Another three weeks to finish 2022 and the murder on the weekend pushes the year to date recorded number of murders to 41 which equals 2020. The state of violent crime in Barbados in recent years brings the 48 murders recorded in 2019 into play. Of deep concern to the blogmaster is the inability of the leadership in the country to effectively address the problem.
Last week the blogmaster read about 140 murders recorded by The Bahamas and it is no secret Jamaica has been declaring state of emergencies as a measure to arrest the murder rate for over 50 years. The outlook does not look good for Barbados that we will be able to reduce the murder rate using regional trending as the basis of conclusion.
The scourge of drugs is generally accepted as feeding criminal activity in Barbados – specifically gun crime. Further, we have the untouchables operating in the shadows of society who pass as upright citizens responsible for financing the importation of drugs and guns. The blogmaster is sure, very sure there is collusion between various actors in the first, second and third sectors of Barbados. For some reason a video of then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley posing with certain characters come to mind. What are we doing?
There are many pieces to our drugs, guns and corruption puzzle. Reviewing various documentaries about the drugs trade in the wider Caribbean region, can show us what the finished puzzle may look like, and therefore, why it is not being solved.
Interviewed gang leaders admitted to bribing: customs officials, police, judges, and politicians. Bribes were paid to guarantee the uninterrupted flow of guns and drugs, and to frustrate any investigation if someone was caught.
Gang leaders normally employed assassins to kill those who did not cooperate. They also tended to care for the poor in their communities. Sometimes, the US pressured the Governments to arrest gang leaders. If those next in line were also arrested or killed, the leadership void was sometimes filled by the assassins. When assassins became gang leaders, no one was safe.
How close to the edge are we in Barbados? With the pieces kept conveniently jumbled, the true picture has always remained speculative. We now have 30 years of jumbled evidence to assemble.
When the gangs were fighting for turf in Barbados during the 1987-1994 DLP administration, former Prime Minister Sandiford declared that there were no gangs in Barbados. The following BLP administration (1994-2008) acknowledged that there were gangs, but noted that there were simply killing each other.
After some gruesome murders, legislation for illegal guns was passed. We were told that convicted persons would receive 25-year sentences for possession of an illegal gun or bullet. Soon after that announcement, a person was convicted of a gun offence, and received a comparable ‘slap-on-the-wrist’.
In 2008, former Prime Minister Arthur revealed that he left an FBI report, on his desk, for the new Prime Minister. Former Prime Minister Stuart claimed that he never saw it, on his desk.
In 2008, Barbados reported to the OAS that we had 150 gangs, with 4,000 members. For comparison, in 2010 the Jamaican police reported they had 268 gangs with 3,900 members. That same year, the Bajan Reporter published a shocking report of how gangs recruited our school children.
In 2017, Small Arms Survey found that 1,675 guns were used by the Barbados military, and 2,000 by the police. The number of unlawfully held guns was estimated at 7,000.
In 2017, the DLP reported that gang leaders were operating without fear of prosecution in Barbados. They noted that kidnappings, executions, drug trafficking, and legitimate businesses were part of their normal activities. They further noted that prominent members of Barbados society were linked to the importation of illegal guns.
In 2017, the DLP proposed anti-gang legislation, with gang members being liable for 20 years imprisonment, and gang leaders, 25 years. In 2018, the new BLP administration decided not to pursue anti-gang legislation, noting that it will only be used as a last resort.
In 2019, former BLP politician Atherley, revealed in Parliament, that politicians had connections to gang leaders.
In 2020, the BLP passed an Integrity in Public Life bill, that contained glaring loopholes to protect persons who received bribes. For example, section 65.4 states: “An inquiry or investigation shall not be commenced after 2 years from the date on which the person involved ceased to be a public official.”
The increasing number of unrestrained shootings in Barbados, suggests that whatever restraining influence ‘prominent members of Barbados society’ had, has faded. If we are on a similar trend as the wider Caribbean, then bribes have already been paid, and the uncontrollable sicarios or assassins have taken control of some gangs.
For the past 20 years, after every shooting that the media gave prominence, we got the same tough political talk, and no meaningful action. We have now come to a very familiar junction – to jumble or not to jumble.
The BLP recently announced that we are paying a UK law firm to go on a fishing expedition – to look for corruption in Barbados. This suggests that we have chosen to jumble.
We can easily ask the FBI for a copy of their 2008 report – at no cost. We can also ask them for an updated version. Perhaps it is time to ask why we have not done this simple thing for the past 12 years.
