Elombe Mottley Speaks!

BabaElombe Elton Mottley posted the following text to his Facebook page a couple weeks ago. The lack of focus on the Arts by successive governments continues to be of interest to the blogmaster. Why? We boast on a daily basis that our people are our greatest asset, yet, we do close to nothing to develop the Arts (The blogmaster exerts editorial license to expand the definition of the Arts to include Sports).

Governments of Barbados continue to allocate billions to the education budget annually, however. show a reluctance to to create the opportunity to harness and release the cultural expression of the people.  Surely there is a case to be made against successive governments for suffocating the cultural expression of Barbadians?

-David, blogmaster


Restoration of the Empire is a must. To refurbish the building, replace seating, outfitting with sound and video equipment, etc, will not be a priority at the moment as I see it. Unfortunately it has a seating capacity of under 800 seats. Years ago when I was involved, the seating capacity was to be extended to about 1200. In order to do that and also to provide a larger stage, dressing rooms and storage, it would have been necessary to utilize the space behind the building. Unfortunately, the same government of the day allowed the construction of the building behind the Empire. There may still be enough room to do that and should be considered. The Globe theatre has a seating capacity close to 1200, but has no access to parking. Same problem with the Empire.

Government investment and ownership of buildings used by its populace leaves much to be desired. Government does not depreciate its investment in buildings, nor does it provide for maintenance. I invite you to go up behind and around the museum and see the abandonment of those buildings allowing them to fall apart. [CHECK THE NUMBER OF BUILDINGS IN BRIDGETOWN AND ACROSS THE NATION, the buildings that are not maintained, government owned lands that are over-run by bush while the possibilities of involving the country to participate in the production of our own food is ignored.

Let me highlight some of the stupidity of the governments of Barbados.

Why would you refurbish the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre, install an unnecessary elevator, remove the rehearsal building, the former kitchen area, removed the old stable which was also used as a rentable gallery for artist. Now why should the NCF charge $2500 to use the theatre? That amounts to $12.50 a seat before you advertise. Is this any way to promote the development of the arts? The capacity is under 200 seats. On top of that, there are the taxes to be paid on that. Are we serious about the development of the Arts?

When I set up years ago the National Cultural Foundation, I insisted on having a maintenance department – I had all of Queen’s Park, Community Centres island wide, and maintenance of the equipment coming out of CARIFESTA 1981.

Who does the maintenance of the facilities? Is it going to be farmed out to political hacks? Let me give you an example. I received a notice from a Permanent Secretary to hire some company to treat all the facilities managed by the NCF that would cost the NCF $15,000. I responded and pointed out we treated our buildings for less than $2.00 per facility because we had a program in place. I heard nothing more from the Ministry.

If government does not have a plan to restore some of these heritage buildings, why don’t they offer the public long term leases (30+ years). The lessee could restore the buildings and use them rent free for20 – 30 years with all the rights. Maybe a company can do the restorations and rent out the properties!

Back to the start. It makes no sense for government to restore these buildings and then make it impossible to be used by the artists of the country. Anyhow, for a population of under 300,000 people, how to we maximize the benefits for all our citizens. I mean all, all, all. GOVERNMENTS MUST STOP RIPPING OFF OUR COUNTRY…..PERIOD.

The NCF is not only a producer of Festivals as I keep hearing. Festivals are important to identify and provide channels for our youth to develop. Performance is the rewardable process of measuring our development. This process cannot be treated willy-nilly.

Ask yuh self a few questions. How come the NCF is short of money and yet Radio stations over the years can give away cars and the NCF has not been able to upgrade its sound and lighting equipment?

Why was the community development officers detached from the program of strengthening the development of communities and using the services for the development of the arts from the community level?

I want to draw your attention to some facts.

Every radio and television service in Barbados MUST give Government (and its agencies) 10% of its broadcast time for its use. This amounts to 2.4 hours a day. This is part of the license. These same stations use the products of the NCF to make enough money to buy cars and give them away yet some of them want to object to the NCF using this time to develops Governments development programs. Without the programs of the NCF, none of them would be able to generate that audience nor would they be able to give away cars.

