Alternate Views – Put Barbados first

Kemar J.D Stuart, Economist and Director Business Development , Finance and Investment Stuart & Perkins Caribbean

Barbados on December 7th will be heading into another IMF program named BERT 2.0. The PM of Barbados said in a recent press conference that next 2023 will be hard for all of us.

Barbadians are in a serious economic pit as the global economy is set to run into turmoil and price inflation will push the cost of living /goods& services to higher as the festive holiday season kicks in.

Minister of Industry Davidson Ishmael recently recommended Bajan consumers to buy local as , as far back at October 2018, government placed VAT on online transactions to encourage local shopping. With NSRL removed local prices were supposed to drop instead they increased. While patriotic by Minister Ishmael the high cost of living in Barbados has been eroding paychecks and savings as people are shopping according to what’s affordable to their pockets.

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In 2022 Barbados government is trafficking in slaves

The former Leader of the Opposition in the Barbados Parliament, Bishop Joseph Atherley, is reported to have questioned why this country continues to function under a state of emergency. In his response, the learned Attorney General, Dale Marshall, attempted to be condescending to the Bishop, rather than give an explanation that could stand up to scrutiny. I would not dignify his response by repeating it here. I would only say that his reasons made no sense as usual.

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BLP Win 30-0, Again

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in a surprising result won all 30 seats again in a snap election called 18 months before constitutionally due by Mia Mottley.

In the coming weeks there will be robust debate about how our democracy optimally serves Barbadians with a muted dissenting voice. One may argue a healthy democracy requires a strident dissenting voice. Barbados is traveling an uncharted path given the 2018 and 2022 general election results and BELOW 50% turnout (anecdotal). In the coming weeks our attention will turn to government’s management of COVID 19, the economy, the health of political opposition and a few other key issues.

Whither the political opposition?

The blogmaster congratulates the BLP on the win and offers the advice – to whom much is given, much is expected.

Whatup Bajans?

The countdown to January 19, 2021 and so far Barbadians have been treated to a lackluster campaign. The biggest issue so far has been the lack of opportunity for Covid 19 infected patients to vote, that is until the strategic revelations from former Senator Lucille Moe last weekend. 

For those who didn’t understand Moe’s prolong absences from the Senate, now we know. There was a plot to be hatched. The blogmaster deems her behaviour to be dishonest and unethical. She had a difference of opinion with the prime minister- or so it seems- and refused to take the honourable decision to resign. Mia Mottley is not blameless, ministers and senators serve at the pleasure of the prime minister, Moe should have been fired. The blogmaster gives no credence to feeble rebuttals that she submitted excuses to the President to the Senate. Citizens must continue to find ways to hold elected officials accountable. The struggle is real.

While the Moe plot appears to have fully delivered 2 days before the general elections, former minister of finance Chris Sinckler decided to enter the political space for the first time since the last general election in May, 2018. The stars have aligned and the winner is…?

At a time educated and sensible Barbadians should be consumed with exacting intelligible utterances from prospective representatives in parliament, instead we have been treated to the same old dog and pony show. 

  • Have we has good explanations why six decades after independence we have been unable to enact and operationalize transparency and integrity legislation in Barbados?
  • Have we had good explanation why the NIS Scheme has been mismanaged by successive governments to the point where taxpayers will be asked to suffer more sacrifice to ensure its viability?
  • Have we had a good explanation why after the long talk about establishing a Creative Cultural Industries framework this sector remains uninspired and rudderless?
  • Have we had a good explanation why decades of Auditor General reports have been ignored by successive governments?
  • Have we had a good explanation why a small island developing state located in the idyllic tropical Caribbean has been unable to aggressively retrofit and integrate renewable energy by utilizing the natural resources of sun and wind?
  • Have we had an intelligent national debate about pensions for members of parliament and in particular the public service which is unfunded?
  • What about the urgent need for a comprehensive waste management strategy to align with the utterances about a commitment to the environment?

The point of this submission is to remind fellow Barbadians that we benefit from making smart decisions. If we continue to be mesmerized and entertained by the dog and pony shows performing to the same scripts, there will be no apotheoses.

A Citizenry Contented to be Baffled by BS

Let’s see which tranches were defaulted and exactly the amount. And what value the “books” placed on the asset(s). All neatly hidden, because we can never see what those entities who received the “loans” did with that money, other than defaulting on repayment. Everybody got bailed out except the local taxpayer.

NorthernObserver (call for transparency by BU commenter in the Paradise/Clearwater Bay matter)

Both major political parties continue to baffle the citizenry with ‘bullshit’ and we accept it. Is Minister Ryan Straughn telling he does not have a recent valuation of the Paradise property to share? Why have we allowed another crisis to go to waste? 

At the best of times the Barbados economy was deemed to be fragile because it is a tourism_service oriented economy which makes it ultra vulnerable to what economists warn exogenous attacks from the global economy.

Post-2018 the incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) after winning the general election, recruited a bevy of financial consultants supported by a 26 member Cabinet. Immediately proceeded to opt for a selected default (SD) on foreign and domestic debt. Fate has intervened and the so-called fiscal space created has been eradicated by a raging pandemic made worse by a 2 week period of ash fall from an active volcano next door on St.Vincent.

Acts of nature have tested the adaptability of man from the beginning of time. This is what we must do, adapt.

Is it the imagination of a lowly blogmaster we have allowed our priorities to shift to ‘less pressing’ matters at this time? All local newsfeeds are choked with traffic about transition to a referendum by 30 November 2021 and the consideration by government- supported by private sector- to regulate a mandatory vaccination policy. Further, we had a march reported to be upwards to three thousand people registering public concern. The news from government and Central Bank of Barbados that there is a hole in government’s revenues of 600 million dollars has not registered the same level of protestations from John Public. Is it fully understood the success of expertly managing the economy of Barbados directly impacts quality of life of individuals, households; food on the table, jobs etc? 

The blogmaster smiled this week while listening to a Canada-based Barbadian economist beseeching the government to decrease excise/ad valorem taxes to buffer increasing cost of imports. The fight to satisfy our taste for imported goods and services to feed the consumption behaviour continues.

Covid 19 virus feeding the pandemic has had an uncompromising impact on economies of developing countries like Barbados. Unlike so-called developed countries, scarce resources have had to be redirected to defend against Covid 19. For Barbados the issue is made more acute because of the pre-Covid 19 state of the economy. 

The structure of the local economy means there is limited prospect of achieving real growth in the short to medium term. The weight of years of debt accumulation means more significant fiscal adjustments – that will be painful – have to be made. Coming after about 15 years of economic fatigue this will spur social fallout. The time has come and gone for our leaders, political and social to govern, to lead. A recommended first step in that process is to immediately desist from baffling the citizenry with bullshit and set about the task of setting realistic expectations.

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Right from Wrong

Once upon a time to determine right and wrong seemed a very straight forward undertaking for Barbadians. The majority of Barbadians identified with shared values that anchored a behaviour to infuse a culture uniquely and satisfyingly Bajan. The result was a harmonious society- a key element to our brand and identity.

The world has become a complex place to navigate for governments and individuals. There are the neoliberals. There are the socialists. There are the relativists. Not to be ignored are the centrists. All operating under a system of democracy. Our ability as a people to reconcile has resulted in a polarizing effect to how we manage our business, hardly ever room for compromise. In the last two decades the fight by groups advocating economic and social equality has created intractable positions, leading to what many are forecasting – a dystopian world. 

The truth is, Barbados has been battling a crisis of cultural identity in recent years. In the 70s Trinidadians and other nationalities flocked to Barbados, impressed by our well ordered society. Those were the days we ran a balanced national budget. Nowadays, important decisions are being made for us because successive governments have racked up unconscionable debt to satisfy consumer demand, restricting government’s capacity to initiate needed developmental initiatives because of the lack of fiscal space. We have discussed many times how we have surrendered Bajan culture to be invaded from over in away.

The previous government charted a roadmap to aggressively develop the renewable sector. A decade later why are fossil fuelled vehicles not the main offering for consumers? Why has government not issued a stop-sell on the procurement by the public sector of fossil powered vehicles? At minimum impose a cap if there is concern about facilitating a smooth transition? Involved in the growth of the renewable sector is the ability to influence EMERA’s roadmap to generate and distribute a fit for purpose power system that meshes with a national strategic plan. David Simmons in the 70s as the member of parliament for St. Thomas promised Barbadians Mount Stinkeroo would be shutdown. In 2014 the former government attempted – through covert and questionable means – to foist a plasma gasification plant on Barbadians the likes never seen anywhere on the globe. It is 2021 and there is no project in the works to address waste disposal in a sustainable way. This includes an inadequate sewerage system. 

Year after year we read the Auditor General’s reports that expose incompetence and malfeasance by public sector agencies often times acting in collusion with private sector players, yet nothing is done to hold the various players accountable. The most important fund on the island is being used as government’s ATM with no pressure from Barbadians to produce timely audited financials and actuarial reports. At election time there will be the usual huff and puff then forgotten until the next time.

These are a few examples of a failing governance system and the degree Barbadians have abdicated roles and responsibilities the system of democracy practised affords us.

The permeable serves to introduce the big question to the new Barbadian. Do we have what it takes to shift trajectory? 

The Great Hornswoggle

Recently the blogmaster observed a sign that announced the takeover of Montrose supermarket by behemoth Massy. A caller to a talk show asked what does it mean if all of our successful businesses are being ‘huffed’ by ‘outside’ interest? Education and health are the top two allocations in the national budget.

Minister of Youth Dwight Sutherland recently announced a $100,000 anti violence campaign targeting gangs. DLP candidate for St. George North Floyd Reifer responded with a counter-call to implement community sports programs targeting young men in order to arrest crime. The blogmaster was reminded to double check the definition of generational time which typically ranges from 22 to 33 years. 

On another blog a question was posted – why have successive Black governments failed to execute policies and programs to unlock the full potential of Black Barbadians? We forget that the relationship between political and economic classes is greatly influenced by the economic agenda of those who own capital.

Public outrage at the release of the Trojans Riddims video interpreted by many Barbadians as glorifying gun violence, mirrored similar outrage at the release of the Auditor General listing malfeasance and incompetent management of public finances. The blogmaster suspects similar outrage WHEN the next NIS actuarial report eventually is made public. The last actuarial review was in 2017 and dealt with the 2012-2014 period?

Great fanfare was made of the arrival of 10 new water trucks, this was followed by the news several BWA pumping stations were knocked offline by an electrically outage caused by a freak weather event. In the classroom we are still taught man’s basic needs are food, shelter and water. Have we missed the boat to innovate and aggressively integrate food production with the tourism sector? Mark Maloney delivered The GROTTO, Villages at Coverley and of recent there is HOPE at Chancery and Lancaster to satisfy high demand for housing solutions.

It does not matter if our trade unions go to sleep at the switch, in the adversarial form of government practised in Barbados, we are fortunate to have two Labour Parties. Barbadians on the tropical sunny isle are encouraged to protest the high price of imported commodities including gas at the pump and take consolation from the feedback of the IMF.

Barbados has made good progress in implementing its Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan to restore fiscal and debt sustainability, rebuild reserves, and increase growth…have helped rebuild confidence in the country’s macroeconomic framework. However, a virtual standstill in the tourism sector during the pandemic took a significant toll in 2020, with the economy contracting by 18 percent.

Fifth Review Under the Extended Arrangement, Request for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criterion, and Modification of Performance Criteria-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Barbados


Submitted Observing

Things are so out of whack recently that I think we have gone haywire. Let me just toss a few random disjointed thoughts out there to get a real real feel for where we are right now.

  1. Persons on bail for vicious murders…BUT…end up committing others after
  2. Local parties and fetes are restricted…BUT…visitors can plan 2 months ahead of time and party soon with wild abandon
  3. Large outcry over the Trojan Riddim…BUT…and even larger outcry over the outcry over the Trojan Riddim
  4. MAM says take down the Riddim AND apologise…BUT…so far 166 thousand views, 3000 likes and Sunday School still wukking
  5. NUPW elected to represent workers…BUT….NUPW has to call in the police to save itself
  6. Minister boasts that cruise ships coming…BUT…positive cases still showing up on liners abroad
  7. We say the children under severe pressure…BUT…we force the same children to do Common Entrance
  8. Auditor General report speaks of problems…BUT…not a peep or pang from the GoB or BLP about it
  9. Cruise ships mashup Carlisle Bay coral…BUT…Minister says no problem he will plant it back
  10. Road tax removed to supposedly ease consumers….BUT……gas prices (and said tax) increasing every single month
  11. Hotel workers cannot be forced to take the vaccine…BUT…guests can demand that they do
  12. There is no price gouging they say…BUT…ask any supermarket buyer and you’ll hear different
  13. Four Seasons money written off by government…BUT…the main lawyer and main adviser running the same government coffers currently
  14. Verla’s ready to lead the DLP to next year’s election…BUT…she has to beat a certain Guy first.

See what I tell ya. We Gone Haywire.

I Love You Barbados

It is about two weeks since Barbadians were forced to take cover from the La Soufriere volcano ash fall located in St. Vincent. Many of us were not around to witness a similar event in 1902, however, many recall vividly or vaguely depending on ones age 1979. As the 2021 hurricane season approaches, Barbadians through the years have been spared serious fallout from ‘Acts of God’ and an understandable complacent attitude has taken root. The seriousness of the ongoing La Soufriere event may help to change the attitude.

This morning the blogmaster threw open a window and smiled at the sight of a less grey environs. In fact there was a gratifying sense that the effect of the ash fall had become less of an issue as Barbadians – despite the prevailing economic and COVID 19 related challenges – are getting on with the business of managing respective households the best way they know how.

This morning like many mornings gone the blogmaster scanned the international and regional newsfeeds and smiled a wry smile at the involuntary sigh of satisfaction – the blogmaster would not trade places with any other soul living elsewhere at this moment.


Barbadians, ALL Together NOW!

…The discussion must turn to how can we run a country on 25% less revenue than planned over the next 2 years. It does not have to come to layoffs either. It can come from improved tax collection, greater efficiency etc. It does not have to be a case of just “sending home people”…

BU Commenter: John A

What has has been weighing on the blogmaster’s mind in recent weeks you ask?

In light of the Covid 19 pandemic most economies in the world have been negatively affected whether service based, commodity driven or combination of the two. The result is that citizens will have to make sacrifices until ‘normalcy’ is achieved. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable people in society – the indigent and sick.

The 500 million dollar projected shortfall in government’s budget as a consequence of the prevailing adverse economic conditions is a reality not many Barbadians have come to grips if one listens to public discussion. Made more acute the country is suffering from economic fatigue after a severe debt restructure and a decade or more of economic wutlessness.

Obviously government has a moral obligation to find ways to keep workers employed. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that changes – especially if unplanned – to the tax base will negatively impact revenues therefore compromising government’s financial obligations to pay for public goods and services.

Government’s ability to collect taxes is also affected by a performing private sector. If the private sector contracts for any reason by shutting down businesses or sending home workers, contributions to government’s tax/NIS revenues will adversely impact finances. Covid 19 has created the perfect challenge for all governments including Barbados.

Having mentioned the economic and fiscal hurdles facing the country, it is easy to forget the social challenges that have inevitably resulted to make governing more complex.

The country is currently embroiled in a discussion about the details of how the proposed Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) will be implemented. The success of BOSS and other fiscal measures are simply that, short term. If the global economy is lazy to respond to recovery it means SIDs like Barbados will have big problems as it burns cash in hand (reserves) to pay salaries and other unsustainable activities to maintain a reasonable standard of living.  More and more rehashed commentary about how successive governments have built the economy on sand, encourage covert corruption and fuelled a culture of political patronage or a country living above its means will surface. This will make for good political discussion, however, does not make for constructive debate in the unprecedented climate we find ourselves.

The lengthy preamble to the thesis is – as a people are we capable of pivoting from the type of vacuous national discourse we have become accustomed to be replaced by one that is apropos?

A good place to start is to work at disrupting old thought patterns that encourage same old same outcomes. Easier said than done but is must be done if we are to survive as a nation out here in the global rat race.

…Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country…

John F. Kennedy



Our Date With Destiny has Arrived

Submitted by William Skinner

Since the abolition of slavery, the Caribbean region has been heading toward a date with destiny. Many of us have hailed events as defining moments. In most cases those moments lingered a while and then faded into historical reference. The abolition of slavery was a significant moment for our physical being but the scars of mental slavery still shackle us to a belief that we have reached the apex of our civilization.

The rise of the working class in the 1930s and onward to individual state independence, would have further cemented that we had arrived at a stage of development that was almost miraculous. It is a remarkable feat, that we went from slavery to independence in a historically short time. We should therefore be forgiven if we thought: The Strife Is O’er, The Battle Won.”

We were skilful with our limited resources and those countries within the region with more bountiful resources than others, were generous in their assistance toward their often-struggling brothers and sisters. We even forged ahead with regional unity and gave birth to the regional movement known as CARICOM. Outside of the occasional family squabble, the Caribbean has enjoyed longer periods of regional unity than we thought possible. Daily we try our best to develop our collective communities but the realities of individual countries, often forced to act on their own rather than a unified force, remain a monumental challenge.

The date with destiny finally arrived via a vicious carrier or messenger, we now know as COVID-19. The abolition of slavery; rise of the working class; independence, hurricanes and of course the glorious days of dominating the world of cricket, now seem to be fading occurrences as we grapple with the new norm. The COVID-19 has revealed that we have been meticulously unprepared for the date with destiny. AS the new norm descends upon us, there is wide spread panic and we are now bombarded by often weak and visionless speeches by leaders, who in many instances have abandoned common sense. We built our future on sun seekers and international treaties. We are treated like school children being forced to pass tests and grades that often have little or nothing to do with our cultural, social, or economic realities.

In a rather perverse way, we actually attached ourselves to the saying: “Why buy a cow when you can get milk free.” We now face the brutal reality that there is no free milk and we really have no unlimited access to cows we don’t own. Its time to buy our own cows and produce our own milk. It’s time to own the Caribbean farm and take it off the auction block.

As my friend’s grandmother asked him, when he was going through a rough period in his new environment of the USA and was contemplating a return to the island: “Did you come for the improvement or the exchange?”

Our date with destiny has arrived and no iron bird our floating hotel will save us from this brutal reality.

Bajans Abroad Have the Best Eyes and Ears

Submitted by Andrew Nehaul

Many write about tourism being on the way out but few provide any solid ideas or concepts that can be used as an economic substitute. With your permission I would like to change the subject.

I may be wrong but I get the impression that many who visit this site live abroad. Be it the USA, Canada, the UK or other place, they live in what is commonly referred to as a first world country. It does not matter where they live, I am of the opinion that they see and experience technology daily that can help improve the situation in Barbados.

With your permission I will digress. Many years ago when I lived in Barbados, I went to a small company in Rendezvous to get my muffler repaired. While standing there waiting for my car to be fixed, I overheard a conversation  with two young men that I remember to this day.

One man said “I was in Miami last week and you would never guess what I saw”
“No. Tell me” the other replied.
“I saw a white waiter” the first one said.
“No way”

I could not understand what they were talking about as I had recently returned from working in Banff, Alberta, Canada as part of my hotel education course in Vancouver. At the Banff Springs Hotel I worked as a waiter with Canadians of all colours and from all parts of the world. So, to see a white waiter was not new. Later, I understood that for a person who had never left the island and saw only black waiters, seeing a white person working as a waiter must be unique.

A few weeks ago I read that Bizzy Williams and his Company had developed an electric bus which he probably wanted to sell to the Government. I thought to myself that this is not the future for Barbados as we still import fossil fuel to create electricity. Any electric vehicles in most part only increases the import cost and is a drain on foreign exchange. What Bizzy should have done was to develop a garbage truck run on biogas and get the Government to encourage separation of garbage where the organic material is used to create bio gas. Alternatively, use sugar cane for bio energy.

In Europe this is a part of our daily living. We separate garbage and the organic waste is transformed to bio gas that runs the buses and other Government vehicles.

On the other hand, even though Sweden has many lakes and a great deal of water, it is a vital commodity and regarded with a high priority.

