The Manager Voice of Barbados (VOB) c/o Starcom Network Inc. River Road St. Michael Barbados, W.I
I was appalled to learn that on Sunday 5th November, VOB used its popular phone in programme, Brasstacks, to provide a platform to supporters and representatives of the apartheid Israeli government to justify the crimes this state is currently committing in Gaza that have outraged decent people in all corners of the world. These include the deliberate bombing of civilians in refugee camps, hospitals and ambulances resulting in the killing of thousands of people, including at least 4000 children. It is difficult to understand what would prompt the management of VOB to offer a platform to such people to try to justify these crimes. Do you think it would have been appropriate during the massacre of children in Soweto by the apartheid regime of South Africa to invite apologists for that apartheid regime onto radio in Barbados to “explain that the crimes they were committing were all the fault of Nelson Mandela and his terrorist ANC”?
To make matters worse, it is reported that the moderator reprimanded one of the panellists for comparing the activities of the Israeli regime and its supporters to those of Hitler and his Nazis. Again, it is difficult to understand what would have prompted the moderator to do this. At the most charitable, it would be that he had failed to do the necessary research to prepare him for discussion of the topic and so was acting out of ignorance. If he had done the research, he would have known that Zionism is a racist and anti-semitic political movement started in 19th century Europe that has nothing to do with Judaism, Christianity or the Bible.
So far almost 12,000 people dead after Storm Daniel struck Eastern Libya on the weekend which caused two dams to crash and unleash torrents of water into surrounding neighborhoods.
On the tiny idyllic island we are fortunate to live, too many Barbadians are happy to navel gaze as the sand fills the hourglass. We have become so entitled by a manufactured lifestyle as we continue to live in our tiny cocoon, unconcerned with the many natural AND man made challenges being visited on our fellowman elsewhere on the planet.
It challenges the accepted belief that although one race; a human race, we struggle to live up to the label as being the most intelligent and civilized specie of life occupying the earth.
…sources supports the view that a number one goal for the big money ‘players’ in Barbados is to craft ways to grow overseas bank accounts.
Very recently the blogmaster overheard veteran journalist David Ellis on the airwaves imploring Barbadians to ‘up de ting’ if we are serious about wanting to hold the political directorate accountable. He asked, [paraphrased] why are we satisfied with switching from BLP to DLP every other election cycle with the same problems brought forward unsolved and getting worse.
The truth, there is a humdrum and predictability to public debate in Barbados. The result is that the establishment will never be challenged to change the way it operates. What has become clear is that people power in Barbados is virtually non existent. We bicker and complain but lack the know-how to ‘package’ our discontent to that of people power.
In recent weeks the Savvy on the Bay affair has raised more questions than answers with other concerns adding to the mix. It is clear the public is being fed stories from different sides of the matter and to date Allan Kinch seems to be winning in the court of public opinion. There was a deal and now there is no deal – why has the Planning and Development Department (PDD) ignored Kinch’s application? Why has Kinch proceeded to alter the property without PDD approval? The blogmaster is not so naive to believe Kinch of Savvy on the Bay comes to the table with clean hands. He is a player.
Under its economic reform programme and arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, Government has committed to submitting NIS financial statements for the period 2010 to 2021 for audit by the Auditor General by March next year – Nation
This is the date by which a new entity must be up and operational, to avoid sending anything to the AudGen.
If the BTMI is any example, anything issued will be “unqualified”, meaning auditors have deemed the information incomplete, and hence cannot ‘qualify’ (have any minimum level of confidence in) their report.
BUT, the editor who penned for the Nation needs to also know, what the Act governing the NIS says.
33.(1) The Board shall (a) in each year prepare a report on its activities in its last preceding year and shall furnish such report to the Minister no later than the thirtieth day of June
The blogmaster has been in town too long to accept the Nation’s headline ‘Outdoor facilities awaiting green light emblazoned on today’s page 3A. There is no doubt in the mind of the blogmaster traditional media is easily manipulated by the political directorate and shadows with deep pockets not necessarily in that order.
Barbados Underground has posted blogs highlighting the ongoing struggle and frustration of Allan Kinch to develop his property located on Bay Street. The blogmaster does not have a bone in the fight, however, there is prima facie case as presented in the court of public opinion to more than hint there is more in the mortar than the pestle.
We boast of being the best positioned on the corruption perception index (CPI) in the Caribbean AND of being a model democracy. In fact traditional indicators reported by Transparency International and other watchdog agencies support the position. We should not be lulled into thinking that all is hunky dory because some “surveys which form the CPI … based on responses from academics, country specialists and business executives”, closes the matter. The question to be answered is what would be the results of similar surveys sent to Jane and John Citizenreveal.
The blogmaster like others is of the view we should be concerned about the level of white collar crime at the citizen AND corporate level which includes private and public sectors. Unfortunately the existing structure ‘undergirding’ our culture of doing business makes it a challenging undertaking to significantly attack corruption. There are several examples to explain.
The average man in the street is aware how licenses in the public service vehicle sector have been distributed for many years. If you know a minister or high ranking official at the ministry of transportation, for a small contribution in some form, a license can be secured. Note the interaction between citizen and public official. Often times the citizen represents wealth and high social standing standing in the society. Therefore one can understand how positions taken are supported and sustained in wider society. Every where a political system exist, politicians and public officials are inclined to corrupt behaviour because greed from time immemorial is known as one of the 7 deadly sins.
Has Sir Richard Lionel Cheltenham KA., KC, Ph.D been called by the Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association for grave professional misconduct and is in breach of 22 of the clauses of the Legal Profession Act?
The Barbados legal eagle was ordered by the disciplinary Committee to submit a sworn affidavit to the complaint #31 0f 2020 and appear for the hearing of the complaint. How could such a case escape the media when other attorneys in breach with the same professional misconduct are being prosecuted and imprisoned?
Scott informed the committee that the Sir Richard, summoned called by this court, with status and authority of the High Court, will not be attending the second hearing in March.
I normally take my best advice. Therefore, I wish to publicly forgive those whom I have publicly criticised for doing me harm.
I forgive the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration for confiscating part of my retirement savings and pension, changing the laws of Barbados to make that theft legal, and not allowing me to access all the remainder of my retirement savings until the year 2033.
I forgive the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration for what the BLP called “the lost decade”. During seven years of that decade, I was not allowed to tender on construction projects in Barbados because of their corrupting procurement policy.
I forgive our politically partisan professionals. They include: economists, accountants, lawyers, journalists, and political scientists who criticised behaviour when it was done by the political party they did not support, and praised the same behaviour when it was done by their preferred political party.
I forgive our established media, who work with their political party to suppress the voices of credible Barbadians, so that the media’s audience is mainly informed about the views of the media’s political party.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley is on leave until November 3, 2022 and the public – despite offering strident dissatisfaction about the colossal muck up at the Ministry of Education arising from the infamous IDB Science Test – not a single person has been terminated for such a fatal mistake. The only casualty appears to be Peter Wickham.
The member of parliament for St. Michael West Neil Rowe was this week charged with rape, it has been widely carried in the social and traditional media. The fact that statement details given to the Barbados Police Service (BPS) by the victim was leaked is also of interest. It is the second time in recent weeks the BPS has been accused of a breach in confidentiality. The blogmaster agrees with those who opine the BPS will find it challenging to carry out its job in the circumstances and must hastily address the matter.
It is running more than 14 days since the IDB sponsored Science Test 11 year olds were coerced to complete. If one follows the newsfeeds the noise in the public space although fading continues to demand answers for the disrespect shown to children, parentss and actors in the school system. The kernel of dissatisfaction is the covert manner offensive questions were clandestinely inserted in the MOE/IDB sponsored Science Test.
The blogmaster has made his position known in an earlier blog – checks and balances were compromised at every step of the management process – which includes the Ministry of Education as the government agency responsible under our laws for administering education and the last defence, the management at the schools which without question allowed non school personnel for a period to assume responsibility for young children on different occasions.
Born in 1930, Budapest, Hungary, Soros hails from a Jewish family. Due to the invasion of the Nazis in 1944, his family was scattered. Soros experienced trauma and tragedy; suffering and surviving; loss and grief.
The author of several books, Soros wrote: The Alchemy of Finance (1987), The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (1998), and The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means (2008). He was the subject of the documentary Soros (2019).
Most of us know Soros is among the 10 wealthiest people on the planet. Many of us know he is founder/chair of the Open Society Foundation.
Who is Soros? Hmmm. It depends on who you ask. Those who criticize Soros are labeled as right-winged extremists, conspiracy theorists or anti-Semitic.
But until recently, most of us (aka average hard-working citizens) were not aware of his involvement with Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum – the “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy” guy with the depopulation agenda.
His other pals include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, the deceased David Rockefeller, and the Rothchild banking dynasty patriarchs. Is Soros the puppet master that controls world leaders? Is he the megalomaniac behind the curtain that barks orders to U.S. presidents, both Democrat and Republican, both past and present? Does he entertain Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton at dinner parties? Does he go on fishing trips with Henry Kissinger, Justin Trudeau, Albert Bourla, Peter Daszak, Xi Jinping, Pope Frances? Is Jeff Bezos on his speed dial?
Does Soros own or influence the fact-checkers? “The International Fast-Checking Network is a forum for fast-checkers worldwide hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The Poynter Institute is largely funded by George Soros´ Open Society Foundations, Google, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, Ebay´s Omidyar Foundation, and others.” Visit https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343962629_Who_is_going_to_Fast_Check_the_Fast_Checkers.
Is Soros a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg group, and does he influence the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease and Control, Food and Drug Administration, United Nations, Big Pharma, big business? Does Soros influence The Federal Reserve, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund?
“Large swaths of Europe and America view him as evil incarnate, sure that he’s putting entire countries at risk. They hold him responsible for the financial collapse of a long list of countries including Thailand, Malasia, Indonesia, Japan and Russia,” according to a 2021 article by journalist Nirit Anderman at https://www.haaretz.com/.
Who is George Soros? Megalomaniac, psychopath, narcissist, monster, modern-day super villain, mastermind of the New World Order for global dictatorship, minion of Satan.
Who is George Soros? American financier, author, philanthropist, liberal activist of social causes, currency manipulator, wealthy elitist.
Readers, use your critical thinking skills as you connect the dots. Do I trust mainstream media? No. Do I trust the fact-checkers? No. And I am not a right-winged extremist, a conspiracy theorist or anti-Semitic. I am neither on the side of Democrats nor Republicans – I am on the side of truth, civil liberties, freedom, and justice for all.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is a syndicated opinion-editorial columnist. She lives in U.S.
There is the saying often posted in this space that the price of freedom (democracy) is eternal vigilance. A necessary component to safeguarding our freedom (democracy) is a relevant media. An extract from The Role of Media in Democracy: A Strategic Approach authored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) states:-
A free, objective, skilled media is an essential component of any democratic society. On the one hand, it provides the information which the polity require to make responsible, informed decisions. On the other, it performs a “checking function” ensuring that elected officials uphold their oaths of office and campaign promises and that they carry out the wishes of the electorate.
