Minister Denis Kellman Must Apologise to BARBADIANS

Will Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart intervene?

The video of a passenger being dragged from his seat by security forces on an United Airlines plane recently evoked  world wide public consternation AND condemnation. The revelation that United Airlines resurrected a fine print clause embedded in their terms and conditions of travel which supported they have the right to remove any passenger in the event of overbooking added another perspective to the incident.

Surely there is everything wrong with manhandling a paying passenger who should reasonably have expected after paying for a plane ticket to be extended all courtesy by the service provider. Some have asked why did the airline crew and passengers who witnessed the incident not feel compelled to intervene on humanitarian grounds? A sense of honouring the principles of social justice? What we witnessed on the video -was it not enough to have provoked outrage and disobedience by John Citizens who were in close proximity? Have human beings become so devoid of an inherent basic human quality of doing good that we are unable to act to ‘protect’ a fellow humanoid?

We know the answer why onlookers did nothing. It is because we live in a system that has brainwashed even the very educated- used loosely -that to conform is kosher. It has come as no surprise that United Airlines has settled with the abused passenger for an undisclosed settlement.

We are pleased the aggrieved passenger has probably received millions to salve his feelings. The question should linger with the public though  –why have we allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by the system? That we would sit in our seats and allow an innocent man to be dragged along the floor, cuffed, bloodied with a broken jaw the result.

This week a sitting member of parliament branded David Comissiong an enemy of the state, his only ‘crime’ that he retreated to the Barbados courts to seek a judicial review of the decision by the Prime Minister of Barbados as minister responsible for Town and Country Planning to approve the construction of the Hyatt hotel on Bay Street. One should reasonably have expected that such labelling by a representative of the people should have been roundly condemned by all Barbadians. After all, Comissiong’s ‘crime’ is opened to be committed by ALL citizens under the Constitution of Barbados.

The little we know of Comissiong is that he vacated the comfort of his middleclass nest to associate and fight for causes of the underclass. It seems distasteful that during the week we have been given a public holiday to celebrate our national heroes named and unnamed we are forced to defend a citizen advocate whose only crime is that he sought justice by pursuing a legal avenue available to ALL citizens.

Similar to the bigger issue the United Airlines incident raised so too the labelling of Comissiong as an enemy of the state. Why have we allowed the political class to disrespect the people they are elected to serve? Given the public outrage at the offensive labelling of David Comissiong by Minister of Housing Denis Kellman should he not have felt constrained by now to offer an unconditional apology? Further, should the Prime Minister even if he is gazing at the clouds from Mount Olympus demonstrate leadership by censoring Kellman?  What message is the political class sending by attacking citizens who have done no wrong from the floor of parliament? Yet the Prime Minister felt duty bound to defend Speaker Michael Carrington who withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars from a septuagenarian client.

Oh the irony and hypocrisy!

Why is it important for Minister Kellman and the government to apologize to Comissiong? All of us have to be guardians of our democracy. Our words and actions must support the ideal that every man and woman has the inalienable right under the system of democracy we practice to act within the boundary of the law.

Citizens of a democracy live with the conviction that through the open exchange of ideas and opinions, truth will eventually win out over falsehood, the values of others will be better understood, areas of compromise more clearly defined, and the path of progress opened. The greater the volume of such exchanges, the better. American essayist E.B. White put it this way: “The press in our free country is reliable and useful not because of its good character but because of its great diversity. As long as there are many owners, each pursuing his own brand of truth, we the people have the opportunity to arrive at the truth and dwell in the light….There is safety in numbers. – What is Democracy

David Comissiong Branded Enemy of the State

David Comissiong – Citizen Advocate

“An idiot is in the House of Parliament recommending that there are 15 – 17000 unoccupied houses in Barbados and Government should look at compulsorily acquiring them to either sell or rent. Pray tell when would THIS government pay the owners for their land. There is currently a plantation about to declare bankruptcy due to compulsorily acquired land and non payment by government. Is this a new form of democracy? Maybe it is time for the citizens to compulsorily acquire unused land and buildings from government and then set the price to be paid whenever they feel like”.BU Commentator Fearplay

Members of the BU household vividly recall at the height of the Cahill debate Senators Maxine McClean and Verla De Peiza  empathic in their condemnation of the BU household for leaking documents. Both of them went as far to suggest the household had committed a treasonous act. The decision to shutdown the Tees Valley 1 and 2 project in the UK has vindicated the BU household and other Barbadians who expressed concern. At the top of the list of concerns raised by Barbadians about the Cahill gasification was government approving the untested technology on a 166 square mile island. Thankfully in April 2016 Air Products- the developer of Tees Valley 1 and 2 -issued a statement to the effect that “additional design and operational challenges would require significant time and cost to rectify” the problem of constructing a gasification plant to process 700,000 tonnes of feedstock every year. The Cahill plant in Barbados was proposed to handle 650 tonnes of waste per day.