In my small community we have a system of water pipes that are over 70 years old. I am not an engineer and suspect that the pipes are galvanize or iron based. When they leak, the water authority sources the leak and then instead of replacing the pipes which means digging up the road, they run a plastic sleeve in the pipe, blow hot air through to seal and fasten the plastic to the wall of the pipe and use them for many more years. It is proven technology and should be adopted in Barbados.

These are only 2 things that I see here in Sweden that can help Barbados. I am positive that other Bajans living abroad have seen technology around them and can share their thoughts and experiences with BU which may help Barbados solve a few of its problems.

The Little Boy And The Flute

Submitted by Charles Knights

When I was a little boy, about five or six years old in Barbados, to be precise in Brittons Hill. My mother took me to Bridgetown for window shopping at Christmas.

In a shop window at Cave Shepherd I saw a small wooden flute priced at just a couple dollars and was much taken to it.

As my mother and I boarded the bus (the old style open ones) on our way home I continued to pester my mother about how much I wanted the flute.

I kept annoying her and went on and on. Later in the evening with no respite. She grabbed me by the wrist and took me out the back door.

She angrily pointed to the moon and said: “young man that is the moon and if I could give it to you I would but there a some things I just cannot afford.”

I never mentioned that flute again.

I knew my mother was angry because she had gripped my wrist so tightly. There was a lesson I learned at a tender age in Barbados and it has served me well throughout my life.

In life there are some things you cannot “afford” despite the temptations forget them and move on.

If you can be anything be kind.

Tis the Time to Keep Hope Alive

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson

Country Barbados has endured tough social and economic times of late. What resonates with this blogmaster amidst the cacophony experienced anyway of the week  in the Barbados Underground is that one should never lose hope.

If human beings do not cling to hope, if there is no expectation that we can contribute to make tomorrow a better day – the logical result is chaos. Sensible human beings must therefore NEVER let go of the belief hope springs eternal. Every person populating the BU family must do all they can muster to add value to the space they influence. Thus leaving the world a better place.

On behalf of the BU household the blogmaster extends best wishes of the season to all members of the BU family and friends.



A Time to Clasp Hands


Time has changed. What have changed along with time?

Redistribution of income.
Non enforcement of Laws.
High levels of unemployment.
Justice system constipated
Lack of responsibility by key sectors of Society.

Vincent Codrington

A recurring narrative in Barbados fuelled by an unprecedented number of murders recorded at the mid-year is the idea the political directorate has the solution. The political estate is a member of civil society and obviously has a major role to play, however, it cannot be a singular effort if we are to be successful.

For a long time this blogmaster has crystallized a view that the lack of civic awareness by John and Jane Citizen represents a large part of the challenge to sustain a quality society. Does the average John and Jane understand the meaning of civil society? It is a term that is freely included in discussions these days as the national debate shifts gears in reaction to the pace social, economic and environmental degradation in taking place in Barbados.

A World Bank definition of civil society “refers to a wide array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations [NGOs], labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations.” For many years Barbados authorities have boasted about the benefit of the Social Partnership comprised of government, labour unions and private sector. From observation through years of its existence the social partnership is triggered into action to respond to economic challenges. There is no malicious intent by the blogmaster to attack the social partnership. Any opportunity to bring interest groups to the table to pull on the peace pipe must be viewed as positive. What is instructive is that other islands having observed the Barbados model have seen the wisdom to expand membership in the social partnership by including other groups in civil society.

The quote by Vincent Codrington was posted as a contribution to identify factors responsible for a deteriorating social landscape in Barbados. He subsequently affirmed it is not an exhaustive list. What his contribution reinforces is that it will require a collective approach to attack present day challenges of crime to name one of the pressing ones. Leaders from every sphere of society must work to design the best approaches to wrestle back Barbados from the grip of dark forces.

Observing the commentary on social media, talk programs and street light chatter suggest there is a willingness by ordinary citizens to outsource the solution to our problem to government and political directorate. The government is a key member in civil society, however, it will require other members of civil society to deliver on respective mandates.

Besides the need for all groups in Barbados to work together in a meaningful way. The new normal of the times requires solutions to be tailored and implemented quickly by avoiding modalities from another time. It is accepted that extraordinary times require people to do extraordinary things to avoid chaos and dysfunction. All agree that we are experiencing unprecedented challenges and have reached the tipping point that should be a signal for everybody to rally if not for ourselves for the sake of the children.



Barbados in the BIG Picture

Submitted by Tee White

Much of the discussion going on in Barbados today about the current situation in the country tends to ignore both the historical and international context. However, it is very difficult to make sense of the current situation without taking these into account.

From a historical point of view, the origin of modern Barbados can be traced back to 1627, when the rising English merchant class and their aristocratic backers took control of the island and established it as a cog in Britain’s growing imperial economy. Its sole role in this relationship was, through various forms of forced labour and slavery, to generate wealth which would, in the main, be transferred to Britain for consumption. Therefore by the early 1920s, after 200 years under capitalism as slavery and 100 years under capitalism as colonial apartheid, the mass of working class Bajans, who were mainly the descendants of the enslaved Africans, were living in utter poverty and degradation. Mary Chamberlain in her book, Empire and Nation-Building in the Caribbean: Barbados, 1937-1966, points out that “wages in Barbados were the lowest in the region, ….. Barbados was one of the poorest of the British West Indian colonies…… public health was ‘peculiarly deplorable’…and Infant and child mortality were at devastating levels”. Even the British government’s Moyne Commission reported that in 1937, Barbados had the highest infant mortality rate and the second lowest number of government doctors per 100, 000 of the population in Britain’s Caribbean colonies.

It was in order to address these deplorable social conditions that the then generation of Bajans developed the early trade unions and political parties. With the winning of universal suffrage in 1951, there emerged a historic compromise. The old plantocracy, both local and foreign, were guaranteed their continued control of the island’s economy, while the new black governments of the BLP and DLP carried out social reforms to raise the standard of living of the mass of Bajans. These reforms in the fields of education, health care, public transport, public health and social welfare, coupled with the economic benefits of emigration, had a significant impact on the standard of living of most working class Bajans. They were possible because they took place against a background in which the ‘social welfare state’ was the dominant form of management of global capitalism. This approach rejected the 19th century free market arrangements where only the capitalists were considered as having a legitimate claim on the society’s wealth and where for the workers it was ‘every turkey fuh he own craw’. Those who failed to make it in this cut throat approach would have to fall back on the charity of the rich or go over the cliff. The social welfare state rejected this concept and in its place declared the responsibility of the society towards its members ‘from the cradle to the grave.’

Today, the international context has changed significantly. Neo-liberalism has emerged now as the dominant means of organising global capitalism. Its main characteristic is restricting the claim of the working class on the wealth they produce so that more can be funnelled to the rich and super rich. It amounts to robbing the poor to pay the rich. Workers wage levels are frozen or cut under austerity programs, workers are sacked and left jobless, tax cuts are brought in for the rich, social welfare programs which benefit the mass of people are cut or abolished, public utilities are turned into money making opportunities for the rich through privatisation and government contracts to private firms become a new form of corporate welfare. The aim and net effect of these reforms are to erode the standard of living of the working people and, wherever they are applied, there is a deepening of social inequality, with its resultant social despair, frustration and crime.


The point that we need to recognise is that the old model of economic and social development that Barbados has experienced over the last 80 or so years is over. This is the nub of the issue. The neo-liberal economic model demands the step by step shredding of the social welfare arrangements to which the country has become accustomed. Despite the claims of the IMF, this is not a temporary arrangement to help the country get back on its feet, but is intended as a permanent setup in which the standard of living of ordinary Bajans is reduced. All over the world, working people are beginning to voice their opposition to this direction of travel. The question is when will Bajans join in.

Review of Fuel Prices In Barbados for 2018

Twas the evening before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for my computer mouse and the desire to analyze a data set! The spreadsheets were saved with care, in hope that someone would do the analysis for the year! (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore).

2018 Year In Review

On average, the price of gasoline was $3.64 BDS per litre ($3.09 in 2017).

On average, the price of diesel was $2.91 BDS per litre ($2.31 in 2017).

The average price increase for gasoline was 4 cents (3 cents in 2017).

The average price increase for diesel was 5 cents (4 cents in 2017).

Gasoline, on average, was 73 cents more expensive than diesel (78 cents in 2017).

The price of gasoline was at its lowest in February: $3.29 per litre ($2.78 in January 2017).

The price of diesel was at its lowest in January: $2.57 per litre ($2.13 in June 2017).

Gasoline was at its highest price in July: $3.96 (fuel tax implementation).

Diesel was at its highest price in July: $3.21 (fuel tax implementation).

Read full report posted to website on 24 December 2018 – 2018 Year In Review: Fuel Prices In Barbados

Once There is Hope There is a Future

There is the perspective about what are the defining characteristics of a human being compared to the other (non human). Some will retreat to the world of the esoteric, others draw from life experience laced with a commonsense perspective.

For over a decade the blogmaster supported by members of his household have been motivated by the importance of keeping HOPE alive in our personal life. It is a simple yet powerful philosophy to abide by  – without kindling that flame of hope there is no basis upon which we can hope to innovate and adapt to sustain an acceptable way of life, to realize our dreams.

The imperfection of man given the fallibility strand which helps to define us makes us vulnerable to being overwhelmed with the vicissitudes of life. This will give rise to hopelessness, frustration and a myriad of other susceptibilities. During moments when hope dims some members of the human species are able to fuel recovery from an indomitable spirit that resides in some of us. A flickering flame that always guards the darkness that surrounds us.

Some are critical of Winston Churchill for how he operated in a bygone era with good reason. However for some of us that rely on the power of oral and written communication to awaken the understanding in the audience it serves- his first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 supports a valid point.

This extract from Churchill’s speech resonated and served to sway public support for a war that had taken its toll on Britain from the marauding Germans during the second world war:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Barbados is facing one of its most challenging periods. It is an easy task to surrender to the emotions that control hopelessness and despair within us. The capacity to break free from self talk and old behaviours that have served us well up to now require a differential human capacity. The human experience supports a view that a minority element in the population is always charged with finding a way to keep hope alive in the wider group.

There is also the suggestion a human being must be made to believe in something to give purpose to his existence. Some in the BU family will make the predictable interpretation. For some life’s journey is fuelled by transactional thoughts, for others there is the overarching importance of injecting the philosophical to how we guide our lifes.

This is a figurative call to Arms to Barbadians everywhere.


Memories of Christmas

Submitted by Heather Cole

I do not have to close my eyes to remember Christmas Carols on the radio. However, I have a passion to hear live music being played by a band and next to the Black Fingers Band of my childhood years, my next favourite was the Royal Barbados Police Band. Christmas mornings in Queens Park would have been boring without them. To me they were the highlight, the icing on the Christmas cake.

Christmas in Barbados is an event. The preparations start sometimes before Independence Day which is on November 30th. December 1st started a mad scramble in Barbados because no matter what was to be done, it was to be done for Christmas.

Little as I was, like everyone else I had something to do in preparation for the big day. I help scrubbed the floors, we brought sand from the beach in little skillets which were as much as I could carry, and we would sprinkle it in the yard. We cleaned the furniture; wash all the porcelain dishes and glasses that we never used. They just had to be cleaned for Christmas.

Soda bottles or sweet drink bottles were washed and put in cases. We bought whole cases of these drinks, wine, ham and lots of fruits. Getting many presents were not really the big thing in my family, we were content to get that new outfit to go to Queens Park to be on parade just like everyone else.

So imagine waking up on Christmas morning and it is cold outside, the sand on the ground made it look like snow or sort of, and there is the fragrant smell of the lady-in-the night coming in from the bush by the front window and added to it all, the smell of baked ham and freshly baked bread, cake and pudding. The house is spotlessly clean, new curtains are hanging; everything looks polished and brand-new inside. Outside, the poinsettia is reigning in its glory, its red flowers putting everything else in the shade.

We woke up early to go to church, which started at 5 a.m. I can remember it used to be as if I had just closed my eyes and I would hear my mother calling me to get up. When we walked through the woods I was more asleep that awake in the crisp morning air. Sunrise would greet us in church and it was only when you got outside that you could really see what the other people were wearing. After church my cousins took us to catch the first bus to Bridgetown and from there, we walked to Queens Park.

Everyone went to the park to show off their new clothes on Christmas morning. It was the thing to do. Like everyone else, we would stroll up and down the pathways; seeing what everyone else was wearing. We bought glazed candied apples or fresh apples if we did not want the candied ones.

To top it all, was the music the band played. It set the atmosphere for that pleasant day. Rather in my mind, it was as though the music cast a spell. William Shakespeare wrote that “all the world is a stage, and all the men and women mere players: they have their exits and entrances…” he failed to mention an orchestra that directed the activities on the stage.

If he was alive in my early years and saw what I had seen through my eyes, I am sure that he would have agreed with me for I saw the orchestra Shakespeare did not see. The Royal Barbados Police Band seemed to me to be performing a symphony that heralded the part of each player that came onto the stage that was the park.

There was music for everybody. They played marches, carols, traditional songs and other popular songs. All throughout the performances of this great event, the music played. At curtain call when the music stopped, all the actors, dressed in their finest clothes bowed and disappeared.

All my Christmases were not filled with music and excitement. There is a time that stands out in my mind when my mother did not have enough to fill our lives with excitement. That year Christmas was bare of all the preparations and clearing the cobwebs in my mind, we must have wondered why she was not bringing home any packages; she did not bring home any port wine, no falernum, no ham or flour to bake sweat breads. She did not even talk about what we would wear on Christmas morning.

Through it all, I remained hopeful but by Christmas morning I was sad. That day all she prepared was a simple meal, it was all that she could afford. It was a good thing that my uncle came by as he usually did at Christmas to bring ham, sweet bread and drinks and it made us happy. However, the memory of those goodies was fleeting, lasting no longer than a snow-cone.

What I will forever remember apart from our bleak meal is the story my mother told us on that Christmas Day. It was a story that an old man had told her of the Christmas Day that he had nothing to offer to his family. Zander is what we called him, but I believe that his real name was Alexander Yarde. He was a small farmer who worked a quarter acre of land behind our house. The year in reference must have been a difficult one. I do not recall if my mother told us the circumstances but when Christmas Day arrived, Zander did not have one red cent to buy anything for his wife and family. All he had were canes in the field. He made a swing with rope and a piece of wood and hoisted it from a tree. They sucked their bellies full of sugar cane juice that day and took turns on the swing all day long. There was such laughter and happiness that it turned out to be one of the most memorable days that they had ever experienced as a family.

From that, I knew that our plight was not new; it was not desolation it was not the end of the world and like my mummy said there will be good times and bad times; ours just happened to be on that Christmas Day.

Joseph on the first Christmas Day had nothing to offer to his wife or his first-born son. If you are fortunate enough to have more than you need this Christmas, please share with those who have lost their jobs, with the single mothers and their children. Remember the shut ins, those with children far away, the homeless, the desolate, the lonely and those in need of care. Put a sparkle in a child’s eyes as my uncle did long ago when I thought that all was lost. Have a Merry Christmas!

A Heather Cole Column – Barbados: Politically Independent Country-Economically Dependent People

barbadosI may have finally understood the concept of independence in Barbados. It is of a country which gained political independence from Great Britain in 1966 but somehow the teetered yoke of dependence remains firmly affixed to the necks of its people. I hope the sociologists and political scientists from the UWI will weigh in on this one.

We have had a long history of dependence. It was shaped by the slave masters who created a dependence for food and shelter during slavery. It was enhanced by the British Government during the colonial era and for the past 52 years that dependence has been enshrined by the successive political administrations which ruled after 1966. So, for the past 52 years politics has shaped our economic dependence.

The Bizzy Williams, Cow Williams, Mark Maloney’s and the lot all depend on each political administration for lucrative contracts and sweet heart deals to become successful. They have benefited from dependence. The poor and the middle class depend on the government for a job which technically ends up as a trap as they deny themselves independence.

The dependence on government jobs is a trap for life but most see it as job that belongs to them until they retire. That job security has instilled the dependency syndrome. They have failed to understand that they are not economically independent.

The two-party system has also been to our detriment. We have developed a penchant for political promises and believe that everything should be provided by government and if is not provided by one administration, the other plays a game of bait and switch. We have allowed successive administrations to prevent us from becoming economically independent.

We have not pressed for a referendum to effect change in any area; we are leaving it up to government to make those changes if they want to; we have not agitated for inclusions to be part of the ballot. Our dependency has put our fate in the hands of each administration. Two good cases that we have at present to press for a referendum on are the decriminalization of marijuana and the creation of a new mortgage legislation. Changes in both areas will alter our economic dependence. However, we are waiting patiently, depending on government to makes these changes that we need in its own time frame.

The retrenchment by the present administration has touched a sore nerve, everyone expecting the worse, pondering what people will go home to do, wondering how they will pay their bills, referring to the fact that they have children to send to school, being over reactionary about last- in first- out scenarios, the union are on high alert and predicting even more job losses. It is as if the skies were falling but all we are hearing are echoes of dependency.

It is the same dependency that has led us to be thinkers and not doers, to make abject criticism of everyone who has a difference of opinion, to discourage new ways to doing old things. We display the apathy of being stuck in rut when we are intelligent enough to do better. We have become so dependent on government that it has taken what has occurred during the past 10 years for some of us to admit that government does not have all the right answers.

Ultimately the one question that must be asked is if the only persons to receive economic freedom on November 30th, 1966 was the political class. Our success or failure should not depend on the political actions of government; we must become economically independent by becoming involved in activities to make us economically independent. We must change our mindset to understand that if ever a national retrenchment occurs, it is viewed as an opportunity for a people to change the course of their history.


We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fifty two years in the life of a country is short. In the coming days as the 30 of November approaches there will be a commentary about the what we have achieved as a country and the prospects for the future.

For the first time in our history the current state of things on the social and economic fronts appears bleak with the outlook uncertain. As a proud Barbadian it hurts like hell to look up from the hole we- an educated people- have dug for ourselves.

For years we have peered down our nose at Jamaica, Guyana and others in the region given the developmental challenges. As 2018 closes Barbados finds itself close to the bottom of the pile by the majority of measures on the scorecard. It really does hurt like hell.

As a country we boast that people are our most important resource. We have invested billions of the national budget in education since 1966. Instead of following a predictable path – that of becoming increasingly politically polarized – Barbadians have the opportunity to test the value of the investment.

As we continue to thrash about for our economic survival there are signs the social fabric is deteriorating with the appearance of heightened criminal activity and an inability to implement policies to care for the environment to name two strands of the many required to weave a durable social landscape.

Clearly the economic and decision making models we are using lack the utility to sustain a way of life we continue to aspire.  Our lazy dependence on the fickle tourism and international business sectors and borrowing to support conspicuous consumption behaviour breaths life into BERT.

The concern of the blogmaster is the fact our people are locked into a belief that the austere policy initiatives being rolled out by BERT will stabilize the economy and serve as a springboard to usher in another era of milk and honey.  The belief is being stoked by a parasitic class that serves at the pleasure of the political class- political scientists,  yardfowls, media houses compromised by diminishing profits and a lazy academic and business class. The ability of Barbadians to unleash its full potential derived from the huge investment in education has been hijacked by educated Barbadians!

Where do we go from here?

Do we continue to tinker with the existing development model?

Do we have what it will take to introduce a new development model?

After six months of intently observing the roll out of the government’s policies there is growing cynicism by the blogmaster that as a people we lack the capacity to appreciate the perilous state of our affairs and what it will take for ALL stakeholders to contribute to the climb.

Is hope tangible or is it some nebulous pursuit like …



Let Us Make Barbados Great AGAIN!

Submitted by Andrew Simpson

keep barbados clean.pngBeing a regular reader of the Barbados Underground, it would appear that many of the troublesome issues presently faced by our society are related to declining moral values and what might be referred to as the “resourcefulness index aka currency peg’.

There are persons (patriotic citizens) with a zest for achieving widespread harmony and prosperity; among Barbadians, freely offering some great ideas, that if instituted / implemented have the capacity to effectively enfranchise large numbers of ordinary Barbadians.

