The Politics of Collusion

Truth and Reconciliation Laws that require improved governmental transparency in how they spend the peoples tax money, improved government accountability with legal consequences for unethical behaviour, lower political term limits, effective use of IT to support freedom of information reform, education reform that improves the old and out of touch system we have, redirecting of millions from projects that only service the elites to service backlogged social services….. for starters – BU family member Austin

Prime Minister David Thompson (l) Political Strategist Hartley Henry (r)

The current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government is over the hump of a five year constitutional term in office. There is no doubt the perception by the Barbados electorate that the Barbados Labour Party had become a fat and corrupt party played a significant part in their defeat. The disgust by the populace was enough to overcome the fear of voting for an untested David Thompson, a man whose reputation had been tainted by the early 90s when he served in the infamous Sandiford “8% Cut” Administration. Not to forget the wrestle between himself and Mascoll for leadership of the DLP which had the potential of propelling the Barbados system of Government into a tail-spin, and which still has cause for Kellman and Estwick to sit uncomfortably behind Prime Minister Thompson.

At the crux of the campaign message delivered by the Government on its last campaign trail, they promised how they would hold those in the former Government accountable for what they knew were corrupt practices which had occurred. Many Government projects, Government officials and supporting cast were fingered on the election trail prosecution of the then BLP Government. How can we forget VECO, the company awarded the BOLT contract to build the prison with no track record? How can we forget the ABC Highway contract which was awarded to a company name 3S which had no track record of building a prison? The story of Hardwood Housing, Clyde Mascoll, CEO Murrell was used to good effect in the last campaign by DLP political strategists. There were the alleged clandestine dealings at the UDC, SSA, RDC, NHC, NCC and several of the statutory and quasi-Government entities, and the list goes on.

We are over the hump of a DLP Government and not one person in the last Government has been put before the law courts. Instead what Barbadians have had to tolerate is the constant accusations and reminders by DLP officials and surrogates of the alleged corrupt practices which occurred during the last Government. Frankly, the people have reached the point where they are fed up with the constant references to corruption when it is obvious the DLP Government cannot deliver on their election promise, or they have decided to continue with the status quo which says, it is our turn to slaughter the fatted calf. We believe the latter is the case.

Contained in the message how the DLP Government would manage was the promise of laws which would improve the governance framework of Barbados. The fact that well into the DLP term in office Barbadians appear to have forgotten the promise reflects a society which is happy to be manipulated by its politicians and supporting cast. The next general election should be an interesting affair. The blogs no doubt will help to remind the public of the issues. The traditional media seems to have drawn lines at this early stage. The Barbados Advocate is in the pocket of the Government, the Nation Newspaper appears to have taken an anti-government position on most issues, although the strings are being tugged from Port of Spain. The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation remains the perennial political football manipulated by Government, and the latest online newspaper Barbados Today is busy trying to establish its circulation. However, given the shadows behind Roy Morris it will be hard for him to maintain editorial control come crunch time. We wish him luck.

The Government has removed the issue of transparency from the front burner. Yes, it is currently consumed with managing an economy deep in recession but it has found the time to execute other priorities. Given the platform message of the last campaign, onlookers would have anticipated that a Thompson Government would have moved with haste on the matter of transparency. The government does not have to implement Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation to be transparent. They just need to make some files public such as, tell the public who owns the PSVs. Tell the public who is on the CLICO Oversight Committee. Tell the people the qualifications used to appoint Board Members. If the Prime Minister knows what happened within the precincts of Parliament concerning Estwick, there is no need to wait on the Speaker or Committee of Privileges – fire that person.

The time has come for Prime Minister David Thompson to shape the legacy of his first term in Office. So far, on the issue of transparency in Government and prosecuting persons fingered by them during the last election campaign, we score them 3 out of 10. The politics of collusion is alive and well. How else can the Government’s backing of Senator Liz Thompson’s candidature for the job of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change be explained? Only last month Government Senators viciously attacked her performance as Minister of Housing when a contract was awarded to her husband’s company during the last Government. She has also been attacked for overseeing the Greenland Landfill placement in an Eco-sensitive Scotland location. Finally, her role in the famous golden showers has also not escaped Government critics. Are we saying that she has under-performed as a Government Minister but we have no problem with recommending her for a job at the United Nations? Performance is performance is it not?

The politics of collusion is alive and well, we tell you!

