Yellow Journalism Alive at Fontabelle

In the social media world it is referred to as click bait, not sure of the equivalent in the dead tree world.

A few weeks ago the BU blogmaster was critical of the Sunday Sun editor for offending the sensibilities of many Bajans by inserting a picture of Peter Wickam and partner on the front page. The objective of report was to share the news a prominent local person had taken a husband? There was reference to a marriage to further irritate.

Today the Sunday Editor repeated poor judgment by introducing as front page news a disagreement between late Prime Minister David Thompson’s wife Mara and her mother in law Margaret Knight. It seems like a story traditional media should have left for the blogs to rumble with. Truth be told circulation is flagging and money makes the world go around.

A more worthy angle would have been to inquire from Mara Thompson when her husband’s will was probated and to confirm if she is the beneficiary of tens of millions largely derived from her late husband’s servicing of the CLICO account. This is a matter of national import given the hundreds of CLICO policyholders poorer for purchasing CLICO product. Instead the Sunday Sun preferred to share the news that Mara Thompson turned her back on the 88 year old mother in law by refusing to pay her rent.

What would the late David Thompson say if he were alive to see his mother spurned by Mara?

Sun 1

P.1

 

P2

P2

Serious Wiretapping Questions for Owen Arthur

Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados

In the Sunday Sun front page newspaper article of 11th February 2018 titled Not On My Watch, former Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin, publicly confirmed :-

(1) that there are “extra-regional third parties” who provide the Royal Barbados Police Force with the “capability” to tap the telephones of persons in Barbados; that these “extra-regional third parties” are given “authorisation” to work with the Royal Barbados Police Force; and that the tapping of the telephones of persons in Barbados with the assistance of these “extra-regional third parties” has been ongoing since the year 1991– a period of some 27 years;

(2) that former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, former Prime Minister David Thompson (deceased), and current Prime Minister Freundel Stuart all knew about this practice of the Royal Barbados Police Force collaborating with “extra-regional third parties” to tap the telephones of Barbadians;

(3) that “it was common practice for all Prime Ministers……. to give authorisation” for the Royal Barbados Police Force to collaborate with these “extra-regional third parties” in the tapping of telephones in Barbados; and

(4) that “all Opposition Leaders over the years had been informed” about the Royal Barbados Police Force’s use of wiretapping technology to tap the phones of Barbadians.

And so, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur could bluster and obfuscate as much as he likes about the Governor General being formally responsible for the efficient administration of the Police Force — sensible and conscious Barbadians are not buying his contention that he and other Barbadian Prime Ministers are not relevant to the issue of foreign entities collaborating with the Royal Barbados Police Force in tapping the telephones of Barbadians.

We are also not buying his pathetic effort to turn himself into a victim by claiming that “it has been represented in the public domain that my phones had been tapped also”.Nor are we interested in his irrelevant sob-story about Darwin Dottin being his best friend at primary school !

Perceptive Barbadians will have noted that in spite of all of his effusions and feverish protestations on the matter, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur is yet to deny that foreign entities have been collaborating with the Royal Barbados Police Force in tapping telephones in Barbados.

As a citizen of Barbados I find it to be totally unacceptable that our Government and national Police Force could be joining together with foreign entities to tap the telephones of Barbadians without having established any legal authorisation in the Laws of Barbados for this practice; without establishing any protocols of oversight and accountability in relation to the carrying out of this activity; without in any way informing us–the Barbadian people — about any of this happening; and without providing us with even basic information about the identity of the mysterious foreign entities that are being permitted to invade the privacy of Barbadians.

Who — former Prime Minister Arthur and current Prime Minister Stuart — are these “extra-regional third parties” that are permitted to collaborate with the Royal Barbados Police Force in tapping telephones in our country ?

What are the protocols and regulations under which this practice has been taking place over the past 27 years ? Aren’t we — the citizens of Barbados — entitled to know the criteria by which a decision is made to tap the telephone of a Barbadian citizen? And who makes that decision?

Furthermore, what mechanism of oversight and accountability has been attached to this practice ?Indeed, is there ANY mechanism of oversight and accountability ?

When all is said and done,the reality is that you–Mr Owen Arthur– held the office of Prime Minister of this country for 14 of the 27 years during which this practice of telephone tapping was taking place. And you– Mr Stuart– have held the post of Prime Minister for some 8 of those 27 years.

Do not insult our intelligence with idle and evasive talk about the Governor General or insinuations about current Opposition  Leader Mia Mottley! We need answers to the serious questions that surround this 27 year old practice of engaging with foreign entities to tap the telephones of Barbadians.

 

 

 

The George Brathwaite Column – DLP FACTS and Failed Leadership

George C. Brathwaite (PhD)

Given the manifested ineptitude of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) over the past decade, Barbadians are hoping for change with the next general elections in sight. Barbadians are ready to overcome the DLP’s wreckage of economy and society. They have become excited about the prospects of different leadership and political agency. New political entities without showing their faces, coupled with a unified opposition in Parliament, are sounding their voices if not totally revealing policy alternatives.

But why be critical or dent aspirations of the Freundel Stuart-led administration seeking a third term? The answer is straightforward. The current DLP administration has failed to meet most expectations of the Barbadian people – both young and old for nearly 10 years. On hindsight, this ill-directed route taken by the DLP was erroneously self-labelled – ‘Pathways to Progress’. Barbadians witnessed a daily and unending trek towards macroeconomic degradation and societal disorder, despite DLP supporters remaining staunch in support. Moreover, the DLP has been at pains to suggest that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) operated in ‘times of plenty’ with no profound transformations occurring under Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

The DLP claims that the inherited social institutions were unable to improve the welfare of the Barbados nation. Unfortunately, the DLP’s rejection of everything touched by Arthur, hastened the eventual failures of the DLP’s two terms in office. The sullied approach of overly separating economic practicalities from societal order became the DLP’s way of telling Barbadians that Arthur’s BLP was so focussed on economy, that a clear majority of the nation’s people and society were neglected. The distortions, untruths, and DLP propaganda have been since exposed.

Driving the first term of the DLP’s return to power since the dark days of exile in the early 1990s, the DLP chose a mantra that ‘Barbados is not only an economy; it is a society’. This easy turn of phrase managed to set a lingual framework of optimism and empowering expectations throughout the nation. Initially, Barbadians were captured by the DLP’s messaging that suggested the David Thompson Cabinet was interested in building a sound Barbadian society and transforming the lives of many persons left on the margins. However, persons more knowledgeable than the DLP’s escape artists realised that the DLP was somewhat bereft in terms of economic thought. To suggest that the DLP was capable of moving Barbados beyond the bifurcated and disjointed gaze of messieurs Thompson, Stuart, Sinckler and elders in the background, was politically enthralling but realistically empty.

The fact is, the DLP since 2008 refused to accept from the outset that ‘‘progress’’ implies the combination of social progress alongside the pursuit of economic growth. With a burdensome 2008 budget that has since been followed with fiscal indiscipline, there are challenges coping with more taxation and austerity. The DLP has not been successful creating incentives and prosperity, nor is the course set to direct the economy to meet and maximise on those benefits for meeting human needs, improving efficiency, creating jobs, and building wealth among the Barbadian people. Several experts outside the scope of the DLP warned of the potential dangers associated with oddly separating economy and society beyond analytical practicality.