The challenge is for those in positions of authority – to bridge the gap, using a totally transparent, possibly digital platform that effectively engages this third sector mechanism to develop and to widely share such opportunities. Serving to empower socio-environomic enterprise development – with consensus on incentives needed can effectively overcome the abundance of socialist dependence mentality perpetuated by successive ‘politicians’ in an effort to garner votes in the outdated / antiquated Westminster system of governance. New cooperation between owners of land, labour and capital, leveraging Kingdom Principles would help in the accomplishment of a much needed rebalancing exercise.

It would be a shame for the recently renewed hope, that has brought such enthusiastic participation of citizens in a potentially new ‘accountability’ model of governance, to be wasted due to an acknowledged incapacity of our team of parliamentary representatives (limited by available resources) to adequately manage the timely implementation of compelling solutions.

Greater numbers of persons must look first outwards, determining wholeheartedly to unify in a National vision that seeks a higher purpose. Embracing Christian discipleship, joining the REgeneration and a conscious effort toward Zero waste is paramount. Practically contributing, more tangibly toward sustainable growth (GNP) will build capacity to solve the global climate and human resource crisis of our time.

Evil Triumphing Because Good Men do Nothing

Olu Black & White

Olutoye Walrond

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice… that has made it possible for evil to triumph” – Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie

Evil is triumphing in our land today and the voices of those who know better are silent. The first picture reproduced in this post was not taken on a remote corner of the globe yet to be introduced to civilised standards of public behaviour. They were taken on an island with a long history of civilisation and a high level of literacy.

How did we get here? How did we get to the point where on a public stage young, scantily-clad girls are bending down on all fours like four-legged animals while young males gyrate behind them? How did we get to the place where it is OK for young males on a public stage to engage in X-rated dance movement?
How did we reach the point where we have to vet national Crop Over events on television for our young children if we want to save them from the corruption that has befallen our artistic culture?

Shouldn’t national artistic events be of such a standard and character that the entire family can enjoy them? How did we get there? We got here with the complicity of those responsible for promoting and overseeing national cultural events, and by the silence of those we expect to be the guardians of public decency and morality.

For these are times when anything goes in the name of culture, and when we’re all afraid to be labelled prudes and Victorians if we speak out against the disgusting behaviour of some of our artistes on the stage. Normally we would look to the Church as the watchdog against moral decadence, but even this institution now seems to have been cowered into silence, except when it comes to issues of sexual morality.

But as the bashment bandwagon rolls along, bells and whistles blaring, more sober minds cannot help but ponder on what will be its final destination. Will it, like the Gadarene swine rushing head-long into the sea, end up in perdition, or will decency, traditional values and sobriety withstand their most gruelling test to date? The signals do not offer me much cause for hope. The shrine of Bacchus in Barbados is well served by worshippers.
But as bacchanalia take over the national landscape, evidence is emerging that our advancement in social and economic terms could be in jeopardy.

The future of any society rest in the hands of its young people, especially so in an aging society like ours, for the human resource is an indispensable factor in economic and social advancement, all the more so in these difficult times. It’s a fact that was recognised by the (now deceased) visionary leader of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew many years ago. The economic power-house that is Singapore today is predicated not only on foreign direct investment, but on a highly trained workforce of young people.

Lee could not do that if he had a population of young people living from wuk up to wuk up, afflicted with the mental state of bunnies in perpetual heat. Today his country is one of the wealthiest in the world. In two years’ time they are expected to have 188 000 millionaires, in a population of 5.6 million.

So what can we report in Barbados – that our young people are equipped and ready to take on the world? Well, if we are to go by the findings of a government survey on the fitness of high school graduates for the work environment, the answer sadly is “no”. Conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership, the survey found that secondary school students show poor decision-making skills, poor innovative and creative skills and very poor conflict resolution skills.

Chief Research and Planning Officer in the Ministry of Labour Ricardo Norville said the findings meant that a significant number of secondary school students were not graduating with the generic skills needed to function in the workplace. We may add to that the report of a Senior Education Specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank, Dr Mariana Alfonso, on the Barbados education system, based on studies done between 1999 and 2012.

According to Dr. Alfonso, the research shows that many school leavers cannot even meet the basic requirement of four Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) passes for entry into the public service. In fact, she said only 6.1 per cent of the students in Barbados get the four passes in the first sitting of the exam. These unflattering facts fall on top of the shockingly low level of certification among secondary school leavers. The percentage leaving school without certification in a single subject stands at a staggering 80%.

We’re cultivating a culture among our young people that is indifferent to intellectual pursuit. The study of music, fine art, drama and other disciplines that stimulate and develop the intellect is fast becoming old fashioned, as the new rough, crude and vulgar bashment culture establishes its roots.

With the full blessing of officialdom and the slavish promotion of the electronic media, this base musical culture, with its degrading treatment of the female body and its mindless – often vulgar – lyrical content, is now in complete ascendancy. The purveyors may earn tens of thousands of dollars in prize money from various competitions; and their lewd offerings are regular fare on television.

Meanwhile young soloists, Pianists, Organists and Saxophonists who devote years to studying music and who play a far more valuable role in the nourishment of our souls, especially at concerts and ceremonies like funerals and weddings and religious gatherings, are almost completely ignored.

It is my view that Barbados has produced one of the most beautiful soprano voices – I make bold to say – anywhere in the Caribbean. Amanda Fields, a student of Doris Provencal, has thrilled audiences wherever she has sung in Barbados and elsewhere. But where are the competitions, the organized events at which her talent can be exposed and rewarded?
How many Barbadians have seen her on television or heard her angelic voice on radio? Very few.

The British historian, Edward Gibbon, author of the literary work, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, identified the root cause for the fall as the loss of “civic virtue and individual morality”. If Gibbon is right, then, as I said in my book, Westminster’s Jewel – The Barbados Story, we have (definitely) crossed the Rubicon and the bottomless pit is now our only destination.

Barbados Improvements Part 2: Thoughts and Ideas

Submitted by Freedom Crier



Right Sizing Government

I have seen the PM speak at times and her desire is to get the government working again quickly and effectively for Barbados as any government should, from the roads/sewerage to the business of government like planning/development/courts etc. her practicality is heartening and welcome, her energy shown is greatly needed I hope it is infectious to her other ministers. 

1 Reduce the size of Government: Stop Hiring, Let normal attrition do its work. This will reduce the government work force by 10 % a year minimum. Presently for every 4 people working we have 1 civil servant this should be more like 1 in 20. How can 4 persons pay the wages for 1 person and still pay to run the government. No wonder the people are crying out and the government finances are in shambles. Use the magic of the computer age to help with the endless Bureaucracies and cut the endless duplication and red tape. You may have to employ practical and computer people to give guidance on how best to implement this not just the bureaucratic computer consultants that government hire but practical persons with a track record of thinking outside the box. Sometimes the paper legacy Bureaucracies we have can be used to show what we need to accomplish and how to achieve it as the paper legacy is a vast accumulation of knowledge of what is sometimes needed or useful.

2 Look at duplicated functions in all ministries and Statutory Agencies and eliminate. Imagine that you do not have to pay licence for vehicles anymore but the same amount of people still works there and we all must still waste our time to get a disk every year this is a time waster and crap of government bureaucracies gone bonkers send it in the mail to the car owners if you think we need it the same way they mailed the renewal notice.

3 Privatise Public transport, close down CBC and have the cable providers do a common news channel with government oversight and input if desired. Only privatise the statutory corps that have revenue, only those will be attractive to the private sector. For EG: do not privatise the SSA as the population already pay their taxes so that their garbage is removed. The private sector will buy into the transport system even if it is the mini bus men forming an association/company to buy it. Presently the mini bus men run their buses with a conductor in a minivan and less than 15 people per trip and they make money yet the government can’t make money with 40 passengers and no conductor, losing money to the tune of I think of 70 million a year yet they do not want to sell. Who dreams up this stuff? Do not give me the bogus story that the privatise bus will not go the whole route so farther out travellers will not get to and from work. Any business have a cost of doing business and this one does also (go to the end of the route) even if it is not every bus but every other bus/or third bus goes to the end of the route the extra distance that they may have to travel going from the first turn around point to the end of line can be charged $1 extra. People that have cars pay extra for their gas in traveling their longer routes.

4 Contract out the road cleaning, grass cutting, gutter cleaning ETC. no longer have to pay 10 men to do the job of one person. The private man will use a weed whacker, the government workers will use a hoe and put the gutter dirt at the side of the road for a later pick up which does not happen and at the first rain the weeds and muck is back in the gutter. Use small contractors for this.

5 Pot-hole department works 5 days a week driving around filling the pot holes this is not expensive and you do not need 10 people on a truck to fill pot holes these same persons can give reports on the road conditions that they may find as to which roads may need recovering and a final inspection made by someone in authority. A simple phone app with proscribe fields to fill in ETC can do the reporting to the head office with pictures to show the condition. This report need not be more than a few lines. After the road is fixed the same information can be brought up on the phone and with additional pictures and saying the job is now complete.

6 Consolidate the amount of ministries not expand it. Barbados is too small. This should be the goal, I concede after hearing the PM speak that the PM may have an expanded amount of ministries but this must be only temporary if this passes 3 years the Bajan public will not look at this favourably.

7 The Government Drainage unit was absorbed they did good work, we no longer have the gullies flooded like the old days but more work needs to be done like the wells created in the gullies to contain the water and channel it underground, filling up the aquifers rather than letting it run off to the sea with flooding in low lying areas. Restart digging the wells in gullies program.

8 Sell all Government housing as is, to the renters do not rent anymore. Have a tribunal to make quick decisions if needed. Arrange with a mortgage lender to finance these homes and if the people default the lenders will have to deal with that. Now is the best time to divest, interest rates are low and favourable to the purchaser. If there is a problem with the law in detailing the extent of the property, amend the law to include this class of housing.


The coming changes at Town & Country Planning bodes well for Barbados, the wiliness to listen to other views shows that the Bureaucrats may be getting wisdom. (I hope) even a chicken picks here & there and at the end still gets a belly full so I hope they will listen to “We the people”  and implement what we need/want/require/etc. especially speed & less burdensome/costly regulations.

9 Instruct the Town Planner he has forgotten why he is there, it is to promote the development of Barbados quickly within the rules/regulations that the Town Planner & his team has to follow.

10 Have the town planner give revised guide lines as to what is allowed so that other private Planners/Architects/Engineers/Builders/Landscapers/Environmentalist can comply before submitting and this will speed up the process. The guide lines are just that Guide lines they may have circumstances that you are not able to completely comply with.

11 I love the idea of immediate approval for small houses the threshold should be those that do not need to have run off water storage tanks. Just a meeting with the planning department to see if all is right and the services are available.

12 Have a fast track approval for projects over >1 Million dollars or X square Feet. Approval or rejection within a hard and fast 3 months but quick access to planners at town planning so that the rejection is not abrupt. Changes, advise given or made during the 3 months to help lead to a successful application. We need the construction Industry to thrive. This department should be an enabler for the development of Barbados not an obstacle course that People/Business/Hotel Industry/Industry have to overcome. An example of crap by Town Planning it has never allowed a water slide into the ocean using sea water or a beach facility using sea water and we are surrounded by it and the tourist would love it. It is unique & no kind of sea water park/pool/recreation facility in a tourist destination? Sea Water is not a resource we will run out of, it sure beats using fresh/drinking water in Pools at every hotel and increasing water rates on the people.

Imagine a Waterslide like this Constrictor landing you into Crystal Clear Blue Water.

13 Conceptualisation desk at town planning for projects over $5 Million Bds with 2 top officials (persons that can make easier decisions) for early meetings to say if this is something we want or not. These meeting and the contacts made are important to the investor that his project is getting the respect and attention that it deserves, as this at this time is of utmost importance to the investor, and will give the investor confidence that what he is proposing will fly/or not fly, he just needs to fulfil the planning requirements leading to outline planning approval. At this point the booklet of revised guide lines can be given to the applicant or his project manager if they do not already have one.

14 Have one stop agencies for permission to open a business or build. EG: To open a restaurant one needs the permission from 6 Government agencies: (a) Town planning, (change of use, zoning etc.) (b)Traffic planning used to be called MTW. (c) Environmental Health. (d) Public health. (e) Police, liquor Licence (f) Fire service. All or any of these agencies can say no at any time even when you have finished the building and your money is spent. Also each planning arm of the various agencies should be in the same office to fast track

15 These extra costs in the aggregate can mean extra productive construction we now do not have. It is 22 years that the onsite storage of runoff water was made mandatory, from all of my experiences it does not work, it does not help, it is an unnecessary cost to any project and who is going to use brown literally brown water, do you want to see when you flush the toilet the water is brown? And when it is dry you cannot irrigate with it because there is none left, it is easier to use hardy plants and shade that can survive dry spells. Do your homework who uses the water, not Lanterns Mall not any hotel I know on the South Coast not even Sandals it is built and forgotten and marked as a cost of doing business in Barbados.

16 In Barbados we have had regulations that force professionals on to the public EG: anyone can do the paperwork to start a company but it cannot be registered unless a lawyer signs it. Please do not foster on us the requirement that you have to have an approved engineer/architect sign off on it. If the concern is structural integrity for earthquakes etc. in your building guideline say if the external walls must be 8” or 6” or have brick force steel or rebar’s etc. these can be and should also be shown on the drawings that are submitted for approval. I know that the registered architects and the registered professional class are itching for this as it will guarantee them work/$$ in which their input is minimal. Are they not going to try to implement a scale of fees like the lawyers?  All big Jobs will already have an architect and an engineer to make this a requirement will only effect the hundreds of good house builders who were in most cases trained on big job site and under the best of construction firms also some of these same individuals are engineers but are not now practicing so your requirements may force an builder/engineer to hire a registered approved engineer to sign off on something that he is already competent at, adding cost to the small house owner or job. The types of minimal accepted structural components necessary can easily be included in the planning guide booklet by a onetime hire of an engineer. EG: How to reinforce a wall.

National Insurance Scheme:

17 Revamp some of the NIS policies, the waste is great because of people taking advantage not looking for work until the end of 3 months living off of the freeness, or getting a job and saying to their employers do not take out NIS until I tell you when the 3 months are up.

18 When government borrows money from the NIS who pays it back? It is not the government, it is the people, and the Government must first get the money from the taxpayer again to repay the debt. This must stop. On paper the NIS says all is well we have Government IOU’s, the books are in good shape but the NIS do not have the cash to pay its operating expenditures the government has taken it all/most. And the tax payer is faced with paying the NIS money twice, once for the NIS and secondly to the government to repay their loans from the NIS. This is not right.

19 The NIS wants to raise the retirement age hoping that we die before we can collect any pension. Go to work at 18 years retire at 67 that means we work 50 years paying 20% (10.25%+11%) of our wages to get a small amount and say that is retirement pay till death at 75 years life expectancy. Who is able to work past 60 like we did when we were younger, imaging an agriculture worker after 60 having to work till 68 to collect pension they will go on disability and collect full pay then collect pension it is better to have a flexible lower retirement date (60-68) than force people to work longer and push them to game the system and collect full pay with disability until they retire at a later date like they do now with unemployment. How long will people take to learn to game the system. The actuaries no matter how brilliant they are they do not see what I have outlined above they are bright bureaucrats not business people they will always lengthen the time to retirement with their attractive graphs showing the propose growth of the NIS funds. This will lead to more gaming the system. Here again the slothful person reaps the sweets while the honest man will try his best to reach the date proscribe and who do we reward? Bureaucrats always miss the mark they always make the wrong decisions.


20 Institute merit based immigration whether you are poor or rich. A man might be poor but, may have a Skill (Carpentry). But also have Citizenship by Investment say over EG: $3 Million US. Barbados’ Structural Adjustments might be workable but too painful and I would like to make a Suggestion that Barbadian Citizenship should be granted by Investment of a Deposit not less than $3 million US Dollars (choose a number) in the Local Banking System to be used for Investment, Spending, Starting Businesses and setting up Holding Companies.  Just Attracting 100 of these High-Worth Individuals who may desire to have an additional Citizenship of another Country (Barbados) will net the foreign exchange position by $300 Million US Dollars. And that is only for a hundred people. If we can encourage these Wealthy Individuals to seek greater Participation in the Local Economy through the formation of partnerships with local Entrepreneurs bringing with them their skills in Finance, Big Management Know How that will raise the local Companies reach globally. Imagine if you opened up the Citizenship to a 1000 of these Rich Individuals that would give you an in-flow of $3 Billion US Dollars that could more than pay off the Barbados Debt with no IMF in Sight.

See previous BU article at this address:

The Brick & Mortar business are the ones under pressure because of all the regulations/taxes etc. but we have a wealth of talent in the electronic/digital field these individuals are horning their talents and skills but no capital as yet. Now is time to change course and make the individual important, a committee did not start Apple nor Microsoft nor any of the innovative companies in the world including BITT in Barbados. Barbados will boom with the right condition that you create with the freeing up of the individuals, regulation, taxes & size of Government,

It is said that when you give a man a hammer he sees nails everywhere. We have had lawyers for leaders and we get laws that bines men’s spirit, nothing that encourages, it always hinders that is the nature of a law, it never encourages. As the scriptures say “the law is an ass” Get some real business (Practical) men in the government or advisors not the ones who believe in crony capitalism where they use the monopoly status or concession to fleece People/Government via subsidies. All living at the expense of the tax payer with these special subsidised carve outs.

I will continue to pray for Barbados it is my Home and I want Live and to be Buried here, I want the best for us and pray God will bless us all to make the right choices.

See also:

Merit Based Immigration & Citizenship by Investment:

Barbados Improvements Part 1: Bridgetown

Still to come Barbados Improvements Part 3: Agriculture

Still to come Barbados Improvements Part 4: Looking to the Future


Draft Proposal for a PEOPLES PARTNERSHIP to help strengthen Barbados in its IMF negotiations and to pave the way for a New Economy

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement

In the months and years immediately ahead of us, our country — Barbados — will be facing the dual but inter-related tasks of dealing with the IMF and revamping our model of national development.

As is to be expected, our newly elected Government will take the lead on these two crucial national tasks, but it is critical that we — the people of Barbados — do not simply sit back and leave it all up to our Government !

Indeed, we need to mobilize and organize ourselves to develop, advocate for, and commence the implementation of initiatives that demonstrate that a properly mobilized and energized Barbados is capable of solving its economic problems without the imposition on it of negative, anti-people , inhumane austerity measures.

We need to create a national Network whose mission would be to demonstrate that we — the Barbadian people — are capable of undertaking the primary responsibility for developing our own nation, and of creating a new economy that is much more locally owned and people-based and controlled.

Indeed, the mere mobilization of a credible effort to embark upon this type of mission will send a very powerful message to the IMF and will immeasurably strengthen our Government in its negotiations with that international financial institution. And most importantly — it will provide our Government with an objective basis for believing that whether we receive the foreign financial assistance we are requesting or not, that our country and its people possess the fortitude, commitment, and talent to work our way through the crisis that we currently face.

Yes, Barbados already has a “Social Partnership” comprising the top leadership of Government, Private Sector Business, and the Trade Unions, but what we are proposing is a more “grassroots” type Network that is much more people-based, and that is unapologetically based on the notion of a molilized and empowered citizenry rising to the task of sensibly sorting out our national problems and undertaking primary responsibility for taking the country forward.

We are therefore envisaging a “People’s Partnership” comprising trade unions and their members, farmers, fisherfolk, wayside and market vendors, students, youth organizations, cultural workers, artistes, academics, manufacturers, environmentalists, sports clubs and associations, credit unions, cooperatives, churches that practice the Social Gospel and the preferential option for the poor,small businesses, community-based organizations, craft-people, women’s organizations, parent-teacher associations, old scholar associations, relevant professional organizations such as the Association of Social Workers, service clubs, teachers, and medical practitioners.

