that the world has changed post-2008. Barbados ‘leveraged’ a global economic boom where there was easy money to be borrowed from capital markets. A significant percentage of the billions left in foreign reserves by the BLP represented borrowings which will have to be repaid. The adage that one has to earn your way in the world means that a borrowing strategy was not sustainable.

The BU gang has been harping for years that the Barbados downward spiral can be tracked to a lack of leadership. In case the BLP hacks have forgotten, the economic indicators started to flag during Owen Arthur’s third term. There is evidence that Arthur and the BLP struggled with the economic conditions which had become harsher.

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Notes From a Native Son: A Nation with a Hollow Where Public Morality Ought to be

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The political and economic failure of Barbados is like a slow motion car crash which onlookers are powerless to do anything about. As we look on, we can see the economy heading for a reinforced wall like a speeding, driverless car; we observe our leading institutions collapsing like a pack of over-used cards, while the high priests and priestesses of society preach about the solidity of these very flawed institutions. It is like Armageddon, we run screaming to the captains of industry, but there is nothing they can do; we plead with our politicians, but they are not listening; we ask our professionals for help, but they are pre-occupied with feathering their own nests. Repeating the growing lists of failings may hurt, but that is not like the pain felt by the marginalised, the disadvantaged, the outcasts. Like the man left on the floor of the hospital for four hours without any attention, then only to have a kind soul throw a sheet over him; like the man who collapsed at the wheel of his vehicle, only to find that calls for an ambulance could not be met – while the so-called Defence Force has an abundance of ambulances. Like a government refusing to pay Mr Barrack, while still pretending that it can engage in big capital projects.

Death of a Dream:
I seem to pinpoint the historical juncture when this rot set in when we started Barbadianising all our top management and public sector positions, regardless of the quality of the talent to fill those positions. This runs from the quality of programming at CBC, the leadership of our secondary schools and the nature of decision-making in the public sector. The only explanation is the rise of a petit-bourgeois nationalism in the years since constitutional independence which, in many ways, is driving the nation back in to the dark days of neo-colonial rule. The dominant belief now is that, no matter which political party one belongs to or support, this Barbadianisation of public sector jobs is a social priority over and above the quality of the service we deliver to the long-suffering public. In many ways, the irony is that this retreat in to a self-protective nationalism is taking place while the island itself is giving way to new forms of Barbadian-ness. This weakness is in most part an outcome of a weak public intellectual movement, as a reflection of the wider ruling elite. It is a small elite which has found it intellectually and politically cosy not challenging each other and accepting a consensus which is not ideologically tested in any way.

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Barbados Labour Party Rubbing Shoulders

The ‘Rubbing Shoulders’ initiative of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has been attracting attention and criticism from the government of Barbados. Minister Ronald Jones has gone so far as to suggest that insurrection may result which may lead to the cracking of heads etc.

What is there to fear from the BLP talking directly to the people? Isn’t the opposition political party charged with ‘raising’ issues?

CBC News Staff Worried About Michelle Arthur Becoming Director of News

Submitted by CBC Staffer

Does Michelle Arthur have the inside track to take over as Director of News ?

Does Michelle Arthur have the inside track to take over as Director of News ?

There could be a strike or some kind of protest at CBC soon. Staff of the news and current affairs department are waiting to see who the board is going to appoint to head the department. Arnon Dyal has  been acting as director of news since Reudon Eversley resigned this year but he is supposed to go on retirement at the end of this month.

Michelle Arthur has been walking about telling people the prime minister promised her the job and the staff are awaiting to see if this will happen. Michelle Arthur is trouble. Few people at CBC like her. She has caused a lot of confusion and problems. The last time she was appointed to act in the position when Reudon Eversley was on study leave, she lasted two days. The staff walked out on her and CBC changed its mind. She walked about telling people it hurt because she was president of the BWU division and fight for staff and the staff did not stand up for her.

Staff have many issues with Michelle Arthur. She is behaving like she is the news director already. Every day now she parks in the yard in the spot for the Director of News and Current Affairs like she is sending a message. Michelle Arthur has created a lot of confusion and strife at CBC. Staff are worried that if she is appointed she will terrorise people because she terrorising people already as assignments editor. If she likes you, you can do what you like like her child father Sean Farrell who came into CBC one day and threatened to lick her up. If she does not like you, she walks over you and tries to make you look small in front of everybody. Shane Sealy can tell you. She has been trying real hard to get him out of CBC. The administrative assistant can tell you about Michelle Arthur and her childish behaviour.

