A poor choice: A do nothing group or a walk back group?

Submitted by Observing
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Between 2013 and 2018 the accusation was correctly leveled at the then government that they were not doing enough, not saying enough, not taking decisive action. We felt the impact and the results of the 2018 election sent the message loud and clear.

Fast forward to 2023, with two 30-0’s behind us and what do we have?

Apparently a “walk back” and “kite flying” government instead. Take a moment to look at some of the “bold policies” that had to be put on pause, “walked back” or caused confusion.

1. Breathalyser Test (still outstanding)
2. Child Protection Act (More input now needed according to the Minister)
3. Two Deputy Commissioners of police (law had to be changed)
4. Education reform (nobody knows!)
5. National Republic Day (the people spoke)
6. Integrity Legislation (where is it?)
7. Speightstown traffic changes (common sense prevailed)
8. Public Service Contracts (we now have a Hollywood civil service)
9. Covd-era restrictions

and the list can go on.

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Who cares some faceless person stole information from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital?

A recent report caused the blogmaster to search BU Archives.

As far back as 2014 with the support of vested parties led by subject matter expert James Bynoe, several blogs highlighting the threat posed by cybersecurity were to Barbados Underground – list a FEW- Understand Internet Data Privacy: What should you know and expect, Website Defacement Cyber threat to the Caribbean and Caribbean Businesses, Organizations and governments and people could be losing millions to cyber criminals and hackers and don’t know it appeared. For those interested do a search using ‘cybersecurity’ of the BU Archives.

Last week it was reported the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) suffered a cybersecurity incident. Another way to explain it – information was stolen from QEH’s database by unknown parties. So far the official and sanitized explanation is – “the QEH was taking all necessary precautions to protect the integrity of our systems ans patient privacy“. On December 14. 2022 the QEH issued a report indicating changes to its operations because of the cybersecurity incident – Temporary Changes At QEH Due To Internet Outage.

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Independence Time – A Time to Reflect on the Role of Prime Minister

The recent Cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Mia Mottley has caused tongues of political pundits to wag. The Cabinet changes came a few months into a second term after an early general election called in January 2021.

Prime Minister Mottley under our system of government practiced has the authority to appoint and disappoint regarding the composition of Cabinet and there must be good reasons in her mind for the changes. She has loudly signalled to the public her confidence in beleaguered Minister of Education Kay McConney and to a lesser extent Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins who was transferred to Energy and Business Development, International Business and Trade. Of interest is the fact Cummins has not had to face the electorate. We have also seen the elevation of Corey Layne to Minister of State in the Attorney General’s office for responsibility for crime prevention.

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Super Storms Coming

Submitted by Kammie Holder
Over 2 million without electricity or phone service, 500,000 in Florida homeless, many may be forced to swim or drown, 20,000,000 written in words is twenty million which represents, the amount homeless in Pakistan after severe flooding. The aforementioned are but a few of the narratives coming from weather reports. Highest wind speed recorded of Hurricane Ian, was some 241 kilometers per hour just short of a category 5 hurricane.
Some will say in the most believable way, that god is Bajan, and Barbados, due to is location have nothing to worry about. I have news for those who believe, that to ignore what has a slim chance of occurring, prevents the eventuality. Super storms, and category 4 hurricanes, and above will become the norm as the earth heats up. Thus, is not if but when for Barbados.
For many years the major oil companies denied their flaring polluted or contributed to global warming. Only this week, a leaked document to the BBC, showed less than honest reporting from these oil giants. It’s my biased opinion, the industrialized world and multinationals mostly practicing capitalist,  could care less about the impact of global warming on Small Island Developing States.
Therefore,those who are building, must build homes that can at least withstand a Cat3 hurricane. It makes more sense to take a little longer and build a stronger house, rather than the nonsense I am seeing promoted, with walls made from concrete wood. Financial institutions will have to be flexible in their lending policies and terms, if they genuinely understand that good Corporate Social Responsibility, will not take from their supernormal profits but may actually enhance their bottom line.
Expect, reinsurers and insurance companies, to be more selective  in the type of property risk they will be willing to underwrite in the near future. Let me say, concrete board in the long run will cost you more, than a properly built wall structure with adequate shear walls and a concrete roof. A concrete roof, is much cheaper than a permaclad roof. Do not take my word for it, do your own calculations of materials and labor cost per sq ft.
My concern, is that too many botchers are masquerading as tradesmen and taking advantage of persons. When a house is poorly built, the cost goes up in terms of maintenance and remedial work. In addition, it’s a charge on the treasury when a government, as part of their sovereign social responsibility have to step in, when your poorly constructed structure is destroyed by a freak gust.
My humble request to the authorities. You can do several things, to mitigate chaos after a disaster, and reduce the risk exposure to the housing stock. Enforce a building code, and require all tradesmen men to be certified as well as registered by a set period in the future. Please, do not tell me any stupidity about the poor black man got to eat, for it’s the same poor black man giving another poor black man shoddy work. The cost of ignorance or indifference, is never shown as a financial charge to taxpayers, truth be told we all collectively pay.
What I also find comical, is that we continue to expand the QEH A&E in a flood prone area, next to one of the major water courses in Barbados called the Careenage. Did I also read somewhere, another hospital going up somewhere near Bayview?  If not to add insult to common sense, Town Planning still stuck in 2022 with an archaic law limiting the highest point of a residential home to 28 feet in the pan cake island Barbados. The popular dictum which has infected the brains of many in Barbados, is to never question the experts, just accept whatever is told to you and follow blindly. When the 1 in 100 year flood comes, we can all just throw our hands in the air, and beg the first world for assistance.
Perhaps we can learn something from Bermuda, and their mandatory roof specifications. Most of Barbados housing stock will not survive a cat2 hurricane. We need to focus on resilience and not on fancy looking wastefully designed roofs. For if we thought the Covid-19 pandemic set us back, we better pray god is indeed a Bajan for our luck will soon run out.  Those who want to follow the science blindly can do so at their own peril, not me.

A Heather Cole Column – Governance by Confusion, Who Gains?

About 20 years ago as we crossed the street to get on to East Street there was a group of people ahead of us and one of the women was lugging a suitcase. We were going to the East Street Vendors Market in London. My son who was five then was with me and when we reached the market, we started to browse. Suddenly raised voices were heard above the normal chatter. Two women on the other side of the street were arguing loudly and it was escalating. Next, they seemed to be on the verge of exchanging blows and all eyes were focused on them; no one was focused on the items on display. From my distance across the street, I was trying to figure out what was happening and if to leave when my son said, “mummy look! that woman is putting the people’s things in her suitcase.” He could not see what was happening across the street only what was happening on our side at his eye level.

It was then that I realized that the distraction had been planned. The group had created a distraction and shifted everyone’s focus and in the ensuing confusion, made the vendors goods easy prey to theft.

Is this what has been happening in Barbados? Think about it, the prorogation of Parliament for no reason that has been made public to this day and the Throne Speech from hell with its mandate for a Republic, the buying out of the leadership of the Barbados Workers Union, the largest trade union in Barbados and the by-election in St. George North. Even the pandemic played into the government’s hand as they used it to change the terms of the Severance Pay Act.

The above distractions have caused confusion and shifted the attention of the people of Barbados away from the performance of the economy, unemployment, the fact that this Administration is not providing any solutions, a refusal to diversify the economy, increasing debt and the Chinese invasion of Barbados.

The Prime Minister does not deliver clear messages. There is more information in the foreign press than from the Government of Barbados about its relationship with China. It looks good and sounds great to hear that the Prime Minister had a telephone call with President Xi but ask any Barbadian what was discussed. They will not have a clue. One wonders if ever there was a time since independence that an Administration in Barbados has acted in such a deliberately shady manner but again it is meant to cause confusion.

What is significant to note is that the Private Sector too is confused. However, what occurred over the last weekend in which the government’s move of political expediency not to make vaccines mandatory should be a wake- up call for those businessmen in that sector. They have a clear case of nearsightedness; they can only see what is right in front of their noses.

In particular, the voice of the private sector has not been heard in the debate about the Republic so no one knows what they envision but it cannot be business as usual.

In the scope of things, unvaccinated workers do not pose as great a threat as China. Perhaps if the Private Sector can envision a scenario in which Barbados is unable to repay China, that China takes over the ports and then raise duties on all imports except from China, it would remove the biblical beam from their eyes.

If there is another move of political expediency that involves China, its products or government contracts, the private Sector, will be on the losing end as China does not hand out debt to settle for scraps.

With only 166 square miles and limited manufacturing, one does not envision the survival of local manufacturing as Chinese investments begin to roll out. Those lucrative government contracts will become a thing of the past. Ultimately with billions of Chinese yens at their disposal the present Administration will not need the private sector to fund their election campaigns.

The ordinary people in Barbados do not have anything to lose but that is not so with the private sector.

The private sector has a choice to make. It is either:

  1. Stand idly by as the fire breathing dragon approaches and watch Rome burn. Or,
  2. Act like they are concerned citizens of Barbados and press for transparency and involvement for all the people of Barbados in the process to becoming a Republic which ultimately benefits them.

One kept hearing for weeks on end that the government had been doing an assessment of the housing stock that had been damaged or destroyed in the freak storm, to the point where one really had to wonder what was going on, only to find out in the newspaper a few days ago that the government is purchasing emergency housing from China. Surely this is a sign of things to come. Especially with unemployment so high in Barbados, this should never happen.

There is a connection between the method that the current Administration has chosen to become a Republic and China. As this unfolds, it appears that neither the public nor the private sector will benefit when Barbados becomes a Republic if all of this has been devised to hide China’s impending control over Barbados by placing it in its debt trap. The Chinese debt trap is a pattern that is being rolled out across the globe. They loan countries billions of dollars that they know they will never be able to repay. When the debt is called the Chinese exhibit their love for ports and utility companies.