The blogmaster is reminded everyday since March 2007 when Barbados Underground (BU) went live on the WordPress platform the importance of a relevant media. We recall the VOB Sunday Brasstacks show when social commentator and retired hotelier Adrian Loveridge was forced to contribute to the program from a separate studio because it was the condition for the participation of former Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch.
During one of last week’s VOB’s Brasstacks shows the blogmaster was again reminded of the naked manipulation of traditional media by a caller (was it you William?) who questioned the Nation Publishing company’s decision to anoint Khaleel Kothdiwala a columnist to replace Dr. Kristina Hinds. The caller’s simple and well articulated logic was – with the BLP in total control of the Lower House, why select Khaleel who is a BLP card carrying member. It does not mean Khaleel lacks the capacity to share a perspective on a myriad topics, however, making Khaleel a columnist ensured the leading publishing house in the country slammed the door on an opportunity to improve vigilance in our democracy.
This is not a personal attack on Khaleel, he obviously is an intelligent young man who is committed to be a BLP sponsored politician. And it is his right, to align with a political party of his choice. This is an attack on the Nation Publishing for allowing itself to be manipulated directly or indirectly into making Khaleel a columnist. We may speculate this is the Nation Publishing being opportunistic by contracting a young man whose star is rising or that ‘someone’ made a telephone call.
The current administration has invested in the media and media personnel has invested in the Mottley administration. Some media practitioners were forced out of CBC and landed at Starcom. But some of the others are riding the fatted calf for all it is worth. (David Thompson spoke of the fatted calf being shared among the DLP members after the elections in 2008. Fourteen years later we are still there.)
They may be professionals but how many of their statements in the print media, behind a microphone or in front of a TV camera were motivated by a political agenda or professional integrity.
The Market Vendor aka Vic Fernandes has been used to influence the public with comedy and encourage John Public to rail against individuals and groups with views against the government of the day. Don’t forget when the vendor lambasted the DLP government.
Corey Layne was said to be an objective moderator on the airwaves. Any person who is a critical thinker must question that thinking by now.
We must be more aware of what is being put out by the media, who is the source and why news items are considered newsworthy or not.
Pay attention to where these people have turned up…
1. David Ellis, Starcom (Station Manager, Retired) – COVID-19 Public Advisor (Sep. 2021-present)
Barbados has officially joined the ranks of politically polarized societies. Like the fly on the wall the blogmaster has been observing the quality of debate on a myriad of issues and as a commenter on BU would describe it, the signal noise is deafening and the divisiveness is real.
Permit the blogmaster be clear, citizens of a country giving vent to issues is expected in a working democracy. It is better than throwing rock stones at those you disagree with or worse, engaging in violent criminal acts by resorting to guns, knives and other weapons. Although Barbados has been experiencing an increase in gun play, it is mainly associated with the ‘underworld’ and has not yet permeated mainstream affairs. Again allow the blogmaster be clear, increase criminal activity in any country is linked to underlying societal issues. A subject for another day.
The challenge beginning to emerge for Barbadians is the inability of stakeholders to robustly debate issues to reach consensus or what is popularly referred to as a win win position. One may argue significant investment in education over the years should have steered us away from the current trajectory. A path that is leading to nowhere fast. Is it we are failing in the area of informal education?
All those years ago Gabby penned the popular ‘One Day Coming Soon’ banned by the Tom Adams government. Prophetically the people are waking up and we are witnessing a spiking in the lack of trust directed at the establishment – the political directorate, media, police, justice system; LAWYERS to name a few. What is creating the problem for the establishment: as it continues to sleep more citizens are waking up from various states of ignorance adding to the increase in signal noise.
Unfortunately until the political directorate makes the adjustment to align with the expectations of an ‘awoke’ people, fallout from the signal noise will continue to be a drag on any effort to move the country forward.
We have the current situation of the Mottley government forcing through the transition to a Republic. Although there is anecdotal acceptance the time has come and gone to replace the foreign ceremonial head of state with a local, there is concern enough was not done to engage Barbadians to gain buy in to the process AND if this was the plan from reading the 2018 BLP manifesto, there was enough time to have updated the Constitution in order to avoid criticism in some quarters that the piecemeal implementation does not fit an educated country well. What we see playing out as Walter Blackman accurately observed is a Barbados Labour Party government concluding it has the political capital to do as it wishes largely because of a weak political opposition.
The message in the clip never grows old and fits Barbados like a glove. Unfortunately the current predicament we find ourselves cannot be solved in weeks, months or even a few years. Good governance and concomitant success does not happen by accident, it has to be led and planned.
The Barbados Underground household extends sympathy to the family of the late Dennis Johnson.
Some may recall Dennis was an active commenter to the blog in the period 2008 to 2015. Unfortunately he stopped because of the constant ad hominems and how anonymity was abused to distort by a few. Notwithstanding his position this blogmaster respected the man for what he stood for, his body of work will ensure his legacy endures for the ages.
Below are a few of his many comments posted to BU which are linked to the blog posting.
May he rest in peace.
Well, it happened with “Hot Hot Hot” and “Who Let The Dogs Out”…. artistes other than calypsonians recorded them and they broke into the US market. In fact, Arrow re-recorded “Hot Hot Hot” in a Country & Western style for line dancing! So, Rihanna doing a calypso, is not too far-fetched. BUT …. the question will be which one? Alison Hinds “Come up to my bamsee boy, and Aye, Aye, Aye?”
David: Programme Managers should handle music rotation, but, there must also be checks to ensure THEIR particular bias[es] do not overpower everything. Personally [and that means speaking as “me” and not as a Programme Manager] I would like to see a small committee of three manage rotations. Asiba: Missed out on the Maths. Did not like the subject too much. But… Try these figures: 10 -12 songs per hour. Prime Time: [morning] 06:00 -09:00 a.m. and Prime Time [afternoon] 03:00 – 05:00 p.m. [or 04:00 -06:00 p.m] That’s five  hours. Monday to Friday – five  days. Let’s try to put it all together. 12 songs per hour for five hours = 60 songs. Multiply that by 5 days per week = 300 songs. YOU said: There were 600 songs released, and I agreed with you. So IF ALL were released together [and they were NOT….but, let’s assume they were] To play all 600 would take 2 weeks. Then … second rotation [of all] another 2 weeks,. How long is the “Crop Over Season”? six weeks???? Three rotations!!! I know my maths. is really poor, but how many more rotations would you get ? [Remember what you said: 40 or so songs in rotation in prime time!]…. just following your logic.
@Adrian: In a year when it is forecast there will be no peace and plenty, may I wish you – enough! I agree with you and Gen. Lee on the issue of “willingness”. But that is the journalist who understands what is journalism and is committed to upholding the tenets of that noble profession. Sadly, there are many who see it as a means to an end. That “end” is sometimes no more than free passes to cocktailed receptions, upscale events and eventual reward with a post of “Corporate Communications Specialist”. Now, I am not knocking those who bear that title nobly; but as with every profession, there are pretenders, and there are dedicated practitioners.
I hesitated; started to write this; stopped; thought long and hard, then decided to go ahead. May I pose the following questions [to no one in particular]: Who publishes or broadcasts news stories? Journalists? If a journalist said to an Editor or publisher or Producer: “I have started an expose on Corruption in the Judiciary. I need two weeks to focus on this to complete it”. What do you think the response will be? If and when such an expose was completed, how long do you think it would take before it was published? How many checks, and double checks. How many “screenings” by “legal advisors”, and questions about “sources”? Journalists in Barbados are, at best, poorly trained, poorly paid and recognised more as public relations outlets than as sources of credible information. Most of the comments contained in this thread supports my belief.
Sadly, I cannot promise any new “Julians” on the horizon. Broadcasters of the calibre of Julian Rogers, Desmond Bourne, [Dame] Olga Lopes-Seale, Vic Fernandes, Leo deLeon etc. seem to be in short supply at the moment. But, seemingly against all odds, a Barack Obama emerged on the US landscape, after years of a George Bush; so maybe – just maybe – we are in our “Bush” years , and some “Obama” years [or Julian Rogers years] will follow. Quien sabe?
I [somewhat reluctantly] must make this intervention on behalf of my station. I constantly hear [and read] of concerns about defamation. What I seldom [if ever] hear about is reference to a small matter called a license. That “small matter” can be revoked for broadcasting matter that offends public morals, stirs up disaffection against any section of the population, and a host of other infractions. Does anyone recall the PM’s comment about Political Broadcasts and “some stations breaking the law”? If the Broadcast Authority decides that comments made about Guyanese nationals in Barbados [select any of those printed on this blog by Negroman as an example] are representative of a breach of the broadcast license, and suspends the operations of Starcom Network Inc. [all four stations], please consider the financial loss [over the period it would take to obtain a review or re-instatement], and the effect on the future of call-in programmes on that [or any] network
At the risk of being hammered out of the park, may I offer another view. The OECS territories have a common currency and one Central Bank; BUT … there is no freedom of movement! CSME does NOT mean free entry for whosoever may! Nor does it mean freedom to come looking for jobs, wives and husbands, or hiding out and having children to get “status”. What is does mean is that RPB, Alison, Krsofyah, Dorsey Boyce, Merville Lynch, DJ Fuzz, Peter Coppin, Peter Ram, QSI Sounds, and a whole group of very talented Bajans could go to any Caribbean island and perform, set up stage, sound, lighting etc. and get paid for their various talents [in US dollars if they so desire] and continue to live in Bim, their homeland.
The problem is: other Caribbean islands took steps to secure their borders; made sure our artistes had work permits, visas, and whatever other immigration documentation they required BEFORE letting them into their countries. WE let in all and sundry for all sorts of spurious reasons, and then started to bawl when the flood started to wash everything away. The fault is not CSME; and you are all wise enough to know where the fault lies. Be bold enough to put the blame where it belongs.
Attempts at Caribbean integration have always been [and I fear will always be] dogged by insularity. When the Caricom Travellers Cheque was introduced as the currency to be used for travel within the region, in TT dollars, Jamaica did not recognise it. Guyana owed Barbados millions under the CMCF, and did not pay. The OECS was once referred to as the “Organisation of Eugenia, Compton & Son” in the days when they sought shelter under the Regan umbrella. Today, Comrade Ralph, his protege in Dominica and the Godfather from T&T are seeking to establish a new network to mirror the Eugenia, Compton, Tom and Son days. This time, they are hoping the finance will come from the oil barons of the region: Trinidad and Venezuela. We have been sold to the highest bidder from the sweet days of slavery, and are still offering ourselves to the highest bidder today. We like it so!…
Outside of editorials, newspapers do not comment; they report. Across the region, newspapers that carry analysis and comments usually disassociate themselves from the commentary and analysis. Media entities that do not depend on advertising revenue are usually government controlled and/or subsidised, or owned and controlled by some very wealthy, usually anonymous individuals. Just some random thoughts generated by your comments.
