Echoes of Delayed Responses: A Case for Human Rights in Barbados

Submitted by TK Butler-Intimate Partner Violence Survivor 
Human Rights Advocate 
Author & Activist @ Focus Barbados| Protect the Children

JUSTICE DELAYED is justice denied. Barbados is becoming notorious for pushing matters under the rug for years, backlogged court cases, people remanded to jail and cases that don’t get called before the court until several years later, witnesses to cases being asked to remember evidence from 10 years ago, and people walking around the same streets as perpetrators while awaiting their day in court.

In my case, Barbados failed to respond to a petition I submitted in June 2015 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by the deadline. This failure triggered  the advancement of my petition to a formal case as stated in a letter mailed from the Commission to Jerome Walcott and myself on November 23, 2020: 

The State in question did not submit a response to the petition during the admissibility phase. Therefore, the Commission has decided to open the case…

The details of my case against the government of Barbados as well as the specific abuses I’ve suffered are shared within my blog posts on WordPress @ Focus Barbados (est. 2015) and Instagram @quarantineipv (est. March 2020). I used Facebook as a platform for raising awareness back in 2012-2014. I was also interviewed by Naked Departure on her blog talk radio in 2014. I have been more than vocal.

I lived in the communities of Barbados as a tourist. My abusive relationship with Barbados began in 2012, lasted for 3 years which has lapsed into a total of 7 years and counting. After leaving Barbados in 2015, I began researching and educated myself about the plight of Bajan women and children in Barbados. It is through understanding their struggle that I became aware of the connection we all have to trauma, crime, justice and the delayed responses by relevant authorities in each of those areas. We are all survivors of systemic governmental neglect and abuse. These abusive relationships formed the basis of my view that there is a lack of empathy in Barbados that is cultural. The people hold dear their customary “respect and manners” but because of deep seated anger issues, this hospitality and politeness does not ease the rage of Bajan hostility. Through my conversations with Bajans, experiences of culture and observations of governmental leadership, I am as clear as ever that Sir Hilary Beckles assessments of Barbados as the First Black Slave Society, including all the barbaric and traumatic implications, is one of many contributing factors that plays a significant role in my struggle for freedom from gender based violence in Barbados.

I’ve learned that when I was being strangled and my abuser asked me: “ARE YOU GONNA SHUT UP? YES OR NO?”, he was echoing the sentiments and voices of a majority of the population. I, THE TOURIST, although supposedly “superior” in status due to my relationship to the tourism industry/economy, ended up being treated as many local women are treated every day. I was not given the world renowned  “ROYAL TREATMENT” as a tourist. Instead, I experienced a major contributor to the normalization of abuse for Bajan women and children: THE CULTURE OF SILENCE. My research provided further evidence that emotional and verbal abuse in Barbados is rationalized as commonplace. The same hurt people who hurt people are working as teachers, lawyers, police, judges, and government officials.

According to Cynthia Forde:

There is no community that is not a part of the nonsense that has been going on.  And the molesters are not just the ordinary men in the village, but we have police officers taking advantage, and according to what we know, there are teachers, priests, counsellors and caregivers who are taking advantage of young children…all people who know better, and because they have not been caught, they get away with it.

Loop News Barbados

How can the cycle of abuse be broken when those who are supposed to help victims are also people who can’t be trusted? Who was gonna raise awareness if it’s normal to have your voice choked out of you? Who was gonna be an example that speaking out can bring healing where there’s no justice or closure? Who was gonna expose the wounds in order to justify the need for healing? Who was gonna ask someone out there somewhere if they dared care to listen to our screams for help? I asked others if they were willing. Everyone feared retaliation by employers and government. The rumours that Bajans are docile and content with suffering in silence became all the more real. No more delays. No more denials.

My case with the Commission is strong and justice will prevail. I would like acknowledgment from the government that my and OUR suffering is not in vain. The government must pledge itself to fix the broken systems, including those within the Child Care Board and Juvenile Justice circles, that enable the cycles of generational abuse and trauma that create abusive men and women. This must be done for the sake and well being of children. Every living adult in Barbados is called to task.

In this year’s throne speech, Dame Sandra Mason stated: “Barbados is now increasingly finding itself on international lists, including within the multilateral system, which identify us as having a poor human rights record.”

Need I say more?

In conclusion the lyrics of an old gospel spiritual by Mahalia Jackson will suffice:

If I can help somebody, as I travel along
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
No, my living shall not be in vain No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody, as I’m singing the song
You know, my living shall not be in vain.

How the Mottley Government Proposes to Deny Bajans their Human Rights…

Submitted by PUDRYR

According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR, or the Commission) one of two bodies in the Inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights.

