General Election in St. Vincent Next Week – Oh! Leave it out Comrade; Enough is Enough

Submitted by Nathan ‘Jolly’ Green

A written reply to IWitness story

Gonsalves says NDP strategists cyber spying, tapping phone

Comrade, have you gone completely mad? Are you starting to imagine things, are there people peering in your bedroom windows while you are sleeping? Are your room and telephones bugged?

Since the 1970’s the comrade has during times of personal stress claimed people are trying to kill him. He has made such claims several times since he has been PM even.

Paranoid schizophrenia, or schizophrenia with paranoia as doctors now call it, is the most common example of this kind of behaviour.

Schizophrenia is a kind of psychosis, which means your mind does not agree with reality. It affects how you think and behave. This can show up in different ways and at different times, even in the same person.

People with paranoid delusions are unreasonably suspicious of others.

Obesity is a common problem for people with schizophrenia, with an estimated 40-60% of this population being obese or overweight. Obesity among the mentally ill may contribute to adverse medical and psychological consequences as well as medication non-compliance and lower quality and enjoyment of life.

2011 The St Lucia Star



What I have noticed is that whenever there is a stressful situation, he makes strange unfounded and unprovable claims.

1979, he was banned from Barbados, he claimed death threats.

Then before or around the time of almost every election, he makes strange claims, also each time he has been accused of rape or sexual assault, he starts acting weird again.

The SVG telephone exchange is in the grounds of Arnos Vale old airport. It has a room where the SVG police specialist technicians monitor phone calls and internet. Only they can listen to our phone calls, only they have the ability and the facility to tap our phones. Do they do that? Well, I suppose if they are there and that is their job, yes, they do. The comrade knows that, so where else can NDP illegal phone tappers listen to telephones? Only the ULP government and their political police have the facilities for that.

Gonsalves is running scared he is losing his grip on the people who he has so long fed and nurtured with a little money and some building materials. The NDP is way out front, so expect the comrade to invent all sorts of nonsense. He has already used the sympathy card with his family’s illnesses and ailments.

Watch out for assassination threats, accusations of people using nasty tactics to win the elections. All these types of silliness will be used at this extremely stressful time for the comrade.

The people have their own eyes and can see what is going on, the rush to repair roads, paint buildings, to give money for whatever cause, all that lumber, cement and galvanize delivered to the supporters. Nothing for four years then a sudden gush.

People have had enough, they see how things work now, they watched and listened to the Yugge Farrell affairs. They have suffered not just undrivable roads, but un-walkable roads: no work or employment, small wages with no prospects. Wage slavery and mental slavery, whilst the ruling dynastical family ride in big cars wear expensive clothes. Travel around the world at a whim. Own the jobs, police, and judiciary, control the finances. Under the ULP administration, people see tame contactors getting contracts unjustly while others like the Balcomes are punished for speaking out. Whole families and their workforces destroyed Bigger Bigs, the De Freitas’s, and so many more. Communist-style unjust grabbing of people’s property, it is all happening, and we are expected not to see it, or to mention it.

Well, it is over comrade, we want you to leave government, take your family and dynasty with you, and whilst you are at it take your unelectable cousin with you as well.

What is a real shame is that the original publisher refuses to publish my replies, such a shame for history.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Parliamentary Interregnum

Interregnum: a lapse or pause in a continuous series; a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended –Merriam-Webster dictionary

For the most part, Barbadians appear to have accepted the constitutional interpretation advanced by the Honourable Prime Minister and others that his office possesses the exclusive jurisdiction to determine the date of the next general election, notwithstanding that the Governor General is expressly invested under section 62(1) of the Constitution with the mandate to issue the writs for a general election after every dissolution of Parliament.

As I argued at length and submitted in this space some three weeks ago under the title Whose call is it anyway?, I do not agree that this is a necessary interpretation of the relevant provision, even though it must suffice for now as an actuality until otherwise judicially determined (should it ever come to that). But I am also acutely aware that any further discussion on this matter in the public domain is highly likely to morph from one of the issue of an informed interpretation of the constitutional text into one of partisan bickering and grandstanding ; matters for which I have very little time, if any at all. In any case, to my best knowledge, the issue has not been seriously pursued further.

As a further limb to the argument, I note that both sections 61(2) and 61(5) of the Constitution make express reference to the Governor General having to act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister although, given the construction now sought to be placed on section 62(1) and in light of the provisions of section 32, especially subsection (1), there would have been no need for these subsections to do so expressly.

Concerns have also been more recently raised in some quarters as to the constitutional legitimacy of the continued existence of Cabinet at this time, although it appears that much of the negative public discourse here is understandably directed rather at the notion that its members are being fully remunerated during this period of parliamentary interregnum than at the more arcane issue as to whether its continued existence under the current dispensation is indeed permitted by the Constitution.

The current state of affairs is, however, at least at first blush, legally consonant with the Constitutional text. According to section 63(3)-

The office of a Minister, other than the office of Prime Minister, shall become vacant-

(a) upon the appointment or re-appointment of any person to the office of Prime Minister;

(b) if his appointment to his office is revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, by instrument under the Public Seal ;

(c) if, for any reason other than a dissolution of Parliament, he ceases to be a member of the House of which he was a member at the date of his appointment as a Minister; or

(d) if he is not a member of either House at the date of the first sitting of Parliament after a dissolution of Parliament.

