DLP Ready or Not …

On November 11, 2020, Moore received 3154 votes in the by-election. Floyd Reifer of the Democratic Labour Party was the nearest challenger with 1 327.Grenville Phillips of Solutions Barbados earned 95, David Walrond of the opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development got 80, Ambrose Grosvenor of the United Progressive Party 70 and the Bajan Free Party’s Alex Mitchell received ten.” – Nation Newspaper 12/11/2020

The result of the St. George North by election year exposes reasons to pause for those who worry about the current state of governance in Barbados. Historically we have managed the affairs of state well enough to have earned the label ‘a stable political country’. However, the result of the 2018 general election created an unprecedented situation where for the first time the OPPOSITION in the House of Assembly was not comprised of members of a party who faced the electorate under a different party banner. Instead, Bishop Joseph Atherley saved the day by crossing the floor to be anointed the Leader of the Opposition by the Governor General.

The decision by Atherley to cross the floor averted a constitutional crisis many continue to argue (including this blogmaster) and the rest is history to cite an often used cliché. Despite his best effort to be the dissenting voice inside and outside of parliament Atherley his People’s Party for Democracy has been unable to win measurable support from Barbadians. The result of the St. George North by election validates the position. The other conclusion political pundits are certain is that the third party movement in its current form has been rejected by the electorate.

A general election is constitutionally due in 2023 and surprise surprise the main political parties to contest will be the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP). In other words the DLP represents the government in waiting. It means therefore the general public is vested in a fit for purpose political opposition whether it is occupying parliamant or on the outside. An irony often discussed when this matter surfaces is to highlight a political party is a private member organization, yet it must be ready to take over the job of managing the weighty affairs of state.

Whether we like it or not the DLP represents the only practical legitimate political opposition voice in the mind of the public- although it failed to win a single seat in the last general election. To compare with other countries the DLP is the entrenched other member of the duopoly like the Democrats and Republicans, Labour and Tories or JLP and PNP to name three.

The inability of the DLP so far to list a full slate of candidates to contest the 2023 general election is a concern.

The inability of party leader to elevate her national profile in an environment screeching for a political alternative is a concern.

The inability of the DLP to speak authoritatively on economic policy is a concern.

These are not exhaustive concerns and the one not mentioned and possibly the biggest is the potential collateral damage from Donville Inniss’ verdict due to be handed down next week in New York.

The Deceased Labour Party – Part Two

Dear Editor,

“Considering that Barbadians live better and Barbados functions better when the DLP is out of office, their time in the wilderness is for the best.”

The Deceased Labour Party – Part One

The above assertion from the first article in this series is perhaps contentious and thus, a point worthy of excavation. 

Firstly, from an economic perspective, in its first period in office, the Democratic Labour Party claimed to ‘accelerate industrialistion and job creation’. However, when they left office in 1976, they left a country with inflation sky-rocketing and unemployment had reached 25% of the ‘true labour force’. Waste and inefficiency had become pervasive in the public sector. In absolute terms, the same number of people were employed in 1976 in light industry as when they came to office in 1961. Acreage available for agricultural production had declined, as well as output. The cost of living was also rising with phenomenal increases in prices and few will forget the mismanagement of the 1973 oil crisis. 

In the DLP’s second period in office, the economic calamity of the 90s is well known to all. Again, this was originally induced by the international economic realities of the 90s, but the situation was handled terribly, resulting in the social upheaval and economic chaos of that period. 

Finally, there are few who can deny the stark economic reality of 2018. There had been a complete erosion of investor confidence, Barbados’ credit rating was on a perpetual track of ‘downgrade’, foreign reserves were through the floor, ‘home-grown plan’ after ‘home-grown plan’ had failed to achieve its objectives, taking us around a roundabout of economic calamity, or what the then government called ‘turning the corner’. Cost of living again was sky-high, and taxation was unevenly distributed, thereby disproportionately affecting the working classes. 

Turning to the social aspect, Barbados has had to confront a chequered colonial past, necessitating a suite of social programmes for the aggrandizement of the working classes. 

Before the DLP came to office in 1961, free education had been introduced at four secondary schools, a basic feeding programme was instituted at primary schools providing children with milk and biscuits, the feasibility study and draft legislation for the NIS was prepared, the first public housing units were constructed, a myriad of legislation to protect workers was introduced and loans were provided for higher education and housing for civil servants. 

One wonders how many of those achievements have been misleadingly attributed to the Democratic Labour Party?

After the DLP was booted from office in 1976, minibus operations were legalized allowing small players into the industry, illegitimacy was removed from the statute books, plantation tenants were given the opportunity to own their land, phenomenal strides were made to make men and women more equal in society delivering a ‘new deal’ to women, electricity was provided to the entire island including rural areas, unemployment benefits were introduced and the NCF and NSC were created. 

In the DLP’s column, they have Mr Sandiford’s work in education in the Barrow years, the School Meals Service started by Mr Barrow, and the expansion of the previously started free education, national insurance and public housing. 

Clearly then, much of the social infrastructure on which this country is founded was not built by the DLP. To a large extent, the Democratic Labour Party has continued and expanded the programmes of others. 

Finally on the political front, Mr Barrow must be credited with leading Barbados into independence and his vision and inspiration and Mr Sandiford for creating the Social Partnership.

However, the DLP did not win universal suffrage and full ministerial government for Barbadians. Their commitment to regional integration has also wavered, particularly in the last dispensation, with scarce interest being shown to CSME, as well as the fanning of xenophobia by Mr Thompson’s administration.

It was the DLP that dismantled local government for short-term political gain, and in the process stripping Barbadians of an important layer of democracy. Few might remember, but the DLP also opposed the creation of the EBC, clearly being more comfortable with an electoral office operating out of the PM’s Office.

Concludingly, when one looks at what has been achieved when the DLP has been out of office as well as the failures when they have been in office, what conclusion can be drawn? Does it not appear that the DLP has not been more successful than their political rivals, in terms of achievement? Does it not appear that, especially since the passing of Mr Barrow, they have been stripped of any vision? Does it not appear that Barbados has done better when the Democratic Labour Party has been kept out of Bay Street? When we answer those questions based on the unimpeachable evidence above, is it not so that we are much better off for their time in the political wilderness?

Finally, next week, an assessment of the 65th Conference itself.

Khaleel Kothdiwala 

The Deceased Labour Party – Part One

As the 65th Annual Conference of the Democratic Labour Party nears, it is appropriate to examine that disastrous political party, which I shall do in a series of articles. 

The Dems have faced an existential challenge since the death of its most beloved leader, E.W. Barrow. That the DLP has failed to build up a sustainable political movement after this tragic event, is perhaps best seen in the fact that the DLP’s list of notable achievements as a government seems to stop in 1976. Let us set aside the fact that the Democratic Labour Party has had two failed administrations since 1986, and that their last dispensation was particularly awful, and that to this day in 2020, they remain bankrupt of ideas and inspiring leadership. Let us look, presently, instead at the DLP’s paltry electoral performance since 1991 to illustrate the deep hole which the Dems have found themselves in, long before their much-deserved rout in 2018. [Note: the analysis which follows does not include the 2018 election, which is clearly a remarkable statistical outlier].

