Lead, CARICOM, Lead!


The following article submitted by Ambassador to CARICOM David Comisiong

If one compares the work effort of Ambassador Comissiong to his predecessors Denis Kelman and Bobby Morris one must give Comissiong higher markes – David, Blogmaster
Read Ambassador Comissiong artcile which was published elsewhere.

Lead, CARICOM, Lead!

Errol Barrow — Architect of a Collective CARICOM Foreign Policy


A tribute by Ambassador David Comissiong

This coming Monday, the 21st of January 2019, is the 99th anniversary of the birth of Barbadian national hero Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, and will be celebrated in Barbados as “Errol Barrow  Day” – a national public holiday.

In light of the recent happenings in the Organization of American States (OAS) when, on having to deal with a Resolution that purported to delegitimize the inauguration of Nicolas Maduro as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, our CARICOM member states found themselves divided on the issue, with some of them voting for the Resolution, others voting against, and some abstaining, I would like to focus this tribute to Mr Barrow on his role as an architect of the concept of a collective CARICOM foreign policy.

It was at the historic Seventh Commonwealth Caribbean Heads of Government Conference held at Chaguaramas in Trinidad that the idea of converting the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) into a Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), as well as the idea equipping the new CARICOM with a collective foreign policy were born.

The date was October 1972, and at that time there were only four independent Commonwealth Caribbean nations : namely, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Barbados, and these newly independent states were led by Michael Manley, Eric Williams, Forbes Burnham, and Errol Barrow respectively.

It was a time of great tension in the affairs of the world – the United States of America (USA) was ablaze with anti-Vietnam war protests; the Black Power and anti-colonial challenges to national and international structures of domination were going strong; and the so-called “Cold War” between the USA and the Soviet Union was still at a dangerous peak.

Indeed, by 1972, the Caribbean had come to be regarded as one of the primary theatres of the “Cold War”, with the USA making every conceivable effort to isolate and subvert the revolutionary Fidel Castro-led government of Cuba.

We need to recall that when—in 1959—the Cuban Revolution triumphed, that the new revolutionary Cuban government entered a Western hemisphere environment that was organized around the OAS—a multi-lateral organization dominated by the USA and dedicated to a USA inspired anti-Communist mission.

Indeed, in 1954, at the instigation of a USA steeped in Mc Carthy era anti-Communism, the OAS had issued the “Declaration of Caracas” which declared that all Marxist revolutionary ideology was intrinsically alien to the Western Hemisphere, and that Marxist revolutionary movements were to be treated as foreign invasions of the Hemisphere.

It was not surprising therefore that as early as June 1959, the USA began pressing the OAS to take punitive actions against Cuba—a founder member of the OAS, but now led by a revolutionary socialist Government.

In August 1960, the USA not only orchestrated a condemnation of Cuba at the OAS on the ground of Cuba’s acceptance of economic assistance from the Soviet Union, but also urged Latin American states to break off diplomatic relations with Cuba – an urging that Venezuela and Colombia adhered to in 1961.

And then the “coup de grace” came in January 1962 when, at the 8th Consultative Meeting of OAS Foreign Ministers in Uruguay, the OAS suspended Cuba’s membership, thereby effectively expelling Cuba from the OAS!

This was then followed by the US compiling a so-called “black list” of all countries still trading with Cuba and threatening to cut off US economic and military assistance to them.

But even this was seemingly not enough for the anti-Cuba forces, and during the 9th Consultative Meeting of Foreign Ministers held in Washington DC in July 1964, a resolution was passed urging all governments of the Western Hemisphere to break diplomatic relations with Cuba.

And—sad to say—in the following years, every single Western Hemisphere nation except Mexico and Canada fell in line with the OAS stipulation and either broke diplomatic relations with Cuba or refused to recognize the revolutionary Republic of Cuba!

This then was the scenario facing the four independent Commonwealth Caribbean countries—all newly installed members of the OAS—in October 1972!

And, needless-to-say, the leadership of the OAS was insisting that the four new Caribbean member states must adhere to the by then well established, USA supported, policy of non-recognition and isolation of revolutionary Cuba.

The magnificent response of the Right Excellent Errol Barrow and his fellow Commonwealth Caribbean leaders—Manley, Williams and Burnham—was to issue the following historic Declaration:-

“The Prime Ministers of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, meeting together during the Heads of Government Conference at Chaguaramas, have considered the state of their relations with the Government of Cuba and the obligations which the OAS has sought to impose upon its members in regard to relations with that Government; and make the following statement:

(1)    The independent English-speaking Caribbean states, exercising their sovereign right to enter into relations with any other sovereign state and pursuing their determination to seek regional solidarity and to achieve meaningful and comprehensive economic cooperation amongst all Caribbean countries will seek the early establishment of relations with Cuba, whether economic, diplomatic or both.

(2)    To this end, the independent English-speaking Caribbean states will act together on the basis of agreed principles.”

Here then were the four smallest and youngest states of the entire Western hemisphere standing on principle; courageously speaking “truth to power”; and setting a noble and principled example for all the other nations of the hemisphere to follow!

Indeed, six months later—in April 1973 – Mr Barrow gave an address to the Empire Club of Toronto, Canada, and explained the significance of the unified Caribbean stance on Cuba as follows:-

“……we have managed in our four countries, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados to sustain our independence to the extent that we were considered to have committed an act of defiance in October last year when we took a lead in the western hemisphere in deciding to open diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba, much to the chagrin of our neighbours to the north.

