Politicians Must Stop Fraternizing with Underworld Characters

In much the same way successive governments have struggled to implement a ‘fit for purpose’ economic strategy- so too have successive Attorney Generals and Commissioners of Police failed to effectively stop violent crime. 

It is accepted that an important strand to defining good leadership is the ‘ability to organize in an effective and efficient manner’. It has become evident after years of a business as usual approach by the hierarchy of the police and government that the two key have surrendered to serving narrow interest. 

During the last decade there was an underground buzz about questionable characters like Bounty Killer courted by ministers in government. On the 2018 campaign trail there is the dramatic video of Mia Mottley in the company of questionable characters as well.

Mia Mottley in the company of…
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Course Correction Urgently Needed

BU Murder Tracker

The BU Murder Tracker confirms violent; gun crime has become endemic in our tiny society. The 40th murder occurred last Friday and it is possible with about 6 weeks to go in 2022 two more murders to surpass the 2020 number of 41 maybe reached. It is a stretch to suggest Barbados will ‘challenge’ the 48 murders recorded in 2019, the highest recorded in our history.

There is a resignation by the blogmaster that the Barbados leadership at the policy making AND non governmental level lack the nous to successfully implement effective monitoring, enforcement and social approaches to revert to a norm where a murder was big news on the island. One only has to reflect on our helplessness to stop the minibus culture that has taken root since the 80s, our inability to address concerns repeatedly raised by the Auditor General, a contentment to maintain landfills instead of executing an effective waste to management program, growing traffic congestion and lawlessness on the roads, the sloth to wean the country from fossil fuel consumption AND last but not least our burgeoning court system.

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Barbados Needs Good Focused Leadership Says Bajan Living Overseas

The following comment was posted to blog Democracy, Apathy and the National Insurance Fund  by a commenter resident overseas – Barbados Underground


We have to accept facts and reality. I am and always will be a PROUD Bajan. ALWAYS.


But facts are facts. We have not done nearly enough to remodel the mindset of our people and our economy over the last 50 years to result in a level of broad based, diverse innovation that leads to large FX inflows. It’s just a fact. No debate. This could only mean one thing. Barbados is headed for worse, harder times.

Dreamy, fantastical talk alone that will not change that trajectory. Other countries and economies have failed. We are not exceptional and immune to basic facts. We act like we do but in reality we are not. That is what our pride would not let us believe. We think we are special, punching above our weight with our 98% literacy rate. This is who we are. We have been sold a bunch of sh7te that is just emotional fodder but never really grounded in fact and does not translate to a sound economic future.

We are at that moment where bullcrap can’t plaster the crap anymore and we can’t kick the can any further with cheap loans. Unless we find oil now like Guyana our standard of live WILL drop and times will get tougher . It can and has happened to other well meaning, well intentioned countries. Sri Lanka??? It is FOLLY to ask bloggers and citizens to do what elected country managers failed but were paid handsomely to do over the last 50 years. We don’t have access to all relevant information and our elected officials want to make this situation worse. Imagine that. But yet have the gall to say they are interested in public discourse. We are not driving the bus. Even if we protest and strike. What happens next? Who leads and implements the day after? At the end of the day without good focused leadership, nothing changes after the protests and strikes.

Whether we believe or not. Facts and consequences follow their own truth. They do not care if this is who we are. They are not interested in watching muh.

The writing is on the wall. Who chooses to see it is irrelevant.

The ONLY solution is GOOD FOCUSED leadership. Always has been. This is where we failed the most:

Signed – PROUD but realistic Bajan

Where is the Leadership?

Submitted by Paula Sealy

General elections were held on 19 January. Today is 19 May. It has been over 100 days since the elections. Up to now the secondary schools have no boards of management. This is affecting the schools.  

So when will the boards be put in place? Will the Minister of Education explain what is going to the public? Does she or the government understand the problems this is contributing to? Is the delay because of education reform? 

Answers are needed not more empty talk. 

Is the 11+ the only thing the ministry is looking at? How much longer will the 11+ be used?

The Problem is us

Submitted by Observing

In 2020 voters turned out in high numbers and groups merged to ensure that Trump would not be President again. They succeeded. Regardless of political view, there will still always be a 40% of America that will vote for Trump. Despite the 2022 unity, the cohesion on the Democratic side though is not so certain.

Back at home the electorate voted in 2018 to get rid of an incompetent bunch. 60% of Barbadians decided enough was enough and they spoke with their X.

In 2022 though only a few spoke, despite the fact that the issues of the day were just as weighty and critical as 2018. So what does this mean???

Simply put, many of us have become dull, turned off and apathetic. The systems built to give us voice are disappearing and so too are our voices. The Constitutions, norms and traditions that kept those who seek power in check no longer do so. Heck, we can’t even agree on whether a Senate with 18 people is legally constituted!

But worse….when we become numb to 400 – 600 Covid cases and 2 or so deaths a day, what next.
When the society that used to care simply doesn’t in the same regard, what next.
When drugs, murders, gun violence become normalised, what next.
When those who lead pay lip service to integrity and consultation but continue to act with impunity, what next.

I posit that Freundel fatigue, followed by economic fatigue, followed by Covid fatigue has lashed us as a public into sitting silently whether we want to admit it or not. That silence has led others to act and behave in ways that we do not agree with but we do or can do nothing about.

In another thread I spoke about the 5-year delay in being able to call our public leaders to account. The inability to seat opposing voices in Parliament along with the toothlessness of the Public Accounts Committee/Auditor General and the slothfulness of the Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation essentially places us the same place we were 15-20-30-40 years ago. We have more technology, media, more blogs, more posts more threads but less meaningful discourse and action.

And so we remain at the mercy whims, fancy and hopeful integrity of those who lead or those who hold power and or money.

Donna asked sometime what type of leader I wanted.

First of all, we get the leaders we deserve. At all levels. Volunteer groups, fraternal organisations, trade unions, political parties and by extension government. Leaders can only lead those who allow them to lead.

Secondly, those leaders operate how they think is best with abandon UNLESS those who they lead speak up, which often times, they don’t.

Thirdly, those who CAN lead, often choose NOT to simply because they realise the futility at times of being sensible, pragmatic, honest, intelligent in a world or society where glitz, glamour, sweet talk, money and “cuh dear” brings popularity, votes and ascension up whichever ladder you happen to be on.

We are in a catch 22.

We want the real leaders to stand up, but, when they do, we place them on a pedestal and then try to knock them down.
We ask for transparency, integrity and honesty, but we revel in, celebrate and look the other way at leaders who are the opposite unless it directly impacts us.
We demand that our voices be heard yet we do not let our chords of concerns and criticism come forth.

We can only therefore look forward to the day when our desires match our words, our words match our actions and our collective actions match what society, this generation and future ones need.

Until this happens, we will be spinning tot in mud. Again and again and again.
We shouldn’t only come together to get rid of Freundel. We should come together to keep all decks on the ship of state sailing in the direction we want them to.

Only then will we see true development and true growth.

Our leaders aren’t the problem. The problem is us.

Where is the Trust

We live during a time there is a lack of leadership being observed in ALL spheres of endeavour.

ALL of the aged old structures of governance established to regulate the quality of life of people continue to be compromised and eroded. It is a global occurrence, those who confine critique to local affairs are being dishonest or live in a fish bowl.

Recently the blogmaster read about the ongoing Yorkshire racism scandal playing out in Britain. This comes after the Windrush scandal and George Floyd #blacklifesmovement episodes. We have allowed parochial interest to derail initiatives designed for the good of ALL human beings existing on the planet.

The following clip resurfaced in the blogmaster’s newsfeed featuring the late Colin Powell. As is customary, many commenters will proceed to attack the man for his politics, colour and past misdeeds, forgetting to dissect the message.

The Essence of Leadership – Late General Colin Powell

Order Your Casket


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

“Change your lifestyle or order your casket, because you will be dead in one year.” That was the blunt advice of my doctor about 25 years ago, after she reviewed my cholesterol test results.

I had harmed my body with unhealthy food, especially when I attended University. After I graduated, I added: no-exercise, very late working hours, and the stress of structural engineering, where getting a calculation 99% right can be fatal to the users of the structures that I had designed.

After agreeing to change my lifestyle, she advised me to do three things. First, I was to visit nutritionist Dr Mark Alleyne at Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic, then get a massage, and do some exercise.

Dr Alleyne advised me to stop eating all dairy products and red meat, and gave me a menu of food choices. He also taught an exercise class, which I agreed to join. When I returned to the office, I searched the yellow pages for a massage business and made an appointment for after work.

When I entered the massage business, the lady turned off the lights and lighted candles. I inquired about this and she said that it was aromatherapy. I said that I came for a massage. She asked what type. I said the type that doctors prescribe.

She asked me to remove my clothes, so I stripped down to my underwear. Perhaps seeing my embarrassment, she said that I had the option of keeping it on. I took that option. Then she told me to lie face down on the bed.

