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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A Savvy conflict of interest

Submitted by The Book Surveyor

Savvy on the Bay matter- if the BTII failed to do due diligence by hiring Mr Kenneth Ward, both Mr Ward as the surveyor and Mr Kinch as the buyer had an obligation to legally declare a conflict of interest.  

Allan Kinch
Allan Kinch of Savvy on the Beach

Blogmaster, I sent you 2 paragraphs governing conflict of interest by surveyors and engineers as outlined by law. The wording in US and British law is slightly different, however, both speak to a professional and legal obligation to the client.

The reason I sent this is because a blogger of yours touched on it, but I do not think many understand the legal liability that this places on a transaction in terms of the efficacy of the survey. Also I read where a blogger tried to down play it by saying [paraphrasing] so what if the same surveyor that worked for Mr Kinch worked for BTII, Barbados is a small place“. My point is – if the BTII failed to do due diligence by hiring Mr Kenneth Ward, both Mr Ward as the surveyor and Mr Kinch as the buyer had an obligation to legally declare a conflict of interest.  

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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.

EDUCBA

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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COOPENERGY Responds to paid consultant

Chairman of CoopEnergy Trevor Browne issued the following clarification statement in reply to the following comment made by Dr. Roland Clarke – Blogmaster

Dr. Roland Clarke

This issue is perhaps at the very heart of the current impasse in the ongoing Rate Hearing, and even more fundamentally in the dismal lack of progress of the proposed energy transformation for Barbados.

It is quite clear that EMERA thinks that BLPC belongs to them, and that they therefore have the option to do as they please in exercising that ‘ownership right’. We are also aware that Dr Clarke has been a paid consultant to the Government of Barbados and perhaps has been able to convince local officials that this is the case.

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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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CoopEnergy – Response to Coop Concerns

CoopEnergy has no authority, and no interest in ‘making decisions’ about the investment of Credit Union funds in this project.

We welcome the intervention by our brother Ashton Turney, who have raised a number of concerns that we are sure have been echoed by others in the co-operative sector.

The Co-operative Movement represents a unique organizational concept that operates on seven principles of open membership, member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, member education, cooperation among cooperatives, and community concern.

When CoopEnergy was conceived and registered back in 2019, it was by a number of highly respected and experienced leaders of the sector who all fully appreciate the concerns raised by Brother Turney.

Then president of the League, Mr Hally Haynes was chairman of the Steering Committee and that committee included other former officers of the league as well as current leaders of other co-operative societies, who all fully understand the concerns raised, and who therefore took
deliberate actions to resolve those concerns.

Read full reply from Chairman Trevor Browne of the Cooperative Coalition

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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.

offshore

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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Co-op Coalition Report – Energy Mess

…it has taken nearly two years, to fail to adjudicate a straightforward rate review request from the utility

Trevor Browne, Chairman, Cooperative Coalition

We are pleased to share with you the summary report provided to our members on the ongoing BLPC Rate Hearings as at August 30, 2023. After nearly two years, we feel obligated to provide a comprehensive overview of our findings so far for our Co-op members. One of our primary objectives in becoming involved in the process was to ensure that a clear and understandable assessment of the key issues is made available to any and all members of the Co-operative movement, and indeed of the public, who have the interest.

Trevor Browne, Chairman, Cooperative Coalition

The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BLPC) is arguably the most critical asset owned by the people of Barbados. It is a regulated public utility, created by the Laws of Barbados for the public good, and is structured in such a way that its day-to-day operations are leased, by the Ministry of Energy, to a selected franchise holder, who enjoys a long-term contract of service – currently 42 years. The present franchise expires in 2028 after having been granted in 1986. BLPC is regulated by the FTC and operates subject to a number of the Laws of Barbados – specifically the Electric Light & Power Act (ELPA), Utilities Regulations Act (URA), Utilities Procedural Regulation Rules (UPRR) and the Fair Trading Act (FTA).

Just under two years ago, the Coalition of Cooperatives, representing the Barbados Sustainable Energy Co-operative Society Ltd, The Barbados Cooperative & Credit Union League and the Barbados Cooperative Business Association Ltd., applied, and were accepted as one of the Intervenors in the 2021 BL&P rate hearing application.

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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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Rats Everywhere

The following link was forwarded to the blogmaster’s inbox by our dearly departed ac. It is a serious matter and we thank her for making the blogmaster aware of this recent event.