We further envisage such a “People’s Partnership” developing, advocating, and –where possible — commencing upon the implementation of such initiatives as :-

  • a “Buy and Support Local” campaign;
  • a national energy conservation effort;
  • an organized national effort to transition to solar energy;
  • a national food production and consumption programme;
  • an effort to bring idle lands into agricultural production;
  • a national programme of philanthropic contributing to critical institutions such as the QEH;
  • a national effort to revamp the Public Service and Statutory Corporations;
  • a national campaign to strengthen our trade unions and our people’s support for our trade unions;
  • a national Employee Share Ownership Programme (ESOP);
  • the construction of a Cooperative or People’s sector of the economy;
  • new national commitment to support small and community-based businesses;
  • a national effort to establish a foreign exchange earning Education industry;
  • a collaborative effort to construct our own Cultural or Arts-based industries;
  • a community-based anti-littering and environment protection effort;
  • a national community-based governance programme;
  • a programme to invest representatives of the community-based governance system with the authority to oversee or “police” government agencies that provide critical services to the public;
  • a public education and consciousness-raising effort aimed at eradicating corruption and wastage in the public sphere;
  • new initiatives in Tourism development that are based on the participation, heritage and culture of our people;
  • new initiatives in Sports, Cultural, Health and Heritage Tourism based on popular participation and ownership;
  • new initiatives in developing Manufacturing industry based on a cooperative approach and on elevated standards of education and training of our people;
  • a new and enhanced engagement with our Barbadian / Caribbean diaspora;
  • new initiatives in life-style enhancement and disease prevention;
  • a public educational effort to promote responsible and sustainable individual and organizational practices;
  • development of a comprehensive national consciousness about the need to conserve foreign exchange or reserve it for essential imports;
  • new anti-crime and anti- social deviance efforts;
  • new school support efforts;
  • a comprehensive effort to revamp our national philosophy of education in order to produce an ever-increasing cohort of young intellectually prepared and trained nation builders rooted in a deep understanding of and commitment to their country;
  • new outreach and relationship-building initiatives directed at our CARICOM and wider Caribbean brothers and sisters;

and the list goes on.

It is against this background that we would now like to invite you and other representatives of your organization to a Discussion Meeting on ________ the __ day of June 2018 at the Clement Payne Cultural Centre, Crumpton Street, Bridgetown, commencing at ____ AM / PM.

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss this proposal for a “People’s Partnership” network; to determine to what extent your organization may wish to participate or undertake a leading role in this new initiative; and to generally map out a strategy for taking the initiative forward.

Please respond and give us your feedback to this Proposal at

Analyzing Barbados’ Predicament and Looking to the Future

Submitted by David Comissiong
THE  FIRST  QUESTION we must confront is this :-   if an economic crisis exists in Barbados, as it undoubtedly does, who and what is responsible for it ?
Let us start with the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) governmental administration! After the DLP came to power in 2008, the international economic recession caused the opening up of a 500 Million dollar deficit in Government’s finances. And to their everlasting shame, the DLP Administration sat idly by for nine long years and did nothing of substance to correct the fiscal imbalance.
Indeed, rather than take meaningful steps to correct the fiscal imbalance, they initially pretended that it was no big deal and would automatically correct itself in the near future. And when this facile pie-in-the-sky approach to governance came to nothing, they commenced upon the irresponsible and unsustainable practice of borrowing money from the National Insurance Scheme to pay  monthly salaries. They also blissfully and irresponsibly indulged  in reckless spending that further exacerbated  the situation!
Furthermore, not only did they permit the fiscal rot to gradually worsen year after year, but they also failed to devise any new ideas or measures for promoting growth and diversification in our economy.
Indeed, Stuart and company spent ten long lazy years telling the Barbadian people that our nation is a small and helpless nation and that there is nothing of consequence that we could do about our predicament of economic malaise other than to wait for improvements in the international economy ! And while they were feeding our people this diet of “learned helplessness” so many other countries (many of them with less resources than Barbados) were positively forging ahead. 
You see, having failed to take effective measures to restore the soundness of Government’s finances, they ended up saddling our country with a thoroughly dysfunctional and crisis-ridden governmental administration that was in no position to take up the critical Mission of leading a national effort to extricate our country from recession and to restore the economy to an upward trajectory. 
Almost alone among the CARICOM countries Barbados continued to suffer economic decline year after year, and to have its international credit rating down graded time and time again 
The sad truth is that Messers Stuart and company exhibited little or no energy, imagination, intelligence, initiative or leadership in tackling the festering fiscal and economic cancer, and thereby became the chief authors and manufacturers of the current, extremely dangerous foreign exchange, debt and economic crisis that our country is facing.
Truly, the combined David Thompson / Freundel Stuart Administration has been a “know nothing, do nothing– except fatten themselves” Administration!
Yet, in spite of the fact that they are the one who bear fundamental responsibility for the sad state that Barbados is currently in, their shameful attitude is not only to greedily reinstate their 10 per cent increase in salary, but to also callously settle upon the scapegoating and savaging of public servants and statutory corporation employees as “their” solution to the crisis.
As far as these political miscreants are concerned, they need their 10 per cent salary restoration in order to live, but it is okay to throw thousands of low level public servants on the dump-heap of unemployment without a concern as to how they and their dependents are to survive.
But the truly critical point I would like all Barbadians to appreciate is that when the DLP political directorate tells you that the way forward is to divest and privatize state enterprises, abandon social welfare programmes, and retrench public sector workers, it is in effect informing you that it is ABANDONING  any aspiration that the future of our country will be based upon the educated and trained masses of our people owning and controlling the major institutions of our nation.
And if the future of the nation and its economy is not to be based upon the empowerment of the masses of people, then the plan must be to base it upon a continued and enhanced empowerment of the traditional white Barbadian economic elite and the predominantly North American, European and French Creole (Trinidadian) “foreign investor” entities that they are wont to align themselves with.
But none of this should come as a surprise to any of us! We already possess stark and painful evidence of the shameful way in which the current Governmental Administration has prostrated itself before the likes of Mark Maloney, Bjorn Bjerkham, Bizzy Williams and the Da Silvas, and has conferred a series of outrageously privileged governmental contracts on these and other members of the traditional business class.
There is no doubt that Barbados is in a state of serious economic ctisis, but the way to solve that crisis is NOT to treat trade unions as “the enemy” or to savage public sector workers and their jobs. Nor is it to dismantle the critical educational, health and social welfare mechanisms that are required to produce a mass of trained and empowered citizens who are capable of appropriating and undertaking responsibility for the development of their nation.
The way forward for Barbados CANNOT be to go backward to an era in which ownership and control of our nation’s economy was firmly and squarely in the hands of a traditional white oligarchy !
On the contrary, we must continue to hold on to the notion that the economic and social development of Barbados has to be based on the foundation of a highly educated, cultured, healthy, employed and empowered mass population.
The economic situation that faces Barbados is severe but it is not insoluble. The first order of business is to re-establish the soundness of the finances and credit of our Government, and this can be achieved, but only if the public sector trade unions are treated with respect by the Government and are permitted to use their extensive and intimate knowledge of the Public Service to craft appropriate strategies. Nobody knows better than the public servants  and their  trade unions where the waste, duplication and inefficiency resides in the system . They are therefore much better equipped to craft sensible and humane strategies of change and improvement than clueless Government Ministers!
We all need to remember that when the “Movement” for the upliftment of the Barbadian masses started in earnest in the 1940’s, it was a “Labour Movement”, with the political party (the Barbados Labour Party) and trade union (the Barbados Workers Union) working together, hand in hand. The spirit of this Movement needs to be revived, but this can only happen if the trade unions are given the respect that they are entitled to.
The other major item on the national agenda has to be the devising of economic strategies to grow and develop the economy. And here again, this is not beyond us! But first of all we need to jettison the self-negating idea that either the traditional white Barbadian businessman or the so-called foreign investor is required to be our saviour. (There is a place and a role for the traditional elite Barbadian businessman and the foreign investor but it CANNOT be a place and a role of primacy!).
Secondly, we must commit ourselves to the notion that we — the tens of thousands of Bajans –will assume the primary responsibility for establishing and developing productive enterprises in our own country, and that we will do so on the basis of elevated standards of education and training for our people in general and our youth in particular.
In other words, our nation’s economic development must arise from our people’s human development, and vice versa. These two spheres of development must therefore be symbiotic and must mutually propel each other. And none of this will be possible if we demolish the “human development” of tens of thousands of our citizens by throwing thousands of public sector workers into unemployment, or if we dismantle or disable the critical human development programmes and structures that public servants man.
Indeed, the Clement Payne Movement and its sister organization, the Peoples Empowerment Party, long ago outlined the parameters of such a developmental strategy :- the development of the Education sector as a foreign exchange earning industry; the construction of a Manufacturing industry comprised of a  cooperative, centralized domestic sector and a high technology export sector; Cultural, heritage, health and sports tourism; cultural or Arts-based industries; the development of a cooperative or people’s sector of the economy; a public / private sector partnership in the development and commercialization of unique, indigenous national assets; and the list goes on.
The ideas are numerous and powerful, but their validity and potency will only become clear if one is philosophically committed to the construction of a truly democratic and egalitarian Barbados that is owned by the masses of the Barbadian people.
This was the original vision and mission of the Labour Movement. And this must be the vision and mission that we fight for when we line up behind the new , presumably Barbados Labour Party, government and our trade unions in the  months and years ahead.

Buy, Steal, or Disappear?

Submitted by George Brathwaite (Ph.D)

“A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation.” James Freeman Clarke.

The announcement of May 24th, 2018 as the date for the next general election in Barbados has come as a relief for most. The May date signals a ‘mayday’ call and it has churned out possibilities and probabilities for those likely to govern the country in the aftermath of economic failures and societal decline. High taxation and high crime rates have added immense suffering to the lives of Barbadians; this fact is given the numerous episodes over the lost (last) decade. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) through its political leader and other surrogates are suggesting that the party will be returned to the seat of governance with a bigger majority.

Noteworthy, there remain doubts about the DLP’s full slate of candidates with Dr Dennis Lowe sidelined for health reasons while the nation’s health is in a compromised position with garbage build-up negatively impacting upon communities across the island. There is speculation that Dr. David Estwick, after having repeatedly labelled the DLP’s economic policy framework as a dismal failure but voted for such, may jump over board at the last minute. Dr Estwick’s decision is also said to be tied to the persistent overflowing of sewage on Barbados’ south coast which reached crisis proportions since 2017 and continues to the present moment. The shock effect of Estwick withdrawing at the last minute brings back memories.

Quite frankly, the DLP seems adrift in terms of its readiness to contest the elections despite Donville Inniss, another critic of the DLP’s ‘silent’ leader. Inniss insists that the DLP’s machinery attracted problems for itself because of poorly communicated expressions that would amount to a prosperous Barbados. It appears laughable that PM Stuart would say “a date has been set, and the battle has now begun in earnest” when in fact, there is a glaring absence of energy from the DLP’s candidates and political machinery. The clouds are hovering over the DLP in what has been described by some, to be an election that forever will determine future governance in Barbados.

The political climate after the announcement prompted one of the most foreboding statements in the immediate days following PM Freundel Stuart’s forced call. George Payne of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is mulling over the incredulous approach of the ruling DLP. Payne noted that the DLP campaign team, planners, candidates, and blind-supporters will “have to buy the election,” or that “they plan to steal it or they plan to disappear.” This statement is relevant in the context of the popular discourse and it mirrors much of the uneasiness and distrust that has developed throughout the DLP’s years in office.

The electorate’s ignorance on corruption is the power holding together the DLP. Nonetheless, the DLP’s credibility has sunk to an unenviable low against the several pieces of real evidence pointing to what was once described by Mia Mottley and the BLP as a politics of stealth. The politics of stealth revealed secret deals and signings, significant concessions to business entities such as Sandals which only became known by leaks. There was the CLICO debacle, the peculiar relationship with a local business magnate, the Cahill fiasco, the sales of the Barbados Hilton and the Blue Horizon hotels which all left speculation of infelicities, malfeasance, and corrupt practices on the streets of Barbados.

In addition to the problems presenting real issues of trust for the Barbadian electorate when it comes to the DLP and its candidates, the many veiled attempts to shut up citizens complaining of the austere measures and practices of deception by the DLP have given new zeal to those believing their rights have been trampled. Ordinary citizens are mindful that a Speaker of the House refused to recuse himself in circumstances wherein the said Speaker was accused by an elderly member of the population of misappropriating the man’s funds and then failing to immediately comply with a court judgment.

Moreover, with the arbitrary attempts followed by legal challenges to deny Commonwealth citizens from registering to vote, represented another indication of a callous and mischievous DLP. The paltry performances of the DLP over the last 10 years coupled with the desperate rhetoric to serve yet another term, prods the citizenry to become suspicious of the DLP’s tactics. Prime Minister Stuart on numerous occasions has refused to show the empathy that any other leader would show when the plight of the poor has worsened, the burdens on workers and their unions have become unsustainable, and the neglect in the provision of services has been abominable.

Under the leadership of Mia Mottley who has grown in the position of Leader of the Opposition and in her attempt to pull all aboard for a better and prosperous Barbados, the BLP is nascent. The annual BLP picnic on National Heroes Day, the biggest since inception, suggests that it can only be by wickedness in high places should the DLP mount more than a handful of seats. The BLP’s vitality is for safeguarding today’s people and the generation of Barbados to come. On the weekend, Mottley asserted that: “I want to do right by the people of this country, but we can only do it if we join forces to bring the best Barbados possible.” Undoubtedly, the BLP-inspired hope is an emerging light capturing the attention of vast numbers of the electorate.

Anything short of the BLP attaining a commanding and overwhelming victory, suggests that the ballot box would have met with undue interference of some sort by those in positions to act selfishly and undermine the very institutions that Barbados has been prided – free and fair elections under the People’s Representation Act. The DLP objectively has situated itself in history as the worst-performing administration in the annals of Barbados. So, will the DLP attempt to buy or steal an election victory, or will that botched party do as most Barbadians now hope, and disappear?

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email:

A Discussion to ADD Value Required

The country is about to become locked in what the BU household anticipates will be the mother of all general election campaigns. If platform issues were to centre on the economy, social justice, health, nurturing a winning culture anchored to improving national productivity- what a wonderful dream!

This blog space is to be used by the BU family et al to list deep concerns and suggestions directed to the political class. We all live on the little rock and are obviously vested in its success.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Whose Call is it, Anyway?

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

One aspect of current popular discussion in Barbados focuses on the moral and political legitimacy of the Prime Minister’s stated intention to have his administration go down to the figurative wire with reference to its tenure in that role. By this, I am given to understand that he proposes to extend the life of his government for as long as may be constitutionally permissible. Some, anxiously anticipating a change of administration, have sought to assert that this would be a clear breach of convention, although there is a patent absence of clarity in identifying the precise convention that he is alleged to be infringing thereby.

To be sure, a convention is built on a long accepted practice, but it is difficult to deduce any inveterate practice with respect to the calling of a general election in Barbados other than that these are usually called when the Prime Minister of the day decides that the time is optimal for his party’s chances thereat.

It appears to be popularly assumed that the date of a general election is always exclusively within the purview of the Prime Minister’s discretion. However, it is submitted that a close reading of the Constitutional text might arguably suggest otherwise.

According to section 61(3) of the supreme law:

Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved.

This provision clearly recognizes that Parliament may be dissolved before its otherwise automatic demise.

Ordinarily, the Prime Minister advising or instructing the Governor General to dissolve Parliament would effect this prior dissolution. This scenario is the subject of section 61(2):

The Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may at any time by proclamation dissolve Parliament …

It is also usual, though perhaps not conventional in the strict sense, for the Prime Minister on such an occasion further to instruct the Governor General to issue writs for a general election. However, there is no provision that expressly requires him to do so. Pertinent in this regard is section 62(1) that reads as follows-

After every dissolution of Parliament, the Governor-General shall issue writs for a general election of members of the House of Assembly returnable within ninety days from the dissolution.

A plain reading of this subsection and its juxtaposition to the previous subsection would suggest at first blush that, on a dissolution of Parliament, the Governor General has an absolute discretion as to the issuance and returnability of the writs for the elections in the thirty constituencies.

However, the Constitution also provides at section 32(1) that ordinarily the Governor General “shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet in the exercise of his functions other than in certain specified instances including those where he or she is directed to exercise any function “on or in accordance with the recommendations or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet”; and in respect of “any function which is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by him in his discretion”.

In addition, the next subsection [32 (2)] immediately and expressly excludes certain functions from the application of section 32(1):

Subsection (1) shall not apply to the functions conferred upon the Governor-General by the following provisions of this Constitution, that is to say-

(a)section 66(2) (which requires the Governor-General to revoke the appointment of the Prime Minister in certain circumstances);

(b) the proviso to section 61(2)which requires the Governor General to dissolve Parliament in certain circumstances);and

(c) section 84(4) (which requires the Governor-General to remove a Judge from office in certain circumstances).

In none of these specified cases, therefore, nor in those that are more generally stated in section 32 (1), would the Governor General be obliged to act in accordance with the advice of a member of the Cabinet as subsection (1) mandates.

The questions therefore beg asking, did the framers of the Constitution intend that a Prime Minister should be the sole authority in respect of the timing of elections in all circumstances of dissolution? Or does that exclusivity apply only in a case where Parliament has been dissolved by Prime Ministerial fiat? And does that imply therefore that if the House automatically dissolves itself through the effluxion of time, as in the current case, that the Governor General then assumes sole discretion as to the election date?

Of course, the answers to these questions turn on the construction of the various Constitutional provisions. Patently, the function under current consideration in section 62 (1) is not among those expressly excluded from the purview of section 32 (1) by section 32 (2), so that if one seeks to argue that the Governor General is to have any discretion at all in the matter, this must be premised on the more general exclusions in section 32 (1) itself. These are first, “where he is directed to exercise any function on or in accordance with the recommendations or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet”, and, second, “any function that is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by him in his discretion”.

Plainly, the first category is not relevant here, but the second does demand our further inquiry. While it is easily discernible that any function clearly expressed to be exercisable by the Governor General in his or her discretion would be covered by this provision, it also purports to include beyond this any other form of expression of that intention [“in whatever terms”].

The issue then arises; is a provision cast in the following terms “After every dissolution of Parliament, the Governor-General shall issue writs for a general election of members of the House of Assembly returnable within ninety days from the dissolution” correctly to be regarded as a form of expression in whatever terms that confers a function exercisable by the Governor General in his or her discretion? If it may be so regarded, then the deduction is that the Governor General has the discretion as to the date of the general election once Parliament stands dissolved by effluxion of time, though perhaps not where this has been effected by prime ministerial fiat. The distinction is indeed a nice one.

It is conceded that this interpretation has never been observed or even suggested in our fifty plus years of written constitutional governance. Nor is it likely to find favour with any political operatives now. For one, it flies in the face of the assumed convention of unlimited prime ministerial discretion in most matters, thereby disrupting accepted practice; for another, it has not yet been to my best knowledge the subject matter of any judicial determination and is thus likely to be treated as mere academic opinion and, third, it is likely to result at the current time in partisan division, based not on the validity of an alternative construction of the Constitutional text but on precisely that; partisan consideration.

Our regrettable lack of clarity in this matter is to be contrasted with the drafting precision of the provision in section 69 (1) of the Trinidad & Tobago 1976 Republican Constitution –“A general election of members of the House of Representatives shall be held at such time within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint.” [Added emphasis].

Barbados Elections | Insights and Analysis

Submitted by

Barbadians will be going to the polls in 2018 with one media outlet suggesting that elections will be called in May. Curious about past election results – for Barbados – I searched around and found the Caribbean Elections website. This site features a treasure trove of election related data for Barbados as well as several other Caribbean countries.