“…The Commission’s main function is to monitor compliance with and defence of human rights in the Americas….”

Notwithstanding its functions, it would seem, given the incoherent utterances of Dale Marshall, the Attorney General, that this government of Mia Mottley PROPOSES TO DENY every citizen and legal resident their constitutional rights.

This despotic action of the Barbados Government, a government which one again highlights is led by Mia Amor Mottley, proposes to remove ALL CASES THAT ARE OLDER THAN 10 years from the cases to be heard by the Barbados Courts,

This is a contravention of each person’s rights one which they propose to introduce in clear light of day as their pretense to ease the workload of our impotent courts.

De ole man would bring the readers attention to the IAHCR and more specifically its function which citizens WILL HAVE TO RELY ON SHORTLY “…The Commission can consider petitions from individuals who claim their rights have been violated by the State and who consequently, have been unable to find justice in their own country.

More specifically de ole man, while not a lawyer, would wish to quote Article 8. Clause 1 on one’s Right to a Fair Trial which states “Every person has the right to a hearing, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal, previously established by law, in the substantiation of any accusation of a criminal nature made against him or for the determination of his rights and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal, or any other nature.

Now, with all due respect to the legal luminaries, of whom Attorney General Dale Marshall DOES NOT SEEM TO BE ONE, the incoherent statement that he has made is flagrantly in dereliction to what is afforded every man under the Constitution (AS WELL AS THE TREATY)

Either we have to call the Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall “a real ingrunt mother chucker” or, AND RIGHTFULLY SO, ascribe this statement to Prime Minister MOTTLEY SEEKING TO PURPOSELY DISCOMMODE CITIZENS & RESIDENTS of their rights, for any matter that is older than 3,650 days

This unilateral removal of one’s rights and obligations seems like an inverted, perverted Statute of limitations where, all a lawyer will have to do is to (i) either get adjournments for said ten year period OR (ii) LOSE A PERSON’S FILES FOR THE SAME 10 YEARS WHICH MEANS THAT YOUR LEGAL MATTERS ARE DEAD!!! 

But before concluding this drivel submission, the very shortest of de ole man’s drivel submissions, let me leave wunna with this article on Compulsory Acquisition by Mottley’s hero Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe formerly Rhodesia 

“…Land reform emerged as a critical issue during the Lancaster House Talks to end the Rhodesian Bush War. ZANU leader Robert Mugabe and ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo insisted on the redistribution of land—by compulsory seizure, without compensation—as a precondition to a negotiated peace settlement.”

Wunna seeing and blatant patterns here? 

Constitution Changes, New Pernicious Laws, Anti WTO government contract awards to WeMoney Scams to the same man you change de Constitution for, Compulsory Devaluations of Government Issued Bonds, then the same GoB Disobeying an order of the Barbados Court to pay Supervisor Browne, warden at the Dodd’s Prison, and then locking up the same Dissenting Prison Warden because he challenges their man Bostic?

Wunna Sheeple see where we are going?

And the sheeple say “baaaaaaa”


The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Human Right to Sexual Preference

One cannot fail to notice the inconsistency of those rejecting human rights their rejection takes place in the public square created by human rights. It is difficult to reject human rights without using them.” –Filip Spagnoli  Making Human Rights Real

Discriminations are never a sign of a civilized society. What makes us civilized is our act of liberated kindness with other people beyond the man-made primitive citadels of gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.” ― Abhijit NaskarEither Civilized or Phobic: A Treatise on Homosexuality

At one level, it is perhaps understandable that the Church (in fact, a random group comprising an apostle, a reverend (sic), two bishops and a sociologist) should be prepared to fight against any attempt to make homosexual preferences a human right in Barbados. I refer to the back page report in Friday’s edition of the Barbados Advocate, headlined Church decries LGBT agenda.

After all, they can cite any number of Biblical injunctions in support of their position against the practice and, if they would be true to their vocation, they must be equally condemnatory.

At another level, however, this reasoning does not by itself lead inexorably to the thesis that homosexuality per se or homosexual acts should attract the awesome power of the state’s legislative and prosecutorial machinery -considerations that are usually premised on more terrestrial and contemporary conditions.

In any case, there is already some degree of disconnect between these two arms of the state machinery with the legislative provision seeking disproportionately to criminalize acts of buggery and gross indecency even in private between consenting adult partners and the prosecutorial arm apparently restricting itself to the strict enforcement of the law in cases only where these acts are non-consensual, involve minors incapable of consent as victims, or occur in public.

