Yellow Journalism Alive at Fontabelle

In the social media world it is referred to as click bait, not sure of the equivalent in the dead tree world.

A few weeks ago the BU blogmaster was critical of the Sunday Sun editor for offending the sensibilities of many Bajans by inserting a picture of Peter Wickam and partner on the front page. The objective of report was to share the news a prominent local person had taken a husband? There was reference to a marriage to further irritate.

Today the Sunday Editor repeated poor judgment by introducing as front page news a disagreement between late Prime Minister David Thompson’s wife Mara and her mother in law Margaret Knight. It seems like a story traditional media should have left for the blogs to rumble with. Truth be told circulation is flagging and money makes the world go around.

A more worthy angle would have been to inquire from Mara Thompson when her husband’s will was probated and to confirm if she is the beneficiary of tens of millions largely derived from her late husband’s servicing of the CLICO account. This is a matter of national import given the hundreds of CLICO policyholders poorer for purchasing CLICO product. Instead the Sunday Sun preferred to share the news that Mara Thompson turned her back on the 88 year old mother in law by refusing to pay her rent.

What would the late David Thompson say if he were alive to see his mother spurned by Mara?

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Mara Thompson’s Porous Legacy

The idea to hatch a Thompson dynasty in the St. John constituency by the late prime minister David Thompson at the behest of his political advisor Hartley Henry ended in failure last week.   The last representative for the St. John riding Mara Thompson  announced her retirement from elective politics last week and took the opportunity to anoint George Pilgrim who was cherry-picked by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to contest the next general election.

Members of the BU family are keen observers of local politics and the decision by Mara bears a severe critique on several fronts .

She will be remembered for being an incompetent participant in the affairs of parliament whether on her feet or presiding in the Chair as deputy Speaker. Hansard will support. There is no need to be prolix on this matter. For anyone who wants to challenge please point the blogmaster to one seminal intervention she made in her role as a contributor in parliament. The only ‘significant’ contribution that comes to mind was her reference to ‘barren’ women.

The blogmaster admits erring in our support- as the BU archives will support- of the Thompsons. Subsequent events have unfolded to give credence to the view that to err is human.

Although her late husband grabbed the focus as it relates to the Clico Scandal. And revelations contained in the Deloitte Forensic Audit confirmed there is justification in the tainted legacy he has earned. The fact Mara Thompson operated as Office Manager at the defunct Thompson and Associates and MUST have been privy to decisions taken by her husband, not to mention via the pillar talk channel, will also besmirch her legacy and hang around her neck like a yoke rested on our favourite beast of burden  – and the children.  Citizens of the secular world will exact their pound of flesh in recompense, however, there is hope if she claims to be a ‘believer’ to seek repentance for her worldly sins.

The ‘infraction’ the blogmaster prefers to prosecute at this time given our core focus is one of the role of media holding public officials accountable.

It was on November 2017 the Nation newspaper published a story which advised that Mara Thompson:

…will be vacating had been held by her late husband, former Prime Minister David Thompson, from 1987 when he was elected following the death in office of Prime Minister Errol Barrow. Thompson’s death in office in 2010 led to the January 2011 by-election which his widow easily won. Thompson’s disclosure ended weeks of speculation about whether she would be facing the poll constitutionally due early in 2018 – Nation newspaper 15 November 2017

What was amusing is that the local media was forced to defend the story although its source was an interview- albeit a brief one- given by Mara Thompson. She subsequently denied the story. Clearly events have shown that she jumped the gun by making the announcement. We are left to speculate that it was the lack of readiness by the DLP to declare her replacement with a general election looming.

Mara Thompson’s reluctance to ‘lie’ about her premature announcement shows she is no different in moral fibre to the person she deputized for while sitting in the Speaker’s Chair (MICHEAL CARRINGTON). Whether as a member of parliament or Office Manager of Thompson and Associates the conclusion is the same. This is a person who is devoid of the qualities to engage in ethical behaviour if the need to be politically expedient is required. Sadly this is the prevailing quality that describes the local political class.