In confusion, planned or unplanned, the brain does not think clearly, and someone always benefits. Should Barbadians continue to blindly accept what is going on with the pending Republic?

A Government Dedicated to Making Announcements

Submitted by Paula Sealy

The Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) has launched its new website bearing several new features, including a page designated to provide updates on the National Population and Housing Census, scheduled to begin August 1, 2021.

Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, says her ministry will be constructing a new school to accommodate the staff and students of the St. Mark’s Primary School.

A national census is used to gather information which will guide the provision of services such as housing, health, education etc, and the resources which will be necessary.

How does education manage to determine there is a need for primary schools in any particular parish or parishes?

What other decisions is the current government making based on figures from the 2010 national census?

What purpose is the 2021 national census to serve when government is committed to its plans to continue to be driven by 11-year-old data?

We know there is a problem with implementation in the public service. Public officers take the blame. But they are not the policymakers who push through decisions and policies before a national census is completed. It is this type of policy-making which yields fewer benefits due to poor decision-making.

Why not wait until the info is collected in the census? What is the hurry? Is it all about making announcements? Are the decision and policy less important?

Senator Caswell Franklyn Speaks – Hail Caesar Mia Mottley, Dictator of Barbados

For months I have contemplated but resisted writing about the rule of law, or lack thereof, in Barbados under two consecutive states of emergency. All that changed after I read a WhatsApp message sent to me from an unknown person. It simply said:

“If you allow the government to break the law in an emergency, they will create emergencies to break the law.”

In order to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of Barbados decided that it would institute a state of emergency. Rather than use the existing provisions, Government sidestepped the Constitution and the 1939 Emergency Powers Act and amended the Emergency Management Act to provide for a public health emergency. They claimed that the existing Laws of Barbados did not provide for such. Notwithstanding Government’s claim, I contend that there are ample laws to institute any such emergency.

Section 25.(1) of the Constitution permits the Governor-General to declare that a state of emergency exists. Section 25.(2) goes on to state, in part:

A proclamation made by the Governor-General shall not be effective for the purposes of subsection (1) unless it is declared therein that the Governor-General is satisfied-

(a) that a public emergency has arisen as a result of the imminence of a state of war between Barbados and another State or as a result of the occurrence of any earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire, outbreak of pestilence, outbreak of infectious disease or other calamity, whether similar to the foregoing or not…

The power in the Constitution to declare a state of emergency as a result of the “outbreak of infectious disease” immediately gives the lie to Government’s claim that there were no provisions to cater to a public health emergency.

Under a state of public emergency government can, and in this case, restrict citizens from enjoying their constitutional right. The mechanism for doing so in the current emergency is a series of directives issued by the Prime Minister. I make bold to say that the Prime Minister cannot use this mechanism to curtail constitutional rights and freedoms since the enabling legislation did not amend or alter the Constitution of Barbados in anyway. To my mind, since the Emergency Management (Amendment) Act, 2020 did not amend or alter the Constitution; any directives issued by the Prime Minister that curtailed our constitutional rights would be illegal and of no effect.

The obvious question would therefore be: How can government declare a state of emergency to protect the country from the ravages of this Corvid-19 pandemic? The simple answer would be that government should have invoked the provisions of the Emergency Powers Act, 1939-3. I readily admit that many of the provisions of the Emergency Powers Act would offend the Constitution, if they were passed today. Be that as it may, the Constitution itself at section 26 saved laws that would be unconstitutional if there were passed prior to November 30, 1966.

Section 26 of the Constitution also allows the government to re-enact an existing law without alteration or if altered those alterations would not render the law inconsistent with the human rights provisions of the Constitution, that is sections 12 to 23. The amendments made to the Emergency Management Act in 2020 have not faithfully re-enacted the relevant provisions of the Emergency Powers Act. For example, all those orders/directives made under the Emergency Powers Act must, in accordance with section 3.(4) shall be laid before Parliament. It states:

Any orders so made shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made and shall not continue in force after the expiration of 7 days from the time when there are so laid unless a resolution is passed by both Houses providing for the continuation.

Section 33.(5) of the Emergency Management Act, which required the Government to lay emergency orders before Parliament, was repealed by the 2020 amendments. It is therefore obvious to me that this Government wanted no oversight when it implemented the public health emergency.

Section 48.(1) of the Constitution provides that Parliament may make laws for the peace, order and good government of Barbados. It is therefore my view that even if enabling legislation allows the Prime Minister or anyone else to make rules, they must be approved by Parliament. In this present state of emergency the Prime Minister is making laws for the peace, order and good government of Barbados without any reference to Parliament.

I am now wondering if persons, who were penalised by the courts for infringing these directives, have any remedy against the state. It would appear that our Prime Minister has now become the absolute dictator of Barbados, which is not too far removed from being a despot. Could the late Prime Minister Arthur have been predicting the future? Just wondering!

Republic of Barbados

Submitted by William Parker

Successive governments including the incumbent have teased Barbadians about transitioning to a republic. Now that we have witnessed the decommissioning of Nelson statue the question being asked is- are we there yet?

David, blogmaster

Getting the House in Order

Last week, Prime Minister Mottley reshuffled Cabinet, against a backdrop of a calamitous convergence of events in 2020, not as a reflection of past performance, but of future need.

Only the dishonest can deny that two years in, Barbados has seen stunning progress from an Administration which promised so much and has thus far appropriately delivered, in three key ways.

Firstly, government set about repairing the previous disastrous decade. Economically, the inclusion of three ministers in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the high-profile advisors has borne immeasurable fruit in the remarkable turnaround from the precipice of economic collapse to a 6% surplus. William Duguid and Peter Phillips oversaw a significant road repair programme, as well as the purchase of new buses, and Trevor Prescod similarly saw the purchase of garbage trucks, all of which had been long neglected. None can forget the phenomenal speed with which Wilfred Abrahams’ Water Resources Ministry removed sewage from the streets of the South Coast.

Secondly, government responded to present challenges. Edmund Hinkson and subsequently Dale Marshall have overseen a steady and significant decline in most major crime, such as rape, robbery and burglary, though murder remains regrettably stubborn. Under Minister Caddle and Prof. Persuad, there has been an infusion of investment and Dr Greenidge masterminded the balanced, fair and cogent BOSS to respond to our nation’s most pressing challenge. Under John King, government committed $1 million for creatives and sportspersons for digital projects during the challenging COVID period. Abrahams has aggressively sought a resolution to the northern water woes, on which significant work has been done. Neil Rowe supported his minister, Cynthia Forde, who both oversaw increased funding for Welfare over the last two years, and who both played a crucial role in the human response to the social and economic calamity wrought by COVID.

Finally, government has been consistently visionary in charting the future. Abrahams was tasked with implementing Government’s policy to achieve either fossil free or carbon neutrality by 2030, significantly helped by Duguid and Phillips’ purchase of electric buses.  Kerrie Symmonds has not only made substantial steps toward rejigging tourism even before the pandemic, but he has also continuously expressed a commitment to the small players in the industry from the taxi operators to the smaller hotels. Dwight Sutherland leaves Small Business with his signature legacy being the implementation of the Trust Loan programme, by which nearly 3,000 small businesses have been given a much-needed boost on the path to wealth creation for ordinary Barbadians, and thus in a real sense, Sutherland, more than any other minister, has overseen a tangible programme to make “black lives matter” in the economic sphere.

Clearly then, much has been done. However, government is not about reminiscing about past success, and Ms Mottley has demonstrated that she is not going to do that. Rather, she has taken the new set of facts which we face, and has made necessary adjustments to position the country to be best able to stave off the effects of the pandemic, as well as build back stronger, as any sensible household or company would.

Therefore, she has wisely introduced Sen. Lisa Cummins to the all-important tourism ministry at this critical time. Sen Cummins has not only been the most successful chairman of the Port, but also accumulated impressive experience in diplomacy, international trade policy, industry building and development policy, all of which are crucial skills for the person at the helm of tourism at this time. Ian Gooding-Edghill also brings with him significant experience after two stints chairing the Transport Board.

Barbadians, all of us, must now join with the PM and also commit to making our own personal adjustments as we go forward. These adjustments can include continued adherence to the COVID protocols, increased economic ingenuity in the potentially rough period ahead, commitment to the maintenance of social order by rejecting the influence of organized crime, so that we do not destroy the precious gains made, increasing your on-the-job economic productivity, caring for our environment and personally committing to reduced carbon footprints, as well as eating well and other measures to maintain health so that we do not become state burdens by continuing the worrying rise of NCDs. Those are but a few of the individual commitments which can be made, so that like the Prime Minister, we can better position ourselves and our country for the future.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley Changes Cabinet

The Government has determined that it is necessary that we take fresh guard. The Parliament of Barbados will be prorogued on the 8th of August, 2020, with us resuming in a new session on the 15th of September with a new Throne Speech and with a new direction as to where we must go in order to meet these extraordinarily different circumstances from the original Throne Speech of two years ago – Prime Minister Mottley

Two years into assuming the government of Barbados Prime Minister Mottley tweaked her Cabinet by making changes to her team. The standout changes – Lisa Cummins  and Ian Gooding-Edghill take over at Tourism and Transport respectively. Removed from the Cabinet are George Payne, Trevor Prescod, Lucille Moe, Neil Rowe and Edmund Hinkson.