From Thompson to Sinckler, and from Thompson to Stuart, Barbados was presented with good-sounding empty vessels as if societal concerns could be addressed without the apt supporting economic inputs of fiscal and monetary policies. One ought not to lay all the blame on Stuart after the passing of David Thompson. It is true that in 2009, Thompson constantly was lamenting that the DLP inherited a ‘bad hand’, with the same chorus being sung by his Ministers. This weak posturing by the DLP continues to date, and is clearly self-defeating. The DLP’s protruding leadership ineptness – discounting those constraints produced by recession – made it impossible to safeguard a society without the necessary supports that flow from a viable economy.

Clearly, Thompson’s first budget began a taxation binge. Afterwards, with Christopher Sinckler as the current pilot, taxation has practically become a runaway and non-stop train. Sinckler’s economic/financial shortcomings are part of the mix now ruining Barbados, and if there is any doubt, Minister Dr David Estwick has admitted that Barbados’ “debt metrics have deteriorated significantly since 2010,” and this timeline coincides with Sinckler’s elevation to be the Minister of Finance. Still today, many persons may prefer to overlook a predictive statement made by David Thompson in August 2009. Thompson, perhaps for the first time, conceded that: “We are navigating an uncharted path. No one knows what lies beyond the bend. In fact, we have not yet even seen the bend.” Arguably, Thompson was aware of the lack of acumen to draw on exclusively from within the DLP.

Since then, back-peddling has become synonymous with the DLP regarding the Barbados economy, and have been cause for Barbadians’ frustration and demand for change. Months ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stereotypically mentioned that a ‘corner’ was within reach; Barbadians have not yet seen the bend mentioned by Thompson or the IMF. Barbadians are still waiting given that 2 % economic growth during the height of the 2016/17 tourism season, is nothing to inspire confidence in the economy. Furthermore, the printing of money continues while several advisors are indicating that depleted foreign reserves are a constant threat. Certainly, the DLP’s ‘Continuing on the Pathways to Progress’ of 2013 is conclusively disastrous. The DLP, with every limp attempt, has missed opportunities to effectively transform the Barbados nation ‘to meet the needs of the people’.

By 2014 for instance, working Barbadians were faced with ‘surprising’ job cuts and being kicked to the unemployment curb by the DLP. At the same time, young Barbadians were facing shrinking opportunities for equal access to tertiary education while having to fork out thousands of dollars to meet their tuition costs at the University of the West Indies. Other public services like sanitation, health, water, and transportation all suffered immensely. Indeed, by 2015 and despite all the ‘corrective measures’ introduced by the two Ministers of Finance since 2008, Christopher Sinckler was stating that “there is now a serious structural decline in our revenue base which we can no longer afford to ignore.” The evidence tells that Stuart/Sinckler’s repeated answer to problems impacting on Barbados, and carried on from Thompson, promoted political theatrics and imposed greater forms of taxation and hardships on the backs of Barbadians.

Under Stuart’s stewardship, near total silence has become the norm, and his supposed decency is upended by instinctive procrastination. The characteristics further demonstrate a stubborn inclination to be indecisive with important affairs. Wait and see approaches, cluttered by historical retrieval of the archaic and mundane, have been the main features of PM Stuart’s serendipitous stewardship. These factors also reveal the DLP’s paralysis in government. The DLP continues wading from one crisis to another without any clear signs of success with the constant borrowing to support government’s ineffective programmes. The verdict is that the collective expectations of Barbadians have not drawn satisfactory attention from Stuart’s uninspiring Cabinet, despite the current and penultimate desperation to spread DLP FACTS. The DLP’s verbiage is no more than half-hearted fictional pieces. Whether one focusses on the economy or the society, the pretty talk of shaping a budding society has lost its potency with all the mishaps and omissions to act by Freundel Stuart’s DLP and his struggling Cabinet.

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

David Thompson’s Punctured Legacy

The Thompsons

The Thompsons

The FIFA corruption scandal has confirmed the nature of humankind and our ever present  fallibility. The  epicentre of the investigation struck close to home with key decision makers in CONCACAF  – including former Vice President Jack Warner[…] Continue reading

When Will the Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock ACT in the CLICO Leroy Parris Matter?

CLICO Cheque_Leroy Parris

CLICO’s Leroy Parris approved a payment to Thompson & Associates on a false invoice

The Deloitte CLICO Forensic Report exposed to the world that a cheque for 3.333 million dollars was paid to Thompson & Associates by CLICO for legal services rendered. The invoice to support the payment was found to be a ‘false invoice’. Maurice King (lawyer)  is listed on the fake invoice as providing a watching brief in matters related to Abarco versus Grant Hotels Limited for $250,000. Maurice King is on record denying he provided the service itemized on the (fake) invoice.

Further, in the Forensic Report which was recently unsealed by Justice William Chandler, the former group financial controller, and at the time of the audit, President and CEO of Clico Holdings Barbados Limited Terrence Thornhill  confirmed to the Deloitte Auditors the following –  “He believed that the creation, approval and submission for payment of a false invoice to facilitate a significant payment from CIL to Mr.Parris’ benefit (via PFS) and to conceal its true nature was an acceptable transaction” (Deloitte’s Forensic Report p.14).

Barbados Underground (BU) sincerely submits there is enough information for Director of Public Prosecutions to ACT!

Late Prime Minister David Thompson’s Name to be Given to St. John Polyclinic

The unfinished St.John Polyclinic

The unfinished St.John Polyclinic (1991-2015)

It is an open secret the very close – who said incestuous? – relationship the late prime minister David Thompson and Leroy Parris enjoyed. They were pals, travel buddies, the two families had a financial relationship. Rumours abound about the content of Thompson’s will sized by some from 30 million to 70 million dollars. Also, the close relationship extended to the company Parris led, CLICO bankrolled the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) political campaigns in the amount of millions. Not to mention the hand me down motor cars and other items sold or given to DLP members of the political class.

The release of the CLICO FINAL FORENSIC REPORT raises several questions about the integrity and honesty of the late David Thompson.  So far it does not look good for the former prime minister who died at the age of 48 from pancreatic cancer. Given what is at stake Barbadians will be lucky to see justice play out any time soon – members of the political class from both sides supported by corrupt elements in the private sector will be the hindrance.

Continue reading

David Thompson and Families First Slush Fund, the Corruption Trail

Each day, as this saga unfolds, more and more of the innocence of Barbadian society gets destroyed. Some Barbadians, who are thinking for themselves, have already raced ahead to recognize that CLICO is just the tip of a national iceberg.The hard-earned money of Barbadian taxpayers has been receiving similar treatment for the last 30 years also Walter Blackman

The BU household agrees with pundits who suggest irreparable harm has been done to the legacy of the late Prime Minister David Thompson caused by the recent revelations contained in the CLICO Final Forensic Report unsealed by Justice William Chandler. Before the CLICO meltdown many Barbadians were prepared to give credit to Thompson for his Families First Campaign and other people centric initiatives. He promulgated the view “Family values are crucial and the role of fathers and mothers is vital to children’s development.” What a noble effort by the late Prime Minister Thompson which sadly appears to be the usual political rhetoric.

Now that the public persona of the late David Thompson has been shattered to smithereens a pandora’s box of questions have to be asked and answered. Monies paid by CLICO Barbados to the Families First Account were managed by the late David Thompson. However it is inconceivable that he and he alone had oversight for the slush fund. Of greater interest is the need to perform an audit to identify inflows to the account from CLICO and other contributors from Barbados and the Caribbean.