She put both of her hands on a muscle on my neck and squeezed – hard. My body immediately tensed to try to suppress the pain. She told me that it was a knot and that I must not tense up, but I could not help myself.

She then put my arm behind my back and raised it until my shoulder blade stood out. Then she rammed her elbow under my shoulder blade. I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out. I wanted to cry, but no tears welled up.

The way that she contorted my body made tensing muscles ineffective at dulling the pain from her main tool, her elbow. So, I relaxed my body and decided to endure the torture in silence. That fateful decision only seemed to make matters worse – for me, since she did not know how much pain she was causing.

There is a level of pain between what a human body can endure, and death. That is where she took me, again and again. This pain was visionary – I believe I saw the gates of heaven.

At the end of the session, she seemed exhausted and finally spoke. She asked me to grade the level pain I had felt on a scale of 1 to 10. I said that it was a 9, because I suspected that a 10 was designed to kill her enemies. She explained that she does not like to start the first session so high, but that I had a lot of knots.

I paid her the agreed sum, and she said to return in 2 weeks to get the other knots out. I had complied with the doctor’s instruction to get “a massage”. However, I did not like the idea of paying someone to beat me up, so I decided to keep the remaining knots.

The following evening, I attended Dr Alleyne’s exercise class. He led us in a stick-dance of over 70 moves, to calypso music. After about 2 minutes I was exhausted – my mouth was dry, my heart was hurting, and I started seeing those black stars.

I thought how I could gracefully leave the class, but I was too embarrassed by my comparative lack of stamina. So I pushed through the 2-hour intense class moving as little as possible. At the end of the class, I decided to give future classes 100% of my effort – and I did.

After the first week, the fat around my waist and around my face was gone. After week two, I regained the body of my youth. After week three, I was ripped with muscles. Then I had an engineering assignment in Nevis.

When I returned to Barbados, I got another cholesterol test done. This time, the results were impressively good. I have maintained good health since then.

I knew that I was not healthy 25 years ago. But it took the bluntly presented option of prematurely ordering my casket to force me into meaningful action. May it have a similar effect on you.


Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Mottley’s Dominant Leadership Style

There is a conversation that has emerged in Barbados concerning the ‘visible’ leadership style of Prime Minister Mia Mottley. A style that is accentuated if compared to the unobtrusive approach by her predecessor. Some feel justified levelling the criticism because Mottley presides over the largest Cabinet in the history of Barbados, probably the world if measured on a per mille basis.

What justification can there be for a prime minister to be at every ‘dog fight’ if the large Cabinet is unable to give wings to Mottley’s mantra – many hands make light work?

The blogmaster recalls during An Interview with Prime Minister Mottley  conducted by David Ellis soon after the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was elected to office – Mottley explained her reason for the large Cabinet. She asked Barbadians to be patient and to judge her government by results. After 15 months in office, it is fair to suggest several of the ministers are struggling to find their feet and undeserving of a minister’s salary during  a time of austerity.

In the pseudo Westminster parliamentary system of government practice in Barbados all roads lead to the prime minister. It is not uncommon to hear the reference “primus inter pares.” Our culture is one where there is an expectation the prime minister must solve all problems. Have a read of this blog through the years, there was an unrelenting attack on former prime minister Freundel Stuart because he appeared to be uncomfortable in the leadership role and was rejected at the polls in unprecedented fashion.

A key characteristic of a good leaders is that they recruit the right people to do the job. This is why the quality of persons offering themselves for political office is important.  Are we confident members of parliament elected on the 24 May 2018 possess the requisite skill set to get the job done?

The blogmaster is on the side of the side of the leadership style that works. The fact Mottley is always out front may reflect on the quality of her team. If this is the case who is to blame?

Our governance system needs reform. There was talk from the minister early in her term about devolving authority from the office of prime minister. Update anyone?

Re-emergence of Potholes|Leading From the FRONT

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Official Car

Those of us who experienced the Barbados of the 70s and 80s participated in the transformation of an agrarian economy to service based. We can debate if successive governments have erred by deprioritizing agriculture and manufacturing by giving the international business/offshore sector pride of place to pay the bills. What is irrefutable is that Barbados by any definition moved the economic needle indicator in the right direction- the middleclass segment grew and in the process Barbados achieved model status as a small Black developing island state. In the last decade Barbados has emphatically answered the question ‘what is cyclical’?.

The pride many Barbadians felt until recent has deflated from our bosoms once swollen with pride largely because of profligate consumption expenditure habits coupled with a lazy approach to national productivity.

One of the many criticisms the Barbados Underground blog has had to suffer from its detractors is that we focus too much on the negative. In our defence, we promote the view that is encapsulated in BU’s motto,  “for the cause that lacks assistance, the wrong that needs resistance, for the future in the distance, and the good that [BU] can do”. Barbados is a small island and the inhabitants are related, loyal to the school tie or participate in an activity which work to influence how decisions are taken on the island.

Au contraire, the BU household sees our spotting of the light on the underbelly of Bajan society as positive. Sustaining a democratic system of government is a serious business that calls for eternal vigilance by some like the BU household who are impervious to RH.

No biase, no bullshit!

In recent years what has been the source of embarrassment to members of the BU household has been the deterioration of our infrastructure. The most visible is the road network. It is not about the odd pothole which can be dodged as they appear. It is about multiple potholes tactically located to ensure tyres, rims, life and limb are constantly under threat for those who dare to drive to venture out.

Bajans understand that the current financial state of the country must translate to efficient allocation of the national budget. What the BU household does not understand is the inability of the political directorate to publicly demonstrate by decisions and actions that they want to lead the country. How can you ask Barbadians to tighten their belts until the bellies of many touch their backs, yet from the prime minister down the line want to drive Mercedes, travel first class on the taxpayers dime, attend every conference, wear $1,000 Italian suits to list a few. Good leaders understand that the best way to change the mindset of people they lead is to act in ways that emotionally resonate. For example, suppose Stuart announced tomorrow he will sell the two luxury vehicles he has office is allocated and instead travel about the 2×3 island in a Toyota Corolla or Suzuki Vitara?  And we do not want to hear any BS about the PM’s vehicle must be bulletproof. What about the members of the Cabinet donating their allowance to the Alma Parris School to continue the work of catering to special needs children? By these two acts alone many disengaged Barbadians will be tempted to ‘up de ting’.

The job of wanting to serve in public office is soaked in a commitment of being selfless.

The George Brathwaite Column – Discipline!

George Brathwaite (Ph.D)


Barbados needs a strong dose of societal discipline. The prescription will only be helpful if this begins with the individual and is clearly exhibited at the level of national leadership. This solution is one of the few available ways that remain open to Barbados if we are going to be able to deliver, and make the island live up to national expectations. Employers must set examples; and who better to calm the rough waters in industrial relations than the government as a model employer respecting employees’ rights? People must be motivated and encouraged to work productively rather than loathe on the job. Managers need to do their work, and show the type of discipline that can enhance productivity in the workplace.

Economically, there must be fiscal discipline so that the country is not consistently spending more than it is earning, and increased taxation is not the end all in trying to achieve revenues for which tools for attracting investments and earning foreign exchange could rather do. How else can Barbados get back to helping people transform this society and achieve good standards of living? Barbadians owe it to themselves to press the state’s economists and policymakers to be more timely with their decision-making, and to be more transparent in their dealings depending on the public purse. Do we have the discipline that the Auditor General is demanding in each report that he furnishes to the authorities, but which they seem oblivious to the findings?

Regardless of all the intellectual, technical, financial, and any other capacities that are brought to bear on national governance, it is discipline that maintains orders, streamlines procedures, and bring a much stronger sense of legality to the process. It is discipline that will help to facilitate the social transformation that is needed if Barbados is to halt the rapid decline to values in our society. At the end of the day, it is law and order, strong ethics, and the commitment to doing the right things; these things constitute the necessary discipline for a nation that has seemingly lost its way over the last few years.

Civic-minded persons and leaders from across the various sectors, inclusive of trade unions, need to encourage and challenge the nation to follow best practices which are built and expanded on the platform of discipline. Priests and pastors, managers and captains, general secretaries and presidents, as well as an enterprising crop of youth leaders need not be meek, but offer constructive criticisms. They must be willing to identify problems and call situations as they see them while seeking to commensurately provide possible solutions to the nation’s problems. While lofty places and the preaching of fire and brimstone from the pulpits may shock some, it is surely better than one is not so pompous as to sit at respective political gates singing the hallelujah chorus without exemplifying the discipline currently needed in the society.

It is about joining hand in hand and combining our efforts to raise up each other to be better than the day before. Let the strong help the weak, the rich help the poor, and the orderly speak out against disorder. Surely, the Barbados society will likely recognise that even amidst differing perspectives and approaches to national development, the bottom-line still demands disciplined politicians and disciplined public servants that are all committed to law and order, and good governance.

