Business as usual at Ministry of Education

Prime Minister Mia Mottley is on leave until November 3, 2022 and the public – despite offering strident dissatisfaction about the colossal muck up at the Ministry of Education arising from the infamous IDB Science Test – not a single person has been terminated for such a fatal mistake. The only casualty appears to be Peter Wickham.

Vote!

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Black Enfranchisement a Work in Progress

The blogmaster in between the hustle and bustle of yesterday was able to listen to a few minutes of The Peter Wickham Show. Piquing the interest was an exchange with a caller who sought to raise the issue of Black enfranchisement. Peter Wickham exposing his naïveté was unable to fathom- despite the caller’s best effort to explain- how a country that is Black majority finds its people owning a disproportionate amount of wealth and economic influence in the country, a state brought forward from being an enslaved people.

The argument that because Barbados is majority Black means it inevitably empowers Blacks in Barbados to be craftsmen of their fate is simplistic. Regarding the financial sector Wickham thought he was stoutly defending his perspective by mentioning that bank managers are almost 100% Black. He failed to mention all banks in Barbados are foreign owned and therefore Black managers are binded to policies handed to them. He mentioned the credit unions and other non bank entities that are Black owned. He failed to mention that same institutions have to comply to regulations of international agencies to ensure good standing.

What about the business sector? What is the concentration of ownership of the tourism sector? After answering these questions- who owns the significant interest in retail (food and appliances) sector, who controls distributive trade in Barbados. Do we have active agencies that lend and support entrepreneurs and startup businesses in a meaningful way? What about export earning businesses? What is the predominant ownership?

Let us turn our attention to power generation. Why a Black nation that is strategically located close to the equator, we have been too slow to democratize ownership of this sector? We were quick to sell Barbados Light & Power, a strategic asset. Some of us had hoped by now the legacy of Oliver Headley would have inspired Barbadians to build on it by becoming a model country for the adoption of renewable energy. 

The last point, Black empowerment is about developing a way of thinking in the majority of our people that shouts to the world – we are confident in our abilities to compete and support a quality life for our people. Having this discuss is not about çussin’ minorities. It is about having a mature discussion towards building an equitable society on the little isl;and we love so much.

Listen to the exchange at 2hrs 20 minutes.

https://downtobrasstacks.castos.com/episodes/brasstacks-mar-21st-2022

Rename Brasstacks ‘The Peter Wickham Show!’

Some issues it is more effective to avoid being prolix. The blogmaster will make the point by stating the following.

Voice of Barbados (VOB) popular mid-afternoon talk show program should be renamed The Peter Wickham Show on Mondays which is his scheduled day.

Peter and Verla in Focus

The Donville Inniss trial in the USA suffocated the local newsfeed in recent days and prevented the blogmaster – absent the noise – from sharing thoughts about other matters. Now that we have touchdown in the Inniss matter with the predictable verdict being returned, it is time.

Two images were posted in the Nation newspaper on the 12th and 18th of January 2020 which captured the attention of this blogmaster.

One image emblazoned on the Sunday’s front page of the 12 January 2020 showed the beaming countenance of Peter Wickham and Giancarlo with the caption – “Regional political consultant was formally married to his partner of the past ten years, Giancarlo Cardinale yesterday at the Hotel de Ville in Strasbourg, France …

Some will accuse the blogmaster of being homophobic after posting this blog. You are free to do so. Individuals are free to live lifes as they chose, once done within the boundary of the law. We live in a world where same sex unions are being given the ‘weight’ traditional marriages.  The beef this blogmaster has with the Nation Media House is the decision to insert the picture on the front page AND referring to the union as a marriage.

Barbadians are a people wedded to the traditional view that a marriage is ” established between two people of the opposite sex.” The Nation newspaper as the leading media outlet in the country has a duty to responsibly share information that accurately influence given the power of media to influence (manipulate) public opinion. After all we have the vulnerable in society to shepherd. Posting Wickhams so called marriage on the front page  brings into serious question the quality of decision-making at the Editor’s desk at Nation Publishing.

Peter Wickham Marriage

The second picture does not require an exercise in the prolix and can be explained in a few words – one must thrive to make the best decisions at all times Verla et al.

Verla De Peiza

Discuss for 10 marks.

Peter Wickham’s Comments on Guyana’s Purported Voter’s List are MISGUIDED

Submitted by  Rickford Burke, President, Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

Regional political scientist and pollster, Peter Wickham, was quoted in Demerara Waves news on July 14, 2019,  as saying that Guyana’s APNU+AFC coalition government should go to the polls with the current voters which was used in the 2015 when the coalition won. Evidently Peter does not have a sufficiency of knowledge  and information to make an informed judgment on the legality  and acceptability of the purported voters list. Thus, his  pronouncements are therefore misguided in your  for the following reasons.