Clearly, this provision contemplates that the office of a Minister should survive any dissolution of Parliament, and it may be naturally reasoned that the Cabinet, comprising these very Ministers, likewise survives that event. It bears remarking, however, that the text of this provision makes no express reference to the Cabinet.

Nevertheless, the continued existence of Cabinet qua Cabinet may indeed be further presumed from the provision in section 64(1):

There shall be a Cabinet for Barbados which shall consist of the Prime Minister and not less than five other Ministers appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 65.

From this, we may assume that the continuous existence of the Cabinet is a constitutional reality (“There shall be a Cabinet for Barbados…”). At the same time however, the following subsection, s. 64 (2), stipulates that Cabinet is not to be wholly unfettered in its conduct of what is popularly referred to as “the people’s business”-

The Cabinet shall be the principal instrument of policy and shall be charged with the general direction and control of the government of Barbados and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament. [Emphasis added]

Arguably, therefore, in a circumstance where Parliament has been dissolved, this constitutionally stipulated collective responsibility is incapable of realization. From this, the question next begs asking, “Did the founding fathers necessarily contemplate the existence of a period, sustained or at all, without the parliamentary oversight of an existing Cabinet? In other words, may there be an active (as opposed to a lame duck) Cabinet in the absence of a sitting Parliament under our constitutional framework?

I am forced to recognize however that notwithstanding its partisan allure, this argument resonates more in the context of constitutional theory than in practical reality. After all, given the current configuration of our Parliament where, through a combination of the size of the membership of Cabinet and of a political culture that instinctually estops a member of Parliament from voting otherwise than with his or her party, Parliament is practically controlled by the Cabinet rather than the Cabinet being collectively responsible to Parliament as the Constitution mandates.

What is politically intriguing about this entire debate however is that the official Opposition would appear to have scant moral authority to pursue this line of argument, having chosen to abdicate its role in the last Parliament, immediately before its dissolution by effluxion of time. It might, nonetheless, be partially excused on the basis that it woefully misread the likelihood of a prolonged period of parliamentary interregnum, although it must also be recognized that Mr Stuart had earlier hinted at this eventuality. It has now materialized.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Whose Call is it, Anyway?

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

One aspect of current popular discussion in Barbados focuses on the moral and political legitimacy of the Prime Minister’s stated intention to have his administration go down to the figurative wire with reference to its tenure in that role. By this, I am given to understand that he proposes to extend the life of his government for as long as may be constitutionally permissible. Some, anxiously anticipating a change of administration, have sought to assert that this would be a clear breach of convention, although there is a patent absence of clarity in identifying the precise convention that he is alleged to be infringing thereby.

To be sure, a convention is built on a long accepted practice, but it is difficult to deduce any inveterate practice with respect to the calling of a general election in Barbados other than that these are usually called when the Prime Minister of the day decides that the time is optimal for his party’s chances thereat.

It appears to be popularly assumed that the date of a general election is always exclusively within the purview of the Prime Minister’s discretion. However, it is submitted that a close reading of the Constitutional text might arguably suggest otherwise.

According to section 61(3) of the supreme law:

Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved.

This provision clearly recognizes that Parliament may be dissolved before its otherwise automatic demise.

Ordinarily, the Prime Minister advising or instructing the Governor General to dissolve Parliament would effect this prior dissolution. This scenario is the subject of section 61(2):

The Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may at any time by proclamation dissolve Parliament …

It is also usual, though perhaps not conventional in the strict sense, for the Prime Minister on such an occasion further to instruct the Governor General to issue writs for a general election. However, there is no provision that expressly requires him to do so. Pertinent in this regard is section 62(1) that reads as follows-

After every dissolution of Parliament, the Governor-General shall issue writs for a general election of members of the House of Assembly returnable within ninety days from the dissolution.

A plain reading of this subsection and its juxtaposition to the previous subsection would suggest at first blush that, on a dissolution of Parliament, the Governor General has an absolute discretion as to the issuance and returnability of the writs for the elections in the thirty constituencies.

However, the Constitution also provides at section 32(1) that ordinarily the Governor General “shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet in the exercise of his functions other than in certain specified instances including those where he or she is directed to exercise any function “on or in accordance with the recommendations or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet”; and in respect of “any function which is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by him in his discretion”.

In addition, the next subsection [32 (2)] immediately and expressly excludes certain functions from the application of section 32(1):

Subsection (1) shall not apply to the functions conferred upon the Governor-General by the following provisions of this Constitution, that is to say-

(a)section 66(2) (which requires the Governor-General to revoke the appointment of the Prime Minister in certain circumstances);

(b) the proviso to section 61(2)which requires the Governor General to dissolve Parliament in certain circumstances);and

(c) section 84(4) (which requires the Governor-General to remove a Judge from office in certain circumstances).

In none of these specified cases, therefore, nor in those that are more generally stated in section 32 (1), would the Governor General be obliged to act in accordance with the advice of a member of the Cabinet as subsection (1) mandates.

The questions therefore beg asking, did the framers of the Constitution intend that a Prime Minister should be the sole authority in respect of the timing of elections in all circumstances of dissolution? Or does that exclusivity apply only in a case where Parliament has been dissolved by Prime Ministerial fiat? And does that imply therefore that if the House automatically dissolves itself through the effluxion of time, as in the current case, that the Governor General then assumes sole discretion as to the election date?