Why has the media given Mara Thompson a pass?

Mara Thompson’s Clandestine Exit from St. John

George Pilgrim, General Secretary, DLP

Dear Editor:

It has become quite apparent that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, is disillusioned. The DLP no longer has the moral compass to look itself in the mirror and project an image of progress and prosperity for the Barbados nation. Notwithstanding that the DLP has been churning from one crisis to another without the successful relief one would hope for, it is painful to grasp the numerous ways in which Barbadians are being taken for granted, ignored, and in a myriad of ways they are being disrespected.

Indeed, there must be an apology forthcoming to Gercine Carter of the Nation Newspaper. In addition, Leroy McClean, the St. John electorate, and Barbados as a nation ought to be given both explanation and apology regarding Mara Thompson’s clandestine exit from the political arena. While the ‘childless women’ across Barbados, and the thousands of disappointed constituents may find relief in having the opportunity to elect a parliamentary representative who understands the importance of service and putting the people first, it is regrettable that ‘Mara’ would depart from political life (though unimpressive) through the back door.

Equally disheartening is that the leadership of the DLP would remain silent while the General Secretary of this beleaguered party allows himself to be introduced as the likely successor although it became public knowledge that Dr. Leroy McClean wrote to the party machinery indicating his interest in carrying the banner for the DLP. Perhaps, Senator Andre Worrell must be wondering how many more ridiculous defences must he put to be considered in the eyes of the ‘Elders’ or whomsoever has the say within the DLP for undemocratically selecting candidates.

There must be a contradiction that the DLP would resort to perceived sneakiness and stealth, either to keep out Dr. McClean or Senator Worrell. Why introduce or endorse George Pilgrim, as opposed to allowing the democratic way to prevail?

Nonetheless, Charles Griffith of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is homegrown (Edgecliff). Charles Griffith is selfless in his interactions with the youth and persons from all walks of life across St. John. Mr. Griffith will not refuse to defend the hardworking St. John People. Despite many constituents in St. John have over the years settled into the thinking that the DLP will no longer make them sacrificial lambs, the last eight years have cemented the idea that change is necessary. Charles Griffith will not depart from his humble moorings of working alongside the people of St. John. St. John needs a new light and a caring representative because the DLP has become darkened by perceptions of ruse and deception. Mara Thompson has decided to run for cover.

George C. Brathwaite (PhD)

Stephen for Mara in St. John?

The following document was received in the BU inbox which promotes the view that Mara Thompson will NOT  be contesting the St. John seat at the next general election. What is surprising is the suggestion that Stephen Lashley is looking to jump the Christ Church West Central ship?

Discuss for 5 marks.

The George Brathwaite Column – Rejecting Youth, Pillorying Women?

Submitted by Dr. George C. Brathwaite

Last week, Barbadians were exposed to several alarming political utterances when Members of Parliament (MPs) debated the Appropriation Bill 2017. Barbadians heard frantic reactions to the state of affairs. The Bill was theatrically delivered by MP Christopher Sinckler, arguably, the most unpopular Minister of Finance in the history of Barbados. The gravity of the socio-economic circumstances, and providing few realistic answers, prompted Sinckler to request help as both the economy and society came under the microscope of public scrutiny.

Sadly, Barbadians received the typical false narratives that serve to further divide a polity at odds with itself. The abject polarization that was on show, particularly by Democratic Labour Party (DLP) MPs, appeared disrespectfully desperate. Knowing that they were being seen on television and being heard on radio, the politicians postured and panted; they agreed and disagreed. The DLP MPs accused and angered persons inside and outside of the public gallery.

DLP MPs were at pains to be convincing even if this meant taking political rhetoric and grandstanding to extravagant extremes. By Friday night, Barbadians preferred to filter the folly, frivolity, and farcical ferocity that fanned flames of fury. Put differently, Barbadians although burdened to listen to the debate, readily denounced the unfolding social constructions that were recklessly spoken by absent-minded legislators. The politicians, for the most part, all looked serious although some signalled nothing useful or edifying in their contributions.

