DLP Rumble

The election of a President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will be held this weekend at the annual general conference to run from August 18th to 20th. On the ballot are David Estwick, Ryan Walters, Richard Sealy and incumbent, Ronnie Yearwood.

The election of a President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will be held this weekend at the annual general conference to run from August 18th to 20th. The interest of the country is piqued because with no other credible alternatives available the DLP represents the government in waiting.

What has spiced interest for many is the fact the DLP has had to accept two significant defeats in the last two general elections. So significant it was the party did not win a single seat. Although many prefer in the wake of the shellacking a credible third party movement would have emerged, it has not. Although disappointed, we have to console ourselves that the duopoly will be with us for the foreseeable future.

The blogmaster does not have a dog in the fight BUT being a keen observer of local politics, a few observations of a light nature on the current state of political affairs in the DLP camp are merited.

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The DLP is Dying

A predictable event has fired up yet again in the DLP.

It was obvious to the greenest political pundit Dr. Ronnie Yearwood would have to face a challenge for the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) sooner or later. Many subscribe to the management concept leaders emerge and therefore Yearwood must be able to fight off all comers to establish his bona fides. Although true in theory there is a reality that nuances the political landscape of Barbados given the results of the last two general elections and how it has decimated the DLP brand. The DLP may no longer be considered a credible altenative. If the DLP perform as miserable at the next general election, Barbados will have a constitutional crisis on its hands.

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been reduced to a comatose state because of two significant defeats by a Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in 2018 and 2022. Former DLP President Verla De Peiza for her futile effort leading a DLP in shambles post the so called ‘lost decade’ had to resign. There is a reality that the DLP decision makers must accept, little has occurred since 2022 to positively reposition the DLP brand in the minds of a cynical and apathetic public. It does not mean Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the BLP enjoy the best support. What is means is that in the land of the blind, a one eye woman is Queen.

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A Matter of Integrity

On the 29 th of July 2022 on the floor of the Senate Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins during wind up on Resolution: Special Loans Act, Cap. 105 – Scotland District Road Rehabilitation made a surprising revelation. At about 2hrs. 12 mins into the video Cummins explained that a loan agreement with China in 2017 included a condition which exposed Barbados sovereign assets to China in the event there was a default by the government of the day.

A few days later former Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy – who was in office during 2017 – issued a robust denial to what Cummins stated. Quoting Sealy’s rebuttal:-

There is nothing in the agreement about any airport or seaport being [claimed] in the case of default.

I do not know where that young lady got her information. I do not know if she is being misguided . . . [but it is] absolute total rubbish,” he said.

The former minister of tourism added that the agreement was regarding the Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel Project. He said the arrangement with COMPLANT (the China National Complete Plant Import Export Corporation) was for the project to be a discreet one which could stand on its own.

The Government (then) was determined not to have a repeat of the HRL (Hotels & Resorts Limited)/Gems of Barbados fiasco so there was an exit plan where as soon as we completed the job, the private sector would come in and do what they had to do, which is exactly what this Government is doing,

Source: Nation Newspaper

The blogmaster is unaware the public has been satisfied what is the truth in the matter raised. No documents have been made public as far as the blogmaster is aware to satisfactorily clarify the matter. What is the purpose of our existence if our leaders cannot do so with integrity. What is the purpose of a democracy if people remain silent.

Return of the Old Guard

An interesting conversation point that will attract interest is the impact David Estwick, Michael Lashley, Denis Lowe and Richard Sealy will have on the 2022 general election. The four were members of the Freundel Stuart cabinet and the previous government soundly rejected by the electorate in 2018.

There is nothing unusual about defeated political candidates offering themselves to the public. To do so they must have successfully negotiated won the party requirements to win selection. Political parties are private entities after all and the membership free to select candidates of choice.

Notwithstanding the preamble a look at the four members of the old guard and what it means for the DLP’s chances on the 19 January 2022 AND beyond is a constructive discussion to have. Although decisions taken by political parties are private – obviously there is the national import.

