It is ironic one of the important Christian festivals on the calendar is being celebrated this weekend against the background of continuing conflict in the Middle East. It is reported Christianity started with a small group of Jewish origin in Judea. Ironic because Judea was located in the space occupied by Israel and Palestine; an area of decades of conflict. Many believers AND non-believers will justifiably ask – why has a region anchored in Christianity been unable to resolve decades of man made conflict that has resulted in the deaths and injury to hundreds of thousand of men, women, children?
As if the Israel/PLO conflicts is not enough, political instability in Israel has not made it easy with years of coalition governments comprised of Conservatives, Liberals, Right-wing, Zionists to name a few feeding a polarizing environment.
For some time I have been hearing a person on social media proclaiming that Barbados does not have a constitution. Normally, I would listen in amusement and take it for the comic relief that it provided but now it is no longer funny. It has potential to become dangerous and reckless as I am now hearing others expressing disrespect for the court system because they are also parroting the nonsense about this country not having a constitution. I am concerned that Government has not attempted to clarify the situation and has allowed this dangerous nonsense to take root.
In September 2021, Government brought a bill to Parliament entitled:
An Act to alter the Constitution in order
(a) to provide for Barbados to become a republic with a President who shall be Head of State of Barbados; and
(b) to provide for related matters.
It might have slipped pass many but one of the related matters was legislating, for the first in the Barbados Parliament, a constitution for this country. The original independence constitution of Barbados was never passed in our parliament, it was merely a schedule to an order in council, the Barbados Independence Order, made by Queen Elizabeth II.
The gap in our system of governance which resulted in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) winning two consecutive general elections continues to expose inadequacies. More and more important pieces of legislation and information contained in Bills is being discussed in a relevant manner from the Upper Chamber. The latest is Senator Monique Taitt sharing concerns about the plan by government to appoint liaison officers for backbenchers.
The reason for the liaison officers explained by deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw is to address the high demand from constituents – to quote Bradshaw, “It’s necessary because we have 30 MOs and the ministers are entitled to personal assistants and constituency assistants…when you have 16 or 18 seats, the volume of work is not the same, but in an environment with 30 seats, everyone is coming for them and they don’t have any support system. This will allow them to function better”.
In today’s (29/03/2023) Nation newspaper MP Marsha Caddle was allowed a 1-page spread to defend the decision to create the post of liaison officer for backbenchers. It was a very well articulated defense of government’s decision the blogmaster admits and under normal circumstances would command the support of the blogmaster.
Recently, a case was brought against a local medical practitioner for malpractice. The courts ruled against it. Reading the following report, one has caused to wonder what effect this local case had and will continue to have on the parties involved, how it will effect them going forward and the consequences this case will have throughout the local medical profession as it interacts with the public.
Has a time bomb been set in place for patients and professionals alike? Many of the stressors in the article are reported to be present in the local arena.
Increasingly as the blogmaster traverses the streets of Barbados or drive for that matter, there is the pungent smell of ‘weed’ that assaults the nostrils at every turn. Is it farfetched to conclude the increase in deviant behaviour, including vehicular accidents, is the result? Law makers should move quickly using an evidence based approach to eliminate individuals blazing while driving as the cause of some of the mayhem being experienced.
Social commentator Kammie Holder is of the view politicians throughout the Caribbean make political decisions of decriminalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purpose, however, he suggests it is a decision that is myopic and lacks deep thought.
The question begs, how many vehicular accidents or violent crimes were carried out while persons were under the influence of dope? Given our modus operandi in Barbados we will probably never know, BUT, we know the price of building another prison a la VECO, and another Jenkins but never the true social cost of bad political decisions.
The blogmaster couldn’t avoid the noise generated in the local newsfeed covering the return of former member of parliament Donville Inniss. Inniss was incarcerated in the United States for breaking money laundering laws and suffered the embarrassment of being deported last weekend.
Inniss served his time and is free to continue with his endeavours in idyllic Barbados, UNLESS, local authorities intend to prosecute a matter that originated in Barbados. There is a good chance local authorities will allow the Inniss matter to die in the spirit of a few protecting the many which is the mantra of the political directorate.
The blogmaster will not judge the Don except to say many are not as convinced of his innocence as he is.. It would be in the interest of local authorities to give Donville his day in a local court so that he can expose the lies of the ‘pale face people and house niggas’ he referred to in his home coming media orchestrating.
The backbencher (backbench) in the parliamentary system of governance practiced in Barbados has an important role to play. Backbenchers are available to sit on the important working committees of parliament or add to the bench strength of the government if the prime minister is dissatisfied with the performance of members of Cabinet. In an ideal situation backbenchers are free to speak unencumbered by the convention of collective ministerial responsibility.
The quality of the backbench under a Mottley tenure has raised its head again during the just concluded Estimates Debate. The lack of elected members of parliament to form an opposition has created a farcical situation of the government having to manufacturer opportunities to question and probe policies.