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Here is the new Cabinet:

    • Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley – Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment
    • Dale Marshall – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, with responsibility for the Police
    • Santia Bradshaw – Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training
    • Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
    • Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic – Minister of Health and Wellness
    • Dr. William Duguid – Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance
    • Ronald Toppin –  Minister of Industry and International Business
    • Kerrie Symmonds – Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    • Cynthia Forde – Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs
    • Senator Lisa Cummins – Minister of Tourism and International Transport
    • Ian Gooding-Edghill – Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources
    • Adrian Forde – Minister of the Environment and National Beautification
    • Wilfred Abrahams – Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs
    • Ryan Straughn – Minister in the Ministry of Finance
    • Marsha Caddle – Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment
    • Sandra Husbands – Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade
    • Colin Jordan – Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations
    • Charles Griffith – Minister in the Ministry of Water Resources
    • Dwight Sutherland – Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment
    • Kirk Humphrey – Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy
    • Indar Weir – Minister of Agriculture and Food Security
    • Peter Phillips – Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security
    • John King – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture and Rural Development Commission and eventually the National Development Commission
    • Senator Dr. Romel Springer – Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training
    • Senator Kay McConney – Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology


Related Link:

GIS Release – Prime Minister Makes Changes To Cabinet

Barbados: Shifting from Vision to Action

I am curious. Is there going to be any diversification of this economy? Seems to be the same tune all the time.

Dr. Robert Lucas

For all the years Barbados Underground has been in existence the recognition that there is an uncomfortable dependence on tourism has been discussed. Every election cycle aspiring politicians follow the script by promising all things pie in the sky. However no fundamental change has taken place since the Tom Adams era – he died in 1985, thirty four years ago.

Last week the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) celebrated international business week October 20 – 26, 2019. Out of the several discussions held mention was made of the Estonia and Rwanda experience.

In just over 20 years Rwanda has transformed how it does business after being a strife torn country  with the genocide (Tutsis and Hutus). A simple explanation is that they worked successfully to change the mindset of the people.

Estonia has also been held up as a beacon of success post the breakup of the Soviet bloc. The world has witnessed the leadership of that country transition Estonia to a foreign system of government.  It is considered the model digital society.

Why have these two countries been able to translate a vision to action?

There has to be a realistic vision that will resonate with the local population.

Then it is left to the leadership stupid!

Barbados Government and External Creditors Announce Agreement

The BU intelligentsia has been following the external debt restructure talks with a keen interest. A press release issued late last week confirmed that a deal was reached by the Government of Barbados and the Barbados External Creditor Committee. A good news story.

Unfortunately the press release does not list the finer details of the agreement. We hope the final agreement is completed without event so that the country can settle down to the enormous task ahead.

Here is the press release.

A Heather Cole Column – De Barbados Wall

It remind I of the days in Jericho
When we trodding down Jericho walls
These are the days when we’ll trod through Babylon
Gonna trod until Babylon falls

Bob Marley

Walls are not new, from time immemorial they have been used by people to keep out invaders as a defense mechanism. The Bible records that there was a wall around the Jericho- the earliest known urban fortification- to keep out invaders. By the time the Israelites invaded Canaan the walls had been changed from mud to stone. We all know the biblical story of the Israelites marching around the walls of the City of Jericho, with the Ark of the Covenant before them once a day for 6 days and on the 7th day going around the city 7 times with the priests blowing the horns and the people shouting until the walls fell.

Throughout history nations have been building walls to keep out invaders. The Chinese built the Great Wall of China to prevent the Huns and Mongols from invading their country. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the barbarians out. Therefore Donald Trump’s intent to build a wall to keep the people of South America out of North America is nothing new.

Walls however have not only been built to keep people from getting in. There has only been one exception to this rule until now. This exception was the Berlin Wall.  Although they had become 2 different countries, there was no physical separation for work or shopping and East Germans were in West Germany daily. However, it was due to the virtual collapse of the East German economy in 1960 that started a mass exit of persons to West Germany. The separation was sudden, people awoke one morning in August 1961 to find themselves living behind barb wire. It happened all in one night and the barb wire was later changed to brick walls.

In Barbados there is a wall of bricks that extends from the West Coast to the South Coast. The situation that presently exists in Barbados with hotels, restaurants and private homes all on the shores of Barbados restricting access of the Barbadian public did not happen overnight, but the analogy is somewhat similar. The island is not a communist country by any measure, neither does it share a border with another country and there is no mass exodus of persons; but it is here that the differences end and the similarities begin. The country is in the midst of economic collapse and we have been suddenly confronted by the fact that access to the beach is being threatened with closure by walls built to keep the people in.

It is as though the hotels and the proliferation of gated communities on the South and West Coast have become a fortified border wall with their security gates, fences and hedges and security guards right down to the shoreline.

We have found ourselves in the same position as the people of East Berlin when they realized that the barb wire had been rolled out to fence them it and that a wall was going to have a profound effect on their lives. Chaos ensued forcing thousands to swarm train stations to get a train to flee East Germany. However, 30 years later the Berlin wall did fall, proving that walls built to keep people in will not last.

This is the juncture where we are at in Barbados, we have been shocked to find out that 2 of the last openings in our wall will be closed and are now in crisis mode. It is as though over the last 30 or so years we allowed the romanticism that we have with the sea disappear behind the horizon. We only have ourselves to blame as we stood by and let tourism destroy our lives and ruin our environment. By no stretch of the imagination can this be called development. It now looks like the deliberate marginalization of the people who call this island home. Alas we cannot go back but we cannot let tourism destroy what we have left on Barbados.

No one is opposed to the development of Barbados. However, we have failed to understand why hotels must be built on our coast, encroaching the last treasure we commonly own. We have lived long enough to witness the demise of the fisherfolk of Barbados and seen them replaced with maids and gardeners. We now have beaches where we are made to feel like intruders and not owners. The law says that they are not private beaches but that is no longer our reality. No matter how much the people have complained nothing has really changed for the better. We must take whatever action is required to prevent these remaining windows to the sea from being closed.

Won’t it be sad that our future generations will only know a few overcrowded beaches, will never be able to enjoy the serenity of the beach, only be able to pass by hotels and never know what lies behind them? If it continues like this there will come a time when the simple pleasures like roasting breadfruit and fish on the beach or enjoying a game of beach cricket are lost. Are we going to sit back and let the site of the sea that calms us all slip away from living memory and only to be remembered on postcards of the sea? We owe it to future generations to preserve this semblance of their culture so that they will not have to pay to see the Barbados that the tourist experience.

It is indeed ironic that on the 82nd Anniversary of the Riots of 1937 that we are at another watershed; still fighting but this time is seems like a fight to keep this land as ours. We have no more to give up as we would have nothing left. I am hoping that government will reverse these plans of building more hotels on our beaches but its lack of response on this entire issue of beach access is deafening. It is as though the people have not raised their voices. The voice and will of the people are more important than the greed of a few developers. The sum of our votes is more than theirs and all of us cannot be wrong. If no action is taken, the people may have no choice but to invoke the Israelite libation. Let wisdom prevail.

An Invisible Mottley Cabinet

Austerity is defined as a set of economic policies a government implements to control public sector debt. Austerity measures are the response of a government whose public debt is so large that the risk of default, or the inability to service the required payments on its debt obligations, becomes a real possibility. Default risk can spiral out of control quickly; as an individual, company or country slips further into debt, lenders will charge a higher rate of return for future loans, making it more difficult for the borrower to raise capital.

Source: Investopedia


One of the outcomes from an austerity program is criticism from those impacted. This blogmaster addressed the climate at play in the local environment in which BERT is being aggressively implemented by the government – The Rhetoric of Austerity.

Until there is improvement in the economy which took a precipitous dive under the last DLP administration, it is the right of the people and other stakeholders in civil society to express concerns. As always, government’s mandate is to implement policies to breath and sustain life in the economy and supporting sectors.

So far the Barbados austerity program has been following the script. The blogmaster has added our dissenting voice to those criticizing the prime minister for allowing her father to be conferred a knighthood. Against the background of the imbroglio of waiver of tax penalties to Elliot Mottley. And of recent the significant hike in the bus fare, a measure that will impact the most vulnerable in the society. Government’s remit will never change, the vulnerable MUST be protected – Pay the $3.50 or Alternatively Drink the Poison.

Another enduring criticism of the Mia Mottley led administration since the unprecedented mandate from the people on May 24, 2018 has been the size of her Cabinet. It is easily the largest in the world per capita in the world. Mottley’s response at the time of the announcement was – “Given the dire state of our economy and the tremendous work that would be involved in rescuing and rebuilding this country, the salaries of a few extra ministers is relatively insignificant given that there will be tremendous savings from the containment of wastage and the curtailment of corruption in my Cabinet”.

An effective Opposition should file Mottley’s promise and use it to measure government’s performance of the country in the coming months.  In  summary, if the Prime Minister holds the view that many hands make light work, during a time of austerity the optics of decisions and the uninspiring and demotivating influence they may be having must be evaluated AND reassessed if the situation demands it. Does the political reward of employing an unprecedented number of ministers, supported by a bevy of consultants worth the risk of voter disaffection?

The point about the size of the Cabinet is important, it will continue to generate criticism for another reason. The Prime Minister to her credit has demonstrated a high work rate since assuming the office. This cannot be refuted by a simple measure if compared to  a slothful predecessor. She is leading the CSME project, meeting with IMF, World bank and other global players and the list is long. What is disturbing is that Prime Minister Mottley has had to insert her presence into many ministries to lead the narrative or resolve ‘disputes’. Why should she have a large Cabinet if she is always exerting the influence of being in primus inter pares mode?

One example that should give the Prime Minster pause is the meeting called recently with stakeholders in the transport sector. A meeting to deal with the public backlash to the $3.50 bus far hike. Another meeting she had to intervene.

Prime Minister Mottley continues to enjoy good public support informed by the fact John Citizen is aware tough measures have to be taken. And a discombobulated Opposition. Mottley will have to tread clearly to ensure her policies do not create so much opposition that it railroads what she is attempting to do. Perhaps a midterm reshuffle is in the offing.