As the investor, economist, and writer George Gilder advocates: “Spontaneous order is self-contradictory. Spontaneity connotes the ebullition of surprises. It is highly entropic and disorderly.” On the other hand, order “connotes predictability and equilibrium” which essentially translates to increased certainty and fairness in our systems of social and legal enterprise. Barbados has reached a stage where it must revisit the moral codes and messages that are passing off as reasons to exclude rather than include. Once again, we must strive towards the personal discipline in our affairs that allow integrity to shine like a beacon on the hill.

Things such as predictability, reliability, trustworthiness, dependability are the things needed to boost all aspects of Barbados’ governance. Discipline and order require political guidance, and leadership that is incorruptible and which does not refute truth or bow at the behest of snares. It takes the courage and sacrifice necessary to enforce and defend good values in the pursuit of building a disciplined Barbados. In other words, all of those things that this country expects by way of achievements and enhanced prosperity are demanding social organisation and order through the route of discipline. Barbados’ next few years will demand planned action wrapped into the type of discipline that helps the island to once again punch above its body weight.

In fact, order is a product of human activity that emerges from chaos. It is our business to fix the problems that are currently affecting this nation. It may be the economists and politicians to fix the economy by showing fiscal prudence and implementing practices which lead to good governance. However, the individuals of the society must do things not to give rise to chaos and disarray. We must as a duty, be determined to be firm craftsmen and women of our combined fate, and surely be strict guardians of our heritage which was built on both discipline and resilience. There will always be room for improvement once we choose the disciplined pathways in getting things done the right ways.

In the same way that “chaos half-loosed cannot be long controlled,” it is fair to say, that with discipline we can begin to channel our thoughts in structured ways to get things cleaner roads and highways without the coconut shells littering the shoulders or blocking drains which eventually contribute to flooding. Barbadians will naturally plead for better facilities but these must not be allowed to fall into disrepair because we were too consumed to be sufficiently disciplined and maintain our buildings and centres. Now is not the time for Barbadians to continue being unruly and ill-disciplined.

Barbadians like any other just society expects happiness; we want others to say good things about our little Barbados. This means we need to be like the farmers recognizing when and what to plant if they are to be able to reap bountiful crops. As Joyce Meyer writing about achieving true happiness suggests, “when discipline is sown, like a good seed, it yields a harvest of things that fulfill and satisfy us; things that make us happy and release peace and joy in our lives.” Today, this writer is calling on the citizens and residents of Barbados, to let us play our part in contributing to proper law and order. Let us demand good governance for the improvement of this Barbados society.

Barbados will not become socially transformed, economically prosperous, and culturally rich simply by wishing these things. Discipline is the key and it must be evident in our attitudes and behaviour whether in the work place or at home. The evidence of a disciplined society will also tell as we travel along the highways or whether we are shopping in the markets. Regardless of if we are students or church-goers, young or old, mechanic or politician, Barbados is our home. The discipline we apply in our daily routines will transcend our lives and become manifest across the nation.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)

School Children Fighting is NOT the Problem

Sir Richard Branson called for inspiring leaders in the Caribbean to stand up!

Almost every day a video featuring pupils of one of our schools is posted to sites on social media and to coin the description by traditional media, it goes viral. The BU household does not intend to post the latest video of students attacking one of their own like a pack of wild animals making the rounds to support the point. While it is constructive sometimes to post the odd video to awaken the concern of a public that has grown numb to growing violence among a segment of our youth population. We observe that many of the videos and pictures featured by many in the traditional and social media is to ride the popularity that being sensationalistic generates.

It is evident if we are forced to listen to the talking heads featured in the traditional media the reasons offered for the bad behaviour seem less than convincing and steeped in emotionalism. The growing trend of violence in the society- especially in the youth population- is worrying to BU because it acts as a reminder of our inability as a country to effectively manage the PSV sector to recall one example.  Many have warned for the last 30 years that there was a need for the stakeholders including the government, insurance companies, PTAs and other NGOs in civil society,  to sensibly address the sub culture that had emerged. Sadly the negative aspects of the sub culture has interwoven with the way of life for many of our school children therefore adding to the complexity of the problem. How we have allowed this sub culture to take root over the last 30 years does not lend confidence that we will be able to effectively wrestle the incidents of rising violence in schools and related behaviour being given wings on social media.

First the traditional media sought a quote from the ineffective President of Barbados National Council of Parent Teacher Association (BNCPTA) Shone Gibbs “There is no need for anyone to take the law into their own hands, but it must be prosecuted to the hills by the family of the victim because we cannot allow these things to happen, this level of bullying and intimidation, because someone could have easily lost their life yesterday”.  Why has his organization that is suppose to represent all PTAs in Barbados not mobilize by arranging a national march to bring focus to the issue of violence in schools and other related issues affecting the school population? Why not collaborate with the BUT and BSTU in a full court press to challenge the many issues swirling in schools? Stop being so damn politically correct!

WE the citizens of Barbados sit on our behinds and offer platitudes when one of these graphic videos is posted which confirms what we already know. The time has come to act to win back the minds of many of our children who are challenged because of the lack of parental guidance in the home and positive role models in their lives. What are the NGOs like the BNCPTA and the ministry in government responsible for youth affairs to cite only two doing to convert words into action plans designed to work to materially attack the problems?

There are enough signs that the traditional values and structure to our society that undergirded it in times of yore are no longer effective. We live in times when the political leader of the country refused to condemn the immoral and unethical behaviour of the Speaker of the House. We have the  incident where a senior minister of government is reported to have brandished a weapon within the precinct of Parliament and the political class conspire to squash the matter.  There were promises made by the Attorney General and the prime minster that they would investigate a matter and report to parliament …

Our county is crying out for leaders and we didn’t need Sir Richard Branson on a recent visit to Barbados to make the observation.

Will our real leaders please stand up!

Where YOU Stand is Where YOU sit

Dr. George C. Brathwaite

Dr. George C. Brathwaite

One would hope that as Barbados closes in on its 50th year of Independence, this society takes serious stock of where it has come from, its current position, and where it intends to go. This article will boldly claim that Barbados is at a crossroads where it must urgently address the mounting issues that are perilous to obtaining a just society.

Barbados is today challenged to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth, lessen the existing institutional discrimination, increase the pathways to progress and those that lead away from poverty, and to do significantly more by way of delivering social justice to the many in our midst who are seemingly being marginalised daily.

The results of the recent presidential elections in the United States of America (USA) have left numerous lessons that Barbadians can draw on if it is to meticulously review its value system and practices with the intention of bringing about enhanced governance. Of course, very few persons in Barbados appeared to have supported Donald Trump for presidency. One can assume that many more persons reacted dismissively to his inflammatory rhetoric which not only blasted his rivals and the media, but pitched battle directly against the so-called establishment.

Trump’s main and often repeated campaign messages were laced with the toxicity of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and outright resentment against any resemblance of normalcy. Trump used the potency of populism to expose the worst of American way of life and hegemony. Indeed, he successfully managed to rekindle the undercurrents of right-wing conservatism in a style which could easily be mistaken as naked fascism. To leave the conversation at that point would be too simplistic and short-sighted.

The reality is that Donald Trump exposed deeply embedded fears and apathy with those at the periphery and centre respectively. He showed that the USA, although priding itself as a paragon of virtuous democracy, was realistically more exclusionary and may have long abandoned the tenets supporting equality and the rule of law.

The premise that the USA through unbridled capitalism was creating greater economic opportunity for its citizens, proved to be farcically untrue. Instead, it was neglecting the poor and underprivileged and equally socially constructing the ‘deplorables’ at a rate which could not be contained by maintaining the status quo. Trump revealed this façade that was being preached around the world in which the USA saw itself as the unilateral power exporting its version of triumphalism through liberal democratic governance.

The USA’s dishevelled underbelly, as pointed out by Trump when he highlighted the plight being experienced in the inner cities across the USA, clearly demonstrated that today’s insanity may be the last hope for those who no longer see greatness in the normal, but find comfort in the absurd and the apolitical.

Being strict guardians of our heritage and firm craftsmen and craftswomen of our collective fate, it would be a sad day if Barbados ever relinquishes the mandate that was set by our pioneers and nation-builders. National pride and industry must continue to have a central value effect on local society.

While there are some Barbadians – particularly the political elites in our midst – that would want to derail or even silence the popular discourse, it is imperative that the country sees that a badly faltering society is the outcome of a poorly managed and performing economy. Governance overall becomes perilously affected and dislocated, and is seen to work against those for whom it ought to bring benefit and safety – the citizens.

The current administration will welcome the celebratory mood at this juncture of 50 years Independence, and rightly so; but, the nation cannot mistake or forget the imposition of bad governance and economic austerity that was shoved on this country through the back door of political expediency. Accepting Amartya Sen’s determination that “the world in which we live is not only unjust, it is, arguably, extraordinarily unjust,” is to also accept that Barbados’ political class owes it to the population to start doing business through the front door of trust and transparency.