Since 1991, there have been six elections, three of which the DLP have won. However, a closer examination reveals something more interesting. In 1991 (with historically low turnout), a mere 1,075 votes gave the DLP another term in office. Similarly, in 2013, had two seats or 164 votes swung the other way, Barbados might have been saved the peril of the 2013-18 period. The post-1991 period simply has not been the DLP’s “golden era”, to put it mildly. 

While the national picture is bad enough, a microanalysis at the constituency level reveals a party which simply has not created or maintained a solid, winning support base, even though the DLP is said to have more grassroots supporters than the BLP. 

St Michael East is a somewhat marginal seat, however the Dems have done little to translate Joe Tudor’s commanding lead in 1991 and ‘94 into enduring success. 

Where the BLP has been able to pull off substantial margins when they have won St Michael West Central (when you remove 1994), the DLP has not achieved anything more than a 4% margin of victory, since Wes Hall in 1991. 

In reliable constituencies, they fare no better.

In St Michael West, after Branford Taitt, the DLP has not risen above 53% of the vote share at any time.

In St Philip South, since 1991, the Dems have won the seat four times, but have never made it back to 1991 levels, in terms of vote share. 

St Michael South Central is much the same. The BLP has only won the seat once at its highest tide (again excluding 2018). However, since 1991, the DLP has not risen above 54% of the vote share in any election

In St Lucy, apart from 2008, there has been no significant expansion in vote share for the DLP, beginning and ending the period with 53/54%

Not only is the DLP not entrenching themselves in ‘safe’ and DLP leaning seats. They have also failed to make any tangible inroads in areas that are historically unfriendly to them, making it much harder for them to ever hope to turn those seats into DLP seats.

Apart from Byer-Suckoo’s win in 2008 in St George South, the Dems have remained consistently under 44% of the vote share since 1991. 

In St James North between 1991 and 2013, DLP vote share fluctuated but ultimately returned in 2013 to the 1991 level of 45% showing little long-term growth.

The DLP faces a tough road ahead and will almost certainly remain in Opposition for quite a while to come. To get through the rough times, you should have a reserve store to fall back on. A mixture of terrible candidate selection and bad governance since 1991 has made that store remarkably thin, even without considering 2018 and the disastrous mouthings of their members and leadership since then.

Can they survive this time in the wilderness? Probably. It would be politically immature to count them out just yet. But certainly, if not dead, the Democratic Labour Party is, now and for the foreseeable future, comatose. Considering that Barbadians live better and Barbados functions better when the DLP is out of office, their time in the wilderness is for the best. Next, we delve into the quality of their performance, in and out, of government.

STOP Playing Tit for Tat Politics


Submitted by Wayne Cadogan, Retired Garment Manufacturer, Trainer, Consultant

It is very difficult for me and many others to grapple every day with the fact the DLP is referred to as the opposition party when nine others parties contested the elections and not one of them won a single seat with the BLP winning with a clean sweep of the thirty seats contested. 

Why is it that former members of the DLP are speaking out on issues as the opposition when there are eight other parties that are in the same boat as the DLP without a single representative in the house that can consider themselves as opposition members too? 

The  most pressing issue that is currently hurting the country severely is the spate of murders and which has become a very troublesome issue for the government, people and international reputation.

The former Attorney General Mr Adriel Brathwaithe has some nerve to tell the present Attorney General to resign over the current gun violence that is currently bringing this country to one of fear and despair when all of this started under his watch during his spineless reign as Attorney General.

It is about time that the politicians in this country get serious about what is really happening to this country before it gets to a point that it cannot be reverse. This tit for tat tactics that both parties use against each other is not politics but a bunch of immature politicians whose behaviour is similar to that of kids growing up. 


This country is facing serious problems and sailing in dangerous waters that it has never traversed and we all need to put our heads together to turn this ugly situation around before it completely destroys our fragile tourist industry we have to depend on for the only source of foreign exchange.

The politicians in this country need to act more mature and businesslike and realize that running a country is not child’s play, it is serious business to run a country and it needs competent people.  


It would be in the best interest if the members of the DLP if the party is to rise from the grave as a political party in this country again, to stop being so negative and criticizing everything that the government does, praise them occasionally for some of its efforts in trying to get the country back on track that they helped to destroy. 


It is also about the right to dissent in a civilized manner. Genuine political opposition is a necessary attribute of democracy, tolerance, and trust in the ability of citizens to resolve differences by peaceful means. The existence of an opposition, without which politics ceases and administration takes over, is indispensable to the functioning of parliamentary political systems. If these systems are perceived as not working well – as being “seriously overloaded,” to quote a distinguished Canadian Opposition Leader, the Hon. Robert Stanfield – it may be the rights of political oppositions which are immediately and most visibly at stake, but ultimately the threat is to democratic rights and freedoms generally. The following paper is an attempt to come to grips with the challenging nature of the opposition’s role in Parliament, specifically in the Canadian context – THE OPPOSITION IN A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM

Senator Caswell Franklyn has been scathing in his criticism of a few decisions made by the newly installed Mia Mottley government. He has expressed in the usual caustic manner his disagreement with the appointments of David Comissiong and Charles Jong as Ambassador of CARICOM and Director of Communications respectively. Caswell’s issue with the appointments is why should taxpayers have to fund the two positions. And isn’t the Government Information Service (GIS) equipped to deliver the same support.

Another story caught the eye of the blogmaster this week – a widely promoted DLP lunchtime lecture by former minister Donville Inniss was abruptly cancelled by Freundel Stuart. Although the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was rejected at the polls on the 24 May 2018, the executive of the party with Freudel Stuart as leader remains firmly in position until August when the AGM is scheduled to elect officers of the party.

The two news events reminded the blogmaster to confirm the role of an Opposition in the parliamentary democracy we strive to practice in Barbados. The following summarizes the importance of an Opposition which is to “check and prod, but ultimately to replace the government party“.

In the early life of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government many social commentators will be inclined to be less strident during the traditional “honeymoon period”. That said, it should not include the Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley whom the Constitution of Barbados supports in the role. In the first six weeks of the Mottley government we have had several ‘questionable’ decisions taken that merit fuller explanation. It does not mean the decisions are illegal, it has more to do with the citizenry being eternally vigilant which is the price to be paid to keep a fragile democracy alive.

A few questions have been asked about the process that led to the appointment of Atherley by the Governor General Sandra Mason. Many suspect the 30-0 result at the last poll created a lacuna and the result has given rise to a contrived opposition presence in the House of Assembly. To date Senator Caswell Franklyn in the Upper House has been more vocal in the role as ‘opposition’ compared to the Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House. It is early days but some say first impressions count!

What does all of this have to do with the cancellation of Donville Inniss’ lunch time lecture?

The DLP received the most votes in the last general election from the also-rans. In the minds of many Barbadians it is the de facto opposition voice. In the first past the post system 33, 985 votes were cast for the DLP which created a 30-0 result that will forever  haunt the party. What has piqued the interest of the blogmaster is the lack of urgency by the DLP party to embrace the role of opposition from outside the House of Assembly. A feeble attempt was made by Inniss, Estwick, De Peiza and Lashley to offer critique of the BLP’s mini budget. We understand the party needs to organize itself by having the obligatory retreats and election of officers but is there an opportunity being missed by the party to re-establish itself quickly? The nothingness coming from the party post 2018 General Election is not unlike the period when late David Thompson fell sick in the role as prime minister and Stuart again was guilty of doing nothing.