The involvement of the four forces the ‘new’ DLP to defend old issues ventilated in the 2018 political campaign. Issues that arguably contributed to the DLP’s unprecedented defeat. Denis Lowe had the Cahill issue and the blogmaster expressed concerns about him being a Peter Allard stooge of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary fame, David Estwick’s public disagreements with former minister of finance Chris Sinckler, Michael Lashley’s questionable association with Trans-Tech etc. The big question for the political pundits – is the risk reward ratio calculated in favour of the Verla De Peiza led DLP?

Onlookers must surmise that the DLP conducted private polling to test the water in the four constituencies and the DLP executive was satisfied with the results. The unknown is whether the involvement of the four will negatively impact the national swing percentage. The size of the swing margins in the majority of constituencies the 2018 general election were large and the DLP will not want to make decisions to compromise the swing pendulum away from the BLP this time around. Another unknown is the extent the pandemic will have on voter turnout as it relates to the respective bases. Disillusioned DLP members opted out from voting in 2018, some may have voted BLP. Then there are the independents many who may decide to avoid the risk of standing in gatherings for reason of health safety. A cohobblopot of issues which the usual talking heads will try to make simple for a susceptible electorate.

The reality is that Barbadians are comfortable with the 2-party system that exists as it is in many countries. It should be obviously if we want the transformative changes in the economy, education, energy and water generation, waste management and others, like minded Barbadias will have to infiltrate the two main political parties to help with accelerating change in the national interest.

The blogmaster is of the opinion returning the four to the fold is a mistake not for the reasons mentioned but the threat to De Peiza’s fragile leadership hold on the ‘new’ DLP.

“Barbados: Feel Free” Tourism Slogan Gets Support

Submitted by Peter Lawrence Thompson

DLP Tourism spokesman Richard Sealy is mistaken. He leaked the report from the Hilary Beckles led committee to come up with a new tourism slogan in the hope of embarrassing the Government; however the committee has actually done an amazingly good job.

See Link to Nation newspaper storySealy: Slogan an embarrassment

I actually feel that I owe Professor Beckles and his committee an apology because I stated publicly that they were not up to the job, having little relevant expertise among the unwieldy membership of 18. Sorry Dr. Beckles.

They came up with three alternatives; “It’s A Bajan Thing”; “ Live Like A Bajan” and “Barbados: Feel Free”. This reminds me of the oldest consultants’ trick in the book: make three suggestions of which two are so obviously garbage that the client has no choice but to select the third.

The third suggestion, “Barbados: Feel Free” is a better tourism slogan than any we have ever had in the past. In fact, it is one of the best I have ever encountered globally. Let me explain.

A slogan needs to follow the the guidelines below and be:

  • Brief
  • Memorable
  • Allusive (because it needs to mean subtly different things to different segments of your audience)
  • An appeal to emotion (because buying decisions are all made with the emotions and then rationalised intellectually afterwards)
  • A call to action

If you doubt me just take a look at the most successful marketing slogans of our lifetime:

  • Nike – Just Do It.
  • Apple – Think Different.
  • Wendy’s – Where’s the Beef?
  • Coca-Cola – Open Happiness.

Each one follows the guidelines that I pointed out.

“Barbados: Feel Free” is better than any tourism slogan that we have ever had. “Feel Free” is an explicit invitation to drop by for a visit, and it is the sort of relaxed invitation you extend to social equals: to family or close friends. The feeling of freedom appeals to every psychographics and demographic because everyone invests it with what feels like freedom to them. It can appeal to locals as well as visitors because that feeling of freedom is aspirational for every human being.

Trapped in Freundel’s World

Prime Minister Stuart with Richard Sealy who acted in the position this week.

