Samoa Agreement, unpacked

The Samoa Agreement and neo-colonialism in the Caribbean

Caribbean Organisation for Peoples Empowerment Caribbean

By A.T. Freeman

On 15 November 2023, the signing ceremony for the Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and its Member States and the Members of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) took place in Apia, the capital of Samoa. The agreement, which is generally referred to as the Samoa Agreement, is a legally binding document between, on the one hand, the member states of the EU and the EU itself and, on the other, the member states of the OACPS. In essence, the document attempts to give legally binding force to the political demands of the EU on the OACPS member states which want to access loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). 

Background to the Samoa Agreement

Although negotiations on the Samoa Agreement began in 2018, the process that produced it dates back to 1957. In that year, the Treaty of Rome was signed establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), the forerunner of the EU. In light of this unification, the newly formed EEC considered it necessary to make new arrangements with regard to their colonial territories. At that time, these were primarily French colonial territories in Africa. As the EEC expanded, eventually developing into the EU, this process also developed and produced the 2 Yaoundé Conventions, 4 Lomé Conventions and the Cotonou Convention which was signed in 2000 and expired in 2020.

The Samoa Agreement is the most recent document in this series and is intended to replace the Cotonou Agreement. Like its predecessors, it is driven primarily by the imperial interests of the EU which sets its political and economic direction.  For example, the OACPS excludes the North African countries of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt reflecting Europe’s longstanding racist division of Africa into so-called North Africa and “black Africa” or “sub-Saharan Africa”. Furthermore, the OACPS Secretariat is funded completely by the EU and is located not in Africa, the Caribbean or the Pacific, but in Brussels, the capital of Belgium.

Read full article Caribbean Empowerment blog.

Who are we?

Submitted by Observing
errol barrow
The late Rt. Ex. Errol Walton Barrow

In January 2016 then Prime Minister Freundel Stuart delivered an address to launch the 50th anniversary celebrations. In that address he posed three pertinent questions surrounding the issue of values

  1. What are those features of Barbadian life that we have lost and that we need to reclaim?
  2. What are those features of Barbadian life that we have not lost and need to retain?
  3. What are those features of Barbadian life we have not lost but we have to try and discard as quickly as possible?

A lesser known fact is that these questions were taken up and researched by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute as part of the then Secretariat’s attempt to form an empirical basis to guide policy formation in the years to come. Ironically a search of the internet reveals very little local coverage of the results or if they were ever used or formed part of any real meaningful national discussion.

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Follow the money

There is an old saying ‘follow the money’. The short video highlights one of our most trusted professionals is on the hook to colour public pronouncements. It begs the question- who can members of the public trust? Is it safe to say the unethical behaviour can be extended to other professions?

Discuss for 5 marks.

Fatal Assumption

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Every year, young lawyers are admonished by senior lawyers not to steal their clients’ money. It seems that every year, senior lawyers are accused of stealing their client’s money, and some are charged, arrested, convicted and imprisoned. This cycle continues to this day.

So far, nothing that the Bar Association has tried has changed this cycle of behaviour. Various groups have advanced solutions that will also not likely change this cycle. They thought that reciting the lawyer’s code of ethics to young lawyers and admonishing them not to steal would result in less stealing by senior lawyers.


We seem blind to the notion that simply telling thieves not to steal and expecting them not to is lunatically absurd. Why would anyone think that such admonitions would work with lawyers who have a tendency to steal in ways more creative than a typical thief?

There seem to be two effective solutions of solving this national problem, and both must assume that all lawyers are thieves. Clearly most of them are not. However, given the consequences of their Clients losing their life-savings, it would be prudent to make this assumption when giving them this money – and foolish not to.

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Misunderstanding the assignment or an act of manipulation?

This should be of national interest and focus solely on Barbados’ Independence.
Submitted by Heather Cole

I am not a big fan of Independence but that is my personal point of view. When I was old enough to understand the differences between the have and the have nots in Barbados, the glamour of independence faded.  It had become a gem without lustre.  Despite my opinion, neither I nor any Barbadian must never forget Errol Walton Barrow’s unsurpassed contribution to the development of Barbados.  None of the institutions he created have been rivalled by any subsequent political leader of this island.  Even I am amongst the approximately 60% of Barbadians today that benefitted from ‘free’ secondary and tertiary education.   Undeniably, I benefitted from his creating an independent Barbados.

Tudor Rose

I write because even I, who have never been a fan of independence, is offended by the display on the East Wing of the Parliament.   I have ultimately reached the conclusion that those who were responsible grossly misunderstood the assignment or made an egregious decision to manipulate the people of Barbados. The official response did not cut it for me.  In fact, it is unacceptable.

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Under Mottley has the country progressed?