Woe is we!

Time to Come Clean Mara Thompson

Submitted by Skiinny Tee

(re-edited)

Mara Thompson MP should defend her husband's legacy by championing transparency legislation

Mara Thompson MP should defend her husband’s legacy by championing transparency legislation

The leaked Deloittes CLICO Judicial report in 2007 revealed troubling information about a 3 million dollar payment to Thompson & Associates, a law firm which the late Prime Minister  lead partner. The revelation a three million dollar payment was made to former Chairman of CLICO Holdings Leroy Parris as a gratuity payment should have raised more debate in Barbados. Further, Thompson acted as lawyer for Parris, CLICO Holdings and there is a godfather role which may or may not be relevant. It says something about Barbadians given our silence on the matter. The three million dollar payment requires an explanation from someone with the knowledge to address it. All are mindful subsequent judicial reports have been sealed by the court.

Continue reading

The $3.33 Million Cheque Issued by CLICO International Life Insurance to Thompson & Associates

thompsonparrischeque

The following was extracted from the Forensic Audit of CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd (under Judicial Management): Report as of December 5, 2011

“Included in the balance owing by CHBL is a payment for $3.333mm made by CIL to the law firm of Thompson & Associates (legal advisors to CIL and CHBL) in January 2009, pursuant to an invoice dated December 2008 purportedly for fees or retainers related to various legal matters involving CHBL. Mr. Leroy Parris, the former Chairman of CIL and CHBL authorized the invoice for payment. We have been advised that although payment was made to Thompson & Associates, it was in fact to the benefit of Mr. Parris as partial payment of a “gratuity”. We note that this transaction was not disclosed in the Minutes at that time but was discussed by the Board following the appointment to the Board of the Government representative in mid-2009.”

Mara Mara on the Wall…CLICO is the Greatest Scam of them ALL

Mara Thompson M.P.

Mara Thompson M.P.

… for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate meExodus 20:5

BU admires Afra Raymond’s contribution to public service in Trinidad. His indefatigable and strident calls for transparency by government and wider society is an approach which needs to take on momentum across the region. His recent blog Everything but the Truth highlights his battle with the government over the controversial CL Financial, parent company of CLICO. Afra’s challenge is made all the more interesting by the fact freedom of information laws are in force in Trinidad. CLICO was a pan Caribbean entity and it makes sense given the complicated mess which has been created by its collapse there would have been a greater effort for advocates to collaborate MORE to ensure the rights of policyholders are addressed. Equally as important citizens have an obligation to insist those elected are held accountable.

The CLICO debacle continues to lay in abeyance. Politicians continue year after year since the collapse to roll out the promises how they propose to remedy this mess for policyholders. With respect to June Fowler and her group the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) they have become comfortable in the role of information takers. Clearly the group is not respected for the pressure it threatens to exert on the process. BU and others are acutely aware regional government – Trinidad the exception – are cash strapped and will be for the foreseeable future there promises are the best politicians are able to deliver.

Continue reading

Lessons to Guide Another Dichotomous DLP Cabinet: Save Barbados Now!

George C. Brathwaite

George C. Brathwaite

At the 2007 Annual Delegate’s Conference of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the then Leader of the Opposition, David Thompson, began his featured speech by invoking a few disclaimers. It was revealed that there were groups within civil society actively speaking out against several perceived ills. Freedom of expression prevailed in Barbados under the political sacrosanct of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that was being led by the economically acclaimed and intellectually gifted Owen Arthur, in spite of mounting and troublesome criticisms against the government.

David Thompson, in his address, said then that the situation in Barbados had reached a stage wherein there were pronounced “signs of frustration and despair.” Thompson goaded the public into thinking that it was inconceivable why the BLP had become “so indifferent and disconnected from the people it was elected to serve.” Thompson’s utterances were glazed in flowery language and buttered with a mischief to exploit weaknesses which appeared in the seemingly invincible Arthur-led team. The DLP, through its leader, promised to “imbue new hope and optimism” into Barbadians because Barbados was on a “slippery slope of division,” and it had become infested by “stagnation and malfeasance in public administration.” One wonders how necessary was this charade at the end of 2007 when now compared with those things have been evidenced this year at the end of 2013?

Read full article

Has the BWA Short-changed Barbadians After Benefiting from a 60% Rate Hike in 2009?

The Late Hon. Prime Minister David Thompson

The Late Hon. Prime Minister David Thompson

Barbados Water Authority (BWA) acting senior engineer Stephen Lindo was in the news recently reminding Barbadians, yet again, that the BWA needs to source one billion dollars to fund the replacement of old infrastructure. Another point he made which should be of interest to Barbadians is that the government “would be approaching the IDB for money to buy a number of power generators, which are critical when there is an outage at the Barbados Light & Power Company.”  It is no secret that the BWA is 100% reliant on the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) for power supply at a time when the Barbados government has articulated that building out alternative energy supply is a national priority. In fact the BWA is reported to use 3.6 million units of electricity each month which equates to approximately 4% of the total output of BL&P.

The press conference by Lindo reminded BU of the address which the late prime minister David Thompson delivered to all employees of the BWA in 2009 over four years ago. His address was made on the eve of the decision by his government to implement a rate hike of 60%. Although the hike became a hot political issue most Barbadians were resigned to the fact the BWA needed funds to improve its plant and customer service. However by now the same Barbadians  would have expected that since Thompson’s speech many deliverables promised would have been deep in the implementation stage.

Continue reading

Pickering Project Goes BOOM!

Reynold Austin, president of the Democratic Labour Party Canada branch

Reynold Austin, president of the Democratic Labour Party Canada branch

It seems like yesterday, although it was June 2010,  when a frail David Thompson turned the the ceremonial sod to announce the coming of the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development project. Depending on which local media outlet is sourced for information about the project the figures 800 million or 1.7 billion are mentioned . BU cannot remember so many projects going ‘bellyup’ in such a short time period when compared to the last 3 years. Have we compromised on our due diligence method for recognizing quality foreign investment? Have a read of the lofty words uttered by the late Prime Minister Thompson to describe the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development.

Prime Minister Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) need to explain the stench wafting from this project which appears to be stillborn 3 years later. Before the fowls begin to cackle, here is why. In the Nation article Not Jolly a Canadian businessman is reported to have invested USD750,000 in the Pickering project after being approached by a Reynold Austin who was and still is the president of the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch.  It seems a sordid affair that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is being advertised as guest speaker at the 6th Annual Errol Barrow Memorial dinner being planned by the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch.  One wonders what the late Errol Barrow would have to say to Reynold Austin if he were to be reincarnated at his memorial function – see DLP Canada website.

Continue reading

DLP Propaganda, Indoctrination, Control: Moles Hiding, Mules Executing Poisonous Arrows

George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE

George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE

Given the political issues, crises, machinations and shenanigans impacting on Barbados over the last three years, and especially with the types of defences made by and for PM Stuart and his, the two poorest
performing Cabinets in living memory, several observers have concluded that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is superior to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) regarding the use of shaded innuendo, political ‘spin’ and crass propaganda.