Today Minister Denis Kellman under the cloak of parliamentary privilege labelled citizen advocate David Comissiong as an enemy of the state –his crime, seeking a judicial review of government’s decision to approve the construction of the proposed 15 story Hyatt hotel at lower Bay Street. Kellman’s characterization of Comissiong for exercising a right under our law. The BU community was reminded by a family member that there is similar concerns being raised in London about the construction of high rise buildings, to quote him:- “in a city already plastered with “tall” buildings, matters like location, design and impact on character setting are still relevant. Yet we in Barbados supporting Hyatt” – read related article How new skyscrapers including the 1,000ft Trellis will transform London’s skyline.

To restate BU’s concern here is an extract from a BU blog:

If commonsense was not enough to support an EIA as a condition for approval for the Hyatt hotel project, the BU family was directed to the Draft Physical Development Plan (DPDP) dated February 2017 posted to the Town Planning Department website. Not only does the DPDP call for an EIS to be used as a tool to assess proposed development and a condition for approval, also, Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA), Agricultural Impact Assessments (AIA), Traffic Impact Assessments (TIA) where deemed relevant. Here is a quote from the DPDP:

Where ESIAs, HIA, AIS or TIA (Impact Assessments) are required, they shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Chief Town Planner, prior to approval being given. Approvals of development subject to Impact Assessments may contain certain conditions of approval to ensure that adverse impacts of such development are mitigated. 


After suffering through some of the debate this afternoon in the Lower House several of the government members of parliament who spoke did not address the reason raised by Comissiong in his application for judicial review. They saw no need for transparency by including the people of the area in the transaction. To this day Barbadians have not been told how Vision Development Inc proposes to finance the project. Of the 100 million to be invested what will be the net foreign exchange inflow. This is the nature of the politics we practice in Barbados. 

One can only marvel at the statement attributed to Minister of Housing Denis Kellman quoted at the top of the blog.  He made mention of 5×16 to explain the level of occupancy at the GROTTO. Who can translate? Did Minister Sinckler state he is willing to challenge anyone that there was overruns associated with the GROTTO project? Is he challenging the Auditor General of Barbados who was scathing in his concerns? See Special Auditor General Report 2016 – Special Audit on the National Housing Corporation High Rise Apartments at Grotto and Valerie



Kellman, Sinckler and Lashley: GROTTO Housing Project and the Ineffective Public Accounts Committee

The following poster was posted to BU by Sunshine Sunny Sunshine. It resonates with the BU household for many reasons.  Unlike many Barbadians the BU household has not forgotten that three ministers of government were requested to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain questionable decisions concerning the GROTTO housing project.  BU has repeatedly questioned the decision by government to pay a dividend of 25 million dollars from the Housing Credit Fund as one example. To be fair to Minister Kellman – the most accessible member of government – we have asked him to explain the decision to pay 25 million from the HCF many times.

We have had to witness repeatedly in the post Independence period the work of this important committee of parliament frustrated by members to parliament. How can we boast of living in a democratic system of government and at the same time frustrate the workings of the PAC and the Auditor General? Why no attempt to honestly execute matters under the remit of the Committee of Privileges?

One day coming soon!

The GROTTO High Rise Controversy

The summons by the Public Accounts Committee for Minister Kellman to attend a briefing regarding questionable financial practices in the Grotto High Rise Project was ignored by him and two other ministers.The reasons provided by them were as frivolous as their attempt to avoid being questioned. It seems that they all believe that they are above any laws of the land and do not have to give an account for any decisions they make, regardless of how eye brow raising they maybe. As the ministers sought to vindicate themselves regarding the laws governing the committee and the motive of the opposition leader as a woman on a witch hunt looking to cast blame, the fact that they refuse to turn up are grounds for interpreting their behaviours as an admission of possible guilt deserving of further investigation. The assumption gathered is that Minister Kellman is not as squeaky clean as he would like the world to believe. We already know that this minister has a propensity to speak out of turn and make utterances that make him look like darn fool. As a result, his attempts to make the whole Barbados believe that normal financial conduct was involved in the Grotto deal and that no financial rules by him or anyone affiliated with him were broken, only increases the assumption that there is more to discover than what is already given as a known. In addition, we also know that he has little regard for authority and rules by the ignorance he displayed in ignoring the island wide emergency shut down during the threat of a serious storm system that threatened the island. To him, opening his Moon Town Mall was a far greater priority than safety. His behaviour is repugnant and distasteful. If the People of St. Lucy believes that sardines, cornbeef and biscuits makes for a good politician, they better think differently about this minister, because he is prospering while they are paupering begging for his bread.