But it demonstrates that the developing countries can take a lead in conditioning the minds of people who should know better…………And I have no doubt that the other countries which are mightier and more powerful than the four small independent countries in the Caribbean will soon shamefacedly or not, have to follow suit……

And we cannot sit down in the Caribbean and wait for our strategy to be dictated or governed by the political or other economic or social prejudices of people in other countries because to entertain such a belief would be an abandonment of the sovereignty that we believe in and we have never subscribed to the doctrine of limited sovereignty. And I have been, myself, very firm right from the beginning of Barbados’ independence that we would be friends of all and satellites of none.”

Happy Errol Barrow Day to all my Barbadian and Caribbean brothers and sisters! Long may the spirit of Errol Barrow live in our beautiful sovereign Caribbean homeland!


From the Office of the Ambassador of Caricom – The CCJ REVISITED


DAVID COMISSIONG, Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM

I suspect that the primary reason why the people of Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda voted on 6th November 2018 not to accept the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their highest national Court of Appeal is because – fundamentally – most of our people do not really know much about the Caribbean Court of Justice!

And the truth is that we Caribbean people do not really know very much about the CCJ simply because the institutions and officials that should have been consistently informing and educating us about the CCJ and our other significant regional institutions over the years have not done enough.

It is important that we fully grasp the fact that the CCJ is our organization! The Caribbean Court of Justice was established by the fifteen member nations of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – inclusive of the said Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda – and is therefore an “institution” of CARICOM.

Indeed, the CCJ is one of the twenty odd institutions of CARICOM – a group of institutions that includes the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) among others.

Many of these CARICOM institutions are outstanding organizations, but if I was challenged to select THE very best and most excellent CARICOM institution of them all, I would have to go with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)!

And let me now list the many reasons why – in my opinion – the CCJ stands head and shoulders above not only every other CARICOM institution, but also way above the British Privy Council:-

  1. First of all, the finances of the CCJ are as secure as the proverbial “Fort Knox”!  You see, the CCJ is financed out of the income generated by a permanent US$100 Million Trust Fund that is administered by a highly professional Board of Trustees drawn from or including the Heads of the Insurance Associations of the Caribbean, the Caribbean Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Association of Indigenous Banks of the Caribbean, the Organisation of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations, the Caribbean Congress of Labour, the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce, the University of the West Indies and the CARICOM Secretariat.  This excellent state of affairs is a tribute to the collective foresight of the CARICOM Secretariat, then Barbados Attorney-General, Mia Amor Mottley, and former St. Lucia Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, who undertook responsibility for setting up the Trust Fund at the time of the establishment of the CCJ.
  2. This fulsome and secure funding explains why the CCJ has been able to establish and maintain a first class, modern, state-of-the-art headquarters and Court in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago and – unlike the Privy Council – to also institute the modus operandi of an itinerant Court, travelling and taking its services to Caribbean citizens in Barbados, Jamaica, Belize, Guyana and other CARICOM nations.
  3. The CCJ also employs and maintains a panel of absolutely first class, experienced, and highly professional judges who – to date – have been drawn from the nations of Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the United Kingdom, Barbados, the Netherland Antilles, Guyana and Belize.  Indeed the Presidents of the Court have been such outstanding legal luminaries as Hon. Michael de la Bastide of Trinidad & Tobago, Sir Dennis Byron of St. Kitts & Nevis, and Hon. Adrian Saunders of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
  4. The CCJ judges are all appointed by a broad-based non-political “Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission” (RJLSC), comprised of selectees or representatives of the Council of Legal Education, the University of the West Indies and University of Guyana Law Faculties, the private sector Bar Associations of the CARICOM nations, the OECS Bar Association,  the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations, one CARICOM Public Service Commission and one Judicial Services Commission, and the Secretaries General of CARICOM and the OECS.  You really cannot get more broad-based and politically independent that this!
  5. The CCJ – unlike the Privy Council – is a final Court of Appeal for all types of civil and criminal cases – from the smallest civil claim of the average working-class Caribbean citizen to the high finance cases of the corporate elite.  The British Privy Council, on the other hand, basically functions as an Appeal Court either for the murder appeals of persons on death row or for big civil cases.  The Privy Council is not – in effect – a court that deals with the typical legal matters of ordinary Caribbean citizens!
  6. And one of the reasons why the British Privy Council – unlike the CCJ – is not really a Court for the masses of Caribbean people, has to do with costs.  In order for a Caribbean citizen to take a case before the Privy Council in London, England, he or she not only has to get permission to do so, but he/she also has to pay expensive filing costs; retain expensive UK based lawyers; and undertake the expensive venture of travelling to the United Kingdom.  Indeed, legal experts estimate that a Caribbean citizen has to look for somewhere between US$57,000 and US$87,000 in order to pay for a civil appeal before the Privy Council!  With the CCJ there is no such prohibitive cost.  Furthermore, rather than the Caribbean citizen having to travel to the CCJ in Trinidad, the CCJ will often come to the citizen in his or her home territory, or permit the appeal to be heard via video conferencing!
  7. Finally, unlike the Privy Council, the CCJ makes it a point of duty to “get on the case” of inefficient or dysfunctional national Courts of Law in our individual CARICOM member states – constantly subjecting them to constructive criticism, advice, and even training, in order to get them to improve their standards.