We have foolishly courted disaster for the past 30 years, and they do not tolerate break-ups.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
The PM is reportedly scared of hurricanes, earthquakes and automatic weapons. She is wise to fear such things. Fortunately, she is the one person in Barbados that can actually do something to minimize the risks from all three.
As Minister responsible for building regulations, she should be aware that Barbados has the unenviable distinction of being perhaps the only country on this planet that offers no residential construction guidance to its citizens. She can correct that disgrace tomorrow.
As Minister responsible for national security, she should be aware that all members of Parliament are likely aware of the drug dens in their constituencies. Travelling across several constituencies over the past 3 years, I can confirm that this information is easily available. Meaningfully addressing this problem simply requires the will to act.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
Chris Rogers (l) Walter Prescod (c) Charles Herbert (r)
The news that approximately 3 million dollars worth of illegal drugs was discovered on a boat owned by Goddards Enterprises – a successful and respected international company domiciled in Barbados – continues to be the talk of the town. A few high profile names are reported to be assisting the police force read Charles Herbert the Chairman of Goddards Enterprises and Chris Rogers a non executive member who were reported to be on the boat when the interdiction was made by Barbados Customs Officers.
Information coming from the police about the progress of investigation has been slow as one would expect when prominent individuals are involved. Then add high profile lawyer Andrew Pilgrim to the mix. The blogmaster joins many expressing an interest in who will be charged and incarcerated for the crime. The tangential story is that there is an intense lobby with the charge in government to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The blogmaster ask commenters to be smart when posting comments. On behalf of the BU household we appeal to all those out there to continue to tip off the authorities so that we can arrest the scourge of drugs, guns and other illegal activity pouring into our little island. Feel free to email BU also with tips by completing the Contact List that will be forwarded confidentially to the blogmaster.
BU’s Featured image is Charles Herbert, Chairman of Goddards (l) and Chris Rogers, non executive board member (r).
The following is a post to a T&T YahooGroup to which Barbados Underground is subscribed. Take note of the following disclaimer. The BU household has replaced “T&T” with Barbados, “Keith and Kamla” with Freundel and Mia, “PNM and UNC” with DLP and BLP
– Barbados Underground (BU)
Credit: Colonel Buggy
…. they admit the main reason for our crime problem is the free flow of guns & drugs and the massive money laundering by white-collar criminals running the narco trade in Barbados, and they cooperate to solve this problem.
If they don’t, then you can take it the bank that these two will never be able to solve the crime problem and will continue to support ineffective, stupid, useless, and VERY COSTLY programmes that continue to maintain the eat-ah-food parasites of all parties who continue to eat while blood flows, especially that of the foot soldiers.
You will hear more legalese talk than real action to solve the real crime problem and go after the real crime bosses. Lawyers and politicians who are advised by lawyers believe the solution to all problems is more LEGALESE, EVEN THOUGH we have a plethora of good laws (bad ones, too) on the books but we can’t implement any damn thing in this country.
Like most problems, anywhere, you have to go to the source to solve it. Anything else is crap. You cannot real with guns & drugs & dirty money when the nation is flooded with these and you allow more to come in! Why is that hard to understand,. eh? You seizing a gun every day, if even that, but more and more come in all the time. Guns & drugs come in and leave in shipping containers yet you are not increasing patrols & monitoring as well as scanning at ports etc? But, now and then you seizing a few pounds of ganga or a few ounces of cocaine, and you say we getting there, we finally making progress in this battle, really? Who yuh fooling?
When the the Government and Opposition come together to reduce the free flow of guns & drugs, tackle the money laundering and white-collar crimes, and bring the Defence Force out to help the Police in more patrols all over the country, more temporary and permanent Army/police posts, more control of the roads and highways to restrict movement of criminals (they have to move), genuine CCTV that actually work and monitored by real people all over the country but first in strategic locations, more coastal stations and patrols, more scanning at points of entry and random checks of containers all over the place……. then you could say Freundel and Mia getting serious about crime. But that might happen when cock get teeth or pigs fly or ….
Until then, it’s all a pappyshow that fools no once except the dwindling band of DLP & BLP lackeys and eat-ah-fooders who are too blind to see what is happening.
One wonders why successive governments AND THE PEOPLE OF Barbados have not tackled the growing narco trade that is now destroying Barbados? Is it that everyone has a price? Is it now all ah we iz corrupt? Is it that the narco trade has permeated every sector, every village, and every block in Barbados so all ah we in it? Why is it that people offer all manner of solutions for crime but never admit the real problem and suggest solutions to tackle the real problem? Why is it that successive governments and the people of Barbados do not want assistance from USA, Canada, Europe and others who have expertise and experience in this and are willing to help us? Some years ago, a government official said we have nothing to really worry about narco trade since it just “pass thru” here, so let them do dey ting and we have no problem. Naive. Stupid. Dangerous. Is it that such opinions are still prevalent among the leaders & elites in Barbados? One has to wonder…..and then die.
