Open Letter to Media Practitioners

 Submitted by an Anonymous blogger

arbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM)1

Journalism in Barbados is dead and unfortunately no one seems to know when it died. Was it one single event or a series of events? Perhaps we can point our fingers to defamation laws or perhaps we can point our fingers at the close ties between the media and the government or maybe it is the business class. You don’t think journalism is dead? Let me show you why I think it is.

Apes Hill

In 2015 the Apes Hill project owned by Bizzy Williams borrowed 25 million from the NIS “Dat is the people pensions.” Apes Hill has since “defaulted” on this debt  according to the upper echelons of NIS with not so much as a blink of an eye. I’m just a nobody and know this, I have alerted the various political parties and they seem unbothered, whispered in the ears of the media and they seem unbothered.

This article isn’t about “poor” Bizzy though so let me continue, hopefully a journalist can interview him and ask him if he even plans on returning the money. But moving on…

Corruption Allegations

In like every year since independence allegations of corruption existed ? Honestly I’m not old enough to know or remember, but it feels that way. The BLP elite fan the flames of allegations, while stating there is evidence of over-invoicing and other questionable practices, but somehow not enough to bring anyone before the court. They are playing a dangerous political game and any reasonable journalist would ask about the evidence or stop writing about it. For example you allege to have evidence of various overpaid lawyer fees yet fail to bring it to court? Surely the government has access to not only to the old paper trail, but also to the bank accounts of government to generate new statements. I’m sure a journalist can figure this out, so what is the issue?

Alternatives to Defaulting?

From my extensive research as a non journalist countries don’t default on their debt; it is exceedingly rare. From the Washington Post to The Economist that point is reiterated over and over again. My simple journalistic question is this;

“If a country goes to the IMF to improve its creditworthiness, why default and then go to the IMF?”

Let me ask that a different way, what sense would it make publicly telling your bank that you are are going to refinance and their is nothing they can do about it (defaulting) and then hoping that a future bank or lender would want your business.

Journalism Under DLP rule

Before some partisan person states that I have DLP bias I should perhaps state that journalism under the DLP was equally as woeful. The only thing I’m thankful for is that the media really did their job in helping to oust the persons who brought the economy and country to its knees. Perhaps one could argue that journalism wasn’t dead in the months leading up to elections, the media struck back? So kudos to the media there for that small victory, however if the media were perhaps doing their job the economy wouldn’t have gotten so bad and perhaps we wouldn’t even had had the DEMs again in 2013, but alas that is history.

Investigating, shaping the minds of the public  

Perhaps the media houses had too much control in any case and this dilution of power is a good thing and the tradeoff is simply shoddy journalistic standards as the media can no longer afford to retain the best talent. Perhaps we need more civic minded persons to write and speak out or perhaps only experts not auditors speaking out as economists or politicians speaking out as professionals beyond their scope. I don’t have all the answers so don’t mind me either for I’m not a journalist.

P.S. Advocate, Nation or Barbados Today(pretty sure Barbados Today wished a reporter recently) I apply to be a journalist as of mid October 2018 Terms and Conditions apply. Perhaps I can contribute in some small way.

2nd P.S. Freelance only ! I don’t wish my NIS going to well never mind.


Humble farmer

Eugene Melnyk Puts the Squeeze On Barbados Underground

Eugene Melnyk - Photo credit:

Eugene Melnyk – Photo credit:

On the 6 December 2012, BU received a letter from Ontario counsel Mr Sean Campbell of the law firm DAVIES WARD PHILLIPS & VINEBERG which advised they are acting on behalf of Eugene Melnyk as follows:

Dear Sirs/Mesdames:

We are counsel for Eugene Melnyk.

It has come to our attention that Barbados Underground is disseminating information that is false and defamatory and that this is causing substantial damage to Mr. Melnyk’s business interests and reputation. Without limitation, Barbados Underground is disseminating an article entitled “Senators-owner Eugene Melnyk & Founder Of Biovail Charged With Fraud”, dated March 24, 2008 and comments related to that article. A copy of the article and comments are enclosed. Among other things, the article and certain comments falsely allege that Mr. Melnyk has been charged by regulators in Canada with accounting fraud. This allegation is manifestly false and defamatory. Mr. Melnyk has never been charged by any Canadian regulatory authority with fraud.

Our client considers this matter to be very serious. We have been instructed by Mr. Melnyk to demand that you immediately remove the above referenced article and related comments from your website. We further demand that you cease and desist from making or disseminating any further false or defamatory statements concerning Mr. Melnyk and from any other conduct that is damaging to Mr. Melnyk’s business interests or reputation. In the event that you fail to comply with this demand, legal proceedings will be initiated against you and any other involved parties without further notice.

Please contact me in the event that you wish to discuss this matter.

This letter is written under reserve of all our client’s rights and recourses.

Yours very truly,

Sean Campbell

BU has responded as follows:

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Acting Crown Counsel Elwood Watts Asks High Court to Block the Appointment of Attorney at Law Alison Burke

Chief Justice Marston Gibson, heads the Judicial and Legal Services Commission

The following extracted from the Sunday Sun September 23, 2012:

“A High Court is being asked to block the appointment of a Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In an unprecedented legal development, attorney at law Elwood Watts, who acted as Crown Counsel in the DPP’s office for the past six years, is seeking an injunction against the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Marston Gibson and includes Appeal Court Justice Sandra Mason and High Court Justice Maureen Crane-Scott.

Attorney at law Alison Burke, who was recently admitted to the Bar, was to take up the permanent appointment as Crown Counsel effective September 1. But in his court filings challenging the decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to ratify Burke’s appointment, Watts has complained that the position of Crown Counsel was never advertised as required by law. As a result, the former police sergeant who has been on secondment to the DPP’s office, said he never had a chance to secure the appointment.

Reports indicated that Burke, who was attached to the Ministry of Health as a staff nurse prior to her appointment, never had any experience in court proceedings. A date is to be set for hearing of the injunction.”

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A View Of The NATION From Underground

Submitted by WordSong

Kaymar Jordan, Editor-in-Chief of the NATION Newspaper

No Kaymar Jordan you did not tell the truth and stand justifiably accused by the general public. Your manipulations and distortions converted what could have been an otherwise great story into a scandalous piece of journalistic tripe. Now you and whoever helped you write that editorial would hoodwink the public (again) into believing that there was merit in what you did; all you have done in the editorial is to confirm the stupidity of the NATION’s newspaper policy. Technology has seen it fit that newspapers remain widely read. So what was the point you were making about technology again? No amount of spin doctoring will alter what remains a travesty.