Noam Chomsky presents the view that “even though people have the freedom to make their own decisions, they must guard themselves against powerful influences that intend to direct what they think and do in an attempt to maintain power.” Barbadians have to be very mindful of the indistinguishable moles and figurative mules that are antithetical to the interests of working class Barbadians and their offspring.

David Thompson speaking at the first DLP annual conference after he  became prime minister in 2008, reminded a DLP audience still basking in its long-awaited electoral victory that “we are a family and we have a duty to look out one for the other.” As if that was insufficient, David Thompson coached his followers directing them to understand that in no uncertain terms should they shy away from commitment to the DLP because, “your duty is to play your part in maintaining the honour and dignity of this institution, especially now when it forms the government.”

Read full article

Prime Minister Please Talk to Us

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

There was a time not too long ago when Barbados was looked to for leadership on the regional front. We were told we were a country fighting above its weight. There was a time when a president of the USofA, or two, would visit our shores, today they pass us by. Sadly in recent years we have lost our way spiritually, economically, politically, morally…

Barbados Underground does not agree with the view that because the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) won the last general election it means all citizens, which includes the BU family, should agree with all policies being enunciated by the government. Rubbish! The DLP won the last election by a two seats margin and a little over four thousand votes made the difference in the total vote recorded at 152, 593.  Of growing concern is also the large group of Barbadians who continue to ignore the right to vote.

In the lead up to the 2008 general election what led BU to be supportive of the David Thompson opposition was his promise to communicate with the people and to lead a government committed to being transparent.. Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur had assumed a dictatorial approach to managing Barbados which offended the BU household.  Sadly Thompson died in office before he was able to achieve anything of note.

Perhaps not!

Continue reading

A Case of Massaging News

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica - photo credit Dominica News

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica – photo credit: Dominica News

On 27 April 2013 Barbados Underground (BU) posted the blog Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?. Although the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has denied the word making the rounds that he is a local shareholder, BU defends our right to ask questions of Skerrit or anyone in the interest of providing clarification.

In the interest of providing further clarification it should be noted that the Companies Act Cap 308 places sole responsibility of managing the company in the hands of the Directors. What this means is that unless a shareholder choses to be a Director the public is left to speculate who are the shareholders. The Act is drafted to protect the Shareholder who  – if not a Director – has no say in the conduct of the company.

BU reiterates our position taken in the original blog, in the interest of transparency the other names mentioned (Hartley Henry, the Estate of David Thompson and Leroy Parris) should state publicly whether they have an interest in Cost U Less (CUL).  The government has approved significant concessions to CUL and given the names mentioned the public has a right to know. It should be noted that Pricesmart has since denied receiving similar concessions. Also at the time of launch it was widely reported that David Staples represented local shareholder interest. Perhaps in the interest of protecting its goodwill CUL should make a public statement stating who are the local shareholders.

Continue reading

Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?

Former Prime Minister David Thompson (l) Former Chairman CLICO Holdings B'dos Ltd rumoured to be local partners in Cost-U-Less

Late Prime Minister David Thompson (l) disgraced former Chairman of CLICO Holdings B’dos Ltd rumoured to be local partners in Cost-U-Less

We do not charge membership fees and believe we can offer low prices to Barbados shoppers, just as we have in our most recent store opening in the Cayman Islands, which was also a partnership with local business people

NorthWest Company trading as Cost-U-Less July 2008

It has been almost five years from the time of the announcement Cost U Less Maybe Coming To Barbados that it launched in Barbados. However, based on consumer feedback the wait has been in vain.  It has been two months since launch and Barbadians continue to wait for the low prices promised. Before the coming of Cost-U-Less the Trinidadians, who now have a vice grip on our food retail and distribution channels, had promised Barbadian consumers the same, that is, we would benefit from economies of scale created by a larger T&T market.

Barbados now finds itself in a situation where we have a new entrant to an already competitive retail food sector.  And it has not demonstrated any appreciable price differentiation in its offering. Sad to say the inevitable must follow.  We created 200 jobs with the coming of Cost-U-Less but SuperCentre and DacostaMannings, owned by the Trinidadians, continue to send home employees.

Continue reading

Notes From a Native Son: Politicians Must Come Clean about Their Programmes for Change

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
In our democracy, politicians have the simple task of collectively being rainmakers, they simply bring talent together and, from that collection of outstanding individual instrumentalists, create a harmonic sound. Times of crisis call for innovative thinking, experimenting with new ideas, adopting what we in Britain call the Dunkirk spirit.

It is at historic points in the development of capitalism such as this that we see the best of what we have to offer, when the creators of new and imaginative ideas come to the fore, when those who have the future of Barbados at heart rise up.

With the sudden announcement of the general election, which gave off a smell of panic, we as a nation have had to sit and watch the humiliating nonsense of our leading politicians and the two rival parties, launching in to a campaign without manifestos, the roadmaps to their policies, for the first week or so. They were travelling up and down the country, talking themselves silly, without a detailed, or even outline, of the policies they hoped to introduce if the people of Barbados returned them to power. In other words, we have had a government which, after five years in power, could not come to voters with the simple message that they should be returned to finish off what they had started. Maybe, there were five wasted years and they could not ask people to vote for a non-existent unfinished programme.

Continue reading

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the one that got away

YouTube video posted by social commentator Agyeman Kofi

Leading up to the last general election (2007/2008) a key platform message for the then David Thompson led Opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was to PROMISE Barbadians transparency legislation. Another general election is upon us – five years later – and although the government has hurried the Anti-corruption Bill through parliament, it is yet to be operationalized. Many argue that the more important piece of transparency legislation is the FOIA,  giving ordinary Barbadians access to information. The FOIA languishes in draft.

“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.”

― Bruce Coville

Noel Lynch Attacks the Late David Thompson

Some believe Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Michael South Noel ‘Barney’ Lynch crossed the line at a political meeting held at Heroes Square 18/01/2013.

When the Law and Politics Create Tension

Stuart and Arthur lead the pack

Stuart and Arthur lead the pack according to CADRES

There is the law and then there is the politics.

The Prime Minister is not breaking any law by not issuing the general election date. The question which the Prime Minister should have considered however is whether  by betraying convention he has contributed to the deterioration of political stability. Barbados is a country which is highly regarded across the world about how it manages the electoral process.

Based on a recent CADRES poll the Prime Minister’s leadership approval rating has increased. If a political party is in the business of winning elections, the Prime Minister may feel vindicated that his strategy of using the full ‘legal period’ to call the general election is working. According to the poll Prime Minister Stuart’s leadership approval rating has jumped from 9.9% to 23%. Despite the jump however he [Stuart] continues to trail Owen Arthur whose approval rating has moved from 29.8% to  39%.

BU’s view is that at a time of unprecedented economic challenge the country should not have to be side tracked by the politics of whether an election should be called or not. Prime Minister Stuart obviously does not subscribe to the tradition of a government calling an election on a date which gives political advantage. Surely after the death of Prime Minister David Thompson and the conflict which played out with the Gang of 5 within the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), it was politically advantageous for Stuart to seek his mandate at that time. And he had the advantage of recalling that Arthur made a similar slip and paid the political price.

The law is on Stuart’s side but…

Continue reading

The Violet Beckles Affair, Separating Fact From Fiction Part V

Related Links:

The Violet Beckles Affair, Separating Fact From Fiction Part IV

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Related Links:

The links to the images in the Slide Show are provided below. To the lawyers,  we are not in a court of law.