All right thinking Barbadians are vested in an improving economy, we live here. In has been a challenging last 15 years for Barbados and it is no secret we are losing some of our best young minds to the global market because as a result. This exodus comes at a time government is concerned about an ageing population which has negative implications for our tax base and the threat caused to the National Insurance Fund. As a consequence, government has been essaying thoughts about importing labour to increase the labour force to be able to sustain a standard of living Barbadians have become addicted – see Draft Barbados Population Policy Available for FEEDBACK.

This week the blogmaster listened to Minister of the Environment Adrian Forde heaping praise on the Prime Minister for the splash she has been making in the international area. He cited concomitant benefits, one being able to access low concessionary interest rates on loans for development purposes. While government continues to pat itself on the back, the average Barbadian is very concerned about the debt burden. Government will counter to say we can afford to service the debt but they often neglect to add – ceteris paribus. (All things being equal). It is fashionable for today’s unimaginative governments to engage in deficit financing with successive Barbados governments gleefully joining the party.

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Pothole Gang wanted

The blogmaster is making a simple request, FIX THE RH POTHOLES.

During the 60s and 70s a motley crew located in Grenada known as the Mongoose Gang were given license to terrorise Grenadians by late prime minister Eric Gairy. It is the subject of another blog the power prime ministers and the political directorate on our tiny islands wield in the system of government currently practiced. Some will recall Haiti had a similar gang called the Tonton Macoute.

It takes a lot of convincing to believe politicians are unable to execute plans to achieve set goals when it collides with self interest. Why should fixing our roads not be on the goal list or should we blame public servants. The blogmaster is making a simple request, FIX THE RH POTHOLES.

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For Palestine and the world

Submitted by Isidoros Karderinis
Submitted by Isidoros Karderinis

The region of Palestine since October 7 has entered into a terrible war. And, of course, there the flowers have withered, and the sun has disappeared because darkness has come, and the youths cannot sing, and the children cannot play carelessly in the streets, and the white doves of peace do not fly in the gloomy sky.

And who is to blame for this tragedy? Is it the fault of the Israeli people? Is it the fault of the Palestinian people? Clearly, no. Both peoples are innocent and good. Israelis are entitled to have their own state, but so are Palestinians, must have their own piece of land with state status. But the politicians, and primarily of the powerful Israeli side, in all the previous years, did not take the necessary right steps to solve this hot problem in the Middle East region, resulting in the current tragic situation.

And what are these steps? For 75 years–since 1948, when the State of Israel was established–the UN has made a decision on the creation of an independent Palestinian state and it has not been implemented. At that time, Israel occupied 52% of the area designated as “historic Palestine”, and in the remaining 48%, the borders were determined for the Palestinian state that was to be created.

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A distorted Barbadian mirror image

We have become a superficial people.

In 2011 Bridgetown, capital city of Barbados and the surrounding Garrison, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. What does being designated a world heritage site mean many will ask after a decade of acquiring the designation.

World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.


Questions have been asked what has the government, Barbados National Trust and relevant stakeholders done to impress upon Barbadians the importance of ‘preserving and protecting the natural built heritage of Barbados’. The blogmaster is prepared to state that the average Barbadian does NOT connect to our heritage in any significant way. Our identity is one being developed as we meander along. There has been no significant effort by successive governments, traditional and non traditional media to push and sponsor programs which ‘give [Barbadians] a chance to understand traditions and related cultural details’. We are proud to ‘transactionalize’ the UNESCO designation to sell Barbados when tourists visit.

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Lessons from the Past – EDUTECH

Submitted by Observing

If we never learn from history we are doomed to failure. Between 1995 and approximately 2010 the ambitious EDUTECH programme was promoted under the leadership of the then Minister of Education. All objective analyses and independent reports have concluded that it was a partial success, with many unmet objectives and a significantly less than expected overall impact specifically in the areas of overall technology integration and improved academic achievement

If one had any doubt, just imagine that 20+ years after the fact, we were caught scrambling with devices and online classes during Covid 19, and, the exact same problems being presented now, are the EXACT same problems that existed circa 2000. So, the question is, why did the reform back then “fail?” Here are a few thoughts free of charge.

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ChatGPT and Education Reform

The following article was posted by Amit to his website titled – ChatGPT’s Guide to Education and Career Choices in the AI Era. It is recommended reading even for the closed minded – Barbados Underground

Amit Uttamchandani

It’s been almost a year since I started using ChatGPT. During this time, I’ve had dozens upon dozens of conversations that have covered a wide range of topics. Many, if not all of these conversations, have always left me pleasantly surprised in terms of its human-like comprehension, understanding and responses (even when my grammar and spelling is less than perfect). However, I know ChatGPT is not a person, heck, even ChatGPT knows that it is not a person. It is not an individual, sentient or self-aware, nor does it posses consciousness like us human beings.