Trust in our democracy, is an exercise involving the sharing of information and removing the veil of secrecy from deals of procurement of goods and services from which the public purse must pay. To be transparent is to have the capacity of information and things being seen without distortion. For information or a process to be transparent, is for it to be open and available for examination and scrutiny. Barbadians are demanding this trust and transparency. The fact is, good governance is not a shield to displace accountability and transparency, but it is a means to develop trust between the governing and the governed.

In 2016, how can right thinking and serious politicians talk about representation in the House of Assembly, either as continuing members or as first-timers, but avoid putting to Barbadians modes of policies that would enhance the trust relationship? Can it be fair that as a country we have not sought and introduced a Freedom of Information Act and other mechanisms for ensuring accountability and transparency? How can Barbadians step into its 51st year as a maturing and sovereign nation, but is being held back by those in the legislature and specifically those forming the besieged executive? Living in an era when the dissemination of knowledge is privileged, is it a matter of political parties wanting to maintain the status quo?

Surely, there are too many thousands of Barbadians that are distraught from prolonged underemployment or outright unemployment. They have been suffering from the pangs of hunger and are observed to be discriminated against in many more ways than one. The recent promise of means-testing in areas of education and health for example, would only go to further imperil the livelihoods of those facing hard times in Barbados.

So, at 50 years, to express rising concerns on one or more issues of survival should not be condemned as complaining, as incumbent Cabinet Ministers have been prone to claim on several occasions. It is not in the interest of Barbadians that we experience the executive clamouring around the morality bush. This present administration has become tainted with cries that they are uncaring, stealthy (not necessarily equating to corruption) in their dealings, and mostly unresponsive to the citizens facing water and garbage collection crises among others.

Now there can be no curse on a flailing Prime Minister whose stewardship will one day be best remembered for political rhetoric instead of political will. Coming across as almost obsequious to the internal squalls within the Cabinet he leads, PM Stuart’s display has been one of failing to implement practical, creative, solutions to the problems challenging Barbados. Mr. Stuart has not adequately delivered.

The Leader of the Opposition, while seemingly better connected to the communication median with those that have been pushed into situations of pauperisation or are jobless and often are marginalised by the bad policies and discriminating system of governance, must be reminded that where you stand is where you sit. Many Barbadians need a strong voice in which political correctness is not the key to their future prosperity.

Populism has the tendency to mobilise those individuals and groups that have been neglected and pushed aside; it positions the ‘common sense’ of ‘common people’ against the corruption and abuse of the elite as stated by Anton Derks, Professor at the University of Brussels. Emerging in the popular discursive spaces of Barbados are voices screaming at the politicians for empathy, so that the suffering voiceless can be heard and given presence of mind.

The population is demanding that the popular will shows by implementation that civic and political leaders are listening. Barbadians on the eve of this 50th anniversary are requesting that the means for empowering those previously disenfranchised happen sooner rather than later. Any form of populism that emerges in the context of the next general election, and more broadly, in Barbados going forward must bring at its core an ethics of people-oriented development posited in the national interest.

(Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer in Political Science at the UWI-Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)

A Call for Leadership

Submission by Barnabas Collins


“In our country’s present economic situation we need decisive leadership”

In our country’s present economic situation we need decisive leadership. We need leadership from some or any quarter. We are not getting any leadership from government, the central bank, the trade unions, the opposition or the private sector. Our government continues to tax and spend at our expense and just when one thinks that they can’t possibly tax you anymore, gasoline and Financial Institutions are taxed. We all know how this movie will end because we KNOW that these taxes will pass on to the consumer. Therefore, the people are again being taxed. When will it end.

But we are silent because we don’t want to be victimized. I am beginning to appreciate how people like Bussa may have felt back in the days of slavery. The house slaves were not interested in causing any unrest because they were getting meals, housing and all the cushy jobs from those in charge. While the field slaves are being whipped, violated and are thinking about revolting but will not because unity of persons in Barbados only goes as far as whisperings or private mutterings. Now before someone runs off and say that I am advocating a march in the streets or something similar to the 1937 riots, I am not. I am saying we need some leadership, someone who is genuinely looking after the welfare of our citizens because at present it is about wealth and power in our parliament.

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Notes From a Native Son: Taking Care of Home

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Recently a friend of mine, a highly admired New York lawyer of Barbadian extraction, sent me a newspaper clipping about Anita Hill, the woman who accused Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment. This month is also Women’s History Month in the UK and today the United Nations held its 58th Commission on the Status of Women, at which new development goals for women were discussed. So this is timely.

The reason for the newspaper report on Professor Hill was a documentary film recently made about the now Brandeis University law professor and reflecting on her worldwide public humiliation during the US Senate hearing following her allegations against the top judge. I remember quite clearly the allegations and the way they split the black British community broadly in two camps: those for Ms Hill and those for Justice Thomas. But there were, among them myself, those who felt a plague on both your houses. I believed the truth of her allegations, but felt that the immorality alleged should have been dealt with in other ways. The greater evil, to my mind, was Mr Thomas’ conservatism, which I felt was a betrayal of the collective politics of the 1960s and decades of political struggle, for which so many people had suffered. Further, I felt his conservatism was not at root ideological or cultural, unlike that of Professor Thomas Sowell and others of the black conservative movement or even of the typical Barbadian, but rather was contrived out of personal bitterness and resentment.

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Notes From a Native Son: Barbados is Facing the Hour of Decision

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

As we recover from the exuberance of the seasonal celebrations, we still have to face the reality of tough decisions as a nation. There is no hiding place, it is as Frank Sinatra said, the end is near and we are facing the final curtain. So far, predictably, neither our political leaders nor policymakers have indicated that the urgency of the situation has struck home. They are behaving as if time waits on the slothful, Barbadian workers and their arrogant and obstinate representatives before moving on. We only have to read the nonsense talked by the general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (didn’t they get a Bds$6m loan from government? If so, why?)

Of the workers sent home from the drainage department, he is reported as saying: “They would have been given fixed term contracts and in a lot of cases with the people from Drainage, their fixed term contracts would have come to an end on the 31st day of December. “Nobody is looking at the fact that these are persons who would have been on four, sometimes five years, in a temporary situation, who, in my view, should have been appointed to the post that they were in.” What an admission of incompetence, of poor leadership, of betrayal of his own members. When did he realise that these temporary workers were in such contracts? Why, as union leader, did he not resolve this matter, and forcefully?

Of course the workers should not be on such long-term contracts. More than six months in an acting position should be confirmed as a permanent job. We now have a society in which even those in good, secure public sector jobs, with ‘guaranteed’ salaries live in fear of the sack, traumatised by the reality that they are only two or three pay packets away from destitution. A society in which envy, greed, bitterness have replaced dynamism and talent; one in which more energy is expended on being resentful of one’s neighbours’ material possession than in trying to improve one’s own intellectual and career prospects.

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Our Readers Should Compare These Two Stories

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel

The interest of wealthy foreigners in buying properties in Barbados  is on the rise, reportedly as a result of Government’s new residency rules that give high net-worth individuals the opportunity to go and come as they please – read report

The interest of wealthy foreigners in buying properties in Barbados  is on the rise, reportedly as a result of Government’s new residency rules that give high net-worth individuals the opportunity to go and come as they please – read report

AS ANTOINETTE PILGRIM tried to salvage some of the pieces of her home at Eversley Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael, she vowed never to vote for her parliamentary representative Freundel Stuart ever again. – read report

AS ANTOINETTE PILGRIM tried to salvage some of the pieces of her home at Eversley Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael, she vowed never to vote for her parliamentary representative Freundel Stuart ever again. – read report

Notes From a Native Son: Managing in Good Times, Leading in Bad Times

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Most modern corporations and efficient public bodies provide management training for staff, both to help them do their current roles well and as preparation for promotion. It is what is expected of staff, and most importantly, of clients, that the people looking after their interests have the competence and skills to do so efficiently. Politics, however, is different. People quite often enter politics, with no management training apart from their formal and professional education.

In the case of Barbados, since a high proportion of our politicians are lawyers, they come in the majority of cases having not even had a junior to supervise or an office budget to manage. Yet, on appointment to the cabinet, they often find themselves with thousands of staff and million of dollars to look after. It is a horrifying prospect.

I remember a couple years ago asking a senior politician if members of cabinet received any private training in management and budget control before taking up office and/he told me no. I Britain, senior members of the cabinet receive private tutorials on how to manage staff and on controlling a budget.