Indeed, especially in the instance of gross indecency, the sole offence that might encompass female homosexual conduct, the definition is risibly comprehensive, seemingly being capable of covering any form of sexual interaction whatsoever between any couple anywhere. According to section 12 (3) of Cap.154;

An act of “serious indecency” is an act, whether natural or unnatural by a person involving the use of the genital organs for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire”

In such a legislative context, the “agenda”, if any, of the LGBT community must be to remove any provision that might cause individuals therein to engage in criminal conduct every time he or she chooses to express him or herself sexually. And the unlikelihood of a criminal charge and prosecution by the State scarcely detracts from the discriminatory nature of a law that is not similarly applied to traditional heterosexual conduct. In fact, this official selective enforcement is itself a cogent argument for the repeal and reform of the provisions.

According to the assemblage as reported, this agenda “equates to “a new form of colonialism because it hasn’t emerged from Barbados, “ but is part of “a global agenda to influence different nations.”

In my view, this assertion does not serve to weaken the force of the local argument given the generally accepted universality of human rights. History has shown us that it takes some degree of geopolitical clout to lead the fight to reverse decades of the unfair treatment of others whether in the context of apartheid, woman’s liberation or the mandatory death penalty. International intervention in a local issue, if it does exist, should not always be perceived as a negative.

The antagonist argument goes a bit further though. According to the chief spokesman, “This is a new attempt to colonize us with certain values and certain perspectives, and if we don’t conform, then the argument is that we can suffer economically, and that we can suffer socially because they withdraw support, they withdraw aid…”

I feel certain that some wag will wish to observe that we seem to be doing quite well by ourselves in suffering economically without the withdrawal of aid from these neo-colonists, and it is at least ironic to make the point about tying financial aid to behavioural conditionalities as we prepare to enter shortly into an IMF agreement.

The sociologist was even more persuaded that the agenda was not a local initiative. She holds the view that the local organizations have no say in the matter of the agenda being pushed, citing the assistance they have been receiving from an internationally recognized organization. Nevertheless, she was also convinced of the small local group’s futility in attempting to change God’s word, “but they cannot ever.” This last is patently irrefutable.

But what is this agenda? As perceived by the evangelical group, it includes an attempt to make the personal sexual preference of a very small group a human right in Barbados; to impose the homosexuality (sic) lifestyle as a natural organic sexual behaviour and not a learned behaviour on the majority of Barbados‘ population; to deconstruct marriage and to reconstruct it to legitimize same sex partnerships as opposed to the Adam and Eve marriage union for the entire population. This indeed a weighty charge sheet laid against the movement.

First, as any heterosexual will attest, one’s personal sexual activity is already a fundamental human right, unless a human right must also satisfy the criterion of another’s sanction in order to exist. Second, it is quite unclear how one could “impose” a sexual lifestyle on the majority of an unwilling population; and, third, as the Barbados Advocate editorial for last Sunday observed, in the absence of any public call for the legalization of same sex marriage in Barbados, this notion of deconstructing traditional marriage is tantamount to shouting fire in a crowded theatre when there is none there.

The timing of the intervention here seems clearly designed to detract from participation in the LBGT Pride march planned for Sunday. It (the intervention) may be successful, I do not know. But the legal determination of whether the LBGT movement or the evangelical group is correct on the rather technical point of human rights will ultimately be a matter for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and its interpretation of the relevant Articles of the American Convention on Human Rights that we have agreed to uphold.

Diplomatic Immunity and Human Rights

Felicia Browne, Human Rights Advocate

Felicia Browne, Human Rights Advocate

Diplomatic immunity involves exemption from the enforcement of one or more laws of a host country granted to resident foreign diplomats. Its purpose is to ensure that the official duties of foreign […] Continue reading

Gender Justice Advocate Calls for more Human Rights Laws

Human and Gender Justice Advocate - Felicia Browne

Human and Gender Justice Advocate – 

Felicia Browne

Shakadan Daniel’s death has drawn much concern in relation to modern legislative laws and litigation where we rely upon the professionalism of custodians and that of the penal system. Though many agree that human rights are of key significance in our society, very little has been done to educate the general populace on the Human Rights Conventions. Human Rights are fundamental to human development and shape our modern understandings of what actions are morally permissible when interacting within our own society. Rights structure very nature of governments, the content of our laws, and the shaping of our moral values and our ability to act responsibly to our fellow humankind. Such moralities and universal values are usually geared towards shaping our human and national development- in relation to personhood, collectivism and patriotism.

Felicia Browne, who was recently awarded a Ambassador for Peace, agrees that though our legal and human rights advocates have continued to advocate for justice and peace within our society, not much has been done to educate various sectors on Human Rights. Human Rights have been often seen as a nuisance in many social matters. However, it is imperative that the rights of others, regardless of soci-economic backgrounds, must be upheld by the State and human institution.