How long will the DLP continue be Missing In Action? Will another rise up to fill the vacuum?





The Fruendel Stuart Legacy: From Retro Colonialism to Dictatorship

Submitted by Heather Cole
Father forgive him
He knows what he has done.

There was no was world war, no war in the Western hemisphere and the global recession ended in 2010. There was also no natural disaster or mass migration, yet a home-grown recession brought the manifestation of the austerity of war that has defied logic when used to explain what has occurred in Barbados. At a first glance it took the island on a backward path that can only be described as retro colonialism. However, after careful analysis this situation of retro colonialism was used as a camouflage for the creation of an authoritarian dictatorship during the past 8 years under the Fruendel Stuart Administration. The method used to achieve this result was the political, economic and social destruction of the state and its institutions in post- independence Barbados.

Retro Colonialism

From slavery to independence, colonialism was exported by England to Barbados. A strange phenomenon occurred in Barbados where the government of a self- ruling country opted to recreate the austerity of war by other means on its own people. It has destroyed the middleclass leaving the “new planter class” and their protégées at the top and the poor at the bottom.

Laws were changed to suit the structure of the retro colonial society. For example, the attempt to introduce the finger print technology with the absurdity of it requirements and the Amendment to the Police Act so that it could be used as a tool to repress, alienate and segregate the population.

This new form of Colonialism brought with it the destruction of the state. The state or crown and public ownership is being eliminated with wealth, means of production and land ownership consolidated in the hands of a few. We have witnessed this with the attempt of deregulation in the sale of BNOTC, the sale Blue Horizon and Coverley and Paradise.

Corruption has raised its ugly head even in our Parliament. Progressive thought has disappeared from government of the people and blame, accountability, moral shaming and transparency have become extinct. The science of dumbing down of the population has led to less persons with university education, a low skilled workforce, a low wage-earning population where wealth is not passed down but remains concentrated in the hands of a few. It breeds not independence but loyalty and aggression from those who get paid to keep this in place.

The Labour Movement is in limbo. We have witnessed the reversing of the provision of social services and welfare and the use of national insurance funds. We have also seen actions that have unmasked the reality of nepotism, mafias and corrupt family dynasties that we did not know existed. Bearing the overtones of the former colonial nostalgia this retro colonialism imposes its own discipline to erode sovereign power.

Political Destruction

The democratic governance of Barbados rests upon its Constitution which was created at independence in 1966. History will recall that during the period in review that the Constitution of Barbados was undergoing a stress test that it was never created to withstand. One wonders if this test has created fissures that can be mended or if it has created deep fault lines that may destroy the very bedrock upon which our democracy stands.

The stress test on Constitution did not start on March 6, 2018. It started on elections day 2013 when rumors and evidence of vote buying were abounding. It was a fraudulent election and nothing was done to correct it. It emboldened the Ministers of Government to become more openly corrupt. Like a cancer, it spread to all functioning organs in the body making the patient’s prognosis critical. What occurred under Mr. Stuart’s watch is a clear case of abuse and disregard for the Constitution.

From inception, an election date has been announced upon the dissolution of Parliament by successive governments. Fruendel Stuart’s refusal to announce the date of the general election on the dissolution of Parliament created a constitutional crisis, as the Constitution does not allow for such to occur under normal circumstances. The founding fathers and writers of the Constitution never anticipated that a Prime Minister would refuse to call an election and that he and his ministers would remain in office conducting the country’s affairs and making plans as though Parliament had not dissolved.

Mr. Stuart is no gentleman if his party acceded to power because of a fraudulent general election in 2013 when buying and selling of votes occurred. However, even worse than that, was the manifestation of government being openly controlled by a few minority business men, awarding them lucrative contracts and sweetheart deals, breaking the financial rules and there was nothing in the Constitution to prevent this.

One never anticipated that the last act of Mr. Stuart could bloom into a crisis that now leads to the reexamination of the Constitution. Has it surpassed its shelf life? Should another document be created or the old amended? Technically the Constitution does not offer a remedy if this situation presents itself again.

At best Mr. Stuart, has tried to legitimize his act of loitering by claiming a 5-year term and ignoring the dissolution of Parliament resulting in political limbo without accountability. The public and the Opposition are not aware of his actions during that 51-day period. One wonders if no elections had been called within the 90 period if civil disobedience would have occurred as public opinion has branded him as the worst Prime Minister in the history of Barbados. His dismal performance as Prime Minister and his refusal to speak with the Barbadian people has destroyed public confidence in the Democratic Labour Party.

The Constitution must be amended to include a power of recall for Ministers of Government; it must prevent any Minister from sitting in office and exercising power or working on the behalf of Government after the dissolution of Parliament and prior to an election; there must be consequences for breaking the financial rules; a date upon which general elections are to be held; stringent rules, regulations and punishment for the buying and selling of votes and other acts of electoral fraud; and the audited assets of all those seeking political office must be declared, followed with a yearly published audit.

Perhaps, what has manifested itself is proof that the island has surpassed the era of the Westminster System and must clearly adopt a Republican System or a hybrid of both the Westminster and the Republican Systems.

Ultimately, Mr. Stuart’s legacy or lack thereof is testimony to the fact that there must be changes made to the Constitution with regards to the holding of general elections. Without providing a proper excuse his actions of holding on to power can now be seen as quite devious with the recent revelation that the sale of the Hilton hotel was due to be signed off on a mere three days before the general election date of May 24th 2018.

Under Mr. Stuart, government went from crisis to crisis but there was no crisis management. He placed the government on autopilot and looked on while his undisciplined Ministers did as they pleased without admonishment from him. The scandals were many, involvement in the Cahill scam, the four seasons hotel, theft of pensioner’s funds, involvement in a stolen car theft racket, missing funds from the Revenue Authority, the death of an Englishman, the abuse of the Town and County Planning Department and one can go on and on. Only on one of these scandals did the Prime Minster make an address that became publicly known. It was with regards to the Cahill scam. He stated that it could not could happen unless he said so. However, he lied as a few weeks later correspondence was found that he had signed off on this matter 6 months prior.

He may also be remembered for the circus like event that overtook the general election period in 2018. A record number of 8 political parties and several independent candidates announced their intent and were nominated to contest the general elections. It was departure from the norm of the two-party system. Hence, Mr. Stuart destroyed the norm, forcing persons from all walks of life to seek to rescue the island. All the opposing contenders saw a need for the political representation of the people of Barbados that was missing under his tenure as Prime Minister.

If it was not known during the 8 years that his party was in power, it became apparent at the launch of his party’s political campaign that Mr. Stuart had literally killed the 80-old institution named the Democratic Labour Party. It was clearly seen by everyone that the party was no longer the party that was founded by Errol Walton Barrow. The proud party of Errol Walton Barrow was obliterated at the event that unfolded. The bar was set at an all-time low. Mr. Barrow must have come back to life, shuddered and died again. Instead of delivering on his party’s accomplishments, the entire evening used to belittle the Opposition Leader. It was revolting to the stomach. One could not believe that this was a meeting of the highest officers of the land who were exhibiting such vulgar behavior.