When I set up the NCF, it was actually the Ministry of Information that had responsibility for the Community Development department which was absorbed into the NCF to organize the workshops and research in various communities. The technical officers (dance, music, art, writing, et al) organized the content, and the persons to teach these workshops. Most of the time, local artists were used and paid to run these programs. We also used all of the content of various ministries to provide information and education to the communities thru the use of qualified persons to speak on the topics developed by those institutions.

Let me state clearly, I am not looking for any job in any form or fashion. However I know from experience that there is too much ad hoc planning on the continued development of Barbados. What makes an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 166 square Miles, and less than 275,000 people, rated #9 in the world in Education by the World Economic Council, and we continue to devalue ourselves with foolishness.

Racketeering at any and every level in Barbados must stop and that includes the NCF if such exists. Newspapers, Radio Stations, the TV station, bloggers, must reflect more on the development of the country. There are too many areas that does not require government’s involvement. How many reviews of plays, concerts, books, musicals, and performances are covered in any of the 3+ newspapers, the Radio stations including GIS, on TV of various internet channels, dot com sites, on Facebook social media, et al? These are important to the artists/performers and offer critical assessment of their work. There are many people in Barbados who can do these reviews. Why isn’t it being done? Why are the creative people – musicians, actors, dancers, writers, performers, et al so silent on these needs? Are the owners and editors so removed from the society in which they live, work, play, raise children and families that all of them hat the food for development and the achievement of excellence is a real and important aspect of our total development. The editors, owners and general manager got to do better than what they are doing now.

Ah gone.



Elton ‘Elombe’ Mottley

As we celebrated our 50th Anniversary, the question came to my mind about where will we be in the next 50 years? Even tho I ask myself this question, I am not expecting that my imagination can provide you with concrete images of what that culture will be. I don’t intend to even try, but what I would like to do is offer you a framework of ideas to consider.

Barbados is an island of 166 square miles sitting in the middle of a sea with our nearest neighbour 100 miles away. We are not on the beaten path. Any one coming to Barbados has to have a purpose. Can we create a purpose or several purposes to make it worth the while for people from wherever to step off that beaten path and fly or sail to Barbados? When they do, how can we persuade them to pay us for that privilege? What do we as Bajans have that has the power to make Barbados such a desirable destination?

Let us look at what we have that we think are unique:

  • Our beaches. Not at all unique. Everybody got beaches. But if they come our beaches are a bonus not a reason.
  • Our weather. Not unique either. Everybody got weather. But if they come our weather is a bonus not a reason.
  • Our environment. Not unique either. Everybody got environment, some with rivers, trees, pristine agricultural lands, golf courses. But if they come our pristine environment is a bonus not a reason.
  • Our people. Not unique either. Everybody got people. But if they come we must be the reason not a bonus.

What do we have that would create the reason and desire for visitors to step off the beaten track?

There was a time when cricket attracted the world because of the quality of our cricketers. In 1966, we had 10 players in the West Indies Test Team. We played cricket between houses, on raw ground, and on hillsides where the umpire had to tell the batsman that the bowler was coming up. The game has changed but have we changed? Partially. Franklyn Stevenson is showing one way it is done with his cricket school.

In order to survive as an independent country, we must sell the world

  • The pleasure of knowledge, health, caring, happiness and blissfulness by creating a desire for non Bajans to want to remain or go and come back again, and again. We will rent them that time to be with us. That rental is a combination of accommodation, food, transportation, entertainment and service. We must be the landlords.
  • Barbados as the center of education and health across the internet to the world – websites mastering social media as businesses to sell Barbados as the center of Education. ( e.g. Airbnb)

Barbados must develop the reputation across the Caribbean as having the best education and health systems in the Caribbean. If it isn’t so, let us make it so. Our goal is to market Barbados as BARBADOSThe CENTER for EDUCATION in the Americas.