Continue reading

The Violet Beckles Affair, Separating Fact From Fiction Part III

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the news recently Barbadians learned about a Court battle over the sale of The Farm Plantation. In 2005 a Court approved the sale of the plantation to Timothy Walsh of Nature’s Produce for $1.5 million. And in a recent court order the 135 acre property was approved to be sold to building magnate Bjorn Bjerkhamn for $1.35 million.

The treasure which has caused wars to be fought continues. On BU “Plantation Deeds” continues his online war to expose a matter which he believes is not being given enough airplay by the establishment. Here are some more documents which includes The Farm plantation and the Urban Development Commission (UDC).

Yes we know, BU is not a court of law BUT an online medium which allows the ordinary to give vent to concerns.

Related Links:

Here are the links to the images in the Slide Show: Continue reading

DLP's Privatisation Dilemma

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

I have come to the conclusion that many local politicians seem to have an aversion to telling the truth, even when the truth would not hurt them; their default position is to lie. Nothing has borne that out more than the privatisation debate that is presently gripping the country.

Opposition Leader, Owen Arthur, articulated a policy on privatisation that almost mirrors previously stated DLP policy. Unfortunately, that policy inflamed the passions of a section of the community, particularly the trade union movement, to the extent that the president of NUPW called a press conference to reiterate his union’s opposition. Sadly, the DLP chose to shift gears and disavow their longstanding policy, claiming that it would lead to job losses. Interestingly enough, only Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, had the courage to admit publicly that both parties are at one on the privatisation issue.

It is that either Owen Arthur is extremely clever or the DEMS are exceedingly dumb. He set up the DLP by outlining their well established policy, on privatisation, as his; and they, with the exception of Sinckler, were silly enough to repudiate everything that they stood for.

Continue reading

Will David Estwick FINALLY Emerge?

David Estwick – Minister of Agriculture

Last week the Nation newspaper ran the results of a poll which promotes that Barbadians prefer Sinckler and Mottley to be named as deputies. BU is against opinion journalism. Conduct a poll which addresses the need to amend to party constitutions. How about how Barbadians feel about campaign financing reform legislation.  The list is long about worthwhile issues which could have been polled. However we appreciate such topics will not ‘sell’ newspapers.

We all know that it is the person who commands the confidence and support of the parliamentary majority in parliament that count NOT the public. Currently the Barbados Labour Party has named Dale Marshall as deputy and what? It is in name only if one were to judge by job assignments. Mottley appears to be acting out the role as deputy. But who will get the nod as Prime Minister on the morning after? Does anyone believe Arthur will appoint the George Walton Chambers man as deputy prime minister were he to win the next general election? Who knows, Mottley may emerge, AGAIN! Another BU belief is that leaders emerge. There seem to be an unholy haste to elevate Sinckler et al to the top post.

Getting back to the Nation/Cadres poll last week. How is it possible for the public to prefer Ronald Jones over someone like David Estwick? Jones has been at the centre of the Alexandra School dispute and has been fingered as the person who by sitting on the King Report exacerbated the matter. His tenure as President of the Barbados Football Association should does not recommend him as a leader of any merit. The analysis is not to promote Estwick over Jones but to examine the folly of the opinion poll in this instance.

Continue reading

WANTED: Fourth Estate Not Beholden To Any 'Party'

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

Albert Brandford (l) Kaymar Jordan (c) Sanka Price (r)

It is 5:00pm on the evening of the tenth day of this the month of October, the day chosen by the extended arm of the Barbados Labour Party known as the Nation Publishing Co. to make what so far has to be its most brazen attempt to hoodwink the Fruendel Stuart administration. Barbados is two short hours away from an act of political prostitution of its fourth estate, headed by a group that over the past few years has perfected the art of creative deception. Only this group could manage to disguise a political meeting so well that it could be sold as a town-hall forum.This political meeting is being held for the sole purpose of trying to force the government’s hand in calling the elections, even though all of the experts {and let me be  first to admit that I believed them} said that a longer wait was to the detriment of the government. The stench of this exercise reaches to the high heavens.

The Nation’s editor Kaymar Jordan who will be the chair person of this political meeting was heard on brass tacks today lamenting the fact that the prime minister had refused to be a speaker at this event. With all due respect I say to the lady that gone are the days when children were made to go pick the whip to inflict lashes to their very own asses. Freundel Stuart nor any member of the DLP for that matter, has any business being in attendance at this seminar of shameless deceit hosted by a bunch of part time journalists/full time party hacks who are driven to satisfy the morbid cravings of Owen S Arthur. Should he ever develop a cancer this bunch should know even before his doctor, for their heads are so far up his ass how could they miss it? One might wonder from whence comes this malcontentedness?

Continue reading

We Promise…

Do we need a Political Ombudsman?

Election manifesto is a statement by a political party,explaining what it will do if they win the elections.Through election manifesto the voters come to know about the policies of the political party they are going to vote for.They can easily think that which party will prove the best for them,they can decide that with whose policies they want to go.therefore an election manifesto is very important – WIKI

Political parties the world over will make promises to an expectant electorate. Based on the ‘complexion’ of the political climate these promises are as outlandish as they come and bear no relationship to the reality of getting the promises implemented if the party is elected.

To be fair to political parties there is nothing wrong with using a manifesto to ‘promise’ what it will do if elected. What must be challenged is the need to establish a ‘check’ for John Citizenry to exact accountability. Why shouldn’t the electorate feel comfortable knowing that the UWI, Cave Hill, Fourth Estate and other entities in civil society have the credibility to challenge, clarify and demystify promises made by political parties on the campaign trail? Why should John Citizenry not have recourse in the law to recall ministers and members of parliament who they are perceived to have under-achieved?

Continue reading

Notes From a Native Son: Why a Massive Development Plan could Have Made a Major Difference to Development in Barbados (Pt 1)

Hal Austin

Introduction:
For the last five years governments of Barbados have been trapped like a rabbit in oncoming headlights as to what to do about the cascading economic crisis that has descended on the island and the simmering social breakdown that no one wants to talk about. Many prefer to close their eyes and pretend that global problems beyond local control are the reasons, so all they have to do is sit back and wait and things will magically change.

However, no where has there been a substantive strategic plan, no strategy to rebalance public sector spending, no plan for growth, apart from the rhetoric, and nothing at all to deal with the threat to social order. Nowhere in the many speeches and rebuttals of his critics has finance minister Chris Sinckler talked about the much-needed fiscal discipline, reducing public sector borrowing or spending. He has mentioned growth, but it is all smoke and mirrors, rhetoric without any follow through action.

Here I want to outline some simple policy actions or announcements the DLP government should have taken within the first 100 days of coming to power, and, to my mind, the mistakes it has made. The nearest the government has come to publishing an expressed policy was its “Barbados Short and Medium Term Action Plan” of December 2008. Lots have happened in the last four years, and, apart from the occasional reference to it, that document has not been updated.

Continue reading

A Country In Waiting: Transparency Legislation Promised 1754 Days Ago and Counting

Mara Thompson MP should defend her husband’s legacy by championing transparency legislation

Barbadians were ready to change the government last general election for several reasons, an obvious third term lethargy at the top of the list. It did not stop the Opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) from promising the sky and the 7 seas. One platform promise which resonated and persuaded many Independents to vote DLP was Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation (IL).  Barbadians like many around the world became intoxicated by the message of hope promised by Obama, we bought into the same message of the late David Thompson and his team.