Barbados suffered ANOTHER downgrade from S&P Global credit rating agency – long-Term local currency rating to ‘CCC’; ‘CCC+’ Foreign; Outlook Negative. Follow the link to understand the definitions of the S&P credit ratings.   The CCC credit rating is defined as:

An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.(p.5)

Barbados Underground was criticised by a few because we did not post a blog to share the news of the downgrade on Wednesday (27 September 2017). Barbadians are experiencing ‘economic fatigue’ after 7 years of a protracted anaemic economic performance.  Even if blame is ascribed to BOTH political parties for the island’s poor economic performance, it does not change the reality for the majority of Barbadians. Perception is reality and the reality (perception) is that we have become trapped in the economic headlights like the deer.

Confirmation of the degree to which the leadership of the country is locked in old thinking was confirmed yesterday by acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy. During an address to DLP faithful at party headquarters he lauded the increase in tourism arrivals year over year. He shared the news that a few local tourism players will be renovating or adding rooms to the plant.  He also shared that the Hyatt hotel developers will start construction in a couple weeks. The BU household is of the view the Hyatt matter is the subject of a court action. Isn’t the construction of the Hyatt before the court because citizen advocate David Comissiong has filed for a judicial review? Did acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy disrespect Barbadians and the Barbados courts with his glib announcement that the Hyatt will break ground in two weeks?

Listen to acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy with 8min:34sec to go on the video. Did he mention that the Pure Beach property is still in play? Really acting Prime Minister Sealy?

Did Sealy also demonstrate ignorance with his reference to increase tourist arrivals as a measure of success in the sector? Has the  more accurate measure shifted to dollars spent (ave$spend) by the tourist as the best performance indicator to measure success in the hospitality sector? Why have we not seen significant positive movement in foreign currency inflow net of FDI? Was Sealy’s measure of success debunked by former minister of tourism Vincent Vanderpool. Also, if Sealy is a student of the marketplace he should have taken note of an address former Prime Minister Owen Arthur delivered a few years ago at the Errol Barrow Creative Centre, UWI, Cave Hill. Arthur was clear to point out that tourism as a single sector CANNOT generate the economic growth Barbados needs to pay its bills.

What is obvious is that this government will continue to make political decisions. Let us send up the prayers that we are are able to limp along until the Prime Minister gives the people the opportunity to exercise the right under the Constitution to select the political party of our choice.

Minister Richard Sealy Should SHUT UP on the HYATT ISSUE

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement

Richard Sealy - Minister of Tourism

Richard Sealy – Minister of Tourism

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy would be well advised to keep his mouth shut on the issue of the application by Visions Development Inc. (Mr. Mark Maloney’s company) to construct a 15 storey Hyatt hotel on Browne’s Beach.

The Law of Barbados — as spelt out in the Town and Country Planning Act and in various Orders made under that Act — stipulates that the Application in question has to be dealt with by the Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning (the Prime Minister), and that it has to be subjected to an objective and impartial processing procedure that must take into account the provisions of the country’s Physical Development Plan and “other material considerations”.

Furthermore, the existing Town and Country Planning  policies and regulations establish that an Application of this nature also has to be subjected to an “Environmental Impact Assessment” exercise, inclusive of a Public Meeting with persons who reside within the vicinity of the proposed project.

It is only AFTER all of these processes have been completed that the Prime Minister would be in a position to conclude his processing of the Application and  to make a reasoned and informed decision.

It is therefore highly irregular and improper for Mr. Sealy, a senior Minister in Mr. Stuart’s Administration, to be “shooting off his mouth” and speaking out of turn by publicly declaring that Mr Maloney’s company will be given permission to construct the hotel in question.

If the procedure that is being applied to the processing of the Application is an independent and impartial one, and if this procedure is still on-going, then how could Mr Sealy be in a position to assert that Maloney’s company will get the permission?

Mr. Sealy’s public pronouncements are only serving to cast doubt on the independence, objectiveness and impartiality of the manner in which the processing of this Application by Mr. Maloney’s company is being conducted.