Economic Destruction

During this period, the government of Barbados seems to have been on a quest to build an inwardly driven enclave based on high taxation with little exports and a dependence on tourism. However, with a huge import bill this was always a recipe for disaster, as it squandered its foreign reserves. This had started from David Thompson’s short stint as Prime Minister and Fruendel Stuart continued the trend, eventually being unable to cover their deficit, he continuously borrowed money on the external market.

How can one destroy a thriving economy in ten years? Many will never have bragging rights on this but Fuendel Stuart will. We will never hear all the stories of what thousands of Barbadians have done to survive over the past 10 years after losing their jobs, homes and savings but they are testament of the fact that the government who they gave the mandate to govern could not financially support it people.

No one knows where the $ US 16 Billon that was left by the Owen Arthur Administration has disappeared to. Without the oversight on all government departments, the Auditor General has been unable to provide this information. This spendthrift government started a trend to borrow from Peter to Paul. They did not borrow to create any development projects. As they ran more and more into the red on the balance sheet, expanding the deficit, the credit rating which is also a measure of their ability to default or their ability to repay their loans got worse. Then the downgrades started. The 22 Downgrades that have occurred under Mr. Stuart’s watch reduced governments ability to borrow on international markets at favourable terms; that is low interest repayment rates. The island’s credit worthiness has therefore been decimated by the Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance.

22 Downgrades under the same management team is not the environment that attracts foreign investors. With a high foreign debt ratio and not enough funds, the government of Barbados chopped about 3000 jobs in the public sector and then began to tax Barbadians at a rate never before seen in this island. No less than 30 new taxes in the past 5 years. Then there was the printing of money which in itself created inflation. There was the increase in Vat t0 17% and recently the dreaded NSRL. However, the government’s next step was the selling off the Crown’s assets at prices less than their market value.

As the economy started to spin out of control, the foreign exchange cover started to dwindle. Having been taught to avoid a foreign exchange cover of less than 12 weeks, it is unheard of that the island has 4 weeks supply of foreign exchange to buy food. There have been rumors of devaluation and capital flight. This further caused local and foreign investors from investing in projects which can help resuscitate the economy. Mr. Sinckler and by extension Mr. Stuart’s crippling of the economy did not stop there it affected the private sector as well and many in the private sector loss their jobs.

The government of Barbados also broke one of its Manifesto promises. It stated that it would give 40% of its contract to small contractors. It did not instead, it awarded most of it contracts to 5 minority business men. The financial rules were not kept during this process and what occurred seems to have been nothing but quid pro quo.

Under Mr. Stuart’s tenure, his government seem bent on destroying the Brand Barbados. That the sugar Industry could be allowed to wallow in the dust while government refused to pay the farmers is a shame. On the South Coast for the past 3 years, sewage has been flowing freely destroying not only reputation of an entire section of Barbados but the product that we offer to visitors of the island. It also puts the health of Barbadians at risk, destroys the livelihood of restaurant and boutique owners as well as the small hotels. The government did not take this matter seriously as raw sewage constantly fills the street and flows into the sea. It has been a national disgrace.

A good name is better than gold. Barbados’ performance in the international business sector was stellar until it reached the black list and then the grey list under this government. This should never have occurred given the resources that government has. It failed to ensure and maintain its compliance to articles that it signed.

Under Mr. Stuart’s tenure there was financial scandal after financial scandal too. There the Clico scandal which ended with government using tax payers’ money to bail out that entity but to this day tax payers have not been informed on the audit of the former Clico lands. A few days ago Mr. Sinckler remarked that the lands would be going back into agriculture. He never stated who was given this project or if the lands had been sold. The NIS funds have been used in the Four Seasons Project and have not been repaid, over a million dollars was passed from government to unknown persons with regards to the Cahill Plant that never came into existence. Mark Maloney now has the conveyance for 4 Seasons and no money has been found to have been received by government, one person was caught with funds at the airport which appeared to have been obtained from the Barbados Revenue Authority and that person remains on bail. Mark Maloney has been given every government contract that he has dreamt up in the tune of 2 Billion dollars from the public purse and Barbadians have nothing to show for this value. Under Fruendel Stuart’s watch, the disappearance of funds from the public purse have put the livelihood of every Barbadian at risk of not accessing services from the common pool into which all taxpayers contribute.

Social Destruction

Health care in any society is critical to life and its development. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a chronic lack of supplies and equipment is operating on an emergency basis. The poor and the middle class simply cannot afford the cost of traveling abroad to obtain medical services. God help us if a natural disaster or an outbreak of some disease occurs.

There is no longer the management of waste, so how can one fulfill our duty to preserve and pass down our environment that is so unique but yet fragile to the next generation? The once a month collection cycle is unsanitary. The stench of garbage should not be the norm that it has become. One wonders if Mr. Stuart decided to punish the island for the outcry that it made against the building of the Cahill Plasma Gasification Plant on the island. The obnoxious idea of building such a plant using untested technology in Barbados would have put the health of every person who lives on this island, flora and fauna and the marine life that surround us at risk to radiation, cancer and deformity.

In December 2018, the government of Barbados had a stockpile of 1500 houses which were unoccupied while many Barbadians who became unemployed needed shelter. To date one is not aware that this situation has changed. While vagrancy in Bridgetown is on the rise. One wonders if the plight of the vagrants in Bridgetown and that of the poor have not been was a merit to provide them with this housing.

It appears that under Mr. Stuart’s leadership that the meaning of national housing seemed to have been forgotten or only viewed through a very narrow focus to encompass only those seeking public housing. There is no other way for one to describe this as the government stood idly by and watched thousands of persons from the middle class lose their homes and did absolutely nothing about it. Unemployment in both the public and private sector was the case but like a gun, government pulled the trigger. Prime Minister and the government of Barbados has therefore been responsible for the decimation of the middleclass. This could have been arrested if the government had carefully considered it actions of sending home about 3,000 from the labour force and putting measures in place to prevent foreclosures. The easiest remedy was to update the archaic mortgage laws.

It was under Mr. Stuart’s tenure that violence put the nation’s school children at risk. Never in the history of Barbados and with such frequency has this occurred. It is unfortunate that the government did not put a single measure in place to resolve this crisis. All that occurred was talk, a lot of long talk.

This violence was just a reflection of what was occurring in the wider society of Barbados. One never thought that they would live to see the day when the young people in Barbados would be afraid to leave their homes at night, to walk alone in certain districts, to sit outside the village shop and in a hurry to get back home before outside gets dark. Some neighborhoods have become ghost towns after dark; not a person to be seen outside. One is not aware that the government is even interested in resolving this situation because there was a remark that gang members were killing each other. One believes that government has not done enough to stop the gun trade and the trade in illegal drugs.