A word to the Prime Minister should be enough.



More Information Needed About Government’s Partnership with Bitt Inc

Since the announcement by Prime Minister Mia Mottley announcing the launch of a pilot project with FinTech company Bitt Inc,  there has been a growing concern among the savvy segment of the population about the project.

There is the Heraclitus cliché that ‘the only thing that is constant is change‘. Commonsense therefore informs a view that technology will continue to be used by humankind to interact with the ecosystem for as long as we exist. The challenge however for Barbados is effectively managing the timing of the adoption of new technologies to optimally support efforts to maintain a quality of life for Barbadians.

The blogmaster holds no brief for government’s arrangement with Bitt Inc. Often times provocative positions taken by the blogmaster to canvas and ferret information on topical issues – especially those where there is heavy fog – is misunderstood. It is a hazard of what we do and have no issues with it.

Subject matter experts in the IT field endorse the disruptive impact the use of technology driven solutions will continue to have on the the central bank controlled fiat system.  A system that is tired and has been manipulated to the point of minus-utility in the opinion of the blogmaster.

What are a few key concerns about the project?

  1. lack of a legislative environment to safeguard the integrity of the market
  2. security issues
  3. SMEs say Barbados need mobile/online payment solutions, not a digital currency
  4. Bitt Inc does not have a robust IT/governance platform to certify with best in class FIs to be a disruptor
  5. Barbados is an immature cybersecurity space operating without a ‘sanctioned’ roadmap’

Several commenters continue to conflate the issues while responding to the Bitt Inc Barbados government pilot partnership.  The pilot arrangement which promotes a digital currency should not be confused with other concerns about cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and Blockchain technology for example. Clearly there is a need for public education. There is also a responsibility for individuals to educate themselves about the important issues.

In the public interest Barbados Underground reblogs the following LinkedIn article by Niel Harper, a Barbados Consultant qualified in the area of Internet Security and whose expertise is sought after internationally.


Why Bitcoin Will Not Solve the Caribbean’s Financial Inclusion Woes

The article was shared by Niel Harper, Managing Director, Octave Consulting | Program Lead, Internet Society | VP, TEN Habitat | WEF Young Global Leader What is Bitcoin? Is it electronic money? There’s a deluge of hype around Bitcoin and blockchain technologies right now, and policymakers and regulators in the Caribbean are doing their best to wrap their heads around

Read more


Bajan Pride Harmed | Inflating the Bajan Psyche

William Skinner asked the blogmaster to clarify the following comment posted to Donville Inniss blog on the 2018/08/06 at 8:26 pm  currently choking local news feeds.

Another BLACK mark on the Barbados brand. How much more can we take? Interesting this old charge got laid on Inniss at this time. A conspiracy theory in the making.

On reflection the reply was too concise to effectively convey what was troubling the ‘mind’ of the blogmaster.

For many years Barbados enjoyed an enviable reputation in the region and dare we suggest the world? It was frequently referred to as a model island operating above its weight class. People visited from far to observe our electoral system and prominent Barbadians were invited to participate in election observer missions across the globe. A clear demonstration of the respect for how we managed the electoral process in the recent past.

The most frequent feedback shared by foreigners about Barbados centred on the sense of order to the way affairs of the country was managed. The quality of the infrastructure – road network, telecommunications, health services, educational system, political landscape, stability of the financial system, quality of justice, low level of crime and quality of justice dispensed etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Much of which was reflected in Barbados’ high position on the Human Development Index , Transparency International and other respected international indices.

The 2007-2008 global economic recession exposed vulnerabilities and for several reasons discussed in this space and elsewhere the country  has not been able to correct the ‘wobble’. As fate shared, the recession collided with the election of a young prime minister who died early in the term. The tragic occurrence of David Thompson’s death catapulted his deputy Freundel Stuart to office. The jury is about to return the verdict on Stuart’s legacy, however, it is accurate to state that under his stewardship Barbados was locked in a perpetual state of abeyance.

As a people we have had to suffer frequent downgrades by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s eventually attracting junk status under the former government. The final nail was delivered three months ago when the newly elected Mottley government deliberately defaulted on foreign loan payments and the inevitable SD rating resulted.

Another dent to the psyche of Barbadians etch forever in the blogmaster’s mind is the spillage of sewage that occurred on the South Coast. Some argue that it is a poorly design plant that brought us to this point. Even if this view is accepted there is evidence that the plant was poorly maintained and misuse by consumers largely ignored- even today-  which has contributed to the current state. The lethargy shown by the last government to quickly address the problem on the South Coast given the catastrophic ramifications continues to be a source of discomfort for the blogmaster. What manner of people would have approved millions to build government buildings, travel first class and be accommodated in 4 and 5 star hotels, buy luxury vehicles, BUT, ignore the warning that the South Coast Sewage plant was under stress nearly two years before it escalated to the public attention?

We can engage in the useless political exercise of blaming Bees and Dees, the challenge confronting BARBADIANS is rehabilitating the Barbados brand which has been done irreparable harm. The job at hand- should we chose to accept- how do we inflate the Bajan psyche to create people confidence by encouraging many hands to make light of the work to be done.




A Heather Cole Column – Forward Ever, Backward Never!

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope and it was the winter of despair we had everything before us, we had nothing before us we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”

All these things seem to encapsulate Barbados now.  Having a change of government does not mean that the problems facing the island will instantaneously disappear.  The era of Fruendel Stuart did indeed shock us who were adults prior to 2009 and what occurred was not the Barbados that we had grown to know.  Our winter of despair is upon us as the IMF has not only knocked at our door, but it has entered where we dwell setting conditions under which we must live.   It is still a season of darkness as stifling taxation is still upon us.  It is the age of foolishness as our wanton youth have lost the discipline associated with growing up under strict parentage in Barbados.  For most, it was the worst of times as all they could see was that we were going the other way, backwards.

Yet now, we are in another season, a season of light in which we will aspire to create the best of times.  For having learned the hard way, this season is our age of wisdom in which we will make decisions, even complex decisions to correct the past.  This season is now our spring of hope to go forward and lay a new foundation for Barbados that entails all that we dreamed of and more.  We must build a new foundation for Barbados not only for economic prosperity but to redefine ourselves as a people.

What Dickens did not say is that in the worst of times, the vision for the best of times is formed.  We now have a golden opportunity to build a new Barbados.  It cannot always remain a dream to have one Barbados and not two; where governance is steady and pragmatic not chaotic; where laws are not discriminatory; where the place of our birth or where we live determine our place in society and where there is generational wealth for all not only the rich. We can dismantle the stranglehold of the old colonial vanguard with its discriminatory laws, its limitations for wealth creation for the poor and its stagnant education system.

After finding ourselves at the crossroads, twice in 88 years, it makes one wonder if we have not learned that economic success is the key to our well-being.  However, it was the politics of the post-independence era that failed us this time.  Does this mean that we can only adequately plan for 30 year spans or that each generation will have a fundamental crisis at hand?  One thing that we must realize is that even in our darkest hour, there is an opportunity, but we must have the capabilities to discern it.

On the 4 corners of our foundation must underlie values that our success depends upon, namely Integrity, Accountability, Leadership, Equality and Justice.  Political service must be viewed as a sacred trust that the people have in those who govern them, never expecting betrayal.  However, on the other side of that trust must be the highest levels discipline in our workforce both public and private and; now more so than ever to execute the rebuilding of Barbados.

We need a new model to create and redistribute wealth.  The present model with a few minority business men owning all the wealth is to the detriment of Barbados.  With their billions of dollars earned off the backs of the tax payers, none of them have offered to rescue the economy and prevent the country from undergoing the harsh conditionalities that will be brought by the IMF.  A national bank is required, so too the further growth or expansion of the credit unions, building of cooperatives in every industry and other means.  The working class must transform their vision from owning a piece of the rock to owning a business on the rock.  Government also has a role to play in the creation of an enabling environment that all may prosper.

There must be a business plan for Barbados which not only includes financial targets to manage our debt but targets for investment, investing in our workforce, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, transforming our public transportation system, creating a sustainable environment, transforming our educational system, renovating and expanding our healthcare system, transforming the delivery of social services, revolutionizing all aspects of housing, removing poverty from the landscape, ultimately the creation of a new constitution, empowerment of the people, the power of recall for politicians, a well-regulated court system, access to and affordability of technology and transforming our communities to redefine the people.  Finally, we must not forget to build the bridge that has been missing for over 300 years, the bridge to Africa to reconnect to our distant past.

We must all arise and build not only economically or politically but socially as well.  Society and the family structure is in turmoil.  We have persons who came to age in the last decade that know more about feting and with more time on their hands than is rational.  Some of them do not know the last time they saw the inside of a church, read a bible or even had guidance from a family member.  We have a big problem if these are to be the elders of the next generation.  We have seriously missed the opportunity to shape their minds and someone else has shaped it in lawlessness. One thing that I have learned from Hitler is that the youth must be a focal part of any political agenda.   I lament that in the country’s darkest hour that there are people feting away.  Is the revenue to be earned form Corp Over and its activities more meaningful than preventing societal decay?  Where is the church?

We must put a political, social and economic system in place that not only survives turmoil in the next 30 years but the next 100 years and beyond.  To achieve revolutionary changes in Barbados, the task for the present government is not to reshape the country in its present mold but to rebuild Barbados on a new foundation.  To achieve this, we need the best in every field metaphorically, the best surveyors, architects, builders and building materials.  We also need visionaries, leaders and legal minds to achieve this massive feat which is to produce not another gem but a metropolis in the Caribbean.