Our goal should be to have 10-15 Universities based in Barbados by 2025. A major part of this number should be Medical, Law, and Religious Universities.


  • When the new hospital is built, it will continue to have a relationship with UWI – Cave Hill.
  • The Old (60 year) Queen Elizabeth Hospital should be leased to one of the Medical Schools to be refurbished and used as a teaching hospital and school.
  • The Old General Hospital on Jemmott’s Lane should also be leased to another Medical School.
  • St Joseph Hospital in St Peter should also be leased to another Medical School.
  • The Psychiatric Hospital (Jenkins, Black Rock) occupies 25 acres and can also be leased to a Medical School. Modern Psychiatric centres should be established for psychiatric patients across the island. Alternately, this facility because of its location could be used as the location for the new National General Hospital with enough space to expand the UWI Medical School (Including nursing). UWI would most likely to get accreditation, a very important status for Caribbean Medical Schools – technicians, veterinary medicine, pharmaceutics, medical sciences, etc.


  • Codrington College (600+ acres) should be developed into the Barbados International Spiritual University. It has already expanded as a University of Christian Thought by training members of other Christian churches.
  • Inviting the Chinese to establish and build a Confucius Institute to teach Chinese religions and philosophical thought and language.(Already being built at UWI- Cave Hill Campus.)
  • Inviting the Japanese/South Korea similarly establish a Buddhist, Zen, South Asian Religious College.
  • Inviting Saudis and Iranians to build Islamic Colleges.
  • Invite the International Jewish community to build a Centre for Jewish Studies especially recognizing the first Jewish Synagogue in the Americas in Bridgetown.
  • Inviting India to construct a Hindu College as well as other Indian religions.
  • Invite Nigeria and other African States to build an African Religions Centre to study African traditional religions and religious thought.



Extended training in the Fine Arts –

o Animation

o Art

o Design

o Music

o Dance

o Theatre

o Film Production

o Fashion

o Web design

o Critical analysis

· Accounting

· Management

· Project Management

· Other traditional areas


  • Extended training of Craftsmen in joinery and reproduction of Bajan furniture for export.
  • All students in wood-working stream would be required to individually or as teams reproduce a piece of traditional furniture, or sets in order to graduate.
  • Training of wide range of technical graduates in maintenance and construction.
  • Medical technologists and maintenance of highly sophisticated technologies.


  • Training is use of new technologies
  • Training how to use of proverbs to establish values


Barbados has had a number of private secondary schools for over 70 years viz.

The Barbados Academy, The Modern High School, The Federal High School, Mapp’s High School, St Winnifred’s High School, St Cyprian’s, (Green) Lynch’s Secondary, St Ursula’s Secondary, The Co-operative High School, Seventh Day Adventist High School, Callender’s High School, Metropolitan High School, Christ Church High School, and Codrington High School.

  • Barbados should encourage the use of many of the old plantation estates to establish private accredited high schools with or without boarding for local and foreign students to pursue the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
  • Provide access to foreign students thru accredited schools, especially South and Central American students to access our High Schools so as to be immersed in English while boarding at former South Coast hotels converted into hostels.


  • Education opportunities – coaching in sports, health farms, health spas and related rehabilitation services to develop talents of Bajans
  • Develop support services such as volunteers for the development of Sports in Primary, Secondary and National meetings.
  • UWI and its Institutes must conduct research aimed at encouraging new businesses that can be developed on the internet, in marketing of our music, artistic and cultural industries outlining the types of jobs and services required and existing Worldwide. This would include festivals that could hire our artistes to perform as professionals during the summer and fall. We need to capitalize on the Rhianna Effect.
  • Barbadians should also be encouraged to develop and practice the art of Sticklicking and Road Tennis.