You distorted the truth – for effect and commercial gain and possibly out of pure ignorance. You could not even give the public that your deliberateness in distorting was influenced by the expectation of more information and for that you apologize. I now say any decent newspaper would have fired you or put you on the back bench like they will put Sinckler. I for one will not buy another Nation or Sunday Sun newspaper. But what does it matter? Who cares? Not the Nation . Harold Hoyte I am ashamed of you too because I know you still have influence in what goes on at the paper.

Blogs Guarding Freedom Of Expression

Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

Karim said Trinidad and Tobago needs an educated, enlightened and fiercely independent media, noting that “fiercely independent journalists operating in the traditions of the Fourth Estate will provide our citizens with the facts on which they can make informed decisions.


In seems coincidental that at the launch of the College of Science, Technology and the Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago’s (COSTAATT) Ken Gordon School of Journalism and Communication Studies the above quote was uttered on the very same day the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales came out strongly on behalf of an independent press and the vital necessity of such an organ in any democratic society.

The Lord Chief Justice’s insightful comments can be found on the Daily Mail’s website, among others –

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Sad And Naughty Known Associates [SANKA]

Submitted by Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Supporter


It’s very commendable that one of the editors of one of the leading print media in Barbados has taken up the challenge of voicing the concerns of the public who according to the article seems to be in contact with so many Barbadians. It is quite pleasing that freedom of the press does allow for these persons to write without any fear of losing their jobs.

The article posed a number of questions to our Minister of Finance and bore the signature CRUEL. It is quite Sad and Naughty that Known Associates of the Opposition would seek to damage the editorial integrity of their employers by publishing week after week articles that seek to undermine the very fabric that makes it possible for all to coexist. But, nevertheless it is quite refreshing that “those citizens who, as independent individuals have no entity to speak for them” have found one in their champion CRUEL.

However, it is quite Sad And Naughty that Known Associates of the Opposition continue to practice intellectual dishonesty by not reminding Barbadians that “ the current Administration faces a more severe crisis than any other in the history of independent Barbados.” …”it is the most devastating since the Great Depression of the 1930s when a quarter of the United States work force was idle”.  It is quite Sad And Naughty that Known Associates of the Opposition expect , the high fuel cost and soaring food prices are all within the remit of this administration to control.

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Is STARCOM Network And Nation Newspaper Abusing Their Dominant Market Position?

Submitted by OLD SCHOOL

My problem with Starcom and the Nation Newspaper is that their coverage lack balance.  I focus on them because no one reads the Advocate, CBC has always been CBC, we look to the Nation and VOB for some unbiased, good journalism.

I have problems with the quality of the Nation and Starcom’s coverage of issues.  In my opinion, their columnists and articles in general provide very little context to the issues they opine on, and  very few facts are introduced into the discussions.

For example, Sanka Price provides a solution to the cost of living by removing some taxes as done in Guyana.  Does Guyana provide the same level of social services as Bim? He makes no reference to the cost of such a solution and seems totally oblivious to any trade offs involved.

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Forensic Audit Needed At The National Library Service And Why Did One Caribbean Media Value ‘Goodwill’ At The Nation Newspaper Ridiculously High Anyway?

BU has been investigating a couple of matters which led us to a particular place we do not like. We have decided to release what we have discovered and leave the BU family to slice and dice the information as they see fit. What has been evident from the inception of Barbados Underground is that there are an important few in Barbados whose sole existence is to guard the status quo at any cost. Until ordinary Barbadians buy into a philosophy which says we have to contribute to the job of protecting our fragile democracy through participation, the establishment will continue to flourish.

At a time when the country is going through an economic recession, officials at the National Library Service appear to be squandering taxpayers money to the benefit of a few. Do you remember a little while ago there was the furore over the vast  sums of money  spent on a public bath and the cutting of an Ackee tree?

A BU source has exposed a little of what may be described as the tip of the iceberg occurring at the National Library Service:

  • The son of an officer of the library was awarded a contract to cut the lawn at the St. Philip branch, and paid $2,200. In addition, the individual used the library’s equipment and to add insult to injury left over twenty garbage bags full of grass on the site. After being paid $2,200 to cut a relatively small area of grass, the job was estimated by others at approximately $500. The library then had to make arrangements to remove the grass. The eyebrow raiser is that the library employs a general worker to do   exactly what this official’s son was paid to do.
  • The same official paid her other son $6,000 to paint the Eagle Hall library on the inside only. Last time BU checked the Eagle Hall library was a tiny place.
  • Then there is the payment to the daughter of $6,000 to cater an event at the library. If one could smile at the abuse of tax dollars it would be that the food was delivered after the Minister and specially invited guests had long gone.

Our source admits that there is a lot more abuse of public funds taking place and if the minister responsible is interested it being a good guardian of the public purse he should order a forensic audit post haste!

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Gaffe Was A Gaff After All

Picture on the left shows correct protocol with the US flag being flown on the diagonal pole, note the other the other flogs above it, picture on the right shows the single Barbados flag being displayed on a similar mast structure

We all make mistakes, the fallibility of man and all that jazz. It is those with the mindset who use mistakes as an opportunity to improve and ideally prevent recurrence  who seem to achieve more.

Last week the Nation Newspaper reported that the Barbados Yacht Club (BYC) was disrespecting the Barbados flag by having its flag displayed above the National Flag. The BYC to its credit reacted quickly to the criticism and withdrew all other flags flying with the exception of the Barbados flag, see picture above. It was reported the BYC checked with Lieutenant Colonel Sean Reece of Barbados Coast Guard who confirmed that the Club had been correctly flying the flags.

Here is how the Lieutenant explained it:

No other flag should be flown above ours if you have several single flags flowing from different flagpoles, but if you have a flag pole that is in the form of what was originally the mast of an old sailing ship, one where the diagonal pole sticks out from the vertical pole, then the position of honour on that flag pole (called the gaff) is where the Barbados Flag should be and where it was placed. So in essence they do have it in the correct position – Nation Newspaper 25 February 2011

The obvious question is why the Nation editor would not have afforded the BYC the opportunity to comment before going to press? In fact the correct protocol could have been easily researched on the Internet. The irony to some is that the national flag is often flown incorrectly on the Nation Newspaper complex at Fontebelle.