The posturing and the discursive practices merely exposed a refractory majority when compared with a more thoughtful minority. These phenomena have produced a cacophony of adversarial approaches and entrenched antagonisms that stretch across Barbados. Surely, with general elections now in the foresights of those gunning for a seat, the caustic tones and insults were anticipated to increase. Such infractions featured multiple times during the debate.

Ironically, the dear loving people made several controversial remarks and displayed strings of irrational behaviour. Barbadians are questioning whether the DLP used offensive statements purely for amplification or dastardly for distraction. Clearly, there was sheer worry by the DLP to the point of rejecting the youth and later pillorying women. There is the perception that a couple MPs crudely reverted to threat and bullying, instead of reasoned and logical statements of fact.

Firstly, Social Care Minister Steve Blackett sought to intimidate more than appreciate the positives of Barbadian youth participating in national affairs. An infuriated Blackett gave a stinging rebuke to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the parents of 13-year-old Khaleel Kothdiwala. The teenager had addressed a rally immediately following the national march of disgust on the previous weekend which attracted over 10, 000 persons. Notwithstanding, Blackett stepped into the chasms of stupidity when he showed a lack of reasonableness or clarity of thought regarding parental guidance and support.

Blackett stated that the BLP “had a young man, 13 years … parading across the stage with or without the permission of his parents, in full glare of all, exploiting the young man.” Shooting from the hip, Blackett made the illogical claim that Khaleel’s youthful presence on stage “is equivalent … to sexual abuse or physical abuse.” What an absurdity! Many persons have since dismissed Blackett’s sinister statement and more generally, pointed out his proclivity for not going after the real targets of sexual and physical abuse.

Ironically, the very Steve Blackett made another disturbing but hypocritical pronouncement. Badly hatched from his pious posturing, Blackett chose the identity markers of religion and racism to wrongfully condemn the oldest political party in Barbados. Blackett contemptuously complained against the strong signals sent to the DLP regime on March 11th. Blackett remonstrated by mockingly praying “that every single Christian, every single Muslim, every single Hindu get on their knees and pray for this country because the Barbados Labour Party is heading the country down a particular avenue that will cause bloodshed in this country based on how they are behaving and how they are conducting themselves in public life in Barbados.” It is a load! Clearly, Blackett was in a mistaken chamber.

Blackett’s unconvincing behaviour has subsequently done more to refocus the national gaze on the prolonged failings of Cabinet under Prime Minister Stuart than on the Queen’s College student who is presently preparing to fly to Bali, Indonesia. Khaleel Kothdiwala will represent Barbados at the World Schools Debating Championships in August this year. Given Blackett’s sordid judgement and erroneous condemnation, it may be best that Barbadians never again vote for Steve Blackett to sit in the House of Assembly.

With some pull back, although leaving it to interpretation, Minister Ronald Jones spoke and carefully suggested that he was not in Parliament “to condemn the 13-year-old youngster or the parents.” However, Jones did insist that “it was a bit unusual” to see outstanding teenagers take to the civic space afforded, given the politics of Barbados. The Minister of Education contended that Khaleel’s appearing on the stage of the political rally “would appear to be exploitative.” One can only hazard a guess as to the use or meaning of the term exploitative.

In fact, the DLP’s style of combining partisan invective with a redefinition of words and terms are by no means novel. So, as one moved away from the irate silliness invoked by Blackett, there was but short relief. Next came extreme pills of verbal bitterness from the MP for St. John. Mara Thompson; she contrived a display of feigned caring for the young. She may well have forgotten that her children were present and visible at many cat fights in and outside of the campaign trails in St. John and Barbados. Mara Thompson pompously cluttered in a level of ignorance that does not sit well with all those who became familiar with a teenaged David Thompson.

