Chief Justice Marston Gibson Should Consider Expanding Alternative Dispute Resolution To Include Family Law Matters

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

In BU’s previous blog about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) most if not all of the comments  shared were favourable to its quick implementation. We cannot repeat enough times how lamentable it is that –  to quote CJ Gibson – ‘our Courts are in crisis’ and ADR was not  introduced under the former CJ as one  tactic to assist with the efficient handling of the case backlog in our Courts. Nevertheless  for his effort Sir David Simmons  was rewarded the obligatory Knighthood.

Whilst the OECS Practice Directions exist for Barbados to follow  – and it seems ‘strange’ that we should be following the OECS on this matter in much the same way that as a jurisdiction it has already achieved  CAT 1 status contrasted with Barbados’ Cat II – there is merit to the CJ advocating for expanding  ADR to include family law matters. Anyone who has observed how family  matters are dealt with by the Barbados Courts is driven to be very  sympathetic to the parties on both sides of the matter. Most oft than not the principals are from the lower rung of society with few options available to them except to wait on our Courts to give currency to the view that justice delayed is justice denied.

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It Is Time Barbados Tells Some People In Caricom To Go To Hell!

Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow

Hopefully the Myrie issue will be fully investigated and the matter put to bed, although we doubt it! It seems passing strange that Jamaica and Guyana should be the countries complaining about treatment meted out at our border. These two regional countries represent the largest land masses in the English speaking Caribbean. In a sensible world regional labour flows should be in the other direction. Not to forget St. Vincent which has also been making negative noises directed at Barbados. St. Vincent like Jamaica has become a major source of drugs entering Barbados.

It is worthy of discussion that both Jamaica and Guyana have resorted to exporting labour of late to the tiny islands of the Eastern Caribbean. It appears to be a consequence of the harsh economic times being experienced by the respective economies, or is it? Casual observation detects that a large body of unskilled labour has been entering Barbados from these two countries. The argument which is given by the apologists is that our agricultural sector has been the beneficiary of a Guyanese presence, so what it the point?  The Barbados Workers Union has given its blessing to a registry or some enrolled system being implemented to regulate labour to this sector. The solution has always been a simple one!

In the case of Jamaica we could explain the apprehension demonstrated at our border by stating that there is probably no country in the world which does not feel and act similarly. We all know why. BU does not condone actions by our officials which would seek to dehumanize anyone. There is a legitimate reason for Barbadians to fear the consequences of an influx of Jamaicans into Barbados. Our court and prison are already providing ample evidence that we are correct in our fear. Also Barbadians have become very aware that our red light activity has become saturated by Jamaican and Guyanese personnel. Last week Barbados Police were involved in two major drug busts where Jamaicans and Guyanese figured prominently.

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Same Old Same Old From The Mottley Crew

Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition - Credit: Nation newspaper (photo)

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley staged a press conference to respond to the Governor of the Central Bank’s 6 month review of the Barbados economy. If the average Barbadian wasn’t already beaten into a state of disillusionment by the contracting economy compounded by a perceived inert government, Mottley’s recent offering made the condition more acute. If there is one thing the current political debate on the economy has demonstrated is the number of intellectuals Barbados has educated who can wax lyrically about what should or should not be done to improve the economy of Barbados. Bear in mind global economies are experiencing an economic condition which has never* been experienced in world history.

BU listened to the 54 minute press conference with rapt attention. Whether you are a B or D there is the reality we are all Barbadian* and want to see Barbados successfully navigate the current social and economic challenges which are confronting us. Mia Mottley represents the ‘government in waiting’ (no disrespect intended to the PDC or PEP) and therefore should be accorded commensurate respect. It therefore saddens BU to opine that her press conference can be easily labelled ‘same old, same old’. She was passionate in her delivery, her analysis of the current state of the economy was good but* where she fell flat was her failure to produce ideas and alternatives. Her delivery was populated with words like deficit, declining revenue, underemployment, stimulus, borrowing, substantial drop, 18-wheeler truck bearing down on us etc – obviously to play on the fears of Barbadians. When asked by a reporter to offer suggestions to the government on what a BLP government would do differently in a sprite of bipartisanship (BU’s paraphrasing), Mottley’s response was to ‘stay tuned!’. She begged the media to provide adequate coverage because her opposition party intended to provide feedback sector by sector. On this note BU agrees that the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s blatant blacklisting of the opposition party is reprehensible.