Clearly, the CCJ is one of the greatest accomplishments of our regional integration Movement!  Moreover, it is an achievement that we collectively accomplished through the application of our own initiative and native intellect, and that our citizens and taxpayers have independently underwritten and financially supported.  It therefore goes without saying that we should all feel very proud about this outstanding Caribbean success story.

At present, the CCJ serves 14 CARICOM member states as a Court of original jurisdiction with responsibility for interpreting and applying the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, but it only serves four (4) CARICOM states as a final national Court of Appeal – Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica.

Surely it is time for all of us in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to make full use of this first class Caribbean institution!

Caribbean as a Zone of Peace Under Threat

In 1992 some Caribbean states in declaring the Caribbean area a zone of peace, objected to the passage through the Caribbean of ships carrying nuclear waste material. The heads of Government issued a statement vowing “to take all necessary steps to protect their people and the fragile ecology of the Caribbean Sea from this highly dangerous threat.

Now Russia plans to bring nuclear weapons to the Caribbean and we are silent.

Ping Pong

The BU family is a savvy group always alert to what is happening on the local, regional and international fronts. The plan by Russia to establish a temporary military airbase in the locale of Venezuela must be a concern for the people of the Caribbean – see Russian newspaper: Russia to set up nuclear bombers on Caribbean island.

The pristine reputation of the Caribbean took a hit when it was established that Trinidad and Tobago had the highest rate of ISIS recruits in the Western hemisphere per population size. The zone of peace the region has enjoyed is now under threat with the announcement that the Russians are coming.

Further, with Russia and Venezuela in bed the long running dispute between Venezuela and Guyana is brought into sharp focus. Does it matter if Ambassador of Caricom David Comissiong or Caricom respond given our lack of military and economic standing in the world?

Geopolitical analysts are of the view Putin is seizing the moment with the changing of the guard in the USA. It has not have gone unnoticed by the blogmaster Russia launched the Avangard missile yesterday which is reported to be a challenge to US detection systems.

Let the games begin in the region!


Time to Make a MOVE!

Submitted by Ambassador DAVID A. COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement

After hearing Prime Minister Mia Mottley speak at the Opening Ceremony of the Barbados Workers Union’s 77th Annual Delegates Conference this morning– Saturday the 25th of August 2018 — it motivated me to share that portion of the Peoples Empowerment Party’s comprehensive economic development programme (entitled “Time To Make A Move : Saving Barbados From Recession”) that most succinctly coheres with the inspiring message of shared and collaborative transformation that Ms Mottley delivered.

Here is the segment of ” Time To Make A Move : Saving Barbados From Recession” that I would like to share with Government Ministers, Trade Unionists, Private Sector leaders, and ordinary Barbadian citizens alike :-

“At the very core of our plan to save our country from the economic crisis that it currently finds itself in must be a strategy to re-energize production in Barbados’ agriculture, construction, manufacturing, tourism, and international business sectors!

It goes without saying that we have to be brutally realistic and practical, and that we must therefore start with the enterprises and production capacity that currently exist in these five crucial sectors of our economy, and bring to bear state sponsored initiatives that will lift them to higher levels of performance and cause them to multiply.

One of the state sponsored initiatives that we have in mind would consist of an effort by the governmental administration to establish a close and intimate ‘partnership’ between Government and these five sectors – a ‘partnership’ in planning; a ‘partnership’ designed to literally invent comparative advantage for enterprises in these sectors by extending to them a wide range of incentives, privileges, assistance and institutional support; and a ‘partnership’ in ensuring that the plans jointly constructed by Government and the representatives of these sectors are carried out and actualized.

And when we speak about a “partnership” between Government and these sectors of the economy, we are contemplating a relationship that is much more profound and intimate than the currently existing Social Partnership or than the Manufacturers Association or the Chamber of Commerce meeting with the Minister of Finance and presenting him or her with a wish list two or three weeks before the annual Budget presentation !

Rather, we are talking about a process of intimate and institutionalized planning, in which the two parties routinely sit down together and work out in detail an expansionary developmental strategy for each sector, under-girded by the deliberate and conscious use of the formidable power of the State.

In addition, we are especially urging that this Government / Private Sector collaborative approach be applied to all Barbadian produced “products” that are so much a part of our indigenous cultural heritage that they may be considered “national Assets”.

As far as we are concerned, the “national assets” of Barbados include our sugar, rum, Sea Island cotton, Black Belly sheep, beersolar technology, classic Bajan furniture, Bajan pepper sauce, pottery, Cricket heritage, music heritage, literary heritage, processed flying fish, and the list goes on. And – sad to say – all of these assets are currently under-developed and under-exploited commercially!

What is required to properly develop and market these assets internationally is a systematic and coordinated programme based on the Government and Private Sector working together as partners and collaborators!

As indicated above, our Government possesses the unique power and capacity to literally invent “comparative advantages” for our  Barbadian manufacturers and other relevant business-people by extending to them a wide range of incentives, privileges, assistance and support; and it must use this power to assist genuine Barbadian enterprises that are developing authentic national products!

There should therefore be such a close Public/Private partnership where these “assets” are concerned, and such collaborative Private/Public planning and coordination of efforts that no longer should we witness the head of — say–the Rum Producers Association, having to resort to a public forum to complain about lack of Governmental support for critical measures required to preserve the rum industry.