The table I created (see below) consists of high-level Barbados election data sourced from Caribbean Elections (C.E.) between 1951 and 2013. Non-Voter data was not provided by C.E., so I calculated it based on available data:

Read full text HERE

Another Heather Cole Column – Destruction of the Barbados Brand

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,
and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22 Vs 1

From way back in the 17th Century when sugar was king, Barbados was a brand. It made the best sugar and the best rum. Even the first President of the USA visited in 1751. In the 1960’s with the filming of Island in the Sun, the brand Barbados was romanticized. It became the most desirable honeymoon spot and was regarded as a place of beauty that prompted many to insert on their list of places to visit. Nowadays, it is known as an exclusive tourist destination for jet set travellers especially from the UK including none other than Simon Cowell. The Merrymen have immortalized the name of our island in song, “Beautiful, beautiful Barbados, gem of Caribbean Sea...” The mixture of all of these; the historical, romanticism, beauty have created an allure to make the island a well-defined brand.

The island also benefited from a reputation of having a stable democratic government. It became a leader in the regional economic grouping CARICOM. Long before Rihanna became a sensation Barbados was a brand having established a good name and reputation for itself abroad. Now this all seems to have changed as the island has gone from being the brightest jewel in the English Crown to a struggling economy with mis-management at its epitome in the last 10 years .

The Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and all of his Ministers are to be squarely blamed for the economic situation that has adversely affected growth on the island. Chris Sinckler, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Donville Inniss, the Minister of Industry and International Business and Stephen Lashley the Minister of Sports and Culture have to date committed serious acts of infringement on the International credibility of Barbados. In addition, on the domestic scene many are now questioning the lack of judgement shown by the Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, the Minister of Health John Boyce and the Minister of the Environment Dennis Lowe which has resulted in serious harm to the tourism product.

Of late the Minister of Finance has also devalued the sale price associated with the brand. Mr. Sinckler has operated for the last 9 years as the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. Management of the economy during his tenure has not been progressive for the local economy which was burdened with no less than 35 new taxes in this period. Mismanagement and his bad economic policies plunged the island into a home-made recession. Unable to meet any of his fiscal deficits targets, he resorted to continuous borrowing of funds on the international market. Ultimately the economic outlook for the island became one of negative growth amidst high taxation and borrowing. International credit rating agencies started to reduce the credit rating of the island making it more expensive to obtain international loans. Sinckler has been responsible for no less than 21 down-grades in the country’s credit ratings. He has made it difficult for the country to get low interest bearing loans. He has damaged the good name of Barbados. In the defense of Sinckler the Prime Minister provided a false narrative that was not based on any economic principles but that was appealing to the emotions of Barbadians. He said the rating agencies could not devalue Barbadians.

On December 3, 2017, the Nation newspaper reported that the Stephen Lashley Ministry of Sports and Culture had applied for a grant $100,000.00 of this approximately $94,000.00 was to pay contractors. UNESCO denied the application. Being denied a grant is not uncommon however, the newspaper noted that a terse response was sent to the Freundel Stuart Administration ” that it will not get one cent of the financing it applied for.’ If one reads between the lines, the Minister applied for a grant to pay for the services of contractors to prepare a report from which nothing was to be implemented. There being no checks and balances in local government for accessing cash; the Minister appeared to have tested the International waters to fraudulently obtain a grant without supporting evidence that a need was to be implemented. However, the UN agency sniffed a rat from the distance and said “no way jose,” His actions leads one to question how he could have been awarded a national honour, and why the Prime Minister did not break his silence on the matter or if he would be willing to invite the media to be present when he raises this issue with Mr. Lashley. Without a doubt, Mr. Lashley’s action of attempted fraud has hereby put any application from this island to the UN under the microscope and the possibility of Barbados not receiving any grants from the UNESCO in the near future. The UN may be of the opinion that all applications are fraudulent. He has damaged the good name of Barbados.

On December 6th, 2017, About 2 weeks ago it was also publicized that Barbados has been placed on the blacklist of countries conducting international business by the European Union (EU). The Minister of Industry and International Business, Donville Inniss said in a conference that he was shocked by the news that this had occurred. However, it was not the first time that the country was black listed under his watch. It previously occurred in 2015. Shame on him. He had two years to ensure that the requisite legislation had been put in place and enforced. The fact that it has happened again speaks to his incompetence to address the issues facing the Ministry for which he has responsibility. He too is responsible for the destruction of the Barbados Brand.

In addition to the above, the tourism product has been put at risk as a result of leaking sewage on the South Coast. The first response by the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Health was to pull a publicity stunt of jumping in the sea instead of adequately addressing the problem. Recently, there was a description about the sewage on the South Coast on Expedia, accessible to anyone seeking information about Barbados. The judgement and failure on the part of both the Minister of Tourism and Health to adequately correct this problem in a timely matter has had a negative effect on the Barbados brand- enough to threaten the existence of the tourism product.

With the secrecy that surrounds the sale of the Hilton Hotel, one wonders on whose advice and on whose judgement, was the action taken to devalue this piece of real estate that has become synonymous with the Barbados brand. Nike will never devalue its shoes; or Roberto Cavalli devalue the prices of his dresses. One can go on and on regarding the major brands. Therefore, why should the price of the Hilton Hotel be sold way under value when there are even some houses on the West Coast of Barbados that are worth $80 Million? None of the fore mentioned brands are as old as the Barbados Brand and they would certainly not consider selling off a part of their image that was known for performing well for the proverbial “mess of pottage.” It would only be considered self- destruction. To date the Prime Minister has not said a word about the sale of the Hilton Hotel.

It must be noted that the Ministers of Government of the present Administration have not only entered the realm of corruption but they have graduated without consequences to their previous deeds and have now become so brazen that they can test the international bodies as in the case of Stephen Lashley and sell a hotel without following the established rules as in the case of Chris Sinckler, the Minister of Finance. These are the types of Ministers that the Prime Minister has raised. Without admonishing or firing them when they erred instead he has stood in their defense as in the criminal case with the Speaker of the House; trivialized the impact of their actions as he did with the information of the island’s 20th downgrade or; said nothing. He is simply not a leader.

With the fore-mentioned, it is clear that based on their actions that this brazen set of politicians will do anything to win the next general election. All the signs are there and the people have allowed them to perfect their craft. However, like a sick patient taking a combination of pills that will have life threatening effects on the body so too is the current status of Barbados. The cash strapped government is in a serious bind causing it to undertake the selling of the Hilton Hotel. There is a stench of desperation approaching that the island’s economy is on the verge of collapsing and the action of the Ministers are accelerating the collapse. One wonders if the Prime Minister really understands what is at stake?



Elton ‘Elombe’ Mottley

As we celebrated our 50th Anniversary, the question came to my mind about where will we be in the next 50 years? Even tho I ask myself this question, I am not expecting that my imagination can provide you with concrete images of what that culture will be. I don’t intend to even try, but what I would like to do is offer you a framework of ideas to consider.

Barbados is an island of 166 square miles sitting in the middle of a sea with our nearest neighbour 100 miles away. We are not on the beaten path. Any one coming to Barbados has to have a purpose. Can we create a purpose or several purposes to make it worth the while for people from wherever to step off that beaten path and fly or sail to Barbados? When they do, how can we persuade them to pay us for that privilege? What do we as Bajans have that has the power to make Barbados such a desirable destination?

Let us look at what we have that we think are unique:

  • Our beaches. Not at all unique. Everybody got beaches. But if they come our beaches are a bonus not a reason.
  • Our weather. Not unique either. Everybody got weather. But if they come our weather is a bonus not a reason.
  • Our environment. Not unique either. Everybody got environment, some with rivers, trees, pristine agricultural lands, golf courses. But if they come our pristine environment is a bonus not a reason.
  • Our people. Not unique either. Everybody got people. But if they come we must be the reason not a bonus.

What do we have that would create the reason and desire for visitors to step off the beaten track?

There was a time when cricket attracted the world because of the quality of our cricketers. In 1966, we had 10 players in the West Indies Test Team. We played cricket between houses, on raw ground, and on hillsides where the umpire had to tell the batsman that the bowler was coming up. The game has changed but have we changed? Partially. Franklyn Stevenson is showing one way it is done with his cricket school.

In order to survive as an independent country, we must sell the world

  • The pleasure of knowledge, health, caring, happiness and blissfulness by creating a desire for non Bajans to want to remain or go and come back again, and again. We will rent them that time to be with us. That rental is a combination of accommodation, food, transportation, entertainment and service. We must be the landlords.
  • Barbados as the center of education and health across the internet to the world – websites mastering social media as businesses to sell Barbados as the center of Education. ( e.g. Airbnb)

Barbados must develop the reputation across the Caribbean as having the best education and health systems in the Caribbean. If it isn’t so, let us make it so. Our goal is to market Barbados as BARBADOSThe CENTER for EDUCATION in the Americas.




Our goal should be to have 10-15 Universities based in Barbados by 2025. A major part of this number should be Medical, Law, and Religious Universities.


  • When the new hospital is built, it will continue to have a relationship with UWI – Cave Hill.
  • The Old (60 year) Queen Elizabeth Hospital should be leased to one of the Medical Schools to be refurbished and used as a teaching hospital and school.
  • The Old General Hospital on Jemmott’s Lane should also be leased to another Medical School.
  • St Joseph Hospital in St Peter should also be leased to another Medical School.
  • The Psychiatric Hospital (Jenkins, Black Rock) occupies 25 acres and can also be leased to a Medical School. Modern Psychiatric centres should be established for psychiatric patients across the island. Alternately, this facility because of its location could be used as the location for the new National General Hospital with enough space to expand the UWI Medical School (Including nursing). UWI would most likely to get accreditation, a very important status for Caribbean Medical Schools – technicians, veterinary medicine, pharmaceutics, medical sciences, etc.


  • Codrington College (600+ acres) should be developed into the Barbados International Spiritual University. It has already expanded as a University of Christian Thought by training members of other Christian churches.
  • Inviting the Chinese to establish and build a Confucius Institute to teach Chinese religions and philosophical thought and language.(Already being built at UWI- Cave Hill Campus.)
  • Inviting the Japanese/South Korea similarly establish a Buddhist, Zen, South Asian Religious College.
  • Inviting Saudis and Iranians to build Islamic Colleges.
  • Invite the International Jewish community to build a Centre for Jewish Studies especially recognizing the first Jewish Synagogue in the Americas in Bridgetown.
  • Inviting India to construct a Hindu College as well as other Indian religions.
  • Invite Nigeria and other African States to build an African Religions Centre to study African traditional religions and religious thought.



Extended training in the Fine Arts –

o Animation

o Art

o Design

o Music

o Dance

o Theatre

o Film Production

o Fashion

o Web design

o Critical analysis

· Accounting

· Management

· Project Management

· Other traditional areas


  • Extended training of Craftsmen in joinery and reproduction of Bajan furniture for export.
  • All students in wood-working stream would be required to individually or as teams reproduce a piece of traditional furniture, or sets in order to graduate.
  • Training of wide range of technical graduates in maintenance and construction.
  • Medical technologists and maintenance of highly sophisticated technologies.


  • Training is use of new technologies
  • Training how to use of proverbs to establish values


Barbados has had a number of private secondary schools for over 70 years viz.

The Barbados Academy, The Modern High School, The Federal High School, Mapp’s High School, St Winnifred’s High School, St Cyprian’s, (Green) Lynch’s Secondary, St Ursula’s Secondary, The Co-operative High School, Seventh Day Adventist High School, Callender’s High School, Metropolitan High School, Christ Church High School, and Codrington High School.

  • Barbados should encourage the use of many of the old plantation estates to establish private accredited high schools with or without boarding for local and foreign students to pursue the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
  • Provide access to foreign students thru accredited schools, especially South and Central American students to access our High Schools so as to be immersed in English while boarding at former South Coast hotels converted into hostels.


  • Education opportunities – coaching in sports, health farms, health spas and related rehabilitation services to develop talents of Bajans
  • Develop support services such as volunteers for the development of Sports in Primary, Secondary and National meetings.
  • UWI and its Institutes must conduct research aimed at encouraging new businesses that can be developed on the internet, in marketing of our music, artistic and cultural industries outlining the types of jobs and services required and existing Worldwide. This would include festivals that could hire our artistes to perform as professionals during the summer and fall. We need to capitalize on the Rhianna Effect.
  • Barbadians should also be encouraged to develop and practice the art of Sticklicking and Road Tennis.



  • To strengthen the moral authority and respect for people, Barbadian students should be taught proverbs as training tools from preschool to the end of their secondary schooling.
  • NIFCA – the platform for exposing our youth to the arts, should emphasize its developmental role by establishing competition first at all primary schools where other students, teachers, family and friends could see their children’s works.
  • The winners in each category will go to the Parish level where they compete again and the winners next to the National Level. This process would also allow parents and friends to once again follow the children’s work and successes at all levels.
  • The finals would consist of those winners from the Parish level.
  • Parents and teachers would be encouraged to be judges alongside National judges who in their deliberations would raise the knowledge base of the parents, friends and the community at large thru the discussions.
  • The establishment of a series of voluntary National Orchestras and choirs to perform in public regularly at the National Bandstands – The Hastings Rocks, The Bay Street Esplanade, Queen’s Park, George V Park, Speightstown Esplanade and other areas. The purpose is to re-develop a solid heritage of musicians to enhance the quality of life in Barbados. We did it all before with Church Choirs and Village Choirs.


One of the critical requirements for Bajans is the need to strengthen our own self-awareness and self-esteem of what and who is a Bajan. The Barbados Landship Movement is unique to Barbados and gives us the singular identity second to none. The survival of the Landship Movement must be part of our National Identity. Without it we have a face without a nose.

The only country that has a Landship Movement is Barbados. Landship for adults will die out because most of the communal conditions e.g. savings and burial benefits have been replaced by National Insurance and individual insurance. This unique Bajan indigenous institution should not be allowed to die. It must be recreated and reimaged as an organization in Primary Schools to inculcate several traditional values from the Original Landship plus. We had no qualms of introducing Boy Schools, Girl Guides, Church Lad Brigades, Mother Unions and Cadet Corps because it was mandated by the British Government. All of these organizations required discipline, cooperation, and development of leadership skills

The Landship Movement should be converted into a youth movement like the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides or cadets to maintain this unique aspect of Bajan Culture. These youth Landships would become crucibles of this traditional dance and its musical heritage. Competitions with each other in a series of categories will be organized annually.

The former Barbados National Bank, now Republic Bank, had developed a business program for students that can be incorporated into this Landship Movement. This program can be used to teach money management and savings culture.


Over the years, Bajans developed a series of carts to move goods and provide services to each other. When compared with Caribbean Islands, the Bajan carts are unique in their design and use. Some of these carts should be adapted and used to provide modern day services while maintaining and projecting our unique heritage. These carts can be decorated and painted to capture individuality of the vendor.

  • Donkey Cart taxis to move visitors from Cruise Ships to Bridgetown and around Resort Areas like St Lawrence Gap, Holetown and Speightstown
  • Bread Carts can be converted to serve hot or cold foods at temporary roadside locations.
  • Rumshops recreated as restaurants serving indigenous food as cuisine with appropriate training available.
  • Snowball Carts selling Bajan ices with locally made fruit juices – Bajan Cherry, Bajan shaddock, Sugar apple, Golden Apple, Packaged Sucking Cane (made from earlier soft varieties), Sea Grape, Guava, Gooseberries, et al
  • Luncheon Carts for food
  • Coconut Carts



There is no doubt that furniture craftsmen/joiners of the past have produced a fantastic array of unique designs. Let us imbue that furniture with the prestige that it deserves`. The palaces/warehouses that some of this furniture is located are

  • Government House, St Michael
  • Ilaro Court, St Michael
  • The Barbados Museum, St Michael
  • Grantley Adams House –Tyrol Cot, Spooners Hill, St Michael
  • The Barbados National Trust Headquarters – Wildey Great House, St Michael
  • Keith Melville’s Sunbury Plantation House, St Phillip

There are many other collections across Barbados that can be used to earn income for the owners as well as for the country.

Training of persons to produce reproductions should follow the same path as training artistes for all types of endeavours – art, music, dance, writing, programing, etc. All Wood Working graduates should be required to reproduce a piece of this furniture in order to graduate. Do it once, do it again! On visits to these locations there are signs indicating cost of item plus shipping costs to rest of the world. Exactly what fine artists do. All art work would be signed and certified as authentic reproductions by a special Reproductions Standard Institute. Marketing will be thru Internet web sites using National ID Codes.

Why are there no tours of Government House? Or Ilaro Court?

  • Bajan Furniture galleries where signed reproductions are also marketed and sold with short histories.

· Chattel houses should be used for restaurants, boutiques especially in the growth areas of St Phillip, St John, St Peter and St Lucy.


Each area needs to be given prestige thru media and the internet coverage

Computing systems. Knowledge systems. Cognitive. Will still need people contact.


Chalky Mount Barbados should be designated as a National Brand as is given to Cropover. This brand should be accessible to all potters operating out of IDC Facilities Island wide. BIDC needs to change its focus to giving full support to developing local entrepreneurs in these areas.

ATTITUDES – Service and Servitude

Actions needed to strengthen our perception of self.

National Heroes

  • A popular edition of book on National Heroes to be sold for $5-10.
  • Comic book versions of National Heroes for primary schools.
  • Cartoon video stories about National heroes.

The Bajan Experience

  • Recreate Rumshops architecturally and spatially not just in the country but in the city extended to the street. Baxter’s Rd, Nelson St, Roebuck St, Palmetto St
  • Use of Donkey cart taxis to move tourists from harbour to the Inner Bridgetown Mall (Swan St, Broad Street, Trafalgar Square, Palmetto St.)
  • Street food using traditional bread carts to serve from
  • Chattel house as hotels etc.

The Rastafarians of Temple Yard

  • Rastas have been around for the last 40 years, manufacturing products, many inbreeding designs, use of hard leather limiting their market primarily to fellow Rastas.
  • Need to develop wider designs especially to reach the visitor and middle class market.
  • Need access to better quality leathers and other products like the high quality leathers made from the Barbados Black Belly sheep skins.

Barbados Black Belly Sheep

The Barbados Black Belly Sheep is a unique animal that evolved in Barbados over time. Studies have shown that the mutton obtained from the Black Belly Sheep produces high quality Triple B (Barbados Black Belly) lamb for both the local and visitors’ market. It also produces some of the finest leather from its skins.

To support the Black Belly development program, unused agricultural lands must be converted into grass pastures and/or growing miamossi plants, also known as river tamarind (Leucaena leucocephala).

This plant exists in Barbados and has a high protein content suitable for feeding ruminants when it is still green. It was introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Pine but has been allowed to grow wild to maturity scattering its seeds across neighbouring fields. Penalties must be implemented against land owners who allow their lands to become infested by those responsible for administering environmental standards.

This plant if managed correctly, will be an important feed ingredient for the Barbados Black Belly sheep. It is from these animals that we can produce –

  • Leather for leather workers (Consultant – Dr Leroy McClean) – bags, shoes, amulets, hair products, books marks, wrist bands, earrings, jackets, head bands,, etc
  • Food (Consultant – Rosemary Parkinson)
  • Reduce foreign exchange spent on importing animal feeds.

Industrial Development Corporation Services

The Industrial Development Corporation must be restructured to invest in the development of future Bajan entrepreneurs by bringing them together in one location at vastly reduced rent to allow them to feed off of each other. IDC is a landlord of buildings at the industrial Estate outside the Bridgetown Harbour. These buildings are deteriorating and are not being maintained. Certainly IDC could offer discounted rates to bring young entrepreneurs together to feed off of each other to supply services to the outside world.

  • Legal Drafting for countries, states and municipalities worldwide
  • Computer software development
  • Video and sound studios
  • Graphic artists
  • Heritage joiners
  • Clothing Designers and manufacturing
  • Animation

Bridgetown Port Duty Free Facilities

Access to duty free facilities at the port should be two-fold:

  • Wholesalers who sell to retailers.
  • Retailers who sell to visitors.

This will allow retailers to use traditional concepts of hawkers to sell products in various combinations. This tradition of bargaining and combining products allows them to determine their own profits but more importantly share in the spoils of the hospitality industry. These newly defined hawkers at the port will be costumed having acquired training at the Barbados Community College (BCC) and Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP).