And if— at some point in the future — this matter becomes the subject of a Judicial Review application in the Supreme Court of Barbados, Mr. Sealy could rest assured that his out-of-turn public pronouncements and the doubt that they cast on the impartiality and legitimacy of the process applied to Maloney’s Application, will feature prominently.

The Underground Tourism Sector

stmsc-r-sealy-dlpLet me be among the first to congratulate a Minister of Tourism for embarking on a personal visit to all the hotels in his domain. He was quick to point out that this was not meant to be an inspection visit but rather a ‘familiarisation exercise’ to view ‘each and every tourism establishment first hand, to witness their successes and deficiencies and to meet with the hotel staff to find out about their challenges and working conditions’. I believe this is absolutely critical if you are going to fully understand and guide an industry which dominates any country’s economy.

At this point I should make it clear that we are talking about the Seychelles, not Barbados. Alain St. Ange, their Minister of Tourism was accompanied by Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism and Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, Sherin Naiken and at the time of writing this column they had already visited 114 hotels. No mean achievement, when you think that the destination has various accommodation offerings spread across 16 of the 115 islands which make up the territory.

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Politics and Blind Loyalty

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

"The Faithful Few From Quakers"

“The Faithful Few From Quakers”

A few years ago while on a jaunt to Atlantic City we saw an attractive billboard advertising none other than the fabulous Drifters. For my wife and I this represented the chance of a lifetime. Our very first dance was to one of their tunes. We had just walked together not under but on the Boardwalk. Yes there was indeed Sand In My Shoes, and with a chance to relive those sweet days of yesteryear who could resist This Magic Moment? We bought our tickets and snuggled up for our stroll down memory lane. We heard our songs but they didn’t sound the same. There was no Ben E. King. There was no Bill Pinkney, no Johnny Moore, no Rudy Lewis. This group was still The Drifters. A similar predicament today confronts certain parts of the constituency of St. Michael South Central.

Since the inception of single member government blind faith and abiding loyalty to the Democratic Labour Party is all that was known by “The Faithful Few From Quakers.” That was the name given us by the late J M G M Tom Adams. For all that has happened….or better put not happened, I ask the question upon what exactly is today’s blind faith hinged? How do you not see that except for the name you have caught a different, very different kettle of fish? They say that there is none so blind as he who will not see. Does that include he who was bought? For the record let me make it clear that neither Richard Sealy nor David Gill is deserving of another chance, for they both have failed the people in the most miserable of ways. One sharp shower and every side street off Quakers road offers its trapped residents reminiscence of the gushing tides that stole Chuck Berry and Wallace Blackman all the way back in 1970.

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Unanswered Questions About the ROI on Tourism Initiatives

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

As we have now passed the latest ‘book-by’ date for the several times re-launched Barbados Island Inclusive promotion, is it time to analyse how cost effective the initiative has been? Especially as it was one of the very few, national marketing initiatives for this year that has either not been postponed, cancelled or simply just not implemented in the first place.

Just to remind readers, the stated objective was to generate an ‘additional’ 15,000 long stay visitors between the end of May and the 21st December 2013 who would spend BDS$30 million at a quoted cost of BDS$11 million to cover the promotional costs. Minister of Tourism (MOT), Mr. Sealy is on record as stating ‘all but $4 million will actually be spent on advertising’. On 22nd July 2013 the Barbados Government Information Service reported the MOT ‘had revealed that more than 5,000 tourists had taken advantage of the vouchers being offered under the programme’.

We know that even before the October figures are published, that ‘we’ are already experiencing an unprecedented 18 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline. So the word ‘additional’ is critical to evaluate because if the initiative had in fact generated any incremental numbers then it has been at a huge cost.

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Is the Ministry of Tourism Underachieving?