  • To strengthen the moral authority and respect for people, Barbadian students should be taught proverbs as training tools from preschool to the end of their secondary schooling.
  • NIFCA – the platform for exposing our youth to the arts, should emphasize its developmental role by establishing competition first at all primary schools where other students, teachers, family and friends could see their children’s works.
  • The winners in each category will go to the Parish level where they compete again and the winners next to the National Level. This process would also allow parents and friends to once again follow the children’s work and successes at all levels.
  • The finals would consist of those winners from the Parish level.
  • Parents and teachers would be encouraged to be judges alongside National judges who in their deliberations would raise the knowledge base of the parents, friends and the community at large thru the discussions.
  • The establishment of a series of voluntary National Orchestras and choirs to perform in public regularly at the National Bandstands – The Hastings Rocks, The Bay Street Esplanade, Queen’s Park, George V Park, Speightstown Esplanade and other areas. The purpose is to re-develop a solid heritage of musicians to enhance the quality of life in Barbados. We did it all before with Church Choirs and Village Choirs.


One of the critical requirements for Bajans is the need to strengthen our own self-awareness and self-esteem of what and who is a Bajan. The Barbados Landship Movement is unique to Barbados and gives us the singular identity second to none. The survival of the Landship Movement must be part of our National Identity. Without it we have a face without a nose.

The only country that has a Landship Movement is Barbados. Landship for adults will die out because most of the communal conditions e.g. savings and burial benefits have been replaced by National Insurance and individual insurance. This unique Bajan indigenous institution should not be allowed to die. It must be recreated and reimaged as an organization in Primary Schools to inculcate several traditional values from the Original Landship plus. We had no qualms of introducing Boy Schools, Girl Guides, Church Lad Brigades, Mother Unions and Cadet Corps because it was mandated by the British Government. All of these organizations required discipline, cooperation, and development of leadership skills

The Landship Movement should be converted into a youth movement like the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides or cadets to maintain this unique aspect of Bajan Culture. These youth Landships would become crucibles of this traditional dance and its musical heritage. Competitions with each other in a series of categories will be organized annually.

The former Barbados National Bank, now Republic Bank, had developed a business program for students that can be incorporated into this Landship Movement. This program can be used to teach money management and savings culture.


Over the years, Bajans developed a series of carts to move goods and provide services to each other. When compared with Caribbean Islands, the Bajan carts are unique in their design and use. Some of these carts should be adapted and used to provide modern day services while maintaining and projecting our unique heritage. These carts can be decorated and painted to capture individuality of the vendor.

  • Donkey Cart taxis to move visitors from Cruise Ships to Bridgetown and around Resort Areas like St Lawrence Gap, Holetown and Speightstown
  • Bread Carts can be converted to serve hot or cold foods at temporary roadside locations.
  • Rumshops recreated as restaurants serving indigenous food as cuisine with appropriate training available.
  • Snowball Carts selling Bajan ices with locally made fruit juices – Bajan Cherry, Bajan shaddock, Sugar apple, Golden Apple, Packaged Sucking Cane (made from earlier soft varieties), Sea Grape, Guava, Gooseberries, et al
  • Luncheon Carts for food
  • Coconut Carts



There is no doubt that furniture craftsmen/joiners of the past have produced a fantastic array of unique designs. Let us imbue that furniture with the prestige that it deserves`. The palaces/warehouses that some of this furniture is located are

  • Government House, St Michael
  • Ilaro Court, St Michael
  • The Barbados Museum, St Michael
  • Grantley Adams House –Tyrol Cot, Spooners Hill, St Michael
  • The Barbados National Trust Headquarters – Wildey Great House, St Michael
  • Keith Melville’s Sunbury Plantation House, St Phillip

There are many other collections across Barbados that can be used to earn income for the owners as well as for the country.

Training of persons to produce reproductions should follow the same path as training artistes for all types of endeavours – art, music, dance, writing, programing, etc. All Wood Working graduates should be required to reproduce a piece of this furniture in order to graduate. Do it once, do it again! On visits to these locations there are signs indicating cost of item plus shipping costs to rest of the world. Exactly what fine artists do. All art work would be signed and certified as authentic reproductions by a special Reproductions Standard Institute. Marketing will be thru Internet web sites using National ID Codes.