All of the newly industrialized countries that have successfully made the transition from Third World to First World status have done so on the basis of a close collaboration and partnership between the Government and relevant Private Sector entities.

Please note, however, that we are not making a case for Governmental largess for the usual Private Sector parasites that tend to be favoured in Barbados! Rather, we are advocating for truly productive enterprises (of all sizes) that are attempting to manufacture and commercialize products that are authentic components of our Barbadian heritage.

A Cooperative or People’s Sector

There is also no reason why the Barbados economy should not contain a full fledged “Cooperative Sector” comprised of a whole host of business enterprises that are owned and run by the trade unions, credit unions, churches, and other cooperative or people-based organizations of our country, in collaboration with the thousands of young Barbadian university degree and technical diploma holders who graduate from our University of the West Indies and Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic every year.

(Indeed, thousands of our young tertiary level graduates should be able to find good careers for themselves in such a “Cooperative” or “People’s” sector of our economy.)

And what we are proposing is not unprecedented! Take the example of Singapore. The trade unions of Singapore — facilitated by the Government of Singapore — were able to develop a chain of supermarkets, retail stores, a telecommunications company, insurance companies, a major public transportation company, hotels, and a country club and condominiums for workers.

Singapore is therefore but one example of how trade unions, credit unions, churches and other community-based organizations could collaborate in establishing a much larger and more developed Cooperative or People’s Sector of the economy. What is required, however, is that our Government systematically work with these institutions and consciously facilitate such a process of development!

And there can be no doubt that several commercial vacuums currently exist in Barbados and are just waiting to be filled by new indigenous business enterprises. There is, for example, not a single indigenous bank in Barbados! So why shouldn’t the Barbados Government facilitate the credit unions in their quest to establish a bank, or grant our credit unions the right to issue cheques so that they can expand their services and markets?

Why shouldn’t the trade unions of Barbados — in collaboration with such natural partners as the credit unions, churches, and university / polytechnic graduates — possess and run farms, supermarkets, medical clinics, mechanical workshops, garages, hotels, engineering firms, radio stations, a brewery , and other relevant business enterprises?

There is a whole new complex of cooperative enterprises waiting to be established through the joint, collaborative effort of Barbados’ trade unions, university and Polytechnic graduates, credit unions, churches and other community-based organizations!”

To Build or NOT to Build – A National Conversation is Required

Submitted by David Comissiong, Concerned Citizen
To continue to build on the beaches of Barbados or not to build — that is the question! (And whether or not to start the practice of constructing towering buildings along the coastline of Barbados — that is an associated question!)
My own personal position is that we have already done enough building on the most prized beaches of Barbados, and that we are in danger of killing the proverbial goose that lays the tourism golden egg.
And so, whether I oppose the building of a 15 story monstrosity of a Hyatt hotel in the law courts of Barbados or through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process — inclusive of Town Hall meetings — the fact is that I, in my capacity as a Citizen of Barbados, intend to continue to oppose it ! Those who would suggest otherwise either really don’t know David Comissiong, or are simply engaging in opportunist partisan politics.
Surely, the main reason why tourists choose to come to Barbados is to enjoy the beauty and comfort of our natural environment — with our beaches taking pride of place — and to experience the heritage of our country and the warmth and hospitality of our people and their social culture.
I would therefore like to urge all Barbadians to seriously consider whether we really want to construct towering hotel structures along the magnificent beachfront of Carlisle Bay, or to accelerate the process of transforming a Bajan people’s beach into an alienated coastal zone in which locals feel uncomfortable.
Fellow Barbadians, what is wrong with establishing extensive “windows to the sea” along the most beautiful beaches of Barbados , so that these beaches can remain uncluttered and readily accessible for both citizens and visitors alike, while future hotel development takes place on the land-side of the coastal highway ?
It is important that we recognize that Barbados possesses a unique natural, socio-cultural, and historical / heritage environment, and that we must therefore be very wary about engaging in so-called “development” that ends up doing permanent damage to what is truly unique and valuable about our environment. You see, once we do any fundamental damage to our unique Barbadian environment, we will never be able to restore it and it will be lost forever.
Indeed, in this regard, we need to pay special heed to the opinion of Mr Peter Stevens, the President of the Barbados National Trust, who has gone on record and has warned us that if the proposed Hyatt Hotel is constructed (as currently designed) it will almost certainly cause Barbados to be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage site designation. And this would be a terrible tragedy, because the real future of Barbados’ tourism industry lies in the development of cultural, heritage, health , and educational tourism!
I also feel very strongly that as we go forward with tourism in Barbados that we should seek –more and more — to indigenize the industry. Let us, therefore, commit ourselves to a future of locally owned hotels and related facilities that fit snugly into our national environment , and that radiate the unique personality, charm, culture, and hospitality of the Barbadian people.
In conclusion, please permit me to say that the issue of “to build or not to build” on the beaches of Barbados (or the issue of whether or not to build towering hotels on our coastline) should not be pigeonholed as David Comissiong’s issue. Needless-to-say, I will continue to advocate and fight for my own personal position on the issue, but it is really a national issue and it is time that we have a comprehensive and responsible national conversation about it.

Congratulations to Ambassador David Comissiong!