Other Developments

  • Dr Carmichael – Restoration of Facades on Roebuck St, Swan St, Bay St etc
  • Paul Altman – Enhancement of Jewish Synagogue, oldest in the New World of the Americas.
  • Tyrol Cot Chattel House Village should be a functional village redesigned as a mini tenantry village with a bakery providing freshly baked traditional breads, rumshop, chickens, palings, bread carts, snowball carts, coconut carts, troubadours, et al.
  • Villagers should wear period costumes.

This is about US. This is about Jobs. This is about Pride. This is about Survival.

Baba Elombe Mottley
January 1, 2017.

We Need Heroes!

The following was written by Leslie Lett, a teacher and posted to Facebook – shared by Barbados Underground

We need Heroes! They are as essential to our Living as the air, water, food, shelter. Heroes establish and articulate our preferred moral worldview. And validate it.

Their Orientation, their Spirit, their Lives are to be presented as qualities to be emulated. They are our role models. They are to inspire us. And, I believe, most important of all, they are to PREPARE us. Their sufferings are to steel us for the reality that our own heroic impulses and behaviours will inevitably bring down upon us the same crosses and crucifixions that were their lots.

Because heroes always resist and defy the status quo entrenched by Power & Authority. That is the quintessence of the Hero.

And the response of this Power & Authority is always possessed of the singular intent of crushing such defiance and resistance. It’s an existential battle.

So even as Power & Authority huffs and puffs grandiloquently, reciting the carefully rehearsed syllables praising past heroes, the same Power & Authority would wish to downplay (if not distort!) this aspect of Defiance and Resistance. It becomes obvious that we love heroes – when they are dead and gone! More often than not, when they are very much alive and with us and asserting their heroic qualities, they are – by Power & Authority – maliciously mocked and viciously vilified as noisy troublemakers, running about making nuisances of themselves. Most of them have even been branded in their own life-time as “treacherous”, “unpatriotic”, “instigators of disruption and civil strife” and “enemies of the state/people”, “unreasonable” rabble-rousers, unconscionable mercenaries committing misconduct of a serious nature…irritants and recalcitrants who need their heads cracked and tails shooting.

These are the crowns of thorns inflicted on heroes. Thorns not Laurels.

But heroes CHOOSE to do no different IN SPITE OF all this.

They forward on with the firm and unshakable conviction that they struggle for a Just Cause so much bigger than their individual selves – a Public Good that transcends private concerns.

And that is the message our Heroes proclaim to each and every one of us.

It’s not just about you!!!

Take a strength, take a courage from the ones we revere as our Heroes.

I wish all my teaching colleagues a truly reflective National Heroes Day.

Revival, Revolution and Renaissance

Submitted by Heather Cole


On Saturday March 11, 2017 we witnessed what may perhaps be the largest political demonstration in Barbados. A sea of 13,000 to 15,000 people had cast off being passive and was actually marching in the street. Marching were the blacks, the whites, the browns, Christians and Muslims in protest of the current Freundel Stuart Administration.

It was truly a sign of the times and a signal of revival or awakening of the people of Barbados. The ultimate success of this march can only be measured if there is a revolution and a period of renaissance occurs in Barbados.

The Cahill scam was perceived to be the catalyst of change, so too were the previous marches of the BLP, the building of the Hyatt hotel, the Villages of Coverley, Hard Rock Cement Plant, garbage collection and the water woes; none of them were. It took bringing our island to its knees in the form of 19 economic downgrades to get the people to finally react.

As much as one can give credence to the founding fathers of our island both pre independence and independence, they also did us a disservice. They did not leave us a blueprint to follow of their expectations for 40, 50 or 60 years down the road when they were long gone.

Perhaps they were of the thought that politicians would be of the same persuasion as they were and that general elections would be enough to govern the people but that was never the case. We have no idea what their vision was but we have moved from corn beef and biscuit politics to the exchange of equipment and money as acknowledged in the 2013 elections.

Our founding fathers provided us with a mandate to elect but none to reject or recall those we trust to govern. The missing blueprints have led to the dumbing down of the Barbadian electorate. One wonders if there was not an orchestrated plan to remove civics from being taught in Barbadian schools. The blueprints should have stated that for perpetuity our children be taught civics and the Political History of Barbados. These would give them a sense of clarity in the thought process and the ability to make decisions that will not only be in their best interest but also the best interest of future generations. That blueprint would have provided them with the foresight and vision to deter them from selling their votes and providing them with the ability to select a suitable candidate and party.

Alas the founding fathers only bequeathed to us a Constitution or body of laws that control the people and do not empower them. Some of those laws are no longer relevant but yet remain on the statute books. The laws were created by the political class to exert and maintain power over the masses.

But one can sense that a revival is on. The ruling Administration is up in arms as they try to discredit the protest.

Revolution by Resistance

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has done the island its second greatest disservice. In the light of such dismal economic downgrades, he has persisted to tell the people that nothing is wrong, that we should not seek external economic validation. That can only be true if Barbados did not have any loans to repay on the international markets. Indeed the island is in grave danger of default, devaluation and destabilization. He has also kept the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central bank in his employ and has to date refused to call a general election.

Now that the people have been forced to come to their senses, the year 2017 must be the year for revolutionary change in Barbados. There is no turning back now and this must be our crossing of the river Rubicon. The ultimate goal of this Revolution is a general election sooner than later.

Here are some actions that can be taken by the people:

1. The formation of grassroots groups to protest the Governments’ actions/inactions.

2. Calling Members of Parliament to ask them to resign.

3. Creating and signing a petition to ask the Prime Minister to resign.

4. Post card and email campaigns to the Prime Minister and Ministers asking them to resign.

5. Creating and disseminating visual symbols of protest: Caps, T-shirts and flyers.

6. Calling out the Prime Minister and Ministers on their disingenuous statements.

7. Within the grassroots movement, the people must have social, economic and political discussions to determine what they want and need from political parties.

8. Lobby all parties for changes to the Constitution so that it will include the implementation of the Integrity Legislation, empowerment of the people to review the performance of members of Parliament as well as request their recall and ability to invoke a referendum if the need arises to nullify the results of a general election.

The right to protest and lobby are enshrined in the Constitution of Barbados. Who will take up this cause?


It is in the worst of times that the ideas, vision and solutions for the best of times are conceptualized. After a successful revival and revolution, there must be a period of renaissance to prevent another politically illiterate generation from existing on the island of Barbados.

Each of us must become a building block for the next generation. This is a call for self-examination and there must be a sense of urgency given to fact that we have finite resources on only 166 square miles. Years of continued political abuse will prevent us from passing on anything to the next generation. The situation must not arise where we have sold off all the family jewels and only have people left on this island that do not even have the ability to think.

Civics and the political history must be taught to our children. How can we place on them this momentous task of preserving what they have no knowledge of? How can we change the direction of history that has dogged us since the failed uprising of 1816 that turned us into a passive people?

A very important change to our political structure must be made. We must move away from the political patronage of a few dominant families with names like Maloney, Bjerkhamn, Williams , Tempro et al.

There is room in Barbados for foundations and grassroots movement to grow from the people to provide information. There are groups on Facebook and persons who conduct robust conversations that can answer this call. We must become thinkers, have new and different thoughts, be channels for inductive reasoning and ultimately disseminate ideas. We must become a bridge to the future in order to prevent the present and the past from reoccurring.

Political exploitation is our enemy and has led to great economic lost. A period of political renaissance can only empower the people to finally take control of their destiny and create products of our young people that will leave us fulfilled knowing that the future of the island will be in good hands when we depart this realm. This mandate should be from the people and not left to a political party. We should not let 30 people solely decide what will happen to 270,000 people. However those 270,000 people must be equipped with the skills as employers to choose the 30 or so people that will govern with the highest ethical standards.

The George Brathwaite Column – For Love of Country

Submitted by George C. Brathwaite (PhD) is a member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP)

I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados and to my flag,
To uphold and defend their honour,
And by my living to do credit
to my nation wherever I go.

Barbadians everywhere are disturbed about the social and economic challenges confronting this nation. Sadly, there are too many pressing issues that are being sidestepped or downplayed by the current administration. Doing so serves no good for a population that is daily feeling the anguish of turbulent economic performances which have been formulated and followed by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in government. The many downgrades, the numerous pronouncements that are laced with promises of better days ahead have become intolerable and no longer fanciful to the ears.

Furthermore, the callousness and arrogance of the Freundel Stuart Cabinet inspires little or no confidence, with hope of relief extended only by the constitutional arrangements of a law-abiding society. The people wait – but with pain for Prime Minister Stuart to exercise his legitimate right. The DLP parliamentarians and some of its waning supporters are preoccupied on those things which may be considered political expedient in an election year. Together, they have failed to bring Barbados from the brink of disaster. These are truly troubling times under an abhorrent DLP Government; the people are fed up!

Generally alarming, is the fact that partisan politics is inhibiting the political class from doing the right things. Democratic traditions are in contradiction with the need for good governance thereby, pushing many to assert that the country needs serious reforms including the right of political recall. Such calls have swelled over given that failure and crises have become embedded and characterise the executive arm of government. Barbados, by most objective measurements, appear to be a society and economy worst off today than a decade ago.

The DLP promised much in 2008 and realistically failed to deliver despite winning again in 2013. Not heeding sage advice, the DLP continued its policy options which have led Barbados into social and economic tailspin. Last week Moody’s with another downgrade indicated that: “Despite the government’s efforts to contain the fiscal deficit and alleviate pressures on foreign exchange reserves, the fiscal deficit remains large and credit risks have increased in Barbados. The debt burden has risen in recent years and will continue to do so for the next few. Domestic and external liquidity pressures on the sovereign have increased.” Moody’s concluded that “the likelihood of a credit event in the near-term as very high, given lack of fiscal adjustment and increasingly limited financing options.”

Despite the dismissive tones coming from the lips of PM Stuart, a high deficit persists coupled with the foreign reserves dropping to low and dangerous levels. Additionally, the local debt keeps climbing with a Bloomsberg Markets report insisting that: “The governor being fired would have rattled investors simply because it shows some kind of instability there at a policy-making level … [because] the governor had started to come out about how bad it really is” in Barbados. The same report added that “the 2-to-1 peg with the U.S. dollar is starting to show cracks, and an all-out balance of payments crisis is a possibility.” Surely, these statements were neither conceptualised or made by any of the political parties in Barbados. Yet, they repeat warnings that have come from economists, political scientists, and the business community in Barbados.

Hence, it is reprehensible that PM Stuart in wanting to dismiss critics and those calling a spade a spade, would insolently suggest that Barbadians are “being imbued with a sense of our own inferiority, or a sense of our own inadequacy.” Utter nonsense! Just imagine Barbados’ principal public servant contending that “rating agencies can only downgrade Barbados’ credit worthiness, its ability to borrow. They cannot downgrade Barbados itself.” Boy, was he ludicrous! Stuart simplistically added that “the most they can do is to say to us that if you want to go and borrow, because we’ve downgraded you, persons who might be inclined to lend you will make the money they want to lend you more expensive.” PM Stuart is surely disconnected from reality. The rating agencies influence the investors we seek out in a competitive global environment.

Contrary to Stuart, Barbados can look around and realise that we are not “on a much sounder footing” as compared with the economy that the DLP “inherited in January 2008.” The DLP Cabinet has lots to be ashamed about. Stuart, Sinckler, Inniss, Estwick, Lowe, Lashley, and the other so-called wild boys must be disgusted as thousands of Barbadians demonstrated on an overcast Saturday afternoon. Against calls to boycott the BLP-inspired ‘Step Up If Yuh Fed Up’, Barbadians took to the streets. A protest march and rally is one way of reclaiming people power against an administration that can no longer basks in the sunset of its remaining days in office.

Regardless of the outcome of the next general election in Barbados, it is absolute that new and inspiring national leadership is required. As such, Barbados requires a proactive Mottley and not a procrastinating Stuart or ill-prepared other. As a matter of honest reflection, it must be emphatically stated that the Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley, has consistently demonstrated the type of empathy, tenacity, accountability, and decisiveness that are necessary for leading a troubled nation.

Indeed, considering the battles and the tantrums thrown at her by past and present personalities existing within a male-dominated political culture, it is obvious that Mottley’s back is broad. On the streets across the nation, many accept that Mia Mottley has clenched the imagination and support of the people. Mottley continues to rub shoulders with thousands of ordinary people reeling from the many errors and shenanigans of the DLP. Mia Mottley has exposed several infelicities done or perpetuated by the ruling DLP including the CLICO affair, the stealth with Cahill, and in these last few days, the insidious petulance of Prime Minister Stuart.

With candid sobriety, Mia Mottley arguably has the intelligence, confidence, perseverance, and political capital that will ensure Barbados moves away from the bleak years it has been experiencing since 2008. Both her passion for national service and resoluteness in the face of hostility and trumped up charges, especially with the nefarious claims of fear-mongering by the reckless DLP spokespersons, illustrate that Mia Mottley is the best person to drive the vehicle of progress for the Barbados nation.

Alongside the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and its operatives, credit must be given to the many who are rekindling interest in the directions that the country must go. Of course, there are some less inclined to support either of the two major political parties. Yet, it is possible that daring men and women who present themselves to the electorate may want to serve not out of personal grandeur, but instead of national necessity. It is essentially good for democracy that persons are ready to utilise their skills on top of using their constitutional rights to see the back of a DLP administration that has performed miserably for the past nine years.

At the same time, the perception or likelihood of victimisation by the DLP will keep a few potential candidates from coming to the forefront, even as the dawn of an election approaches. The ‘new’ parties and candidates inclusive of so-called ‘independents’ have been thus far ambiguous at best, and at worse, calculatedly low-keyed. The public wants to see and hear alternatives from all those on deck. Perhaps such will minimise the discourse suggesting that party deviants are advancing a stage for personal vendetta and/or attack. Barbados can no longer tolerate the burden of a failed government. The nation cannot accept the DLP’s distortion of the realities. Soon enough, the Barbadian people will decide for love of country.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email:

The Moral Equivalence of Treason

Submitted by Pachamama

For some time, there has a been a protracted ‘disagreement’ between the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados (CBoB), Delisle Worrell and the Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler. It represents a deepening political-economy crisis.

In trying to flesh out this phenomenon, we will sometimes directly address the prime minister, himself, as we urge urgent action.

Worrell and Sinckler have been the two main principals in the management of the Barbados economy, for the last 7 to 8 years. During this time, we have had many failures. Failures that both, men and institutions, might arguably to adjudged as equally responsible.

Rumours, gossip, some reporting and fake news on this matter, currently ‘sub judice’, have served to further weaken the political culture. That culture, with all its in-built frailties, has already delivered us circumstances where the distribution of forces in Parliament are nearly even, notwithstanding minor leakages on one side.

Since the last general election, there has been a close-quarter tug-o-war between the main belligerents that was engendered by a ‘misinterpretation’ of the results. The DLP incumbent government believed that a nearly-tied election was a win instead of representative of a public demand for a national unity government.

At the same time, there was no evidence that the opposition BLP, under a MAM, would have been interested in that kind of political formation. Therein lies another weakness of the system. There must be ‘a winner takes all’ mentality. Not only for the elites of both parties but the rank and file on either side, the yard fowls. In Westminster, we have had many coalition governments but Barbados, being more British that the British, this can never be. Talk of such is sacrilege.

The prime minister is therefore hemmed-in. Largely by the political culture but also by his socialization as a man who has long exhibited a lack of courage. What kind of a prime minister, within the Westminster system, can show that he has neither bark nor bite?

So what we have is a badly failing economy, a weak government, an international political-economic order in ‘transition’ and a prime minister whose cowardice is getting the better of him.

We are surprised that in these circumstances Stuart would want to travel, ignoring what is a deep crisis at home. Leaving it to fix itself. For in these difficult times the country needs its two principal economic managers working together to prevent the beginning of a never-ending cycle of devaluations, or worse.

It needs a strong prime minister even more. Strong for the country’s sake! And if these two economic ‘experts’ cannot bury their hatchets, the interests of Barbados must immediately be shown to be paramount, above personality cultism, regardless to whom they maybe.

In addition, Stuart displays a false temerity, mere word play, to suggest, from New York, that he will not interfere in a matter, in terms of Barbados, this is akin to issues of war and peace. Can there be any other crisis facing a prime minister of Barbados, within these dire contexts, more severe in peace time? Facing a near economic collapse with political disorder to high heaven.

Does this prime minister not know that his failure to address this matter has implications for Barbados’ image in the international financial markets? Why would Stuart, by his refusal to act, outsource the prerogative of the office of the prime minister to the judges in Coleridge Street, given the notorious delays which can be expected? And are these damages to Barbados not incalculable? Where is the economy in that or the economic brains driving this national fiasco?

We have argued elsewhere that there needs to be an intervention, preferably by the prime minister. But in these unusual circumstances, the Governor General may consider it in the Queen’s interests to suggest a speedy resolution, since the prime lacks the will, courage.

Prime Minister, the announced demonstration/s by the BLP will only serve to deepen the crisis, increase the harm to our country, increase the level of instability, but it in your power to take such actions to at least partially repair the damage caused.

That resolution could include the firing of the minister of finance. The sending of the governor of the Central Banks on pre-retirement leave or its equivalent. The removal of the litigious matter seeking the attentions of the Courts. And the adequate compensation of warring parties for prompt compliance.

Prime minister, we are not unaware of the complex relationships with the governor and the minister of finance. We are not unaware of the role of Sinckler for future party leadership, even if your party loses the next election. We know that you are seeking to avoid a defeat, come next election. And that the perception of a rising economy is central thereto. However prime minister, hard decisions can no longer be avoided.

Look at the bright side, these are the times which try men souls, a writer said. For they present you with an opportunity to avoid your fate. They present you, circumstances to defy the odds, escape history and become the greatest prime minister the country would have known.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to shoot a ‘general’, or two, in a public place to restore order amongst the ranks. Prime minister that time has come. Should you continue to choose to fail in your solemn duty you will go down as the worst prime minister this country has had. At the same time, the price of your failure is the moral equivalent of treason.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Interesting Times

Jeff Cumberbatch - Columnist, Barbados Advocate

Jeff Cumberbatch

We are undeniably living in interesting times. On Friday, we witnessed the inauguration of the forty-fifth president of the United States, Mr Donald Trump, who was able to overcome some missteps that would ordinarily prove fatal to others in most election campaigns and to win the requisite number of votes in the Electoral College, although not those of the majority of citizens. It is doubly ironic that this system was established by the Founding Fathers, principally to ensure a numerical balance between the Northern and Southern States by including certain individuals, identified by race, as less than entire persons, a factoid that would later come to resonate with the Trump campaign’s motif of exclusion.

According to Akhil Reed Amar, a noted Constitutional Law Scholar at Yale University: “At the Philadelphia convention, the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president. But the savvy Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South: “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.” In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of the overall count”.

Also on Tuesday of this week, the much-anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Wales on Brexit is scheduled for delivery. There, their Lordships have to decide whether the decision of England to leave the European Union should be purely an executive decision by the Government of the day in accordance with established principles of treaty making and unmaking that accord that power exclusively to the Executive or whether, in agreement with the opinion of the lower court, the decision is primarily one to be made by Parliament, especially since any withdrawal might impact negatively on the applicability of European laws that have become part of the British legal system.

Of course, it is open to their Lordships to hold, without doing violence to accepted constitutional theory, that the decision to withdraw from a treaty still remains within the exclusive remit of the Executive and that the relevant laws are not thereby necessarily affected but remain alive subject to later Parliamentary adoption or repeal. The inescapable reality is that the people whom the members of Parliament notionally represent have already signaled their intention to leave Europe. How significant a role this will play in a decision that promises to be an intriguing mixture of realpolitik and constitutional theory remains to be seen.

Interest is not solely confined to the extra-jurisdictional. Here, at home, a story that is gaining significant printed press inches and talk show minutes is the decision of the governing administration to dispose of its interest in the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited [BNTCL] to the Sol Group. This has evoked cries of unfair competition or, rather, its likelihood from a competing bidder and retail competitor, Rubis Inc. The regulation of fair competition in the jurisdiction falls to the Fair Trading Commission, an institution that this writer currently has the honour to chair and is therefore precluded, in the interest of equity, from further public comment at this time.