As I understand it, and in extremely simple terms, it is nothing but an enormous set of data stored in a machine (physical machines) with complex software algorithms that use all manner of pattern matching, sophisticated math, statistics, et cetera, to respond to input from a human being in a human like manner. Remember, that was a very simple definition. Not in agreement with me on it? No problem, here’s what ChatGPT has to say:


Unnecessary Deaths in Gaza

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

It is distressing to see multi-storey buildings in Gaza collapsing after one missile strike. It is more distressing to know that many of our brothers and sisters in humanity are buried under that rubble. Structural Engineers must now consider the impact loads of military missile strikes in their designs.


A building will not likely survive repeated bomb explosions, but we should have two design aims. The first is that a multi-storey building should not collapse after the first missile strike, assuming that the first missile strike is to eliminate enemy targets near external walls.

If the intent is to destroy the building, then the first strike should give occupants enough time to escape while the decision to order another strike is implemented. The time for occupants to evacuate a building is based on the floor area, exit locations and number of stories. Therefore, the second strike can be timed to allow occupants to safely escape – otherwise the intent is evidently murder.

The second design aim is that a collapsed multi-storey building should not trap occupants inside, and should allow rescuers access to save injured persons.

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Tackling incompetence

Barbadians have been advised the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) will be engaged in road works in several areas including BRIDGETOWN during the month of October 2023. It is no secret Broad Street, Fairchild Street, Marhill Street, St. Michaels Row are heavily used roads any day of the week except on Sundays.

Red arrow shows open trench at the junction of Marhill Street and St. Michaels Row

It therefore beggars belief why a deep trench would be left for motorists to reduce speed to almost a dead stop in order to prevent damage to vehicles. The blogmaster is not criticizing the NPC project to improve service to the area, the criticism is levelled at how the project is being managed. How difficult can it be to cover the trenches with pieces of metal during the off work period? Bear in mind the cumulative effect of cars having to slow to negotiate the open trench which will add to traffic congestion.

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From lost decade to clawback period

How can this Mia Mottley earn credibility regarding Mission Transformation but ignore incompetence within the bosom of her Cabinet?

Minister of Education Kay McConney

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in unprecedented manner won the last two general elections. It should be noted the two general elections occurred in 2018 and 2022 – a period of just over three years – in a system where a general election is constitutionally due every five years.

The electorate had enough of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) given the state of the economy during the so called lost decade. Barbados is a two party system, a duopoly, therefore when there is time for a change the country has only one alternative. A reasonable conclusion to make is that the opposition party whether BLP or DLP do not win elections but rather sitting governments lose.

Political pundits often discuss why the third party movement has not gained traction in Barbados in a climate of rising cynicism and apathy being experienced by the electorate. A good answer is that there are multiple factors at play – no appreciable difference in political ideology, ragtag candidates who want for coherent articulation, lack of structure and resources to list a few.

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A Jacket for Jack

We are doing our students a grave disservice. 

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Once again, the Ministry of Education has proposed some type of educational reform to address the fact that most students leave school with no certificate evidence of having regularly attended.

After a lot of reported consultations, an outline of an educational reform plan has been revealed – with much public relations fanfare.  Tragically, we seem to be planning to go from bad to worse, as if that were even possible.


The fundamental problem with our educational system is that it is not designed for all of our students.  It is principally designed for the 20% of students who happen to understand the taught information earlier than their classmates, whether through parental support or their own initiatives.

Instead of addressing this root cause, we have decided to create separate schools of excellence.  This will simply give the 20% of early-learners more learning options, while continuing to disqualify the majority of our students from the main benefits of a secondary school education.

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American Economy on a tight rope

I would like to emphasize that the horizon in the American economy and in the markets is becoming increasingly dark.

Submitted by Karderinis Isidoros

America is today at the most critical point in its modern history. It is threatened with a collapse which, if it happens, will drag most of the world down.

The U.S. debt has now, amid high inflation, rising interest rates—most economic analysts expect the U.S. central bank to continue raising rates—and growing economic uncertainty in September 2023, topped $33 trillion and amounts to 124% of GDP. And the deficit of the general government – which is the federal and local government together – is over 7% of GDP. This level of debt is more than three times the level of debt in 2008 ($10 trillion) and 10 times the level in 1990 ($3.2 trillion). US debt levels have ballooned significantly in recent years, especially after a 50% increase in federal spending between fiscal years 2019–2021, according to data from the US Treasury Department.

This stark reality resulted in the House and Senate passing necessary legislation in early June 2023 that raised the ceiling on federal borrowing while imposing some limits on spending.

This, of course, was done in order to prevent a catastrophic bankruptcy of the government, i.e., the scenario of the country declaring default, unable to pay its creditors and pay salaries and pensions, which would obviously have a catalytic negative impact on international markets, as well as in the American and global economy, given the size of the American debt.