There is still a sewerage problem on the South Coast although being ‘managed’ away from the glare of the public, add to the list now a rat problem. A consequence of the rat problem is that baby turtles are being targeted by the rats.

These rat attacks on turtles and invasion of popular eating spots on the South Coast are occurring in the highly trafficked tourist belt. Anyone passing on the South Coast today observed traffic congestion caused by major construction of a hotel. One must question the sense of it all.

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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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Our Silent Actuaries

What are the ‘ACTUARIES’ in Barbados saying about increased mortality figures?

In a post Covid 19 pandemic period there are increasing calls for governments and responsible agencies in civil society to address concerns about the efficacy of Covid 19 vaccines and excess deaths. It is well documented global authorities issued emergency use authorization of Covid 19 vaccines to address what was considered a public health emergency.

Doctor Campbell has been a lone voice asking probing questions supported by credible data sources. His most resent intervention addresses data produced by the the Society of Actuaries in the USA. There is a trend in data to support increase excess deaths in the younger age ranges. Campbell issues a caution that source data belongs to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The stark conclusion is that there was no negative correlation between vaccine rollout and number of deaths recorded.

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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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Too much jucks and wuk ups!

Wuk up and jucks left right and center!

Submitted by Observing

Now that the crop over dust has settled it is clear that we were always in the wukking and jucking season. Videos and photos all over social media shows the old, young, black, white, slim, fat, rich and poor jucking down the place and wukking up like mad.

And, as if on cue, we the people continue to bend over and tek these jucks sometimes without even looking back to see who the owner of the banana is.

We get juck down with a change to NIS. Now the big boss begging for everyone to come on board after the fact.

The BTMI CEO get juck all the way cross the ocean over to Africa. Guess he couldn’t wuk up good enough!

The NCF juck down revelers with a whopping 13 hour jump and 8 hour wait that ended in darkness and jumpers in distress. Then they put their hands up, rolled their batties and told us that it was the best Kadooment ever.

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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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Africa under attack

Too many African countries under performing. Professor Lumumba exposes the Trojan horses operating in Africa.

PLO LUMUMBA: CONFLICTS IN AFRICA IS A MULTI-BILLIONAIRE BUSINESS Credit Bentley

The blogmaster found the presentation posted by Professor Lumumba enlightening. The similarities between the struggles of many African countries and the Caribbean are striking.

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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As if it Never Happened

Solutions Barbados
Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

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

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

CANCELLED

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

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Time to hold former NIS Chairs Accountable

Submitted as a comment by NorthernObserver

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

Nation Newspaper

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

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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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Sign up – Government Asked to Withdraw Changes to NIS Bill

petition

The People of Barbados will be severely affected by the proposed changes to the National Insurance Scheme. They have noted that last March 2022, the Prime Minister stated that it was her intent to:

1. Make the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) a Statutory Corporation more independent from      Government by the end of 2022.

2. Recapitalize the NIS.

3. Add a requirement to diversify investments both locally and abroad.

4. Ensure that when private projects SEEK PUBLIC SUPPORT, they give the NIS the choice to invest.

However, the People of Barbados not having been privy to any report on the consultations regarding the National Insurance scheme, not being provided information on the Actuarial Review of the Pension Fund, not having knowledge of the assets of the Scheme or how the tax payers monies are being spent or invested or government’s action to recover funds that are being owed; are now being faced with a Bill that has already  passed in the House of Assembly without discussion when this Bill will have profound effects on the lives of the dwindling middle class and all of the persons from the lower echelons of society and Barbadians yet unborn. The Bill is now before the Senate the step before it becomes the law of the land.

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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
20152538
20202713
20223347

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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Count Me In or Count Me Out

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

The Government is irresponsibly rushing through important legislation to fundamentally change Barbados. One includes a Bill to give the Minister absolute control over the National Insurance Scheme in the National Insurance and Social Security (Amendment) Act, 2023.

Currently, the Minister’s role is to establish the offices and let them run. The Minister cannot legally meddle but is consulted and gives approvals. Section 11 of the current Act follows.

Section 11: “The Minister shall, by order under section 2 of the Civil Establishment Act, establish the offices which shall constitute the offices on the Board’s establishment, which offices shall for all purposes be deemed to be offices in the public service Staff.”

RUBBER STAMPS.