A case when a gaffe revealed that the gaff was indeed not a gaffe.

David Chaytor’s Conviction Confirms The Importance Of A Free Press – Enactment Of Integrity Legislation And Freedom Of Information A Requirement

When journalists can obtain public records, they need not rely on the whims of a government source to report on government actions and activities, and they can better disclose how tax dollars are spent and how policies are made and implementedMedia Law Handbook [2010]

The advent of the Internet means that the often held view according to New Yorker magazine contributor A.J. Liebling that, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns it” is no longer a rule of thumb. The increasing popularity of blogs and other social media players have given a voice to the PEOPLE. Compared to many developing countries, Barbados falls short in its failure to enact Freedom of Information laws (FOIA), a key prerequisite to facilitating freedom of expression. The government is on record that FOIA is in the pipeline, to be brought to parliament soon, one senses this is something it will action when it becomes politically expedient and not out of a sense of urgency to protect a fragile democracy.

The frightening reality remains that local journalists have to rely on government sources to confirm or deny information before releasing to the public. In Barbados this represents a worrying situation given our small size which breeds the opportunity to be victimized, manipulated or encourage corruption. While admitting that FOIA is not a panacea for all our problems, such legislation if enacted, would update existing laws to reflect that we are operating in the 21st century. The accepted practice of local media editors to ‘dumb down’ stories because advertisers may become offended occurs, is that not self censorship and a threat to democracy?

The Internet has given the opportunity for ordinary citizens to challenge power structures which have been controlled by interest groups with deep pockets.

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Is Cruise Tourism Worth The Investment?

Adrian Loveridge - Hotel Owner

As a land based tourism entity, I clearly have strong opinions on this subject and any observations made, should bear this in mind in the interest of fairness and objectivity. Cruise tourism is a huge component of the overall global leisure industry and it is far better (in my opinion) to work with the sector and maximise the revenues and benefits. True home porting and the opportunities created by cruise and stay programmes offer the destination the best case economic scenario.

With the increase in airlift, especially from Sao Paulo and Dallas, plus planned new charter services from Northern England, it appears there is enormous further potential to build on the existing ships that use us as a turn around base. Cruise ship operators continue to have enormous advantages over their land based counterparts. These are almost too many to mention, but include substantially lower operating costs, in terms of labour, consumables and taxes. Ultimately if the going getting tough they can simply reposition and move their ‘investment’ to almost any other part of the world!

Conversely Governments have to invest massive amounts of money to accommodate these ships, and these costs will increase as the majority of newly built vessels dwarf their predecessors. While the state investment and passenger arrivals grow, does the amount each cruise passenger spends rise proportionally?

In a word NO!

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Is The Barbados Population Being Properly Served By Its News Media?

Submitted by Yardbroom


The late great American writer Walter Lippmann said:

“The journalist’s role was to inform the public of what the elite’s were doing.  It was also to act as a watchdog over the elites, as the public had the final say with their votes”.

Within the above framework, ” journalism’s first obligation is to tell the truth”.

Why should journalists inform us: ” because an informed public is the only one that can correctly assess whether the society it inhabits is going off the rails”.

Perhaps I should say at the outset, this article has no political polemic, it is not for or against the BLP or DLP.  This should not be necessary, but regrettably a few of us, see every discourse through a narrow focus of political allegiance.

I put it to you, that a few too many of the major decisions, which have been taken in Barbados recently, were to the disadvantage of its citizens; and they possibly would not have been taken, had the electorate been better informed.  There was not the rigorous examination of proposals in the News Media, one would expect.  A couple projects, costing many millions of dollars were not properly examined, and because it was expedient not to “analyse” but to quietly “report” on what had been agreed, the almost empty cupboard, spewed out dollars with a haste that bordered on the obscene.

To be blunt the public were not “informed”, in the journalistic sense.

Without rigorous examination, journalists acquiesced to what history had taught them was a fait accompli.  The public accustomed to no more, accepted what they saw, as the engine turned in the background spewing tax payers dollars to the wind.

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The Barbados Advocate, A Disgrace To The Fourth Estate

Attorney Alvin David Bryan (right) and Wilfred Abrahams (left)

Most people (used reservedly given the Advocate’s circulation numbers) have read the self-serving apologia in the editorial section of the Advocate directed at the Bajan blogosphere, in defense of what many agree is a toothless Fourth Estate of Barbados. A Fourth Estate that blandly and blindly follows the beat of the drum of whichever political party it is affiliated to, ignores glaring incidents of injustice in the Courts of Barbados and refuses to take members of government to task, even if the evidence jumps up and bites them on the gluteus maximus.

A few examples :-

  • Barbados is taken to court in Canada in a civil lawsuit with costs running (on both sides) to almost BDS$16 million. This lawsuit involves the future of over 1% of Barbados’ total landmass, the purchase of  influence of the Fifth Estate (blogs) at BDS1,300.00 per week, the establishment of a blog in Miami, Florida, the collection of shredded documents in Barbados and their shipment to Canada to be reconstituted, the surveillance of the former wife of Owen Arthur, the surveillance of the family and person of former Attorney General Mia Mottley in Florida, the staking out of the Barbados consular mission in Miami Florida and the proposal to follow and stalk employees of that mission, contributing to the upkeep and election aspirations of Minister Denis Lowe (including importing Canadian experts to assist with his election), the use of false names and documents, the jail sentence of one of the parties who is now a fugitive from justice. Barbados wins the case in Canada and all is REVEALED. The case is fully and completely reported BU (Go to Search Box and use ‘Peter Allard’), with full document back-up. Yet, neither the Nation or the Advocate has even attempted to report on the matter. For them, it is as though it has never existed and the BDS16 million it cost is nothing – to the extent, we have to ask if one blog was paid BDS1,300 per week by Peter Allard, how much were others paid? The only other explanation is dereliction of duty as members of the Fourth Estate. Sub judice cannot be used as an excuse here.

