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?
Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados
The Right Honourable, Owen Arthur
The Right Honourable, Fruendel Stuart
Late David Thompson
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.
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.
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 →
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!
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.
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 Reportunsealed 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.
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.
“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.”
… 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 me – Exodus 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.