Mia the DESPOT…Cometh the hour, cometh the Woman

Submitted by SSS

Mia AMOR Mottley. There is nothing more that can be said about Mia Mottley that has not been already told except for secrets not yet spoken about. She has been the subject of the good, the bad, the ugly, the downright wutless, and plenty of praise and hyped up talk from political loyals and would be lackies.

There are those who will defend her and the work of the BLP with venomous spit fire, and any criticism laid at the feet of this now looked upon prodigal saviour, results in a relentless attack of justifications, and the presentation of BLP achievements, all intended to persuade and convince.

In other words, we are not to speak about the axe the electorate put deep into the BLP tree stump on two consecutive elections due to the propensity of this party to behave like renegade monks a few years into their elected term. According to BLP supporters, what the people must do is believe in the BLP, even if it means showing them (by the way of a vote) how fed up you become of their boastings, arrogance, giddy head displays, lack of transparency and accountability, and personal prosperities.

What matters now is far more important than what the BLP did back then. So, vote BLP, because you are better off with them even though you are aware of their many shortcomings and personal self-serving interests. It makes no sense dwelling on or highlighting any past controversial issues or allege corruptions because they are irrelevant.

On the real issues, this despot who has begged Barbadians to make her Prime Minister, has given mere plastered promises of what she will do to tackle corruption. Her’s is carefully made utterance on the matter of corruption. It is just like the pinch of salt given to address the issues that the Auditor General has highlighted under the governance of both the DLP and BLP. And, it is just like the PAC report she produced just before the elections, which, more than likely, was intended to only highlight but not investigate.

So far, Mottley has dished out the accustom promised soup mixed with all the enticing ingredients to fatten the kiddy in order to bite he in the bam bam, later. One would think that Mottley would have learned a valuable lesson in not making erroneous and unrealistic promises that might not be possible to fulfill. I mean, why go down a similar road as the imbeciles on the DLP side when there is enough fodder to feed into the truth ‘grill’ that alone can augur your party’s chances to be the next elected government. But, no. The script remains the same like all other past elections campaigning: Promises made to win; win and articulate after why you cannot.

Will we finally see the reality of laws supporting anticorruption, accountability, whistleblower legislation, freedom of information and so on under a Mia Mottley formed government?

The SSS has made it clear that she sees Mia Mottley as a rogue. And, until a different side of her is presented than the one that says: she-MUST BE IN CONTROL OF ALL THAT SHE SURVEYS, Mia Mottley will remain in my eyes as a self-serving, power hungry despot, who might have Barbados interest at heart, but her personal desires are greater.

Private State?

In Privacy Pros and Cons, I considered the Parliamentary debate around the recent SSA Amendment Bill. Most of that debate seemed to be concerned with the limits on the rights of citizens to privacy, but my concern was that there was precious little comfort being offered in terms of the secret conduct of our public affairs.

If we are to evolve to developed nation status it is essential that the State seriously reform its culture of obscurity and secrecy, that is the contention I am advancing here.

Source: Private State?

Business as Usual Between the Political Class and Denizens

Submitted by HAMILTON HILL

crimeRome is burning, and from all appearances one begins to get the sense that the Romans are fast asleep. Aren’t we just a tad bit tired of the optics? I think not, for they are passed off as business as usual. Exactly when do we intend to stand up and say to our Gods this simple one line phrase? ENOUGH. ….

The sound of gunfire is as commonplace as the back fire of an engine with blown Pistons. Last Sunday night an innocent fifty seven year old woman had the misfortune of crossing paths with one of the many errant bullets that seemingly come from all directions of the one hundred and sixty six square mile gun range. The scary thing is that it could happen at anytime to anyone.

Here is my problem. This woman might lose her life, and through sheer diligence the over worked and underappreciated detectives of the RBPF will bring the vermin to justice. After a fair trial that menace to society becomes a ward of society, breathing the same air as you, me and everyone else except the unfortunate fifty seven year old woman upon whom he would have passed judgement. From all the way in Washington DC this creep is given a new lease on life. Since Washington DC has this much influence on us, explain this to me.

Democratic majority leader Pedro Espada Jr, a big wig in New York politics got five years in prison for stealing from a non-profit clinic he had founded. That was back in 2013. Today he is in maximum security after straying outside the boundaries of the the low level lockup that initially housed him. Hours ago seventy two year old Sheldon Silver received a sentence of twelve years in prison for corruption. How could I have forgotten to mention the fact that Mr Silver occupied the position of SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. Let me also tell you that in all of this mess Governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t suggest to corrupt Shelley Silver “Go get a lawyer, you didn’t do anything wrong“. He ain’t so drunk, and in any event such shit flies only in a banana republic where poor folk are content with the tactic of comply and then complain. Where austerity measures are trained in one direction only. A banana republic where the American influence is conveniently applied.

Corruption Gets a Passing Grade

Submitted by Heather Cole

corruptionAmidst the celebrations of 50 years of Independence, the Attorney General of Barbados made an unexpected announcement regarding corruption. In an article in Barbados Today dated March 4, 2016 under the heading “Not Here”, the Attorney General did NOT promote the touted administration’s promise of anti-corruption legislation. Instead he said corruption was not a major problem and that his administration was not interested in pursuing anti-corruption legislation any time soon because it was not a priority.