Damaging and inexcusable, Mara Thompson sunk to a vile low by disgracefully castigating the ‘childless’ females who are legitimate representatives of the people in their respective constituencies. In effect, Barbadians came full-face with Mara Thompson’s disdain for embracing reality. The public gallery saw upfront her insensitivity towards other women appearing not to be blessed with children of their own. Disgracefully, Thompson’s resentful tenor offended the youngest Member of Parliament. Thompson had to be scolded and reminded that her more fortunate electoral circumstances, practically guaranteed her a seat in the Assembly. Surely, such luck does not give Mara Thompson hegemony over other women in parliament or across the Barbadian landscape.

The damage was more implicit than explicit. Nonetheless, the hostile attempt to degrade the ‘Honourable’ women for being ‘childless’ is sufficiently vexing that Thompson ought never to be re-elected to the chamber. Regrettably, Thompson’s spineless spectacle reflected an attrition of goodwill. Her spiel of being ‘childless’ was too grave an insult to all the women in her constituency. It was very chilling for men that support the thousands of Barbadian women who never gave birth to a child. Yet, those women are known to have sacrificed in the interest of this nation’s children.

Moreover, the question must be asked whether Mara Thompson’s childless insult was yet another haughty proposition purporting that women need to have children to be complete human beings? I hope not, for that would be the height of ungratefulness to the Parliament and country. Clumsily, Thompson’s dishonourable behaviour happened while the DLP is busy erecting a self-determined moral high-ground. Nothing less than a public apology ought to be forthcoming, and it serves no purpose by repeating: “Mr. Speaker, I want you to stop looking at my daughters.”

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

Late Prime Minister David Thompson’s Name to be Given to St. John Polyclinic

The unfinished St.John Polyclinic

The unfinished St.John Polyclinic (1991-2015)

It is an open secret the very close – who said incestuous? – relationship the late prime minister David Thompson and Leroy Parris enjoyed. They were pals, travel buddies, the two families had a financial relationship. Rumours abound about the content of Thompson’s will sized by some from 30 million to 70 million dollars. Also, the close relationship extended to the company Parris led, CLICO bankrolled the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) political campaigns in the amount of millions. Not to mention the hand me down motor cars and other items sold or given to DLP members of the political class.

The release of the CLICO FINAL FORENSIC REPORT raises several questions about the integrity and honesty of the late David Thompson.  So far it does not look good for the former prime minister who died at the age of 48 from pancreatic cancer. Given what is at stake Barbadians will be lucky to see justice play out any time soon – members of the political class from both sides supported by corrupt elements in the private sector will be the hindrance.

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David Thompson and Families First Slush Fund, the Corruption Trail

Each day, as this saga unfolds, more and more of the innocence of Barbadian society gets destroyed. Some Barbadians, who are thinking for themselves, have already raced ahead to recognize that CLICO is just the tip of a national iceberg.The hard-earned money of Barbadian taxpayers has been receiving similar treatment for the last 30 years also Walter Blackman

The BU household agrees with pundits who suggest irreparable harm has been done to the legacy of the late Prime Minister David Thompson caused by the recent revelations contained in the CLICO Final Forensic Report unsealed by Justice William Chandler. Before the CLICO meltdown many Barbadians were prepared to give credit to Thompson for his Families First Campaign and other people centric initiatives. He promulgated the view “Family values are crucial and the role of fathers and mothers is vital to children’s development.” What a noble effort by the late Prime Minister Thompson which sadly appears to be the usual political rhetoric.

Now that the public persona of the late David Thompson has been shattered to smithereens a pandora’s box of questions have to be asked and answered. Monies paid by CLICO Barbados to the Families First Account were managed by the late David Thompson. However it is inconceivable that he and he alone had oversight for the slush fund. Of greater interest is the need to perform an audit to identify inflows to the account from CLICO and other contributors from Barbados and the Caribbean.

Woe is we!