To control and direct a useless rubber-stamp Board, a replacement provision follows.

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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.

INEFFECTIVE LEGISLATION.

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Minority Shareholders Snub Cable & Wireless’ offer

Submitted by Atrue Freeman
Oliver Jordan, Chairman of the FSC

What does it mean that so many minority C&W shareholders have refused to claim the offered compensation for their shares (https://bse.com.bb/news/23569)? Perhaps the Barbados Financial Services Commission (FSC) could learn much from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Many jobs offer just a few opportunities for the holders of those jobs to demonstrate their suitability for the job. The remainder of the time, almost anyone could do the job,

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SOS Ministerial Statement on the NIS

Ministerial Statement On Revitalisation Of National Insurance Scheme
BY GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS | JUL 28, 2023 |

Minister of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector, Colin Jordan. (FP)

Ministerial Statement on the revitalisation of the National Insurance Scheme by Minister of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector, Colin Jordan, in the House of Assembly on Friday, July 28, 2023.

Mr. Speaker, the 17th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance Fund, the Unemployment Fund and Severance Fund as of December 31, 2020 was laid in this Honourable House on August 9, 2022. I should remind Members that the National Insurance Scheme manages these three funds along with the Catastrophe Fund and the Sugar Workers’ Provident Fund.

During the three years under review, the number of contributors decreased each year while the number of pensioners and the total pension payouts increased each year.

The Review’s assessment suggests that current contribution and benefit provisions generally provide a very good level of benefit adequacy and income protection to most workers and pensioners.  The legislated annual adjustments of the earnings limit and pensions have been effective in replacing most of the price inflation felt by pensioners and maintaining adequate coverage for higher paid workers. In other words, pensioners have generally been able to use the cost of living allowance increases to adjust to temporary price rises.

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Prussians, arm yourself and come!

Chief Education Officer – Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw

From all reports a Mia Mottley government is intent on transforming the education system in Barbados. Although we have observed tweaks on the fringes meant to make the educational experience relevant in a modern global space, we continue to lag in the preparation of Barbadians to be relevant for the global market. More importantly, on the domestic front, we struggle to maintain a quality standard of living for citizens now and the foreseeable future. Local entrepreneurship attracts nothing more than lip service with successfully run locally owned businesses nothing more than a memory, many sold or defunct.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer Bradshaw. (FP) The time has come for the education system to abandon traditional teaching methods crafted on the premise that students are merely receptacles of information.

Chief Education Officer
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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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Fresh Start

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Every four years there is a Cricket World Cup. The West Indies team won the first two Cricket World Cups in 1975 and 1979, and were runners up in 1983. We were champions of this sport, but have been in the basement of the 8 top cricketing nations’ rankings for so long that it was only a matter of time before we would not qualify for a major tournament. That time has come.

This year, we did not qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup. The new head coach reportedly wants the players to believe in themselves and in the team. The captain wants a “fresh start” and our support. Beliefs and fresh starts require firm foundations. Our support requires an exceptionally difficult conversation.

TALENTED AND HARD WORKING.

Our players are talented, winning matches against much higher ranked opponents. Our players are also hard working, doing what coaches ask of them during practise. But in competitive sports, talent and hard work must stand on firm foundations – and our boys had them.

Our players qualified for a place on the West Indies team full of promise. They were trained by school coaches and had the support of their families, schools and churches. Then something seems to go terribly wrong soon after they join the team.

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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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Crime Jump

A truce between warring gangs was brokered by former gang boss Winston ‘Iston’ Branch earlier in the year, to the embarrassment of the country. He accomplished what officialdom and a citizenry living in fear could not. According to BU Murder Counter 11 murders have been committed at month seven of 12. Barbados is on track to have its lowest number of murders in recent years. A good news story?

Unfortunately as we are breathing a sigh of relief at a declining murder rate, there has been an alarming increase in other criminal activity. In recent hours and days there has been two cutlass wielding attacks, one of them taking place on Broad Street at 11AM. The other next to a primary school which thankfully students are on summer break. It is interesting that in both cases the police reported shooting the victims to prevent escalation. A sign of things to come no doubt.

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Choking on Mutton

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II
Draft plan of new National Stadium

In 1966, the Government or Barbados wanted urgent temporary stands at the Garrison to accommodate spectators of our Independence ceremony. Barbadian Engineers designed the prefabricated reinforced concrete stands which were constructed just in time. After our independence, those stands were dismantled and became part of our National Stadium, where they have stood for the past 57 years.