[whisper] – Ah still employ by de same people – OCM. It is just that I am not afraid; of anything.
My fear is that we create these positions [This Ombudsman, That Authority, Auditor General, Czar, and so on] and then we either ignore their recommendations, or take “note” and no action. I am as concerned as you are, about threats to our practice of democracy. I am even more concerned that so few people seem to consider it so!
A few months ago the blogmaster relented to a request from two post-grad students and shared a few insights. The result in the paper attached – CASE STUDY REPORT – What are the motivating factors for news blogging? The Case of Barbados Underground.
Unfortunately the information sharing from Barbados Underground was not as free flowing as should have been ideal but the paper is a fair effort. The reason the blogmaster agreed to share – there is an urgent need for more bloggers to setup on platforms like WordPress to secure more control of the content and therefore be protected from the tentacles of the establishment. Posters to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are beginning to battle with interference from the publishers AND we know how easy it is to report a post on those platforms.
The blogmaster takes this opportunity to express deep appreciation to all contributors and commenters to Barbados Underground from the inception (est 2007).
In a Sunday Nation Article of 2020 – Next Friend not happy her case is thrown out – I reported some anomalies in an elder abuse case in the High Court in Barbados particularly the difficulty in getting the relevant agencies to respond.
First of all, I initiated that article in a social media group intending to do my independent reporting because I was long disillusioned with the negative slant of the Nation Newspapers’ reporting. I was, however, contacted by the Nation Report-Or about it since it was shared with her by a colleague involved in elder abuse also. I sent my typed article via email.
I never stated that I was the Next Friend. I couldn’t have since I am no blood relative of the elder. That’s the hasty conclusion the Report -OR or her Edit-OR who jumped to in an effort to sensationalize a serious issue and increase sales. They only know one thing.
Having merely scanned my complaint then listened to Lashley’s diatribe, the Report-OR went to press without further investigations. Had she gotten off of her hefty laurels and visited the Registry and read the file and made a sound analysis of the legal case and the outcome such nonsense would not have been sold to the Barbados public.
Further, she would have had on record that Lashley was not the Attorney who represented the family in the case and instead would have gone and gotten comments from the representing Attorney. She would also have had even a copy of that first Order that was made and signed by the Judge.
Too often, Nation Reporters are printing lopsided and ridiculously subjective opinions on matters that should be given more serious attention and scholarship. Elder abuse is not your daily Soap Opera.
So one year later this issue has arisen in another country in the Region and the Nation Newspapers and its Report-OR is being held to scrutiny. How different is the legal outcome versus that rubbish?
So my assignment for the Report-Or is to visit the Registry, get the file and write a propper article on the outcome of that elder abuse case that was treated under the Mental Health Act. Find out what because of the Order the judge made and signed.
The country continues to be embroiled and pitched forked from one issue to the next; transitioning to a republic, pandemic, tanking economy, DLP resurrection, National Insurance Fund (blogmaster’s pick)…
The latest issue choking public conversation-feeds is veteran journalist David Ellis answering the call up to national duty to serve in the role as Covid 19 Public Advisor. The blogmaster has no problem with decisions made by individuals as it affects career and livelihood. Although it is regrettable the single journalist who stands tall in the local arena was first put out to pasture because of company policy, followed by his right to make a decision to leave the profession- he hosted popular talk show 2-days weekly- to serve in his new role. Let us hope for the sake of Barbados he is successful in helping the country navigate the Covid 19 challenge.
Ellis known to ask searching questions of public officials will be missed as it pertains to government’s recent decision to import 150 prefab houses from China. Peter Wickham hosted Minister Duguid last week to discuss the matter and more questions were created than answered from the exercise. When Mr. Ellis called the show to ask more relevant questions, it seems preference was given to reading messages from WhatsAppers.
It has been reported a local company East West Buildings Solutions Barbados promised to complete the setup of the prefab houses within 42 days. This government promised to be transparent therefore Minister William Duguid should be able to answer a few reasonable questions.
Who are the directors (beneficial owners) of East West Building Solutions Barbados?
Usually Mark Maloney and Bjorn Bjerkhamn are on the same page, this time both have been reported to be singing from different hymn sheets. What is different this time around?
Why was Maloney not asked by traditional media if he has been(will be) contracted to supply services and materials as part of the physical preparation for setup of the Chinese prefab houses?
The taxpayers deserve to know.
The BU community is free to add questions or share information to enlighten an unknowing public.
The blogmaster tuned into the Brasstacks show on Voice of Barbados yesterday because the topic was about press freedom. It is a ‘large topic’ and one that could not be fairly discussed in 2 hours. The moderator Dr. Kristina Hinds gave it her best effort supported by panellists David Ellis, Carol Martindale (journalists) and Michelle Russell (lawyer).
A few observations from the show:
The traditional media must accept that citizen journalism is a permanent feature how the public consumes and distributes information. Opinion blogs and other social media outlets do not need validation from traditional media to continue to define the information landscape.
The traditional media must manage convergence of traditional and social media tools to maintain competitiveness to deliver on its mandate. This has nothing to do with acceptance and penetration of non traditional media players. The traditional media must ponder why there has been the explosion of citizen journalism activity. The reason is simple. Traditional media has fallen woefully short of playing the watchdog and advocacy role required in a well functioning democracy and can be cited for contributing to some of the challenges we currently face. The blogmaster will be fair to admit we have some unsavoury and dishonourable characters who resort to social media platforms under the cloak of anonymity to pursue mischief. Here is the rub, some of these unsavoury and dishonourable characters occupy honourable positions in the society when wearing other hats.
Panellists freely admitted local journalists are not adequately paid therefore a reasonable conclusion to make is that there is roomto question the quality of work by the traditional media. How ironic the Nation newspaper selected Senator Caswell Franklyn as the news personality of the year after he was sacked as a columnist with his appointment to the Senate in 2018.
The explosion of non traditional media means it significantly acts as an influencer; opinion shaper. Smart governments, best in class organizations understand the importance of leveraging its power. Does it explain why the Mia Mottley led government established the Department of Public Affairs? Of course it does.
If the traditional media was doing its job the blogmaster suspects the government and vested NGO agencies would be forced to add a more coherent and strident voice to issues of the day. It is unsatisfactory for the media practioners to say, we cover this story and that story offered on the program yesterday. It is how the story is covered to ensure resonance with the target audience.
With the National Insurance Scheme severely compromised and government’s inability to make public up-to-date audited financials, why is this not a priority item for traditional media? Does it have to do with the lack of financial expertise in traditional media rank?
With the hire of boutique firm White Oak Advisory to assist government with renegotiating contracts with local and foreign creditors, why the veil of secrecy concerning the current status of the relationship? A respected media should have been qualified to ferret out this information to serve the public it has a mandate to serve.
What is the status of the Cahill Agreement and how much money are taxpayers liable?
Since the 70s going back to late prime minister Tom Adams successive governments have tagged team to frustrate the proclamation and operationalizing of Transparency Legislation. Governance is not a sexy topic BUT the traditional media with its resources can do a better job to keep this important issue front and centre, that is, to report and at the same time distil its importance required by a well functioning democracy. Many of the problems we currently face are rooted in a crumbling governance structure.
How was the Eager 11 case settled after several members took to the Court to defend their honour?
What has happened to Senator Lucille Moe?
At the risk of generating a 2000 word prolix, let us agree there is a vacuum created by a poorly performing traditional media, this has given rise to a strident citizen journalism voice – the interference from deep pockets, the tentacles of interfering governments and members of the political class, the inability/unwillingness of local journalist/media houses to coalesce around shared objectives and strategies to deliver on the mandate of a high performing media…
After the volcanic eruption in St Vincent, the Government held a news conference on 11 April 2021, and declared that fake news was killing us. The Government explained that the Commissioner of Police will be asked follow-up on fake news, since it can lead to a loss of life.
I expected the press to ask some questions about this new path on which Barbados is being directed. But the Government charmed the media present by giving them an honorary non-fake news title. It seems that the media did not want to risk having this new title taken away.
At the news conference, the public was advised to repeatedly sweep the ash from their roofs. I strongly advised against this, noting foreseen death from falling off a slippery ladder. Last week, someone died from falling off a ladder while trying to follow the advice. To whom should the Commissioner of Police be sent?
FAKE NEWS CAREERS.
Politicians normally make a career out of falsely accusing their political opponents – the ultimate fake news. When they form a government, they normally create fake news to avoid disclosing inconvenient information.
Fake news is information that is provably false. All news media, without exception, spread fake news. Some do it unintentionally, and then issue corrections once they become aware of their errors. Others intentionally spread what they know to be false, in service to their political party.
An independent press will allow all evidence-based ideas to contend, so that the truth may be revealed by discussing an exchange of ideas.
BARBADOS NEWS MEDIA.
Barbados’ news media have a mix of responses to fake news. A few of them allow evidence-based discussions. This allows the public to see which arguments are supported by the evidence, and which ones are based on speculation. The remainder only allow the views of their political party on politically sensitive topics.
When media outlets spread obvious fake news, and block evidence-based discussions that can expose fake news as false, then it prompts citizens to ask, why. Once people try to answer that ‘why’ question, they risk having their suggestions labelled conspiracy theories.
DISSERVICE TO OUR YOUTH.
The fear of discussing issues is doing the next generation of Barbadians a grave disservice. They need to witness an honest discussion of ideas, not a persecution of those brave enough to offer different explanations of the evidence.
Why are our media preventing the next generation of Barbadians from benefiting from evidence-based discussions? In countries like North Korea, their media persons must fearfully promote fake news as truth, to avoid being executed. That may be a valid excuse for promoting fake news. So, what is Barbados’ news media’s excuse?
The COVID 19 pandemic continues to be a challenge for many countries across the globe including Barbados. To shutdown or not is the question being asked by Barbadians. This evening’s briefing by the government will provide the answer.
Community spread has now been officially declared in Barbados and the testing backlog has been fixed. Attached are current charts up to 22nd Jan. We should now get a clearer picture of the dynamics of the virus in Barbados and the other 4 Caribbean countries we have been tracking. Panic now seems to be the general reaction here so far but I think that is unwarranted. I think that in about 3 weeks we should have a clearer picture of how the outbreak will likely progress here. In the meantime be very careful – Lyall Small
The conviction of former Minister Donville Inniss in the United States of America an his upcoming sentencing has been smothered by news of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020. The matter blipped twice in the newsfeed this month when first it was reported Inniss fired his lawyer Anthony Ricco and replaced him with Joel Hirschhorn to challenge how he (Inniss) was represented in the matter heard by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto. Second, co-defendants INGRID INNES and ALEX TASKER are currently facing extradition requests from the USA to answer charges in the indictment (see link below).