Barbados Brand Tarred by Speaker Michael Carrington and Deputy Speaker Mara Thompson, REPURCUSSIONS

Speaker and Deputy Speaker Michael Carrington and Mara Thompson

Speaker and Deputy Speaker Michael Carrington and Mara Thompson

Barbadians continue to be part of the charade which sees Minister Michael Carrington being allowed to preside over the highest court in the land AND third oldest parliament in the Commonwealth. A reminder: Speaker Carrington was ordered by the High Court of Barbados to pay $200,000.00 to a wheel chair bound septuagenarian former client; monies he had withheld for years. The government via its agent, deputy Speaker Mara Thompson, deflected the matter to the Committee of Privileges. We have been promised a report soon. The working of Parliamentary Committees in Barbados can accurately be described as supine and considered by many to be a big reason the Westminster version of government practiced by Barbados is seriously flawed.

To add to the national embarrassment. Deputy Speaker Mara Thompson was named recently in a Court filing by applicant Leroy Parris in her capacity as executrix of the late David Thompson’s estate.  A case of a good thing gone bad. To lean on the position of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur AND current Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart, no House rules were broken. In other words it should be business as usual. Are we surprised at the moral and social decay that has taken root? How can we expressed horror in response to a murder accuse giving the thumbs up yet ignore the poorakey behaviour of members of parliament being witnessed by our children?

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Time to Come Clean Mara Thompson

Submitted by Skiinny Tee

(re-edited)

Mara Thompson MP should defend her husband's legacy by championing transparency legislation

Mara Thompson MP should defend her husband’s legacy by championing transparency legislation

The leaked Deloittes CLICO Judicial report in 2007 revealed troubling information about a 3 million dollar payment to Thompson & Associates, a law firm which the late Prime Minister  lead partner. The revelation a three million dollar payment was made to former Chairman of CLICO Holdings Leroy Parris as a gratuity payment should have raised more debate in Barbados. Further, Thompson acted as lawyer for Parris, CLICO Holdings and there is a godfather role which may or may not be relevant. It says something about Barbadians given our silence on the matter. The three million dollar payment requires an explanation from someone with the knowledge to address it. All are mindful subsequent judicial reports have been sealed by the court.

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Speaker Michael Carrington and Deputy Speaker Mara Thompson Drag the Highest Court in the Land Into the Gutter

Speaker and Deputy Speaker Michael Carrington and Mara Thompson

Speaker and Deputy Speaker Michael Carrington and Mara Thompson

St. John Residents Crying Out for Mara, Water

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Mara Thompson M.P.

Mara Thompson M.P.

“Residents of Foster Hall, St. John, say they have been faced with dry taps for several months now and are appealing to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to urgently address their plight”Barbados Today

There are several questions to be asked:

1) Is St. John not a DLP stronghold? 2) Is Mara Thompson not the sitting member for that constituency? 3) What is Mara Thompson doing about this unacceptable state of affairs? 4) Just sitting, and drawing the tax payers’ money?

What the BWA is doing is fraud, because people are paying for a service and are not getting the goods for which they are paying. Is this now the norm, where a Government can cheat the public of what it is supposed to receive?

It seems that the Minister responsible for delivery of the water cannot keep his promise, and consequently that of the BWA, to deliver water to the residents of Foster Hall in a timely manner, and in a sufficient supply. Barbadians do NOT like smelling like skunks, so I can empathise with these residents – especially those who have to get to work and whose children have to go to school, if not the same Government would want to charge them for not sending their children to school!

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Mara Mara on the Wall…CLICO is the Greatest Scam of them ALL

Mara Thompson M.P.

Mara Thompson M.P.

… for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate meExodus 20:5

BU admires Afra Raymond’s contribution to public service in Trinidad. His indefatigable and strident calls for transparency by government and wider society is an approach which needs to take on momentum across the region. His recent blog Everything but the Truth highlights his battle with the government over the controversial CL Financial, parent company of CLICO. Afra’s challenge is made all the more interesting by the fact freedom of information laws are in force in Trinidad. CLICO was a pan Caribbean entity and it makes sense given the complicated mess which has been created by its collapse there would have been a greater effort for advocates to collaborate MORE to ensure the rights of policyholders are addressed. Equally as important citizens have an obligation to insist those elected are held accountable.