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STOP the Killing

Media Release from Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine

Hamas, Israel

The Barbados based “Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine” [CAAP] categorically condemns all attacks on civilians in all conflicts, and in particular the continued and consistent genocide of the Palestinian people over the past 75 years by Zionists.

We express our full support for the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle for liberation of the Palestinian lands and people from the occupying, dehumanizing forces of the fascist Zionist regime of Israel.

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Simulated Incompetence

Is Barbados trapped in a vortex of incompetence?

Chief Education Officer – Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw

In light of today’s fiasco which went horribly wrong at the Springer School earlier today the following comments posted by the blogmaster on the blog Education Transformation – Substance or Smoke? to which Bush Tea replied are instructive.

@Bush Tea

When a society and by extension people lack confidence in the leadership, there will be negative consequences. We can discuss, distill, slice and dice these proposals all we want but if people lack the confidence and complementary self esteem, it will be an academic exercise.

In the land of the blind, a one eye …

@ David
It is not that people ‘lack confidence in leadership’.
There is NOTHING that Bajans would like better than to have leaders in whom they can have confidence.

The problem is that the people lack COMPETENCE in leadership…. and even with the most expensive PR in the world, the most rancid of their yard poultry is being forced to lose confidence…

A bunch of emotion-driven ‘leaders’ appealing to party loyalty can only go so far…. Even Santia has now fallen into the trap (with that ill-advised speech a few days ago).
Clearly, these are TOUGH assignments – requiring WISE leadership….

…and Boss, ‘WISE’ has ONLY ONE origin…..

Education Transformation – Substance or Smoke?

Implementation of projects and activities will sometimes go wrong; milestones have to be changed because additional resources maybe required, events outside the control of project management may occur and so on. However, under successive governments and especially the incumbent, the label that Barbados suffers from implementation deficit has grown.

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Education Transformation – Substance or Smoke?

Submitted by Observing

Barbadians were treated to a 3 hour show last week launching proposals for education transformation aimed at “revolutionsing” the way we school our children.

From the outset let me state 3 undeniable facts.

  • Change is needed.
  • Anyone with enough balls to try something should be commended.
  • Most of the ideas are good ones albeit a tad dated.

Now here are three other facts.

  • The Common Entrance is not to blame for where we are. It’s a nice red herring, but that’s all.
  • We have been here before. Ironically, with some of the same people.
  • We are not addressing the core issues in education/society which impact and effect the majority of our young people.
  • Without going into too many specifics a few points to take note of based on a reading of the proposals:
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Cabinet ministers rewarded for foul ups

Minister of Finance
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

In recent days a principal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAB) was severely critical of the lack of support given to the Auditor General’s department by government. In a sponsored program on the Voice of Barbados titled Talking Financing the President of ICAB did not hold back venting on government’s lack of support for the Auditor General’s office, an important watchdog in our governance system. It was refreshing to listen to an independent agency in Barbados frontally address an issue untainted by political rhetoric and association.

Barbadians have been expressing concerns about incompetence and a stench of corruption to be found in decades worth of Auditor General reports which have been largely ignored by successive governments.

We will therefore strengthen governance in all of government’s affairs, ensuring that our public affairs are managed in a manner that is transparent, participatory, equitable, responsible, responsive, inclusive, and people centred.

2022 Barbados Labour P arty Manifesto

There is definitely a crisis of governance in Barbados with two consecutive general elections registering ALL 30 seats in the Lower House won by the Mia Mottley Barbados Labour Party (BLP). The result has created a dysfunction in parliament how important working committees have not been working as envisaged by the framers of the original Barbados Constitution. Some may suggest even when there was an elected Opposition working committees only served to check the process and procedure box, a different conversation.

From observation since Barbados Underground was established in 2007 there is an irrefutable conclusion to be made. In the system of government practiced, we struggle mightily with holding feet to the fire when government officials contravene rules, procedures and expected standards of performance.

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Parental Guilt

If you were granted one wish of having a one-hour conversation with anyone, who would you choose? I would choose God Himself.

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

We have diverse social and religious traditions on which we make judgements about others – especially assigning blame for the life-choices of others. Fortunately for us, God had a fascinating discourse about this (in Ezekiel 18), which I shall paraphrase below. The speaker is God Himself.


Why do you quote this proverb: “The parents eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? Do not quote this proverb, because both parents and children belong to me. It is the soul who sins who shall die.

Suppose there was a man who did what is good and right. He did not: serve false gods, oppress anyone, charge interest on loans, but was: faithful to his wife, assisted those in need and judged fairly between disputing parties. That man shall live.

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Taped cell phone tip of the iceberg

The BBA and DC maybe have received a dose of its own medicine.