Do Not Forget the Disaffected People

The blogmaster was in a conversation recently with a Barbadian who explained why he refused to vote in the recent general election held on 24 May 2018.  The vanquished Democratic Labour Party (DLP) does not need reminding that the defeat was the worst inflicted on a political party at the poll in local history. So massive was the defeat the new leadership of the DLP has not yet emerged from the shellacking. The blogmaster’s view is that they should agree to a caretaker leader – someone with accepted management skills and a modicum of political IQ – to assist with transitioning the beleaguered party to an even keel.

Many are of the view- idealistically so in the opinion of the blogmaster- that it is the civic duty of all citizens to vote to determine who should govern a country.  Then there is the opposite view that it is the constitutional right of John Citizen to disengage from the voting process as a recourse to an individual’s right to protest.  Whatever the contending views it is certain that no political system (man made) is perfect. Therefore the actors in the system must continually evaluate and adjust to maintain contact with the point of equilibrium.

Resonating from the conversation was the vehemence in the criticism the disgruntled citizen directed at the duopoly, read Barbados and Democratic Labour party. His view was that BOTH main political parties which have held the reins of power post Independence are responsible for the current social and economic morass Barbados has become mired. Both are responsible for allowing Barbados to be sucked into a vortex fuelled by popular culture. In the process the required leadership to ensure Barbados tracks a plot to sustain a way of live that is affordable and culturally relevant has been compromised.

It is important for ALL Barbadians to appreciate there is a high level of disengagement and disaffection being demonstrated by the Barbados electorate. The euphoria of an election result, combined with a business as usual mentality lends itself to a mirage which clouds the fault lines of the governance model we seem unable to upgrade. Until we attack these structural issues it is the sad view of the blogmaster that Barbadians will continue to struggle mapping a sustainable way of life for its people.



Barbados Needs a New Government Not a New Central Bank Governor

David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados

Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

It is clear to me that the Freundel Stuart Administration is looking for a scapegoat for its 8 year long and continuing abysmal economic performance, and has decided that Dr. Delisle Worrell is to be that scapegoat.

Let us be very clear about this— in the real world of politics neither a Board of Management nor a Minister of Finance fires a Governor of a Central Bank! Rather, any decision of this magnitude would have to be taken by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers.

Thus, we should perceive the decision to fire Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell as the decision of the Freundel Stuart Administration as a whole rather than as a decision of Minister Chris Sinckler.

This decision only makes sense if it is recognized for what it is— a desperate attempt to conveniently dump all of the blame for Government’s shameful economic failure on the shoulders of a “disgraced” Worrell in the run up to a General Election.

As all Barbadians are aware, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell have been hand-in-glove partners during the entirety of Dr. Worrell’s tenure as Governor of the Central Bank! So, if there is a reason– on objective grounds– to fire Worrell then that reason must extend to Minister Chris Sinckler as well!

You simply cannot separate the performance and record of Dr. Worrell from the performance and record of Chris Sinckler. So if Worrell must go, clearly Chris Sinckler must go as well. (But that is only if one is making an objective non-partisan analysis of the situation.)

The fact that no decision was taken by Mr Stuart to fire Chris Sinckler suggests that the decision to fire Worrell was a purely “political” decision aimed at providing a convenient scapegoat for the DLP’s failed economic policies.

Barbadians should not permit themselves to fall for this threadbare Machiavellian political trick!

The current DLP Administration has thoroughly disgraced and exhausted itself. It has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that it has no answer whatsoever to the myriad of problems facing our country. It is long past time for Barbados to be released from this dysfunctional Governmental Administration. What Barbados needs is not a new Central Bank Governor! Rather, we need a new Government!

DLP’s Misery: An Incestuous Marriage?

Submitted by George C. Brathwaite (PhD)

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Today in Barbados, there are important political questions that must be raised about the relationships between state and society, and between wealth and power. With perhaps less than 15 months to go before the next general election, residents and citizens of Barbados are venting their frustrations about the status quo as issues relating to the economy and society fuel consternation. Barbadians are making their complaints known in a variety of ways, with the popular discourse often pitted in negativity coupled with a burning desire for positive change. Plain and simple, all is not well; and Barbadians are pleading for a better country.

In this article, I reveal several aspects binding the social, economic, and political issues that are consequential to the population’s anxieties. Many factors are giving rise to problems which are in turn erupting into social decadence, economic setbacks, and disarrayed governance. Blossoming in the current pessimistic environment are strains of power and wealth that feature in some uncertainties affecting almost every sphere of activity in the island. Indeed, Barbadians are claiming that our governance structures need serious reforms due to poor macroeconomic management occasioned by paltry performances and everyday governmental blunders.

The wishy-washy combination of ineffective policy programmes that are being repeatedly pursued by the Freundel Stuart administration have become quite staggering and damaging to the unemployed and perilous for the poor. There is a noticeable freefall of societal matters, with the politics of the day plunging into crisis proportions, thereby deepening the depths of national despair. On top of all that is happening, the fiscal dangers and debt burdens are expanding into a devalued sense of financial worth.

I well remember that on Monday June 15, 2015 Finance Minister in presenting the budgetary proposals stated: The home grown economic stabilization and recovery plan which we [the beleaguered DLP administration] devised right here in Barbados is working. … The Barbados dollar is safe, the fiscal deficit has been cut by nearly half and is well on the way to more sustainable levels, and a tourism-led recovery in the Barbados economy is underway.” Was the gullible Barbadian in anyway deceived by the catchy words and misleading statements that were sewn together and fell from the lips of a political dramatist extraordinaire?

Personally, I do not think that the honourable politician would allow a grab for power to stifle truth. Rather, the population was hopeful for recovery. Of course, there are others still believing that the electorate was thrown a detour which would eventually lead to the sense of false hope that previously underscored the surprising victory achieved by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in 2013. A three-peat remains possible although highly unlikely in 2017/18.

Strangely enough, in that same presentation, the Finance Minister made the telling point that: “The single largest issue facing the economy is that economic growth in Barbados remains below the 2.5 to 3.0 percent.” At the same time, the novice macroeconomic and financial manager was suggesting that “we must get back to normal levels of growth sooner rather than later.” Who would disagree? Certainly, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Leader of the Opposition, and the population need the road to prosperity.

Since 2008, economic growth in Barbados has fluctuated between the minus sign and the negligible. To date, apart from increased taxation and throwing almost everything into the tourism basket or selling state assets, there has been no clear articulation by the current Freundel Stuart-led government of a policy-direction that would bring about long-term sustainable and inclusive growth in the Barbados economy. Privatisation, once publicly derided by the DLP, is seeping into the national architecture through fractures and fissures – some more visible and obvious than others.

Poverty reduction still appears as fleeting as the capacity for the authorities to reduce public debt and to embark on serious initiatives for job creation. The provision of adequate social services inclusive of education, healthcare, transportation, water and waste management are far away from the ideal but clearly nearer to disaster. By sleight of hand, the unemployment and other informative statistical data continue to be cleverly manipulated so as not to expose the fact that a failing administration offers little respite for our youth, businesses, agricultural and manufacturing industries. Taken together, these factors and issues are dampening ‘real’ progress in Barbados.

Perhaps, five years is becoming too long an election cycle. One can speculate the degree to which the DLP politicians will manage to hold on to their seats given the perceptions that most, if not all of them, have benefitted significantly at the expense of the governed. The restitution of 10 percent of their salaries cannot have helped their cause, especially when public servants’ salaries have stood still for about seven years. How many of the more than 3, 000 are today gainfully employed or are reaping reasonable sources of income?

In addition, DLP politicians have not helped their re-electability after appearing to railroad the Public Accounts Committee and admonish anyone asking for detailed and accurate information on the Four Seasons, Hyatt, or other major projects that have been slated to bring much needed jobs to the local economy. With the thumping of chests each time a new project is announced, can the average Barbadian forget the uncomfortable relationships existing between government and the privileged few of a certain hue?

None are so bold as to overlook ministerial stubbornness, or to see beyond the nefarious intrusion of a wealthy white businessman perceived to be in the business of string-pulling of notable puppets lurking in political corridors. Public administration is marred with the lack of transparency and accountability on matters of national importance. There is certainly a correlation between the lack of transparency and the propensity for corruption. In Barbados, there is a strong incestuous marriage between political power and wealth.

In fairness to the politician, there is nothing wrong with the legal and transparent accumulation of wealth as an individual although government salaries are not of the enriching kind. More pertinent and as one study suggests: “the ‘invisible hand’ of the market depends heavily on the support of a thick ‘glove’ of rules, norms, and institutions … but too often the glove is opaque, obscuring flows of information essential to the efficient and equitable functioning of both markets and the national and international institutions that regulate them.” All persons coming to public office must be transparent in their dealings.

Before the next elections are called, Barbadians ought to advocate for free access to information, particularly on the formulation of agreements which invariably impact the public purse. Barbadians must be mindful that the wealthy and those very proximate to the political elites will garnish favours in exchange for filled brown paper bags and/or external bank accounts. Although the poor of spirit may yet again feel that a sold vote has more short-term worth than the long-term value of social transformation and economic empowerment, the nation must resist such temptations or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Surely, Barbados has been placed into a position that threatens the livelihoods of every man, woman, and child. We, in this country, can no longer take things for granted and give blind loyalty to the politician or uncritically pelt support to the political party. We must make demands for reform and strengthen our institutional capacities at every level. The harmful status quo must be challenged; and the many prevailing wrongs must be corrected at once.

Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com

Cahill Energy Scam and Local Connections, EXPOSED!

There is enough evidence (documents) in the public space about Clare Cowan, Cahill Energy and Barbados connections to move the conversation in Barbados to one of accountability. In the documents attached Bizzy’s name is mentioned which explains why Voice of Barbados will not want to offend a major advertiser.

[…] Continue reading

DEMinishing Political Capital

Brenda Mazibuko: You’re risking your political capital, you’re risking your future as our leader.