It appears that China has offered to demolish our National Stadium and rebuild another – as a gift to Barbados. That would seem to be a good thing. In underdeveloped and desperate countries, anyone opposing such a gift would likely be publicly criticised, ridiculed and persecuted to appease their Chinese benefactors. But we are not an undeveloped country.

TROJAN HORSES AND SHEEP.

In a developed country like Barbados, the Government should consider whether such gifts are in the national interest before accepting them on our behalf. The question that the Government must ask before accepting any gift is: ‘Is this a Trojan Sheep?’ A Trojan Horse is designed to harm a nation militarily. A Trojan Sheep is designed to harm it economically.

Some Trojan Sheep are obvious. If China gifted any of the following services to Barbados, the Government would immediately find them offensive. Further, local professional associations would kick-up dust at the brazen attempt to trick us with such obvious Trojan Sheep that are clearly designed to starve local industries into bankruptcy.

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An Elusive Category 1 Designation

Lisa Cummins, Former Minister of International Transport

Last year then Minister of Tourism and International Transport Lisa Cummins shared with the country significant changes (a new Civil Aviation Bill) were in the pipeline to transform the local aviation industry in Barbados.

Off interest from the following Government of Barbados release:

Other works in the pipeline with regards to civil aviation include the Barbados Civil Aviation Department building on the creation of the Civil Aviation Authority and all the regulatory work that would be central to that which will ultimately pave the way for Category One Status for the Grantley Adams International Airport.  An international consulting team has been contracted to help with achieving that status – GIS

Despite local talking heads perennially positioning Barbados as a major regional hub for airlines in the southern region with the goal to support flights to major destination, Barbados’ Category 2 “rating puts restrictions on the national airlines of the countries, such as a freeze on the number of aircraft operated and route expansions into the US”. It begs the question why Barbados has never committed to securing a CAT 1 designation to join Trinidad, Suriname and OECS countries. Another example of the OECS sub region – members of Caricom – showing the others the way.

The blogmaster admits this is a highly technical subject but from cursory research two perquisites are – commitment by the government and making adequate resources available. Accepting there is always heavy demand on national resources and allocation must be prioritised, one has to assume given the goal to make Barbados a hub player we continue to struggle with implementation. To quote then Minister of International Transport Cummins,

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Allan Kinch Saga – Savvy on the Bay

There is more than meets the eye between Savvy on the Bay (Allan Kinch) and government.

It should be obvious to onlookers there is more than meets the eye concerning Allan Kinch rumble with government and developments at Savvy on Bay on Bay Street. A recent pronouncement on the matter by Attorney General Dale Marshall that two of three tracts of land owned by Kinch will be acquired by the government for car park has only served to trigger questions about why the government has taken a decision to acquire land that was sold to Kinch by a former government. The lack of transparency regarding this transaction AND others adds to a growing distrust by the public of the government.

Here is a summary of events in the matter up to now from one perspective.

  • The acceptance letter from BTII was in 2015 which means the disputed lands at Bay Street from application until it was approved for sale straddles both DLP and BLP administrations.
  • Kinch had to forego investment income on 4 million to purchase the property. He was told BTII would help with the planning process and that the plans would add to the Tourism development planned for the area.
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Haiti False Narrative Exposed

Submitted by Tee White

Haiti – CARICOM caves in to US pressure

By A.T. Freeman

As had been widely predicted, CARICOM caved in to the intense and relentless US pressure on it that the regional body threw its support behind the planned US military attack on Haiti. Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, from 3-5 July, in its 45th Heads of Government conference, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the organisation, CARICOM abandoned its months long opposition to the US assault on its fellow member state and issued a statement in support of the “immediate creation of a Humanitarian and Security Stabilization Corridor under the mandate of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution, and agreed to seek support from international partners to help finance its establishment and the strengthening of security in Haiti”.

This change of mind on CARICOM’s part was no doubt influenced by the presence not only of a bipartisan US Congressional delegation led by Democratic politician Hakeem Jeffries but also of Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State.

Read full artcle @caribbeanempowermentblog

Who to Blame?

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

We recently had four reported suicides in Barbados, but were told that identifying the cause was complicated. That is an excuse typically used to dissuade persons from investigating an inconvenient link. So, it is time for a difficult conversation.