In today’s press former member of parliament and prominent criminal attorney Michael Lashley has expressed “ fears that lawyer-client privacy at police stations is under threat, based on the Barbados Police Service’s findings in the “cell phone under the table” incident”. His reaction was to the incident where a cell phone was found taped under a desk at District E in a room used by attorneys and clients.

The blogmaster has no problem with the Barbados Bar Association (BBA), Faith Greaves, a junior lawyer at Michael Lashley & Associates, expressing outrage at the incident. Obviously an attempt was made by someone to subvert the process. Unfortunately, Barbadians have tolerated repeated attempts by officialdom to rub the brown stuff in our faces. What the incident exposes is a level of corruption perpetrated by actors responsible for honouring the justice system.

Given the nature of your complaint, a forensic analysis was conducted to this cellular phone by the Regional Security System. The forensic analysis of the cellular phone was carried out to determine whether it was fit for use or carried any recorded information thereon.

“That forensic examination revealed that the phone was unserviceable and that there was no recording on the phone. That the phone had no bearing on the matter involving the attorney-client privileged communication. The forensic examination also showed there was no link between the investigations involving your client and the cellular phone.

Nation newspaper
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Debt Swap does not mean debt relief

Debt swap does not mean debt relief.

Ryan Straughn
Ryan Straughn, a minister in the Ministry of Finance

First it was Ryan Straight singing the benefits of Barbados entering a debt swap arrangement with CIBC FirstCaribbean and Credit Suisse International. It was reported both institutions agreed to the government of Barbados buying back BDS$150 million each. The mechanics of the deal: savings generated from rebooking the debt at a lower rate will be used to finance government’s marine conservation plans.

See related article – Debt swap

Next it was Prime Minister Mia Mottley last week announcing another debt swap worth BBD$600 million to be utilised to finance the upgrade of the controversial South Coast Treatment plant (SCTP). The financial agencies mentioned with the deal were the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Green Climate Fund.

See related article – PM says capital for upgrading South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant won’t increase Gov’t debt

In both cases there should be no criticism about the need for government to allocate resources to upgrade the SCTP and marine environment. Barbados is a small island developing state that is heavily dependent on a pristine environment to maintain its character. The country is beginning to take on a haphazard appearance with the high volume of vehicles on the road, photovoltaic panels littering our fields and hills, houses being planted everywhere, itinerant vending everywhere, et cetera.

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What are we doing?

We have to introduce innovation; technology to maximize agricultural production in small spaces.

Another island wide blackout continues to feed national debate concerning the quality of service being provided by OUR Canadian owned Barbados Light & Power Company. It seems ironic that as you drive around Barbados one cannot help noticing large swaths of land being used to create solar farms, as well as the many roof tops covered with photovoltaic panels. Despite what appears to be a country consumed with harnessing an alternative source of energy, a 7 hour+ outage last week was the result.

BL&P 10MW Solar Farm

The blogmaster has to assume there is science being used to determine the location of these solar farms quickly dotting the island landscape of Barbados. It should not be lost on the planners that integral to island appeal is the natural landscape. Reducing acreage of sugarcane threatens the aesthetically pleasing view with the current trend of planting photovoltaic panels. Again great irony for a country consumed with pandering to tourism, the main sector in the economy.

Important to developing alternative energy sources is balancing the need to contribute to our food security. The blogmaster accepts that because of a high cost base and lack of scale, it is impossible for us to be a significant player in food production. That said, there is nothing wrong if small islands adopt approaches to reduce reliance on food supply from overseas. Surely the recent COVID 19 pandemic that to this day continue to disrupt the global supply chain taught us a lesson?

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Politicians too fat, cabinet too large, too many consultants

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

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

Interview with Prime Minister Mia Mottley

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

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

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Are we ready for wet bulb events and rising temperatures?

#wetbulbevents #risingtempertures

The blogmaster received the two videos drawing attention to wet bulb events and the alarming increase in temperature readings in recent times. It is predicted to get worse in 2024. What is scary is that our best scientists seem clueless to explain why temperatures have been increasing on the planet.

Here is what the blogmaster will opine, no human being knows how nature will react over time. Buckle up and wish for the best.

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Libya disaster- white world does not care bout we

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.

Muammar Gaddafi (late)

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.

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MPs pay hike maybe in the works

No bigworks project gets done without the approval of the prime minister.

A few days ago Dr. Ronnie Yearwood fresh from being reelected President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) posted a provocative tweet. To be expected his tweet generated the usual 7-day public discussion.

It is useful Yearwood decided to play his hand on what is regarded as a contentious matter. It is obvious he has been advised to develop a more aggressive perspective on the issues to improve resonance with a politically ‘tone deaf’ public. A different approach by the DLP to entice support from an apathetic and cynical public is required from a DLP struggling for relevance, Yearwood must employ superior leadership qualities to repurpose a political party clinging to the tattered coattail of Errol Barrow as well as surviving in a space where the political oxygen is being controlled by Prime Minister Mottley.