On the 20 November 2007 a resolution was laid by the late Prime Minister David Thompson in the House of Assembly giving his support to IL and FOI legislation to be drafted as soon as possible. We are about to enter anther general election five years later and ….If the government were to rush this legislation to book before the bell is rung one wonders if it would not be a dishonest act.

Barbados Underground (BU) is on record admitting to having bought into the Thompson message of enacting transparency legislation to improve governance in Barbados. To say we are sorely disappointed by the lack of priority given by this government to enacting transparency legislation would be an accurate statement. Five years later there is not even the sense, if we listen to members of parliament from the government side, that transparency legislation is top of mind.

Continue reading

The Deputy As Leader

The Deputies

One of the many problems which afflict our political system is the overwhelming focus on the ‘maximum’ leaders of the two main political parties, case in point Fruendel Stuart and Owen Arthur. The talk shows, newspapers and of course ‘the blogs’ you name it, the majority of the conversation is always about Arthur and Stuart. No wonder when our leaders depart – Tom Adams, Errol Barrow and David Thompson – there is a void which the parties have struggled to fill.

It seems like a long time since Mia Mottley was removed as leader of the Opposition. Of interest is that Dale Marshall  continued in his role as deputy opposition leader if there is such a position. Marshall has never attained a national profile which placed him in the conversation to be considered prime minister material. It is clear his role as deputy was to placate the Payne faction and also to recognize his facile political persona.

As gearing for the next election intensifies Arthur has recognized (very quickly) that a role must be defined for Motley given her relatively high national profile. He has had no choice but to let her assume the role of party whip used here to mean amplifying party views. We have seen her replying as lead spokesman of the opposition to the most important debates for the year; the Estimates and the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals. As Motley has regained prominence Dale Marshall has had to revert to a role which he seems comfortable. A recent press conference by the opposition to respond to the S&P downgrade exposed the batting order if one judges from the speaking order – Arthur, Motley and Mascoll. A throwback to the last election maybe when some had concerns about whether Mascoll or Mottley was the deputy?

Continue reading

A Very Sad Time In Barbados' Financial History

Submitted by People’s Democratic Congress (PDC)

Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Sandiford led restructuring in the early 90s

For, on Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, Standard and Poor’s – one of the three major international credit rating agencies – downgraded the Barbados Government’s financial credit rating. The Government’s foreign currency bonds status has reached junk status – from BBB-/A-3, to BB+/B, in the S&P’S rankings.

But, the PDC is not surprised that this has come about. As that, ever since the Barbados government’s last effective downgrade by Moody’s (another of the three major international credit rating agencies) in 2011, we would have been forewarning many people many times on here – on BU – and in other fora – that the Government of Barbados international creditworthiness would have been deteriorating at such a fast rate, that it was only a matter of time before it was going to be downgraded again by anyone of these credit rating agencies.

Well, that is what just happened on Tuesday – a day when, too, the Nation Newspaper was reporting big and bold on its front page, how the main public sector union – the NUPW – was bombastically ungraciously pressing for a 10% wages hike for public workers.

Continue reading

Getting Ready For The Campaign Trail, SOON

The following was posted as a comment on the CLICO – A Rape Victim But Who Are The RAPISTS? blog. BU believes the submission captures many of the issues which will be distilled on political platforms in the upcoming general elections.

Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

Current Opposition Leader Owen Arthur says that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government has a moral obligation to fix the CLICO mess.  Arthur and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) perhaps have forgotten that the Barbados Water Author (BWA), a government owned corporation and sole provider of water services  in 2009 was near bankruptcy. David Thompson and the DLP inherited the BWA problem from Arthur and the BLP.  Arthur and the BLP were morally responsible for BWA problems totalling thirteen years.  BWA problems FIRST appeared during the ruling of Arthur and the BLP, also Al Barrack.

The Al Barrack mess FIRST appeared during the ruling of Arthur and the BLP.  The court ruled in favour of Al Barrack, a little less than thirty five million, $34,490.518 to be exact. Barrack in 2008 received 2.5 million from the David Thompson administration. Al Barrack, since 2008 has not received payment from the Barbados government in any form or fashion.  Building Contractor, Al Barrack built the government office complex in Warrens (St. Michael) but yet unpaid.  The total amount NOW owed Al Barrack is far above 34, 490, 518.  The Barbados national debt also is far above the 34,490,518 amount.

Just recently, Arthur reported to Midweek Nation that “the REDjet Airlines might still be flying if the Barbados Government had honoured its financial commitment to the collapsed airline”.  Well Mr. Arthur, if the government during your rein had honoured its financial commitment to Contractor Al Barrack, Barbados  NOW would not owe him seventy five million.

Continue reading

The CADRES Poll: A Reason For Stuart To Ponder

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley was quoted in the press on the weekend blaming the lack of a media policy at the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) for feeding perennial controversies during the Crop Over period. To summarize his view: the ad hoc manner NCF officials have interacted with the media must stop. BU agrees with the minister that an effective media policy will always add value to the process of disseminating timely and accurate information.

To support Lashley view, we had another Lashley demonstrating why a media policy is useful. Yesterday at the St. James North Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Constituency meeting Minister of Housing Michael Lashley reacted to the CADRES poll by telling party supporters, “polls don’t vote”. Lashley who has been unusually silent in recent weeks – as well as Minister of Agriculture David Estwick – no doubt strayed from his substantive script of expounding about government’s housing program to share his views on the findings of the CADRES poll.

BU suspects that Nation newspaper reporter Mike King travelled to the St. James North Constituency meeting with great anticipation stoked by the release of the CADRES poll. Lashley did not disappoint. Here is a classic case where a media policy of government should have kicked in to guide public pronouncements about how to treat with the CADRES matter by key government officials.  Especially given the nature of its findings. The nonsensical comments attributed to Minister of Housing Michael Lashley in the Nation newspaper showed clearly his comments were off the cuff and exposed a kind of lethargy by our leadership which is not welcomed in 2012.

Continue reading

The Question Of "Good Governance" For Barbados: Freundel Stuart Or Owen Arthur

Submitted by Yardbroom

Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

In the September 1994 General Election, Owen Seymour Arthur – a matter of days before his 45th birthday, 17th October – became Prime Minister of Barbados, he was of course leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and went on to hold that position until 15th January 2008 when the BLP lost the general election to the DLP – Democratic Labour Party – by 10 seats to 20.  During that reign – some might say an illustrious period – Owen Arthur became the longest serving Barbadian Prime Minister.  On the 19th January 2008 Arthur relinquished the leadership of the BLP and Mia Mottley was elected to that position.  He was reinstated and sworn in as leader of the BLP by a vote of confidence by four of his parliamentary colleagues on the 18th October 2010.

I will not dwell on the period January 2008 – October 2010 the Mia Mottley leadership interval.  I should make it quite clear this is not because of any misgivings about Mia Mottley it is just this submission is not about her.

In a relatively short time – months – the electorate will decide on the next government of Barbados; more should be pondered on than a simple reaction to the moment; a skip back in time should be part of that process.