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Cynical Reporting And Hidden Agendas

Credit: The Advocate Newspaper

Submitted by George Brathwaite

First of all I would like to commend the various media houses in Barbados for doing a reasonable job in reporting information to the public. However, there can and will be always room for improvements.

For some time now, I have become aware of a seeming change in traditional standards (i.e. declining) wherein the trend in news reporting in Barbados draws merited scepticism. Newspapers, for instance, protect their turf with an uncanny attachment toward their undeclared political interests and expect the general public to assume neutrality. To a large extent, the Barbados Advocate newspaper appears foremost in this indefensible circumstance.

After noticing the headlines of Wednesday 14 July 2010, which in bold typeface, communicates that Barbados Int‟l Reserves Increase, I felt heartened and confused simultaneously. This attention-grabber was coming on the heels of another electronic version, Barbados Today, in which that headline courted the notion that things were UNCERTAIN in the economy; this was substantiated in the Barbados Daily Nation appearing under the caption Gloomy Outcome and for which the first sentence states, “Central Bank Governor Dr Delisle Worrell says the outlook for Barbados‟ economy is uncertain.” Certainly there are mixed (i.e. different) messages being conveyed to the reader between the reporting of the Advocate and the two news carriers alluded to in this paragraph.

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Never A Dull Moment In Barbados: Veteran Journalist David Ellis Squeezed Out From STARCOM Network?

Click image to read related blog

In recent days BU sense a quickening of the political pace in Barbados. We have had the statement floated by Minister responsible for economic affairs David Estwick about the necessity for a wage freeze and all hell has broken lose. Prime Minister David Thompson and Minister of Agriculture Haynesley Benn have declared support for the wage freeze initiative. To be predicted the cries of the unions, an IMF official, and the media houses have joined the fray, John Public has been given another reason to sit up and take note regarding the tottering economy.

What should be clear to most Barbadians on both sides of the political divide is the recognition the pace has quickened because the economy has started to spiral. It will take a a vision filled captain supported by a dedicated team to keep Barbados from running aground. Forget about restructuring the economy it has now become all about survival.

To add to the excitement, news reaching BU suggests veteran journalist David Ellis has resigned from STARCOM Network. Ellis has always attracted heavy criticism from BU because he is the lone journalist in Barbados who has the breath of knowledge and experience to qualify as a proper journalist. On the flip side, we understand he would have had to curtail and sacrifice his creative skills and dampened his journalistic curiosity at the altar of pure economic considerations during his tenure at STARCOM. Vic Fernandez along with his former Chief Operating Officer Alex Macdonald would have provided little wriggle room on that front. If our source is correct Ellis’ resignation seems the honourable thing for the veteran journalist to do. The fact he occupies the position as the only bona fide journalist in Barbados should still recommend him for a job. His former colleague Roy Morris seems to have bounced back with the recent launch of an online newspaper Barbados Today. God help Barbados if we are to assume Stetson ‘ the tueeesday edition’ Babb is the one groomed to fill Ellis’ shoes.

It will be business as usual on River Road, Vic will continue to drive his top of the line Audi to the office while his foot soldiers are sent home or harassed into leaving. Never a dull moment in Barbados.

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Fourth Estate Surrender

Recently Mr. Richard Cox, Head of News and Current Affairs at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) passed away. Last week BU learned that veteran Nation newspaper journalist Albert Brandford was put out to pasture and is currently freelancing at the Nation (seems a little strange). Despite BU’s disagreement with many Brandford’s positions on political matters, we concede that his ineffectiveness over the years may have been caused by the lack of support from his colleagues. Wow, if David Ellis were to exit the profession next, the talent level of the Fourth Estate would be less than mediocre. As if to support the point BU read a story which was reprinted by the Nation from the Associated Press (AP) which questioned Tiger Woods proclivity for fraternizing with White women.

For sometime BU has been discussing race issues and we have been labeled racist by some. It is interesting the Nation newspaper would highlight the Tiger story verbatim from the AP wire, but would hesitate to publish local stories which highlight the hypocrisy around race relations in Barbados. The conspiracy to prop up the status quo maybe?

Our journalists today seem happy to run with stories which appeal to the fast food diet of readers. Recently, a caller to a talk show made the analogy of patients doing research before visiting the doctor and consequently keeping the doctor’s diagnosis honest. The same is occurring within the media sphere. A knowledgeable and discerning public now has access to news and information on the Internet more than ever before. There is the current readership who will continue to prop up the membership of the local media but BU sees it declining overtime with a changing demographic.

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Nation Newspaper Creates News Based On Unscientific Cellphone Poll


Barbados Nation Newspaper Cartoon - 09 November 2009

Submitted as a comment by Adrian Hinds

Two accepted scientific polls with results unfavourable to Mia Mottley, followed by two questionable polls that are favourable to her. The latter enabled by the Nation newspaper; coincident, or a deliberate attempt to create news rather than report it?

We should remember the 2007-8 Cadres poll that suggested 20-10 victory for the DLP in the 2008 Jan 15 national election. We should remember the counter poll by Boxill that sought to counter Cadres projections and results.

Another Cadres poll with statistics that Mia Mottley does not like so the Nationnews decided to counter or is it contained the results of that poll with a text message unscientific poll and has sought to highlight and publicize the results as if they were or could ever be provable “statements of Facts”.

During all of this traditional media employees are reminding us that they  check and recheck facts.

The Urgency Of Pursuing A Renewable Energy Agenda For Barbados

darcy boyce

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Darcy Boyce

Maybe BU missed it and if we did we are willing to apologize to the government. It is approaching two years since the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) took-up the reigns of government and we are still to sense the urgency of its renewable policy. So far all we have read about is the wind farm program being piloted by the Barbados Light & Power Company which if we understand correctly is locked down in the bureaucracy of Town Planning and by extension government.

Is there more Barbadians should know about our RE policy and if so why not have a national discourse to ensure top of mind awareness? Is there a role for the Fourth Estate of Barbados? Hell yes!!!

Barbadians remember the urgency to discover renewable energy sources and the public fear which was fuelled when the price of a barrel of oil jumped to USD147 just over a year ago. In the post-global financial meltdown there has been a significant reduction in the oil price which at last closing indicated USD78.30. Although BU concedes most governments around the globe have had to allocate unplanned resources to survival and not growth initiatives, it does not explain why our government supported by traditional media would not articulate, distil and or communicate to Barbadians some urgency about our renewable energy program.