Mottley has lead responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and Reparations – Nation newspaper 05 July 2018

If the blogmaster had to chose a Barbados Man of the Year Ambassador David Comissiong would win in a no contest. His body of work makes him the ideal person to function in the role as Ambassador to Caricom – for sure compared to his predecessors Bobby Morris and Denis Kellman.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley this week at the HoGs in Montega Bay, Jamaica renewed Barbados’ commitment to the regional movement CARICOM. The blogmaster also heard the open challenge given to Prime Minister Mottley by Chairman Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica in her role as lead  Prime Minister for CSME matters.

Many in this forum will debate the usefulness of CARICOM. What is clear to the blogmaster is  that to compete in today’s world, a level of cooperation between regions will have to occur. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) sub region serves as a measure of success for what the region should aspire. Despite challenges the region (CARICOM) boast of several regional entities and frameworks that continue to serve us well.

The blogmaster is confident that David Comissiong is the ideal man to carry the baton on this league of the regional integration/functional cooperation journey. The blogmaster is equally proud that two citizen advocates who have seen the benefit of using this forum to promote tseir messages- the other Senator Caswell Franklyn- have been called to public service.

Again good luck and God speed!



David Comissiong Has No Olive Branch to Offer on the Hyatt Case!

Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados
SO  FAR as the Hyatt Hotel is concerned, I — David Andre Comissiong – – have no “olive branch” to offer to anyone!
I wish to state for the record that I have never said anything about offering the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government any so-called “olive branch” in relation to my case challenging the permission granted by former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to Mr Mark Maloney’s company to construct a 15 story Hyatt Hotel on beachfront land at Bay Street.
The term “olive branch” — used in relation to the so-called Hyatt Hotel case — is entirely the concoction of the Barbados Today online newspaper: and I would appreciate it if that newspaper would adhere to basic journalistic ethics and refrain from putting words in my mouth.
Let me make my position very clear in relation to the so-called Hyatt Hotel case:-
In March 2017 I filed a Judicial Review application against the then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government, in which I requested a Judge of the Supreme Court to review the manner in which Mr Freundel Stuart, the Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning, had processed Mr Mark Maloney’s application for permission to construct a 15 story Hyatt Hotel on the Bay Street beachfront.
I maintained in my Judicial Review application that Mr Stuart had committed a breach of the Law of Barbados by failing to require Maloney’s company to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and that , as a result, the grant of permission to build the hotel should be squashed.
Mr Stuart responded by questioning my right — as a Citizen of Barbados — to bring such a Judicial Review application against  the Government of Barbados.
And when the presiding Judge — Madam Justice Dr. Sonia Richards — ruled in my favour, Mr Stuart appealed to the Court of Appeal against the Judge’s ruling.
This is where the matter stood at the time of the change of government on the 24th of May 2018.
Now that we have a new Government, I have been questioned by the news media as to the fate of the Court case, and I have made my position absolutely clear :-
If the new BLP Government wishes to see the back of this Court Case that they have inherited from the previous DLP administration, they would have to do the following things:-
(1) Firstly, they would have to DISCONTINUE the Appeal that was lodged against Dr Richards’ ruling! (This is important because the Judge’s ruling confirmed that we, the Citizens of Barbados, DO have the right to challenge in a Court of Law nationally important decisions and actions of our Government that affect us — not in our personal capacities– but that affect us in our capacities as Citizens of the country.)
(2) Secondly, they would have to CONCEDE that former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was WRONG in Law when he granted permission to construct a 15 story beachfront hotel without having carried out an EIA ( inclusive of the holding of Town Hall meetings) in respect of the proposed construction project..
(3) Thirdly — and most importantly — they would have to CANCEL the permission that was wrongly granted to Maloney’s company, and would also have to give an undertaking to require the staging of an EIA in the event that Maloney’s company makes a new application to construct the said Hyatt Hotel.
If the new BLP Government is prepared to carry out these actions, then I would have no need to continue the litigation against the Government, and the way would be clear for both sides to negotiate a discontinuance of the litigation.
How any of this can be construed as “offering an olive branch” is really beyond me!
Permit me to also state for the record that I am convinced that once Maloney’s application is subjected to an objective EIA that the findings of the EIA  WILL confirm that the construction of any such 15 story hotel is NOT permissible because:-
(1) It will do tremendous damage to the physical and architectural landscape of Bridgetown;
(2) It will cause Barbados to be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation;
(3) It will create massive problems for the Bridgetown and South Coast sewage systems; and
(4) It will impinge severely on the Barbadian people’s access to and enjoyment of one of their most prized and favoured beaches.
In other words, the staging of an objective EIA will disqualify the proposed 15 story Hyatt Hotel.

Foolish Freundel and the Ridiculous Barbados Today Story

Click Barbados Today image to read article

David Comissiong Responds to Barbados Today story – BLP PLOT – see this February 2012 PEP Press Release:




As a result of a protest launched by Mac Fingall, Stedson Wiltshire, and other residents of St Philip, the eyes of the Barbadian people are fixed on Skeete’s Bay!

But the Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) wishes to warn the citizens of Barbados that an even more prominent and culturally important beach is in danger of being taken away from native Barbadians and turned into an enclave for wealthy, white North American and European tourists! We refer to none other than Brown’s Beach – the world famous Browne’s Beach that extends across the length of Carlisle Bay in the parish of St Michael.

All Barbadians know Browne’s Beach. It is reputed to be one of the finest beaches in the world, and, along with Brandon’s Beach, is the beach of choice of the black, working-class people of Barbados.