Continue reading

NIS Vigil

Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security

The news that the Barbados Rights Bill is currently being debated in parliament is good news. It is one of many bills which was in danger of being still born. Of interest to BU though is the visibility which a successful reading of the legislation will afford Dr. the Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo, M.P who is Minister of Labour and Social Security. There is a view that St. George South, the constituency she represents, is a bellwether constituency, one which the government cannot lose if it desires to win a second term. Her fight against Dwight Sutherland, the BLP candidate is already shaping up nicely between the two with deep roots in the constituency.

It is not unfair to suggest that Minister Suckoo has not satisfied legitimate expectations about her performance in the several portfolios she has been give responsibility. Her homage to late Prime Minister David Thompson in parliament suggests she maybe disappointed with her performance as well! Many do not know what to make of her invisibility in the current national debate about the the NIS investment strategy. Besides one statement made in the recent Budget debate which was a general statement she has allowed her male colleagues Messrs Sinckler, Kellman and Sealy to defend the investment strategy of the NIS.

Continue reading

Stuart Not Getting The Job Done

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

On reflection there have not been many blogs which were written by BU (David) when the laptop keys were banged in anger – consider this blog the exception. Of all the issues which have challenged Barbados and the government since it assumed office, it is the Alexandra matter (AX) which continues to provoke the ire of the BU household. A lot has been written in the last decade about this matter. The bottomline, Barbadians brag about how wonderfully educated we are, and how socially and politically stable we are, and how the Social Partnership has worked for Barbados and is viewed as a beacon of success for others to admire and emulate. Yet despite our many achievements we find ourselves where we are today; unable to solve a 10-year dispute which came to a head in recent months.

After 4-months of the AX matter having been escalated to the Prime Minister of Barbados Fruendel Stuart, and his early success to get the teachers back to school there was great expectation amongst the population that the matter would be resolved soon after. The Prime Minister by his language coupled with a public demonstration of confidence by the BSTU arising from meetings with Stuart, Barbadians rightly in our view perceived that the matter was being thrashed out, the fact that it is known to be a complex issue notwithstanding.

On Thursday when the Prime Minister held a press conference to announce on the matter, honestly, whatever expectation and admiration existed for Stuart was deflated when the solution approved by the Cabinet of Barbados was aired. BU has recorded in earlier blogs our concern that Stuart has demonstrated a tendency to ignore the political dimension to the many issues he has had to battle albeit during a difficult stewardship. The fact that he is a politician whether he considers himself one should make such an observation moot anyway. Barbadians are stark raving mad at the decision by the government of Barbados to establish a Commission of Inquiry as the means to solve the problem. It is not that constituting it is was not well intentioned however the perception of Barbadians is that the matter requires the urgency of now.  Whatever the level of the political stock Stuart and his government enjoyed before the press conference it has significantly fallen since.

Continue reading

Will The Real Bajan Politician Please Stand-up?

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

Minister Kellman and Noel Lynch, Bajan Politicians

As the hands of life’s time peace moves us closer to the end of yet another year on planet earth, we as a people are faced with the realization that it also moves us closer to the crossroad where the wrong turn takes the most stable nation in the region down the path that others bigger and more resourceful have followed, and are yet to see even a glimmer of hope that recovery is within their grasp.

The up-coming general elections may well be yet another watershed moment in the history of the land to which we all lay claims of love. If those claims are to be taken seriously then we must engage in the act of introspective soul searching with the intent of bringing Barbados back to the days of yore when party affiliation was secondary and surfaced only at election time.Today it predominates our every move.The group that speaks begrudgingly of “The Fatted Calf” are constantly reminded of the life they enjoyed while living “High On The Hog” and the unconnected lot wait patiently for the crumbs that fall from the Party Table.

What choice do they have at this point?

Continue reading

Where Is The Hardwood Housing Forensic Report?

The Hon. Prime Minister Freundel Jerome Stuart, Q.C., M.P

BU admits to being sympathetic to the platform message of the late Prime Minister David Thompson that on winning the government, he would usher in a new kind of governance in Barbados. The new dispensation would be driven by transparency legislation, a combination of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is approaching the end of its 5-year term and it is fair to say that nothing has changed. It is business as usual in Dodge.

Barbadians who walked the campaign trail last election should recall that one of the hot button issues was Hardwood Housing.  The late Prime Minister shouted to Barbadians who stood in the ‘dew’ that “someone will have to pay for Hardwood”. Many political pundits opine that the Hardwood Housing issue was the weight that tipped the scale for many voters and in the process destroyed Clyde Mascoll’s political aspirations.

It is strange that the Harwood Housing matter has not been pursued with the same vigour by the media as CLICO. It is a governance issue and the principle is the same. Is it fair that the DLP would promise to do a forensic audit on Harwood Housing and four years later courtesy is not extended to Barbadians by way of a status update? The question remains, was a forensic report performed on Hardwood Housing? If a report was done is it reasonable to expect that unlike the CLICO forensic report, it would have been sighted by members of the government after 4-years in the making? What is the true story to be told about Hardwood Housing? Was it a non issue which was turned into a political football because of the Mascoll factor?

Continue reading

Barbados Labour Party Goes To Haggatt Hall To Press The CLICO Matter

blpmeeting

Click image to go to BLPTV stream

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is riding the CLICO Mess to go on the offensive. An indication of the political significance of the meeting is the fact that it will be held at the Haggatt Hall location (4/03/2012). This is the location which the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) used to lure thousand during the final days of the last general election to reveal information about the famous cheque for $75,000.

No one can deny, as many predicted, the CLICO noose is tightening around the necks of the DLP.  Political pundits continue to speculate how the DLP will toss this CLICO albatross from its back.

All Eyes On Fruendel, Justice Must Be Done!

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

As a boy at secondary school my love for the arts drew me in an astounding way to the Masterpiece called “A Psalm Of Life” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Today from that Masterpiece I borrow the excerpt “Things are not always what they seem.” Is there any other way to digest the disgusting display of dishonesty, magnified by the simple fact that thousands of us in this person reposed our trust? This CLICO mess is shameful. It is scandalous. God knows that it is also felonious.

For too long the poor folk in our little country have taken it up the wazoo from persons who view their participation in politics as a path to riches. We as a people have always acceded to their ways for in times past, issues like this CLICO master con were raging fires on the political platform, the embers of which were quenched by the thrill of victory by one or the other.

Continue reading

Toppin As Judicial Manager – The Smokescreen Which Cloaks The CLICO Mess

Senator Peter Gilkes (l) with the late Prime Minister David Thompson

BU received the following communication where the author seeks to warn about the CLICO chess matched being played in the game which BU has labelled The CLICO Mess. We take this opportunity to advise BU will continue to guard the identity of our many sources.

Barbadians need to look at substance over form:  Is Mr Toppin not of adequate skill and competence to perform in the role of Judicial Manager? Kindly note that it was Deloitte Consulting that was appointed as Judicial Manager with Oliver Jordan and Patrick Toppin as representatives. Ironically, of the two representatives it is Mr Jordan who has been the person leading these efforts thus far.

The Court approved of Deloitte Consulting as Judicial Managers in Barbados, The courts in the majority of the OECS territories were CLICO International Life operated appointed Deloitte Consulting as well. Does this tell you that the courts in all these territories were also deficient/negligent in their duties in appointing Deloitte Consulting as Judicial Manager??? I do not believe this to be the case.

Continue reading

Stuart Is The King, Who Are The Pawns?

