Barbados Secures Another $100 Million

The borrowing continues with the general Barbados population non the wiser about the economic strategy – Blogmaster


World Bank Approves US$100 Million for Barbados’ Green and Resilient Recovery 

Bnamericas

Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2023 

ESG Climate change Clean Energy Transition Financing Multilaterals 

World Bank release

Bridgetown, Barbados, January 11, 2023 — The World Bank approved yesterday $100 million in financing to support Barbados’ low carbon economic development and resilience to climate change.

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Barbados Small and Proud – Mia Mottley and Rihanna Successfully Negotiating the Global Space

How many times have we heard references made to Barbados being a country punching above its weight? Through the years the comment made but former United Nations Secretary General Koffi Anan has been striped of its obvious meaning by political opportunists. 

The challenges for a 21 by 14 small developing island with an open economy in a competitive global space will always be many. While it is true Barbados lost its leadership anchor in recent years by our high standards there is hope, as a people we must never surrender to despair.

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Prime Minister Mia Mottley Defends frequent travel overseas

Prime Minister Mottley on her return from overseas after taking a few days off as well as attending COP27 in Egypt, Rwanda and South Africa called a press conference on her return to Barbados to brief the nation. There is criticism Mottley’s time could have been better spend on island given the precarious state of the economy and rising crime situation. DLP spokesman Paul Gibson has been scathing in criticism levelled at Mottley, questioning cost of trips overseas and size of delegations.

The blogmaster has cautioned many times in this space that managing the optics in any situation is important, however, Mottley has demonstrated with the appointment of a bloated Cabinet she intends to do it her – she has an aggressive style – even if it is obvious the configuration of the Cabinet is about political considerations and not about many hands making light of the work. Some of us are not fools although we understand the games politicians play at the expense of the masses.

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Prime Minister MIA Mottley Delivers An Empty Emancipation Day Message

August 2 signals another Emancipation Day, another public holiday for the masses to revel in the carnival season and engage other leisure activities – a few may reflect on what the day is intended. Emphasis on a few if one measures public participation at events arranged to celebrate the day.

In her Emancipation Day message Prime Minister implores Bajans to not just commemorate the emancipation of our forefathers from chattel slavery but “celebrate the lives and efforts of our African forefathers to end slavery. In remembering these things, let us understand that while the seas may get rough and while the struggle may be long, together we can and will see these challenges through. That is to say that egos, matters of self-interest and tribalism must give way to the way of thinking and the lifestyle that saw communities raise children and societies raise the bar”.

The blogmaster finds no fault with the message by prime minister Mottley asking us to be inspired to overcome the challenges before us by what our forefathers had to achieve breaking the chains of physical slavery. Maya Angelou in her inimitable style encapsulates the importance of the past with a practical definition- “I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going, but I’m a person of the moment. I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place“. 

We have to do better to help Barbadians sustain the awareness around the struggle of Blacks for liberation. The blogmaster is satisfied our children are given sufficient exposure at the primary and secondary level to be aware of the struggle. Where we continue to fail as a society is our inability to feed a culture to support our people being energized by the heroic achievement of our forefathers. Instead we have allow edourselves to become overwhelmed by the miasma of popular foreign culture which by and large continues to lock our people into another form of bondage- economic and mental slavery.

To Prime Minister Mia Mottley again we say, a nice sounding message, a message that will tick the box on the checklist for the day, however, inquiring minds wonder- what about the need to find practical approaches to assist citizens translate your nice sounding message to relevant daily activities? We have become a people characterized by revelry, indolence and lawlessness, antithetical to the traditional value set that underpinned the behaviour of our forefathers.

So Prime Minister Mottley, your message will be received as empty by a majority of the population because the discrete actions required to invoke meaning for the general population is MIA.

No Quick Fix

Submitted by Just Observing

Every once in a while this government finds a catch phrase and sticks to it. We had our “nothing to see here” moments. There was the famous “lost decade” and “old guard.” Once upon time it was “all uh we, my friends and no retreat no surrender.”

The newest catch phrase is “no quick fix.”

Dale Marshall’s response to the spike in crime that equals or surpasses that of 2006-7 which he criticised??

No quick fix.

The Central Bank Governor’s response to bank fees AFTER the Prime Minister said it has to stop?