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Barbados DLP is Nothing Like Obama’s Democratic Party: Sell Foolish Somewhere Else



In light of last night U.S State of the Union speech given by President Obama, the DLP again today attempted to draw parallels between the U.S Democratic Party and the failed Barbados DLP administration, which as I have said before on BU is “COMPLETELY LAUGHABLE” and here are (3) more key reasons why:

(1) On Deficit Reduction:
–       The U.S Democratic Party has made sure that deficit reduction measures did NOT fall unfairly on poor and middle class Americans.
In comparison.
–       The Barbados DLP has “COMPLETELY” placed deficit reduction measures on poor and middle class Bajans … raising the overall cost of living to new levels of “pain and sufferation” for poor and middle class Bajans.
(2)  Leadership
–       PRES. Obama has “FACED” a wide range of national challenges and has effectively harnessed best of breed public and private sector talent and innovative thinkers, to meet each challenge which has worked in large part and is a testimony to effective leadership in tough times.
In comparison:

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Notes From a Native Son: Are Barbadians Ready to Face the Political Music?

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

As the general election campaign heats up, some of us are looking in vain for an improvement in the quality of the discussion. So far, however, it remains on a level that would have been familiar to Eric ‘Fly’ Sealy and some of the old fringe campaigners who would say anything for anyone if the money was right. But the real victims of this low grade discourse are the ordinary people who are out of work, cannot pay their bills and, more often than is publicly acknowledged, cannot even feed their families. In the meantime, they allow themselves to drift along with the half-truths, lies and total fabrications often heard from the political platforms, and, even moreso, the omissions and denials piped through the media, both print and broadcast.

There are things about our island that we can genuinely celebrate: we do not have political assassins stalking public figures; we do not have drug addicts at every street corner nor toddlers taking drugs, no matter what self-promoting ‘criminologists’ may say; we do not have organised criminal gangs, apart from those people in influential positions who make it part of their project to rip off the tax man. In the main, Barbados is a relatively law abiding and decent society, despite pockets of deviancy and vulgarity.

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Submitted by Looking Glass

Stuart and Arthur, our political leaders in waiting

Stuart and Arthur, our political leaders in waiting

Yes, we need somebody with a firm hand to guide the ship of state at a time of incredible peril (Advocate April/22/201). So far the actions and promises echoed by both parties suggest ongoing deterioration and servitude not a return to prosperity.

Interested in politics from age 9 the PM prepared himself painstakingly and thoroughly for political service (Nation 25/1/2013). Given such interest one would expect he would have studied other subjects in addition to law to learn and understand something about the social and economic aspects of the country. This apparently has not been the case. So far his actions suggest he understands little. He knows who is incompetent, whose white family avoids them like the plague and who embarrassed a certain Senator by begging for a job etc, but apparently nothing about the $62 million National Debt the DLP inherited and the ownership of assets like the Port, Airport, Gems etc. .

The 2006 IMF report noted “lack of scope for development, vulnerability to external shock, the need to address macro-economic imbalances, the high level of public debt, large external fiscal external account deficits, declining international reserves and noted the weakness in statistical information. The Report referred to the situation before the DLP took over. There was no industrial accomplishment to serve as a basis for non-cyclical job generation and no purposeful additions to fuel the economy beyond tourism. Without diverse production and no real surplus we will remain dependent. Read Fallacy In Shoddy Robes Dec/1/2010.

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Beware BLP and DLP Politicians: LIAR,LIAR, Pants on Fire!

Donville Inniss - Minister of Health has accused BLP MPs of eating lunch in the lunchroom of parliament despite a decision to boycott parliament.

Donville Inniss – Minister of Health has accused BLP MPs of eating lunch in the lunchroom of parliament despite a decision to boycott parliament.

We are in the silly season and the standard, if we are to judge from the past, is for the public to expect lose information to spew from the mouths of politicians without serious challenge. During the silly season party supporters will seek to ‘legitimize’ information to attempt to give their side a political advantage. Given the challenges which continue to confront our tiny and vulnerable country, we deserve better from our politicians in and outside of government to manage the level of political discourse.

Those of us who try to be fair in our commentary have become fedup with the same old political barbs being tossed from one political side and then the other.  Hopefully the traditional media will join BU and others in social media to put the many unsubstantiated utterances of politicians under the microscope.

Yesterday in that august place Minister of Health Inniss revealed that some BLP members of parliament (MPs) ate lunch in the lunch room of parliament. Ordinarily such a revelation would not have raised eyebrows, however, against the background of boycott action by the Opposition it maybe viewed as bad judgement if they did. BU believes that the public should not be treated to a – yes they ate no they did not – by the supporters of both political parties. It should be a simple matter to confirm or refute Minister Inniss’ accusation.  Based on BU’s investigation so far the statement appears to be false. We are happy to correct our position if concrete confirmation is provided. The BU family has not forgotten the ‘flying a kite’ strategy by Minister Inniss that Kingsland is a location which is being favourably considered to relocate the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

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Being An Effective Leader…you either got it or you don't

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart accused of not being an effective leader

The meaning of a message is the change which it produces in the image — Kenneth Boulding

The question of Leadership is once more before us.

The importance of having an effective and influential and communicative leader cannot be more dire than now. Sending forward one’s politicos to put forward one’s position on the media (call in programs), just does not cut it. By all means performance counts…..not shutouts and behind backdoor temporary solutions….these are but liabilities to one’s portfolio and should be avoided …never an asset, just look where we are at today…..”you either got it or you don’t.” But what really constitutes an effective and well rounded leader…..we did some research and here are a few good pointers.

 Good Leader

You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader or someone else who determines if the leader is successful. If they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. To be successful you have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.

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The Question Of "Good Governance" For Barbados: Freundel Stuart Or Owen Arthur

Submitted by Yardbroom

Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

In the September 1994 General Election, Owen Seymour Arthur – a matter of days before his 45th birthday, 17th October – became Prime Minister of Barbados, he was of course leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and went on to hold that position until 15th January 2008 when the BLP lost the general election to the DLP – Democratic Labour Party – by 10 seats to 20.  During that reign – some might say an illustrious period – Owen Arthur became the longest serving Barbadian Prime Minister.  On the 19th January 2008 Arthur relinquished the leadership of the BLP and Mia Mottley was elected to that position.  He was reinstated and sworn in as leader of the BLP by a vote of confidence by four of his parliamentary colleagues on the 18th October 2010.

I will not dwell on the period January 2008 – October 2010 the Mia Mottley leadership interval.  I should make it quite clear this is not because of any misgivings about Mia Mottley it is just this submission is not about her.

In a relatively short time – months – the electorate will decide on the next government of Barbados; more should be pondered on than a simple reaction to the moment; a skip back in time should be part of that process.

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Westminster or West Sinister? Where Have All The Great Men Gone?

Submitted by Old Onion Bag

Acknowledged Father of Independence (l) succeeded by one who transitioned Barbados to the 'modern economy' (r)

Rather than have to think about my crime, I’d prefer to be completely unconscious – MACBETH

As once one of the more rapid evolving Third World countries, Barbados in past years has shown  the world (once envied by Singapore) its sustained economic prudence and masterful copying of the Westminster style Government and laws aptly earning the nickname Little England. This economic prowess which was conjured, was matched only by larger Caribbean communities the likes of oil rich, Trinidad and Tobago, and bauxitegold laden  Jamaica and Guyana.

Likewise were its leaders, who played the most important part of steering the ship through rough and uncharted waters, always finding safe harbour and never abandoning ship. Men the likes of Grantley Adams, Errol Walton Barrow, JMGM ‘Tom’ Adams and more recently Owen Seymour Arthur to name but a few have, all left a legacy of astute and celebrated leadership, that has borne fruit for this country.

Prime Ministers were looked up to for advice and direction in times of chaos. One could rest assured with the country in the hands of such men, that there would always be a solution to a problem and a phrase of  long lasting remembrance….”friends of many , satellites of none “.

How things have changed. We were always occasioned protection from the WOLVES who at many times came to our doors, with sinister plans and cohorts to disadvantage the Barbadian. With our then leaders, we could rest assured, that they would be right on hand to swiftly drive any such blackguards and bandits back to the shores from which they came, restoring peace and order to the country.

We long for the return of such days.

Another View Of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart's Leadership

Submitted by Yardbroom

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

The actions of a leader speak louder than his words.  People are motivated when you give them credit, rather than take it yourself.  Ego and aggression are neither necessary nor constructive“.

Should I believe that there cannot be quiet effective leaders.  We were told that there would be continuous disarray in the DLP Party at this juncture.  Names were mentioned, who were not satisfied with their particular positions or portfolios.  The expected squabbles have not materialised, ministers are doing the people’s business, the ship is steady, the shoots of recovery have started in the economy.  Properly watered and tended they will bear fruit in the long term.

Has all the above happened by accident, was there not a leader in charge?