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour – Benjamin Disraeli

Recent election results in St. Lucia and Jamaica suggest the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been naughty.  The ‘gift’ to the DLP this Yuletide Season has been ‘The Letter‘.

Chatter on the underground suggest Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart will issue a statement perhaps as early as this weekend. The expectation by many political pundits is  that one or more in the camp will have to pay for the widely discussed treachery exposed by the NATION newspaper. The flipside is the parallel chatter that key players have been placed on election watch in the event Prime Minister Stuart calls a ‘snap’ election. If the St. Lucia result forced a few government MPs to seek audience with the Prime Minister – Sinckler admitted to the treachery in the NATION’s Big Interview – how  will the Jamaica result have exacerbated the concerns for those  on the government bench.

Some believe Prime Minister Stuart has taken too long to act but it should be  obvious he is not the type to react in the midst of the Christmas  season. Stuart is known to be a devout Christian and would not have  contemplated interrupting a significant Christian festival by responding  to what some believe to be political chicanery in his camp.

The disquiet in the DLP camp caused by concern at Prime Minister Stuart’s leadership style has effectively ruled out an early call to arms or has it? This matter was brought to a head by a poll allegedly undertaken by pollster Peter Wickham which was not complimentary of Stuart’s leadership of the government. Here is that name again Peter Wickham!

Continue reading

Timing Is Everything: When To Call The Next Barbados General Election

Submitted by Yardbroom

Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

After the death of Prime Minister David Thompson, no sooner had the funeral ceremony been respectably completed with much deserved ceremony befitting a Prime Minister in Office, when the call was made to the DLP, call a general election.

I said then an election should not be called.  Many here (BU) disagreed and still do judging by recent comments.  I will explain later the reasons underpinning my position.  There was a lot of public sympathy for Mr. Thompson, the circumstances of his death, coupled with his relatively young age were significant factors.  That this public sympathy could be translated into votes was evidenced by the successful campaign launched by his wife – Mara Thompson – now elected to Parliament….I am aware of her previous work in the constituency that not withstanding.  It was felt by a vocal segment that on a larger scale public sympathy could be exploited, thus handing victory to the DLP in a general election.

It is true an election could have been called by Prime Minister Stuart, but allow me to rewind and remind you of the circumstances then.  The DLP had only been in office for a short time and prior to the election it was said by the BLP that the DLP did not have the experience to govern Barbados.  That obviously had not been put to the test over time, it was therefore incumbent on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to put any doubt to bed.  It was also believed there was dissent in the DLP with a myriad of members jockeying for leadership of the Party.

Continue reading

The Government And Opposition Party In Cahoots To Keep Transparency Legislation Off The Statute Book

Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

The month of November seems appropriate to blog about transparency in government. Thirty plus years ago the Tom Adams led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) attempt to proclaim Integrity Legislation was still born. The incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government – led by the late Prime Minister David Thompson – promised Barbadians within 100 days of being elected Integrity and Freedom of Information Legislation would have been a priority. One wonders how MP Mara Thompson feels when she reflects on the promise made by her late husband to Barbadians.

In fairness to the DLP, a lukewarm attempt was made to read the anti-Corruption Bill but both political parties have cried foul. The bill when last we checked was languishing in a sub committee of parliament. BU is not sure what is the status of the proposed Freedom of Information bill.

That both parties would conspire to mamaguy Barbadians about their intention to introduce transparency legislation is instructive. The fact we are still to mature as a nation by crafting a governance system which holds politicians accountable, contradicts the billions we have invested in education post-Independence. Introducing transparency legislation does not call for any significant demand on the treasury of Barbados. What possibly could be the reason successive governments have delayed enacting Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation?

Continue reading

DLP, Let David Thompson Rest In Peace

Submitted by Caswell Franklyn

Credit: Nation Newspaper

Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th in Commonwealth countries because World War I formally ended at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The day therefore has special significance as a day of remembrance for members of the armed forces who lost their lives in the line of duty. However in Barbados, and some other countries, Remembrance Sunday is observed, on the closest Sunday to that date, with a military parade, a church service and the laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph. It bears repetition; Remembrance Sunday is set aside for members of the armed forces who fell in the line of duty.

It is therefore quite surprising and totally inappropriate for a Government Minister to lead a band of his constituents, with photographer on tow, to St. John to demean the significance of Remembrance Sunday. The Daily Nation of Monday, November 14, 2011 carried a story, with photograph, about Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy et al laying wreaths on the grave of the late Prime Minister, David Thompson. By now, the members of the Democratic Labour Party should have come to the realization that every occasion, especially days of national and in this case of international significance, is not an opportunity for politicking.

Continue reading

Eric Holder – Gate At Tamarind Hall?

Submitted by Noel Maddocks

Eric Holder, US Attorney General

There is evidently, an impulsive desire by the DLP to hand out ambassadorships and other accolades, including  the naming/renaming of certain buildings and institutions. Certain people have been receiving big national recognition in circumstances that smack of political opportunism, some HURRIEDLY predicated on a need to curry favour with prestigious connections.

Is any consideration at all given to the possibility of subsequent moral failure of the honourees involved, as it relates to youthful immaturity or inexperience, or indeed the coming to light of an innoble and unrepentant past not sufficiently investigated, mostly in the case of the older ones?

Don’t the powers that be realize that such ill-advised precipitate decisions to honour, could bring irreversible destruction to a country’s image?

About three months ago, as I drove out of Bathsheba, and was approaching the new Tamarind Hall Complex at Blackman’s St.Joseph. I decided to take the opportunity to swing in and take my first look at the facility.  It was then that I first saw the name ERIC HOLDER  emblazoned in metal letters  on the entrance walls.

After taking a tour, I began to think about how it came to be so named and my mind went back to that time when a local delegation returned from the USA Democratic Party Convention in August 2008. That delegation included late P.M. David Thompson and his wife Mara, (St.John Parliamentary Seat INHERITOR NO.2), as well as political strategist/King-Maker Hartley Henry.

Henry, after canvassing his USA cronies,  is alleged to have arranged the visit , apparently to seek an opportunity for hob-nobbing with Obama, including photo opportunities, and so-called VIP seating, all part of the DLP Public Relations push for the then upcoming Barbados general election purposes.

Continue reading

The House Of David

Late Prime Minister David Thompson, sixth prime minister of Barbados

There has been some comment about the decision of the government to  construct a tomb like monument in memory of late Prime Minister. What is the hullabaloo? The late David Thompson – whether  you agreed with his politics or not – was the sixth Prime Minister of  Barbados, a historical fact. He died in office and all the trappings  of the office of Prime Minister he even in death, and his family should benefit.

BU suspects what some on the other side maybe questioning is the  timing of the project which is scheduled to be completed to coincide  with the first anniversary of the death of Thompson on October 23. When the Tomb  Project is assessed along with the announcement of The David Thompson  Memorial Football Tournament to be played this month, it gives wings to  the view that there is some political motive at play. While it can  be rationalized that each project has merit, the timing of the two projects makes it difficult to deny  a political  undercurrent to the decision.

With a less visible role for Hartley Henry, one can’t be sure if  political strategy is being seriously practiced by the Fruendel Stuart  administration. What should be obvious, even to to the least  discerning of politicos, it is unlikely the government can run on its  track record given the harsh economic times it has had to operate. This is understandable  and the government will have to build advantage over the opposition in the minds of the electorate in the weeks and  months leading to the next general election.

Continue reading