The logic used over one year ago to shift Barbados’ dependence from fossil fuel is the same today is it not?

In a call-in program yesterday (November 8, 2009) on VOB there was consensus it seems that our media houses are hamstrung by the lack of resources to follow-up on stories. This admission alone paints a worrying picture for the state of health of the Fourth Estate in Barbados. It is significant that in the month of November when Barbados will celebrate 43 years of Independence our thoughts as a nation should be about energy dependence. Energy cost is the key input which drive prices in Barbados and a significant slice of the import bill which requires foreign exchange support. How can Barbados claim to be a progressive country in this part of the world when we continue to build our economic success on legacy models which are quickly becoming redundant and unstable given the reality of the non-renewability of fossil fuels.

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BU Family Member Asked To Contribute To Call-in Show

The following comment was posted by BU family member ROK. We invite the family to share feedback before and during the show if they can to represent the views of the BU family. Hopefully ROK will be given some latitude to represent the Bajan blogosphere. Here is the link to VOB to the 12PM EST show for those who are off-island.


Sorry to be off topic here but I just got a call from VOB inviting me to be on the phone during their call-in program after the news (11:40 am) tomorrow morning. The discussion is on the media and this time includes the blog.

Apparently Denis Jones will be in the studio along with Julius Gittens and Amanda. If you are game, maybe we can set up a thread that will feedback as the program is in progress. Any BU Bloggers could make comments which I would refer to while on the phone. Not a problem with me.

Is There Sound Judgement Being Exercised By Local Media Houses?

DemocracyRarely do we reproduced articles from other media sources to make our points. We have made an exception in this case because the article supports one of our cornerstone arguments promoted from the inception of BU. The other reason which weighed heavily is the fact a member of the BU family felt strongly enough about the subject to request the article be given prominence.

A functioning Fourth Estate is critical to empowering our PEOPLE to be properly equipped to participate in our democratic system of government. Barbadians have come to take our practicing democracy for granted but history and current events have shown it is a very fragile system and the PEOPLE should be weary of not holding key stakeholders in our democratic system of government accountable .

The current debate triggered by the alleged threat by Hartley Henry to Sunday Sun Editor Carol Martindale has become shrouded in partisan prattle. Even if subsequent events show Henry to be guilty Barbadians must not lose sight of the big picture. How does ownership in our local media houses affect how decisions are influenced and which may conflict with the interest of Barbadians? How do we exact standards from our Fourth Estate which would mitigate known political affiliations in the profession?

It should concern Barbadians that a large slice of the media ownership in Barbados is foreign controlled. It is a matter which should be debated. While the media is suppose to report news there is little doubt that a large section of our population are led by what they read or hear from our media houses and practitioners. It therefore is important that news is reported in as unfiltered and unbiased a manner as possible. What guaranty does Barbadians have the editorial policy of our media houses are aligned with Barbadian interest? What guaranty does Barbadians have that our media is being hijacked by the carrot of largess being waved by politicians to a Fourth Estate hungry for revenues at the expense of disseminating unfiltered news?

For those of you who believe that media houses are above the influence of political skulduggery from the media side, the following article has been reproduced to debunk that position. Interesting is the fact that it points to a scenario in Trinidad.

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It’s Your Move!

Roxanne Gibbs - Executive Editor Nation Newspaper

Roxanne Gibbs - Executive Editor Nation Newspaper

Two weeks have passed since the Nation newspaper printed the front page story which declared that the government’s political strategist Hartley Henry had threatened Nation newspaper Sunday Sun Editor Carol Martindale. The management of the Fontebelle newspaper reacted swiftly to that telephone call made on the Saturday afternoon by going to  print hours later to meet the next day edition. To demonstrate the seriousness of how the action by Henry was received, the Royal Barbados Police Force was summons, a letter dispatched to Prime Minister David Thompson and other correspondence sent to international media watchdog agencies.

The dust has settled somewhat and some Barbadians who have remained above the partisan prattle are starting to ask the tough questions. BU has a few of our own as well.

  1. Did Carol Martindale have a conversation with leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley concerning the DLP sponsored CADRES poll before it was published?
  2. Is it true the telephone call between Henry and Martindale was NOT recorded?
  3. Is it true the witness to part of the telephone call between Martindale and Henry at the Nation end was not party to sufficient of the conversation to validate the charge which has been made by Martindale?
  4. Is it true the Nation newspaper maybe facing a law suit given the flimsy evidence used to support their actions?

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Boycott The Nation Newspaper!

one_caribbean_mediaSome Barbadians can remember when the Nation newspaper was born and its focus was on people and the community. It was a newspaper which many Barbadians eagerly lined-up to purchase to savour the richness of the content. The focus then of the Nation was on finding the story. Fulfilling the advertising pages was almost an afterthought. Then it was gone, sold to One Caribbean Media. A few people needed to secure a golden parachute and since then a key stakeholder of our Fourth Estate has been in a comatose state.

The current brouhaha caused by an alleged threatening telephone call  by government advisor Hartley Henry to Sunday Sun Editor Carol Martindale is another case of a weak media exposed. The unprofessional haste with which the Nation newspaper ran to press with what any first year law student would dismiss as a flimsy case should make Barbadians sit up and ask why. Instead there is the predictable response along party lines.

What is this story which according to reports occurred Saturday afternoon and merited Frontpage news on Sunday? A telephone call between Henry and Martindale where he allegedly threatened the Sun Editor if she did not give prominence to the CADRES poll in the Sunday Sun next day. In her defense a Nation staffer Maria Bradshaw heard part of the conversation between Martindale and Henry. We should note Henry is known to Martindale for many years. Another important point is the fact Henry is an advisor to the government; he is not an elected member of parliament or member of the Cabinet of Barbados. The final point to note is to recognize the practice of government officials over the years calling friends and others in the media to ensure news favourable to them is published; sometimes using the most muscular of language, it is done by private sector companies as well.

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Is Barbados Being Sold Down The River By The Media and Opposition Party On The Immigration Issue?

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley

Leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party Mia Mottley

Mr. Harold Hoyte is a founding member of the Nation Group and is President and Editor-in-Chief of The Nation Publishing Company in Barbados.