Denis Kellman: Question Time About the GROTTO High Rise Project NOT Potholes

The GROTTO high rise project

The GROTTO high rise project

16. The NHC has indicated that housing units for lower income earners should be provided at a cost of $125,000 to $195,000. However, the construction costs of these high rise unit s ranged between $300,000 and $450,000 per unit. Even though all the units were built within the agreed time frame, the high cost per unit obtained within these projects would have impacted negatively on the NHC being able to provide these units to lower income earners without substantial subsidisation – Special Audit by Auditor General 2016

The ranting of Minister of Housing Denis Kellman has crowed the news cycle this week so far. Based on BU’s unscientific poll the majority of Barbadians have dismissed his Facebook status post as ignorant. Surely Kellman has adopted a ‘strategy’ to deflect attention from his ministry by depositing several controversial status posts on Facebook. Is it wishful thinking to expect Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to take a leaf out of President Grainger’s book who is expected to reshuffle his cabinet today explaining that one of the ministers had become a distraction for the government.

It is interesting to note also a few of Kellman’s cabinet colleagues Donville Inniss and Michael Lashley -who were interviewed by Stetson Babb of Starcom Network -distanced themselves from the Kellman brouhaha. A month ago it was the turn of Donville Inniss to be snubbed by cabinet colleague Boyce regarding his view on how the South Coast Sewage mess was being handled by government (What is going on!).

BU is of the few the real story not covered by the traditional media relates to a comment made by Minister of Housing during the can potholes save lifes exchanges -that it is the low income tenant that qualifies the GROTTO Housing high-rise as a low income housing project.

Kellman's FB comment about the GROTTO project

Kellman’s FB comment about the GROTTO project

His view is interesting given the findings of the Auditor General’s Special Audit linked above. Further, in several exchanges with David King of BU (click on FB screen grab) the minister refused to communicate the type of tenant – low or middle income – contracted to occupy GROTTO apartments. If one applies logic based on NHC policy quoted in the 2016 Auditor General Special Audit Report the GROTTO does not qualify as a low income project. It will be very interesting to hear Minster Denis Kellman speak to the GROTTO, a project that falls under is portfolio. Maybe one day soon he will make a status post on Facebook to update the public about the GROTTO housing project.

The public has also not been apprised of the details around how a 25 million dollar dividend was paid to Maloney of Preconco from the Housing Credit Fund (HCF) managed by the Central Bank of Barbados.

Question time Minister Kellman about the GROTTO!

Former BLP Government Blamed for Sewage Problem

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

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

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

Denis Kellman

1 hr ·

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

Sewage Alert!

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

Mark Maloney is The GROTTO

Submitted by Anthony Davis


In the face of strong Opposition criticism, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman is adamant that it would be foolhardy for Government to treat the New high-rise apartments at The Grotto, St. Michael as any ‘normal development. In fact, if Kellman gets his way, none of the 80 units at the Grotto will be sold at any discount rate – GROTTO Investment must pay off, Barbados Today

Once again this “people-centred Government” is reneging on something which would redound to the benefit of the poor, the needy and the vulnerable of our country in order to give it to the upper echelons of our society!

Are they less worth than anyone in the upper echelons in our society?

You are infringing the Human Rights of the citizens of this country with impunity, yet you are fleecing them.

Where do you expect them to go for assistance, if you keep turning your backs on them after taxing them to the hilt?

The Minister of Housing and Lands wants a landing strip in St. Lucy, but he says that he must rent out the apartments at The Grotto for horrendous prices because the tax collector needs the money.

Which is it, Mr. Kellman?

Is there enough money for the landing strip or not?

Isn’t the landing strip nothing but a pie in the sky?

Does the tax collector really need you to offer those apartments at The Grotto at such a stupendous price, or are those words yours and you want to gain some traction by saying that the tax collector is responsible for making you do it?

Methinks that you are the one who is orchestrating all of this, but cannot admit that it’s all your doing!

All of a sudden you are an expert on water and transport also.

Your portfolio is Housing and Lands, so you should concentrate on that – giving priority to the needs of the poor, the needy and the vulnerable!

I must remind you that the “UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS” . to which this, and any other Government of Barbados is a signatory, states in Article 25:

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

I always hear: “Jack of all trades and master of none.”

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.

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Oh No Minister Kellman

Denis Kellman, Minister of Environment, Water Resources and Drainage

Here is what is being written on Kammie Holder’s Facebook Page about a speech delivered recently by new Minister of the Environment:

Ministers of governments must do research before just reading any speech prepared for them.  The money we will put in a Waste to Energy plant  can be better utilized in Renewable Energy. Where will the toxic dioxin be dumped and if the scrubbers breakdown? Tell the investor wheel and come again. Bhopal is still fresh in our minds and we will not survive a Dioxin spill or can we afford an accident. Why do we listen to investors who come and talk pretty with the only motive being profit. Enact legislation to encourage persons to sort their garbage and provide incentives for companies to recycle, reuse and reduce. When will our leaders learn?

I have tagged ministers of government past and present, doctors and an undertaker as he can expect more persons to die from cancer if we so foolishly accept a waste to energy plant in Barbados. Let St Lucia brag about been the first at least there a down wind of Barbados

Here is a press release released by Greenpeace in 2004 which appears still to be relevant.

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