No Government gets everything right, it is impossible to do but the populace must ask, over a range of issues have they been successful, and is there a sense of direction. On most projects in Barbados, from the small board and shingle house to others costing hundreds of millions, when government expenditure is involved, some will seek impropriety.  In some cases it might be true but we run the risk of negating any views we express, if there is a “constant” of looking for crookedness in those we oppose politically. It does not lead to mature debate, to constantly seek to undermine others for no other reason but to make it a spectator sport.

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If Not Fruendel Stuart, Who?

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

But what is leadership? It seems to be one of those qualities that you know when you see it, but is difficult to describe. There are almost as many definitions as there are commentators


Reading some of the comments on Facebook and other media there is a view gaining currency that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart needs to become more visible in the public’s eye. The elevation of Prime Minister Stuart after the death of David Thompson some argue was the obvious choice at the time. He had been acting over several months through a difficult period for the party and country in the shadow of a popular David Thompson. He deserved his chance some believed and that view was obviously supported by his parliamentary colleagues when the time came to select who from among them should lead.  His publicly stated view  that he had an aversion to treachery would have endeared him to the conservative Barbadian.  The fact that the late David Thompson had devolved all authority to Stuart has sparked many hot political discussions.

BU suggests the leadership cupboard is bare on the Democratic Labour Party side of the fence. God forbid Stuart were not able to perform his current role as Prime Minister all kinds of ‘issues’ potentially could come to the fore. Should it be Estwick who has always made it known he is capable? What about the pretender Donville Inniss? Not to forget the anointed one Chris Sinckler. To the interested observer Prime Minister Stuart’s laid back – some would say aloof – style gives an opening for those on the other side to stoke the current discussion about whether he is an effective leader.

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An Outdated Legal System In Need Of Leadership

Attorney General and Home Affairs Minister Adriel Brathwaite

The arrest of the venerable lawyer Leroy Lynch on a 2.2 million fraud charge  on the weekend, has sent ripples through the legal fraternity and wider society. Why would Mr. Lynch, who has represented First Caribbean International Bank, and before that CIBC for many years, sought to perpetrate fraud has proved to be incomprehensible to BU. It will be interesting to observe the Director of Public Prosecutor’s argument.

The Lynch issue has served yet again to catapult the legal profession into the public eye. The recently appointed President of the Barbados Bar Association (Bar) Andrew Pilgrim, and his early struggle to transmit an unequivocal position on behalf of the Bar regarding the decision to amend the law to accommodate the appointment of incoming Chief Justice Marston Gibson, is symptomatic of something greater. Last week retired jurist and former Attorney General Sir Frederick Smith was surprisingly censored on a talk show when he attempted to speak about the cabals which exist inside the Bar.

BU’s investigation has turned up that they are those who operate within the realm of the judicature whose power structures have suddenly become threatened by the imminent arrival by someone outside the inner circle.  Now that the government has shown it is determined to appoint Marston Gibson, some members of the Bar might be seen as  using intimidatory tactics to signal to Gibson his life will be very uncomfortable sitting on the Bench should he accept the job. In a nutshell the appointment of Marston Gibson will disrupt a pecking order which is sure to irritate the fraternity of men in wigs who gather in the back rooms to toss back glasses of Sherry from time to time before handing down their decisions.

Many may become distracted with the the issues being generated by the appointment of incoming Chief Justice Marston Gibson but a clog in the wheel to dispensing justice in Barbados has been the inefficiency of the Court Registry. The leadership of the Registry has demonstrated over time to be highly incompetent. Could it be there is a fear  Gibson will actually expect the leadership of the Court Registry to ‘up their game’?

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Is It Weak Managers Or The Old Model?

Submitted by Judy F. Clarke


There have been a few voices in the media recently, intimating that the qualities of managers operating in business here, leaves a lot to be desired. While this may be true, the real root of the problem is that the old model of managing no longer applies in these contemporary times.

The 19th Century manager was perceived as the only one having the capability to  combine the factors of production in order to achieve maximum productivity in the workplace,  however management styles have and are evolving from the ‘command and control’ system which finds its genesis in the plantation culture.

This model has always presented the worker with little recourse but to do as he or she was told, while creating a chasm between management and employees, where material gains, threats and coercion was the arsenal used to whip the worker into  shape.

Even though we have developed as a society this outdated model continues to follow us in spite of new players coming on the scene.

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He Loves Me He Loves Not …


George Pilgrim, General Secretary, Democratic Labour Party

He loves me he loves not …

Dear Owen,

The above verse seeks to capture how I think you feel about me. You have never loved me. Your public utterances about your feelings towards me were always somewhat suspect. You left the public wondering what was it you really wanted to say. I was very hurt when you said back in October last year: “The BLP has a challenge and we have a situation where there’s not a contest for leadership within the party, but there is a problem in the wider Barbados society, where there is unacceptance and unacceptability of the present leader of the party. . . The challenge facing Ms Mottley and the party is not within the parliamentary group. The challenge is to have a leader who enjoys wide acceptance and acceptability in the wider society, and wide acceptance in the parliamentary party.”

You know how I feel about October, each year I celebrate my birthday in October and yet you choose that as your annual torment month. You have always tried to upset me on my birthday and it really hurts. I have worked in your camp from inception and never once sought to publicly betray your leadership. Today, I am a hurt woman. I hurt as a woman because the Men In Black have cast me aside. I feel as if you have no use for women in your life as you have all but treated my female parliamentary colleagues in much the same manner. You called my lifelong friend Elizabeth “cantankerous” and then publicly fired her. Dame Billie, the pride of the females in the Cabinet, was never taken seriously as you assigned her the role that would ensure she was never around. To cap it off, you then placed right outside her door, the former Assistant General Secretary of the Democratic Labour Party, Kerrie Symmonds. How could you do that knowing what Kerrie say about all of us? He once referred to us as 1000 pounds of blubber. You dropped him on us and as a faithful steward, I compiled. I know you never took Cynthia Forde seriously, so she would never have filled your eyes.

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David Estwick Sends A Warning

Minister of Agriculture

The attached full page statement in two parts (1,2) appears in the Sunday Sun, page 18A of 17 October 2010. The statement was signed by someone named ‘Barbadian’.  The statement is clear in what it sets out to do, i.e. list the exemplary record of Minister David Estwick while at the economic planning ministry. It also seeks to disassociate Minister Estwick from decisions taken by the Ministry of Finance.

It appears while most Democratic Labour Party supporters are currently revelling in the misfortune of the Barbados Labour Party leadership tug-a-war interests close to Estwick have determined this to be an opportune time to fire a cannonball across the bow of the Ship DLP. Perhaps the signal by Estwick is opportune given what is the bigger issue at play.

We are living in interesting times.

Fire In The City That Killed 6 people (possibly 7, one female may have been pregnant)

Submitted by The Gospel Knight Rider

Incensed by this recent EVIL act that occurred in Tudor Street, people are again crying out for hanging. THIS IS RIDICULOUS; in about two weeks we will be back where we were before.

You see we have leaders that are void of principles, they take stands based on public opinion and in the case of hanging; they (our leaders) stand with the international community (Amnesty International and the likes). If you do not have a stance based on principle, it can be said; if you stand for nothing, then you will fall for anything. Its this falling for anything that we as a people are seeing our society go down the hill of moral decay. Until leaders be leaders, and until leaders stand for principles that encourage a strong and righteous society (what ever happened to Biblical principles that made western civilization so strong); then we will follow the road of so many other societies that are failing. Let Tudor Street be a wake up call.

From an earlier post – “We have to move out of the past and into today’s world to stay relevant; again someone has to make it happen and stop talking. We need movers not talkers. We need action not eloquent speeches. We need strong leaders, not well spoken wimps.”

Onward Christian Soldiers

Adults Wearing School Uniforms To Crop Over Parties, Are They Also Supporting The Alumni And Parent Teachers Associations?

Joy Workman and Eudine Barriteau (right), deputy principal of the University of the West Indies - Photo Credit Nation Newspaper

The 2010 Crop Over Festival is about to reach its climax. Tonight will see the staging of Cohobblopot which is being promoted with all local performers; a departure from the past two years. Tomorrow the masqueraders will take to the road to jump on Kadooment Day on a new route which has generated the usual controversy among the band leaders. All in all the NCF directorate seems to be happy with how the festival has gone so far. Not sure the criteria which is being used.

Before the festival closes we want to share our opinion on the growing popularity by adults to wearing their school uniforms to Crop Over fetes. The fetes are openly promoted as ‘Back to School Fetes’, to be admitted a school uniform must* be worn. There was one such fete a couple weeks ago by Power X 4 which attracted thousands of party people and the police had to stop the fete for security reasons. If Barbadians did not have an opinion on the matter the outspoken Minister of Education Ronald Jones provoked many given his position on the matter.

“. . . Because of the profound respect I had for the uniform of my school, I am not wearing that to any fete, before school, after school, or even during school, especially during vacation; unless it was a special programme organised by my school where you ask the students to turn up in their uniforms.