Harold Hoyte Editor Emeritus of The Nation Publishing Company

Lindsay Holder, former Chairman of the BAMC

Lindsay Holder is a former Chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company Limited

Over the last couple years BU has articulated, we hope dispassionately, on the issue of the open immigration policy which was practiced by the previous government. At no time have we supported xenophobic behaviour or bigotry in the ensuing discourse. We have simply held a position that while Barbados should be committed to its obligations under the Treaty of Chaguaramus, it does not mean that our borders should be assaulted by all and sundry seeking the proverbial streets lined with gold at the expense of the vision which Barbadians have held-up for itself through the years. BU readers can do a search using the keyword ‘immigration’ to access the many blogs posted on this subject.

The conspiracy which has emerged across the region to spin a false position in response to Prime Minister David Thompson’s Ministerial Statement after he announced an amnesty for CARICOM nationals, has been blatant and symptomatic of a political and social immaturity.

Any interested observer of regional affairs would conclude that the issue of immigration is a topical one. Since the announcement by Thompson of the amnesty the issue has become accentuated. In the Advocate Newspaper of 14 June 2009 a Mr. Lindsay Holder was as clear as anyone can be in elucidating on the immigration issue which Barbados and the region is currently battling, he did so without the use of jargon, fuzzy logic, ideological or jingoistic biases. We highly commend the Advocate Newspaper for giving voice to this important issue which is being manipulated by politicians, academics, Fourth Estate and prominent and other influential persons in Barbados and across the region.

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The Director Of Public Prosecutions, Director Of Finance, Public Accounts Committee ALL Accused Of Not Prosecuting Malfeasance In The Civil Service By Auditor General

Auditor General Leigh Trotman

Auditor General Leigh Trotman/Nation Newspaper

It is refreshing to read Nation journalist Wade Gibbons exposing the Auditors General Report. Perennially, just like the 11-Plus Examination the public engages in the debate about the reported irregularities inflicted by the the various government departments on the taxpayers of Barbados. What will make this year any different is the 64 thousand dollar question.

Just last week BU blogged about a few of the eye-raising findings delivered by Auditor General (AG) Leigh Trotman.  It is no secret that BU has been very critical of the office of the AG since coming into existence. While we might agree that the governance of Barbados through the years appears to have benefited from a good civil service, one startling observation has been its inability to visibly discipline itself. How many civil servants have been suspended, fired or any action taken as a result of gross incompetence exposed by the AG over the years?

Perhaps what has made the Auditor General’s Report 2008 so interesting is the fact that Nation journalist Wade Gibbons has encouraged AG Leigh Trotman to vent his frustration by making the following statement:

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Prime Minister David Thompson To Meet The Press, AGAIN!

Prime Minister of Barbados Hon David Thompson

Prime Minister of Barbados Hon David Thompson

A feature of the current David Thompson administration after just over one year in office has been the frequency with which the Prime Minister has made himself available to the Barbados media to answer questions. Compared to the number of press conferences which former Prime Minister Owen Arthur held during his 14 year tenure, Thompson must be on course for some kind of record.

Based on the report posted on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website Barbadians can look forward to a press conference with a twist. Members of the general public have been invited to participate. We are not sure what is the criteria for participation but we can only hope that it was random and or political and NGOs were fairly invited to participate.

Although we are forced to give kudos to the Prime Minister for winning the prize for being very accessible to the media, and he has delivered himself well, it has been done against a predictable performance from our media practitioners. We are hopeful that tomorrow we will see an improved performance from them. The honeymoon period is over and although the prevailing tough economic times may still generate some goodwill for the Prime Minister the people want to hear concrete proposals on how the government intends to confront the challenges facing our small country. Issues to deal with the economy and employment – maintaining competitiveness in tourism, protection in the offshore services, food security and IMMIGRATION policies among others.

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Barbados Association Of Journalists (BAJ) Resuscitated

Amanda Lynch-Foster, Interim President of BAJ

Amanda Lynch-Foster, Interim President of the BAJ

It is no secret that BU has flogged our media houses (Fourth Estate) with impunity in recent months. Part of our criticism would have been leveled at the non-functioning Barbados Assocoation of Journalists (BAJ). In other words we have had the ridiculous situation of our journalists not being represented by a functioning body while our wayside vendors have expertly managed their affairs through BARVEN.

We are therefore very pleased to hear about the effort to revive the hibernating BAJ over the weekend as reported in todays Nation newspaper. The President (interim) is the young energetic Amanda Lynch-Foster.

We wish the interim committee of the BAJ all the best.

We can’t promise we will not be critical of the Fourth Estate going forward, we promise however to be fair. We hope that with a functioning BAJ those on the committee responsible for PR will find the time to establish a protocol to improve the relationship between the Bajan Blogosphere and media practitioners in Barbados.

The Rise And Fall Of Traditional Journalism

During last week’s press conference, Prime Minister David Thompson displayed annoyance at the lack of curiosity currently being demonstrated by the media at the obvious price gouging taking place in Barbados.

What has brought this matter to a head is the reluctance of the private sector to reverse the upward trend of the cost of food despite three price cuts in under two weeks by government of petrol. The wholesalers and retailers have resoundingly told the Prime Minister they will not cut prices until their suppliers do so. At this point we have a confused public who cannot understand why food prices continue to rise while the price of a barrel of oil on the world market hovers below US70.00. The confusion among the Barbados consumer can be partially blamed on the Barbados media. They are many who believe that the local media has not taken the opportunity to investigate the price mechanisms which are currently being used by the several actors to educate and EXPOSE the market.

The morning after the press conference a few callers directed a similar view to Stedson Babb, the moderator of the afternoon talk show: can anyone imagine what he muttered to a caller? He wondered aloud if the public expect journalists to be private investigators! he appeared to be in a funk on that morning anyway, good thing he does not work in customer service. Continue reading

Barbados Media Turns Blind Eye To Prime Minister being Sued In Canada

We have linked to the Keltruth Blog to update this story. If some of us felt that the Kingsland Estate trial ongoing in Canada is not news worthy enough for the traditional media, maybe it has now become so. If we understand Keltruth latest blog right, they have sent letters to all the world leaders attending the United Nations 63rd General Assembly in New York today (23 September 2008). Continue reading

Prime Minister David Thompson Censored On Voice Of Barbados Radio During Press Conference

Prime Minister David Thompson

Prime Minister David Thompson

The Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson today honoured his commitment to meet with the Barbados Media on a quarterly basis. We applaud his effort to communicate to the PEOPLE of Barbados via the media. We note that the previous government would have committed to a similar promise and it did not materialize. We also note Mr. Prime Minister that there was an attempt to meet with the Press after Cabinet meetings; this has died a quick death. To be honest this and some other election promises were overly ambitious and have been correctly shelved.