No quick fix

The Prime Minister’s response to abolishing Common Entrance after proclaiming it so on a political platform and after Dr. Denny bragged about a 2023 end in Parliament?

No quick fix

The roll out of the Summer Nutrition Programme which NO ONE knew about before it was announced??

No quick fix

What about integrity legislation and freedom of information? After all, it’s 30-0 with a packed Senate

No quick fix

Cost of living. Tax on gas? Increasing prices? Decreasing items on shelves?

No quick fix

Legislation to protect the elderly and the vulnerable?

No quick fix

Legislation to protect hard working farmers from praedial larceny?

no quick fix

Repairs to housing damaged by Elsa and the provision of low income housing?

No quick fix

Covid numbers again at 400 with a consistent 33%+ positivity rate?

No quick fix

But then again, what should we expect. We were told to “gimme de vote and watch muh.” We were also told of “mission criticals” “many hands make light work” “we got dis” and “this is who we are.”

Whether BOSS, BERT, SUN, REAP, BOUNCE or whatever…. I guess it’s just back to life and back to reality.

No quick fix!!!

Mottley Cabinet is Bloated

One of the more interesting decisions made in 2018 by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government led by Mia Mottley was to appoint the largest ever Cabinet in our history. Her justification for the ‘relatively large’ Cabinet was because of the overwhelming mandate received from the electorate. From 2018 until the present – with a cosmetic tweak in 2022 – the Cabinet has remained large.

Enough time has elapsed to fairly judge if a large Cabinet adds value to how the country has been governed since 2018. It has been a government led by the larger than life and seemingly indefatigable Prime Minister Mottley. Her style of delivery and oratory skill has endeared her to the international community. It is worth a reminder she inherited an economy with a GDP north of 150 with junk status credit rating. There was a feeling of renewed hope in the nation post 2018 general election.

Out of the gate the Mottley government committed the country to a debt restructure on domestic and local holdings which right sided the debt to GDP indicator BUT immediately shot the confidence of local and foreign investors. The lack of confidence to invest persists four years later. To be expected economists are divided on whether it was the right strategy, these decisions are never easy we must admit. 

In Mottley’s defense she will postulate that the COVID 19 pandemic, Hurricane Elsa and La Soufriere volcano ash fall combined to derail government’s rebuild effort and in fact caused the economy to significantly contract. To reasonable onlookers she has a good defense. However hungry mouths well not be as sympathetic. The debate will continue about the BLP’s performance since 2018 until the next bell is rung.

Political pundits are already surveying a barren political landscape for alternative voting options. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) under rookie leader Dr. Ronnie Yearwood is in the early stage of a rebuild and the many political parties that presented at the polls in 2018 and 2022 have done the usual vanishing act of which Houdini would have been proud. 

What is the blogmaster trying to say in too many words?

Prime Minister Mottley has taken the reins of government at a challenging time in our history there can be no doubt. This is precisely why decisions taken by Mottley must be fit for purpose for the extraordinary times to guide a 166 square mile open economy island through the economic tempest and other challenges. There is no good reason the country should have to suffer a bloated Cabinet not to mention a bevy of financial consultants in 2022. Mottley must stop pandering to political inclinations and instead send clear signals to the population she and her government are prepared to make the sacrifice and walk with the people at a difficult time in our history. 

What the blogmaster fears most is – when the next general election is called the electorate may have no choice to abstain or vote anyone posing as an opposition, a default position. The level of apathy and cynicism in the country is already low. Whither our democratic system?

Prime Minister Mia Mottley Named in Top 100 Most Influential People of 2022

Congratulations to Prime Minister Mia Mottley for being recognized by TIMES Magazine as one of The 100 Influential People of 2022. Based on reports the rationale for recommending Mottley for the award was penned by  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization.

The hope is that Mottley will be able to leverage her burgeoning global brand to improve regional and domestic economies. In recent times Barbadians have not had many high points to celebrate, the recognition of one of our own is a step in the right direction and should assist in bolstering bajan pride which took a hit in recent years.

#congratspmmottley

Mottley’s Decision Rejected

The decision by Prime Minister Mia Mottley to reverse the controversial appointment of 18 year old Khaleel Kothdiwala is unfortunate. It was evident from exchanges in the last session of the Upper House the amendment to the Constitution to allow Khaleel’s sitting would not have garnered support from independent senators.