Of course, the answers to these questions turn on the construction of the various Constitutional provisions. Patently, the function under current consideration in section 62 (1) is not among those expressly excluded from the purview of section 32 (1) by section 32 (2), so that if one seeks to argue that the Governor General is to have any discretion at all in the matter, this must be premised on the more general exclusions in section 32 (1) itself. These are first, “where he is directed to exercise any function on or in accordance with the recommendations or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet”, and, second, “any function that is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by him in his discretion”.

Plainly, the first category is not relevant here, but the second does demand our further inquiry. While it is easily discernible that any function clearly expressed to be exercisable by the Governor General in his or her discretion would be covered by this provision, it also purports to include beyond this any other form of expression of that intention [“in whatever terms”].

The issue then arises; is a provision cast in the following terms “After every dissolution of Parliament, the Governor-General shall issue writs for a general election of members of the House of Assembly returnable within ninety days from the dissolution” correctly to be regarded as a form of expression in whatever terms that confers a function exercisable by the Governor General in his or her discretion? If it may be so regarded, then the deduction is that the Governor General has the discretion as to the date of the general election once Parliament stands dissolved by effluxion of time, though perhaps not where this has been effected by prime ministerial fiat. The distinction is indeed a nice one.

It is conceded that this interpretation has never been observed or even suggested in our fifty plus years of written constitutional governance. Nor is it likely to find favour with any political operatives now. For one, it flies in the face of the assumed convention of unlimited prime ministerial discretion in most matters, thereby disrupting accepted practice; for another, it has not yet been to my best knowledge the subject matter of any judicial determination and is thus likely to be treated as mere academic opinion and, third, it is likely to result at the current time in partisan division, based not on the validity of an alternative construction of the Constitutional text but on precisely that; partisan consideration.

Our regrettable lack of clarity in this matter is to be contrasted with the drafting precision of the provision in section 69 (1) of the Trinidad & Tobago 1976 Republican Constitution –“A general election of members of the House of Representatives shall be held at such time within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint.” [Added emphasis].

Waiting for the Bell to be Rung

Protecting our democracy…

Every where one turns in Barbados the discussion is about when will the prime minister ring the bell. Is is unethical for the prime minister to have extended the traditional 5 year term to the 90 days allowed by the Constitution for what many believe was meant by the framers to address an extraordinary event? There is a view that the prime minister has no moral authority to lead the country given his thirst to create history by any means necessary.

In another blog BU outlined that any government preparing to contest a general election is regarded as lameduck where key decisions are delayed to await the mandate of the citizenry  -see Barbados a Country in Abeyance.

In the current situation Barbadians have not only had to wrestle with the unprecedented decision of a prime minister prepared to dilute our way of democracy that has earned our little island a global reputation.  One remembers Dame Billie Miller, the late Dame Nita Barrow et al asked to participate in international fora with a focus on electoral matters.

Given the anemic performance of the economy since the global crisis of 2008 one would have anticipated that the government would have taken the moral high ground to seek a mandate from the people they were elected to serve. One gets the impression these days that the people- where the power is meant to reside-  have allowed the political class to hijack the intent of the Westminster system of democracy inherited.

While the focus is on the decision by the prime minister to extend the tenure of his government. There is the discussion waiting to be had on the campaign trail highlighted in an earlier blog -see  Voting Checklist to Assist With Placing Your X.  One can take the position that if we have waited 5 years what is a another 90 days. BU subscribes to the view that important to how our system of democracy is meant to work must be a high level of citizen advocacy. A self critique in this regard exposes a passive approach by Barbadians since the 30 November 1966.

Clearly the decision by the prime minister – perhaps advised by Hal Gollop- to invoke the 90 day period allowed by the Constitution of Barbados to extend his government serves to be another distraction at a time when the country needs to rally behind a plan that should be marshalling our scarce resources to succeed. How do we tweak our governance model to ensure our Parliament provides oversight as intended by the Constitution. The Public Accounts Committee and Committee of Privileges come to mind. The inability to respond to the perennial concerns of the Auditor General reports that reveals an unacceptable level of financial indiscipline and malfeasance. We could mention a crumbling infrastructure- the sewage problem on the South Coast, a stressed waste management system and pothole ridden road ways come to mind.

Given where Barbados finds itself Barbadians must begin to question what we will demand of our representatives when they come knocking very soon. It will not be enough to take their accustomed rhetoric. In extraordinary circumstances, extraordinary measures have to be taken. What are we as an intelligent people prepared to do this time around.




Barbados a Country in Abeyance

It is generally accepted in the few months leading into a general election, the lack of significant decision-making of the incumbent government becomes an accepted characteristic. So much so there is the frequent  reference to the term ‘lameduck’ to brand a period of political abeyance.

Today is a historic day in Barbados. For the first time in the country’s history a Prime Minister has decided to take the country into a period where the Parliament has been dissolved and yet the country waits for Prime Minister Stuart to ring the bell. Of course the DLP surrogates will state the obvious, that is, Stuart is operating within the boundary of the law.

The decision by Stuart to encroach on the 90 day period the Constitution of Barbados  provides is hardly the point. Yes a Cabinet will be in place to administer government albeit without the oversight of parliament which is integral to the governance framework we practice. The decision to keep the country anchored in abeyance surely cannot be in the national interest. Point being there is hardly any significant progress the government can make if assessed using the economic measurement of cost benefit. It does not matter how many policies, law, discussions are had by a lameduck Cabinet, the country has shut down. We have become a country in waiting. There is no confidence to drive innovation, creativity, no esprit.