It was not our wish to blog on the final weekend of the Crop Over 2008, but after we listened with disgust to the Prime Minister of Barbados being censored on national radio, we were forced to comment. Today’s Press Conference would have been an excellent opportunity for Voice of Barbados (VOB) to make a stance in the name of the PEOPLE. Instead Barbadians were insulted by the action of the production staff at VOB censoring the Prime Minister of Barbados.

If Prime Minister David Thompson for whatever reason suffered a slip which in the OPINION of the producer was slanderous, BU would have thought that Prime Minister David Thompson could have been expected to use his office to retrieve any situation. We will continue to update this blog if any useful information comes to light. Members of the BU family is free to share their views as always.

Related Link

Prime Minister David Thompson To Tell Barbadians Like It Is Tonight @7.30PM!

Former Editor Of The Advocate Newspaper Tells Of Victimization By Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley issued a Press Release over the weekend which strongly condemned a recent position taken by the David Thompson led government. CEO’s and other political appointees at statutory boards are now expected to offer their resignations should there be a change in government. This position has created heated discussion in Barbados and in the Bajan blogosphere. Many on the government side have questioned the sincerity of Mottley’s position. One such person is Ruedon Eversley, a former Editor of the Advocate newspaper who was literally chased out of that job by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur. It is well known on Fontebelle that both newspapers parted company with thousands of dollars to Arthur and others of his government just to keep the “peace’, ooops it extended to River Road as well!

At the request of Reudon Eversley we have published his article in full. We have to say that if half the things mentioned in the article are true, it is not only an indictment on former Prime Minister Arthur but also on the people who surrounded at the time.


Reudon Eversley Continue reading

Shooting In Barbados No Hate Crime Against Guyanese, Report Was Speculative Nonsense – Consul

There have been some press reports which have been targeted at BU that have appeared in several fora in the last 24 hours. We will respond in time to many of the inaccuracies which appeared in those reports. We agree that if our message is not to become distorted, our blog has a responsibility to ensure that we don’t contribute to fueling hysteria around this matter. We take this opportunity to reiterate that we strongly believe in a managed immigration policy. We also believe that the impact of multi-ethnic groups on a Black host population should be studied as part of a managed immigration policy. The BU family is aware that we are reluctant to censor, however we want solution oriented discussion. The reports over the last 24 hours should have shown how extreme comments posted on BU can be used by some to extrapolate to positions which we don’t subscribe. Please be guided accordingly.

The following is a Press Release (unedited) issued by the Guyana Consul in Barbados:

The Guyana Consulate in Barbados has dismissed a Kaiteur News news story in Guyana which intimated that last Saturday night’s shooting death of a Guyanese national and the wounding of another in an apparent bungled robbery at a Barbados bar was a premeditated anti-Guyanese attack. “The Consulate has no evidence of this. I read the item in the Guyana press and it was speculative nonsense. It had persons, typically unnamed, claiming that the entertainment establishment was targeted because it was regularly frequented by Guyanese nationals. Aside from the sensationalist speculation , the gist of the report was also factually wrong. Among he errors: there were no six gunmen-only one was apparently involved. From all the available evidence at this juncture including from senior investigative officers of the Barbados police, this was an apparent case of a robbery gone wrong. There are no indications this was a hate crime against Guyanese. Indeed, Barbadians have sympathised with me about this tragedy which could happen in any country.” said Consul Norman Faria. Continue reading

Chris Halsall's Open Letter To Barbados Media Houses


Dir sirs.

This is an open letter to the Barbados Advocate, and others. This may be distributed and/or reprinted by anyone who receives it. I do hope and expect that the errors and corrections noted below will appear in the Advocate.

On page 14 of the Barbados Advocate, dated 2008.05.14 an article penned by one Kerrie Bynoe was titled “Digital Divide – saying goodbye to analogue TV”.

  1. The definition of “Analogue” is “Something that bears an analogy to something else.” The correct word in this context is “Analog”, which means “Of, relating to, or being a device in which data are represented by continuously variable, measurable, physical quantities, such as length, width, voltage, or pressure.”
  2. The author of the article mis-represents the transition which is occurring in the US (and 33 other countries), and has already occurred in six others. Specifically, the transition to “digital-only” transmission is really moving to High Definition TV (HDTV) (720i, 720p, 1080i, 1080p) from Standard Definition TV (480i, 520i).
  3. The author then suggests (“Are Barbadians Ready?) that the CBC has already made the transition. This is absolutely and completely false. While the CBC has migrated their MultiChoice service to use digital transmission (within the MMDS band in the 2.5 GHz range), they are *not* in any way prepared for HDTV service delivery, and the systemdeployed here is *not* able to handle HDTV signals. To tell the people of Barbados that they are ahead of the curve, when in fact they haven’t even started climbing the slope, is at best inappropriate.


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Barbados Underground vs Barbados Media


On January 18, 2008 the Barbados Media was charged in the Court of public opinion by BU (Plaintiff) and was found guilty by the Voices of the People in the Blogosphere. The battle by the PEOPLE against the Fourth Estate continues.

  1. How can media practitioners in the twenty first century function in a world without an oversight body i.e. an association. Who said ‘united is strength’?
  2. When David Ellis, Vic Fernandes, Albert Brandford, Ricky Sigh and a ‘very few’ others retire, who are the fresh young journalists waiting in the wings?
  3. The Nation newspaper was a profitable entity, why was it sold?
  4. The Advocate newspaper once attracted the title of venerable. Why shouldn’t the PEOPLE be allowed to access the archives of the Advocate to do research online?

A democracy cannot flourish if the Fourth Estate reneges on its role to society. Our media places heavy emphasis on reporting, some say regurgitating news from the international wires, but there is the advocacy role which is even more important.