Time we unleash our true potential. The United Kingdom has taxed and barricaded our other crops like sugar and bananas, even tourism (APB) almost to non existence. Think that was by chance? Think again and while we at it, reconsider the Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves’ position.
The August 26 article “Drug courts or drug treatment centers” hopefully signals the tectonic plates of the drug debate are shifting. Perhaps the appetite for spending millions and incarcerating thousands, in the service of pieties immune to rational analysis, is not limitless after all. Exhaustion is finally setting in with the enormous human and fiscal costs of attempting to eradicate the ineradicable. People have always used intoxicants, and always will, in ways ancient and new. The Bible tells us that no sooner had Noah planted a vineyard than “he drank of the wine, and was drunken.” We seem to be exiting the era when a focus on the harmful effects of illegal drugs excludes all consideration of the harmful effects of their hard-fisted prohibitions. The debate is becoming less susceptible to cheap rhetorical bullying.
Though tantamount to crying out in the wilderness, one final thought. In our censorious public discussions about substance abuse, drinking often gets a pass. But alcohol abuse kills far more people than powders, tablets, and vials. According to a recent survey, about 40 percent of the adult population of Barbados is either addicted to alcohol or binge drinks dangerously. Booze seeds and squires a broad range of diseases, from cirrhosis to various forms of cancer, and contributes to many deaths from shootings, stabbings, falls and drunk driving. Just as with other classes of drugs, prohibition would prove ineffective, but if we’re going to discuss the drug problem in Barbados with any honesty, then we shouldn’t edit drinking out of the picture.
Once again the issue of drugs and the way we treat convicted drug dealers has returned to the public agenda. And, as in the original discussion, the issue has moved from the justification swung from the kind of justice meted out to offenders to the ‘humanity’ of Barbadian society and its moral compass.
But, our Christian nature aside, it is an unnecessary economic burden on taxpayers to adopt a so-called war on drugs when some of the biggest players are easily forgiven and then, worse, incentivised by being allowed to stay on in Barbados with a right of residence and, in due course, a right to citizenship. In so doing, government is recognising for the first time in our history that we no longer believe in the rule of law, but rule by lawyers and the most vocal of us. The treatment of these offenders must, however, be linked to the wider policy objective of combating drug abuse and dealing and the call for a drugs court.
First, there is no need for a specialist drugs court as is proposed. What is needed is a sentencing policy to prohibit magistrates and judges from abusing the custodial system by remanding and sentencing young drug users to lengthy terms in prison for the possessions of small amounts of drugs, usually cannabis. Rather, an effective drug policy should revolve around treating drug use and addiction in the first instance as medical and psychiatric problems, but offenders/victims should first have to cooperate fully with the authorities by giving details of suppliers, etc., before being treated with leniency.
Tony Bennett suggests legalize drugs, click to read about it - (MARK J. TERRILL / AP Photo)
Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Amy Winestone, Jean-Michel Basquait, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on – again. A few days ago Whitney Houston joined a Glorious Band of the most exceptional artists this world has known. There are many factors that seem to militate against the most talented human beings who give meaning to the aesthetics as philosophy. These could include certain self destructive elements, a seeming inability to deal with the lavish adoration of millions of fans globally, a vicious entertainment management culture constructed on predation, a drive to go to a certain place to find that elusive and perpetual genius and a perception that we make unreasonable demands of our most talented citizens. In fact, this culture of death is not recent. It goes back for centuries. What is a growing factor however is the role played by the pharmaceutical industrial complex. In fact, in the United States big pharma is directly responsible for 150,000 deaths every year and a total of 1 million people injured by so-called ‘legal’ drugs. In this article we will argue that we are long past the stage of asking for the decriminalization of all plants. We consider that no human being or institution has the authority to criminalize nature and that all of mother earth is our collective birthright. What we will demand from all Governments, everywhere, is the immediate and total LEGALISATION of all plants – without apology.
Excerpts from the book “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in The Caribbean – The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Guyana”, by Darius Figueira. This book is available at the UWI Bookshop and online on Amazon.com.