  1. There is currently no lawful voters list. The list to which you and Guyana’s opposition party, the PPP, have been referring does not exist. It expired on April 30, 2019 by dint of law or legislative fiat.
  2. The law mandates that such voters list be complied by house to house registration of all citizens who are 18 years and over within an eligible date set out by law. The claims and objections period is not for registration. It is mandated by statute to make corrections to the list that has been compiled through house to house registration. However during this period, person who were absent from there homes during the registration process may present themselves to the designated district office to be registered.
  3. Elections Commission officials have acknowledged that the names of thousands of persons who have died remain on the expired list. Possibly over 100,000.
  4. Possibly over 15 thousand young people who turned 18 since the last elections in 2015, and are now eligible to vote, are not on the list. The National Registration Act mandates the government to register the citizens. It doesn’t place the burden on the citizen to go find the relevant office and register or loose their franchise. You should know by now that the opposition is resisting house to house registration because it wishes to suppress the youth vote which comprises 56% of the electorate. Young people will vote against the PPP en bloc
  5. The expired list contains the names of  thousands of persons who have moved abroad and are no longer eligible to vote, unless they return to Guyana, establish residency and register. The list also contains thousands of errors in relation to persons who have relocated within Guyana or have married and changed their names.
  6. The aforementioned demonstrates a list that is unlawful, deeply flawed and bloated, and consequently, unacceptable for credible elections. If the Elections Commission attempts to proceed to elections with said list it will be enjoined by the court from doing so and will encounter significant rebellion from the population.
  7. Finally, Guyanese are the experts on our voters list and our elections. We should be allowed to make our own decisions in this regard. As a political scientist Peter would know best that one cannot make judgments on a matter without first being proficient on the relevant facts. I therefore find his comments appealingly misguided and unenlightened. I hasten to suggest that he becomes more engaged and acquire considerably more facts to make objective and informed commentary on our politics.

The Grenville Phillips Column – Telling The People The Truth

Grenville Phillips II, leader of Solutions Barbados

CADRES recently conducted a poll in order to identify voters’ political party preferences.  Most voters polled reportedly preferred either the BLP or the DLP.  After analysing the poll, I understood how voters could be easily manipulated.

When asking questions, there is normally a context around which each question is framed, that can result in different answers.  For example, there is a difference in asking “Should we ban Gromoxone?”, “Gromoxone is an effective herbicide that keeps gardens tidy, should we ban Gromoxone?” and “Gromoxone is the poison of choice for suicidal persons, should we ban Gromoxone?”  The results will tend to vary depending on how the question is framed.

In the first question, responders are not given a frame of reference.  In the second, the frame is positive – “keeps gardens tidy”.  In the third, the frame is negative – “poison of choice for suicidal persons”.  The frame in which the question is placed can allow us to accurately predict the majority response to the last two questions.  However, the majority response to the first unframed question can also be determined based on the national frame at the time.

For example.  If in one week, there were 5 publically reported suicides by drinking Gromoxone, just before persons were polled, then the question would have already been framed by the tragic events.  The emotional response would likely be that many would support some type of restriction.  However, a different response can be expected if there were no suicides by drinking Gromoxone in the past 15 years, and if the media were not participating in a campaign against Gromoxone.  Therefore, what is trending in the media can result in misleading poll results.

CADRES’ poll questions were already framed by the news media reports of current events, and by public commentators who have access to the media.  News media have a higher responsibility to be fair during times of national decisions.  One side of a national discussion should not be deprived of ‘oxygen’, while allowing the other side unfettered access to the media.  The public should be exposed to both sides of a debate.

The national frame around any question of the economy is that the ruling DLP administration is responsible for the current economic hardship, and they are incapable of managing our national economy.  The recent poll results appear to confirm this public sentiment.  However, what if the public were given the whole truth?

If the public is not told about the reckless and unsustainable borrowing during the BLP administration, then they will reasonably tend to blame the DLP, who must repay these debts, for their current circumstances.  However, if the public was told the truth, that both the BLP and the DLP administrations have brought us to the point of economic ruin, and that both parties’ policies are designed to generally keep most Barbadians house-poor and living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, then perhaps they would be willing to look at the policies of a third party.

If the public is told to dismiss all third parties because they are just parties of 1 or 5 persons, then they would likely dismiss them.  However, if they were told the truth that Solutions Barbados is the only third party with 25 candidates and intends to run 30 competent candidates, then perhaps they would dismiss the clever but inaccurately defined frame, and actually consider Solutions Barbados.