To add to the economic fatigue Barbadians have had to endure for the past several years, the resultant deterioration in the standard living and decimation of the middleclass, a once proud Bajan psyche has suffered another big bruise with the spilling of sewage on the South Coast stretch frequented by tourist and locals. We have lost our shine!

There is no need for BU to be prolix on this matter except to say Barbadians everywhere are hoping that good sense prevails during this protracted period of abeyance and the reputation of being a stable political nation is uninterrupted despite the best effort by PRIME MINISTER FREUNDEL STUART and his CABINET.

Stuart Going Where His Predecessors Failed to Tread

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Tomorrow will be the last sitting of parliament before it is dissolved.  Under the Constitution of Barbados the Prime Minister can- and it appears he will- extend his government into the 90 day unchartered discretionary period within which a general election must be called.  This decision by the government to loiter in Government House against a less than stellar performance and deteriorating social landscape without calling for a mandate from the people, has seen a crescendo of public debate about when will the general election be called. The delay serves to deflate an already low confidence level by civil society which comingles with the notion that not much gets done in a lame duck period of government. The Stuart government seeks to prove 20 million Frenchmen wrong.

Since Barbados weaned itself from under the Union Jack it has nurtured a reputation of being a politically stable country, in fact a model studied by the world. That this government would rupture a well earned reputation by a wanton disregard for the niceties and conventions of a system of government we claim to follow is a worry. The reality is that when parliament is dissolved all ‘seats’ are declared vacant. The Cabinet will continue to function in their roles but without the oversight of parliament. This is where abuse of power can be questioned. Is it worth the reputational damage to secure a couple months in office during a time when it is accepted that the country will mark time until the genera election is over?

In an interesting parallel albeit ironic that the ruling communist party of China plans to remove the 10 year restriction on the president. If achieved it will see the all powerful President Jinping continuing in office possibly for life. Experts opine that this is China’s signal to the world that it has no interest in dismantling a system of government which has served it well enough to be the global power economic superpower it has become. The flipside to the irony unfolding in China was the decision by the UK government in 2011 to impose fixed term elections every five years. The Act allows for a variation if by a two thirds majority a no confidence vote is successful.

If we examine the decision by Stuart against what is unfolding in China  by following a path which precedent and convention in our Wesminsterlike model of government does not support, AND, one that departs from the decision taken by the UK government in 2011 to impose fixed term elections then it is clear Barbados is playing the Rh with how we govern.

It is instructive President David Granger of Guyana declined to attend the 38th HOGs Summit in Haiti but Prime Minister Freundel Stuart essays no similar concerns with foreign reserves at about 4 weeks and the country gripped in abeyance.

It is also instructive that members of the Stuart Cabinet would have allowed partisan politics to define  the non existent legacy they richly deserve.

Barbados Elections | Insights and Analysis

Submitted by

Barbadians will be going to the polls in 2018 with one media outlet suggesting that elections will be called in May. Curious about past election results – for Barbados – I searched around and found the Caribbean Elections website. This site features a treasure trove of election related data for Barbados as well as several other Caribbean countries.

The table I created (see below) consists of high-level Barbados election data sourced from Caribbean Elections (C.E.) between 1951 and 2013. Non-Voter data was not provided by C.E., so I calculated it based on available data:

Read full text HERE

Time to Vote Third Parties NOT BLP and DLP

Submitted by William Skinner

As we prepare for another General Election, it is imperative that we call a spade a spade. Unless there is some unknown, mysterious progressive visionary leader hiding deep in the bowels of the Barbados Labour Party or the Democratic Labour Party, the election would follow the pattern of carnival like exercises of recent election cycles, with mega entertainment and alcohol being distributed to all and sundry including minors.

The major challenge of the fledgling third parties will be to avoid such frolic and deal with the myriad problems facing the country. They should treat the public with the seriousness it deserves and avoid making empty promises like their opponents. Contrary to popular opinion, the so-called political scientists and radio talk show gurus, the people are more prepared to listen to alternatives than at any other time since independence.

Objective observers have already concluded that if the BLP wins, it would more be a vote against the intransigence of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, than any profound belief that Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, has any new and vibrant programs to carry the country forward. On the other hand, should the DLP pull off an unexpected victory, the country could look forward to much of the same. We have now reached the sorry state of measuring levels of mediocrity in both the BLP and DLP; many citizens are going into the voting booth with the feeling that they are simply voting for a change but with no real hope of any improvement in the management of the country.

Both parties have been given adequate time to solve problems in: housing, health services; public transportation; education, public service and judiciary reform, land reform, rural development, agriculture and all other areas of economic activity. It is now clear that outside of very successful party propaganda and window dressing, they have been failing and are now clearly out of ideas. Their daily criticisms of each other are classical examples of the pot calling the kettle black!

Our musical chairs democracy can no longer escape the reality of a new world economic order and the need to quickly adjust to the challenges it presents. The days of serving warmed over cold soup cannot continue. The only group of citizens oblivious to this reality, is the now totally blind die-hard supporters of the entrenched parties.