Without a legal system that functions there is no real justice in any society. Over the past 10 year, we have borne witness to a legal system that does not work and is in dire need of overhaul. It is not only evidence that goes missing, witnesses who are conveniently swayed to change their minds, the length of time that it takes for the matter to be heard in the court, it is not only the excessive delays before the matter reaches conclusion, it is not only some lawyers who willfully abuse the system, it is not only some lawyers who themselves are beyond frustration with the system, it is not only who gets prosecuted or who does not get prosecuted; it is not only the magistrates and judges whose decisions leaves us with our mouths opened; but the very buildings are sick contributing to the malady. For 8 long years, Mr. Stuart and his Attorney General have not come up with any solutions or implemented changes or significantly amended any pieces of legislation to offer remedy to Barbadians.

In 8 years, the physical infrastructure of Barbados has deteriorated. The eye appeal of bygone years is not there. Some buildings have become dilapidated, others sick and are no longer in use. From its outskirts, Bridgetown is in dire need of a facelift. The entire roads network needs to be replaced not patched. Public transportation is in crisis. On the government side there are not enough buses for the poor people to get to and from work. The system for privately owned minibuses that are used for public transportation is in dire need of overhaul. No amount of uniforms and policing will resolve the problem that forces the drivers and conductors to hustle for a dollar. Under the Prime Minister’s watch, the Minister of Transport has not bought any buses or brought any remedy to the table to resolve the transportation problems of Barbados. It now appears to also be a case of willful indifference that has caused such neglect.

Water is a necessity and we cannot live without it. Any crisis that involves the management of water should be handled swiftly. Here again the infrastructure needed to be fixed, pumping stations cleared and cleaned. Old pipes replaced not left to rust above ground. Under Mr. Stuart watch, government ignored the need to provide citizens with water until a crisis occurred. The Prime Minister did not see it fit to visit any of the northern or eastern folk to understand their fears.

The Prime Minister renegaded on a campaign promise from his 2013 Manifesto by which he informed that Barbadians who were accepted that the University of the West Indies would do so without having to pay tuition fees. Clearly the Prime Minister lied because this did not occur. The children of the working class had to shelve their plans of attending the University because they could not afford to attend. The impact on his legacy was that he over turned an accomplishment for which Errol Walton Barrow the first Prime Minister of Barbados and the founder of his Democratic Labour Party was renown. Mr. Barrow must have rolled over in his grave.

These acts that would positively affect the lives of the masses seemed not to have been on the governments agenda.


With the breakdown of every functioning part of government, the economy and the society it was as though Barbados had reverted to the colonial era. Barbados began to resemble a failed state. We were all so focused on the failed state with the camouflage in our faces that very few stopped to look behind the camouflage. Six occurrences behind the camouflage should have made us exceedingly angry and perhaps scared. I only heard of the first and most important one a few nights ago when Ralph Thorne spoke of the utterings of the Prime Minister with regards to the media at CBC. It was that the Prime Minister was using the media to control the minds of the citizens of Barbados. It is now make perfect sense why local programing abruptly changed to political propaganda. The second was the purchase of the finger print technology and its intended use to track the movement of the people in the name of national security. The third was amendment of the police act which was an attempt to turn the country into a police state. The fourth was abuse of the Constitution when the Prime Minister refused to call an election until after he has accomplished whatever deeds were outstanding as he loitered on the steps of Parliament. The fifth was the Electoral and boundaries Commission defiance of the law as it tried to prevent Commonwealth citizens from voting in the general elections. The six occurrence was the dumbing down of the population by refusing to offer free university education

Dictatorships do not happen by accident the well-oiled machinery has already been rolled out in Barbados. It starts with the systemic dismantling of the state as it is known, to be replace by whatever supports the agenda of the dictator. Hence Mr. Stuart’s dismantling of the state that has taken us back to pre-independence times in Barbados. Unless halted Mr. Stuart will be well on his way to cementing a dictatorship. This Administration would not openly call itself a dictatorship but its actions state otherwise. As one look into the future there is nothing to prevent the Amendment of the Police Act from being used as a tool to crack down on the opposition if this Administration regains power.

It was not a democratically elected government that regained power in Barbados in 2013. Hence one should not have expected them to perform as a democratic government should. The only governments in the world who have obtained the people’s mandate through fraud or abuse of the electoral process are Dictatorships; both totalitarian, authoritarian regimes. Essentially during the past 8 years under the leadership of Fruendel Stuart, we have all witnessing the death of Democracy in Barbados. Perhaps the general election due to be held on May 24th, 2018 is not a fight between the DLP and the BLP but about Authoritarian rule versus Democracy.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Anatomy of an Election Campaign II

In the first part of this essay last week, I commented on the positive and negative consequences of the Prime Minister advising the Governor General to issue the writ for a general election to take place on May 24; the likely record number of parties and individuals contesting the elections; the prominent role that the offence of bribery was playing in early popular discourse and the relatively minor part that more substantive issues were occupying in the public domain.

With the launch of the campaigns of the major parties last weekend and the excitement of Nomination Day last Monday, the battle has now been well and truly joined.

What has been noteworthy about the approach of the so-called duopoly is their identical treatment of the launch of the campaign and the introduction of their respective candidates being two distinct events; a strategy available to the better-funded campaigns only, I presume. None of the others has followed a similar course, contenting themselves with traditional spot meetings and social media campaigns.

Having attended none of these four main events thus far, my commentary is based mainly on hearsay and the other secondary sources of media reports. The similarity in strategy between the older parties appears to have ended in the staging of dual meetings however, since the opening gambits appear to be diametrically opposed. For the Democratic Labour Party [DLP], the engagement strategy appears to be the one pursued so successfully by the all-conquering West Indies cricket team of the 80’s and 90’s, -that is, if we can prick the bubble of mystique that surrounds the leader of our opponent, then the battle is already more than half-won. It is a strategy better known in the Barbadian vernacular as indicating the importance of the brain (head) to physical soundness –“When de head gone, the whole body gone…”

While it is, of course, far too early to gauge the effectiveness of this approach, it is one clearly fraught with some degree of risk since the leader of the Barbados Labour Party [BLP] is female and it is not irrational to assume that its supporters might readily conflate what is intended to be a purely partisan political barracking with an attack on the female gender in general… even though a reasoning electorate should be careful to distinguish between the two by virtue of the content. In other words, a broadside against the political acumen and leadership ability of an individual -whether male, female, blackish, whitish, affluent or “scrunting”-, ought not to be melded into an assault on all those identically situated merely by virtue of the identified characteristic.

Nonetheless, to found an election strategy on a plinth that requires the appreciation of such a comparatively fine distinction by an impassioned local electorate appears in hindsight to be unarguably risky. The call is not mine to make, however.

For its part, the BLP appears to have adopted an equally risky strategy for its platform. While it is understandable that the promise of a better economic future for the citizenry would be an attractive sop for a jurisdiction and an electorate in deep economic “doo-doo”, the more cynical voter might be mistrustful and wary of promises of a soonest return to a former prosperity that would entail a revival of formerly available civic entitlements, an increase in a named social security benefit and the concomitant reduction of a much despised imposition.

In light of the actuality that an electioneering promise is not otherwise enforceable except as a matter of propriety, a party should be diligent to persuade an discerning electorate of its bona fides by reasoned argument and not merely by platitudes that require them to trust the word of the promising or representing entity.

I readily accede to any argument that I am not a politician, and it may be too that I am unfamiliar with how a local electorate reasons, if it does so at all. If I had my druthers, though, I would not have advised either of the strategic approaches adopted by the major parties so far as being too electorally risky.