Nelson Mandela: The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead[…] Continue reading

Cash Flow Minister Sinckler?

Extracted from Facebook:

”So Chris Sinkler say that due to cash flow problems Bajans might get Tax Certificates instead of their income tax returns. What kind of fucking cash flow problems they could have and buying new raaasssshhhhole Rav4s for the cunthole messengers? Look look look smh somebody soon fuck a hard lash in one of DEM yah know!!!!!!”

So Chris Sinkler say that due to cash flow problems Bajans might get Tax Certificates instead of their income tax returns. What kind of fucking cash flow problems they could have and buying new raaasssshhhhole Rav4s for the cunthole messengers? Look look look smh somebody soon fuck a hard lash in one of DEM yah know!!!!!! Artemis I need another drink cause my sword here talking to me.

Recovery in Sight

Submitted by Douglas

recovery in sight

Government a tower of strength!

In the interest of the people of Barbados, this Democratic Labour Party administration will remain committed to our goals of restructuring the economy of Barbados. We will also continue to govern by doing what is in the best interest of the people of Barbados. As we go about the process of restructuring the economy and carry out the measures in the fiscal consolidation programme, some of the medication which we have to take may be bitter but in the end it is for a good cause.

The 19-month fiscal consolidation program was introduced in August 2013, thirteen months ago. Towards the end of the presentation by the Minister of Finance, he rallied Barbadians to support the measures recognising that they would redound to the benefit of the nation. He stated, “It is crafted to protect the things we hold dear and create new platforms for future success. It will not be easy nor will it be painless, but it will be worth it in the end. For the pain we bare now, will be the gain we secure in the future.”

In dealing with the Global Economic recession from 2008, this DLP administration insisted that we must maintain the social safety-net. When we look at what we have done during the time, this administration has managed to shield Barbadian from the full blow of the economic downturn.

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Barbados – The Prescription

Submitted by M.R.Thompson

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Chris Sinckler – MoF

The Barbadian Economy and Finances are suffering from a self inflicted malady and urgently in need of a CURE. The prescription is a foul concoction and unpalatable which will no doubt result in severe blame the other guy, political suicide, I told you so, reduced quality of life and other as undiagnosed complaints.

  1. Immediately Devalue Barbados dollar to a ratio of 3:1 of the US$. Re-evaluate after 5 years.
  2. Immediately Reduce the level of civil service employment to 10% of the population, ie: 29,000. This level (29,000) includes direct civil servants, All agency employees, All board employees, All Central Bank employees, All Police Employees, All Teachers, All Defence Force, Transport Board, etc., everyone that is directly or indirectly paid from the public purse.
  3. Immediately implement programs to streamline the collection of taxes aimed at efficiencies and recoveries.
  4. Sell off or disband all non performing (money losers) entities not related to Health Care, BWA and NIS Pensions. Sell Off all government held property that cannot be substantiated for retention, provided a reasonable rate of return can be obtained, ie NO FIRE SALES.
  5. NIS to have an immediate financial audit to determine what is the state of the portfolio. NIS held government debt be reduced immediately to no more than 25% of the portfolio. NIS be allowed to hold off shore assets in the portfolio. NIS employee levels to be evaluated.
  6. Central Bank Governor be immediately FIRED and function filled with a non Caribbean Capable Financial Currency Board.
  7. An extreme policy adjustment be made to see that ALL Barbadian Laws are fully enforced and complied with.
  8. Integrity Legislation be immediately implemented with severe penalties for non compliance.
  9. An agricultural/import policy be implemented with the goal to becoming self sufficient in food production within 5 years.
  10. IMF be invited in to oversee All Government Operations.

It’s a BITTER PILL but the alternative MAYBE the DEATH of a NATION.

No Change II

Denis Kellman M.P., Minister of Housing

Denis Kellman M.P., Minister of Housing

In its June 5 issue the Nation newspaper published an article with the title ‘Symmonds pokes at NHC’ which has largely gone unnoticed by the public. BU congratulates the newspaper for sharing the story, it serves to confirm the extent to which our system of government is broken.

The article highlights an interesting exchange in parliament between Opposition member of parliament (MP) Kerri Symmonds and MPs on the government side. During the exchange we learned about a cease and desist instruction which was issued by the Permanent Secretary of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to the Minister of Housing not to bring any more persons to the NHC to seek employment. Based on the newspaper report the order was ignored by Minister of Housing Denis Kellman.

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Rise of the Professional Politician

Westminster system

Westminster system

In a popular democracy, citizens, collectively, are the ultimate principal; elected representatives are their agents. These agents are also principals who, through the legislature, delegate authority to a host of departments and agencies that make up the sprawling executive branch of government – Fraser Institute

It has become obvious to many several built in checks and balances of the Westminster system of government Barbados has adopted from its colonial past are failing.  It is a system of governance which requires exhaustive participation by citizens to work effectively. Nearly 40% of eligible voters  did not vote in the last general election, an obvious symptom of a democracy in decay if we sample just one indicator.

Auditor General reports (2004 to 2013) of successive governments record a consistent performance of fiscal indiscipline. A flouting of the financial rules. An easy translation of the Auditor General’s comments can be described as  a system of graft and corruption. A scary observation is that the private sector is the entity which sells goods and services to government therefore citizens who should be holding ‘government’ accountable are complicit. In the case of Barbados we may not compare with Nigeria and other more openly corrupt countries but there is a view the covert nature of how we do business places us in the ballpark.

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DLP Blames REVENUE for its Fiscal Indiscipline

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

These shameless people engaged an undisclosed and secret number of thousands of people in the Public Service of Barbados (all during a recession) and since 2008 (as part of their ‘oppressive’ fatted calf doctrine) and based on what Barbadians are saying – also found every conceivable way to funnel state-funds to dems, through their flawed, “political entitlement programme” and now that their fiscal recklessness has caused a stench – they are telling the country some crap that Barbados’ economic woes can be tied to some global crisis. But it gets worse!

Within days of Cabinet Minister, Dr. Estwick telling the country that the DLP’s economic policies are flawed and the country is on the wrong path, the Chairman of the same Cabinet (which did not willingly allow Dr. Estwick to prove his thesis, through a power-point presentation, as requested) announced to the world – that Barbados’ economic woes can be tied to some global financial crisis that ended years ago.

Now! Something is not making sense, here! How can there be two conflicting views from the same Cabinet on Barbados economic circumstances and reality?

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Notes From a Native Son: A Drowning Government Clutches at Straws

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Now that we are having the debate over the mismanagement of the Barbados economy and the failure of monetary and fiscal policy, it is important that we turn our attention to the question of the wider macro-economic winds facing us in 2014. First, however, it is necessary to note that although the big battalions of the International Monetary Fund are waiting to invade with their rejuvenated Washington Consensus prescriptions, those in charge of monetary and fiscal policy are still locked in a policy-making vegetative state unable to even think for themselves. Here is Dr DeLisle Worrell, governor of the central bank, in a so-called sponsored statement (was this paid for by the central bank?) stating: “Barbados’s recent economic performance has been commendable given the unprecedented recession in the markets for our tourism and treaded services.” This is a blatant untruth; which ‘markets’ is he talking about? Is he talking about the UK, eurozone, in particular Germany, Canada, the US? If so, Dr Worrell is either not keeping up with global macro-economic data or he is attempting to mislead financial economists, deliberately or otherwise. If so, it is bound to fail because all fund houses have more economic data than he and his colleagues imagine.

All the major developed economies are now showing growth; the eurozone may be a bit more fragile, but the IMF is not so impressed that it is about to revise upwards the fund’s growth forecasts for this year. He goes on “…Barbados brings a number of competitive strengths to the international market. The country’s social and political institutions are stable, the labour force skilled and educated, the physical infrastructure good, and there are strong institutions for information-sharing, discussion and democratic decision-making.” Again this is waffle. There is an enormous skills deficit that is weighing down the economy; people are ‘educated’ in the sense that they are not illiterate in real terms, however they are uneducated to function in a highly technological and sophisticated world. Our claims to being 98 per cent literate are bogus and, as a nation, we should stop advertising what we do not have in stock. He goes on to claim: “The financial regulatory systems are of a high standard, judged by the norms of the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision and other international regulatory bodies.”

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Oppressive DLP Creates a Fiscal Crisis and Again Punishes the Innocent for its Crime and Recklessness

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

How could the DLP be allowed to get away with such a vulgar and horrible crime against Barbadians and the region? Where is the social justice and accountability?  Has Barbados become a banana republic and a place where the innocent pays and are punished for the atrocities of the wicked? Because of the DLP, the whole world now thinks regional leaders and Governments are incompetent at economic leadership and management!

Barbadians have to be candid about what has happened and why this country now finds itself in this sorry mess and perilous state, where thousands of relatives; friends and neighbours (fellow Barbadians) are being oppressed and subjected to an unknown period of human suffering and a life of poverty, with no light or hope – in the DLP’s tunnel. There has to be a point beyond which, failure to accept sound, well-reasoned advice, from experienced professionals, including those who have “successful-actual on-the-job experience” – constitutes criminal negligence.

Very few would deny that this-failed-DLP-Government’s expenditure fiasco is caused primarily by its “flawed fatted calf doctrine and political entitlement programme,” which the country is now finding-out – has resulted in the reckless over-employment in the public sector, by stealth, over the past six years.

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Bad News for Barbadian Taxpayers, JAWS has Returned!

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

Whatever was behind any honest intention of the Hotels and Resorts Limited (HRL) aka GEMS debacle, it is difficult to imagine a worse outcome so far. Government’s decision despite the current austerity situation to guarantee yet another loan to this failed entity frankly defies belief and clearly will not have a happy ending.

