Who is the Liar, CXC Cleveland Sam or Minister of Education Ronald Jones

Cleveland Sam, Assistant Registrar Public Information and Customer Service

BU Commenter Ping Pong posted the following two comments to highlight a matter that should be of concern to all Barbadians.

Comment 1

On 25th August @ 6:03 David posted in this thread, a report by Cara Foster titled: CXC not in business of failing students.

In that report Mr Cleveland Sam of CXC is quoted as saying “There’s a Paper 1, which is a multiple choice, a Paper 2, which is the structured, answered questions and the SBAs [School-Based Assessments]. If the SBA component of the examination has not been received by CXC, then the student is given ‘ungraded’,”

On page 4 of today’s edition of Barbados Today, Mr Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, is reported to be saying that the case of ungraded results had nothing to do with SBAs!!

Well what did cause CXC to issue ungraded results and other spurious results?

Like much else in Barbados, the standards and reliability of our once excellent education system is slipping. However what is really disturbing is that the citizens are apathetic and unconcerned.

Comment 2

So now the SBAS are corrected!


“When CXC results were released on August 18, entire classes from Combermere, The St Michael, Grantley Adams Memorial and Springer Memorial Schools were left bewildered when they received an ungraded score for their school-based assessments (SBAs).

“Where we have been given the evidence of the SBAs, those have been marked and the students would have received updated pre-slips through the local registrar,” CXC spokesman Cleveland Sam told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday.

Sam said the marking would have occurred in recent days but shed no further light on the matter.”

I am left to speculate that if no intervention was made by the Ministry then those students would have been left with ungraded results.

Yet all those in charge at CXC will continue along merrily! Will the Ministry of Education strongly request an investigation of CXC and in particular of the online marking process? Will the Ministry stop be so subservient to CXC and assert its status as the agent of the owners of CXC i.e. the people of the Caribbean Community?

Before Bush Tea chimes in, or are we all really brassbowls?

The Failed Entrepreneurial State

Sir Dwight Venner - Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

Sir Dwight Venner – Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

BU listened with interest to the Governor of the ECCB Sir Dwight Venner as he delivered the annual Leo Leacock Memorial Lecture during Small Business Week 2014 (SBA) which ran from September 21 to September 27. Of interest also:  the week  culminated with  an Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Hilton with our friendly neighbourhood academic Avinash D. Persad invited to deliver the featured address titled The Entrepreneurial State. Coincidentally, Persad delivered the annual Leo Leacock lecture in 2009. A pet peeve of BU is why the race by the SBA to invite so many academics to address an audience presumably of budding and established entrepreneurs. Persad’s speech was littered with the usual amorphous references to Steve Jobs, Carlos Slim, Larry Ellison with no reference to past or rising entrepreneurs from Barbados or the region who have blazed a trail. This is the problem BU has with academics who often (through no fault of their own) become detached from the reality. And no BU is not anti academic.

For those who listened and observed his body language Sir Dwight Venner expressed a hopelessness with the Barbados development engine for absconding its leadership role in the region. Bear in mind this is a man who walks in the shadows of regional political and business leaders. We all agree SMEs have to be part of the solution but we continue to struggle jumpstarting the sector. Like a stuck record we have to listen to SBA CEO Lynette Holder’s query whether we have a category called entrepreneur in Barbados or whether our policymakers even acknowledge an invigorated SME sector as being critical to the lifeblood of the Barbados economy.   Like the minibus culture which has been allowed to take root by successive administrations so too they have demonstrated a basement level of ignorance about how to foster an environment that will release the potential of the Barbadian entrepreneur.

Is it not logical to conclude that our pre-colonial education model is failing us and we need to change it? Are our leaders unable to appreciate if we continue to use the same model we will not get a different result? We are happy to produce a nation of employees by suppressing those who would aspire to create capital by unleashing talents driven by a yearning to self actualize swimming in an ethos of entrepreneurial activity? Are we a highly literate nation or not?

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Barbados Rapidly Losing Regional ICT Battle And Don’t Even Know It


Barbados is rapidly losing the regional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) battle with T&T, Jamaica and Grenada being increasingly recognized as regional nations of choice for international ICT business investment, this is due largely to investments these nations have made in their national ICT infrastructure. Barbados has been overly focused on the tourism industry to the detriment of many other industries like ICT, a pattern which must end.  Jamaica in the midst of their economic challenges have invested in creating a national ICT infrastructure that is now attracting international ICT investors like Digicel, which is now based in Jamaica but could/should have been based in Barbados.

What is the sense of having a well educated population if we don’t have jobs for our youth when they are done school.  It is as though we need a major shock to our idea of life and liberty in Barbados (which by the way is the only reason to vote for the DLP in the next general election).

We as a society still view diplomas on a wall as proof of a profession’s worth and as a result of this institutional thinking they are many young Bajan entrepreneurs and “doers” who will never get a chance to “shine”, just because they did not go to Harrison or Queens College or UWI.  If we as a nation are going to survive in the post-recession world, we have to change this mindset and way of thinking about education, for competitiveness sake.

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Breaking The Stranglehold On High Prices Will Call For A Holistic Strategy

Andy Armstrong, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce

I am just fed up with the mark-ups . . . I was in a supermarket recently and I wanted to call the health inspectors. The quality of the English potatoes was so poor! So you are not only paying more money, but getting poorer quality,” Benn added…Sir, I have being complaining for the last five years and no government department takes me on. I am further convinced some importers are importing low grade or rejected potatoes which are not fit for human consumption Minister of Commerce Haynesley Benn (Nation)

It started with Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler making the charge at the kick off by-election political meeting in St. John that retailers have been ripping of consumers in Barbados. He went on to challenge officers in the ministry of commerce to getup off their backsides and patrol the supermarket aisles to ferret out and expose cases of ‘price gouging’. On queue a couple days later Minister of Commerce Haynesly Benn paraded a number of items to the media, which at face value, supported Sinckler’s case that retailers have indeed been pricing products unreasonably high. It is at this point things have become very interesting.

Both political parties have struggled over the years to rein in the cost of living. Before the recession when there was plenty of money in circulation an already passive Barbadian consumer had become price insensitive. Well into the throes of a global recession of the worst kind, a desperate government which has over promised and under delivered on reducing food prices faces an uphill battle. It should be obvious in the prevailing economic climate that it will be well-nigh impossible to significantly reduce prices. It does not mean that as a country we should not be vigilant to the practice of what is termed ‘price gouging’.  The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) which was setup to safeguard the interest of Bajan consumers has been asleep at the switch from its inception. To add to the problem of government the Washington Post reported yesterday that the battle is on to keep global food prices from soaring.

The issue of high food prices like most things in Barbados has become a heavily politicise one. Wholesale distributors and the major retailers are in the main controlled by the merchant class. The inability of successive governments to effectively manage food prices clearly illustrates a case of those who control the economic power trumping those who have the political power.

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