If the public is told that Solutions Barbados has no plan to address Barbados’ failing economy, then they would likely dismiss them.  However, if they were ever told the truth that Solutions Barbados is the only party to have published a non-austerity economic plan over 2 years ago, for rigorous public scrutiny, then they would have an accurate frame, and not the fake frame that others are actively promoting.  The plan is on SolutionsBarbados.com.

What if the austerity, harsh medicine, long hardship, bitter pills, and no-easy-fixes that the BLP and DLP are promising were actually explained to voters?  What if the BLP and DLP actually told the voters “If you vote for us, then your salary will be reduced, you will lose your job, you will lose your house if you are not earning foreign currency, and you will also lose everything that you are purchasing on credit.  You will suck salt, and your children will suck whatever is left after the salt that you have voted to suck is gone.”

In Guyana, the IMF made them double their income tax rates and devalue their currency by 70%.  Guyana was left with a ruined economy, dilapidated infrastructure, shortage of critical supplies, reduced social services, mass emigration of professionals, and 75% of the population in poverty.

Who would be so lunatic to vote for that bitter pill?  The CADRES poll demonstrated that Barbadian voters would enthusiastically vote for the economic ruin of their households, communities and country if the question was not accurately framed.

For completion, I should identify another possible explanation.  We are so accustomed to not believing what our elected politicians promise, that we simply do not believe them when they promise us that their policies will drive us and our children into poverty.

Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Dr.Tennyson Joseph Rubbishes Peter Wickham’s CADRES

Barbados based pollster Peter Wickham of CADRES has drawn the ire of UWI, Cave Hill Lecturer Dr. Tennyson Joseph. A recent CADRES poll has determined that the St. Lucia general elections called for 6 June 2015 too close to call. St. Lucian Joseph served briefly as the Administrative Attaché to the Prime Minister of St. Lucia Kenny Anthony between 2000 and 2003 and is vested in the politics of that country.

In a radio interview with St. Lucia radio talk show host Shelton Daniel, Joseph dealt harshly with Wickham’s narrow analysis and attempt to use ‘political sleight of hand’ to manipulate public opinion leading into the general elections. Joseph has advised Wickham to remove himself from the political paymasters (BU’s characterization).

Relevant Link: St Lucia election ‘too close to call’

Scotland and CADRES

Submitted by Douglas

Peter Wickham - CADRES

Peter Wickham – CADRES

Does it sound familiar? Just rewind to 2013 and the Barbados general election. A particular pollster/political guru had the DLP to get whitewashed; or as we would say in local lingo – ‘catspraddled’. Well, we all know the outcome; the DLP was returned to office, and that pollster/pundit, who had egg all over his face, now spends every waking hour excoriating the government on air and in print. Big Joker!

Heard him a week or so ago pontificating that the Scottish people deserve better and a ‘Yes’ vote would shake-up Whitehall. However, when a caller tried to put him on the spot and asked him to predict the outcome, he was somewhat non-committal and hedging; probably remembering how he and the Belle Tower made a fool of themselves in 2013. I am waiting to hear that pollster on last night’s result. I am sure he will do a volte-face; that is his accustomed mo.

Scotland’s Referendum is an object lesson for the self-righteous. People Power always wins out. For the record, I was hoping and wishing for a ‘No’ result. It makes sense. Alex Salmond wanted to have his cake and eat it too – aka- the best of both worlds.

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Non-Enforcement and Mockery of Election Laws

Many who scanned the Sunday Sun today [3/8/2014] to get a read of Caswell’s column encountered disappointment. BU is pleased to assist the Nation Publishing Company in making an ABC editorial decision – Barbados Underground

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

On July 6, 2014 the country was informed via the Sunday Sun that the 68 candidates in the February 21, 2013 general election spent just over $2.2 million on their election bids.

The report went on to say that regional political pollster, Peter Wickham, had voiced his concern about the manner in which the figures were collected. He called for a more robust system to collect the figures and suggested that the money declared had nothing to do with what was actually spent by the two major political parties.

Up to that point, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Wickham. Thereafter, his analysis exposed a gap in his knowledge of our electoral laws that caused him to make some erroneous conclusions. As a result, he merely provided excuses for politicians operating in our flawed electoral system. Barbados has more than adequate election laws to handle any perceived irregularity; the problems come from the lack of enforcement.

This week I intended to write part 3 of my mini-series on pensions but I could not allow the information attributed to Mr. Wickham to take root and spread. However, I would first like to deal with the one area on which we agree, and that relates to the under-reporting of election expenses.