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President Randy Harris, weak but strong

President of Barbados Football Association (BFA) Randy Harris has occupied the office although the performance of Barbados football has slipped to an embarrassing level during his tenure.

BFA President Randy Harris and FIFA President Gianni Infantino 

It helps us to stay healthy, fit, and active. It teaches us the value of teamwork and encourages us to work hard and never give up. Sports also help us develop discipline, dedication, and commitment, which are essential values for success in life. It is also a great way for people to socialize and make new friends.


It must be obvious sports is not only everything EDUCBA describes, it is also a trillion dollar global business. Where there are big business decisions being made expect to find political factors at play and corruption.

The world’s most popular sport is football (soccer). In recent weeks a controversy triggered by suspended president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales planting a kiss on a female player in his exuberance at Spain winning the women’s World Cup, and the ensuing debate amplifies the importance placed on holding on to executive positions in sports, especially soccer. In the face of global condemnation he refuses to resign.

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Barbados New York Consul General in hot water

Submitted by Richard Millington, Esq.Director of Communications Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy ( CGID)

Consul General Mackie Holder

The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) on Monday harshly condemned the behavior of the Consul General of Barbados in New York, Mackie Holder, for his verbal abuse of a female New York elected official at Monday’s West Indian American Day Carnival (Labor Day Parade). The parade was held on the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, and attended by millions of West Indians. 

The Barbados Consul General was not only verbally abusive, but he lifted his hand and pointed his finger in the face of the female Democratic elected official. The Consul General knows who the elected official is and fully recognized her at the time of the incident

The attack occurred on a double decker tourist bus sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Authority, which was part of the parade. What is bazaar is that the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), which organizes the parade, does not normally allow such buses in the parade. 

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Players laughing at we 2

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


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

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

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

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PM Mottley is frustrated

If the omnipresent Prime Minister Mia Mottley is being frustrated by a moribund FTC to execute its job, what recourse is there for ‘lowly’ citizens.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Many Barbadians – we hope – have been following the protracted hearing to determine a rate application request by the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) being adjudicated by the Fair Trading Commission (FTC). The blogmaster has a healthy respect for the intervenors representing the interest of citizens who despite being under-resourced have been putting in the work. However, it must be stated the review process smacks of being ultra-bureaucratic at a time timely decision making is required to move the country forward. The government it appears has created a monster.

The BL&P’s legal team has challenged the FTC’s decision issue earlier in February 2023. It is of interest based on the argument the FTC acted ultra vires. If the FTC Commissioners are forced to vary its earlier decision, there is a simple task for all members to perform – resign!

… to safeguard the interests of consumers, to regulate utility services supplied by service
providers, to monitor and investigate the conduct of service providers and business enterprises,
to promote and maintain effective competition in the economy and for related matters.

2020 FTC Annual Report
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‘Players’ laughing at we

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

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

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

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

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Prime Minster you are the one talking foolishness

The following was posted as a comment to Time to hold NIS Chairs accountable by BU Commenter NorthernObserver

Minister of Finance
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Since I contributed several times on the NIS, I must admit when I make a mistake. For some time I have used the number of $320,000,000 to represent the sum of NIS contributions deducted from govt/SOE employees but not remitted to the NIS, by that employer(s), pre 2018. That was incorrect. The actual number given by the PM is $457,500,000.
I have also stated that was a criminal act. That nothing in the National Insurance Act gave any employer the right to withhold from the NIS monies it deducted from its employees. The PM referred to this as “monies it {GoB} took on trust”. Apparently whether employers have the legal right to withhold and open Accounts Payable (on trust) to the NIS, the PM is willing to give the GoB “a pass”. As she was willing to do with other employers, just admit it and talk to the NIS. In context, this seems to be because a decision was taken to pay it back, and she was clear to state the full amount of $457,500,000 had been repaid via Bonds. She said series Series B, I thought it was Series J, doesn’t much matter.

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Is Hugh Wooding Law school failing? – Once a noble profession

It is a bad rap on Hugh Wooding law school and simply a disgrace to the profession.

Submitted by Chefleur

Hugh Wooding
Hugh Wooding law School

Once upon a time the legal profession was considered noble. I had to pause from my very busy schedule to chronicle to inform you and the public of some very disturbing events and atrocious behaviour of a member of the Guyana Bar.

Before my mother died I filed various DVA before the Magistrate’s courts in Georgetown. A particular attorney representing the defendants would enter the chambers spewing his diatribe, in order to sway the Magistrate from granting the protection order sought.