As for the other combatants, I remain hopeful that a creditable platform will emerge from among them, one that is based on practicable policy as well as one that respects the guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens.

Just recently, I received a flier from one “third” party’s candidate in my constituency and I am forced to wonder whether a competent individual was allowed to vet the material therein by before publication. One paragraph speaks to “Charged Persons” and boldly indicates that “only the charges and court cases of those convicted will be published”. And, as if this threat to press freedom were not sufficiently chilling, it is further stated that publishing any such details of innocent and not-convicted persons will attract “defamation fines”. The material proposes to quantify these penalties on the loss of reputation and loss of earnings (suffered by the innocent party, I presume) owed to the publication.

This is surreal. While our neighbours are striving to abolish the offence of criminal defamation, we are attempting to apply it to a wholly inapplicable circumstance -one where there is no defamation- and further to impose monetary penalties therefor where there can be no likelihood of loss of reputation caused by the publication. Lord, put a hand!

12 Days to Go…it is the Governance Model Stupid

Twelve days before E-Day and the blogmaster anticipates the political temperature measuring the nasty will increase.

A noticeable feature of the campaign so far has been an ‘attempt’  by all the political parties to discuss issues. The DLP strategists have a right to determine the approach to win the general election. The plan to attack Mia Mottley we will see how the electorate responds. Overall the quality of debate coming from the political platforms has been poor.

As a keen observer of local affairs, it has become patently obvious the political class has been attracting individuals whose main reason for entering public life is to earn a salary and benefit from the influence and largess the political office will deliver for personal gain.  Listen to the contributions being delivered by many of the candidates on the campaign trail and the intellectual capacity of many comes into question. The observation is not to suggest political candidates aspiring to public life must be MBA trained. What the blogmaster wants to see is a healthy mix of individuals who aspire to political office who are intellectually strong AND driven by by an unswerving desire to serve the public. The quality of wanting to serve the public is important because it will bring integrity to public office and ensure the political class- an important stakeholder in civil society- can lead by example.

Given the declining state of the economy, physical infrastructure, decline in the social fabric and so on the blogmaster anticipated the quality level of the political debate would be off the dial. Instead we have had to listen to a rehash of conversations past. We do not have the maturity to conduct national debates between the political candidates and  parties. It is noticeable that a leading media house has created a forum for the parties to share their message with the electorate, for free, and the DLP has refused to participate. With two weeks to go the DLP has not shared its plans with the people to ensure there is a thorough discussion to inform final selection. The focus is on the politicking to inform strategy at the expense of ventilating the issues affecting the people and what is good to sustain success of a tiny island.

One useful discussion item that has emerged from the 2018 political campaign is the behaviour of political candidates. We have had to listen to David ‘pitbull’ Estwick calling the lord’s name on the platform. Steve Blackett calling Mia musty and so on.  Donville Inniss and Stephen Lashley have been quick to defend the party position as groupthink in local party politics demands. Is this the political theatrics we want to encourage on the Barbados political scene? Do we not anticipate where promoting party colours will land us in the near future?

When the dust settles we have to admit the behaviour of political candidates will ultimate be determined by what the public demands. Auditor General reports, questionable decisions by the Director of Public Prosecutions, dysfunctional working committees of parliament have confirmed the inability of the public to hold the feet of pubic officials to the fire. It stands to reason we have a scenario playing out in Barbados where the tail is wagging the dog if we are to appreciate the workings of how our system of government should work.

We have had public officials refusing to attend sittings of the Public Accounts Committee and those who attended feeling no fear of discipline by giving muddy answers. There has been the case of a member of parliament brandishing a gun within the precinct of parliament, a Speaker of the House ordered by a justice of the High Court to repay a wheelchair bound septuagenarian his funds.  The political class it is safe to conclude by the lack of urgency to advocate against matters mentioned and others are prepared to betray the basic tenets required of a public servant.

Another aspect of the landscape is the access to an abundance of cash by political parties to spread the ‘message’ in the silly season.   It clearly points to what is known and that is all political parties have masters they must serve. We continue to fool ourselves that the bastardized model of the Westminster System inherited from a colonial past is relevant. It bears repeating, several layers within a Westminster System must cohesively function to deliver as originally designed. So far on the campaign trail we have listened to a tinkering of the issues located on the fringe, with 12 days to go who knows what the morrow will bring.

Politics of Vitriol

Hypocrisy rears it’s ugly head again in Barbados. When a DLP leader is spoken about in the worst way none of the sanctimonious hypocrites from the BLP or otherwise have nothing to say in fact they embrace the comments. The DLP launches an attack on the BLP leader who happens to be a woman and these people want to rush back to a moral code. In all of this the question is was the current BLP leader in charge and responsible for the projects that were identified during the presentations?

James Paul (DLP Candidate for St. Michael West Central)

The day after the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) delivered a stinging rebuke of Mia Mottley’s leadership  at their kickoff political meeting, it has been interesting to monitor the feedback. Although anecdotal, the blogmaster senses there are many who were turned off by the torrent of invective hurled at Mia Mottley from the DLP platform on Sunday night.

Why should Barbadians be surprised? Politics is a blood sport some say and clearly the DLP will devise the strategy they determine is best suited to win the upcoming general election. If Mia is able to withstand the assault then it will make her worthy of the position she holds as leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). The blogmaster has no issue with the DLP focussing on the capacity of Mia Mottley to lead or on her record of achievement in public life. Attacking the leader is an established tactic adopted in team sport with good result. The fact that Mottley is a woman will encourage the irrelevant emotional argument.

In a press interview with the Prime Minister after he was nominated to contest the St. Michael South seat, he expressed satisfaction at the  level of response the DLP kickoff meeting has aroused in the population. Clearly a key plank in the DLP’s strategy is to focus the campaign on Mottley.  To state the obvious, it will be up to the voters to decide on the 24th May 2018 its effectiveness.

The blogmaster noted the excuses proffered by campaign manager Bobby Morris at the DLP kickoff meeting on behalf of Denis Lowe and Kim Tudor. Denis Lowe is reported to be recovering from a knee operation AND Tudor was said to ‘under the weather’. Inquiring minds want to know if there is a possibility Tudor – the woman – didn’t have the stomach to be present on the DLP platform during an attack against the woman Mottley.

It will also be interesting to observe how the campaign develops now that the kickoff meetings of the weekend are out of the way. So far the BLP has to be given more points for engaging in a lower level of vitriol. However, for the sensible among us, we will be listening to how Mottley and the BLP plan to stabilize and restore prosperity to Barbados in the coming days, the same for the DLP. The DLP will also have the task of defending its record in office for the 2008-2018 period. An incumbent running for a third term is always challenging. Doing so having presided over an extended period of austerity moreso.

In summary, we will have to determine if the government has managed the affairs of state satisfactorily given the hand it was dealt. It will have to be careful in its explanation why it has not implemented Integrity and FOI laws after ten years in government. The blogmaster notes the BLP has promised to make this a priority on the first working day of parliament should they be elected to government.