Immediately after the January 19, 2022 general election Prime Minister Mottley announced Kothdiwala’s as a BLP nominee for the Senate with the justification she was fulfilling an election promise to bring the youth into “the centre of governance and national determination…if you are old enough to vote then you must be old enough to serve”. All who have followed politics in Barbados are patently aware Khaleel’s politics is heavily influenced from Roebuck Street – and it is right to practice the politics of his choice.

The prime minister became swell headed by a second 30 to zero victory in the last general election and took for granted Khaleel’s appointment would have been rubber stamped by the Senate. Lest we forget, the Senate is currently involved indirectly in a fight for its legitimacy. Although the constitutional motion brought by former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite was tossed out by Justice Cicely Chase, legal counsel Garth Patterson signaled appeal documents will be filed this week to challenge the Upper Chamber doing business with 18 appointed Senators instead of 21.

From comments posted to BU and aired in other fora, those opposed to the appointment of Khaleel took umbrage to the lack of national consultation about the unprecedented decision to add an 18 year old BLP supporter to the Senate to represent youth matters. Bear in mind Mottley- also in controversial and contentious circumstances- transitioned Barbados to a Republic in November 2021. The dissenting cry then was – why not complete an exercise of national consensus to determine a new constitution to make the process to a republic comprehensive.

At the root of the uncertainty muddying the governance process is an election result that rejected opposition candidates AND the unwillingness of elected members of parliament to cross the floor to manufacture an opposition. This is interesting against the rumour Mottley called a snap general election to quell a political mutiny.  

There is also the contention that President Sandra Mason is partly responsible by her refusal to appoint two apposition Senators given the outcome of the general election. Had she appointed two Opposition Senators and Mottley a standin for Kothdiwala there would possibly have been no legal challenge brought and Mottley would have avoided the political embarrassment of having to withdraw Khaleel’s appointment.

It is what it is as the popular saying goes. We wait to endure the Court Appeal process and possible request for leave to appeal to the CCJ. In the meantime there is the potential lawmaking in parliament will be disrupted if Justice Chase decision is overturned.

At a time the country is battling to manage economic challenges acerbated by the pandemic we have become mired in process because of off flippant decision making. It is ironic the Upper House that is currently under challenge in the Barbados courts is responsible for Mottley’s decision to remove Kothdiwala. 

We are living in interesting times.

Prime Minister Mottley Delivers in Ghana

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley has called on Ghanaians to mark 7th September as Africa-Caricom Day.

Joyonline.com

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley was invited to participate in Ghana’s 65th Independence anniversary. To be expected she delivered a speech that has provoked discussion.

Prime Minister Mottley at Ghana’s 65th anniversary of Independence celebrations

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Sound of Silence

Freundel Stuart was the prime minister of Barbados in the period 2010 to 2018 after assuming the caretaker role from David Thompson who became sick on the job soon after the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was voted to office in 2008. The legacy of Stuart’s stewardship is still being written although some pundits at this early stage are happy to label it worse than the Sandiford administration. The tactic engineered by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) – the other member of the duopoly – has enjoyed success with branding of the Glorious Years as The Lost Decade.

The failure of a third party movement to gain traction in Barbados means the health of our democracy is nexus to well managed DLP and BLP political parties. A strident dissenting voice is a feature of the Westminster system we try to model – the lacuna created by the recent general election and ensuing legal challenge regarding how the Senate is constituted is a case in point. A good argument can therefore be made that the business of political parties is the public’s business although classified private entities. In fact the unwillingness of quality citizens to offer themselves to join political parties who aspire to selflessly serve the public is at the heart of the type of governments we are saddled.

Some of us who comment on political matters are not surprised at the dysfunctional state of the DLP. It was not difficult to forecast. Barbadians except for the rabidly partisan are turned off by the quality of politics and governments we have been getting since the Tom Adams era which ended in the mid 80s. The blogmaster opines both DLP and BLP political parties have been rotated to govern the country based on the level of voter apathy and lack of credible alternatives and little to do with substance. The unprecedented 30-0 victories at the polls by the BLP in 2018 and 2022 should give Barbadians reason to pause. The BLP despite making several mistakes in a brief tenure of just over three years the political opposition was unable to gain the public’s trust.   The quality of our system of government whether we like it or not is tied to the quality of individuals attracted to serve in political parties. There is that symbiotic relationship only a fool would deny.