Auditor General Special Report Slams Management Of The ABC Highway Flyover Project

Auditor General Leigh Trotman

The Special Audit Barbados Road Network Infrastructure Improvement Project Report has been updated on the Barbados Auditor General’s website. The report gives an unflattering summary of how one of the largest capital projects (ABC Highway Project) in Barbados was managed under the former administration. After reading the report we are tempted to blame the many senior civil servants who would have worked the project which has led Auditor General Leigh Trotman to issue such a negative report. Why would the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and the Director of Finance have presided over such a project where such obvious incompetence and inefficiency were commonplace?

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government when in opposition made much political mileage on the campaign trail about the ABC Highway Project. When the DLP assumed office Prime Minister David Thompson in unprecedented fashion fired 3S from the floor of parliament, the company responsible for managing the ABC Highway project. Months later Barbadians have heard nothing about the status of the 3S relationship. BU sources confirm the government of Barbados is close to agreeing to a settlement with 3S; more tax dollars down the toilet!

As usual with this project like others preceding it the malfeasance attributed to the former government will die a natural death.

ABC Highway Trivia

Submitted by BU’s ABC Source

Former Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke

Former Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke

The contract for the ABC Highway was given, note I didn’t say awarded as this would imply there was a competitive tendering process, to 3S Barbados SRL.  The project was funded by a local bank Barbados National Bank.  3S Barbados subcontracted the work to two main local contractors, several other smaller local contractors, a local consultant (for the electrical work) and a consultant with a local branch.

3S Barbados did very little of the actual work themselves.  Interestingly the two main local contractors have between them approximately 100 years experience while all of the other contractors have more experience than 3S Barbados did at the start of the contract.  3S’s experience in road building at the start of the contract amounted to all of zero years, zero months.

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On The Flyovers For The ABC Highway

Submitted by BU’s ABC Source

overpassesFirst let me clarify a simple point.  The structures now being called flyovers are more correctly termed overpass bridges.

The analysis carried out by 3S and presented to Government (both administrations) used the Norman Niles roundabout as the test junction.  The analysis showed that the “flyover” solution would have alleviated the congestion along the highway.  It did however show that even with the “flyovers” gridlock would still exist in the east-west, that is, into Bridgetown.  The analysis had some errors that should be pointed out.  These are (1) the analysis did not take into consideration that the traffic crossing any one roundabout in the north-south direction traversed several roundabouts while almost all the traffic in the east-west direction crossed only one roundabout.  This tended to give a much higher count and therefore weight to the north-south traffic.  (2) the economic analysis that showed the flyover solution to be cost effective assumed a similar economic value to traffic in all directions.  We all know that delays to traffic into Bridgetown on mornings have a significantly greater economic impact than traffic in any other direction.  (3) at the time the analysis was done the stated cost of the flyovers was considerably less than August 2007 when a revised cost was given.  This could have had a considerable impact on the cost-benefit analysis.

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The ABC Highway: Pushing Engineering Design To The Limit

stanec_engineersThe decision by the previous government to widen the ABC Highway and build flyovers will go down as one of the most controversial in a post-independence era. The issue of a flawed tendering process, and the ballooning cost of the project based on a rolling MOU couple with a haphazard changing to the scope of works became a political hot-potato topic in the lead up to the last general election. It was not surprising to many when the new David Thompson led government fired the hitherto unknown 3S Barbados company on assuming office. It should be noted it was done in melodramatic fashion from the floor of the House of Assembly.

BU’s position on the unprofessional way the previous government managed the project is well documented (search BU using key words “flyovers or ABC Highway).

The DLP government has cancelled, for the moment, the decision to build flyovers and in so doing had to retrofit the highway at considerable cost. We can continue to debate whether flyovers is the answer to relieving traffic congestion in Barbados, BU’s concern remains on the process taken to bring us to this point and the subsequent engineering decisions taken by the current administration to complete the highway.

Before we revisit the Upton Wildey Triangle here is a bit of trivia about the ABC Highway:

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On A Point Of Order Regarding The 3S Barbados ABC Highway Matter Mr. Speaker

From left: President of 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos, Former Minister of Public Works and Transport Gline Clarke, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll, Businessman Hallam Nichols

From left: President of 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos, Former Minister of Public Works and Transport Gline Clarke, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll, Businessman Hallam Nichols

Last week the House of Assembly met to debate a resolution to approve the borrowing of $165 million by the Government of Barbados from the Barbados National Bank to finance the ABC Highway project. It should come as no surprise BU continues to follow the issue of the ABC Highway Project with a keen interest. BU was the first in the blogosphere with the help of our reliable source to suggest that there was a fishy smell which had developed around the ABC Highway /3S Barbados Project.