This latest loan is for BDS$5.55 million at an interest rate of 7.75 per cent, arrangement fee of $350,000 and monthly repayments of $55,000. Included is a $300,000 overdraft facility which attracts an administration charge of $5,000 each month. HRL now operate a single hotel, Blue Horizon with just 67 rooms. Another 50 additional rooms acquired at the time of purchase (1997) remain derelict all these years later. Savannah and Time Out at the Gap are leased and operated by private sector interests. Three other properties originally in the GEMS portfolio were sold and it still remains unclear what price they realised and exactly where those funds went.

Despite repeated pledges of transparency and accountability apart from a tiny private shareholding, the sole owner of HRL (the Barbadian taxpayer) is left almost completely in the dark. Statutory corporations appear not to have any obligation to publish their annual audited accounts, unlike publicly traded companies.

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Laughing Stock: DLP Subjects Its Lover – The NUPW – To Public Humiliation

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

All during 2013, the country was force to conclude that Donville Inniss might have been assigned a roll by Cabinet and the DLP – as “Mascot and political bully” and given a ‘free-reign’ to pick fights and launch unproved political-attacks, even on the BHTA, as a deliberate distraction tactic. Unfortunately, he and the DLP might have over-played his and their hand, when he purported to have a message for the very persons engaged in the Public Service, who the DLP “tricked” and “betrayed” into thinking that there would be no layoffs from the Public Service and that their jobs and employment would be safe, once they voted for the DLP in the February 2013 general Election.

In a previous article, I made the comment that: “it did not bother the DLP and it sure did not seem to have interest trade unions, the social partnership nor civil society – that it is an offence under section 6 of the Election Offences and Controversies Act to offer or accept employment in exchange for a vote.” It is now shocking that what appear to be general elections employment letters, with a “trademark DLP-shelf-life:” 31st December, expiry date -are beginning to surface. The country must now assume that at that date, there would be no more bush; drainage issues or dengue to be concerned about, in Barbados.

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2014 – Barbados’ Year of Faith

Submitted by Douglas

A call for Barbadians to work together.

A call for Barbadians to work together.

Happy New Year to all of Barbados!

Most Barbadians have enjoyed yet another festive holiday season, refusing to let the naysayers and predictors of doom and gloom try to spoil their mood. As we reflect, Barbadians were reliably informed about the challenges the economy has been facing due to predominately external factors.

The Democratic Labour Party would admit that it is indeed a weary road we have trod, because as a consumer based, import

economy, which has for decades been dependent on tourism, the international economic climate has affected us heavily due to increase in fuel prices, which directly affects the cost of transport and food costs; an unfortunate reduction in domestic exports; and reduced spending power of individuals locally and abroad.

International governments, such as the US, Canada and the United Kingdom have implemented measures which then have a devastating effect on our main sectors. The Air Passenger Duty Tax by the United Kingdom has had a devastating effect on tourism arrivals from that market, although we have seen an increase in arrivals which makes things a lot better than previously projected.

The United States and Canada have come down hard on Caribbean islands trying to tax their individuals who invest in accounts in our countries, attempting to incorrectly label some of us as tax havens. Whilst that suits their objectives politically at home, it sends out a bad message to other investors across the world and affects our reputation and market.

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A DLP’s Work of Art – Barbados Becoming a Failed Society

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

Unless Barbadians ‘force change’ soon and put this county on a different path, by April 2014, Barbados is not going to be a pretty or pleasant place to be! Tourists are already staying-away and capital is running!

What sense will it make having “new fancy looking money” that nobody in the Caribbean wants to see because no country within the region is willing to accept it?

You really have to be “terrified” of a Government that will celebrate the birth of Jesus in December and a few days after – fire 3,000 people!  Think about that for a while: the same DLP, which created this mess all across Barbados, expect and intend to keep their jobs but will fire 3,000 workers now engaged in the Public Service of Barbados, as its first order of business in January 2014!

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Committed to Our Goals

Submitted by Douglas

Ministers Donville Inniss and Chris Sinckler

Ministers Donville Inniss and Chris Sinckler

It is never easy to take tough decision which would affect the livelihood of those affected. From the start of the economic recession, the Democratic Labour Party’s administration had always said it would seek to maintain the social safety net and the sending home of persons from the public service would be a last resort so that government could maintain the employment levels in the country as long as possible.

For more than six years, the Democratic Labour Party administration maintained that promise while it introduced policies to restructure the economy of Barbados and position it on a sustainable growth path. This restructuring process which was long overdue is now being undertaken in the midst of the most turbulent, global economic recession which the world has seen in over a hundred years. Naturally, the journey has not been smooth sailing.

From the start of the economic recession our financial experts reminded us of the importance of protecting our international reserves. We were able to do this with reserves consistently above 16 week of imports from 2008 to June 2013. This was a major economic victory in the face of an unsettled global economic climate. This provided the cushion for government to continue its role in maintaining employment levels and the social safety net while putting policies in place to sure up revenue earning and controlling government’s expenditure in areas of goods and services, transfers and subsidies.

To read more:

The Motley Crew Who Govern

Minister Donville Inniss is at it again!

Minister Donville Inniss is at it again!

Minister Donville Inniss has acquired the reputation as the most strident in the Stuart cabinet, although not in the same vain as Minister Kellman. Speaking on behalf of himself he was quick to say, he pontificated that “I was always of the view that the public service is too big and needs to be reduced”. Many agree with the minister, especially those who proffered a similar view in the lead in to the last general elections less than a year ago. To be fair to the minister he magnanimously ascribed blame to successive governments for swelling the ranks of the familiarly known ‘army of occupation’ through the years.

It is evident that Donville, the Cabinet Crier, is privy to to the best kept secret in Barbados, which is, public servants will have to go home. Of course no sane Barbadian wants to see anyone put on the breadline but there is the inevitability as a result of government’s piss poor financial state.

What is sad about the state of affairs in Barbados is that we are to be blamed. We have allowed political patrimony and mendicancy to become paramount. All for the sake of the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party propping up populist ideals. Here we are at this dark place AGAIN because party interest trumped national interest. We are here because ‘educated’ Barbadians decided to toe the party lie or disengage from the system.

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Notes From a Native Son: The Time has Come for all True Barbadians to Put Country Before Party

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

After a few days in Barbados, mostly resting, but spending time with friends and acquaintances alike, I have returned with a feeling of deep sadness for a nation for which I have a very deep affection. But, we have a situation in which the national political discourse has been reduced to a leading minister inviting the leader of the official Opposition to strip naked and run down Broad Street, our main thoroughfare, to grab attention. While, at the same time, the governor of the central bank could announce that the economy is in recession and the minister of finance, the captain of the nation’s economy, did not see fit to respond to, the Opposition did not speak out on, our academic economists kept their opinions to themselves nor did our feeble media see it fit to inform their readers.

As I have said before, the nation is in serious crisis, only this time it is much worse than it previously was. Yet, there is an epidemic of denial: a police force that is imploding and cannot properly guard against organised criminality, medieval religious practices and family abuse. We are a nation that has lost faith in itself, when we could appoint a Canadian – repeat the word, Canadian – as head of our football association and every spare bit of land bought by dubious foreigners because our policymakers are addicted to foreign reserves. The New Barbados has also lost its moral purpose, its sense of decency, as is reflected in the obscenities that desecrate the airwaves as a matter of course; of the total national silence when a toddler can make sexual gestures over an apparently drunken woman at Crop Over, our leading cultural event; when our leading news paper thinks that pornographic pictures of juveniles having sex in a class room is newsworthy. Even more, not a single senior executive or director of the publishing firm has made a public statement about the obscenity. If ever there was a case for ordinary Barbadians to show their power as consumers and ban that publication, it is now. This is a long way from the nation I know as a young man, when, in the 1960s it was exporting people to work on London buses, trains and in the national health service, routinely gave them a printed booklet on how to behave in Britain. Those were days when the nation was concerned about its global reputation as reflected in the behaviour of its citizens.

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Notes From a Native Son: A Nation with a Hollow Where Public Morality Ought to be

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The political and economic failure of Barbados is like a slow motion car crash which onlookers are powerless to do anything about. As we look on, we can see the economy heading for a reinforced wall like a speeding, driverless car; we observe our leading institutions collapsing like a pack of over-used cards, while the high priests and priestesses of society preach about the solidity of these very flawed institutions. It is like Armageddon, we run screaming to the captains of industry, but there is nothing they can do; we plead with our politicians, but they are not listening; we ask our professionals for help, but they are pre-occupied with feathering their own nests. Repeating the growing lists of failings may hurt, but that is not like the pain felt by the marginalised, the disadvantaged, the outcasts. Like the man left on the floor of the hospital for four hours without any attention, then only to have a kind soul throw a sheet over him; like the man who collapsed at the wheel of his vehicle, only to find that calls for an ambulance could not be met – while the so-called Defence Force has an abundance of ambulances. Like a government refusing to pay Mr Barrack, while still pretending that it can engage in big capital projects.

Death of a Dream:
I seem to pinpoint the historical juncture when this rot set in when we started Barbadianising all our top management and public sector positions, regardless of the quality of the talent to fill those positions. This runs from the quality of programming at CBC, the leadership of our secondary schools and the nature of decision-making in the public sector. The only explanation is the rise of a petit-bourgeois nationalism in the years since constitutional independence which, in many ways, is driving the nation back in to the dark days of neo-colonial rule. The dominant belief now is that, no matter which political party one belongs to or support, this Barbadianisation of public sector jobs is a social priority over and above the quality of the service we deliver to the long-suffering public. In many ways, the irony is that this retreat in to a self-protective nationalism is taking place while the island itself is giving way to new forms of Barbadian-ness. This weakness is in most part an outcome of a weak public intellectual movement, as a reflection of the wider ruling elite. It is a small elite which has found it intellectually and politically cosy not challenging each other and accepting a consensus which is not ideologically tested in any way.