The CLICO debacle continues to lay in abeyance. Politicians continue year after year since the collapse to roll out the promises how they propose to remedy this mess for policyholders. With respect to June Fowler and her group the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) they have become comfortable in the role of information takers. Clearly the group is not respected for the pressure it threatens to exert on the process. BU and others are acutely aware regional government – Trinidad the exception – are cash strapped and will be for the foreseeable future there promises are the best politicians are able to deliver.

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All Eyes On Fruendel, Justice Must Be Done!

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

As a boy at secondary school my love for the arts drew me in an astounding way to the Masterpiece called “A Psalm Of Life” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Today from that Masterpiece I borrow the excerpt “Things are not always what they seem.” Is there any other way to digest the disgusting display of dishonesty, magnified by the simple fact that thousands of us in this person reposed our trust? This CLICO mess is shameful. It is scandalous. God knows that it is also felonious.

For too long the poor folk in our little country have taken it up the wazoo from persons who view their participation in politics as a path to riches. We as a people have always acceded to their ways for in times past, issues like this CLICO master con were raging fires on the political platform, the embers of which were quenched by the thrill of victory by one or the other.

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Owen Arthur’s Hubris: There Can Be No Barbados Without Me

 

Owen Arthur, Leader of the Opposition (l) Mia Mottley (r)

This anonymous contribution pre-empted BU’s blog on the subject of alleged financial infelicities which occurred under Mia Mottley’s stewardship as Leader of the Opposition, BU withholds our posting for the moment.

About ten days after running the most disastrous campaign ever ran by any leader of the BLP in St. John, a bitter Owen Arthur who was rejected even by BLP supporter, is seeking to do damage control but succeeds only in destroying Grantley Adams’s party even further. In short, Owen Arthur is a national embarrassment and disgrace, who is obsessed with his public approval rating!  Time was when BLP members and supporters trusted Owen Arthur and his judgment but it is clear that a lot has changed since 2008 and he only has himself to blame.

No one expected that he was capable of putting so many thousands intended as campaign contribution, into his personal bank account unknown to anyone in the BLP. There are also BLP people who stop you on the road daily to tell you that the taxpayers’ money was not Owen Arthur’s’ to help-out a friend,’ even if that friend was in a tight spot.

There are two things that are not in dispute.  One is that under Owen Arthur, the BLP is fast developing an image as a party, which is anti-women.  If Owen Arthur is giving you, that seems alright but if as a woman you can make it on your own, then you immediately become a target for his unprovoked and caustic attack.  Mia Mottley, Andrea Power and Mara Thompson are three of many examples.

The second thing which is not in dispute is that Owen Arthur is a tired, lonely and bitter old man who desperately wants power.  Because of his serious love of himself, he is cranky and terrified by the notion that there can be a Barbados or even a Barbados Labour Party, without him.  This is a man who made it clear to Barbadians that his sole aim in politics is to ensure that the DLP never becomes the government again.  His intention is to orchestrate a rescue mission of himself as having been called to save Barbados.

The very man who is said to have gone to Parliament less than six times between 2008 and October 2010 is now being reported in the Sunday Sun of January 30th 2011 as having said: “I don’t want to appear as though I am fighting with Miss Mottley…I am trying desperately to hold the Barbados Labour Party together.” Mind you, Owen Arthur is talking about a party that has been in existence for over 72 years and had giants within its ranks like Grantley Adams, Tom Adams, Henry Forde, Cheltenham, Louis Tull, Bree St. John, Mia Mottley and Billie Miller. Wasn’t the BLP united before Arthur and his ‘gang of five’ ousted Mia Mottley in October 2010, which started the fast free fall to mistrust and confusion?

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