Excerpts related to tourism Budget Speeches 2008 to 2012:

  • There are some critical national concerns and a Tourism Master Plan is currently being designed by a new Unit in the Ministry of Tourism designed to look at our tourism development strategy in a holistic way addressing our product, land use policy, marketing, carrying capacity and linkages to our other sectors and the lives of Barbadians among other matters.
  • The expansion of the luxury tourism market will include the construction and opening every two years of a major internationally branded luxury hotel and associated branded residences catering to the five-star and ultra luxury tourism market.
  • The expansion of the luxury room stock will also assist in the establishment of the Health Tourism market in Barbados.
  • I [the late David Thompson’s first budget] have just returned from a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting at which tourism, regional and international transport were discussed for one full day. Some important decisions were taken including the commitment to a regional brand, the establishment of a Caribbean Tourism Marketing Fund and discussions are taking place between LIAT and Caribbean Airlines Limited on their future together – Budget 2008

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Minister Richard Sealy is a Pedigree JA

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

To bloggers who listened to the radio clip (compliments of VOB) today which featured Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy defending governments washpan of concessions to CPH Property Holdings (Barbados) Limited and Grande Cass Management (Barbados) Limited together known as SANDALS – see Government’s Concessions to SANDALS Barbados, they would have been offended. He made reference to the front page of the Nation newspaper which carried a a story highly critical of the concessions given to Butch Stewart’s companies. And here is what some bloggers may deem to be offensive, he stated he expected what the Nation published to be posted on the blogs or discussed under a tamarind tree.

Minister Sealy is free to have his opinion afterall we boast of living in a democracy. However, when he feels bold enough to disparage what we do on the blogs, he invites a response from BU albeit a reluctant one.

Minister Sealy should bear in mind that BU is used prolifically by his colleagues to disseminate information which the traditional media is not geared to facilitate. Have we not had the pleasure of Minister Donville Inniss venturing into this forum to interact with BU bloggers when he sought to defend his choice of Kingsland as a possible location for a new hospital? Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner has posted to BU on several occasions. BU will not mention all the DLP politicos who post to BU using monikers. What does he make of his colleagues who post and read BU? Perhaps one day BU will be persuaded to post some of the comments posted to BU by the late Prime Minister David Thompson.

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Minister Richard Sealy Must be Fired

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

Let us have a look at the 10-point plan which the Minister of Tourism introduced to Barbadians in July 2013. BU invite feedback on those items which have been implemented as at 02 October 2013. We have been told that if government is to manage its programs to achieve a 400 million dollar reduction in the deficit, it must manage implementation of projects and enact necessary legislation with precision. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart pushed his hand up to assure Barbadians that he will ensure timelines are met. Frankly, if two out of the 10-point Plan have been implemented we will be surprised.

We cannot continue to breed a culture where implementation deficit is a norm in Barbados. Of concern is that this culture has taken deep root at the ministry of tourism, our number one sector. BU will not bother to embarrass Minister Richard Sealy and his team by listing the many promises which he has reneged. Does anyone recall the Governor of the Central Bank suggesting that the final quarter of 2012 was make or break for Barbados if tourist receipts continue to decline?  We know how that story has ended. We have had 12 consecutive months of decline in tourist arrival,  it makes it a slam dunk for BU to ask for the resignation of Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy. However the overpowering reason why he must resign is that his ministry cannot implement.

Tourism And Hospitality Sector Ten Point Plan

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Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and Parliamentary Secretary Irene Sandiford-Garner Please Drag Barbados Tourism Website into the 21st Century Please!

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

While our small hotel is currently on the market with the objective of re-opening for the up-coming winter season, I have been looking back 25 years to when we purchased, a then derelict Arawak Inn, and trying to evaluate exactly how much the investment climate has changed. Does it need to be revised to help take our tourism industry out of the current malaise? Attempting to look through the eyes of a new investor’s perspective it is clear to see, that many of the institutions who have been empowered to entice such interest are dismally failing in their stated mandate.  At least to a level that modern-day investors reasonably expect.

Sadly, it’s almost pitiful.

Initially, without knowing all the possible agencies involved, the natural first source of decision making facts is the national Ministry of Tourism (MOT) website, where the very latest statistics can be sourced.