If current trends continue, and the scenario mentioned above proves true, Barbados would lose this election. It would be a misfortune of considerable proportions and the result would be more socio-economic diarrhoea.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Franchise is NOT a Commodity

Jeff Cumberbatch – Columnist, Deputy Dean of UWI, Law Faculty, Chairman of the FTC

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy – Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5

 While money can’t buy happiness,

it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery … –Groucho Marx

While the title of today’s column should be an undisputed datum, especially given the provisions of sections 6 and 7 of the Elections Offences and Controversies Act, Cap.3 of the Laws of Barbados that criminalize bribery and treating respectively as corrupt practices and the periodical fulminations against these practices by politicians of various stripe and other well-meaning citizens, I am nevertheless willing to wager that there are very few who would be willing to swear that the title accurately portrays the reality in modern day Barbados.

Now, as the blast of war rings in the ears (in the words of the Prime Minister) before the electoral battle is fully and officially joined, the relation between the statutory provisions and the cultural practice has been brought once more into sharp focus.

The law itself is clear. So far as bribery is concerned, section 6(2) provides-

A person is guilty of bribery who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf

(a) gives any money or procures any office to or for any elector or to or for any other person on behalf of any elector or to or for any other person in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting; or

(b) corruptly makes any gift or procurement as is specified in paragraph (a) on account of any elector having voted or refrained from voting; or

(c) makes any gift or procurement as is specified in paragraph (a) to or for any person in order to induce that person to procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person at an election or the vote of any elector, or if upon or in consequence of any such gift or procurement he procures or engages, promises or endeavours to procure the return of any person at an election or the vote of any elector.”

And, as for treating, section 7 stipulates-

“A person is guilty of a corrupt practice who is guilty of treating.

(2) A person is guilty of treating who corruptly, by himself, either before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly gives or provides or pays wholly or in part the expense of giving or providing any food, drink, entertainment or provision to or for any person

(a) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election; or

(b) on account of that person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting or being about to vote or refrain from voting at such election.

Every elector who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment or provision is also guilty of treating.”

That the latter section criminalizes the practice seemingly endemic in the region whereby the politician buys the elector a drink and something to eat [rum and roti in Trinidad & Tobago; rum and corned beef in Barbados] should entail our recognition that as M. Jourdan in Molière’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” who one day realized that he had been speaking prose all his life “without knowing it”, this traditional treating by politicians may have been against the law all along without any complaint.

Of course, the law insists that for one to be convicted of a criminal offence, not only must such guilt be established beyond reasonable doubt but also the relevant law, in the case of doubt, must be construed in the way most favourable to the accused person. That the traditional rum and corned beef is now been rumoured to have given way to the flat screen or Curve television and the I-phone, pad, or pod does not change the law, which seeks to penalize the transaction itself rather than the nature of the consideration, one jot or tittle.

However, the effective enforcement of the relevant provisions would seem to be akin to an impracticability, given that the most cogent evidence against the politician or his or her agent is likely to come from the accomplice to the criminality, the beneficiary of the bribe or treatment, who would be incriminating himself. As quoted above – “Every elector who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment or provision is also guilty of treating”. It is the same with the offence of bribery-“A person is guilty of bribery who, after an election, directly or indirectly by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting”.

Thus it is that despite the dissuasiveness of the penalties for those guilty of these offences, including the avoidance of the election of a candidate who is found personally or vicariously guilty of any corrupt or illegal practice (section 54) and the striking off of a candidate’s votes from those persons who were bribed or treated, the general impracticability of enforcement lends to a circumstance that the franchise may indeed be treated locally as a commodity for a long time to come.

Moreover, in our culture, generosity of some kind from the political representative or from a candidate for the constituency is expected. If that generosity is made either expressly or, more likely, impliedly conditional on its future repayment by the exercise of the franchise in that person’s favour, whence the telling evidence of a corrupt practice?

The keener reader will observe that I do not have the space today to tackle an even more insidious form of bribery where the franchise itself is not treated as the commodity but rather the politician himself… or at least his influence. Electoral campaigns are patently expensive undertakings, after all.

May you have a blessed and bountiful 2018, dear reader.


The Grenville Phillips Column – Choosing the Right Boyfriend

Grenville Phillips II, leader of Solutions Barbados

As we approach the inevitable General Election, voters have a most important decision to make.  Who will they select to manage their affairs for the next 5 years?  During this time, political parties will try to entice voters to vote for them.

There are currently 3 political parties with over 20 Candidates.  The Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), and Solutions Barbados (SB).  The BLP and DLP are skilled at wooing voters, who, for this article shall be called Lady Barbados.  They are the equivalent of boyfriends whom she has had in the past.  Solutions Barbados is a new suitor.  How can he convince Lady Barbados that he truly cares for her?

Her experience with Boyfriend DLP has not been exciting.  He goes out with her but insists that she pay for everything.  The items are not the most expensive, so she pays for them.  He has made it clear that if she selects him as her boyfriend, he will never pay for anything.  She will always have to pay for herself, him and his friends, because he does not work.

Her experience with Boyfriend BLP is a lot more exciting.  He takes her on expensive trips and lavishes her with expensive gifts.  She feels so lucky to have him.  Then he presents her with a bill for all of the items.  She is shocked to learn that he had added her name to his credit card making her responsible for all of his purchases.  He tells her that she must pay the entire debt.  He also makes it clear that if she selects him, he will keep her in unsustainable debt by doing the same thing – but she will enjoy the gifts.