“How far we have drifted. The kind of respect we hold to certain symbols that give us authority, that give us presence in our schools. There are so many things that people can do to enjoy themselves. I want them to leave the uniforms alone. I want them to leave the uniforms for the symbols of the schools,” Jones said” – Nation Newspaper.

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Reflections Of A COLLAPSING ECONOMY That Would Not Collapse

Hartley Henry - Principal Political Advisor to the Hon. Prime Minister

In their next life, I would suggest that the current leadership of the Barbados Labour Party become missionaries. No other group of persons I know has come close to carrying a message of imminent rapture as has those who have for the past 30 months predicted the total destruction of Barbados and its economy.

Growing up in Barbados for the past two score and more years, I have been told that “we are living in the last days” and “Christ is about to come”.

Two things we know, for sure, are that the second coming is closer today than it was 40 years ago, and that no man knoweth the day or the hour when Christ the King shall appear. Our mandate therefore is to be prepared!

Ever since the change of government in this country 30 months ago, we have had a tri monthly avalanche of soothsayer’s advice, telling us the collapse of the Barbados economy is imminent. Indeed, two estimates debates ago, we were told the country could not have gotten through the financial year and that all systems would have grounded to a halt.

Those in the Barbados Labour Party who still have not come to terms with the election result of January 15th 2008, have made a favorite past time of coming to the country every three months with the most outlandish of forecasts; warning that the meal we eat could be our last and that the job we have and the home we possess will all be taken.

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Quality Of Bajan Life Must Not Be Compromised At The Altar Of CSME And Freedom Of Movement


The Immigration Debate has abated because of a combination of a stagnant economy, Barbadians loudly voicing dissatisfaction at the open door immigration policy practiced by the former government and a new government whose politics is built on a hybrid ideology of socialism cum populism.

In October 2009 the government disseminated a Green Paper on Immigration which sought to stimulate discussion on these issues which drive our immigration policies and which are critical to both national security and national development. It is anticipated that on conclusion of this extensive dialogue the White Paper will therefore reflect Government’s position on this important issue in addition to the views of the people.

True to its word the government of Barbados facilitated feedback from the public by staging town hall meetings, receiving letters and emails etc. Prime Minister David Thompson promised at the final town hall meeting in March 2010 that  in a matter of a few months, a white paper setting out a new immigration policy will be completed. The last time we checked about two weeks ago our parliament had not received any notification the White Paper on Immigration was ready for debate. It is interesting to note because of the illness of David Thompson Fruendel Stuart has been appointed acting Prime Prime Minister, he is on record declaring that Barbados is not ready to become the warehouse for unskilled workers in the Caribbean. He is now in a position to drive the amendment to the Immigration Law to give meat to his pronouncement.

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While Nero Played The Fiddle, Rome Burns: Whither The Region, Our Future…

Submitted by Nero (real name withheld by request of the author)

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

Perusing the Sunday newspapers there was the usual parade of items that caught the attention of journalists, and the ministerial agenda, Hon. Richard Sealy at a camp, Hon. Esther Suckoo opening a library, Hon. Steve Blackett at Cropover, Hon. David Estwick and Delisle Worrell laughing at dinner.  Sir Ronald Sanders’ article stood out in sharp contrast, a commentary on the Owen Arthur speech in Bahamas, prompting the writer to urge immediate action by governments for the sake of our future. It reminded me that I had got my hands on that speech, and I needed to read it.

I interrupted my viewing of the National Youth Forum, where our very talented children were performing confidently, to read the Arthur speech. The import and the stark incongruity of the state of the regional economies as a result of this global crisis and the beaming confidence of our children in our leaders to do more than provide then with a ‘voice’ but to work competently to guide the economic affairs of our country to provide them with a future, could not help but to have sprung to mind.


Excerpts of the speech given by the Hon Owen Seymour Arthur in Bahamas June 2010

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Vision Needed NOW More Than Ever From Our Politicos

Submitted by Kammie Holder

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Freundel Stuart

There is no need for armed guards in our schools, where next will we want armed guards, probably in churches on Sundays.

The Royal Barbados Police Force has been intellectualised! As an employer sometimes I have to overlook qualifications for aptitude as well as attitude. Successive governments have neglected the RBPF human resource needs while spending millions on a telecommunications system from Motorola. Please don’t misunderstand me the system was necessary.

The hierarchy of the RBPF has not shown vision along with the Attorney General Chambers. Why in 2010 manpower is deployed on a highway to trap speeders? Why in 2010 you have men patrolling Bridgetown looking for persons parked illegally. A waste of manpower. Change legislation to allow video evidence to be admissible in court, traffic violators in the UK are sent tickets via mail with video evidence of infraction.

Don`t tell me cost is an issue and we have ministers staying in US$1000 a night hotels.

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Barbados Government Workers Should Be Held To Improved Performance Standards And Non Performers Replaced

Submitted by Austin

As a senior management professional there are two key aspects to being successful in any business or government organization, (1) its leadership, and (2) its staff.  It appears that the Barbados government is “SEVERLY SUFFERING” from sub-standard performance in both these areas, which will only severely impact our ability to get our nation’s economy back on track, independent of how much tax payer money we throw at our problems.

To the issue of leadership, elected official are one thing but if the government official and workers appointed and hired to run the daily operations of our ministries, are not performing and reaching national civil service objectives, “THEY SHOULD BE REPLACED”.

Each year I establish performance goals and objectives for my staff that is clear, concise and more importantly “MEASURABLE”. Barbados government workers should be held to a similar standard, and if they are held to some standard it clearly needs to be revised.

Is Barbados Resting On Its Laurels?

leadershipIt seems appropriate that we should end 2009 by focusing on the global recession which has decimated the developing economies of the world, Barbados included. The irony of it all is while some have lauded the benefits of globalization and economic partnership agreements; the resulting inter-connectivity of world economies has exposed the vulnerability of such an approach. Continuing the current model will ensure that  Barbados and other developing economies will forever be dependent of the economies of the G20. Importantly is the challenge of small states to generate options to grow GDP capacity given our high debt burden. Although a significant percentage of our debt is  a result of vision-less regional governments over the years there is the greed of Wall Street which must be factored.

Entering 2010 the challenge for Barbados must be to build a roadmap and find the financial resources to roll out policies and projects which will reposition the economy of Barbados to grow GDP. Some may suggest that a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government is not suited to manage the economy at this time given its historical focus on rolling out social programs at the expense of  fiscal and monetary policies. Time will tell if the experience gained in the 90s would have equipped Prime Minister David Thompson and the new Central Bank Governor Dr.  Delisle Worrell to confront the current economic challenges.

US 1.5%
Germany 0.3%
France 0.9%
Italy 0.2%
UK 0.9%
Japan 1.7%
Canada 2.1%
China 9%
India 6.4%

Source: International Monetary Fund

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Submitted by Adrian Loveridge

What would almost ONE million Dollars be doing in an ESCHEATED ‘checking’ account (# 01283012) under the name of the Ministry of Finance Poverty Alleviation Grant?

See page 46a Sunday Sun 29th November 2009 where the Barbados National Bank Inc, lists a number of unclaimed or dormant accounts.

Would this not have been picked up by the Auditor General and is there no actual use for this poverty alleviation grant?

It Is Crunch Time

Dr. Don Marshall, Senior Fellow, UWI Cave Hill

Dr. Don Marshall, Senior Fellow, UWI Cave Hill

There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation – W. C. Fields

The recent downgrade in the outlook of Barbados investment paper by Standards & Poors given our  BBB  rating continues to generate much debate in Barbados. What seems to be fuelling the debate even more is the hint that a downgrade to our investment grade maybe around the corner given the rapid rate Barbados continues to accumulate debt. Barbadians have become alarmed at the prospect of having its investment paper perched at the brink of junk rating, a status most unfamiliar to Barbadians through the years. The fallout from attracting low credit rating by the credit rating agencies is the high cost to borrow if Barbados needs to float bonds in the capital markets.

Isn’t it ironic the current financial crisis which precipitated the global recession and led developing countries like Barbados to go enter an economic tailspin would have to suffer the penalty of credit rating downgrades by agencies which played a part to begin with?  BU rejects the explanation by Professor Dr. Avinash Persaud that the credit rating agencies failed when rating structured products and not country ratings. How can one excuse the model for one area of their business over the next?

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Who Will Show Barbadians The WAY?


Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow

Once upon a time some of our leaders had the idea to come together and by pooling resources our region might benefit. The thrust of the leadership of what eventually evolved to CARICOM came from the Big Four, Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. BU has often ruminated how Barbados was regarded as one of the Big Four. If we judge by size, Trinidad and Tobago is 1980 square miles (including Tobago), Guyana is 76,000 square miles and Jamaica is 4181 square miles. Embarrassingly Barbados is plotted at 166 square miles.