Because of his utterances all those requests for protection of my elderly and abused mother were given a mere “keep the peace” warning. My mother died because various magistrates in Guyana *refused* to act to protect an ailing elderly person.

Since my mother’s death in January 2022 this same attorney has filed various ridiculous motions on the estate. All were promptly dismissed for no grounds by understandably very irate judges.

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Government’s physical development plan – a zoom to Bay Street

Civic minded Barbadians should be informed about the Draft Physical Development Plan (August 2023).

In the context of the ongoing Savvy on the Beach saga – see blog Savvy Saga – it would be a constructive exercise for the public to be conversant about what government has planned for Bridgetown and its environs. The authoritative landing place is the Barbados Draft Physical Development Plan (August 2023).

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Change to survive

The biggest concern is that as a Caribbean people we are able to unshackle our minds to appreciate for change to occur, we must look in the mirror.

In recent weeks two African development banks took root in the Caribbean with a goal to nurture economic links and fuel growth opportunities. It will be interesting to observe the extent the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) are able to build a model for success that addresses ” the financial needs of stakeholders and improve the quality of life for Caribbean citizens“.

Already CAF has committed USD50 million to support the the Blue Green Bank initiative that focuses on the blue economy AND Afreximbank USD1.5 billion to finance trade and investment ties between Africa and the Caribbean by stimulating the “economic sectors, enhance trade infrastructure, and empower small to medium enterprises across the Caribbean“.

See Relevant Link: New banks open in the Caribbean

On the surface the blogmaster is happy to observe initiatives with the Motherland recognizing our cultural moorings and common challenges. Both the Caribbean and Africa currently have similar issues, we are countries struggling to unleash our potential on the world. We continue to allow our physical and mental spaces to be exploited by Western interests. The only way to break the shackles of dependency on the West – a legacy of our colonial past – is to transform how we think in order to discover new opportunities.

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Savvy on the Beach launches website

Savvy on the Beach launches Barbados Fairness & Truth website.

Allan Kinch
Allan Kinch of Savvy on the Beach

The level of public distrust is at an all time low and with a Mia Mottley government that has mastered the art of sanitizing public disclosures – who to trust?

The Savvy on the Beach story has generated significant interest in recent months, it is a classic case of the rich and political elite mixing it up. In fact many observers conclude it is an example of how the business class and government interact oftentimes skirting the regulations to solidify economic power.

Against the foregoing Barbados Underground is happy to broadcast that parties concerned have launched a website to capture all the pertinent details about Savvy on the Beach.

See website Barbados Fairness & Truth

Sports needs an Oba

The lack of commitment to sports in Barbados is exemplified in a dilapidated National Stadium.

Charles Griffith
Charles Griffith, Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment 

Two voting events caught the interest last week. First the election of a Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and the announcement Olympian Obadele Thompson has thrown his hat in the ring to challenge for president of the Barbados Olympic Association.

It was reported Conde Riley was returned as president with 75 votes to narrowly fend off Calvin Hope 72 votes and Senator Gregory Nicholls 37 votes. A grand total of 184 votes were gathered between the three candidates. From all research the BCA registers a membership of close to three thousand members. At a time cricket is struggling to maintain its position as the preeminent sport in Barbados, less than 200 members showed the interest to vote for a president of the BCA.

Oba: A ruler of any of several African peoples of western Nigeria 
—used as a form of address

Mariam Webster

The other related news was 2000 Olympian Obadele Thompson’s announcement to challenge for a director’s seat at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA). What makes his decision interesting is the fact he lives in the United States of America. How does it reflect on the local talent Thompson feels compelled to contribute to the development of sports in Barbados via Zoom? In defense, we live in a Digital Age.

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DLP Rumble

The election of a President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will be held this weekend at the annual general conference to run from August 18th to 20th. On the ballot are David Estwick, Ryan Walters, Richard Sealy and incumbent, Ronnie Yearwood.

The election of a President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will be held this weekend at the annual general conference to run from August 18th to 20th. The interest of the country is piqued because with no other credible alternatives available the DLP represents the government in waiting.

What has spiced interest for many is the fact the DLP has had to accept two significant defeats in the last two general elections. So significant it was the party did not win a single seat. Although many prefer in the wake of the shellacking a credible third party movement would have emerged, it has not. Although disappointed, we have to console ourselves that the duopoly will be with us for the foreseeable future.

The blogmaster does not have a dog in the fight BUT being a keen observer of local politics, a few observations of a light nature on the current state of political affairs in the DLP camp are merited.

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Savvy Saga

The following is a clarification statement issued by Sarah Taylor, an associate of Allan Kinch, to respond to an article published in the Sunday Sun (13 August) titled Savvy Setback. See full Sunday Sun article posted below at the end of the submission.

Old Eye Ward

I want to give some clarity on how the statement in question came about.