“The dominant race based illicit drug transhipping organisations/race groupings are:
The Syrian/Lebanese grouping. This grouping consists of crime families descended from Syrian and Lebanese immigrants to Trinbago and generations since born in Trinbago. ..The Syrian/Lebanese organisation has created a division of labour in which their illicit drug transhipping is masked by the legitimate front businesses and drug money laundering operations that pass for legitimate businesses.
The much publicized Myrie Affair occurred in April this year. By all accounts Barbados came out of the affair with a bloody nose if we are to judge by the comments made by all and sundry. Despite the vitriol spouted from both sides Barbadians, Jamaicans and onlookers are none the wiser what actually happened to Shanique Myrie when she attempted to cross the border of Barbados. She alleges that she was inappropriately searched by local officials, a charge which was denied. In the absence of substantive evidence who does one believe?
What was evident from the episode is that the Jamaican media and political directorate were in cahoots to ensure Jamaican Myrie’s story was propagated and propagandized. To be expected we had the so-called regionalists like Peter Wickham, Rickey Singh, David Commissiong et al who abandoned the need to be patriotic and gleefully jumped across to the other side of the debate.
BU does not intend to paper over any indiscretions made by Barbadian agencies if any did occur at all in the Myrie incident. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart’s offer for Myrie to return to Barbados to facilitate meaningful investigation remains unaccepted after several months. The haste with which Jamaicans and others across the region used the opportunity to exposed a latent dislike for Barbados cannot be ignored. Some in local media and elsewhere would want Barbadians to ignore the obvious and not rock the CSME boat. It always has to be Barbados to turn the other cheek!
CANNABIS CULTURE – What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? CC presents an interview with Len Richmond, director of a new documentary film about how science is showing that compounds in cannabis attack cancer while protecting healthier cells.
It is one thing to kill a cancer cell, but the real question wracking science’s collective brain is: can you survive the treatment?
This is the central concern regarding how we approach cancer, the plague of modern times. Len Richmond’s documentary What if Cannabis Cured Cancer, narrated by Emmy award-winning actor Peter Coyote, is a well-researched account of the chemical benefits of the cannabis plant. Featuring interviews with a multitude of doctors and researchers across the world, the film explains how certain compounds in cannabis, including THC, attack only cancer cells while actually protecting healthier ones. And here is the real kicker: with incredible results! However, its healing effects are not limited to just cancer. Cannabis contains compounds that work holistically with the entire human body on such conditions as epilepsy, bipolar disorder, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, depression, leukemia, and more.
The documentary also outlines the misinformation campaign by both government and media as to the ill effects of cannabis on users. For instance, it is an eyebrow-raising revelation that not a single recorded death has ever been attributed to cannabis, while it remains a Schedule I drug – along with heroin and meth – under the Controlled Substances Act.
But it’s not just the plant that’s having a tough time in the world. Len Richmond has tried earnestly to get the medical community to be involved in the amazing amount of research he’s uncovered in his film:
A recent study out of the United kingdom concludes ‘Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin, ecstasy and crack cocaine, according to a new study.’ From limited reports the study rated alcohol the most dangerous substance ‘based on the overall dangers to the individual and society as a whole’. The study was led by Professor David Nutt, the former government drugs adviser who was sacked for criticising the then Labour government’s decision to upgrade cannabis from class C to class B.
What is evident to BU, the matter of how drugs are classified and managed is based on economic structures embedded in so-called developed societies. Those who would dare to buck the system will have to negotiate the weight of the establishment.
This is a response to the article on the subject of free medication. According to the Minister of Health only permanent residents and citizens of Barbados are entitled to free meds from the drug service.
What I would like to know is why people domiciled in Barbados with immigrant status are being denied free diabetic and hypertensive meds by the pharmacies of Barbados?
These people are paying NIS like everyone else. Many of us have been living in Barbados for over 20 years with immigrant status, we even voted for the present government and we are being denied our rights. We are not illegal immigrants nor do we have work permits. Some of us have businesses and are creating jobs for many people. We pay all taxes like everyone else so why are we being denied the right to free meds? We are not benefiting from paying these taxes so why pay them?
Many Bajans marrying Guyanese and Vincentians and their spouses are granted permanent residence within 2 yrs, then these spouses getting all the benefits and they aren’t paying no taxes yet they reaping the sweets. They are living here 2 yrs and getting free meds while I and many others who have been living here 20 plus years and paying taxes are being told by pharmacists that we have to pay for meds? Tell me how is that fair? I do not have a work permit but I have to pay for my meds, why?
If I had the right to vote for 20 years why should I not have the right to free healthcare? Unless of course you want to take away my right to vote too because I only have immigrant status?