Lady Barbados is so disappointed and hurt by the actions of present Boyfriend DLP that she is considering returning to Boyfriend BLP.  Then she meets Solutions Barbados and he immediately shows her how she can pay off her debts without much difficulty.  He also works with her to start a new business and generate another revenue stream.  He then helps her renegotiate her employment contract with her employer to protect her future earnings.

Solutions Barbados knows that she has been hurt by previous boyfriends, and is attentive to the cautious manner that she now approaches monetary issues.  So he prepares detailed financial plans for their future together and encourages her to get professional analysts to examine them and advise her accordingly.  He does this because he truly cares or her.

Lady Barbados considers her options and realizes that she no longer remembers the harm done to her by Boyfriend BLP – time has healed the wounds.  Now, she only remembers the expensive trips and gifts, and longs for that experience after being burdened so long with cheap and lazy Boyfriend DLP.

Solutions Barbados tries to warn her about the previous irresponsible ways and reckless debt promises of Boyfriend BLP.  However, she gets angry.  Why must I talk negatively about Boyfriend BLP?  Why can’t I just woo her without spoiling her dreams of an expensive lifestyle – the fine wines, tender sirloin, exquisite deserts, expensive jewellery, and Paris by night?

I try to convince her that our planned future will allow her to purchase any of those things herself.  But I am losing her.  I try to bring her back to reality, but she is lost in her dream world.

She is certain that no-good Boyfriend DLP has to go.  But the recollection of the good times overpowers her.  She can smell the food, taste the wine, and feel the excitement of opening a present that she knows will be wonderfully delightful – oblivious to the fact that she will be forced to pay for it all.  If she makes the tragic decision to return to Boyfriend BLP, she will never know the stable future that she just, in a moment, gave up.

Choose wisely Lady Barbados.

Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at

Let’s March for New Elections –NOW!

Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is right in calling for and mobilizing a march against the governmental Administration of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, but she has not gone far enough in identifying the primary goal of the march.

It is not enough to stage a march to express “disgust” at the Freundel Stuart Administration! The political, economic, psychological, and social situation in Barbados has gone far beyond a mere expression of disgust. Barbadians need– as a matter of the utmost urgency– to be relieved from the stultifying grasp of a rotten Governmental Administration that has lost all political legitimacy and that is taking the country down to a disaster of epic proportions.

The only remedy — the only demand– that makes sense at this late stage is a demand for the staging of new General Elections– now!

Our nation urgently needs to be released from the utterly dysfunctional and clue-less Freundel Stuart Administration, and a new national political leadership needs to be put in place. The central demand and slogan of the Opposition Leader’s march should therefore be:- “Elections Now!”.

Indeed, the march needs to be focused on launching a mass people’s demand for immediate new General Elections, and calling on all right thinking Barbadians to march and demonstrate in support of such a demand until it is achieved!

No sane or responsible Barbadian can any longer have any lingering doubt that our nation is in grave peril.

Like the notorious Roman Emperor “Nero”, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has shamelessly abdicated his leadership responsibilities and has chosen to “fiddle” with his Democratic Labour Party cohorts in New York City while his country burns!

In a mind-boggling interview carried out in New York with the Nation Newspaper last Monday, the Prime Minister of our country asserted that he has no idea as to whether his Government had lost confidence in Dr Delisle Worrell, the Governor of the Central Bank!

The Nero-like Prime Minister Stuart also claimed to be unaware that his Minister of Finance, Mr Chris Sinckler, had brought any “proceedings” against Dr. Worrell! Mr Stuart’s precise words were:- “I have not made myself privy to all that has been happening because I am not aware that proceedings were brought by the Minister of Finance against the Governor…. It is my understanding that proceedings were brought by the Governor”.

These are the words and reactions of a political leader who has lost contact with reality, and who has therefore lost any right to continue to hold on to the reins of government. It is time for Mr Stuart and his Administration to go !

Government Between a Rock and a Hard Place With General Elections Looming

Submitted by Inkwell


2013 Final Electoral Map, the government won by a 2 seat margin

1. Consider this argument. The Central Bank (CB) Governor has refused to print any more money for the Minister of Finance (MOF). The MOF needs printing to continue to pay civil servants and keep Government running. If the Government can’t pay the civil servants this month, all hell will break loose. Therefore the CB Governor has to be fired so that somebody who will agree to print the money can be appointed. These delays being granted by the High Court are making the MOF nervous. Time is of the essence. But Jeez, if the printing continues, the economy will only get sicker.

2. Foreign reserves are at an all-time low and heading further south, and with the poor tourist season we are now having, not much hope for recovery. The Government can’t even put its hands on the US$100 million from Kyffin for BNTCL in a hurry as that has to go through FTC regulatory process. Let us see if the Government is going to try to railroad the FTC and also what stuff the Chairman is made of.

3. Government can’t borrow externally because of low credit rating and the existing high debt service requirements are continuing to hurt the foreign reserves.

3. Every economist who has said anything (Frank Alleyne has been predictably silent) has told the Government it must act NOW to avoid a disaster, latest being the CDB which has issued a dire warning: “CDB President Dr. Warren Smith is warning there is “no painless way” to rein in the fiscal deficit and ballooning debt.” “But I think it is also important to appreciate that we need action now. The Government of Barbados knows what to do.” “Let me just repeat that we are ready to help but there are certain things that need to be done before the assistance of the multi-lateral institutions like ourselves can become available in a fulsome way. I think that the debt situation is one that needs to be addressed urgently.”