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Sinckler's Honest Election Return

The following is authored by CASWELL FRANKLYN and was submitted as his bi-weekly commitment to the Nation newspaper. BU understands it was NOT published.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

During his speech to wrap up the debate on the 2013 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals in the House of Assembly, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, was quoted in another section of the media as saying:

“I don’t steal, I don’t rob anyone, I don’t do anything illegal or underhanded so they could listen as they like, it don’t bother me; so wunna could do what ever wunna like but the truth is going to come out in this country, oh yes it’s going to come out.”

He was speaking about his belief, paranoid or otherwise, that his phone had been tapped and his emails accessed. I must confess that he lost me when he claimed that he explained to the other party on the line that the click they heard would have been someone changing the tape. That suggests to me that he is far less technologically savvy as would be expected of someone in his position. Nobody uses tapes anymore: one little device the size of two fingers can record twenty-five hours of conversations if the battery does not run out of juice.

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Computer Glitched Layoffs?

Submitted by Napolean Bonaparte

Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security blames a computer glitch for the chaos surrounding payroll of temporary workers.

Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security blames a computer glitch for the chaos surrounding payroll of temporary workers.

What the Houdini, did I hear correct? Now they are blaming the removal of peoples’ names on binary malfunctions ****0101001011 glitch***? The computer does not ask anybody questions anymore nowadays. Was the reason given for why the 1,000 or so temporary workers were this week taken off the payroll list? So wait, just so Apple wid a bite decided to axe them off and for no apparent reason. Goat rolls I say, but sounds oh too familiar.  Recall the CLICO Deloitte report? Just so again, documents and all friendly copies (I still got mine) vanished into thin air with no logical explanation whatsoever.

Shifting mirror states we encouraging when we choose to play with peoples’ livelihood’s by offering scapegoat-isms and computer hoodlum- hoods. Why was it not Sir Roy who said he supported the call for austerity measures but asked for transparency? So what is so big about owning up to the truth anyway? Could it be to do with a now tired electioneered sound byte that continues to be repeated by some who would rather remain as ambiguous?

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A Marriage Made in Heaven

Submitted by Pachamama

Mia: ah hay Dipper tell you to form a national unity gouvment
Fruendel: well, I was tinking that Owen would have been a better partner. Dipper seemed to feel so ………….
Mia: Tom like he would agree too. But I is the maximum boss now, not Owen. He would never be able to overthrow me again!
Fruendel: the boys down under got other plans fuh he. Well, we can consider dah idea for the country. Like the social partnership, but deeper, as deep as Dipper use to dip and broader. The boys from down dey tink we could deepen we personal relationship too, yuh know.
Mia: but you aint got nuh wife
Fruendel: and you aint got nuh husband
Mia: so are you suggesting a powah alliance that is not merely political

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Notes From A Native Son: The Budget Speech Sinckler Should Make on Tuesday

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Mr Speaker, fellow members of parliament, I rise today with great humility; knowing the state of our nation’s economy and being aware of the weight of expectations by ordinary people, looking to me to provide the answers regarding their jobs, their welfare and their children’s futures.

Mr Speaker, I will do my best by delivering the package of reforms, monetary and fiscal, which I hope will lead us forward both in the short and medium terms.

The past five years have been tough, not only for us, but for the rest of the world; but it is to our little island home that I am given the great responsibility to pilot the ship of economic stability, growth and, with it prosperity for our people. It is a great responsibility and one that I am not treating lightly.

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A Cricket Match from Down Under

Submitted by Pachamama

Tom: hurry up and let we spin the toss, man!
Dipper: alright, but since we recruited Thomo you set a world record down hey for the number of declarations in one-dayers
Tom: you mean I got the record up dey and down hey too!
Dipper: yuh aint win one since, you is the only man whoever declare in a one day match because yuh frighten fuh fast bowling
Tom: but uh win every election though
Dipper: next time we gine have Burhnum on our side
Tom: Dipper that would be against the rules and yuh just recruit Richie to open the batting
Dipper: Yuh know he always liked to dress up like Snow White but can’t play too much cricket
Tom: we thinking about calling up Owen
Dipper: he can’t win anymore up top so yuh might as well
Tom: but we playing yuh to a draw on top
Dipper: No, a win is a win
Tom: if a win is a win, let we play another cricket-election match and see wuh Mia gine do to Fruendel

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Kerri Symmonds Should Have Been Yesterday’s Man

Ram_BoolaniUnderstandably the focus on BU and the wider public has been on the government and its travails managing the economy, or should we suggest the society. It is only fair however that from time to time we peep into the world of the Mia Mottley (MAM) lead opposition. After all the opposition is the government in waiting and therefore deserves our attention.

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