What is the state of its waste management program? Although Lowe can boast of a spanking new SSA headquarters located at Vaucluse, the island continues to manage waste collection and disposal in the same way its predecessor did prior to 2008.  When the Cahill Energy deal crashed…. Interestingly, the Barbados Water Authority finds itself in a similar position with a spanking new headquarters, BUT, unable to efficiently distribute water to parts of the island. A situation that gave rise to the ‘water warriors’. This is a ministry which also has responsibility for waste water management. Enough has been recorded about leaking sewage on the South Coast.

Other big ticket items is the inability of government to adequately maintain the infrastructure- roads, buildings, vehicles to name a few. Why has Barbados not been able to earn Cat 1 aviation status for the country given its majority holdings in LIAT. An unhealthy NIS Scheme. An unsatisfactory transportation system.

Of course there is the economy stupid where there has been negligible growth in the economy in last decade supported by plummeting foreign reserves and skyrocketing debt. All the above however are symptoms of the lack of vision the country has not been able to benefit from in the last 20 years by implementing a relevant governance framework.

This is not an exhaustive list.

The Caswell Franklyn Column – Buying Votes with Public Service Appointments

On the day dedicated to workers (May Day) news broke that 660 temporary workers have been appointed to the Public Service, within the past six months, with more than 300 additional appointments expected shortly.

Under normal circumstances, as a trade unionist representing public workers, I would be ecstatic on receipt of that news. But these are not normal circumstances and even though I am happy for the recipients, it is tinged with a bit of anger because of the way many of these workers have been treated over the years leading up to these appointments. As far as I am aware, some of these new appointees were employed as temporary officers before this administration took office in 2008.

From where I stand, this mad rush by the authorities to make these appointments seems to be a crass attempt to curry favour with public workers ahead of the general elections, and also to cement their supporters in secure public service jobs. Somehow, the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) believes that these appointments would translate into votes from grateful workers and their families. While I fully expect that their supporters would blindly support the DLP; I don’t believe that members of the ruling party could be so delusional to expect that uncommitted workers, who in many cases endured upward of ten years as temporary officers, to vote for them now.

By making these appointments and promising more, the DLP should not think that it is doing public workers any favours. Delaying these appointments for years meant that these workers could not get credit, to move on with their lives, because of their temporary status. Also, temporary officers pay two percent more in contributions than appointed officers to National Insurance. In effect, a temporary officer who earns $2,500 per month would pay an additional fifty dollars per month. (That could still have bought two chickens). Over ten years, by not appointing that worker as required by law, Government would have taken an additional $6,000 from his pay packet, while denying him any salary increases over that period.

To make matters worse, even if the appointments were backdated to comply with the law, and they were not, National Insurance would only refund that worker a mere $1,200.

It troubles me immensely to think that politicians would expect to be rewarded for allowing these appointments at this time. It bears repetition, they are not doing workers any favours. Section 13.(11) of the Public Service Act requires the authorities to fill permanent post within 12 months. It states:

No established office in the Public Service shall be allowed to remain vacant for a period of more than one year except

(a) permission to allow the vacancy is granted by the Governor-General on the advice of the Service Commission; or

(b) the office has been frozen by the Minister.

Despite this provision, the authorities continued to allow temporary officers to act in vacant established offices for ten or more years in some cases.

It is apt to point out, to those who think that appointing public officers en masse would redound to the benefit of the ruling party, that just prior to the 2008 elections, the Arthur administration passed legislation to ensure the automatic appointment of over 3,000 temporary officers. They lost.

There is another sinister aspect to these appointments, many of which appear to be done along partisan lines. Long-serving, competent and deserving officers are being overlooked for appointment or promotion is preference for person who identify as supporters of the DLP. In the event of a change of government, the DLP would have its supporters/minions in key areas either to disrupt or spy on any new administration.

DLP and BLP Challenged to National Debate

Submitted by Neil Holder, leader of the BIM

The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) has issued a challenge to the leaders of the two established political parties Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Opposition leader Mia Mottley to a national debate.

Please Remove the Word "Democratic" from the Name of the DLP!

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

So, the would-be “Emperor” of Barbados has finally deigned to set a date for General Elections after subjecting our country to a seven and a half week demonstration of utter contempt for our system of governance — the system of Parliamentary Democracy.

Barbados — as Mr Freundel Stuart well knows is a Parliamentary Democracy.

The Constitution of Barbados makes it clear that Parliament (comprised of the House of Assembly and the Senate) is the fundamental institution around which the office of Prime Minister and of every other cabinet Minister revolves.

Section 64 of our Constitution makes this clear when it asserts that “the Cabinet shall be …..charged with the general direction and control of the government of Barbados and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament”.

As does Section 65 of the Constitution which establishes that the very existence  of the Prime Minister is based solely on him being the person who — in the judgment of the Governor General — is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.

So, in light of the foregoing, how was it possible for Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, or our newly appointed Governor General for that matter, to consider it permissible to rule over Barbados for an extensive seven and a half weeks after the dissolution of Parliament, without setting a date for or decreeing a General Election to establish a new Parliament ?

Who — in the absence of a functioning Parliament — was Mr Stuart and his fellow Democratic Labour Party ministers accountable to over the past seven and a half weeks?

A proper respect and regard for the principles of Parliamentary Democracy would have impelled Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, and our Governor General to recognize that where a governmental administration has permitted the life of Parliament to run its full course and to be dissolved, that they were under a duty (established by the Constitution and owed to us, the people of Barbados) to IMMEDIATELY set a date and issue writs for a General Election.

In other words, the period of time during which the country was required to operate without a functioning Parliament should be kept to a minimum, and–after the dissolution of Parliament– the Citizens should NOT be kept in a state of prolonged suspense over when new and critical General Elections will be held ! No doubt the Governor General has a discretion in all of this, but her discretion should always be exercised in the best interest of us the Citizens of the country and in keeping with the nation’s fundamental interest not to be deprived of a functioning Parliament for any extensive period of time.

That Messers Stuart and company (and seemingly our Governor General as well) did NOT appreciate this, and instead, subjected our country to seven and a half weeks of unaccountable Cabinet rule was unconscionable!

Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, and indeed their party — the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) — thoroughly discredited themselves over the past seven and a half weeks in the eyes of all right thinking Citizens who believe in the tenets of Parliamentary Democracy.

Indeed, their contempt for democracy has become so obvious and offensive that perhaps they should now do the decent thing and remove the word “Democratic” from the name of their political party!

ONWARD  TO  GENERAL  ELECTIONS fellow Citizens, and let us ensure we elect thirty Members of Parliament who understand what DEMOCRACY entails and who truly appreciate that we — the people of Barbados — are the real and permanent owners of the country, and that the temporary political administrators that we vote into office are merely there to serve us and must always be accountable to us.



Mara Thompson’s Porous Legacy

The idea to hatch a Thompson dynasty in the St. John constituency by the late prime minister David Thompson at the behest of his political advisor Hartley Henry ended in failure last week.   The last representative for the St. John riding Mara Thompson  announced her retirement from elective politics last week and took the opportunity to anoint George Pilgrim who was cherry-picked by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to contest the next general election.

Members of the BU family are keen observers of local politics and the decision by Mara bears a severe critique on several fronts .