It is also a beach that is famous in the native literature of Barbados. Our very own national poet laureate – Kamau Brathwaite – virtually grew up on Browne’s beach, and was so shaped by this experience that Browne’s Beach became the spiritual and cultural source and centre of a number of his most important poems.

Go to Browne’s Beach any time of the day and any day of the week, and you will find hundreds of black Barbadians communing with each other, and enjoying this magnificent and priceless component of their birth-right. Indeed, many Barbadians will tell you that Browne’s Beach is their health spa and doctor combined together, for it is the place where they escape from the stresses of life and rejuvenate their spirits.

It is against this background that we in the PEP were recently shocked to learn that one or more business consultants are currently engaged in developing a plan to offer up Browne’s Beach as the location for a number of foreign, brand-name hotel companies to construct opulent five star hotels on this most loved of Barbadian beaches!

The President of the PEP has actually spoken to one of the consultants, and heard the same type of unedifying and self-serving rationalizations that the Canadian capitalist – Paul Doyle – has advanced in relation to the Skeete’s Bay project. According to these people, we Barbadians should be willing to let go of national assets like Browne’s Beach because we are dependent on foreign exchange, and foreign companies are well equipped to market their properties internationally and to bring additional thousands of precious tourists to our shores.

All of these capitalist businessmen talk as though the people of Barbados only exist on the material plane – as though we Barbadians are similar to pigs whose only purpose in life is to be fattened! They all seem to overlook that we are human beings with spiritual, cultural and psychological yearnings and needs!

Well, before this private sector driven idea of turning over Browne’s Beach to “foreign brand-name hotels” gets any further, the PEP is hereby firing a warning shot across the bow of our Ministry of Tourism, and indeed, across the bow of the entire Cabinet. And we are telling them that Browne’s Beach is much too sacred to the native people of Barbados for us to stand idly by and permit it to become an alien zone that is effectively off limits to us.

As it is, we Barbadian people are already sharing Browne’s Beach with a sizeable number of North American and European tourists. And we are happy to do so. But a balance must be maintained, and Browne’s Beach must never be permitted to become one of your typical West Coast beaches – beaches that native Barbadians feel no longer belong to them!

Furthermore, the time has come when we Barbadians must consciously set out to take firm control of our nation, and mould it in accordance with our own ideas, needs and predilections.

We have been operating hotels in Barbados for over 200 years now, and we know about the hotel and tourism industry. We don’t need any foreign tutelage! Let us therefore resolve that future hotel and tourism development will, as far as possible, be based in the construction of locally owned hotels, guest houses and related facilities that radiate the unique culture and hospitality of Barbados and Barbadians.

Thus, if there is to be any further tourism related development along Browne’s Bay, let us ensure that it is owned by and evocative of Barbadians. And let Brown’s Beach always remain a place where Barbadians feel at home!



A Citizen’s Response To The Newly Amended Police Act

David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados

So, even in the face of wise counsel from such eminent and well respected Barbadian patriots as Senator Sir Roy Trotman, Senator Sir Henry Fraser, Senator Lady Carol Haynes, Senator John Watson, and Senator Sir Trevor Carmichael, to the effect that the Bill to amend the Police Act has such critical implications for the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of the Barbadian people that it should be subjected to a process of national consultation, the twelve Government Senators have simply ignored all pleas for a process of popular consultation, and have enacted the Bill into Law !

How ironic it is that a mere 24 hours after Ministers of the Freundel Stuart Administration made public pronouncements about a Commissioner of Police abusing his powers to carry out wiretapping of telephone conversations, the said Administration is proposing to place even more extreme power into the hands of the Commissioner of Police to — in tandem with the Attorney General– impose Curfews and Cordons on the people and communities of Barbados !

Under the newly amended Police Act, the Commissioner of Police and the  Attorney General will have the power not only to determine which areas of Barbados will be placed under Curfew, but also to determine the Curfew hours.

These two office-holders will therefore have the power to imprison thousands of Barbadians in their homes for up to 48 hours, or to prohibit thousands of Barbadians from returning to and accessing their homes over a 48 hour period.

In addition, the Police will have the power to cordon off areas of Barbados for eight (8) hours at a time, and to oblige any person who happens to be within the cordoned area to answer questions put to them by the Police. And so, the Citizen’s right to choose to remain silent is thrown out of the window !

The new law also gives the Police the right to search persons, motor-vehicles and homes within the Curfew area once a Police officer claims to have reasonable suspicion that the commission of any offence known to the law– no matter how minor or trivial that alleged offence might be — is intended to be committed. In effect, the Police will to all intents and purposes have full liberty to search persons, vehicles and homes as they please.

It is highly unlikely that this new piece of legislation will pass the test of Constitutionality once it is challenged in the Supreme Court of Barbados.

But that does not seem to bother either the DLP members of the House of Assembly nor the DLP members of the Senate ! These–after all — are the same legislators who, less than two years ago, enacted the The IMMIGRATION (BIOMETRICS) REGULATIONS 2015 are NULL, VOID and Un-Constitutional that stipulated that every Barbadian traveling from or returning to his or her own country had to be fingerprinted, and that Barbadians could actually be prevented from re-entering their own country if they refused to be fingerprinted.

These Regulations — it should be recalled — were found to be unconstitutional and were struck down by the Supreme Court of Barbados.