The question observers continue to ask is why has the local authority not grasped the opportunity to pursue criminal action against local parties if there is agreement Barbados is the source of the charge of money laundering currently being pursued in a US court.
The other question the blogmaster has floated is to what extent the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) suffers collateral damage from the matter IF Inniss has to do jail time.
On the 54th anniversary of our Independence as it is referred to signify the slashing of our navel string from former empire, several issues floated around the fertile mind of a lowly blogmaster about what to blog.
We will read, listen view the usual scripting by program directors at the media houses. Barbadians everywhere will share on social media platforms things barbadianna. This is a good thing. The BU household is proud of what our tiny 21×14 little rock has been able to achieve with negligible natural resources. Like many countries across the globe, we are experiencing challenges that come with having to survive in a competitive space.
Some of us reflect on where we have come and try to visualize the road ahead still to be travelled. It is to be regretted that the some who are moved to engage in such reflections do not represent the majority. A reasonable observation is that the vast majority of the population is easily influenced by messaging from the establishment. Should this be the case given the billions of dollars allocated to education since 1966? A definition of the purpose of formal education “is to provide a knowledge source to enhance students’ skills, methods to capitalize and motivate their curiosity (BU emphasis) to improve their wellness and understand how their environment works...”. Hold this thought!
Barbados Underground (BU) was born after Adrian Loveridge had to sit in a separate VOB studio because it was the condition imposed by then minister of tourism Noel “Barney” Lynch. Several Loveridge columns were severely edited by the Nation newspaper were posted unedited to BU. The same courtesy was extended to Peter Wickham when the Nation declined to publish articles they considered to be defamatory. BU posted the articles unedited. Last and not least the same courtesy was extended to Senator Caswell Franklyn. The blogmaster is happy that today the individuals mentioned appear to have overcome whatever challenges existed with Starcom Network and Nation Publishing which denied them access.
To use another definition- a well functioning mass media should “inform, persuade, entertain and transmit culture“. Can we honestly opine that local media if evaluated on these four measures pass the test?
@ David I read some of the press comments you posted and will say just this. Anytime someone says the NIS Fund is sound cause it has 4 or 5 billion dollars in assets stop reading the article. It equated to me saying I have a $50,000 car cause that is what I paid for it, don’t mind it’s ten years old and has a market value of $5000.
The quote inspired this blog for what it indirectly condemns as an irresponsible media, dishonest heads institutions and prominent others whose agenda is to protect the establishment at all cost. Why are we not having constructive engagement from the thousands of Barbadians educated at Cave Hill and elsewhere? Why has there been no commitment to remove the fog that has enveloped the National Insurance Fund? Why has traditional media given token coverage to this matter?
The topic of the NIS has to be the most posted topic on BU. Despite assurances by successive governments, it has become crystal clear to this blogmaster the time has come for all issues good and bad affecting the NIS fund to be laid bare and as a people agree to a palatable way forward.
On this 54th birthday of our Independence this is the matter top of the mind of a lowly blogmaster. The ask therefore is that 54 not out is a good time to mark fresh guard.
@John A sadly Covid 19 is a respiratory thing, and hastily removed all the breathing space they thought they had gained. And then exposed that, with a prior serious underlying condition.
This morning the blogmaster entered the local newsfeed from traditional media to be swamped with the predictable-news about the selection of General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni More to represent the BLP in St. George North in the upcoming by-election. The proposal by the government to rename the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill in Owen Arthur’s name. The pros and cons of going republic and others. Some if us do not forget that the traditional media has a weighty responsibly to report news as it happens AND to present issues of the day to the general public. A professional and educated cadre of journalists has the awesome power to influence the citizenry.
However, one of the biggest threats to a stable society is rising CRIME, in the case of tiny Barbados; increasing gun violence. Both political parties have been targeted in the fight against crime and today the country is reaping the whirl wind. Successive governments AND private sector have not harmonized policies to sustain the economic well being of the country to address the economic and social needs of Barbadians, especially our young people. Many Barbadian families have not managed households well enough to inculcate wholesome values because they lack meaningful support.
In recent hours the blogmaster updated the Murder Tracker in the sidebar to 33 to include the body found last week on the rocks at the Animal Flower Cave and last night the random killing of a young man know as ‘Nutman’. Barbadian pedestrians and motorists should recall the mannerly young man who sold nuts at the junction of Pine Road. From all reports he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The effect of crime on working class neighbourhoods like the Pine, Silver Hill and others must be given priority by the society. The consistent high unemployment in working class neighbourhoods in Barbados because of a lack of economic opportunity has created an underclass. Yesterday members of the BU intelligentsia reiterated a call to gentrify Bridgetown. We need similar calls to implement programs to uplift our working class neighbourhoods; improve the economic opportunities, improve the housing, eliminate the crime bosses who take advantage of this vulnerable class of society. Recently Zack Robert Nadur, an upper class 74 year old man was arrested and charged with possession of 50 rounds of .32 ammunition at his residence without a licence. We need to see more!
Shopkeeper Shirley Lynch is pleading for help as she watches her livelihood fall victim to crime. The pensioner has been operating a shop in Golden Rock, The Pine, St Michael, since 1994. (Video by Sandy Pitt)#MeAndMyNation#YourNewsYourTimeYourWay#Barbados#LoveMyNation
Just last month the blogmaster read the impassioned cry from Shirley Lynch (quoted above) who operates a village shop in the area where ‘Nutman’ was reported to be liming outside his home last night. So many Barbadians including our politicians live in an alternate universe. There must be a fit for purpose Crime and Social Plan to arrest what is playing out at Golden Rock the Pine and similar working class neighbourhoods across Barbados. The social and economic cost is rising a la inner city Chicago. The time has come for Barbadians to reject the usual platitudes from the police, politicians, pretend social practitioners and NGOs et al. We allocate millions of dollars to implement trite projects and forget about the importance of developing meaningful social programs to assist our most vulnerable. What do we think will happen eventually if so many of our children underperform in the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination? What do we think will happen if our parents who need help are not supported?
Prime Minister Mia Mottley continued the recent trend of making controversial and contentious announcements. She revealed government’s recommendation to rename the University of the West Indies in recognition of the late prime minister Owen Arthur. To honour convention of parliament parliamentarians in the Lower House set aside yesterday to pay tributes to the late prime minister.
The blogmaster has no problem with recognizing Owen Arthur to recognize his contribution to Barbados and the region. The Vice Chancellor and her management team will decide if to accept the recommendation from the government of Barbados, who by the way is its biggest contributor to UWI’s finances.
There is a creeping feeling by the blogmaster Barbadians – as is our inclination – are being distracted by ‘political noise’ and the current dire state of the economy is being relegated. There are several national conversations on the go – recognition of same sex unions, push to be a republic next year, by-election in St. George North and the latest – proposed renaming of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. It does not help that the political opposition and media will be consumed by these events and there the masses.
It has been more than ten years the Barbados economy has been performing poorly – a situation triggered by the global financial crisis of 2008. Some of us are old enough to remember the oil crisis of the 70s as well as the fiscal challenges of the 90s which negatively affected the cost of living for Barbadians. There was the global economic boom of the 90s that ended in the early 2000s which coincided with the Owen Arthur administration. Although Arthur is credited with overseeing a reduction in unemployment to 7% and creating an unprecedented number of jobs, it is fair to say he had an easy wicket bat on.
There is a generation of Barbadian who has not had to experience the level of economic hardship currently affecting the country. This is exposed by the national conversations being generated daily in the different fora. We have two arguments we should not conflate in the ongoing debate.
There is casting blame on the political leadership AND Barbadians at large for not influencing and implementing effective economic and social models to navigate exogenous shocks which small open economies are most vulnerable.
Now that we have mired in economic and social stagnation for more than a decade with a contracting economy; high unemployment especially in the youth segment, high debt to GDP, crumbling physical infrastructure, National Insurance Scheme in the cross hairs, judicial system operating under the stress of a heavy backlog to name a few – there is the fierce urgency of now that should give wings to policymaking and the execution of projects by the government and other stakeholders in civil society.
There is who to blame AND there is the urgent need to address the problem, NOW.
Let us blame who we want for the problems facing us today if we must, although sensible citizens will admit there is enough blame to go around to explain the current state of affairs in the country. It does not change the fact Barbados finds itself staring down the barrel of economic hardship for years to come. With economic hardship there will be the concomitant social challenges. We have already started to see an increase in violent crime, scant regard for traffic laws, increase in the homeless and vagrancy to list a few.
Against this pessimistic background we have the unions making demands, individual citizens making demands, private sector making demands, all comers making demands. It brings to mind the saying ‘a house divided against itself, cannot cannot stand‘.
Barbadians have been labelled an intelligent people. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate the country is in a pickle which means citizens all are also in the same same pickle. It therefore requires our government, public officials AND the majority of the electorate to sing from the same song sheet to confront an unprecedented challenge. Some will say this it is a naive expectation because it is the state of mind of households feeding the emotions of individuals. How can they be expected to overcome an innate behaviour to survive by willingly feeding in to the macro picture?
A more responsible media will have to play a leadership role to promote awareness of the issues especially of the financial variety. It is regrettable the toxic level of political partisanship that has seeped into how we manage our affairs of late. The death of Patrick Hoyos has expanded the vacuum in traditional media on reporting financial matters. Political parties have not been able to appoint competent players to challenge government’s army of financial actors. Academics from the UWI, Cave Hill expected to interject with independent analysis have been largely ineffective.
There is the reality that even if there is a COVID 19 vaccine found next year the pandemic has hastened the widening of the systemic cracks in the way we have been governing the country. To summarize what the BU intelligentsia has been opining, we have to set realistic objectives, develop smart action plans and EXECUTE with the fierce urgency of now.
The editor begins by affirming that Barbados “continues to be a predominantly Christian society” and alludes to evidence of the same in the national anthem. To his or her credit, the editor makes it clear that the church is NOT the building or structure but the people who worship there. For pointing out this, we must thank the editor. Why so? Because not even some church goers understand this!
Ecclesia So let me elaborate on the editor’s point: the word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” from which we get the word “ecclesiastical” which means basically “having to do with the church”. Therefore, it is sometimes used as a synonym for “religious” or “clerical” or for “church” itself.
The original meaning of “ecclesia” then is, “the called out ones” which means the people (that have been called out as disciples). It is not the building. The point is very well taken.
Church Response to Covid-19 To be fair to the “church”, early on in the covid-19 pandemic, several ministers did indicate that the church is the people and therefore, continued offering services to those people online with Zoom and other technologies.
One of the reasons why many church goers do not even understand the point made above about the church is because simple things like these get overlooked in church meetings or assemblies because it is assumed that people know. Too many churches are more concerned about “preaching” (which usually means “shouting”) and less about “teaching”.