In recent days Attorney General Dale Marshall has been in the news relating to several matters. Two items piqued the blogmaster’s interest.
In summary he said he had been following the issue concerning the wall at Joe’s River in St. Joseph, the constituency he represents. And that he was forced to decline public comment on the matter because future developments may involve aspects of his ministry.
See relevant extract of Attorney General Marshall commenting on the issue.
The other issue was Marshall commenting on the lack of complaints raised by the Barbados Bar Association against judges who have been persistently late handing down written decisions.
The author’s name withheld at the discretion of the Blogmaster – David
Man makes plans not knowing the plans God has already made or how he will bring his plans to pass. Six things have occurred recently in Barbados that may change the path of our trajectory.
With the deadline for the Trident ID being April 1st there has been an increase in anxiety in the general population.
With a background in gun violence during the past decade, suddenly, the gangs have made a truce and all the deaths by gun fire have stopped.
Then a week ago, some of the former wards of the Girl’s Industrial School won their case and the wandering laws under which they were institutionalized were deemed unconstitutional and struck off the law books.
The very next day, the country learnt that the government had passed the Barbados Identification Act two years earlier in 2021 to restrict freedoms and the ability to vote by citizens. In essence, it appears as though the wandering laws had been replaced by a plantation pass (Trident ID card) proving that plantation slavery is alive and well in Barbados.
The late Errol Walton Barrow died in 1987, 36 years later the political party he founded, one of two main parties that have dominated the political landscape- the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), continues the struggle to ‘find’ itself. On the other side of the political fence the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is led by the personage of Mia Mottley whose style has endeared her to the local and international community.
There is the suggestion Prime Minister Mia Mottley will elect not to offer herself as a candidate in the next general election. Political pundits again suggest that were this to occur the BLP will likely find itself in a similar state to compare to the DLP. From where the blogmaster is perched there is no obvious successor to Mottley. Some say Santia Bradshaw is being groomed, others are of the mind leaders emerge, a lazy premise if the blogmaster were to opine.
It is ironic commentators refer to Barbados as an ageing society but we struggle with implementing adequate frameworks to attend to the needs of the elderly. The biggest embarrassment is to read about senior citizens who are abandoned at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and elsewhere by family members.
The blogmaster can list many reasons we should take good care of our elders, however, the one reason that resonates the most is that a it is the humane thing to do.
Increasingly the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease has made it more challenging to care for senior citizens. We need to have a relevant policy and develop a better system to care for the elderly. As they say, you can tell a lot by how any society looks after the elderly and animals.
Last week the blogmaster received an email from a lawyer which had the Barbados Identity Management Act attached. The comment by the lawyer sharing the Act, not Bill, was that the legislation raises concerns that should trouble Barbadians. The fact that it sailed through parliament without the public being aware should expose the shortcomings of our governance model as well as the media and other actors in civil society (including the blogmaster). Regrettably the average Barbadian these days is concerned with other matters and lawmakers take advantage. The few independents in the Upper House can do so much. A pity we never observe the same appetite from lawmakers when integrity laws are being debated.
In a related matter, the issue of the day is the decision by the government to replace the national ID card (NID) with a digital version. All agree the old NID needs to be replaced, the Stuart government tried and unsurprisingly failed to execute after frittering hundreds of thousands of tax dollars.
Brazil, Russia, India and China originally formed the bloc in 2009 after a series of meetings and understandings. The first BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 16 of the same year, where the heads of states in question agreed to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between them.
The following year, in Brasilia, Brazil in April 2010, the second Summit was held, where the leaders of these countries emphasized the necessity of a multidimensional global intergovernmental system.
Then, at their third meeting in New York in September 2010, the BRICs agreed on the entry of South Africa. South Africa managed to join after a strong effort as a result of its active foreign policy, this coalition of states changing it from “BRIC” to “BRICS”.
At the Fourth Summit in March 2012 in New Delhi, India, a first announcement was made of the establishment of a New Development Bank (NDB), which was formalized at their Fifth Summit in Durban, South Africa in 2013, with the clear intention of independence of BRICS by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the US and the European Union. The agreement for its establishment, after resolving disputes over organizational issues, was finally reached in 2014, during the sixth BRICS meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil.
The internal news feeds in recent weeks have been choked with the Ukraine/Russia conflict. The ideologues have taken positions. The pragmatists have taken positions. There are those who exist in the world devoid of interest in the geopolitical machinations being orchestrated by the global elite. The current state paints a picture of a world still polarized many years post the Cold War period.
What the Russian Ukrainian conflict has exposed to discerning observers is a continuing struggle of a few powerful countries to protect and grow strategic interests. In the Cold War period it was easy to debate geopolitical issues and conflicts which came to light in the context of communism and democracy. There was the simple conclusion to be made of the Soviet Union and the United States of America with acolytes in tow to explain matters arising. Both sides armed with nuclear weapons that secured the jobs of an active diplomatic corp.