Barbados of the Big Four is not blessed with any significant natural resources. Using a strategy of educating its people successive governments have empowered its people to exploit what limited opportunities exist in a very competitive world. Our legacy of good governance is a matter of record.

It is instructive 40 plus years hence independence to review the scorecard of the Big Four. Jamaica has done a good job of mismanaging its economy. In the 70s when then Prime Minister Michael Manley’s economic policies failed and he was forced to seek the IMF. Although there was a lift in the 80s it is yet to regain the momentum pre-1972.

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Something Is Happening

Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow

The Late Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow

There was a time when Barbadians were clear about the country we wanted to build. It was a time when our leaders were bold in policy making even if it departed from what others were doing. Former Prime Minister and National Hero Errol Walton Barrow asserted many years ago that Barbadians will be friends of all and satellites of none. In a short utterance Barrow was able to encapsulate the esprit de corps of the Barbadian. Sadly as we scan Barbados a few years later we seem to have become sucked into the currents of what is popular is the standard. We have to agree with the oft saying, where there is a vacuum undesirable elements will take a foothold.

Where is the leadership!

Last week Barbadians were treated to the arrival of Jet Blue $99.00 dollar airfare and all. BU like many is elated by the news our tourism authorities were able to entice an airline, any airline to fly the US to Barbados route in challenging times. In the decision, we calculated the many tourists who will change their minds and travel to Barbados despite the uncertain economic times which currently prevails in North America. Our number one foreign exchange earner has been taking a beating of late; we need those tourists to come to our shores. We can criticize our governments for building an economy which is uncomfortably reliant on tourism but until we come up with something better, we have to work with it.

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The Barbados DEBT* Bubble: Is The Devaluation Of The Dollar Imminent? – Part II

Submitted by Terence Blackett

debtOn October 4th 1982, the IMF entered into standby arrangements with Barbados for the purchase of SDR’s to the tune of $31.87 million. During this 18 month structural adjustment program, Courtney Blackman (then Central Bank Governor) maintained that – “an exchange rate devaluation was discussed but not seriously contemplated.” (1989:62)

Again in 1991 a similar type IMF program was implemented which would have resulted in increased interest rates, massive layoffs in the public sectors and major cuts in public expenditure – the choice was clear that devaluation was not an option but that radical cuts were necessary to stave off a possible crisis of confidence in the public sector finances.

Just recently Christina Daseking, Deputy Division Chief for the Western Hemisphere Department of the IMF issued the following statement to Barbados officials in the Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs, Labor, Transport, Social Care, and Foreign Trade, the Central Bank of Barbados, and representatives of the private sector and labor, and the Opposition BLP:

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Commonsense And A Firm But Measured Response By The Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson And His Minister Of Health Donvile Inniss…And Then The Knighted One

Submitted by Yardbroom

Sir Shridath Surendranath "Sonny" Ramphal, OE, OM, GCMG, ONZ, AC, QC, FRSA

Sir Shridath Surendranath "Sonny" Ramphal, OE, OM, GCMG, ONZ, AC, QC, FRSA

An article in the Nation News by Wade Gibbons published 6-29-2009 attributed the following comments to Mr Inniss: “Minister of Health Donvile Inniss disclosed that public health facilities were under mounting pressure as a result of having to deal with the high number of undocumented immigrants. However, he told the Daily Nation that Government would not change its policy of not seeking to know people’s immigrant status before providing them with health care”. The Prime Minister David Thompson had previously made the Government’s position, direction and focus abundantly clear in an interview.

In the many articles now prevalent in the Guyanese Press and other areas, it is unlikely that this report will be given “top billing”. The reason being it does not demonise the Barbados Government enough, and has not got the illegal immigrant being preyed upon component, to wet the appetites of some who denigrate us from abroad. However, facts accurately presented will always reduce the lies and deceit now pedalled into convulsions.

I was pleased with the measured tone used by Minister Donvile Inniss; no “vitriolic exhibitionism” as recently used by a “supposed West Indian heavyweight”, but those words he – the supposed heavyweight – used…will come back to haunt him. A knight errant – in days past – often wandered and sought deeds of courage and chivalry to perform; now we have the “wandering” but alas nothing else with which to engage. The knighted one tried to obfuscate on the ground reality by introducing terminology synonymous with people been burned out of their homes; children being wrenched apart from their mothers and taken away in the night, leaving behind the smouldering embers of their dwellings, and fathers never seen again, having been taken to secluded places.

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How Can It Help Barbados If Its Interests And Prosperity Are DEGRADED To Benefit Other CARICOM Countries?

Submitted by Yardbroom

The Great MigrationI am not against CARICOM if it is possible to achieve its main purpose which I understand to be: …”promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to promote foreign policy”… I find it difficult to accept that with regard to illegal immigration, any benefits of integration are equitably shared.  There are no benefits in this area – certainly not for Barbados – but the burden is being shouldered by little Barbados, and for its efforts to cope with a difficult situation it is being vilified by a cohort, some not Barbadian but who reside in Barbados.

Many of personal choice have made Barbados their home, now they seek to criticise all things Barbadian…we are indeed a tolerant people.  I sometimes wonder if they hate the fact that they have had – regardless of the circumstances – to come to this little rock to reside in peace and relative tranquility, surely that is not the fault of Barbadians.

A vibrant few who earn a living by the pen and other media forms; buoyed up by kindred academics seem reluctant to proffer any advice to Prime Minister Barat Jagdeo of Guyana despite being natives of that country.  They are always “mute” in their diligent examination of Guyanese politics, but wax loquacious on Barbados talk programmes and the pen is always at hand to criticise our Government.

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It Is Not ALWAYS Wise For The Opposition Party To Oppose

Submitted by Yardbroom

BLPThe opposition party should naturally take a principled position on some issues, when they are part of their core beliefs or what makes them the Party they are. Consideration should also be given to tactics, pragmatism, strategy and most importantly what is in the country’s best interest…in the short and long term.  In recent months have the aforementioned positions been adopted by The Barbados Labour Party? I am not sure they have.  This submission is not a “critique” it is a personal observation and I am sure others will have a different perception of events.  However, since I have raised the subject, the onus is on me to justify my position.

The DLP Government introduced free travel for school children.  In the present economic climate it is difficult to see how such a policy could be disadvantageous to those for whom it was intended.  A spin off from this initiative was the “perceived” influence travelling on ZR’s was having on young minds and the behaviour that ensued.  There are those who will argue this supposed ZR culture is part of today’s society and school children not travelling on ZR’s will have no or a negligible impact on their behaviour…I will not contest that view now.

The opposition’s position…as I understood it was that the money could be better spent in other areas, and was a waste of the Government’s resources.  Money can always be otherwise disposed of, you have to identify a specific area and then balance the benefits from that disposal against the free travel for school children, to make a reasonable case to the electorate.  If you fail to do that or cannot because of the evident benefits of the initiative…it is best not to oppose. Continue reading

Barbados Water Authority: A Failed State Enterprise

water_nitratePrime Minister David Thompson announced in his recent Financial Statement 2009 that water rates will be increased to Barbadians, possibly as soon as next month. Although the Prime Minister has given the assurance that any increase will be negligible, the  impact must be judged by government on how the increase will affect Barbadians who are below the poverty line and businesses that use water as a significant input to production, we would urge the government to thread with care on this matter.

The revelation by the Prime Minister has triggered a side-debate about  the BWA not falling under the oversight of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), an institution which remains pregnant with promise to consumers well passed its gestation period.  It is our understanding that the current legislation prohibits the FTC from hearing complaints from government enterprises. Our source confirms that there is a move afoot to change the legislation.

BU understands the thinking and motive of the previous to shielding the BWA and by extension the people of Barbados from a privately run BWA. BU can also understand that oversight of the BWA by the political directorate would more readily feel the pressure to keep water rates down. The experience so far of the FTC and LIME, formerly Cable & Wireless has not been a rewarding one for Barbadian consumers. One shudders to think if the BWA were privatized where would the water rate settle.

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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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The People’s Business Is Paramount

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley

In is no secret that the world is facing an economic and financial crisis of an unprecedented nature. It is now well documented that the crisis was precipitated by the indiscipline fueled by greed practiced by the suits on Wall Street. Most economies of the world are now intertwined  based on the free trade concept which underpins globalization. The inherent flaw in the concept of globalization is if the developed world stutter the developing world immediately contracts the fits.

Barbados economic stewardship to date is one which is envied by many. The benefit is seen in a per capita income which belies our size and resources. At this juncture of an unprecedented global economic crisis we have a new government which has to manage a complicated set of circumstances.

It is not our intention to pontificate on matters of economics and finance which are somewhat above our pay grade. We will leave that to Mr. Jones over at Living In Barbados blog and Hartley Henry.  What we know is the challenges that lie ahead demands that we depart from the usual protagonist roles which Westminster politics breeds, and reach across the political aisle to lead our beloved country through this perfect economic storm.

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