It is unfortunate former Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke was thrown to the wolves in parliament last week when the debate in the House centred on the ABC Highway Project. Neither former Prime Minister Owen Arthur or current leader of the Barbados Labour Party Mia Mottley were present to support Member of Parliament Gline Clarke as he passionately defended decisions taken during his tenure under the former Barbados Labour Party government.

Former Junior Minister Clyde Mascoll who had the enviable job of defending GEMS after attacking the government while in Opposition on the same matter was not present either.  He was unsuccessful in regaining his St. Michael North East seat. We all remember Mascoll as Arthur’s pit bull who was unleashed to defend the former government’s decision-making on the ABC Highway/3S project.

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Prime Minister David Thompson Grabs Centre Stage Delivering His First Budget

Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson
Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson

As we write this blog Prime Minister David Thompson stands in the spotlight of delivering his first budget. Of interest to Barbadians will be what kind of budget the neophyte Prime Minister can produce which will ward-off external shocks caused by global economic turbulence rooted in the rising oil commodities market. Barbadians have long enjoyed a high standard of living which belies its size and resources.

The Prime Minister in a classic General Custer move fired an opening salvo in the budget presentation when he announced that the controversial ‘flyover project’, managed by 3S Barbados Ltd will be halted and the Ministry of Transport and Works in conjunction with local contractors given the task to complete the road widening part of the project. The Prime Minister told the nation that his government will investigate thoroughly the suspect procurement policy adopted by the previous government on the Project.

We commend sister blog Barbados Free Press for its relentless pursuit of ITAL. It appears that the new government is committed to ITAL but good implementation will be key – read Budget 2008 compliments Nation newspaper Continue reading

Flyovers Or Not

Flyovers recommended for Warrens Roundabout by a BU commenter

Should we state the obvious by reiterating that the views expressed on BU are entirely ours and ours ONLY? Sometimes we think it is necessary to reinforce this view so that it puts what we say in perspective.  We don’t want to set false expectations although we feel flattered at times when we read some of the feedback we have been getting.

Going back to one of our favourite topics, why did we get the feeling that on assuming the reigns of government the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) would have halted the flyover part of the Operation Free Flow project? We attended many of the political meetings leading up to the last general election, we read many of the writings of the DLP surrogates, we listened to the call-in programs and we felt sure that on January 16, 2008, 3S Barbados would have received a clear directive on the Operation Free Flow Project. Is this a facile position for the BU household to hold?

Imagine our great surprise after reading what the Minister of Communications and Works had to say in today’s daily newspaper. To summarize the Nation report in a few words, he told Barbados that the decision on whether the government would go forward with flyovers is pending! Given the frenzy of the debate about this issue which was generated during the general election how should we take Minister John Boyce’s statement?

Surely if Prime Minister Thompson’s government continues with the Operation Free Flow project in its original form, would Barbadians be left to wonder what the ‘hullalaboo’ was all about?

Related Article

Owen Arthur Infers Local Barbadian Engineers Are B-Class

David Thompson Comes Out Swinging

david_thompson.jpgTo those political pundits who have determined that Leader of the Opposition David Thompson is too much of a choir boy for the hurly burly of politics got a rude awakening at the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) last night at Haggatt Hall. In a 90 minute presentation, David Thompson betrayed a high level of rascality when he ruthlessly prosecuted a case of corruption against Prime Minister Owen Arthur and his government. At the end on it all, David Thompson may have quelled all the doubts about his leadership caused by the 1994 Queens Park IMF Affair. He gave the stunned crowd the evidence which surrounds the much discussed cheque donation which was deposited to Arthur’s personal account. Again and again, the crowd was bombarded with video presentation of cheques and documents projected on the two big screens to support his charge. The high level of financial contributions by the former Caribbean Commercial Bank to Arthur headed by Mariano Browne at the time (Former Chairman of Enterprise Growth Fund) and the BLP during the 2003 general election was mind blowing. Additionally, the reference to the 4.25% commission demanded in the Eastern Lottery Gambling deal i.e. Barbados Cricket Association lottery which was pocketed by a high ranking government official has thickened the plot. He also introduced the name Hallam Nichols as the man who has been pocketing millions in commissions because of all the government business directed his way. Thompson made the point that Hallam Nichols and the Prime Minister are very close friends. The close friendship was illustrated when Nichols was invited to Arthur’s private wedding over Ministers in Arthur’s cabinet.

the much discussed cheque donation which was deposited to Arthur’s personal account.