Of equal interest locally, is the re-emergence, within recent days, of no fewer than two political groupings that have declared an interest in contesting the 2018 general elections. What has struck me as most eldritch about this development so far, is that the debate surrounding one group has been concentrated on the identities of its presumptive candidates, while, contrastingly, the other “third party” has chosen not to reveal its potential candidates at all, doubtless a risky strategy in a jurisdiction where general elections are pejoratively referred to as beauty contests in both the literal and metaphorical senses of that term.

It is to be noted too that no matter how many parties contest an election in Barbados any new grouping is referred to as a “third party”; a tacit and grudging acceptance of the predominance two party system that has witnessed the interchange of governance for at least the last sixty years between the Barbados Labour Party [BLP] and the Democratic Labour Party [DLP]. The time may be auspicious for a third party, given the cocktail of the success of the unorthodox Trump campaign, the surprising results of relatively recent referenda in a number of jurisdictions and the closeness of the electoral result in 2013 that might have indicate either a popular indecisiveness between the two principal parties or a populist disenchantment with both. Film at eleven!

Condolences to the family and close friends of Adrian “Boo” Husbands who entered secondary school a few years after me. “Boo”, as he was familiarly known, once expressed to me some years ago, an interest in studying law, though he also confessed at the time that he did not expect to live to a ripe old age. We were most recently in contact last year when he invited me to a reunion of some old boys that was being organized. I could not make it as I was scheduled to be abroad. I did not know then that that would have been the last time I would have enjoyed his dry wit and elfin sense of humour.

Rest in peace, “Boo”. You have marked well.

For the Claim of Solutions of a Third Political Party Part I

Submitted by nineofnine

solutions_barbadosSOLUTIONS BARBADOS seem intent to make a difference on the political landscape by offering what it deems a proposed draft of solutions (subject to improvement/revision) for the countries’ present economic and social challenges which by public outcry shows that present governance is found wanting in every Ministerial portfolio.

It is evident that the motive for such an endeavor is highly placed on management of the enormous Debt of which the country finds itself in. A staggering $13billion plus debt. With this in mind, a call/advertisement has been made for 30 employers (business men/women) to rally the cause as candidates for the next general election and so far 14 has answered that call yet (not known) until the formal announcement of election date or they of the own volition surrender their identities before such time.

Conflicts of interest.. businessmen as political leaders?
Will they separate themselves LEGALLY from their business interests as an act of transparency?

Fundamentally, ELECTIONS are of the people, chosen candidates BY the people and act in service FOR the people. A group of volunteered/SELECTED business men/women is a non starter. There is high probability for corruption. There are many facets of government and it is wise that verse persons suitable for respective portfolios be considered, chosen by constituents with power to recall by the constituency.

As I see it there is no transparency thus far in this undertaking, but an attempt by opportunists for power and control WITH AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE, somewhat like a Trojan horse.

In their “Policy Solutions“… must seek out/identify its foundational base, the intent of purpose and modus operandi for executing its agenda. In its opening paragraph, academics has been bashed for “RECENT ACADEMIC TRAINING” and lack of experience while adding insult to injury asks for restraint of comments of disagreement, terming them as lazy, yet wanting solutions. These opening remarks makes one reflect on recent comments made by the current Prime Minister.

First and foremost its foundational base seem to be the institutionalization of the ISO 9001 plan that concerns itself with streamlining management processes of “A PRODUCT” and an end result of “customer satisfaction”. The interpretation of the words PRODUCT and CUSTOMER must be defined. Is the “product” government and its systems/processes and the “customer” ISO 9001 strategists?

The General Requirements 4. QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (section 4.1) of ISO 9001 ALLOWS for an open door for the co-control of an “out-sourced process” (note 2) BY AN EXTERNAL PARTY. Under this guise, SHOULD THE GOVERNANCE OF BARBADOS BE LIKENED TO A PRODUCT? In a nutshell, its no different to yielding to the IMF et al.Please examine this very carefully and understand the implications.

As the current political environment tend to be bordering on collapse (whether true or not), with the economy, confidence and polls at an all time low, this predicament could merit the opportunity for opportunists to snatch power of Governance (however conceivable)…. to what end?

Lets dig deeper on Governments’ indecision.. (an attack on sound and exemplary political service). Current indecisions by government surrounds (mostly in part) to Capital works and high-end projects, withdrawing pensions of politicians is a poor excuse of punishment for lack of efficiency and productivity, Again current functioning is due mainly in part to the affiliation to INTERNATIONAL ABC INSTITUTIONS (AS SIGNATORIES) and as your foundational pillar is based on implementing the ISO 9001 then the result will find the country in a similar predicament … “Letters of intent to withdraw” is the remedy for governments lack of control and efficiency, adding to that is, if you are not functioning, you will be recalled, replaced or reshuffled.

It appears that when national issues surfaced, an attempt was made to address them, however conceived. Bear in mind that these proposed remedies/solutions will also apply to any successive government.

ACTION PLAN case points.
-Lack of civility in Parliament,…. a curtailment of exposure…absolute privilege vs secrecy. both require remedy.
-Civil servant apathy……………….. as in a recent CBB board appointment? All eligible voters have a right to affiliate to any political party of their choice, then how can there be any non- politicals unless the non-political is exempt of the laws of the land.
-Political victimization…………….. harsh and bordering dictatorship. a violation of Constitutional rights, to disallow a civil servant to join a political party of their choice is already deem a victimization It also has an effect on voter count at election time.
-Non-passionate nurses and teachers.. “educational grants for an alternative career” do not retain these persons in the profession. Strategy of ISO 9001 at work… simply address the concerns of these professionals, this is the solution.
-Statutory corporations………….. A permanent Secretary cannot counsel himself, CEO/Minister same role but switched while encumbering the PS with greater responsibility and POWER without the dictates/recommendations of a counselling body, he then can definitely determine CONTRACT all by himself.

Part 2 will address Improving the Regulatory System and more

Hold On Barbados – Help Is Still On The Way

An Update from Solutions Barbados.

Grenville Phillips II

Grenville Phillips II

Celebrating 50 years of our political independence was an important national event that the Government should have been allowed to manage, without being distracted by constant criticism.  Given the foreseen economic challenges this year, it was also important that Barbadians be allowed to enjoy the Christmas and New Year celebrations.  With these events now behind us, we all need to consider the future of Barbados.

Barbados has never been in so much debt.  The BLP has been responsible for accumulating approximately $8B and the DLP approximately $5B of our $13B national debt.  The international rating agencies continue to warn potential investors about our challenges to repay our debt.  If we continue to manage Barbados’ economy as we have in the past 40 years, then we will not own a country to pass on to the next generation of Barbadians.

The solutions to Barbados’ economic problems should be well known by both of our established political parties.  However, for the past 50 years they have both played this game of criticising the party in power for mismanaging the national economy, and then proceeding to mismanage it far worse when they attained power, leaving the criticising to the other party until their roles are reversed.

Since they have taken us so far beyond any responsible debt limit, to the point where we have no choice but to be badly taken advantage of by investors, then the next general election is crucial to the future of Barbados.

Solutions Barbados has already published workable solutions to the principal problems hindering Barbados’ development at  Regrettably, the games continue to be played while the problems are getting worse.  Therefore, we have assembled 14 employers who have never contested a general election, but who are willing to stand as candidates in the next general election in order to give Barbadians a competent alternative.  We are looking for 16 more candidates.

If you agree with our published solutions, have been a responsible employer at any time in your career (the type and size of business does not matter), and are willing to be a candidate in the next general election, then please contact us at

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Of Christmas Past

christmas“It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business. … Were you here, I would willingly confer with you as to the plan of our conduct; whether we should eve in our usual way, or, to avoid singularity, both take a better supper and throw off the toga”

Seneca, (4BC-AD 65) Roman philosopher.

We are frequently exhorted, mostly without further explanation, not to forget the true meaning of Christmas. Or, as it is so rhythmically put; “the reason for the season”. I suppose that this implies either that we are to remember that that this season is popularly deemed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ or that we should dare to be Christlike in our conduct at this time and thus to be more considerate of the poor, to show love to our neighbours and, generally, to be a good person. From casual observation, however, it would seem rather that the true reason(s) for the season may be the unbridled commerce in the unnecessary (in the legal sense of that term), gluttony and/or a reprise of Saturnalia with the gift-giving, the continual partying and the presence of the Christmas tree, to remind of the inevitable return of the Sun in Spring.

You must not think from this, dear reader, that I am by any means a Grinch and, ever mindful that the annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ may be more what man would wish for Him, than what He himself commanded; in stark contrast to the fundamentalist literalism in most other areas of earthly existence, I am as much given to the secular celebration as anyone else.

Some of my earliest memories of Christmas include the annual affirmation of my late mother, with the onset of the cooler nights (and days), that “Christmas [was] in the air”, although she was equally quick to remind us morbidly that, by that day, “many hot heads will be cool”.

Those memories also include the variety of smells associated with the season. The smell of new congoleum, of new curtains, of furniture polish. Incidentally, I might be dating myself a bit with the use of the word “congoleum, a word that does not find place if the Oxford English dictionary or even the Allsopp; one that seems to revolt the spellcheck on my desktop and, according to at least one website, is not a valid scrabble word! It was simply a form of floor covering that was a de rigueur purchase for Christmas to replace the previous year’s, which, by then, would be showing clear signs of wear and be most inapt for another twelvemonth use.

After those early smells of preparation would come, as the Day neared, the more aromatic scents of fermenting fruits for the cake, of the baking ham; of the cake mix before it was put into pans and into the oven; of freshly brewed ginger beer and of the “English” apples that seemed seasonal back then.

Toys, apart from the obligatory cap gun or book, did not form an obligatory part of our seasonal existence nor do I recall feeling deprived at not receiving a Snakes and Ladders or Monopoly game; there were always friends that did who were only too willing, of necessity, to share. In later years, the greater fun would come from visiting and being visited by friends, either those of our parents or of one’s own. If the former, my brother and I might be invited to try a taste of alcoholic beverages – I remember one of my father’s friends advising me that if I drank what was in his glass that I would have slept “until Tuesday morning”. That phrase has stayed with me to this day.

Another memorable aspect of my earlier Christmasses was singing and church attendance . This was not owed to any popular custom or even religiosity on my part or that of my parents; it was rather that at around nine years of age or so, I had been inducted into the St Leonard’s Church choir; membership of which inevitably meant also becoming a part of the loftily-titled Choir for the Animation of the Sick and Incapacitated, ably led by the church organist, Mr Harold Rock. This meant that I had to sing at Midnight Mass on the Christmas Eve; for at least one of the Christmas Day services; and on the Boxing Day holiday, the adjunct group would be off on a tour to spread Christmas cheer to the inmates of the island’s then almshouses (now District Hospitals) and Children’s Homes. I seem to recall that Mr Rock eventually received some sort of gong [MBE?] for his efforts, but his just deserts would certainly have come from the warm reception of the Choir by the shut-ins.

Christmas is quite different for me now. I have children of my own and I no longer sing in the choirs, even though the words of the popular traditional hymns and carols have remained with me to this day. For those readers who would have sung last night the opening words of the hymn, “Christians Awake, salute the happy morn”… I too have been there.

To all my readers, wherever you are, may you have a blessed and enjoyable Christmas Day and season.

Former BLP Government Blamed for Sewage Problem

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur (l) Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (r)

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur (l) Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (r)

The following was posted to Facebook by Minister Denis Kellman who acted as Minister of the Environment for a short period.

Denis Kellman

1 hr ·

As Minister Of the Environment I toured the plant and the swamp and what I was told about he plant and its capacity to function perfectly . I was told that a plant was built that was not suited for us and they have to dump . The most affected person is the lady by the corner by the swamp , who had problems from the inception. MIA AND HER GROUP must take blame for building an outdated plant and now blaming the DLP. We will clean up your mess again. Buses, sanitation trucks, windmill and Sewerage Plant all new to Barbados to old to the world

Sewage Alert!

The revelation in recent weeks that sewage (raw) is spewing into the sea on the South coast should be of concern to all Barbadians. Along with the health concern there is the potential to dent the …

Sewage Alert!

Sewage leaking into the sea on the South coast  Image credit: Barbados Today

Sewage leaking into the sea on the South coast of Barbados

The revelation in recent weeks that sewage (raw) is spewing into the sea on the South coast should be of concern to all Barbadians. Along with the health concern there is the potential to dent the good reputation of Barbados as an idyllic tourist destination.  The members of the BU household are fiercely patriotic and it pains us no end to observe how our infrastructure -built on the backs of our forefathers- is crumbling with a disastrous result.

Of even greater concern is the lack of transparency shown by the government so far. Barbados is a signatory to Rio Principle 10 adopted in 1992 as a part of the Rio Declaration. A relevant  extract from the agreement states:

Environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities [BU’s emphasis], and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.

Clearly the Barbados government is in breach!

For the Claim of INDEPENDENCE 1966

Submitted by nineofnine

barbados-primeministersA people stood in trance as one flag is lowered and another (THE NATIONAL SYMBOL) was raised while standing at attention, listening to the tones of a new anthem and visioning that their new self-governing nation will move to provide new opportunities, render freedoms, rise standards, facilitate the needy, and set a better future for our children and our children’s children.

Indeed. PILLARS of a new CONSTITUTION set, STATUES/ACTS/LAWS/REGULATION/CODES to dictate, Chambers to guide and direct. Political parties form and Constituencies select their representatives that move into a general election filling the seats of the Chambers. The Government is formed as implementer by CONSENSUS and REFERENDUM of that which will serve for the betterment of its people.

This is the MANDATE and so it is.

50 years later, How are we standing?

Media headlines are telling the tales, the peoples’ issues are many, the landscape deteriorating/abandoned.
Why is their silence in the air?

How did we get to a place:-

where taxes are burdensome dead weights while deficits remain.
where there is massive borrowing and no real tangible evidence is noticeable.
where exploiters of cheap labour are pedestaled while destroying the roll of Workers Unions.
where Privatization is the better option to Governance, making public outcries.
where tourism is exalted and Agriculture is debased.
where consumption leads to communicable diseases.
where health is threatened by garbage, lack of adequate water, insufficient/lack of sustainable medicines and paraphernalia.
where Pharmacies cry out for monies owed yet still providing their services.
where ghost structures stand tall while many seek housing.
how did we get to a place:-
where in 2016 minimum wage does not contribute to National Development while masses are being exploited of energy and unthinkable Labour Laws rule and regulations of employers under false and fictitious contractual “agreements”.
where the Judicial System 360s to white collar crime and Mr.Joe Broke spends time for a tin of Sardines.
where Commercial fraud and injury is openly displayed with no serious pursuit of perpetrators.
where the statue of the englishman remains pinacled while our Icons, Kings and Queens are poorly received.
where the commence chambers operates in stealth while redundancies fail to establish an expanded business sector.
where the MANDATE for policing by an ACT OF LAW still exists in a “PLANTOCRATIC” ideology
while members struggle with brothers and sisters and real crime prove evasive.
where the more I look the more I see.

WHY?…the explanation and remedy.

Uncontrolled by Governments, TIMELINES are changing. The Systems of the 3D matrix are quickly
collapsing and morphing into a new timeline of 5D Dynamics where ultimate benefit to humanity… prospers.
The plan…Humanity first, the environment second and the implementation of new technologies follow.
As a Nation subjected to this revolutionary/evolutionary Divine protocol, now is the time to
take stock of and release/abandon/remove that which does not work in the interest of the collective.
Reverse mind sets, repeal the failing and replace the workable, create and invent from necessity.

FOR HUMANITY, allow for the…

  1. Release of tied hands by “Letters of intent to withdraw” from Treaties, MOUs, Protocols and contracts.
  2. Abandonment of those Acts that speak to prejudices/exemptions of rule. ACTS, Laws etc, that are
    binding/restricting real development and progress. Abandon paper not people.
  3. Recall of representatives that are non-functioning by their Constituencies via an establish a protocol, with Government facilitating it by law. The Constituency’s’ determination supersedes that of Government.
  4. Disclosure, limitation and transparency of Political and Private financial contributions.
  5. Reversal of decisions made that adversely affects proven systems for achieving academic and other successes.
  6. Repeal Acts and Laws that are non-inclusive of any sector or establishment.
  7. Replace ancient landmarks.
  8. Create the environment to succeed, NOT LIMITED, NOT PARTIAL, NOT POLITICAL.
  9. Meaningful avenues for the provision to express visionary ideas and concepts.

Real Independence delivers. Collectively all prospers, it must be forefront of any manifesto as well as those
who sits in the chambers, anything less is non-functioning. I really have nothing to celebrate at this 50 for it seems that in a short time, all that we have proudly achieved has been compromised and contaminated by Deeds in Darkness that are now being exposed. Justice will be served.

ON REFLECTION, this confirms that the 3D matrix is in progress. What I do “celebrate” is the peoples’ fortitude in the present circumstances, the tenacity to demand better and calling a spade a spade. This new timeline and era will harness the expression of our real potential, that of SPIRIThuman, as it unfolds align with Truth, Light, Life and Love.

Where YOU Stand is Where YOU sit

Dr. George C. Brathwaite

Dr. George C. Brathwaite

One would hope that as Barbados closes in on its 50th year of Independence, this society takes serious stock of where it has come from, its current position, and where it intends to go. This article will boldly claim that Barbados is at a crossroads where it must urgently address the mounting issues that are perilous to obtaining a just society.

Barbados is today challenged to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth, lessen the existing institutional discrimination, increase the pathways to progress and those that lead away from poverty, and to do significantly more by way of delivering social justice to the many in our midst who are seemingly being marginalised daily.

The results of the recent presidential elections in the United States of America (USA) have left numerous lessons that Barbadians can draw on if it is to meticulously review its value system and practices with the intention of bringing about enhanced governance. Of course, very few persons in Barbados appeared to have supported Donald Trump for presidency. One can assume that many more persons reacted dismissively to his inflammatory rhetoric which not only blasted his rivals and the media, but pitched battle directly against the so-called establishment.

Trump’s main and often repeated campaign messages were laced with the toxicity of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and outright resentment against any resemblance of normalcy. Trump used the potency of populism to expose the worst of American way of life and hegemony. Indeed, he successfully managed to rekindle the undercurrents of right-wing conservatism in a style which could easily be mistaken as naked fascism. To leave the conversation at that point would be too simplistic and short-sighted.

The reality is that Donald Trump exposed deeply embedded fears and apathy with those at the periphery and centre respectively. He showed that the USA, although priding itself as a paragon of virtuous democracy, was realistically more exclusionary and may have long abandoned the tenets supporting equality and the rule of law.

The premise that the USA through unbridled capitalism was creating greater economic opportunity for its citizens, proved to be farcically untrue. Instead, it was neglecting the poor and underprivileged and equally socially constructing the ‘deplorables’ at a rate which could not be contained by maintaining the status quo. Trump revealed this façade that was being preached around the world in which the USA saw itself as the unilateral power exporting its version of triumphalism through liberal democratic governance.

The USA’s dishevelled underbelly, as pointed out by Trump when he highlighted the plight being experienced in the inner cities across the USA, clearly demonstrated that today’s insanity may be the last hope for those who no longer see greatness in the normal, but find comfort in the absurd and the apolitical.

Being strict guardians of our heritage and firm craftsmen and craftswomen of our collective fate, it would be a sad day if Barbados ever relinquishes the mandate that was set by our pioneers and nation-builders. National pride and industry must continue to have a central value effect on local society.

While there are some Barbadians – particularly the political elites in our midst – that would want to derail or even silence the popular discourse, it is imperative that the country sees that a badly faltering society is the outcome of a poorly managed and performing economy. Governance overall becomes perilously affected and dislocated, and is seen to work against those for whom it ought to bring benefit and safety – the citizens.