Today makes 32 days since the last general election and except for a public position in response to a contentious offer from Prime Minister Mottley to participate in a discussion about accepting two Senate seats, the DLP has been silent and irrelevant in the public space. Sensible observers appreciate it will take the DLP time to assess, reorganize and mobilize BUT there is a reality to be considered by the DLP and onlookers. The silence coming out of George Street is consistent with the ‘glorious years’ of the Stuart administration and the longer it persists, the more difficult it will be for that party to be perceived as a credible alternative. The blogmaster is aware the DLP has skin in the game based on the matter that is before the court brought by AG Brathwaite – who we know is acting de facto for the DLP. Some of us are not so stupid to believe otherwise.

This is a cry for a different type of citizen with a passion and body of work for serving the public to join the two main political parties. An organization assumes the character of its members. If we want our governments to change how business is done, it must begin with the quality of personnel attracted to political parties. Today it is the DLP in crisis, it is not inconceivable the BLP may find itself in a similar position when Mia Mottley demits office whether for a forced or unforced reason. If that happens all of us will be adversely impacted.

The type of government we get starts with YOU!

What Divides Us?

Submitted by Observing

“In her address explaining the decision to hold the election, Mottley called on the people of Barbados to “unite around a common cause, unite behind a single government, unite behind a single leader.” She added that she did not want Barbados to be a “divided nation.”

But what divides us?

  1. Calling a snap election 18 months before time, knowing for sure that a Covid wave was starting and that thousands would contract it.
  2. Laying in a king sized bed with all Unions to blunt their voices, link hands with Capital and disadvantage workers at will
  3. Not consulting with the professionals at BAMP on travel protocols, election protocols or any other recent protocols
  4. Staging a puppet show called a Social Partnership meeting to pillory, criticise and condemn ordinary hard working nurses AND THEN docking their salaries despite recent precedent.
  5. Paying late salaries, no severance, and arrears to the average man and pensioners in bonds…while Mark Maloney gets a 10 million blank check, Abeds gets all of his stock bought and all Ministers, consultants, special advisors, Parliamentary Secretaries, “Ministers in the Ministries of” and Permanent Secretaries in the largest Cabinet ever get paid on time with perks and allowances
  6. Introducing medical marijuana for Herbert’s Redland Farms and Canadians, but leaving out the rasta and the Afro-Barbadians who suffered, were fined and locked up most for it
  7. Giving no-tender contracts to “a certain Mark” and then claiming “special circumstances”
  8. Silencing opposing or critical voices by appointing them as advisors through the politics of inclusion and delusion
  9. Talking down to the average man because he can’t spell “remdesivir”
  10. Rushing to a Republic without a referendum, without a revised constitution and with “a Creator” instead of “God”
  11. Blaming “Brandy and Punany” for Covid when it was the unnamed Platinum Coast that deserved the blame
  12. Telling 6 year olds to tell their parents if they don’t vaccinate them then they don’t care about them
  13. Refusing to give a budget statement to explain to the average man where we are and where we are going given everything that is going on
  14. Disenfranchising the constitutional right of 2000-4000 people who now cannot vote, because they have Covid through no fault of theirs.

There are many more general and personal examples but time is short. It is abundantly clear that with a 30-0 / 29-1 government any tough decisions that need to be made can be made. It is also clear that the apathy, frustration, mistrust and disillusionment among enough of the electorate is very real. It is even more clear that we are where we are on January 6 with 1000+ new cases and climbing out of political expediency and individual concern, rather than the same national concern that was stated. We get the government (and opposition) that we deserve.

Will the real leaders please stand up?

Strike Action During a Pandemic!

The ongoing dispute between Unity Workers Union (UWU) and government exposes the boast we are an uneducated people. It seems the height of ignorance actors on both sides are unable to resolve a dispute involving healthcare workers during a pandemic. This has occurred in a country with a social partnership established with a mandate to prioritize a space to facilitate consultation, dialogue and collaboration. It must be stated Caswell has written in this space his lack of confidence in the social partnership. 

The blogmaster has no bone in the fight EXCEPT to acknowledge the life of a human being is priceless. If it is the grievances fueling the dispute for whatever reasons cannot be quickly resolved because of weighty imponderables – the raging pandemic has created the opportunity for reasonableness between the parties to be exercised. To maintain intractable positions with omicron starting to spike our rate of infections is an admission of idiocy. Bear in mind Barbados’ heavy dependence on tourism and the negative impact an elevated positivity rate will have on the country’s ability to earn precious foreign exchange. There is the possibility government’s finances may collapse and compromise its ability to service public sector payroll.