We can all understand, at this time, that Government is under extreme fiscal pressure. But does this excuse their existing employees or managers, who have yet to to suffer any detrimental effects of what is referred to as the ‘global recession’ not updating existing posted data in a timely manner. Why, for instance, should the last visitor arrival figures show August 2012?

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Politicians: Nitpicking and Stupidity

Submitted by Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

We usually try to avoid commenting on the empty statements of the current breed of politicians entrusted with the development of the Caribbean. However, as a responsible watchdog group, we are totally dumbstruck by recent statements of the Barbados Minister of Tourism, Mr. Richard Sealy, who claims that the St. Lucia tourism product is lagging that of Barbados by some thirty years. We are equally supportive of the stance taken by the St. Lucia Minister of Tourism; Mr. Lorne Theophilius that he will not engage in any spat with his Barbadian counterpart but prefers to look at the industry from a regional perspective. This is in keeping with our view of regional economic development.

Minister Sealy must understand that if St Lucia is making great gains, in the industry, it is a reward to their tourism planners, and the people of St Lucia. It is also a significant gain for the Caribbean economies, that we have another player in the global leisure industry.

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Submitted by Check-This-Out

Dave Ames, Chairman of Harlequin

Dave Ames, Chairman of Harlequin

Just came across an article dated November 17, 2011 in Caribbean 360. The following is from the article “Harlequin Hotels restarts Barbados development amid fraud claims”

“Commenting on the developments Ames said, “It is fantastic to have both sites moving ahead quickly now. We are very committed to continued significant investment in Barbados and we are grateful that the interim concessions were finally approved by the Hon. Minister Sinckler and his team at the Department of Finance. This has allowed us to immediately resume works and will result in the creation of up to 200 construction jobs between both projects. Although Harlequin Developments have resumed work on both projects, we are still awaiting approval of the concessions package under the TDA for the luxury boutique hotel H Barbados.”

Garrett Ronan, Harlequin Hotels and Resorts Vice President of Hotel and Resort Development, commented, “We are working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Finance to expedite these concessions and we are hopeful they can be issued this week. This would help us get H Barbados back on schedule for completion in November 2012, despite the recent delays. We are very appreciative of the recent approval granted by the Hon. Christopher Sinckler and his team, which has allowed us to move swiftly with The Merricks Resort Show Village. As a gesture of good faith, we also resumed work on H Barbados, but we do urgently need approval on  the standard concessions to keep things moving there.”

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Trying to Unravel Government’s Tourism Marketing Strategy

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Is the predicted 6 or 7 percent fall in long stay visitors during the month of January directly as a result of reduced promotional expenditure by the national marketing agency, and if so, has anyone put a dollar value on the consequential loss of tax revenue collected by Government?

Is this yet another example of a failed policy decision, as when Government increased the level of VAT, only to find the overall amount gathered, went down and not up? According to the Central Bank (CBB)  from $683.4 million in 2011 to $666.6 million in 2012.

A 6 percent decrease in arrivals when compared to January 2012 would represent 3,157 less people and 7 percent 3,683. Last January was already down over the previous year, albeit only by 0.8 per cent according to CTO figures.

What we should be asking is how much those missing thousands would have spent and is the current dearth of funds to the Barbados Tourism Authority actually costing the industry and the nation’s coffers more than we can imagine.

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The Deputy As Leader

The Deputies

One of the many problems which afflict our political system is the overwhelming focus on the ‘maximum’ leaders of the two main political parties, case in point Fruendel Stuart and Owen Arthur. The talk shows, newspapers and of course ‘the blogs’ you name it, the majority of the conversation is always about Arthur and Stuart. No wonder when our leaders depart – Tom Adams, Errol Barrow and David Thompson – there is a void which the parties have struggled to fill.

It seems like a long time since Mia Mottley was removed as leader of the Opposition. Of interest is that Dale Marshall  continued in his role as deputy opposition leader if there is such a position. Marshall has never attained a national profile which placed him in the conversation to be considered prime minister material. It is clear his role as deputy was to placate the Payne faction and also to recognize his facile political persona.