Carl Moore, Retired Journalist, Broadcaster & Former Chairman Of The Broadcasting Authority Calls Barbados Free Press & Barbados Underground 'Cowards'

carl mooreWe have been bombarded with emails about an article which appeared in the Nation newspaper of 20 April 2008 under the by line Carl Moore – The More Things Change . Unlike Carl Moore we respect his right to foist his opinion on others. The right to free speech is something which our democracy has been built. The fact that some people have chosen the Internet to disseminate views which have been stifled in the traditional media appear to be lost on Carl Moore. This is a journalist who has used the traditional media to fight a perennial one man battle against noise pollution with a negliable result to date – spoken with the proverbial tongue in cheek like only Bush tea can. As an aside, Carl Moore maybe surprise to learn the identity of some of our commenters which include politicians, priests, civil servants current and retired, and believe or not, journalists!

Let us clear-up a misunderstanding which Mr. Moore seems to be labouring under. His willingness to criticize the blogs, we assume he means Barbados Free Press (BFP) and Barbados Underground (BU) when he really means some commenters suggests that he has some misunderstandings about what is a blog. A blog is Barbados Underground which is owned by blogger David and the BU household, the main objective of the blog is to promote the opinions of the blogger. The blog offers the opportunity for commenters to interact with the blogger by sharing opinions which hopefully benefit all the participants. More importantly blogs have the functionality which allow other blogs from all over the world including Barbados to ping(link) stories. The interaction leads to a blogosphere which is enhanced by the knowledge which is shared.

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Trinidad Express Reporter Comments On the Growing Indo-Immigrant Population In Little Barbados

image The BU have written exhaustively on the need for Barbados to revisit its ‘open door’ immigration policy. We have been called racists, xenophobic, ignorant, backward, small minded and the beat goes on. We have demonstrated during the just concluded general election in Barbados that we are not thin-skinned and that we are prepared to deal with issues which our mainstream media resist covering.

It is evident to most Barbadians on the ground that we are beginning to see the signs of problems down the road; the increasing numbers of undocumented arrivals to our shores. There are the Indians who consistently demonstrate clannish behaviour wherever they anchor. There is the racial tension which exists in the neighbouring countries of Guyana and Trinidad.

Given the foregoing, we find it interesting that noted Trinidad Express journalist, Andy Johnson, has given vent to this issue in his column of today. We have snipped a part of his article which we find to be relevant to support our agitation on the matter of the impact of UNDOCUMENTED Indians entering Barbados. As we have stated in previous articles many of these UNDOCUMENTED Indians are unskilled and add little value to the GDP of Barbados.

Bajans are having to come to terms with ethnic and cultural diversity, a story about which they ought to learn heavily from Trinidad and Tobago. They aren’t sure, just yet, whether they are going to like it. In several sections of high end Bridgetown, along Broad Street and around Swan Street, for instance, sub-continental Indian business people beckon customers to shops and stores offering expensive jewelry and cosmetics, as well as exotic items of clothing. In plazas and shopping rendezvous along the well traversed south coast, the same thing happens.

Whereas they used to talk as victims, about the “Guyanese bench” at the Grantley Adams International Airport, nationals of that South American country which is a Caricom member state, may no longer voice their feelings of victimisation and discrimination as loudly. It does not mean, by a long shot, that they have stopped or slowed down their trek to the island in search of a better life.

Five years ago it was estimated there were 30,000 Guyanese hidden in the Barbadian economy. Undocumented and being exploited. That figure has grown near exponentially since then. By contrast, however, whereas the Bajans have disputed the figure, the situation could be even more alarming in this country, were we even to hazard a guess at the numbers. Whole sections of the Central Market in Port of Spain have been commandeered by Guyanese nationals for years now.

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We anticipate the flow of invective which we be hurled our way. But we intend to stay the course on this issue in the hope that we shall overcome on this issue some day.

Related Stories

Indian Racism Against Afro Guyanese In Guyana

Can Indians And Blacks Co-exist In Barbados?

Can Barbados Avoid Escalating Crime & Violence In Neighbouring Trinidad & Guyana?

Are Media Practitioners In Barbados On The "Ball"?

The ACM Executive, 2007-09: Standing – Guy Delva, Peter Richards, Michael Bascombe, Canute James; Sitting – Nita Ramcharan, Wesley Gibbings & Anika Kentish.

We find it interesting, in fact amusing, that there is an association called ‘Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) and media houses or a cadre of journalists from Barbados have not assumed a meaningful role in that association in recent times. The association recently held its Fourth Biennial General Assembly and to our surprise Barbados was reported to have been absence. It is worthwhile to note that the inaugural meeting of the ACM was held in Barbados six years ago.

Barbados has historically prided itself as playing a leading role in many of the regional agencies. We therefore have to ask media practitioners in Barbados to explain their glaring absence from the ACM Executive in recent times. BU should not be surprise at this current state of affairs because we have been asking the question over and over in our previous articles: why is it that the Barbados Association of Journalist (BAJ) have disregarded the need to organize themselves under an umbrella body that would enable them to more effectively mobilize the cause of the venerable Fourth Estate which they represent. Do they not appreciate their key role in disseminating accurate news on behalf of the PEOPLE?

The last time we checked the BAJ was still involved in a deep slumber.

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Barbados Media Houses Failing The Profession

…But what else does the report show us? A need for some education at the local papers, I suggest. In the same article the paper talks about there not being any “KNIGHT” of long knives, meaning no recriminations. Now, I’m sorry, there is no excuse for misuse of phrases. The correct phrase should be “NIGHT of the long knives”, and refers to a purge that took place in Nazi Germany during June 30-July 2, 1934 when Adolf Hitler’s regime executed at least 85 people for political reasons (see Wikipedia). This is a schoolchild type of mistake (like “Gladly, the cross-eyed bear”) . If it were a deliberate malapropism or some other play on words (“Sir David, knight of the long knives”, he who wields the sword?) then I would say “how witty”, but I suspect that it’s just sloppy journalism. Tsk! If the editorial staff do not know what is right there is a problem. If they do know what is right and don’t catch these errors then their system needs to be reviewed.

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Public comments, including Doctor Don Marshall and a recent editorial suggest that our democracy is safe if our traditional media houses, with their well trained and zealous workforce is allowed to do their job without the intimidation of politicians in high places. Let us not forget the stricture of our unforgiving Defamation Laws.

We agree wholeheartedly!

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