I was messaging the journalist pertaining to the petition to keep Savvy On The Bay open and I told the journalist I signed for 2 documents weeks ago that turned out to be a stop and enforcement notice on the Old Eye Ward building. It ordered that work had to stop and spoke about returning it to the state it was in before we started working on it. It was not something we discussed at length, I had mentioned it because I remembered getting a nose bleed as soon as I read it.

I was lost as to why the planning department served the notice without determining the application that was submitted in 2020 and updated two weeks prior to the notice being served. I was was also lost as to why they asked for an application to be submitted in the notice when they had already been submitted.

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Mistakes Waiting to Happen

Solutions Barbados
Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

The Government of Barbados protects us by setting minimum qualifications for those who want to offer professional services to the public. The qualifications normally consist of a university degree at the Bachelor level and a minimum number of years of supervised training.

A bachelor’s degree provides the holder with the basic tools to do the job in that field. Supervised training allows the holder to become competent using those tools by failing in an environment where mistakes can be corrected. Therefore, the first 5 years of professional practice after obtaining those tools are critical to building a strong foundation for a professional career.

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Why protest action is failing

Key actors in Civil Society, including significant political opposition, must come together to engineer successful protest action in a Barbados space.

The late General Secretary of the BWU and support team

The attempts by Caswell Franklyn of Unity Workers Union and others to galvanize protest action by Barbadians is commendable. In a democracy the opportunity for citizens to exercise a right to protest must be protected. History is replete with many examples where protest action by civic minded citizens forced change from those targeted.

One of the biggest protest actions in Barbados was the march in 1981 led by a powerful Barbados Workers Union (BWU) to protest the sacking of David Gilkes by BARTEL. In 2017 there was the BLP led march that attracted thousands to signal to an incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) its increasing unpopularity.

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Do Mottley and Straughn Care?

Based on recent statements uttered by Minister Ryan Straughn the government is insensitive to the plight of senior citizens in Barbados.

The blogmaster accepts a widely held view that how a government treats its most vulnerable can be used as a good measure of our sense of humanity. Too many of our elderly died as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and the event has quickly faded from national memory.

In May 2018 a Mia Mottley government was swept into government in unprecedented manner, the following month Prime Minister Mottley announced the decision to enter a selected default with domestic and foreign bondholders. As the saying goes -the rest is history.

Of concern to the blogmaster has been the negative effect the debt restructure has been having on bondholders who one suspects are mainly senior citizens; retirees or approaching that time. It is obvious senior citizens purchased bonds to help plan for retirement. In an act of desperation to right the debt to GDP ratio, senior citizens who had toiled for decades in the service of country and sensibly prepared for the golden years were made to feel tradeconfirmeresk by a Mia Mottley government.

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FLOW, BL&P, Digicel, BWA not being properly regulated by government and FTC

Dr Marsha Atherley-Ikechi, CEO, Fair Trading Commission

In the early 2000s the Barbados government took the decision as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) mandate to liberalize our telecommunication sector. For many years Cable and Wireless was the single telecom player licensed to provide services in Barbados. Cable and Wireless was the classic monopoly and raked in millions if not billions in profits since its establishment in the 19th century.

With the liberalization of the sector there was high expectation from the public that with fair competition, supported by the creation of a regulator and relevant legislation there was a new dawn. The late Prime Minister Owen Arthur as lead HoG for CSME matters was quoted in 1998 as saying – “Mr. Speaker, one of the areas of gravest deficiencies in our economic affairs is the set of arrangements in place for regulating the affairs of public utilities, and monopolies and protecting the interest of consumers and producers who have to relate to such monopolies“. It is fair to opine that nearly twenty five years later, Barbados telecoms players have NOT been able to satisfactorily monitor service standards, respond to customer complaints or guarantee affordable rates among other promises.

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Barbados death rate on the rise…

Minister of Labour Colin Jordan admitted during a recent public talk show on VoB that the number of deaths increased in Barbados during the period 2020 to 2022.

YearNumber of deaths

He attributed the increase in deaths to Barbados’ ageing population. He was honest to admit that his honest to admit his conclusion was not based on empirical analysis.

The distrust by citizens in the public health authority during the post Covid 19 pandemic period will therefore continue – a global concern.

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Corruption in Public Life

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

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

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


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Praise for Fatman – what about the 16 year old boy?

One member of the duo who participated in a widely publicized alleged robbery of ZR driver aka Fatman was remanded to prison for 28 days until his next scheduled court appearance. on August 22, 2023

After witnessing pictures of the 16 year old boy’s procession to be processed yesterday flanked by two policemen, first thought from the blogmaster was how did society fail the youngster? Many will be happy to reconcile the matter by thinking, he did the crime therefore he must be prepared to do the time, forgetting there is a bigger issue to be solved.

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

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

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

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

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