Why are there no tours of Government House? Or Ilaro Court?

  • Bajan Furniture galleries where signed reproductions are also marketed and sold with short histories.

· Chattel houses should be used for restaurants, boutiques especially in the growth areas of St Phillip, St John, St Peter and St Lucy.


Each area needs to be given prestige thru media and the internet coverage

Computing systems. Knowledge systems. Cognitive. Will still need people contact.


Chalky Mount Barbados should be designated as a National Brand as is given to Cropover. This brand should be accessible to all potters operating out of IDC Facilities Island wide. BIDC needs to change its focus to giving full support to developing local entrepreneurs in these areas.

ATTITUDES – Service and Servitude

Actions needed to strengthen our perception of self.

National Heroes

  • A popular edition of book on National Heroes to be sold for $5-10.
  • Comic book versions of National Heroes for primary schools.
  • Cartoon video stories about National heroes.

The Bajan Experience

  • Recreate Rumshops architecturally and spatially not just in the country but in the city extended to the street. Baxter’s Rd, Nelson St, Roebuck St, Palmetto St
  • Use of Donkey cart taxis to move tourists from harbour to the Inner Bridgetown Mall (Swan St, Broad Street, Trafalgar Square, Palmetto St.)
  • Street food using traditional bread carts to serve from
  • Chattel house as hotels etc.

The Rastafarians of Temple Yard

  • Rastas have been around for the last 40 years, manufacturing products, many inbreeding designs, use of hard leather limiting their market primarily to fellow Rastas.
  • Need to develop wider designs especially to reach the visitor and middle class market.
  • Need access to better quality leathers and other products like the high quality leathers made from the Barbados Black Belly sheep skins.

Barbados Black Belly Sheep

The Barbados Black Belly Sheep is a unique animal that evolved in Barbados over time. Studies have shown that the mutton obtained from the Black Belly Sheep produces high quality Triple B (Barbados Black Belly) lamb for both the local and visitors’ market. It also produces some of the finest leather from its skins.

To support the Black Belly development program, unused agricultural lands must be converted into grass pastures and/or growing miamossi plants, also known as river tamarind (Leucaena leucocephala).

This plant exists in Barbados and has a high protein content suitable for feeding ruminants when it is still green. It was introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Pine but has been allowed to grow wild to maturity scattering its seeds across neighbouring fields. Penalties must be implemented against land owners who allow their lands to become infested by those responsible for administering environmental standards.

This plant if managed correctly, will be an important feed ingredient for the Barbados Black Belly sheep. It is from these animals that we can produce –

  • Leather for leather workers (Consultant – Dr Leroy McClean) – bags, shoes, amulets, hair products, books marks, wrist bands, earrings, jackets, head bands,, etc
  • Food (Consultant – Rosemary Parkinson)
  • Reduce foreign exchange spent on importing animal feeds.

Industrial Development Corporation Services

The Industrial Development Corporation must be restructured to invest in the development of future Bajan entrepreneurs by bringing them together in one location at vastly reduced rent to allow them to feed off of each other. IDC is a landlord of buildings at the industrial Estate outside the Bridgetown Harbour. These buildings are deteriorating and are not being maintained. Certainly IDC could offer discounted rates to bring young entrepreneurs together to feed off of each other to supply services to the outside world.

  • Legal Drafting for countries, states and municipalities worldwide
  • Computer software development
  • Video and sound studios
  • Graphic artists
  • Heritage joiners
  • Clothing Designers and manufacturing
  • Animation

Bridgetown Port Duty Free Facilities

Access to duty free facilities at the port should be two-fold:

  • Wholesalers who sell to retailers.
  • Retailers who sell to visitors.

This will allow retailers to use traditional concepts of hawkers to sell products in various combinations. This tradition of bargaining and combining products allows them to determine their own profits but more importantly share in the spoils of the hospitality industry. These newly defined hawkers at the port will be costumed having acquired training at the Barbados Community College (BCC) and Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP).