According to reports strike action about 100 strong is expected to take place this morning, a clear indication the chasm which exists between the two sides. If UWU backs down it may be interpreted as a defeat especially for the peppy head of UWU Caswell Franklyn who is fighting to increase his share of membership. If the government gives in, it opens the door for the industrial relations climate to become active at the worse time for government managing tanking revenues. 

Of concern to the blogmaster is the role Most Honourable Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic has been reported to have played so far. It was reported the former schoolmates Bostic and Franklyn had agreed to a third party mediator to move the dispute along. According to Caswell Prime Minister Mottley vetoed the meeting after her request for striking workers to return to work was rejected. This slammed the door shut on possibly resolving the matter or at minimum depositing it in the abeyance bucket. The call of a snap general election eighteen months from when it is constitutionally due ensures the door remains closed. This is the second time Bostic has found himself in a pickle in recent months. His surprising admission he knew nothing about an arrangement between a Mark Maloney led initiative and government to procure AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine from a non traditional procurement source continues to tug at sensible minds. It surprised many including the blogmaster that Bostic and the permanent secretary- who signed off on the strange arrangement- were conferred high national honour. Through it all the phlegmatic Bostic has been serving out his final days having given notice of retirement from politics in October 2021.

In the system of government we practice all ‘big works’ related matters continue to lead to the first among equals in Cabinet. Hopefully in the debate to come about reforming the Barbados Constitution, whichever party wins the upcoming election, Barbados will seize the opportunity to create relevant constitutional clauses to ensure decision making by the executive becomes more decentralized from the prime minister led approach synonymous with a dictatorship.

Message to Mama Mia

For the first time in his life the blogmaster is overwhelmed by a feeling of melancholy after following the opening salvo of the January 19, 2022 general election campaign. A general election called eighteen months before it is constitutionally due because Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her infinite wisdom wants a mandate from the electorate to validate important decisions she says have to be made given the perilous state of the local economy. Many if not all Barbadians agree the current state of the economy is perilous, not all agree the early ringing of the bell was necessary given the unprecedented mandate the BLP received in 2018. Time will soon tell if Barbadians agree with Mottley in our first past the post system.

In the electioneering of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s the blogmaster felt excited at the prospect of hopping from meeting to meeting listening to BLP and DLP platforms add Eric Fly and a few independents to balance things out. While the messages from the various platforms were filled with the usual comedic relief, there was enough grist to inform healthy debate between loyal party supporters and independents. 

Last night the blogmaster wasted precious time to view the opening platforms of the two campaigns and a saying growing in popularity on BU – Nothing to See Here (NTSH) was fresh in the mind. The apologists will remind everyone that it is early days yet, however, the blogmaster subscribes to the view that usually one does not get a second chance to make a good first impression. Predictably overused narratives populated the speeches by the candidates last night. The tired messages contradicted the urgency of the call for early elections by the prime minister BUT the blogmaster maybe jumping the gun on the early pronouncement.

What the blogmaster and some others are hoping to hear is a creative strategy/vision supported with ground tactics to steer Barbados from the economic rocks we are headed. Barbadians have been living high on the hog up until about 20 years ago given the nature of the global economy- easy forex inflows from tourism and high powered money to the West Coast with the international business sector supporting the economic model that has served us well up until now. North south capital flow is drying up given the complexity of moving money across borders post 911 and deepening, polarizing geopolitics. The exotic destination of the Caribbean is now competing with UAE, Mediterranean, Central America other non traditional markets. The rise of WTO rules has meant protective tariff had to be removed with large countries in the market maintaining an advantage.

The message to Mia is simple. Let us forget the extreme politics this time around and position the national needs first. Yes you are admired as a political leader who strides the globe like a colossus. Yes you are head and shoulder above the next on the local scene. Yes you have done a lot to remind locals and other afar of the forgotten Barbados brand. Yes you are an improvement on Stuart who apparently didn’t have use for an internet connection. What the people need however is to believe that there is a leadership with the ability to find a pathway that leads from the present path to nowhere. We need to efficiently execute our plans because we have no more margin for error.