As gearing for the next election intensifies Arthur has recognized (very quickly) that a role must be defined for Motley given her relatively high national profile. He has had no choice but to let her assume the role of party whip used here to mean amplifying party views. We have seen her replying as lead spokesman of the opposition to the most important debates for the year; the Estimates and the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals. As Motley has regained prominence Dale Marshall has had to revert to a role which he seems comfortable. A recent press conference by the opposition to respond to the S&P downgrade exposed the batting order if one judges from the speaking order – Arthur, Motley and Mascoll. A throwback to the last election maybe when some had concerns about whether Mascoll or Mottley was the deputy?

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Stuart Not Getting The Job Done

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

On reflection there have not been many blogs which were written by BU (David) when the laptop keys were banged in anger – consider this blog the exception. Of all the issues which have challenged Barbados and the government since it assumed office, it is the Alexandra matter (AX) which continues to provoke the ire of the BU household. A lot has been written in the last decade about this matter. The bottomline, Barbadians brag about how wonderfully educated we are, and how socially and politically stable we are, and how the Social Partnership has worked for Barbados and is viewed as a beacon of success for others to admire and emulate. Yet despite our many achievements we find ourselves where we are today; unable to solve a 10-year dispute which came to a head in recent months.

After 4-months of the AX matter having been escalated to the Prime Minister of Barbados Fruendel Stuart, and his early success to get the teachers back to school there was great expectation amongst the population that the matter would be resolved soon after. The Prime Minister by his language coupled with a public demonstration of confidence by the BSTU arising from meetings with Stuart, Barbadians rightly in our view perceived that the matter was being thrashed out, the fact that it is known to be a complex issue notwithstanding.

On Thursday when the Prime Minister held a press conference to announce on the matter, honestly, whatever expectation and admiration existed for Stuart was deflated when the solution approved by the Cabinet of Barbados was aired. BU has recorded in earlier blogs our concern that Stuart has demonstrated a tendency to ignore the political dimension to the many issues he has had to battle albeit during a difficult stewardship. The fact that he is a politician whether he considers himself one should make such an observation moot anyway. Barbadians are stark raving mad at the decision by the government of Barbados to establish a Commission of Inquiry as the means to solve the problem. It is not that constituting it is was not well intentioned however the perception of Barbadians is that the matter requires the urgency of now.  Whatever the level of the political stock Stuart and his government enjoyed before the press conference it has significantly fallen since.

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When Insensitivity, Ignorance And Commonsense Collide, The CLICO Saga Continued

Minister John Boyce having a drink in the company of Leroy Parris at Valery yesterday

In March 15, 2011 BU wrote about the insensitivity demonstrated by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, to be caught publicly sipping champagne in the company of former Chairman of CLICO Holdings Leroy Parris; he was all smiles on that occasion in the Sandy Lane Box on Gold Cup Day. Yet another minister is caught in the company of Leroy Parris at the launch of the Valery high rise housing project yesterday 8/11/2011).

It is a free country and ministers are free to fraternize with whosoever they please. However one would have thought with the CLICO Saga raging and a hotbed issue, ministers in government especially would show some modicum of commonsense and sensitivity indifference to policyholders who stand to lose significant lifesavings. So far the Deloitte judicial managers continue to search out the best way forward.

Where ignorance is bliss it should be exposed. Media reports confirmed that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart along with Ministers Michael Lashley and Richard Sealy were in attendance at Valerie but appeared to have exercised better judgement to avoid being caught out. Kudos to Nation photographer Nigel Browne for  the Kodak moment.

Somebody needs to give Leroy Parris some advise. Whether you feel you have done nothing wrong in your former capacity as Chairman of CLICO Holdings there is something called commonsense, please exercise some. Why would you want to keep a high profile position at this time?

To further rub salt in the wounds of aggrieved CLICO and BAICO policyholders we understand he is about to change his Mercedez.

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