The ‘cheque’ which was deposited by Arthur to his personal account and Thompson’s expose of the ‘flyover’ project may have been the performance to date to firmly move the scales in favour of his party.

Bank Statement

To all those present who heard the case leveled by Thompson against Arthur and the BLP, the verdict is GUILTY as charged.

Frankology The Highwayman Has His Say On Operations Free Flow AKA Flyovers

Hello Barbados Underground:

When will we see the Impact and Environment studies as promised for the Flyovers, or will we continue to see digging up barber green to correct mistakes. This is Frankology, the highwayman. The residents of the St. Barnabas/Mount Friendship/Wildey area of the highway received a correspondence from the Public Works and Transport Project Office pertaining to pedestrian crossings. I have been consistent in my posting regarding Government wastage of taxpayer’s money in the building of these unnecessary flyovers that will never solve our massive traffic problem caused by backups leading into the city area. On Wednesday October 31, residents received in the post; a “Barbados Road Network Infrastructure Improvement Project – Pedestrian Survey”, stating that two pedestrian crossing will be situated in this section of the highway and residents must inform which type of pedestrian cross-over they prefer. This survey is dated October 26, 2007 and must be returned by November 2, 2007.


The top picture resembles a water canal and the bottom photo is actually a flyover for vehicles with a pedestrian area at the side consisting of steps leading from the top section to the lower section. The actual highway is under the bridge. These pictures are not a true representation of under or over passes. Within the letter were diagrams for over and under passes copied from some other part of the world. The underpass resembles a classic canal waiting for water to gush from one side to the other. The overpass is really a flyover with steps leading from the flyover to ground level. None of the two diagrams have provisions for the aged or for the physical challenged. What was submitted to residents is nonsense with no real solution to resident’s problems. That is why we have been asking about the Impact Assessment and Environmental Studies that should have been in the public domain prior to commencement of any work.

With that, we are calling for these studies NOW.

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Flyovers In Barbados Revisited~Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers (BAPE) Stick To Their Guns


Barbados Underground (BU) congratulate the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) for sticking to their previous demands made to the government of Barbados and 3S Barbados SRL, the company contracted to build the flyovers, to provide them with the opportunity to clarify some technical questions concerning aspects of the flyover project. BAPE’s position gives lie to the accusation leveled by Richard Sealy MP at the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting in Deacons Road on Sunday night, when he accused BAPE of being a timid organization “devoid of a spine” which is made-up of people who are scared for their jobs.

We have written exhaustively on the issue of Operation Free Flow, better known as the flyover project. We have read hundreds of comments posted to the several flyover topics we have posted on BU and also on BFP. Although many of the comments provide a true insight how ordinary Barbadians feel about the project, several of the comments continue to demonstrate a refusal to separate the issues. It is apparent to BU that several of our frequent commenters have misrepresented the issue of the flyovers by blurring the tender procurement process of the Barbados government and the benefits of this project in terms of relieving traffic congestion. We are fortunate to have sources who have provided information which is not in the public domain; however to protect our sources we are sometimes restricted as to what we can publish.

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Flyovers In Barbados

Many of your commenters and readers seem to think that the concept of flyovers is new to Barbados. However, back in the mid-1980s an Oistins Bypass Road was designed. This road had a flyover that went over the road between Oistins and Oistins hill. The road started just south of where the Barbados Cooperative Credit Union League office was formerly located and ended just down the hill from Thornbury hill. A flyover is nothing more than an overpass bridge (a bridge passing over a roadway) and is designed like any other road bridge. They do not require any unusual skills to either design or build. In fact, a pre-stressed concrete bridge, like the Lancaster bridge, is at least as complicated.

Source:Anonymous Commenter

flyover.jpgOne of the things we love about blogging is the feedback we get from visitors. The comment above was posted yesterday; it reinforced why we do what we do. BU and other media must continue to put information in the public domain to enlighten those Barbadians who do not understand; as in this case, the ramifications of a poorly constructed, managed and maintained flyover. Many of our commenters seem to be considering only one aspect when discussing the flyover project.