Ms. Mottley the country is waiting for some suggestions with great expectation, do take your time!

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CARICOM Stuck In Low Gear

The financial crisis has led to fears of a meltdown in the eurozone, and to social unrest, particularly in Greece. Photograph: Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty Images

A perusal of the several articles which end up in the BU inbox always make for interesting reading. One of the benefits of blogging is the opportunity to be exposed to many issues which come from many sources at a never ending pace. A recent article which appeared in the UK Guardian titled In a financial crisis, what counts is what works supports the point (credit to:Looking Glass).  The following extract from the article has resonated with us all week:

Belief in Europe was just as messianic – and just as bonkers – as belief in the market. The idea was that you could take a dozen or more countries of wildly differing economic performance, with entirely disparate cultures, and bolt them harmoniously together. What’s more, you could do this without a common language to facilitate labour mobility or a common budget to transfer resources from rich countries to poor countries.

During the bubble years these fundamental design flaws were kept hidden, but they have been exposed by the crisis. Low interest rates allowed countries on the periphery to grow strongly for a while, covering up their steady loss of competitiveness against the country at Europe’s core, Germany. The financial crash resulted in a deep recession, soaring budget deficits and fears in the financial markets of debt default.

The only factor mentioned by the author of the article if the same observation were to be made about CARICOM/CSME is to accept we have a common language when compared to the EU.

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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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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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Political Symbolism


Submitted by George Brathwaite, PhD Candidate (International Politics)/On The Map

There are several questions being raised in the current climate as it relates to the future of CARICOM and the future of Caribbean regional integration. In some quarters it is felt that the momentum for regionalism is being swept aside. This is due to embedded insularities and the repeated failures by governments to implement agreed policies, and for regional agencies and institutions to demonstrate the requisite convergences. Prejudices and ignorance are assuming pivotal positions once held by a bond of resilience to oppression and exploitation

Moreover, it appears as though the legacies of colonialism remain riveted in the psyche of Caribbean people together with several fears and a pronounced lack of confidence in each other. These are the saddest and currently exhibited aspects that frustrate our post-colonial development. How do we as Caribbean peoples weave together the various pieces of the Caribbean fabric that traditionally have been kept separate and fragmented? In this article, I contend that political symbols are sufficient to reengage the imagination of Caribbean people so that the consequence of such an engagement culminates in the re-building of a spirit of CARICOM unity and solidarity.

Political symbols are emblems of group life. The potency of symbols rests not simply in their ability to represent, but in their ability to instigate action (Rebecca E. Klatch 1988). The Caribbean, and in particular CARICOM as an institution, needs symbols because these are collective representations of group life. Symbols can represent the common aspects of our social and political membership as a community of sovereign states. Symbols also evoke strong feelings of identification and belonging. Therefore, symbols may act as forces of integration, creating solidarity by binding individuals together into a unified whole for which we understand to be the upkeep of CARICOM.

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CARICOM Under Threat

<p align="justify">St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas (left) and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Manning leaving the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino (Photo by Erasmus Williams)</p>

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas (left) and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Manning leaving the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

It is ironic that it is the Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding who has been reported to say ‘there are a number of things that are happening now that are destabilising and threatening the existence of Caricom,” Golding said at Monday evening’s launch of Export Week at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. The political integration that is being pursued by Trinidad and a number of countries in the Eastern Caribbean may very well be commendable, but I believe that it is at the detriment to the deepening and strengthening of Caricom’ how very ironic indeed.

It is just over 47 years that Jamaica along with Trinidad and Tobago would have been at the centre of the controversy which gave rise to the subtraction, 1 from 10 leave 0. Prime Minister Golding promised Jamaicans that he will be pushing to have a definitive position enunciated by CARICOM at the next Heads of Government meeting to be held in Guyana to paint a more vivid picture of the status of the regional movement.

What has become singularly evident in recent months has been the dearth of leadership on display within the CARICOM union. The antics of several CARICOM members on issues of immigration and trade especially  demonstrates the concern many have for the future of the movement. Thirty five years later the vision for Caribbean integration movement needs to be reinvigorated, some say dismantled!

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