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The Slide of the Barbados Economy Part II: Astonishing Revelation in Central Bank Report

Submitted by Inkwell

In my recent submission The Slide of the Barbados Economy: Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Numbers  highlighting the excessive spending of the government over the last five years, one of the questions I asked was “Where was the money spent and was it spent wisely? Further research produced the following chart which can be found at page 12 of the Central Bank June 2012 Press Release.



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Execute Prime Minister!

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Execution in it’s simplest sense is to: get things done. Period. But it’s more complex than those 3 words might suggest. It’s about getting the right people in place, building a strategy around the resources available, and finally implementing the strategy, linking the strategy with people.

David Lau

It is generally accepted that highly successful organizations achieve stated objectives because they execute with military like precision. And as Lau opines, it is about defining a strategy, accumulate and efficiently deploy resources and assemble people with the correct skillsets.   The theory is easy until we allow indiscipline to intervene.

Barbados like many countries in our region finds itself mired in an economic morass. While there is agreement from all quarters that the environment in which we have to manage is a challenging one, we remain divided as a people the path we should follow. It is a situation which cries out for leadership.

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Computer Glitched Layoffs?

Submitted by Napolean Bonaparte

Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security blames a computer glitch for the chaos surrounding payroll of temporary workers.

Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security blames a computer glitch for the chaos surrounding payroll of temporary workers.

What the Houdini, did I hear correct? Now they are blaming the removal of peoples’ names on binary malfunctions ****0101001011 glitch***? The computer does not ask anybody questions anymore nowadays. Was the reason given for why the 1,000 or so temporary workers were this week taken off the payroll list? So wait, just so Apple wid a bite decided to axe them off and for no apparent reason. Goat rolls I say, but sounds oh too familiar.  Recall the CLICO Deloitte report? Just so again, documents and all friendly copies (I still got mine) vanished into thin air with no logical explanation whatsoever.

Shifting mirror states we encouraging when we choose to play with peoples’ livelihood’s by offering scapegoat-isms and computer hoodlum- hoods. Why was it not Sir Roy who said he supported the call for austerity measures but asked for transparency? So what is so big about owning up to the truth anyway? Could it be to do with a now tired electioneered sound byte that continues to be repeated by some who would rather remain as ambiguous?

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Notes From A Native Son: The Budget Speech Sinckler Should Make on Tuesday

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Mr Speaker, fellow members of parliament, I rise today with great humility; knowing the state of our nation’s economy and being aware of the weight of expectations by ordinary people, looking to me to provide the answers regarding their jobs, their welfare and their children’s futures.

Mr Speaker, I will do my best by delivering the package of reforms, monetary and fiscal, which I hope will lead us forward both in the short and medium terms.

The past five years have been tough, not only for us, but for the rest of the world; but it is to our little island home that I am given the great responsibility to pilot the ship of economic stability, growth and, with it prosperity for our people. It is a great responsibility and one that I am not treating lightly.

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A Minister Must Never Be Caught Lying

Submitted by Gilberto Howell

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler with veteran VOB journalist David Ellis (28/07/13)

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler with veteran VOB journalist David Ellis (28/07/13) – Photo:Nation

Yes Minister, but please tell the truth about the Pierhead Marina Project.

Can you believe anything  the Minister of Finance said yesterday on Brass Tacks?

No you cannot because the Minister of Finance is a stranger to the truth. A bullshit artist from beginning to end, a man determined to lie his way through politics in Barbados. A man who is all show and little or no substance, a man who has, by himself,  destroyed the confidence the people of Barbados place in the office of the Minster of Finance and Economic Affairs.

Take the Pierhead Marina as an example. The Minister said categorically yesterday that the Pierhead Marina project is proceeding but he conveniently forget to tell the people of Barbados that he, as Minister of Finance, brought a Cabinet Paper to Cabinet a few weeks ago making a number of recommendations, including:

  1. The contract with SMI be terminated immediately
  2. The Pierhead Marina project be suspended until the Barbados economy was not in a recession.

See document received by BU which is purported to be part of a Cabinet Paper dated 21 June 2013. BU has published because we deem it in the public’s interest – Click LINK to read document.

Meet Our Permanent Secretaries [Agency Heads]

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We also found that a significant minority of permanent secretaries are still appointed through ‘managed moves’ where the civil service leadership – often at the request of ministers – move officials horizontally without any formal process or competition. Since 2010, managed moves account for around a third of permanent secretary appointments – including the appointment of the Cabinet Secretary himself

– Akash Paun and Josh Harris, with Sir Ian Magee

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Notes From a Native Son: Time for the Government to Get Moving

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The intellectual argument that Barbados is in deep economic (and social) crisis has now been conceded by the deniers – those who talk nonsense about the nation punching above its weight and exaggerating the soft influence we have in the region and, the world. Of course, it is all self-praise, the unfortunate outcome of economic ignorance and wishful-thinking.

I have said before, and will repeat again, that: first, the narrative that we have had a period of prosperity in the first decade of the 21st century was a myth built on over-borrowing on both a household and government level, ignoring our inefficient productivity to such an extent that we even believed that life owed us a living.

The second point that needs stressing is one that is in danger of seeping in to the gilded story of our economic prosperity: again, let us concentrate it to the post-independence years, and that truth is that the official myth-making of our economic growth, generally given as three per cent annualised, is, to be polite, crap. Had Barbados had a three per cent growth rate over the last decade, compounded, our post-global recession story would have been totally different. As things stand, we are up to our necks in debt, tourism, the main driver of the economy, is in intensive care and the priest is standing by to perform the last rites, while, in the meantime, relatives are fighting over how to divide up the spoils even before the last breath leaves the body.

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Snakes and Ladders in Public Administration: Putting Barbados in a State of Economic Viability

George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE

George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE

There can be much to be derived out of the sober utterances that are spilled by a man not seemingly daunted by drowsiness or other lethargic effects of prolonged sleep. This article takes as its starting point the simplicity of the game – snakes and ladders – an Indian inspired, all-time favourite of many pre-adolescent children. The minimalism of snakes and ladders stems from its lack of any meaningful skill component in the execution of the game or in the attainment of the victor’s crown.

Notwithstanding, snakes and ladders was conceptualised with a deeper, moral, and sensitising agenda. Inherently, the choices of good and bad are included to signify the dialectical transformations emerging out of the contexts of values versus vices. There is the dynamism that links with performances to produce upward mobility in contrast to downward or backward falling. The aggregate difficulties (i.e. snakes) to be encountered are significantly more than the available opportunities (i.e. ladders) for climbing. It is by a mixture of self-determination and fortune in relation to similar circumstances facing at least one other participant/competitor that the outcome is manifested but never assured.

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Temporary Government Workers Being Sent Home

A copy of a dismissal letter received by a government worker dated 30 May 2013.

A copy of a dismissal letter received by a government worker dated 30 May 2013.

It seems our own Caswell Franklyn who heads Unity Workers Union has released the cat amongst the pigeons. Was there a plan to send home a large number of temporary government workers which was foiled when Caswell went public recently? Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has been forced to deny there was such a plan. Maloney and Clarke from the NUPW have also denied that they were privy to any plan. Caswell has rebutted that after the initial plan was exposed the contingency plan seems to be the orderly release of temporary workers when their contracts expire.

During the just concluded general election campaign a key message from the Democratic Labour Party platform was that government jobs will be protected.

Who is lying? You be the judge.

Time to Act…Transport Board Again

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

Sandra Forde, General Manager of the Transport Board

Sandra Forde, General Manager of the Transport Board

The days of the Transport Board operating as a quasi Governmental institution are numbered. We have tried our best for years now to make it break even, and or make profit but to no avail. One of the reasons, (which there are many) by nature Government institutions operate intending to give social benefits and not to make profit paramount at the expense of societal benefits. Obviously there lies the reoccurring problem with  our Transport Board. Before, the organization was operating with a management whose training and thought was not to maximize the bottom line.

We cannot eat the cake and have it too…either we want to operate profitably or we want to provide solely social benefits? Profitability could mean, leasing to a private concern, whose management will want to make profits for its shareholders.

Transport Board as it stands sucks up good bucks that could help reduce a deficit lending institutions like the IMF see as hazardous to our country’s health. When will a decision be made? We could use the mega bucks as with BNB (now Republic Bank) which has had a complete turn around placing more in our Treasury and employing even more staff?

Notes From a Native Son: Can Prime Minister Stuart Lead Us to the Promised Land?

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

It has now become an expected landmark in political analysis, no matter where you are from, that the first 100 days of any new administration are the most important roadmaps to the programme that that administration intends to follow for that parliament. Given that we are now only a few days away from the 100-day point with the Freundel Stuart DLP administration, what objective indicators have we got as to how the administration intends to govern the nation. In other words, cometh the moment, cometh the man: can Stuart be our Moses?  Is he equipped with the vision and tenacity to lead us out of the mire that we have found ourselves in?

New Administration:
For most of the last government prime minister Stuart and his supporters spent most of their time blaming the previous BLP government for the state of the economy, and they were right. The Arthur government spent 14 of the most prosperous years in global economic history and left the Barbados economy with serious current account and deficit problems. But, five years later, it is a poor excuse for finance minister Chris Sinckler and his advisers to continue to blame the BLP administration for the mess they are in.

They have had more than enough time to deal with the problems, more than that, they have had long enough to come up with credible ideas, a workable vision, to take the nation forward in these tough times. So far, there is not a single transparent idea to emerge from the prime minister’s office, the ministry of finance or indeed the central bank. Almost every statement, every speech, every interview they give catches them on the back foot, defending their incompetence and paucity of ideas. Not only that, they have somehow managed to turn every legitimate criticism, no matter how positive, in to a party political issue – to criticise is to be part of the opposition.

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