The following is an excerpt from Stantec’s website (The company sub-contracted to do the Operation Free Flow design work by 3S Barbados SRL)

We understand the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of roadways. Roadway design has evolved from being primarily a technical issue to requiring a full understanding of potential social, environmental, and economic impacts, and the success of a project is often judged on how well it meets public desires rather than on technical design. We identify our clients’ objectives, develop and evaluate alternatives, and consult with stakeholders to design and administer the construction of new roadways and rehabilitation of existing facilities.

Source: BU Anonymous Commenter

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3S Barbados SRL To Meet With The PEOPLE Of Barbados To Discuss 'The Construction Of Flyovers On The ABC Highway' ~ We Hope Barbadians Attend In Large Numbers

deep_found.jpgBU readers are reminded that 3S Barbados SRL, in association with the Government of Barbados, will be holding two town-hall meetings today, October 5, 2007, and Saturday, October 6, 2007. Click here to read the details. The town-hall meetings are a requirement by the Town Planning Department as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, which was conducted in 2006. Barbados Underground urge Barbadians who can make it to the Samuel Jackman Polytechnic on October 5, 2007 – 6PM, and The Manor Lodge Complex on October 6, 2007 – 4.30PM to do so for two reasons: 1.) We consider it our civic duty and 2.) Attendance will help us to have intelligent discussions on the subject of the Operation Free Flow.

Our anonymous friend to BU and BFP posted the following quote to assist people who will be attending the town-hall meetings. We suspect that the scope of the meetings will fail to address cost issues because it is being promoted as a discussion about environmental impact assessment issues. However, if it is possible to find-out about the 3S Barbados SRL, April 2006 drawings of the Operation Free Flow Project, we should try to do so. Our sources indicate this is a vital piece of the puzzle, which we must expose at all cost.

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Media House Takes Another Feeble Left Jab At The 3S Affair~Come On Vivian-Anne, There Is The Right HAND!!!


Source: Nation Newspaper

It looks like Mascoll is the appointed fall guy on the 3S project. What else can we think given his incoherent pronouncements on the contentious issue so far? If we did not know better, we would have thought that all the other Ministers in the cabinet refused to speak on the 3S matter, in the absence of the convalescing Gline Clarke; or that the Prime Minister Owen Arthur has deemed that Mascoll is expendable.

What do you think? Could it be that Mascoll is being groomed to succeed Owen Arthur?

Today, we listened to an interesting exchange on the call-in program hosted by Dennis Johnson. The caller questioned the role of the media in Barbados and asked Dennis Johnson for an explanation of the role of the media. Dennis Johnson responded by saying that the media should be charged with “informing, educating and entertaining the public” and he lamented the prevailing impression that the media was more concerned with public relations (This is a precis of what we thought we heard). Thank you Dennis Johnson for making the point which BU have been trying to make for so long, and for logging your support for the “agitators” who operate outside the Fourth Estate (Media). One thing we can say about Dennis is that he speaks passionately about what he believes. Others should try to do the same.

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Barbadians Demand to See The April, 2006 Drawings Detailing The Operations Free Flow Project NOW The Flyovers


“I’m disappointed with the direction the discussion on the “Flyovers” project is taking. It seems as though everyone is focused on the increases in the scope of works resulting in significant cost increases. Everyone has taken the word of George Sidall that there has been a significant increase in the scope of works. I have pointed out on several occasions that the scope of works for the widening section of the contract has not increased significantly as shown on the April 2006 drawings. The increase in cost is as a result either of the increase in cost of the flyovers or an error in the original cost. A significant increase in cost for the flyovers will call into question the feasibility of constructing these structures. Can this stand up to a rigorous cost/benefit analysis. We should soon know the true cost of the flyovers.”

Posted by an Anonymous Commenter of BU

We have our friend, Anonymous, who by his/her writing has hinted that he or she knows a lot more than is being revealed for the moment. The point the commenter is making has to do with the scope of the work which should be reflected in the 3S April Drawings, and used in determining the cost of the Operations Free Flow project. The subsequent change to the cost of the project which has been fed into the government’s propaganda machinery must be evaluated against this background. Our anonymous friend seems to be unequivocally stating that the increase in cost of the project could have resulted from one of two factors or both:

  • Flawed costing submitted by 3S on their original proposal to government or
  • There has been a significant increase in the cost of the flyovers for whatever reason.

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