How tragic it is that the callous and stiff-necked Freundel Stuart Administration has seemingly learnt nothing from that most shameful episode in the history of the Parliament of Barbados.

Barbados Courts Delivers Double Whammy to Government

Submitted by Mark Jones

Justice Cornelius (l) next to BLP candidate and husband Ralph Thorne (r)


The talk around town this week was about the double whammy the Government got in the same day with two important decision going against them.

The Government lost the Hyatt case against Comissiong and they lost the case with the BIDC. The Bees in the bar were gloating about the licks Hal Gollop and Michael Yearwood got in the two cases but a man in the crowd thought the whole thing was very suspicious to him. He thought it was a STRANGE COINCIDENCE that the two cases could be decided on the same afternoon one after the other. He said he was waiting to get his hand on the BIDC decision but he had seen a copy of a decision his friend had in the Hyatt case and could not understand how the judge Dr Sonia Richards could arrive at the decision she gave; all the reasoning pointed to the fact that she should have ruled against Commisiong being allowed to contest the case but she held otherwise. He also said that it was clear to him from the manner in which the judgment criticises itself that at least two different persons wrote the decision.

The other case was before Cornelius, the wife of BLP Politician and Candidate Ralph Thorne!

My man said it appeared to him that the two judges had some agenda other than law and he felt that politics had now raised its head among the judiciary. It is known that Gollop and Yearwood are two Dems lawyers and they had to put the two of them in their place! The man continued that it is now a sad thing for Barbados that people are losing faith in the judiciary. If the judiciary is now engaging in corrupt practices and lawyers are being targeted where will this all end?

Also a very serious and pointed concern has been raised by a senior QC from the region who has also questioned why judge Cornelius did not recluse herself from this very political fuelled case such as this BIDC case being the wife of a BLP Candidate Ralph Thorne?

And it is also being asked why the judge Richards did not recuse herself since she is a known active Methodist!

Relevant Links:

The online paper said Gollop immediately informed that he was appealing the decision but it was noticeable that he did not speak to the press. On the other hand Comissiong was holding forth. The other matter raised was how he could suddenly be questioning every decision the Government takes. The feeling is that can only happen because there is a number of anti government judges sitting in the bench. It is not known if Yearwood will also be appealing his decision but whatever happens these two decisions have raised eyebrows among the public and likely to create serious doubts about the ability of judges on the bench to give a fair decision on the law before them and not which party the person involve support.

The public must be confident that when they go to court that they will be treated fairly but this now seems very suspect!

Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Publication of the PEP Proposal for Elected Constituency-based Local Government in Barbados

Submitted by David Comissiong

THIS  YEAR — 2017– is the 10th anniversary year of the publication in booklet form of the Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) proposal for the establishment of an elected SYSTEM  OF  LOCAL  GOVERNMENT based on 30 elected Constituency Councils. When the Democratic Labour Party came to power in 2008 they took hold of the PEP proposal, gutted it of any meaningful content, and proceeded to implement a highly partisan bastardized version of what the PEP had proposed.

I believe that the PEP concept of elected local constituency-based government holds the key to solving many of the problems that are currently plaguing communities all across Barbados.

The PEP booklet entitled BAJANS ! TAKE  BACK  YOUR  GOVERNMENT  is attached hereto.

Reparation Talk With Dr.Pedro Welch and David Comissiong

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Please see the attached video taped conversation on REPARATIONS between Dr. PEDRO  WELCH, the chairman of the Barbados National Task Force on Reparations, and DAVID  COMISSIONG in his role as host of the University of the West Indies REGION  TALK television programme.

Eye-opening Video Report on VIOLENCE and RACISM in VENEZUELA

Submitted by David Comissiong

“Venezuelan Man Burned Alive

Dear Sir / Madam

Please see:-

(1) The attached eye-opening video report of US journalist Abby Martin about the violence that is currently taking place in Venezuela and who is responsible for it. Ms Martin has just returned to the US from Venezuela where she went into the streets to view the violence first hand and to report on it;

(2) The attached Newspaper report about 21 year old ORLANDO  FIGUERA, a BLACK Venezuelan who — on May 20– was accused of being a Government supporter by a group of “peaceful” Opposition “protesters”, and was brutally beaten, stabbed six times, doused with gasoline, and set on fire. He subsequently died on the 5th of June.

Please consider doing more in-depth reporting about what is actually going on in Venezuela, rather than merely accepting the view of main-stream Western news outlets that are being used in a campaign of Psychological Warfare against a Socialist Government that Washington is determined to get rid of.

Please also consider doing at least one major story on the tragic story of our BLACK  BROTHER, Orlando Figuera, whose only “crime” was being BLACK, and being a member of an historically disadvantaged community that has only benefitted from Venezuela’s oil wealth since the Socialist party of Chavez and now Maduro came to power.

Surely, if Trayvon Martin merited our attention (and he most certainly did) young Orlando Figuera merits our attention as well. The racism in Venezuela– firmly entrenched in the elite white private sector establishment– merits our attention and condemnation.



Venezuelan Man Burned Alive Dies as Death Toll Tops 73

By Lucas Koerner

Caracas, June 5, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – A Venezuelan man burned alive by opposition protesters has died of his injuries as anti-government unrest claimed two more lives over the weekend.

Afro-Venezuelan Orlando Figuera died in the hospital on Saturday evening after suffering six knife wounds as well as first and second-degree burns on 54 percent of his body.