4. The Government’s hand is being forced every way it turns. It must act.

5. BIG Problem. Elections are imminent and the harsh measures required will doom the DLP’s chances of re-election. What would you do? Think like Stuart (and hope not to get a brain freeze). You have to call elections NOW. If you wait any longer, you will be forced to inflict much pain, especially on the civil service and statutory corporations, send home another eight to ten thousand people; you will have to further cut financial support to the QEH and UWI, BWA and SSA; you will have to increase bus fares; you will have to dismantle the community councils and cancel the football tournament and condemn the DLP to the annals of Barbadian political notoriety. A few of the painful pills.

The only hope of survival is to go to the polls BEFORE you are forced to inflict the pain. Tempus is fugiting and the hour must come. Truly between a rock and a hard place.

All For One and One Fall All

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

Parliament will dissolve on the 12 February 2013

Parliament will dissolve on the 12 February 2013

A man’s word is his bond. Some are more meticulous than others. They would never accept a penny for a crown, but would rather hold out to their bond. The merchant of Venice insisted on payment or his pound of flesh. He maintained that his debt be paid. Could similar be today’s re-enactment? Could the ghost of Shylock be back?

At Sunday’s Errol Barrow Day gathering at Prospects, people waited and waited in vain, believing that an announcement was  fore-coming. Again they were put them back on hold. No elections date coming. Some could have really stayed home, as that was the only reason for their presence.

Truth of the matter is, there is more than a mortar in this pestle. Only the one knows. In the mean while other DLP candidates stuck in gear. Any strategic planning they may have intended, must wait. Someday (after elections) things will come to a head and it will not be as buddy buddy as yesterday’s meeting. Someone will be called to account. Meanwhile everyday, the February 12th dissolution deadline draws nearer.

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Egg On the BLP’s Face

Submitted by Bryant Brown

Peter Wickham, Head of CADRES

Peter Wickham, Head of CADRES

The  opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) tried to pull a fast move on the DLP Government, but got trumped. The BLP managed to influence its support media Executive at Barbados Today, Roy Morris to pay CADRES to conduct a survey on the political climate in Barbados to date. Mind you, Roy is a strong supported of the BLP. According to the on-line paper, the survey was conducted between January 11th, 2013 and January 14th, 2013 in all 30 constituencies.

The survey was designed by CADRES Director, Peter W Wickham who has a gripe with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart over CBC not renewing his three-year contract with the broadcasting corporation. The PM is responsible for that entity.

The results of the survey were in Barbados Today’s Wednesday morning edition faster than you could blink. It was meant to give the BLP group of speakers meat to bash government at their planned mass political meeting at Heroes Square Wednesday Jan 16th 2013.  That meeting was to be held right outside the Senate Chambers which was meeting at the time and which actually ended debate about 8.30pm. There were no opposition members at that Senate debate since the total BLP MPs and Senators have boycotted both the Upper and Lower Chambers calling for general elections to be held.

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PM WAKE UP You’re Unintentionally Destroying Barbados With EACH DAY, Do What’s Best For Barbados Sir, LET THE BAJAN PEOPLE DECIDE NOW



Each day the poor DLP leadership continues under PM Stuart – “the food lines for those homeless and in need get LONGER”. Each day that the poor leadership in the Ministry of Tourism continues – “we lose more and more hotels and small businesses that depend on this vital sector of our economy”.

Each day the DLP continues to blame the global recession for all or most of our national challenges – “other Caribbean nations are innovating and reinventing themselves to meet the demands of a changing world and region”.

Each day the DLP continues in power – “the recession of ideas and effective governance continues”.

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Government Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The following is an unabridged version of the article which appeared in the Nation newspaper today (17 January 2013)

As far as I am aware, this is the longest interval between general elections since Barbados had democratically elected governments. Some have disingenuously proffered the view that Government was elected for five years; and is fully entitled to serve out that time, plus a maximum additional ninety days which allows for the return of election writs, in accordance with section 62 of the Constitution.

While there is a person occupying the office of Prime Minister, he is the only person that can advise the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and call elections before an automatic dissolution. Section 61 (3) of the Constitution states:

Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved.

However, it does not appear that the incumbent has any immediate plans to bring about a dissolution of Parliament unless it is absolutely necessary. But that time is almost upon us, the first sitting was convened on February 12, 2008 and Parliament would therefore stand dissolved on the fifth anniversary, (February 12, 2013).

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When the Law and Politics Create Tension

Stuart and Arthur lead the pack

Stuart and Arthur lead the pack according to CADRES

There is the law and then there is the politics.

The Prime Minister is not breaking any law by not issuing the general election date. The question which the Prime Minister should have considered however is whether  by betraying convention he has contributed to the deterioration of political stability. Barbados is a country which is highly regarded across the world about how it manages the electoral process.

Based on a recent CADRES poll the Prime Minister’s leadership approval rating has increased. If a political party is in the business of winning elections, the Prime Minister may feel vindicated that his strategy of using the full ‘legal period’ to call the general election is working. According to the poll Prime Minister Stuart’s leadership approval rating has jumped from 9.9% to 23%. Despite the jump however he [Stuart] continues to trail Owen Arthur whose approval rating has moved from 29.8% to  39%.