The current administration will welcome the celebratory mood at this juncture of 50 years Independence, and rightly so; but, the nation cannot mistake or forget the imposition of bad governance and economic austerity that was shoved on this country through the back door of political expediency. Accepting Amartya Sen’s determination that “the world in which we live is not only unjust, it is, arguably, extraordinarily unjust,” is to also accept that Barbados’ political class owes it to the population to start doing business through the front door of trust and transparency.

Trust in our democracy, is an exercise involving the sharing of information and removing the veil of secrecy from deals of procurement of goods and services from which the public purse must pay. To be transparent is to have the capacity of information and things being seen without distortion. For information or a process to be transparent, is for it to be open and available for examination and scrutiny. Barbadians are demanding this trust and transparency. The fact is, good governance is not a shield to displace accountability and transparency, but it is a means to develop trust between the governing and the governed.

In 2016, how can right thinking and serious politicians talk about representation in the House of Assembly, either as continuing members or as first-timers, but avoid putting to Barbadians modes of policies that would enhance the trust relationship? Can it be fair that as a country we have not sought and introduced a Freedom of Information Act and other mechanisms for ensuring accountability and transparency? How can Barbadians step into its 51st year as a maturing and sovereign nation, but is being held back by those in the legislature and specifically those forming the besieged executive? Living in an era when the dissemination of knowledge is privileged, is it a matter of political parties wanting to maintain the status quo?

Surely, there are too many thousands of Barbadians that are distraught from prolonged underemployment or outright unemployment. They have been suffering from the pangs of hunger and are observed to be discriminated against in many more ways than one. The recent promise of means-testing in areas of education and health for example, would only go to further imperil the livelihoods of those facing hard times in Barbados.

So, at 50 years, to express rising concerns on one or more issues of survival should not be condemned as complaining, as incumbent Cabinet Ministers have been prone to claim on several occasions. It is not in the interest of Barbadians that we experience the executive clamouring around the morality bush. This present administration has become tainted with cries that they are uncaring, stealthy (not necessarily equating to corruption) in their dealings, and mostly unresponsive to the citizens facing water and garbage collection crises among others.

Now there can be no curse on a flailing Prime Minister whose stewardship will one day be best remembered for political rhetoric instead of political will. Coming across as almost obsequious to the internal squalls within the Cabinet he leads, PM Stuart’s display has been one of failing to implement practical, creative, solutions to the problems challenging Barbados. Mr. Stuart has not adequately delivered.

The Leader of the Opposition, while seemingly better connected to the communication median with those that have been pushed into situations of pauperisation or are jobless and often are marginalised by the bad policies and discriminating system of governance, must be reminded that where you stand is where you sit. Many Barbadians need a strong voice in which political correctness is not the key to their future prosperity.

Populism has the tendency to mobilise those individuals and groups that have been neglected and pushed aside; it positions the ‘common sense’ of ‘common people’ against the corruption and abuse of the elite as stated by Anton Derks, Professor at the University of Brussels. Emerging in the popular discursive spaces of Barbados are voices screaming at the politicians for empathy, so that the suffering voiceless can be heard and given presence of mind.

The population is demanding that the popular will shows by implementation that civic and political leaders are listening. Barbadians on the eve of this 50th anniversary are requesting that the means for empowering those previously disenfranchised happen sooner rather than later. Any form of populism that emerges in the context of the next general election, and more broadly, in Barbados going forward must bring at its core an ethics of people-oriented development posited in the national interest.

(Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer in Political Science at the UWI-Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email:

Cause for Celebration

Today’s Barbados Advocate Editorial addresses feedback from some Barbadians that they will not be participating in the 50th Independence celebrations – Barbados Underground

50One of the incidents of the democratic system of governance is that decisions touching on matters of state are rarely unanimous. So it is quite unsurprising that more than a few Barbadians, for various reasons, have publicly declared their intentions not to participate in the national celebrations planned for the fiftieth anniversary of our Independence that will be attained on November 30. To these naysayers or “rabat-joies” as the French would have it, we say that we respect your decision and concede that it is your democratic right not to participate. We shall treat you nevertheless as fellow citizens, but we implore that you do nothing to hinder the celebrations of those who find the attainment of this milestone to be just cause for celebration.

This sentiment is not new. In Shakespeare’s history, King Henry V, the king is faced with some of his men who are unwilling to fight at the Battle of Agincourt. The king does not have them shot as he might have done, but rather allows them to leave the scene. He suggests subtly however that these abstainers will be henceforth unable to experience the pride of victory felt by the participants in future-

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart. His passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse.

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian.

He that outlives this day and comes safe home,

Will stand o’ tiptoe when the day is named

And rouse him at the name of Crispian

Most of the reasons for abstention publicly aired so far appear to be founded in the current state of affairs in the country. Permit us too, dear reader, to express our disgruntlement at the fact that not every citizen enjoys a frequent supply of potable water or water for sanitation purposes in his or her home and we were as alarmed as others at the unhygienic state of the country a few weeks ago before officialdom made a concerted effort to remove the unsightly piles of garbage and other household waste.

We are of the view, nonetheless, that the celebration of a milestone is not conditional upon the achievement of utopia as many of us would have accepted in the celebration of our popular milestone personal anniversaries.

At the risk of being accused of taking in the washing of others for our subsistence, we are compelled to comment on a column in another section of the press that has been drawn to our attention. There, the writer, in sarcastic tones, asserts that she would “dance in the streets if there was a freeze on taxes, especially with annoying names…” We would too, (indeed who wouldn’t?), but here we are referring to a nation that has managed to provide taxpayer-funded education (to tertiary level and beyond) and public health services for most of the fifty years of its sovereignty and yet we quibble about the appropriateness of the names of these civic contributions.

The greatest bone of contention in the entire affair seems to be the cost of the celebration. Officially, it is reputed to be seven million dollars, a paltry sum for a celebration of this nature, which equates to a mere $28 or less per Barbadian citizen. Of course, the dissenters contest the veracity of this figure, but even a trifling gift of $100 (less than the entrance fee for some all-inclusive parties during Crop-Over), by each citizen to the nation that we are so proud at convenient times to call our own would raise the princely sum of $25 million…at least!

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Package Holiday the Popular Choice

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has reported a resurgence of their members package holidays and according to them more than half (53 per cent) of British holidaymakers took a package holiday in the last year which represents an increase of 6 per cent on 2015 and a rise of more than 10 per cent on 2011.

The research was carried out just weeks after the collapse of the Lowcost Travel Group found that financial protection has grown significantly as a reason for booking a package holiday, almost doubling from 16 per cent in 2015 to 37 per cent this year. Quoting the report, ‘the increase was particularly pronounced among the 18-24 year olds’. But the most popular reason for choosing a package holiday this year is ‘having everything taken care of’ which was selected by 73 per cent of consumers asked, while last year’s top reason given was ‘best value option for price’ which has slipped to second place in 2016 at 59 per cent.

ABTA went on to state that ‘the growth in package holidays is being driven by the youngest and oldest age groups’ with almost two thirds (63 per cent) of people aged over 65 in Britain taking a package holiday this year compared to 47 per cent in 2015.

Following the failure of a number of tour operators it is perhaps not surprising that they went on to conclude ‘In a year of high profile international terrorist incidents, and change and uncertainties on the UK political stage, it appears people are seeking the support and protection offered by a package holiday’. As the value of Sterling continues to plummet against many currencies including the US$, are there any valuable lessons our marketing gurus can learn from these facts and observations?

In recent times, probably the most successful airline partnership that has been forged with Barbados is with JetBlue and I am sure there will be more new routes launched over the next year or so. Emirates the middle-eastern based airline recently announced a new nonstop daily service from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale starting 15 December this year. Emirates already have a code share arrangement with JetBlue and this will allow seamless connections through Fort Lauderdale to 26 US cities and 19 Caribbean territories on the same ticket. From their Dubai hub, Emirates offer a world of destination options across six continents and hopefully we can piggyback on this new service to help open up new source markets.

The other announcement that will almost certainly speed the launch of new services from Scandinavia to North America and hopefully the Caribbean is the stated intention of Norwegian Airlines to employ US based pilots initially at Fort Lauderdale. Up to 100 pilots will be employed and this I am sure will go a long way to breakdown the barrage of objections placed by American legacy carriers to limit competition across the Atlantic.

It is indisputable that lower air fares drive additional business and create new demand and you only have to look at one of those legacy airlines, Delta, and their most recent financial statements prove that, despite allowing for massive fuel hedge losses.

Life on the Animal Farm

animalfarmHere we go round the mulberry bush,

The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning.

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

In recent days members of the BU household was given reason to pause and reflect on the state of affairs of the country. It is a matter of fact that both the economic and social wellbeing of a 166 square mile island – renown for punching above its weight – has been relegated in the last eight years. They are those who will translate an obvious observation by ascribing labels like doom and gloomer, unpatriotic and the like. It explains why there is the term ‘pushing ones head in the sand’.

When BU started the Tales from the Courts series in 2012 to highlight the fact that our judiciary was failing to deliver justice, many on this blog and in the traditional media rubbished our view. It is now routine to read the editorials in the traditional media lamenting the state of the judiciary.

How about the public debate during the Arthur regime about corruption in high office. BU lead the revelations about 3S SRL, a company incorporated to construct flyovers along the ABC Highway. Although some will struggle to remember the name Danos, the BU archive serves to remind. Another transaction, all local, is the Hardwood affair. Today’s version of 3S SRL and Hardwood is Cahill Energy and the GROTTO.

One does not have to be prolix to understand events playing out in Barbados in 2016. Have a read of the enduring classic novel Animal Farm. For those who are challenged to comprehend the written word, repeat after David.

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning

The Auditor General reports year after year about the blatant abuse of government’s financial rules. Successive governments (BLP and DLP) have frustrated the mandate of the most important working committee of parliament, the Public Accounts Committee.  Why is this committee important? It is the check and balance embedded in our system of government to hold government and public officials accountable. Like the consternation generated post 11+ examination results, we have to suffer the same chatter when the Accountant General releases his annual report.

There is the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats“.

The price of oil has fallen significantly since 2008/9 when it pushed up to $150.00. All import configured economies, including Barbados, have obviously benefited from the stress on the foreign reserves.  The bounce in the global economy  – especially in our key source markets for tourism – has resulted in a significant number of tourists visiting the Caribbean. Despite these two favourable external conditions the fiscal condition of the Barbados economy remains in a perilously state. The fluff job staged by the Central Bank of Barbados on Thursday night merits no comment.

The 60% of Barbadians eligible to vote want to know when. Until then we wait until Napoleon takes over from Snowball.

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Learning From the Icelanders

icelandMy column which appeared three weeks ago, looking at increasing airlift to Barbados through Iceland, attracted many comments, some positive and others very negative!

A regular critic questioned, why on earth, would holidaymakers consider going to visit Iceland, or even use it as a transit or connection point. Well the figures seem to speak for themselves. Since the year 2000, Iceland has tripled their long stay visitor arrivals and in 2014 they welcomed 998,600 people from overseas. Not bad for a population of around 330,000. This included 180,503 from the UK, 152,104 from the USA, 85,915 from Germany and 58,293 from France. The average spend was ISK 158,914 or roughly US$1,339. My calculator does not have enough zeros to do this computation, but it would appear that tourists visiting Iceland generated more than US$1.34 billion in 2014.

What I found especially interesting is that the Iceland Tourist Board have anatomized spending in detail attributed to payment made by foreign credit or debit card and I wonder if we, as a destination, currently perform the same task. For Iceland 30.8 per cent is spent on accommodation and restaurants, 16.4 per cent on shopping, 15.9 per cent on passenger and related services, 16.8 per cent tourism relation services including sightseeing, 2.4 per cent on culture, entertainment and recreational activities, 6.0 per cent on other tourism-related aspects and 11.6 per cent on cash withdrawals.

Overnight stays of foreign visitors totalled 4.4 million in 2014 and what many might find surprising, the average stay was 6 nights in the winter and 10 nights in the summer.

While this is of course only a ‘snapshot’, because it presumably does not include people who book and pay for hotels and other tourism components through travel agents and tour operators in their home countries, it does however give a partial insight to how monies are distributed in the holiday location and I wonder if there are any lessons we can learn from this approach.

Many other comparisons and points of interest can be gleaned from their tourism statistics and I consider it compulsory reading for our policymakers and planners, as no single destination can boast having all the answers.

I will leave readers with one final conclusion though, that when visitors were asked why they chose Iceland, the overwhelming response was nature, with almost 80 per cent of those questioned giving this response.

The second biggest reason given was the people and their perceived hospitality.

The national flag carrier, Icelandair recently launched a programme called Buddies, where staff members including pilots and the Chief Executive Officer volunteer their time, free of charge, to in their words show Iceland ‘through the eyes of a local’ to stay-over visitors.

It’s an amazing concept and one I hope that the Barbados Tourism Product Authority will consider. For many years our small hotel would host what we called a round table dinner weekly, where twelve of our guests would sit around a very large circular table and we would invite a prominent Barbadian with his or her partner and they would simply talk about Barbados from their particular perspective. As well as a complimentary dinner for our speaker and companion, we would pay a small fee, which in most cases found its way to their chosen charity.

CTO Q1 Report – Tourists Visiting Barbados Spent MORE

‎CEO at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc ( BTMI )

Billy Griffith, ‎CEO at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc ( BTMI )

BARBADOS, Bridgetown. July 14, 2016 – Long stay visitors to Barbados spent 20 percent more money during the first quarter of 2016 than during the same period in 2015.

These are the findings of the quarterly survey conducted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) on behalf of the destination. According to the report, total visitor expenditure on island grew from US $280 million to US $337 million in the first quarter.  This was achieved through a 14.9 percent increase in visitor average length of stay and a total growth of 7.4 percent in visitor arrivals. The latter compensated for a decline in the average daily spend of 5.6 percent to generate the recorded growth in expenditure of US $57 million in the first quarter of 2016. – see full article

Related Link: Q1 Statistical Table

The George Brathwaite Column – Barbados’ woes rise with Brexit

brexit1“Once Britain leaves the EU, there will be several troubling consequences for the 12 Caribbean countries.  Not only will the British market disappear from the EU, but so too will the British contribution to official aid and investment.” – (Sir Ronald Sanders).

In a stunning turn of events, Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), and many commentators have considered the resultant outcome of the referendum held in the United Kingdom (UK) to be “a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the continent and rock political establishments throughout the West.” The Economist, prior to the actual vote, had concluded that ‘Brexit’ – a decision to leave the EU – would be “bad for Britain, Europe and the world.”

Specifically, for Barbados and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the outcome of the June 23rd referendum could not have come at a worst time. In addition, the implications of the UK’s looming exit from the EU is nefariously wounding to Barbados and the English-Speaking Caribbean. These economies are still in the process of creating economic resurgence after years of depressed economic activity.

In the following paragraphs, I will examine three key areas of interest. I will additionally try to explain several of the possible consequences for the Caribbean region, particularly as the ramifications of Britain’s exit will derail the best efforts of Barbados’ economic recovery. The three areas of focus are:

  • Democracy vis-à-vis the tyranny of the majority;
  • Transnationalism and migration as sites of protest and resistance;
  • The weakening Pound Sterling (£) as an adverse caveat for residents in Barbados, especially those persons that are dependant on pensions and remittances, coupled with the reality that tourism spend will likely become further contained, thus affecting this country’s foreign exchange reserves.

The background context that gave life to a referendum on whether the UK should stay or leave the EU, poured mainly from the national discourse within Britain that the country had lost sovereignty, and even its democracy, by being in the EU. Some British politicians contended that “EU membership is incompatible with parliamentary sovereignty,” with Prime Minister Cameron stating in 2013 that: “National parliaments [are] the ‘true source’ of democratic legitimacy. Yet they have played only a marginal role in the EU.”

On the point of democracy, it was widely accepted that there is a democratic deficit within the structure of the EU. The Economist wrote regarding the EU that: “It is supranational, but elections (including European ones) are fought on national issues. There is no Europe-wide demos. Voters cannot throw out the EU’s collective leadership. Both the council and the parliament are remote and unaccountable, with decisions often agreed on by shifting alliances.” In that sense, the sovereignty/democracy conundrum would have had an integral impact on the psyche of British voters.

The Express reckoned that “some of the biggest backers of Brexit were the areas where the dominant employer is a foreign corporation,” and in that situation, there was a wide margin of the population illustrating distrust against business elites and to some extent, towards the political elites that became embroiling purveyors of scepticism under the two major political parties.

Moreover, David Cameron’s promised referendum in the 2015 Conservative Party’s Manifesto and that ‘rise of British Euroscepticism’ which, according to the BBC, saw “earlier ambivalence turning into outright hostility.” Add this uncertainty and mixed messaging together, and they placed into the wider context the fertile conditions for increasing fear of foreigners and anti-immigrant discourses. Free movement of people, the migration dilemmas, and the contentious issues arising from the stalled economies and bailouts of Greece and Spain became compounding factors throwing fuel to the firebrand movement of those preferring Britain’s exit from the EU.

As the New York Times would have indicated, “the power of anti-elite, populist and nationalist sentiment at a time of economic and cultural dislocation,” were central to the unstitching of the UK from its moorings of ‘security community’ within the setup of the EU. With protagonist Nigel Farage being increasingly vocal on the vexing issue of immigrant inundation, after the referendum he spoke of a normalcy returning to Britain that was characterised in such a way as to connote: “Normal countries elect their own leaders, make their own laws, have their own courts, control their own borders, that is what normal countries do.”

It was reported in British media that ‘more than four million migrants have come to Britain since Tony Blair threw open the floodgates in 1997’ and in recent times, British deterioration became imperilled to the extent that: “The NHS is stretched to breaking point, the costs of housing have rocketed and parents struggle to find a school place for their child. We have witnessed extremist preachers spreading hate on our streets, the establishment of ethnic enclaves that only encourage division and disharmony, and the importation of backward practices such as female genital mutilation.” Surely, against the background of things that have occurred in Barbados and the region, anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments are familiar hum-bugs that politicians use to rally support when these nuisances suit their purposes.

Arguably, the most important crack emerging from Britain’s vote to exit the EU with regards to CARICOM countries is the financial impact for individuals and these fragile economies in the region. Britain is the second-largest economy after Germany in the EU, and it is an advocate of free-market economics, with Barbados and the region having longstanding relations. Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hillary Beckles warns that “every aspect of Caribbean life [in the Caribbean Community] will be adversely affected by last Thursday’s vote” to leave the EU. He suggests that the devastating reach stretches from “trade relations to immigration, tourism to financial relations, and cultural engagements to foreign policy,” and further contends that “there will be a significant redefinition and reshaping of CARICOM-United Kingdom engagements.” This is as realistic as it can be a frightening disruption for the citizens/residents of the region.

In Barbados, with scores of persons having returned to the island to live and several in the process of building their retirement homes, the cost factor will be troublesome with the rapid drop in the value of the British currency against the US dollar. Air travel which is already high will become even more cumbersome. On the whole, the economics of vacationing or living in Barbados after having spent years in Britain will be nightmarish for many in terms of the grave uncertainty of exchange rates. Investments, as well as aid packages will not be able to sustain a dropping Pound Sterling.

A Sunday Sun Editorial rightly points out that: “The battle for our economic survival is not only to be fought on our domestic front, in which we seek to control the deficit and create space for the private sector to develop and grow the economy. We also have to mount consistent and timely responses to the ever-present challenges to the two largest foreign exchange earners of our economy.” No doubt, references are directly related to tourism and foreign direct investments; and once can easily add remittances to that equation.

Hence, it is in this brief consideration for where Barbados will now sit in contrast to the British vote to leave the EU that it becomes a serious matter. The ramifications should employ our minds and practices because Barbados’ woes rise with the Brexit outcome. On top of this, we have a culture in the region of mimicking behaviour and patterns which sometimes are not in our best interest. As an entity, CARICOM must move to reinforce its internal dynamics rather than rushing ahead to find ways for one or more individual territories to rush away from our efforts at deepening regional integration. This can be the wakeup call that Barbadians and Caribbean people need.

(Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a researcher and political consultant, and up until recently, he was editor of Caribbean Times (Antigua). Email: ).