Most assemblies spend the bulk of their time in helping members, especially new ones, understand WEIGHTIER spiritual matters such as the meaning of salvation, the work of the Holy Spirit in guiding believers and the afterlife, to name a few.
Some assemblies also spend time in trying to build a church community and the more resourced assemblies try to help the surrounding communities. I have been a member of such an assembly so I am not speculating or guessing.
The editor devotes a whole paragraph to asking a “barifull” [?] of questions about the response of the church to the covid-19 pandemic. Clearly he or she is not asking about how the church organized for the “continuity of worship” for “services” during the covid-19 pandemic. Rather, the editor seems more concerned about the ESCHATOLOGICAL issues surfaced by the covid-19 pandemic.
Eschatology is “a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind”. This includes teachings about “judgement and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind”. In other words, the editor wants the church’s help in understanding the meaning of covid-19 in the context of the final destiny of mankind!
Pandemic Fears This is not surprising at all. Sales of bibles escalated especially in the early days of the pandemic. Why? Because most people in Christian societies have already heard, PERHAPS MORE THAN ONCE, that humanity is set to have a rendezvous with the man whom God has appointed to both Judge and Rule the World, Jesus Christ himself. So naturally they thought this was “the end of the world” and got scared!
Perhaps they thought that by buying a Bible, even reading it, that it would “save them”. Now that is very funny! Why not go and buy a book on rocket science and ergo find work at NASA? See how ridiculous and hypocritical this is?
I know you think I am being overly sarcastic but if that is what is necessary to get people to wake up, expect more of the same!
Church’s Work Clear For years “churches” in this country have been “open” (=not under lock down) and for years “the church” has spent endless effort, time and money trying to bring the gospel to this nation. Every radio station in Barbados carries at least one religious programme every single day of the week. All of these are paid for one way or another. Several carry programmes or “services” on TV. All of these have to be paid for.
All this has been going on, yet on average, church congregations are getting smaller! Now a covid-19 pandemic hits and suddenly everybody wants the church to be open and to “rise to the occasion!” To do what, exactly? Console people who have put their faith in “the government” or in “horses and chariots” or their job? I know I am sounding harsh but hold onto your seahorses for a minute because I am going somewhere with this!
Christian Society? Let’s cycle back to the beginning, dear editor. What do you and Barbadians mean by the expression; “Barbados is a predominantly Christian society”? I challenge you to respond on this blog.
I can tell you what it CANNOT mean! I CANNOT mean that this is a society of people who have heard the gospel and responded to it as required, by which I mean, in summary, the following: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1. Acknowledged that we are sinners 2. Acknowledged that Jesus Christ died for our sins. 3. Acknowledged that Christ’s way is the ONLY way out of God’s judgment on sin. 4. ACCEPTED the sacrificial work on the cross even if you do not understand fully understand all its divine legal (yes legal!) and other ramifications. 5. Submitted to the inner work of the Holy Spirit that begins once you have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour and Ruler. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Some people call the above being “born again”. I am not particularly fond of religious clichés but if that helps, so be it.
Great Commission Dear editor, the message of the above is what the church has been “preaching in season” (=no pandemic) and “out of season” (=in the covid-19 pandemic season). That is its mission given by Jesus Christ himself! ++++++++++ [Jesus speaking] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matt 28:19 [New International Version] ++++++++++ I tell you dear editor, that if we stop preaching this gospel, the very rocks and heavens and the seas will cry out harder (they are crying now) and tell you this message in their own way!
The church is not a social club, although it would appear to be so for some DENOMINATIONS.
Does that mean we do not care about people’s bodies, family life, poverty etc? Absolutely not! The same Jesus who preached “Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” is the same Jesus who healed the sick, cast out demons, feed 5,000 one way and 4,000 another way and still had food left over! Comprehensive ministry, Mr / Ms Editor! Spirit, soul and body!
And that power of provision demonstrated by Christ is what true Christians (I make no apology for that phrase!) experience BECAUSE THEY HAVE OBEYED THE GOSPEL! ++++++++++ [Jesus speaking Sermon on the Mount] Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 [New Living Translation] ++++++++++ When people were being laid off in the covid-19 pandemic, my son got a job! Needless to say I reminded him at every opportunity about this provision and how grateful he ought to be. Every day I start out by giving thanks for being on “the wake up list” once again and for all the provision around me. I don’t take it for granted!
If you think we have problems, consider the problems of the people in China, as the evil communist government there unravels under the might of the awesome weapons of the heavens and the gathering military forces of the west whose every existence (including ours in Barbados) the CCP has endangered by unleashing the covid-19 virus! If you are not up to speed on China see my blog entry here:
Media Dropped the Ball While we are here dear Editor, why has your newspaper not reported on the CCP and its shenanigans vis-a-vis the pandemic? Why are people in Barbados so uninformed about the complicity of the WHO in the cover up and the spread of Covid-19 in the west? Why are the alternative narratives re. the wearing of masks not dilated in the media? Whose job was it that to report these things? I challenge to you to respond to these these charges on this blog so we can freely debate them!
Anyone Christian who is au fait with Bible prophecy can help you understand where covid-19 fits into the overall plan for the human race. But you dropped the ball in NOT reporting all sides of the issue!
Doers not Hearers No dear editor, what people need to focus on is DOING what the Bible says: “Repent”. That is an action word; it did not say “know” as important as that is. It says: “Repent”. Therein lies the problem of this so-called “Christian society”; it is a hearer of the word and not a doer.
The people in Noah’s day heard him speak about the coming flood. For 120 years! They heard, so they knew! They scoffed and they jeered until the rain started to fall and Noah and his family entered the ark. As they say, the rest is history. That is why Jesus said this prophetically while here on Earth: +++++++ Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17: 26 – 27 [English Standard Version]. +++++++ By the way, the remnants of Noah’s ark have been found! I publicized this on the blog many months ago. But here it is again:
Conclusion I hope this was helpful Ms./Mr. Editor although I have lots more to say on the issues you have raised. But I’ll leave you with this:
If you think the covid-19 pandemic was/is a problem, you may not want to know what is coming next! This is what the church should be proclaiming at this time! And if that is what you are thinking, you are absolutely right!
The Church and Covid-19 is the title of the editorial in this Wednesday’s (mid-week) edition of the Nation Newspaper. I find the editor’s outpouring absolutely fascinating so I could not resist the temptation to respond.
During the last decade the BU blogmaster has not had the opportunity to highlight our prime ministers performing on the world stage/media. The election of Prime Minister Mia Mottley has corrected the problem.
Today (2020-04-29) many Barbadians took pause at 2PM EST to watch Mottley with her usual oratory and unrestrained flair participate an interview with the world renown journalist Christian Amanpour.
In the social media world it is referred to as click bait, not sure of the equivalent in the dead tree world.
A few weeks ago the BU blogmaster was critical of the Sunday Sun editor for offending the sensibilities of many Bajans by inserting a picture of Peter Wickam and partner on the front page. The objective of report was to share the news a prominent local person had taken a husband? There was reference to a marriage to further irritate.
Today the Sunday Editor repeated poor judgment by introducing as front page news a disagreement between late Prime Minister David Thompson’s wife Mara and her mother in law Margaret Knight. It seems like a story traditional media should have left for the blogs to rumble with. Truth be told circulation is flagging and money makes the world go around.
A more worthy angle would have been to inquire from Mara Thompson when her husband’s will was probated and to confirm if she is the beneficiary of tens of millions largely derived from her late husband’s servicing of the CLICO account. This is a matter of national import given the hundreds of CLICO policyholders poorer for purchasing CLICO product. Instead the Sunday Sun preferred to share the news that Mara Thompson turned her back on the 88 year old mother in law by refusing to pay her rent.
What would the late David Thompson say if he were alive to see his mother spurned by Mara?
The PM is a lawyer, the last two PMs were lawyers, the PM was Atty General, the present AG was AG in a previous Gov’t, the most senior Gov’t Minister who acts as deputy PM in the PM’s absence is a lawyer. Did any of the these ever suggest any changes in the relationship between lawyer and client? Did they make it mandatory for lawyers handling civil cases to establish Trust Accounts to separate operating funds from client funds? When they hear/heard of improprieties did they take action?
They operate like some secret society ready to prey on the “great unwashed” who darkens their door. Even on the rare occasion that the Court find them guilty of stealing client funds no restitution order is made which enables them to live off the clients’ funds after they have served their sentence.
When Ms. Pile was on trial, the Court was packed with lawyers who were sympathetic to her and ready to deliver pre-sentencing statements on her behalf. They take care of their own – Sargeant
When the injustice meted out by Michael Carrington to a wheelchair bound septuagenarian broke, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart advised – then leader of our parliament – to secure the services of a lawyer. History will record this statement to be one of the most ignorant uttered by a prime minister of Barbados.
On Friday (4 October 2019) the president of the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) Rosalind Smith-Millar was quoted in the local media advising the beneficiary of Stephen Archer’s estate to seek legal representation in order to secure the 2.7 million in compensation BL&P paid to Archer’s lawyer reported to be Ernest Jackman. Ernest Jackman is no stranger to BU and is featured on BU LAWYERS in the NEWS.
The advice given by the Bar president reminds citizens why the the application of the law sometimes is said to defy common sense and as a result “Is the law an ass? remains a valid question. To reinforce the point the BU family recently discussed the legitimacy of Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith’s public assertion he cannot investigate the ICBL, Donville Inniss matter unless a member of the public files a complaint. There are many examples of BL&P and FLOW taking advantage of citizens and the regulatory bodies despite consumer protection laws are passive in defence of consumers.
The majority of lawyers licenced to practice law in Barbados had their education funded by taxpayers. It is said that Barbados has more practising lawyers per thousand than any other country in the world. The Barbados Bar Association and the Disciplinary Committee were established for a reason – to regulate the legal profession. We have had too many stories of lawyers misappropriating funds, stonewalling the release of documents, not meeting with clients to discuss matters, colluding with other lawyers to frustrate deals, not attending court sessions to permit matters to close etc etc etc.
Enough is enough!
We live in an era where John Public has access to various social media platforms. Yea yea yea it comes with all the warts, BUT, there is the good that it can do. Naming and shaming these ‘summabitches’ will ensure reputations are sullied, forever. If the bodies to regulate the professional class including lawyers fail to protect members of the public, they will have to suffer the consequences. It is clear the Barbados Bar Association and its sidekick the disciplinary Committee supported by the bevy of lawyers in parliament will not side with the public.
A couple years ago the blogmaster had an exchange with a former president of the Bar who expressed frustration at the lack of resources available to do a better job and the need for legislative teeth. The blogmaster is satisfied stakeholders have no interest in changing the existing arrangement. In fact it is reasonable to conclude the Bar is used by prominent lawyers as a pathway to secure QC status, that is all.