The most important indicator for predicting suicidal thoughts appears to be low self-esteem. Suicide was “especially common in nations with relatively low levels of self-esteem” regardless of sex, age, or economic affluence [1]. Youth who had negative stress and low self-esteem were found to have more suicidal thoughts [2]. Support from the families and the community was found to help if that support improved self-esteem [3].

SELF-ESTEEM, STRESS AND GUILT.

Self-esteem may be broadly defined as how you view yourself. It may be positively influenced by: family, friends, teachers and others who encourage your responsible behaviour. It may also be negatively influenced by those who dislike you.

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The DLP is Dying

A predictable event has fired up yet again in the DLP.

It was obvious to the greenest political pundit Dr. Ronnie Yearwood would have to face a challenge for the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) sooner or later. Many subscribe to the management concept leaders emerge and therefore Yearwood must be able to fight off all comers to establish his bona fides. Although true in theory there is a reality that nuances the political landscape of Barbados given the results of the last two general elections and how it has decimated the DLP brand. The DLP may no longer be considered a credible altenative. If the DLP perform as miserable at the next general election, Barbados will have a constitutional crisis on its hands.

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been reduced to a comatose state because of two significant defeats by a Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in 2018 and 2022. Former DLP President Verla De Peiza for her futile effort leading a DLP in shambles post the so called ‘lost decade’ had to resign. There is a reality that the DLP decision makers must accept, little has occurred since 2022 to positively reposition the DLP brand in the minds of a cynical and apathetic public. It does not mean Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the BLP enjoy the best support. What is means is that in the land of the blind, a one eye woman is Queen.

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CAHILL Reincarnated?

Lisa Cummins, Minister of Energy

This is the same WTE plant that is the subject of that town planning notice. $16.6 M of network upgrades to accommodate the energy from the WTE plant. That Feed In Tariff was privately negotiated. Not approved by the FTC as the law requires. Not by a public process anyway.

BU Commenter

The following was posted as received by Barbados Underground. Is this another example a Barbados government operating by stealth to implement a project without exhaustive and TRANSPARENT consultation with citizens of Barbados? The irony is that the botched Cahill Barbados project piloted by the late Minister of Energy Denis Lowe helped the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to gain popularity in the country. Now that the ghost of Cahill has appeared, what does it bode for the BLP and citizens of Barbados? In the words of a popular song, Time will tell.

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Trust in public health officials declines

Calls for the government and other actors to honour a commitment to the public to engage in rigorous post Covid 19 analysis of vaccine performance has fallen on deaf ears. Unfortunately, notwithstanding a significant investment in education, there is no local equivalent to the selfless Dr. John Campbell to probe the effectiveness of the many Covid 19 vaccines on the population.

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Mottley, Macron and neoliberal globalization

The following was submitted by Tee White from the Caribbean Empowerment blog.


Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Macron and neoliberal globalisation

By Tee White

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (l) and President Emmanuel Macron (r)

Barbadian Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, has emerged on the international scene as one of the most visible supporters of the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, which recently concluded in Paris. The summit, which was hosted by French president Emmanuel Macron, took place from 22-23 June under the twin themes of building a new consensus for a more inclusive international financial system and advancing towards achieving the United Nations Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals.

These goals, set in 2015, were a continuation of the UN’s Millennium Goals, adopted in 2000. Both sets of goals are presented as measures to end global poverty. However, in contrast to the high sounding UN aspirations and conferences, a large part of the world’s population remain trapped in both poverty and inequality. 

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Hanged by the Neck

Dr. Umar Ifatunde

If I put groceries that I just purchased in the back seat of my car, and then mistakenly drove away with the car’s back door open, I would appreciate it if someone tried to warn me.

I would not care if the person was: Christian, Muslim or Rastafari; male or female; heterosexual or homosexual; employed, unemployed, or unemployable; or well-groomed or unkempt. I would just appreciate that a fellow human being cared enough to warn me.

After the warning, I should investigate whether what they were warning me about was true and act accordingly. But it would be irresponsibly risky for me to simply ignore the warning.

IGNORING WARNINGS

For over 20 years, I have repeatedly published explicit warnings, the foreseen consequences, and practical solutions about: the unsustainable national debt, sub-standard construction practises, mismanagement of public services, corrupting no-bid contracts, the ineffective secondary school teaching methods that only benefit a few, and many other things.

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