BU’s view is that at a time of unprecedented economic challenge the country should not have to be side tracked by the politics of whether an election should be called or not. Prime Minister Stuart obviously does not subscribe to the tradition of a government calling an election on a date which gives political advantage. Surely after the death of Prime Minister David Thompson and the conflict which played out with the Gang of 5 within the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), it was politically advantageous for Stuart to seek his mandate at that time. And he had the advantage of recalling that Arthur made a similar slip and paid the political price.

The law is on Stuart’s side but…

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Time to Say Goodbye..(again) DLP – Part II

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

The BLP is boycotting parliament to force government to "ring to bell"

The BLP is boycotting parliament to force government to “ring to bell”

“Oh what a tangled web we weave..when we set about to intrigue”….

What will it take to bring down the curtain on this farrago and consistently fractured performance? Like the sesame street hagglers Nit n Wit….. the people of Barbados have now endured for too long. We were given a promise of “better days are coming,” only for Jimmy Cliffs up-tempo Caribbean renaissance “to be punished with laughter” by descriptives and their promised “delivery to the light.”Far the less, as one seasoned blogger had put it…”Now they have painted themselves in a corner.”…and in all but dark.

Now you are in no man’s land. As once Star Trekkians would put it ….”where no man has gone before.” Take care William Shatter and Leonard McCoy. This SSS ‘Enterprise’ far from enabled with wrap speed, sputtering and ‘pun choke’.

Related Link: Time to say Goodbye…DLP

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When Privatization Trumps Productivity

How to increase national productivity must be the topic of conversation.

Managing the finances of the BU household requires adherence to a simple rule which cannot be broken. Do not spend more that is earned! It is the only way individuals can create a financial security blanket (creating wealth) for the family before retirement. We live in a world which has become addicted to consumption. It has become a place where the value system is securely anchored in love for things at the expense of people or what is commonsense.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) next talkback forum has as its topic ‘Putting Money Back in your Pocket”. The topic should provoke all Barbadians to think about what kind of country we want. We understand that political parties are in the business of winning elections, and the opportunity to promise what is often impossible or illogical is par for course at this time. It explains why the period leading into a general election is labelled ‘the silly season’. However Barbadians must be able to rationalize and force the best decision based on what is before us.

Barbados is an economy where we import most of what we consume, we produce little. If we do nothing or follow the trend of expanding our consumption, it means we have to improve the inflow of foreign exchange. It is a simple equation to balance which has implications for being able to defend the parity of the Barbados Dollar and avoid the clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). BU’s simple analysis is that Barbados can continue to live above its means; we have been doing so for the last 20 years, and suffer the fate of many countries across the Caribbean and the world – OR – we can make structural changes to our social and economic model to be able to sustain a wholesome and practical lifestyle for Barbadians in the present and generations to follow, while at the same time build out mitigating options to buffer the exogenous shocks which will affect us from time to time.

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Dear DLP

Submitted by Observing

You are suffering and you are indirectly suffering the independents that support you. We like you, really we do. We believe that you have the most integrity and desire to help all Barbadians and with time could do so. But you are doing an atrocious job of showing it, proving it, or at the very least talking about it properly.  Let me pause to offer a moment of sympathy for your departed leader, former PM David Thompson. He truly went too soon. He also left big boots to fill and an unfinished vision and mandate that desperately needed time and hard working, honest souls to bring it to fruition.  Fast forward two years and we must now ask. What have you done? How have you done it? How have you shared it?

I’ll declare my hand and admit that my philosophy, leaning and beliefs endear me to the DLP rather than the BLP. But, my objectivity will always question right from wrong, good from bad, sense from nonsense and efficiency from ineptitude.  In too many cases you have collectively chosen the latters. To make matters worse, it has been so blatant, so obvious, and in some cases so bumbling that it seems you are still now trying to “settle” into the role of government, four years after the fact.

While on that, let me turn to your chairman, the PM, the numero uno, Mr. Freundel Stuart.  A good man.  A liked man. A decent man. An intelligent man. But clearly a man with flaws in some of the critical areas of leadership, team building and emotional intelligence.  They say a leader gets the job done. Full stop.  But there are many tasks he/she must undertake and people he/she must work and talk with to get there.  The jury will decide on Stuart’s performance as PM and leader.   As for the team? Likeable fellows somewhat. But, complacent, sometimes arrogant and now conveniently blind to the very things that swept them into power, and are poised to sweep them out.  They should pray for light.

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Are Political Opinion Polls Always Right? A Different View

Submitted by Yardbroom

Peter Wickham, Head of CADRES

The recent CADRES opinion poll has generated much debate and rightly so, because it has given ammunition to those – mainly BLP supporters but not singularly – who believe this DLP Government will be defeated at the next general election.  It has also caused some anxiety even to committed DLP diehards.  I will take a different view to the majority expressed on BU (Barbados Underground) and in the interest of “balance” seek to address some misconceptions.

“An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a Poll, is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample.  Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence intervals.”  It was once said: “Opinion polls are like soup you take a spoon full and you have a flavour of the whole”.

But BAJANS know you can dip a spoon in a bowl of souse and come up with only a liquid of peppers, cucumber and onions the “meat” can be at the bottom of the bowl.

Is there empirical data from which I can draw to substantiate the view I have taken.

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