Two of the most newsworthy and jaw dropping events to have rocked the local political scene in the last 18 months were – the decimation of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the last general election, AND, the arrest of former DLP minister Donville Inniss in the United States.
BU pages must record Donville Inniss entered a plea of NOT GUILTY and the case is scheduled to be heard in October 28, 2019. He is charged with laundering USD36,000 derived from a bribe offered by former employees of Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) Alex Tasker and Ingrid Innes. Said monies were wired by ICBL to the principal of a dental company domiciled in New York with Inniss the beneficiary. Disclosures in documents filed by the United States Attorney Office revealed Inniss’ troubles were said to be linked to political rivals trying to frame him.
Since the news of Inniss arrest there is a sub story that has not been subjected to the full glare of public scrutiny. We have our moribund traditional media to hold accountable for reneging on its mandate to pursue truth. A reminder the media is referred to as the guardian of truth:-
The purpose, ‘raison d’être’, of this fourth element is to act as an counterbalance, a systemically opposite force that is to report, verify and question matters of governance, public matters as well as commercial ones, conducted by the powers, we the people, have entrusted it with and bestowed upon – On the role of journalism: facts vs
The Commissioner of Police (CoP) Tyrone Griffith is on the record he will not investigate the matter involving ICBL – a company incorporated in Barbados – identified as the source of Donville’s legal trouble. The CoP’s position was supported by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACoP) in charge of crime Eucklyn Thompson who was also quoted in the press:
We can only deal with what is available to us. We can’t go by any speculation or that kind of thing. We will deal [with] whatever comes before us in terms of evidence… and the investigative process . . . . We will definitely do our part. But in terms of names mentioned and that kind of thing so being put on the table, that’s not what it is – Barbados police won’t touch case involving former gov’t minister Inniss
The substance of the police position is that they must have a complaint lodged in order to pursue any matter. The idiocy of the CoP and the ACoP declared position is that AG Dale Marshall urged the police chief to launch an investigation into bribery allegations involving Inniss and the Bermudian-owned, Barbados-based ICBL. However, as an independent body, the RBPF cannot be legally instructed by a Cabinet minister to undertake investigations; that role is reserved for the Crown’s Director of Public Prosecutions. Another WTF moment.
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We know that US court documents implicate former ICBL employees Alex Tasker and Ingrid Innes. We know that the local employee implicated in the alleged bribing of Donville Inniss was fired by ICBL and also had to part ways from Digicel as Executive Chairman. To the blogmaster’s simple way of thinking there is enough for the police to initiate an investigation. Instead what we have is business as usual with the authority class closing ranks in BIM.
The historical record of Barbados shows that Barbados welcomes responsible development. To ensure that developments are built in an orderly manner, the Town and Country Development Planning office has published, and maintains a Physical Development Plan to guide developers.
Every developer who wants to build something in Barbados, whether a house or commercial building, must apply to the Planning office for permission. If the development is found to be within Planning’s guidelines, then it is normally approved.
Sometimes, a developer may wish to build something that is outside of the Planning guidelines. The developer may still submit an application, and the Planning office would inform them of any additional regulations for the application to be approved.
That is the normal method of obtaining approval to build. But our political leaders have allowed a special way of getting building approval – just go and see the Minister. At these meetings, our Ministers, who are normally woefully inexperienced in construction, are supposed to magically transform into development planning experts.
Tragically for us, the magic on which our politicians rely, by writing such loopholes in our laws, does not appear to work very well – for us. Special developers tend to out-smart, or out-magic, our Ministers. It is quite mysterious. They not only get our Ministers to approve their developments, but they also get very favourable concessions, like not having to pay the normal. Thanks Ministers.
Since the Government must still pay for public education, health, transportation and infrastructure, the taxes that the specials avoid paying, must be added to the taxes that the rest of us already pay. Sometimes those taxes are hidden in higher costs to obtain public services, like higher bus fares and water rates. However, a convenient way for the Government to make us pay their costs is to increase land taxes. Thanks specials.
Specials tend to rebuke the public if they dare question their Minister-approved developments. We tend to get rebuked for not seeing the blessings to Barbados from their developments. Perhaps in their rebukes, they can explain these benefits to Barbadians? I have tried to find the benefits, but I mostly find curses. Let me try to inform them.
There is the curse of discriminatory business practises, where you can build what you want because you are special, while we cannot.
There is the curse of an unfair market-place, where you do not pay taxes that the rest of us must pay. You do not do this by legal tax avoidance, or illegal tax evasion. Rather, you do not pay these taxes just because you are special.
There is the curse of a corrupt market-place, where Ministers decide who wins and who loses in Barbados’ economy.
Perhaps the most damaging curse of all is that of mendicancy, where the next generation stops trying. They give-up because they can easily see that a person’s effort in Barbados does not matter. They can see that prosperity in Barbados does not depend on merit of your efforts, but on whether you are special. We have gone backwards as a nation.
The problem with the curses of the specials, is that the curse only falls on those who are not special. Perhaps the next time that they plan to rebuke us, they can explain their superior magic of getting our Ministers to both approve their developments, and lay their massive burden of tax obligations onto the rest of us.
[Author’s note: We seem to have been banned from the traditional media in Barbados, so Social Media is all that we currently have. If you like the article and are willing, then we would appreciate it if you would share it.]
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
The traditional calypso composition, with its penchant for the risqué expression and the saucy double entendre, not to mention the frequent boast of the performer’s substantial sexual prowess, always sails close to the edge of what may be considered permissible for airplay in these regional societies.
These factors doubtless place the legal publishers of the material to the public, the radio stations, at a severe disadvantage at times such as the current Crop-over season finely to balance their core mission of entertainment with their ethical obligation not to breach the terms of their broadcasting licences by transmitting material for public consumption that may fairly be considered obscene, improper or liable to corrupt public morals and, most important, with their legal obligation not to defame as one leading Barbadian case on the matter has already demonstrated.
This is all outside of the context of the dark tendency, now happily extinct seemingly, of banning from airplay those compositions whose lyrics did not accord with, or parodied, the political dogma of the then governing administration.
Over the years, it would seem, certain protocols have been developed by way of compromise in this context. Thus, verbal or nounal usage of the old Anglo Saxon four-letter word for sexual intercourse, even if only thinly disguised because of a combination of its susceptibility to easy ellipsis and the local dialectical pronunciation of the word “for”, apparently passes muster, no matter how puerile the construction.
In this regard, readers will have heard previously broadcasts of calypsonians using such expressions as singing “Fuh Cree”, and “fuh crown” or “fuh king”; of those people who are “fuh cup”; who are going “fuh cane”; and we recall one effort that pointedly advised another individual “fuh queue”.
Explicit and not so explicit references to assorted sex acts have also gained local airplay periodically. Sparrow’s “Congo Man”, “May May”; Mac Fingall’s “Eating Bacon”, Krosfyah’s “Zak Passé” and Lil Rick’s “Eating too much Conch”, all follow an identical theme of cunnilingus to varying degrees of explicitness. To our best memory, this reference did not serve to ensure their prohibition from the local airwaves.
In such contexts, therefore it may be reasonably understandable that another local radio personality and calypsonian, Mr Ronald Clarke, who performs in the latter guise under the sobriquet, “ De Announcer” would be highly incensed that one of his contributions for this year, the tamely-titled “Reading for Pleasure” has been deemed unfit for broadcast by both of the main local radio stations including, in what must have been the most unkindest cut, the very one at which he is employed and at which he served until recently as lead host of its Crop-over afternoon music show.
Argue as cogently he might that there are other compositions of similar ilk that have not been treated likewise; that the word in dispute is in fact the real name of the author being referred to; and that he does not graphically describe a sex act as others have done before him, Mr Clarke must understand that the limits of airplay are not determined by fairness or reason or even logic, but rather by the extent to which the appointed determiner, using his or her best judgment subjectively, considers the lyrics to be inappropriate for public broadcast.
Of course, his supporters will point out that this level of discretion is likely to lead to inconsistency. This assertion cannot seriously be denied.
But how else might one explain why the popular local expression for the male penis as repeatedly voiced in De Announcer’s song should be deemed verboten while equivalent expressions for the female genitalia should find favour as where a woman was exhorted in one relatively recent effort to “poke he in ‘e eye”. Did not Lord Kitchener once defiantly promise to park his pee-pee [PP car registration] any place? And does anyone really believe that Lord Blakie was singing about a feline when he referred to the thieving pussy they held one night up in Sangre Grande?
Mr Clarke has reportedly threatened suit against the radio stations, probably, I imagine, on the assumption that they have infringed his constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression. There are some difficulties in this scenario, however.
As a private entity, at least one of the stations is not susceptible to constitutional action on the basis of the state action doctrine that renders such infringements actionable only where these are caused by the state or statal entities, while the other, even if not identically immune from suit, will nevertheless be able to contend that the local freedom of expression is qualified in that “nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision that is reasonably required for regulating the administration or technical operation of telephony, telegraphy, posts, wireless broadcasting, television or other means of communication…”
I would appreciate it very much if you would allow a submission I wrote on the nationnews blog to be featured here. It has to do with the nationnews paper decision to close the comments section of their June 23rd article entitled, ”Others Bribed.”
Although the nationnews paper has a right to close comments to any of their submissions for whatever reasons, I found the closing of comments on this particular article to be in poor taste.
My reason for saying this is that there is corruption in public life and, as a newspaper whose fourth estate committent should be to expose and highlight the damning matters with truth and without fear, the nationsnews choose to represent the fourth estate with dithering and tactics. One can only conclude that the caution shown by this paper relates to some type of servitude for which masters are pulling strings and puppets at the receiving end are fearful that they will get pop up.
This is why I can no longer submit my comments there. If the Donville Inniss matter is not enough for the nationnews to challenge the new regime to dig deeper into the political pit that has enabled many in political life to prosper far beyond their dreams, what purpose is a fourth estate if it comfortable with halfway functioning.
All the evidence points to less than stellar practices in the political spectrum of things. Yet, the parties that dominate the political landscape of our illustrious little rock continue to hoodwink the nation with loud- No Corruption- cries.
Even in the face of confessions as recent as business persons opening up to paying scratch-me- back campaign donations for favours in returned; even when a prominent journalist in the form of Roy Morris stated that he refused to sell his soul for a $20,000.00 bribe; even in the recent dilemma surrounding the discoveries of Donville Inniss indictment on possible money laundering charges, and even in the recent disclosures surrounding the latest Auditor General Report, the nationnewspaper remains subjective to subdued, tentative instead of tenacious.
Donville Inniss is now the face, and the proof, that corruption is no stranger to politicians. He is now the first politician in the history of Barbados to be indicted for money laundering charges. If found guilty, he should be the reason for all news outlets to step up their game and demand that investigative journalism be supported by legislation that would allow all media houses the freedom to expose corruption on to stamping it out.