She will be remembered for being an incompetent participant in the affairs of parliament whether on her feet or presiding in the Chair as deputy Speaker. Hansard will support. There is no need to be prolix on this matter. For anyone who wants to challenge please point the blogmaster to one seminal intervention she made in her role as a contributor in parliament. The only ‘significant’ contribution that comes to mind was her reference to ‘barren’ women.

The blogmaster admits erring in our support- as the BU archives will support- of the Thompsons. Subsequent events have unfolded to give credence to the view that to err is human.

Although her late husband grabbed the focus as it relates to the Clico Scandal. And revelations contained in the Deloitte Forensic Audit confirmed there is justification in the tainted legacy he has earned. The fact Mara Thompson operated as Office Manager at the defunct Thompson and Associates and MUST have been privy to decisions taken by her husband, not to mention via the pillar talk channel, will also besmirch her legacy and hang around her neck like a yoke rested on our favourite beast of burden  – and the children.  Citizens of the secular world will exact their pound of flesh in recompense, however, there is hope if she claims to be a ‘believer’ to seek repentance for her worldly sins.

The ‘infraction’ the blogmaster prefers to prosecute at this time given our core focus is one of the role of media holding public officials accountable.

It was on November 2017 the Nation newspaper published a story which advised that Mara Thompson:

…will be vacating had been held by her late husband, former Prime Minister David Thompson, from 1987 when he was elected following the death in office of Prime Minister Errol Barrow. Thompson’s death in office in 2010 led to the January 2011 by-election which his widow easily won. Thompson’s disclosure ended weeks of speculation about whether she would be facing the poll constitutionally due early in 2018 – Nation newspaper 15 November 2017

What was amusing is that the local media was forced to defend the story although its source was an interview- albeit a brief one- given by Mara Thompson. She subsequently denied the story. Clearly events have shown that she jumped the gun by making the announcement. We are left to speculate that it was the lack of readiness by the DLP to declare her replacement with a general election looming.

Mara Thompson’s reluctance to ‘lie’ about her premature announcement shows she is no different in moral fibre to the person she deputized for while sitting in the Speaker’s Chair (MICHEAL CARRINGTON). Whether as a member of parliament or Office Manager of Thompson and Associates the conclusion is the same. This is a person who is devoid of the qualities to engage in ethical behaviour if the need to be politically expedient is required. Sadly this is the prevailing quality that describes the local political class.

Why has the media given Mara Thompson a pass?

Freundel Writes His Name on History’s Page

I did not dissolve it – deliberately – and of course the experts have been giving expressions to their surprise. ‘This is the first time in Barbados’ history, that a parliament was allowed to stand dissolved by effluxion of time’. That is how history is made. History is not made by things happening the same way all the time. History is made by doing things differentlyPrime Minister Freundel Stuart

The quote is credited to the Prime Minister of Barbados in response to wide public disquiet his decision to encroach on the 90 day period the framers of the Constitution provide to have a general election after the dissolution of parliament. For sure the statement can be generously described as puerile and strips bare the reputation earned by Barbados post Independence as a model Black democratic nation punching above its weight class.

Barbados has been reduced  to the butt of jokes brought to a head by a story in the Russian media space with the title Swapping Erections for Elections: Prostitutes Dip Toes in Caribbean .…. We have the ridiculous state of affairs a former prostitute entering the race and a political party by the name of PPP – you guessed it – indicating an interest in contesting the next general election. Say what you will, one cannot imagine this state of affairs occurring if Errol Barrow, Tom Adams  or Owen Arthur were leading the country. Is it accurate to conclude it has to do with leadership?

Prime Minister Stuart has revealed his value-set to Barbadians on numerous occasion, the best example is when he failed to censure the former Speaker of the House MICHAEL CARRINGTON for withholding payment to a client. Monies based on standard procedure should have been deposited in his Clients Account awaiting final disbursement. Because BU is rated a PG blog the blogmaster will be generous in language to describe CARRINGTON. You will recall the prime minister’s advice was to publicly advise CARRINGTON to get a lawyer.  Given the fact there was no crescendo of noise emanating from civil society led by NGOs, Bar Association and others, it brings into question the extent to which political morality is honoured in Barbados.

Notwithstanding, the blogmaster is unable to fathom what political capital Stuart and team is benefitting from subjecting Bajans to the humiliation currently being being experienced. As if the psyche of the Bajan has not suffered a deep puncture and the swagger transformed to a limp as a result of the protracted economic performance downturn.  Today we heard it all when perennial local political scientist Dr. George Belle described our government as a de facto dictatorship.  From a model Black country punching above its weight class to being described by a local academic as a de facto dictatorship!

It seems like yesterday in 2007 the same political arguments were being had. What has changed? TwiddleD has replaced TwiddleB. How will the cycle be disrupted? Besides Natlee championing the cause of the invisible people, what new political narrative have we been hearing?

DLP Accused of Using ‘Firewater’ Program to Sniff Voters List

The following was received from an anonymous person. The BU blogmaster will let this play and follow where it leads, for the moment – David, Blogmaster

I thought I would let you and the readers on BU, know about one of the Barbados Election Programmes used by the DLP to learn about voters in Barbados. It is called “firewater” and trust me when I say that no one in the DLP wants you to know about this because it has aided them in the past, and because no one in bim can handle the truth about what goes on around election time! How do they know what they know about you during election time?

Firewater came into light during the last 2013 election. It is a programme used to show the voters list and display information about all who are registered to vote in Barbados. In its most basic form, it is a database, with entries pertaining to ALL registered voters in Barbados. Information can be accessed from the database at any time without any clearance or authorization, and because we are talking about voters, access to information about the who’s who of Barbados is granted.

When was the last time you heard about firewater in the news?

You have probably never heard about firewater before because it has never been mentioned once by any member of the DLP because they do not want the public to be aware of what they have been doing with your information! With this programme everyone in Barbados is vulnerable! Firewater can access everything about a person such as National registration number, permanent address and polling district. It has information about every single person who is registered to vote in Barbados so that means even you. I am not aware of any laws regarding the use of information in such a programme outside of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission office(s) but I thought you would like to know.

Firewater is a programme that only the DLP has access to. I am doubtful that the other parties in Barbados have this kind of tool at their disposal. Anyone who is registered to vote can be found by name search, so it is very easy to find someone who is listed as a registered voter. That means anyone 18 years or older at the time of the last election. The database can pull up any one of the 380,000 names listed. No one in the DLP wants you to know about firewater so here is a perfect example of why no freedom of information legislation has been passed.

I have attached some photos of firewater in action. As you can see the database is quite extensive. Firewater was used in the last election in 2013 so I cannot tell you if it will be used again this time around. Firewater is only one of many ‘Barbados Electoral Programmes’ used by the DLP. Most likely, there will be some improvements to these  tools in the upcoming elections as the DLP also controls the government.

I don’t know what else to tell you about firewater other than the fact that this programme exists. Again, this could be one of those issues that borders on the line of legality or it could be completely illegal for the DLP to have compiled the voters’ information in such a manner. I guess it is a question of WHO has access to the database and WHO can use it for what purpose?! I want to caution who and every Barbadian that this is a very comprehensive list with access to your friends, and family’s information. It can be used by persons anyone, and on any computer outside the Barbados Electoral and Boundaries Commission office(s).