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Homosexuals Are People Just Like Us…no?

Peter Wickham at the 'vanguard' of the Gay lobby in Barbados

Peter Wickham at the ‘vanguard’ of the Gay lobby in Barbados

BU has written and posted extensively about the issue of homosexuality. BU’s position is well documented. We do not subscribe to the lifestyle but will defend the right of the homosexual to co-exist in our society as defined by our society. It has proved and will continue to prove not a simple matter to resolve.

In the case of Barbados the homosexual debate has become interesting on a number of fronts. It is an issue which Peter Wickham has taken to wearing on his sleeve. He uses his weekly newspaper column and the talk show on Voice of Barbados radio to bombard citizens with his view. But guess what, this is his prerogative to take. Perhaps his advocacy would take on credibility if he were to declare his hand.

It is interesting to note that leading up to the last general election Ministers Adriel Brathwaite (Attorney General) and Stephen Lashley (Family and Youth) reaffirmed government’s position to support what BU describes as the traditional lifestyle of man and woman, and marriage, man and woman.  It is obvious the two ministers felt bold to make public their positions because they believe it resonates favourably with the majority of Barbadians poll or no poll. Where do we go from here if government is not inclined to endorse homosexuality as a normal way of life?

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Beast of Ephesus rises again….

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart known for his figurative language

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart known for his figurative language

Goodness gracious me. It’s happening all over again. DEMS’s worse nightmare as the beasts of Ephesus have once more risen to torment and torture the presumptuous. Wickham’s  latest ‘second poll’ we mean. With it, many DLP hacks’ hopes stampeded and diminished after yesterday’s rekindle of sparks.  PM Stuart’s nemesis too, as his popularity has once more plummeted back to behind that of Opposition Leader Owen Arthur’s. What does this mean? Ask  BU’s Hammy, who yesterday had most ceremoniously went to the pulpit and said a prayer to his Gods, after hearing the now premature good news. On thy breast plate, Freundel, once more unsheaf thy sword … whether the mother of all battles or the slaughter at Little Bow, definitely a wash pan a licks promised and wounds of a gushing kind galore.

But Wickham dear Wickham why the hair raising turn? You certainly caused many Bees to sit up from their honey making churns. Have you not heard that such thrift is not good for the feint and weak hearted turks? Or is this some new kind of  preamble to reactivate the indifferent to arise and lurk? Which ever way is up, it certainly has worked, for never in another General Election in Barbados has there been this much ephemeral. Could this be a permanent fixture of how things will be done from here on? Polling with a difference, a last minute thrill.

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Polls Apart: Arthur Now LEADS Stuart in New CADRES Poll

Peter Wickham, Head of CADRES

Peter Wickham, Head of CADRES

The most recent CADRES poll which surprised many that DLP leader Fruendel Stuart had eased pass Arthur has been reversed. Under pressure to explain the weekend poll which bucked a trend, Head of CADRES Peter Wickham took the sensible decision to redo the poll. The euphoria displayed by the DLPites has been short lived because the new poll has Arthur leading Stuart 37% to 32% with a 7% swing in play.

A DEM View Of the Recent CADRES Poll

Submitted by Stephen Williams

Prime Minister Stuart eases pass Arthur in recent CADRES Poll

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart eases pass Opposition Owen Arthur in recent poll – photo credit: Nation newspaper

According to the latest Cadres Poll, Freundel is out front. Wow!!! With that said, the DEMS must, therefore, press home the advantage as a result of our favourable showing.

However, I am somewhat sceptical about Wickham’s findings, that despite the fact that Freundel is ahead of Arthur, the DLP is still marginally trailing the Bees. I wonder if it is a case of who pays the piper, calls the tune! We all know the obvious bias of the Nation Group of companies. But, however you analyse the poll, it’s a body-blow for the Bees.

I am no political scientist, but I believe I have more than a modicum of common sense. It stands to reason, and rightly so, that if Freundel has surged ahead (in my humble opinion, he was ahead for some time) he would consequently bring along the DLP.

So, it must have been heart-wrenching for the Nation and the know-it-all Wickham, the avowed nemeses of the Prime Minister, to admit that Freundel Stuart is ahead of ‘Owing Arthur’ in their latest poll. Only last month, they were arguing it will be a landslide for their side. This must be a bitter pill for them to swallow.

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Barbados Newsmakers in 2012

Pollster Peter Wickham Pushing The Barbados Labour Party Privatization Agenda

Minister David Estwick responded to the privatization debate of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) on the weekend. There are many who believe he should be at the helm of the finance ministry. His blustery delivery on the weekend adds another view to that of Peter Wickham the pollster.