The fact that an article highlighted that others similar to Donville Inniss could have also been bribed is additional proof, if found to be true, for a development such as this to be investigated thoroughly.
One, therefore, have ask: What is the nationnews trying to protect or stop by closing the comments to this article, when others exist, besides Donville Inniss, who might have take the bribe?
All the nationnews paper have have done is open up the doors of speculation and assumption for them to be regarded as a news outlet who practice double standards and a news outlet who have provided reason for more assumptions to advance a notion that they appear to have a protective agenda in place concerning political interests, and other interests in which they reap significant benefits.
I hope you will feature my comment on your blog so the nationnews would understand that their representation as a fourth estate is seriously lacking, and the people of Barbados have a right to comment to this issue, since it was featured by them.
Below is my comment to the nationnews closing of the ” Others Bribed” article. Thank you
Lloyd P Gulston
Insurance Corporation of Barbados, which allegedly bribed former Cabinet minister Donville Inniss to secure contracts, possibly made illegal payments to other “Government officials”, say prosecutors in the United States.
Prosecutors are contending they have evidence to support the allegation but don’t plan to present it when Inniss faces a Brooklyn, New York judge and jury in October.
However, it’s not known who are the “other Government officials”.
The assertions are contained in a document filed earlier this month in a federal district court and made available to the Sunday Sun. (TB)
Nationnews, why are the comments for the above on Donville Inniss closed? Why present the article if you do not want commentary on the matter? This is a serious development that needs the people say! We have corruption in political life and the people of Barbados want it stop. Why publish it if you do not want persons to comment about it? You know by doing this you have set up yourselves as a newspaper for serious criticism.
Writing a weekly column on a single subject (tourism) can certainly be challenging at times, especially when you tread that fine line, trying to extract meaningful answers to questions that some of us think should be a matter of public record, but that our politicians and policy makers feel should remain a dark secret.
You stand an enormous risk of upsetting some individuals who somehow often hold the power to negatively affect your well being, or who can influence decision makers that ensure you are held back or stifled in business dealings.
It comes with the territory and if you are going to be labelled as outspoken or controversial by a few, it’s something you have to get used to. Conversely, if our guardians of democracy were more open or candid, would it not benefit the country at large?
Just occasionally questions raised eventually get some attention, even if its years later.
A classic example is the recent disclosure questioning the accountability and payment of VAT (value added tax) by one of our tourism operators.
I raised this very point in the Tourism MATTERS column back on 16th December 2013, after a personal stay at one of the properties involved.
Fast forward almost six years and only after attention grabbing bold headlines detailing a class action suit, quoting the words ‘alleged tax fraud’ being initiated in the United States and disseminated globally is the matter finally receiving interest at the highest level?
Of course- in the case of Barbados- in the intervening period there has been a dramatic change of Government, but surely with the amount of potential lost taxes involved which could amount in this solitary location to at least BDS$20 million annually – any administration in a self -declared economically beleaguered state would surely want to rapidly deal with the problem and be seen to be doing so?
What puzzles many of us is that we as hoteliers in Barbados are required to submit VAT returns on a frequent and timely basis and if submissions are late, severe penalties with fines and interest are applied and enforced.
So how would it be possible to avoid this legal obligation for so many years without full Government knowledge and possible complicity?
Returning to the start of this column, are ‘we’ wrong to raise these questions and reasonably expect credible answers?
Unless these areas of concern are addressed in an absolutely transparent manner, there will forever remain the belief there is one law applied to some and a different one to others.
We write with reference to an article published in today‘s Sunday Sun and also republished online in the e-edition of the Nation newspaper as well as on its social media platforms. The article is potentially defamatory of our client for the reasons set out below, and at the minimum, is false…
See two documents issued by Innotech to the Nation Newspaper on 17 March 2019:
The blogmaster received several messages yesterday from members of the BU family whicch highlighted two financial transactions choking local, regional and some internation newsfeeds.
The decision by Scotiabank to shed operations in nine Caribbean islands should hardly be a surprise to those who make it a business to keep ears to the ground. The region has become a hot mess regarding the state of economies and with de-risking high on the agenda of financial institutions the risk appetite of international banks operating in the region has reached an intolerable level. At some point in the future they will completely withdraw from a region to focus on bigger markets.
The acquisition of Sagicor shares by Canadian company Alignvest for 536 million dollars- reportedly to create the opportunity to efficiently raise capital by listing in a more liquid market to drive growth is the other mega transaction closed this week. The following statement by Sagicor’s Chief Operating Officer Ravi Rambarran about how regional stock exchanges operate is instructive:-
At the same time, our stock markets in the Caribbean are very thin and very illiquid. We saw just last week Friday someone sold 700 Sagicor sales out of 306.3 million shares and drove the price down to about USD1.00 That means all the other shareholders who have their stock had to value their stock at this price. That is a reflection of our stock market being very thin and very illiquid.
We look forward to a debate led by our educated class to inform a general public who are in the main disinterested and ignorant about these kinds of transaction. A shame!
As a newspaper which claims to be “national,” the Express should be truthful and objective in its coverage of national events in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).
Readers have been observing that you have practically never published any news on the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) restructuring exercise (downsizing) and its treatment (retrenchment) of employees (lecturers).
FOIA investigations by social activist Devant Maharaj, through attorney Chelsea Stewart, revealed that the Express has been receiving the most advertising revenue from UTT over and above that of the two other dailies, the Guardian and the Newsday.
Between September 2017 and August 2018, the Express cashed TT$1,253,763 in advertising revenue from UTT. The Guardian received $701,283 and Newsday got $846,601.
The Express cashed the most money (45%) from UTT compared to the Newsday (30%) and the Guardian (25%). The Express collected almost half of UTT’s budget spent on the three daily newspapers.
Last Sunday (November 18, 2018), the Express was rewarded with a whopping EIGHT (8) pages of advertisements highlighting UTT’s graduation – eight full pages in full colour!!! The total advertising revenue for one day for one edition only was about $72,000. This excessive abuse of taxpayers’ money is being spent by UTT’s President Sarim Al Zubaidy mainly to promote himself in many of the photos!! The Guardian and Newsday received not a single page of advertisement from UTT last Sunday.
Based on the foregoing data, the Express is clearly favourable to one of its big corporate clients by not reporting the turbulence that is taking place within the walls of the only national university in T&T.
A series of placard protests followed in front of UTT’s O’Meara and Valsayn campuses, the Ministry of Education, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister’s Residence & Diplomatic Centre – none of which was covered by the Express.
Florens Focke, Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi and Stefan Ruenzi of the University of Mannheim in Germany published a relevant research paper in 2015 entitled “A Friendly Turn: Advertising Bias in the News Media.”
They wrote: “Independence of the news press is one of the pillars of a functioning democracy. Ideally, newspapers and other media outlets should report truthfully and objectively about news items of interest to their readers, thus allowing them to make rational and unbiased decisions based on the information reported.”
The Express editor seems to be clearly sacrificing important news items of interest in order to please a big corporate client. Readers must now ask, “For whom else is the Express sacrificing objectivity for a million dollars?”
Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados
It is well known that worldwide, corruption is normally associated with Government’s procurement (purchasing) of products (goods and services). In its crudest form, Ministers of Government will tell businesses (including consultants) to increase their bills, and to secretly pay them the increase if they want the job.
Businesses that participate in corruption tend to be too badly managed to successfully compete with their peers. Since Ministers shield them from competition, they tend to charge excessive profits for poor quality products. Their goods are normally substandard requiring excessive maintenance and premature replacement, and their advice normally results in unnecessary austerity for citizens.
The public must pay for all of the costs of corruption, including the excessive profits paid to businesses, the over invoiced amounts paid to Ministers, the maintenance and replacement costs of substandard goods, and the austerity costs. The Government contemptibly extracts these additional costs from the public by increasing taxes.
To get the public to willingly pay these additional taxes, and to provide enough ammunition to extreme political supporters to shame those who do not want to pay, the Government will normally tell the public that the additional amounts are required for things like health-care and education. After the additional taxes have been collected, these services normally do not improve, but get progressively worse.
To avoid accusations of corruption, many Governments allow competitive tendering. However, Ministers can still overrule a committee evaluating the tenders, and demand that their protected businesses receive the contracts. These businesses typically submit the highest prices and are the least qualified to do the work.
It is not uncommon for the public to be made to pay ten times the actual value of the work when there is no tendering, and twice the average of all other tenderers when there is tendering. The cumulative bribes that the public is made to pay is at least 10% of a developing country’s Gross Domestic Product.
It should be clarified that there are two types of tendering. When Ministers provide the oversight, corruption is almost inevitable. When an external development bank (eg CDB or IDB) is providing the oversight, then the risk of corruption is low.
The public does not normally get the opportunity to tolerate or object to corrupt practises, because of the sworn secrecy among those who give and receive bribes. The Ministers protect the corrupt businesses, the corrupt businesses protect the corrupt Ministers, the Ministers of each of the two dominant political parties protect each-other, and the corrupt businesses who belong to the same industry associations protect each-other.
Whistle-blowers are normally discredited with false accusations, imprisoned on false charges, or do not live long enough to tell the tale. Therefore, the public keeps paying the additional taxes, convinced that they are dutifully contributing to the care of their fellow citizens, but oblivious to the fact that they are actually paying the excessive profits of corrupt business persons, and the bribes of corrupt politicians.
There are two critical components that sustain a culture of Ministerial corruption in a country. The first is an agreement between the two established political parties not to prosecute any current or past politician. They are free to accuse each-other of corruption in order to excite the public and convince them that there is no such agreement, but there must be no meaningful consequences.
The second critical component is a politically compromised news media, whose main role is to silence and discredit any credible third party that plans to effectively address corruption.
Barbados is fortunate to be mostly free of corruption. For over 50 years, we have elected honourable Ministers who were fully aware that facilitating a culture of corruption would only economically ruin Barbados, and chose to reject bribes. We have received excellent advice from highly competent consultants, that Barbadians should be surrendered to the severe austerity of an IMF program.
Barbados’ unbiased news media declare that our politicians: are right and honourable, only walk the straight and narrow, and are cut from the same cloth as Jesus. They give Solutions Barbados, which is the only political party promising to effectively address corruption, the same coverage as other political parties. Surely there is a special place in Heaven reserved for those who practise such honourable and righteous acts.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
Some soldiers are so terrified of the horrors of war, that they intentionally harm themselves so that they can be transported away from the battlefield and receive priority medical treatment. I am very sympathetic to soldiers who have been prematurely deployed to the battlefield. A properly trained soldier has accepted the responsibility of defending citizens, which may require the ultimate sacrifice of death.
The Government encouraged us to prepare for our old-age by making National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions and investing in pension plans. We were told that we could confidently invest in our future this way because the NIS Board consisted of eminently qualified persons.