On May 20, the 21-year-old was passing through the opposition stronghold of Chacao when he was accused of being a government supporter by masked protesters, who brutally beat him before dousing him in gasoline and setting him on fire.

The death was made by public by the national ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, who called for the “maximum sentence against the lynchers”.

“Orlando Figuera, beaten, stabbed, and burned alive by “protesters”, is the symbol of hate crimes in Venezuela,” the top human rights official declared via Twitter.

Orlando Figuera is set on fire by a group of opposition protesters in Altamira on May 20. (AFP)

In an interview with state broadcaster VTV, Figuera’s mother, Ines Esparragoza blamed opposition leaders for the murder.

“Why does [National Assembly President] Julio Borges allow this? Why does [Miranda Governor] Henrique Capriles allow it? Who do I blame? The opposition, because they are the ones who doused my son in gasoline like an animal,” she stated.

Esparragoza has reported being fired from her job as a domestic worker in a private residence, which she has denounced as a reprisal over the VTV interview.

For its part, the Public Prosecutor’s office (MP) has indicated that investigations into the murder continue and that the alleged perpetrators have been identified.

In addition to Figuera, two more people have died of injures linked to violent protests that have rocked the country for the past two months.

On Friday, Luis Miguel Gutierrez Molina (20) died of a bullet wound he suffered during a protest on May 17 in Merida state. El Universal has reported that the incident took place during clashes between demonstrators and authorities.

The MP has dispatched a state prosecutor to investigate the homicide.

Meanwhile in Lara, another man died in the hospital on Saturday after being shot in the vicinity of a protest on April 11.

According to the preliminary MP report, Yoiner Peña (28) was shot in the back near a protest in Barquismeto by unknown assailants in a pickup truck who reportedly opened fire on those present.

However, the national ombudsman’s office has issued a conflicting account, suggesting that Peña was “mortally wounded in an [anti-government] barricade”.

According to Saab, Peña is the ninth person killed at opposition barricades since the violent protests began on April 4.

Seventy-three people have lost their lives as a result of the unrest, including at least 11 people killed by authorities and 21 deaths caused by demonstrators.

Opposition leaders have announced a fresh round of protests for this week, vowing to remain in the streets until the government meets their various demands, including holding presidential elections one year ahead of schedule.

Published on Jun 5th 2017 at 2.1

They Making (HYATT) Mock Sport at WE!

Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen Advocate

Mark Maloney – Vision Development Inc

Over the past week or so an entity named “Hyatt Centric Development Team” has been sending out invitations inviting selected persons to a “public interactive discussion on the project” at the “site of the Hyatt Centric Resort, Carlisle Bay, Bay Street, Bridgetown” on Saturday June 10th, 2017.”

This development constitutes a callous “slap in the face” of all Barbadians and a monumental insult to our intelligence!

Indeed,these people are so contemptuous of us that they are bold-facedly holding a public town hall meeting (or as they term it— a public interactive discussion) NOT during the period  of the processing of the application; NOT prior to the Minister making a decision on the application, but some four (4) months AFTER the Minister has made his decision to grant permission to construct the controversial hotel!

This meaningless town hall meeting is therefore simply a window dressing and public relations exercise on the part of the developer ! It has no substance or utility!

The whole purpose of a public town hall meeting is to give the Citizens and residents an input or say in the decision-making process BEFORE any decision is made by the authorities.

Indeed, when a public town hall meeting is held as part of the processing of an application for a construction project it is stipulated that a record MUST be made of the meeting, and that the record must be forwarded to the Town and Country Planning authorities for their consideration PRIOR to the making of a decision on the application.

I wish to reiterate that the application of Mr Mark Maloney’s company for permission to construct a 15 storey hotel on the beach at Carlisle Bay required that the proposed project be subjected to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)  BEFORE any decision could be properly made on the application. And the staging of a serious and meaningful public town hall meeting would have been an integral requirement of the EIA process!

Here, for the record , is what our Town and Country Planning Department’s “Handbook and Guide To Town Planning” says about this matter:-


Any application to the Chief Town Planner which requires the preparation of an environmental impact assessment SHALL be the subject of a PUBLIC  MEETING. The EIA report shall be made available to the public for a period of not less than twenty-eight (28) days to allow for perusal and scrutiny. The EIA report SHALL be made available within the community, district or main public library and the Town and Country Development Planning Office.

No later than fourteen(14) days after the public meeting the applicant is REQUIRED  TO  SUBMIT  THE  REPORT  OF  THE  PROCEEDINGS  TO  THE  CHIEF  TOWN  PLANNER.


The public meeting shall be advertised on local media and at least one daily newspaper announcing the availability of the EIA report at the commencement of the twenty-eight day period. The advertisement should occupy at least one quarter page in the newspaper and should be bold and noticeable.

Furthermore, Section 12.2 of our country’s Physical Development Plan stipulates that “where Environmental Impact Assessments are required they shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Chief Town Planner  PRIOR to approval being given“.

In light of the foregoing, the proverbial “Six Million Dollar Question” is :- “Why wasn’t this particular project subjected to an Environmental Impact Assessment, inclusive of a substantive and meaningful public town hall meeting in which we— the people of Barbados– could have asked serious questions, demanded answers, and recorded any concerns or objections that we might have about the project ???

Somebody will have to answer this question , whether that answer is provided in the public domain or in the confines of a Court room.