Continue reading

“The Blood Passover”: The Meat-Market of Human Life Through the Harvesting and Trafficking of Body Parts – Where the Axis of Ritual Evil Meets Commodification

Submitted by Terence Blackett

And God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul – Genesis 2:7

It is being acknowledged that in almost every country in the world there is a body-parts broker or a syndicate of persons who deal in the underground movement of human meat. Especially so in 3rd World countries and those developing nations with lax laws which do NOT* protect the most vulnerable in society – we are seeing a dramatic rise in the incidences of modern day slavery involving not only human and sexual trafficking and exploitation but also the Satanic rise in ritual blood libel, blood sacrifices, organ trafficking and the commodification and commercialization of human life on an epic scale.

Did you know that in countries where “Capital Punishment” is still rife – (China for example), the illegal trade in “live organ harvesting” has been cited as one of the worst case human rights’ abuses given its reputation on how social freedoms are curtailed and its laws on secrecy regarding the amount of political prisoners, dissidents and others who face the firing squad every year as a means of population control.

Some of the worst excesses however seem to be amongst Israelis who for centuries have been mired in the said “gory” mess of blood spatter, blood libel, ritual murder and now the illegal trade in “organ trafficking” according to reports.

Continue reading

Guyana Trades Union Congress ( GTUC) Defends The Rights Of Lewis , Witter And Benschop

Press Release 17/07/2009

Mark Benschop (l), Norris Witter (c), Lincoln Lewis (r)

Mark Benschop (l), Norris Witter (c), Lincoln Lewis (r)

GTUC condemns the human rights violations of its General Secretary on Leave, Lincoln Lewis, its acting General Secretary Norris Witter and Journalist Mark Benschop. GTUC holds the Guyana Police Force, Commissioner Henry Green, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, Head of the Joint Services and President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, accountable to the people of this land, for this abuse of power and violation of human rights and dignity which these very public figures, engaged in peaceful protest, were made to endure at the hands of a misguided Police Force.

The words of Commissioner of Police Henry Green that guns can “accidently “ be fired during protests are seen as a clear threat to the lives of Lewis , Witter and Benschop. This is intimidation and lays the foundation for defence of the Guyana Police after shooting , maiming or committing extra judicial murder against these three respected activists. GTUC warns that should any harm befall these labour leaders and journalist, this government will be held personally accountable as we hold them responsible right now, for their safety .

GTUC calls on President Jagdeo to desist forthwith the transgressions and bullyism defining his governance and which are fast becoming the staple of Guyanese existence. We call on all law abiding citizens of Guyana to condemn this atrocity and demand that the Jagdeo regime uphold the dignity and respect  for, Lewis Benschop and Witter in the same  fashion that he and his government  seek  Caricom  to respect the dignity and rights  of illegal and undocumented workers who break the immigration laws of Barbados and other Caribbean lands.

GTUC sees the abuse of Lewis , Witter and Benschop in the context of President Jagdeo and the PPP entrenching dictatorship. They are seeking to outlaw protest and limit resistance.

Continue reading

USA Sponsored Trafficking In Persons Report Cites Barbados As a "Special Case"

Barbados is listed as a special case country in the just-released report from the US State Department on Trafficking in Persons. “Special case” status means that countries exhibited indications of trafficking in persons, but much of the evidence is anecdotal or unsubstantiated by government reports. The report acknowledges the efforts by the Barbados government to take action against this scourge. Note that the integrity of the report is compromised by the US pulling punches with some countries’ rankings, most notably India’s. The US Secretary of State herself intervened and changed the document drafters’ recommendation of a tier 3 ranking to be given to India (the worst) to tier 2, so as not to offend one of the US’ important allies.

This note was included in an email which was received from a BU reader. The person did indicate that it was forwarded to Barbados Free Press as well to provide “material for a new thread”. BU says a big thank you!

The population mix of Barbados is majority black and therefore for BU to reconcile that human trafficking has been reported as taking place by Barbados in the recently released US State Department document on trafficking in persons is nauseating. The categorization that Barbados has grabbed “special case” status because of anecdotal and unsubstantiated evidence provides little comfort for an island which is known for its conservative and Christian leaning.

Before we focus on the implications for Barbados BU must highlight the double standards which exist in a world where the USA as a super power is prepared to make decisions devoid of morality and ethical considerations. It is no secret that India has been known for many years now as a country where child labor and human trafficking is rampant. Despite what is known, the USA through its Secretary of State Rice, a black woman, would dare to manipulate the report to reflect India in a more favorable light.

Continue reading