The NIS Board has one main responsibility, which is to protect the money that should be paid to us in our old-age. The NIS Board decided to lend our money to the Government. The Government had difficulty in repaying what was owed to us. As lender acting on our behalf, the NIS Board could easily have allowed the Government to repay our money over a longer repayment period, given the state of the national economy. That would be acting in both our interests and the Government’s.
Shockingly, our eminent NIS Board members voted to allow the Government never to repay approximately $800M of our money. What could have possessed them to harm us like this?
If they were intimidated by having their families threatened, then I could understand why they appeared to betray us. However, once they were forced to vote against our best interests, they should have resigned. If they are already compromised, then why are they loitering on the NIS Board pretending to represent our interests?
The Banks managing our pension plans knew that voting against our interests would harm us financially, but they did it anyway. However, unlike the NIS Board members who may be subject to intimidation, all of our banks are foreign owned. What possible reason could they offer for acting so cowardly?
Their decision to vote against our best interests means that they also voted against theirs. Why would they do something so lunatic? How can that level of cowardice inspire any confidence in their banks? Why would anyone want to deposit money in cowardly banks who chose not to fight for depositors or themselves?
The banks are now recouping their losses by greedily charging us higher banking fees, but none of that money goes to our pension funds. Based on their politically partisan behaviour during the last general election, the only rational reason for their decision to harm us financially, appears to be that they are still politically compromised.
The NIS Board and Barbados based banks would not have had to make the decision to financially harm us if the BLP administration had the courage to fight for us, rather than critically wounding us by defaulting on foreign loans.
Once the BLP administration had economically ruined us, they rushed us to the IMF, who made a quick decision to operate. Now they have the gall to boast about how fast they got the doctor to see us – after they figuratively shot us in the gut. Are they serious?
The politically compromised radio and newspapers have lost all journalistic integrity as they defend every irresponsible action of the BLP administration as brave and caring. Are they mad? What is so brave about defaulting on a loan? Any idiot can do that. It takes courage, creativity and perseverance to make those payments, especially after losing your job.
What is so brave and caring about laying-off people. Any simpleton can do that. It takes intelligence to properly manage people to be productive, and there seems to be none of that in BERT. What is so brave and caring about raising taxes. The most incompetent among us can easily do the same. It takes bravery to lower taxes, and intelligence to provide an enabling economic environment where low-taxed persons can thrive.
Unfortunately, BERT’s demonstrated incompetence appears to be just the start of things to come. Despite being fully aware that there are non-austerity alternatives to their severe austerity plan, BERT refuses to consider any of them. That would normally be front-page news of a media outlet committed to truthfully informing the public. But not our news media who appear to shamelessly play the role of propaganda-arm of the BLP administration.
Our sycophant news media refuse to report on any non-austerity plan, including Solutions Barbados’. Instead, they continue to mislead the public that the mass suffering of Barbadians is the necessary and only solution. They are dead wrong and cowards of the highest order.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
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.
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…
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.
Today (5 September 2018) the reputable New York Times published an Op-Ed with the titled ‘I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration’. The Op-Ed piqued the interest of the blogmaster NOT because it exposes a kind of chaos swirling in the White House BUT that it was credited to an anonymous source. In a nutshell the vaunted traditional media admits it sees the benefit to protect its source by posting the Op-Ed under an anonymous byline.
The blogmaster has participated in three general elections in the decade since Barbados Underground (BU) was established. There was the memorable 2008 general election when a young David Thompson wrestled the government from a tired Owen Arthur. In 2013 Freundel Stuart was given a second chance to be his own man after taking over from David Thompson who died in office on 23 October 2010. And in 2018 Barbados recorded its first female prime minister. Mia Mottley’s Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won 30-0 on the 24 May 2018.
The blogmaster supported the David Thompson campaign in 2008, disliked the slothful leadership of Stuart in 2013 and by default was left with limited options after a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) vandalized the Barbados brand in 2018.
A recurring message has been peddled by the duopoly in the three general elections. That of alleged corruption by elected officials.
VECO and the Dodds prison
CLICO $75,000 cheque paid to Owen Arthur
3S and Operation Freeflow flyover project
Hardwood Housing Factory Inc
CLICO Forensic report
Pierhead Marina Project
Corruption by Members of Parliament
National Housing PAC report
Maloney (Rock Hard Cement)
Both political parties have been successful in bamboozling a gullible public in the three election cycles mentioned by promising that on winning the government corruptors will be ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’. The inability of the duopoly to deliver on the promise exposes the message from the duopoly for what it is, an electioneering scam.
A disappointment for many – and a significant contributor to the current state – has been the extent to which the traditional media has contributed to the hoodwinking of the public. By usurping its role as a guardian of our democracy to deliver on its mandate to fairly and accurately report the news- the democracy we aspire to have remains elusive. As a consequence of the vacuum created, we have seen the rise of citizen journalism taking advantage of the emergence of social media platforms in a technological driven world. The blogmaster’s observation contrasts starkly with a recent Barbados Today Editorial summarized in the following extract:
The role of the media, whether print, electronic or broadcast is to educate and inform and to present factual news and balanced opinions without the suggestion of partisanship or personal bias. The media sometimes fail on this score because mortal men and women are the media, and subject to personal foibles, corporate dictates and political linkages. They can – by their deliberate spin – influence public opinion to a significant degree.
But, thankfully, in most instances and in the case of Barbados specifically, the media operate within the realm of an educated public which easily discerns where unvarnished news starts and stops and where spin begins. We hold absolutely no brief for anyone, inclusive of politicians or political parties. But as a member of the media fraternity who, too, can be accused rightfully or wrongfully of not always carrying out that which it now trumpets, we feel it incumbent upon us to call a spade a spade and to address a particularly troubling scenario.
Although early in tenure the Mia Mottley government has been following the corruption script albeit with greater stridency, or so it seems. The recent arrest by US authorities of a former high profile minister has dovetailed government’s public consultation by the Committee on Integrity In Public Life Bill. The two events have magically served to pump up the corruption talk volume in the public domain. The blogmaster remains cynical that Barbados will be able to implement a transparency framework to efficiently hold officials ‘feet to the fire’. Our inability to manage key functions in the country like public transportation, NIS fund, waste management to name three support the view.
One of the reasons first offered by the former government for not implementing Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation promised in 2008 was the cost to operationalize. It has not gone unnoticed by the blogmaster that Sir David Simmons in his recent contribution to the Committee on the Integrity in Public Life Bill matter-of-factly indicated that the Bill as proposed will be ineffective unless related laws are enacted. He cited the need for a code of conduct to manage breaches, proper regulation of campaign financing and a few others.
The blogmaster is of the view Barbadians do not have the capacity to fairly assess the mirror image late Errol Barrow prophetically shared in 1986. The fact we have sunk billions of dollars in education since he delivered the Mirror Image speech serves as an indictment on our leadership and people.
Where do we go from here amidst the chaos and the lack of a realization by the majority of citizens that we need to achieve a new normal? The jury remains out 104 days into the Mia Mottley government.
A mantra of Prime Minister Mia Mottley is that many hands make light work. Unfortunately Barbados at this critical juncture in history – despite crumbling economic and social structures – is at its most politically polarized state ever. A condition that will make the task of rebuilding all the more challenging.
Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados
A third newsprint paper has been launched in Barbados called The Solution. It is designed to offer a fair analysis of Barbadian issues, and is currently available from most Rubis service stations and some independent newspaper sellers. It is currently scheduled to be a twice-monthly publication.
After three years of being in the political trench, I am now accustomed to an apparent politically partisan news media. During the brief election period, many voters claimed to have never heard of Solutions Barbados, and were shocked to learn that we had been active for the past 3 years and had 28 candidates. They were even more surprised to learn that we had published our manifesto on-line when we formed, on 1 July 2015.
When we announced 9 candidates, we were told that it was not newsworthy. When we announced 16, we were told that it was not newsworthy. When we had 20 and held a press conference, we were told that it was still not newsworthy, but we got a critical editorial and no mention of our candidates.
The news media’s attempts to keep Solutions Barbados out of the public’s view was very successful. When we were covered, it was normally very critical and condescending when contrasted with the fawning coverage given to others. While this was a challenge for us, none of that could be categorised as fake news.
There is currently an attempt to redefine us as being adversarial to the Prime Minister. We are supposed to play the role of a bitter loser, and being complimentary in any way to the current administration is not playing their game, so they have decided to play it for us.
This is unfortunate since I have consistently been complimentary towards the Prime Minister since our first meeting some 2 decades ago. During the election campaign, I was critical of her party’s unnecessary austerity policies, and their intent to surrender the people of Barbados to the IMF. Her economic advisors promised the public that the IMF was not their first option, but we were surrendered within their first week in government and are now awaiting terms of this surrender.
The media thinks that having a different economic solution is being adversarial, but it is not. The media asked me to provide a response to the Prime Minister’s first budget. Our response was very complimentary to the Prime Minister, because once she decided to pursue the unnecessary austerity path, then she is doing the best that anyone could have expected. However, the media had a story to tell and my complimentary response did not fit their narrative.
The first order of business was to remove every complimentary sentence that I made towards the Prime Minister’s efforts. However, the result was still a fair, non-partisan analysis. My main conclusion follows. “In the current economic circumstances, the Prime Minister must be congratulated for a responsible effort. It is not a sustainable solution, but it does carve out enough of a breathing space to enter binding negotiations with the IMF – which is their plan.”
Here is what was published.
Phillips said the Mini-Budget was not a sustainable solution for the woes of the Barbados economy, nor did it “carve out enough of a breathing space to enter binding negotiations with the IMF.
This should qualify as an exemplar of media malpractice, and I cannot blame the Prime Minister if she thinks that we are trying to be adversarial. But she can rest assured that if she is reading anything negative about Solutions Barbados in the established media, then it is likely fake news.
The news media are also attempting to utterly confuse the public with a campaign that we are trying to “curry favour” with the Prime Minister. We are expected to be as rude to our Prime Minister as opposing politicians and political operatives tend to be. They are simply not accustomed to honest, non-partisan analysis, so they write their own fake narratives.
What is not fake news is the dangerous void that has now been created when a partisan media leaves the public with no voice to warn them of what is to come, and no advice to properly prepare themselves. That is an intolerable position for the citizens of any country to be in.
I have tolerated the media’s partisan behaviour for the past 3 years and have done my best to encourage them not to compromise their integrity, but to no avail. With the evident plan to keep Solutions Barbados suppressed once again until the next general election is called, they have gravely miscalculated.
With only one life to live, I decided over 40 years ago to try to do my best regardless of the consequences. If I am to be criticised, then let it be for doing what is right, not what is wrong. For the media to change facts to fit their partisan narrative is unjustifiably wrong. A responsible solution to a corrupt political system was to start a political party to give the people a competent alternative. That I have done. With a politically compromised media, the solution is similar.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com