Other Developments

  • Dr Carmichael – Restoration of Facades on Roebuck St, Swan St, Bay St etc
  • Paul Altman – Enhancement of Jewish Synagogue, oldest in the New World of the Americas.
  • Tyrol Cot Chattel House Village should be a functional village redesigned as a mini tenantry village with a bakery providing freshly baked traditional breads, rumshop, chickens, palings, bread carts, snowball carts, coconut carts, troubadours, et al.
  • Villagers should wear period costumes.

This is about US. This is about Jobs. This is about Pride. This is about Survival.

Baba Elombe Mottley
January 1, 2017.

Elombe Plants Ideas in An ‘Intellectual Desert’

Elton 'Elombe' Mottley


Well known Bajan Elton Elombe Mottley delivered a lecture at the Barbados Workers Union, Solidarity House on March 02, 2017 with the theme How to build Barbados over the next 50 Years. An audio recording of the event was received by Barbados Underground to share with the BU family. Until Elombe is able to share his official recording- hopefully of a better quality -BU readers should be able to glean the substance of his presentation.

Elombe shared ideas with the expectation Barbadians will also share, discuss and implement for the good of Barbados.

Is it true Elombe has written seven books and plans to complete eight more? See his works @Chattelhousebooks.net

To be expected he did not disappoint those who attended for the fireworks:

  • Who called the CBC and instructed the crew not to cover Elombe’s lecture?
  • Who was the big guts man former Prime Minister Harold Bree St. John fired when Elombe threatened his resignation from the CBC?
  • Why did Elombe refer to former Prime Minister Owen Arthur as a short me crutch
  • Why did Elombe have to watch the unveiling of the Bussa Statue from the top of St. Barnabas hill sitting on the bonnet of his car?
  • Why did Carl Moore walk out of Elombe’s lecture after referring to Barbados as an intellectual desert?
  • Why did Elombe defy his bosses by changing the payment to the late great Karl Broodhagen from $125.00 to $125,000 for the Bussa work?
  • Why did Elombe label the siting of a new hospital at Kingsland as nonsense?
  • Why did Elombe go after CBC news anchor Denise Shepherd ‘’’crutch’?

The recording is chock a block with ideas and views to fuel ideas. 2:30 hours.

Thank you to the BU family member who was thoughtful enough to record the event.

Elombe Mottley Presents –How to Build Barbados Over the Next 50 Years



Image may contain: 1 person, close-up

Baba Elombe (Elton D Mottley)
In a National Conversation
At the Barbados Workers Union Auditorium
Hindsbury Road, Bridgetown
On Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm
About the future of your children
Your survival as you age, and
How to build Barbados over the next 50 Years.


Where Is Barbados Gine?

By Baba Elombe Mottley

I have been following with fascination a debate on the internet about what direction Barbados’ budget should take.  I am taken by the wide range of people who are involved in the debate passively as adjunct recipients and actively (like myself) as commentators. What comes across are the various traditional alternatives on how government should divide up a shrinking pie in what appears to be crisis oriented with no consensus as to where we are going.  I am not an economist but I would like to raise one or two points which I think should be considered, valued and included in a budget to start the process of change.

WiFi-ing Bridgetown is one, but here is the problem – the level of awareness of politicians and civil servants and their unwillingness to seek advice on suggestions etc. The developer of the London Eye visited Barbados about ten years ago and when he found out that Barbados did not have Wi-Fi, he offered to construct the system.  The Barbados government – the politicians and their civil servants – refused.

About a hundred years ago, Barbados was at the crossroads between Europe and South America and as a result it was able to develop its nascent tourism with stop-over visitors from both of those continents.  The Panama Canal construction relieved us of a large portion of our population and in turn pumped considerable funds into the economy to raise the standard of living of thousands of Bajans. The sugar industry was still able to generate most of our foreign exchange.

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