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.