What is corruption?

It is defined as a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal gain. From the looks of it, we have entered an era of systematic and political corruption in Barbados.

It makes one wonder what the priorities of this government are. What the public perceives as the priorities of this administration were first outlined in the Democratic Labour Party Manifesto. The most glaring of these was to be the implementation of Integrity Legislation. To date the government has not even hinted that the promise they made to the electorate will be kept. The very fact that the Attorney General rose to defend the Government is an indication that corruption is a big problem. Government’s corrupt practices have escalated during this administration and include the Cahill Scam, theft by the Speaker of the House, Mara and David Thompson’s involvement in the Clico Affair, the Coverley Lease, missing information on the Auditor General’s Reports, the depletion of the NIS funds, contracts awarded in contravention of government’s financial rules, Government giving away tax free and other concessions as well as the buying of votes in the last election.

Let us examine the implications of his statement – corruption degrades the moral fabric of any society which becomes so steeped in filth that it is unable to remove it. After 8 years of being rocked by scandal after scandal, one wonders if his next pronouncement will be that there is no crime, no guns or no drugs. Will he state that these are not major problems and his administration is not pursuing any more legislation to counter them because they are not priorities?

He admitted that there is a tear in the very fabric of society and yet his intention is not to mend it? It is like a perpetrator of a crime boldly admitting guilt while showing no remorse. Perhaps the statements are opening the flood gates for corruption in the wider society, heralding our descent down the slippery slope. It can lead to a mafia type society where bribes and payments abound to get simple things done or payments given to look the other way. With acknowledged corruption, a precedent is set that informs the youth that things are to be achieved through corrupted methods and patronage. There is a rise in suspicion and lack of trust amongst the citizens and residents of a country that leads to fear mongering. The established functions of government become so adulterated and this ultimately affects the poor who become unable to pay for bribes and turn to crime to obtain bribe money. Damaged as it is now, the election process of buying votes will only get worse, making elections neither free nor fair.

Ultimately those statements speak volumes about the character of the person that the island has entrusted the responsibility to uphold the laws of the land and create new legislation when it is lacking. His statements do not infer integrity neither responsibility nor accountability to the people of Barbados and the Attorney General should resign.

Since there is an admission of corruption, the people want answers to many questions relating to the Cahill Waste to Energy Plant, Clico, Coverley, contracts that have been awarded outside of the proper tendering process and concession given to various parties. They also want investigations; the guilty sent to jail, explanations to mysterious money on bank accounts of persons who entered Parliament broke, moneys returned to the public purse that were unlawfully taken, the audited financial reports for Ministries and Departments of Government and resignations from Parliament.

Also, in light of this admission by the Attorney General, the Government needs an open rebuke from the church. To date the church has been silent but it needs to take a leaf out of the book of Pope Francis who is very critical about corruption. There is a role to be played by the church, other religious organizations and groups in civil society to denounce corruption in high places. Along with prayers, it is time for these groups to stand up and speak out and not wait until this same corruption is manifest within their doors.

In our 50th year of Independence, it would have been worth celebrating if Attorney General made a statement that Barbados was corruption free. The icing on the cake then could have been that since the implementation of the Integrity Legislation not one Member of Parliament’s activity had been called into question.

Barbados and Singapore Miles Apart On the Vexing Issue of Tackling Graft

Clean and honest dealing is one of our key competitive advantages,” CJ Menon said. “Corruption compromises the predictability and openness which Singapore offers and investors have come to expect. This is a hard won prize achieved through our collective efforts as a society and we must not allow these to be undone. – The FCPA Blog

BU agrees with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s recent position that Barbadians have to be disciplined to achieve the goal of climbing back to economic prosperity. On the flipside we continue to observe Prime Minister Stuart’s unwillingness (inability) to exercise discipline when it comes to rolling out transparency legislation promised by his government. Clearly corrupt behaviour exist in Barbados and it explains why the legislation was proposed in the first place. Our inability to hold players in the system accountable means graft has taken deep root and has long become institutionalized.

A recent court decision handed down by the Chief Justice of Singapore’s Supreme Court Sundaresh Menon demonstrates why Singapore and Barbados are miles apart on any governance spectrum.

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Transparency Required for the Rock Hard Cement Project – Mark Maloney and the Bjerkhamn Gang Championing ANOTHER Project

Photo credit: Barbados Today

Photo credit: Barbados Today

BU has no issue with the private sector leading development especially if the result will translate in benefits for a wide cross section of Barbadians and not a few. The news that a new cement company to be called Rock Hard Cement is to be built at the Flour Mill, Spring Garden has generated valid questions by the public. Bear in mind the citizenry has been taken for granted under successive government when approving large private sector projects, the Greenland landfill comes to mind. Town Planning Department stipulation which requires Environmental Impact Assessment Studies and Town Hall meetings have long been accepted as a checklist item. Always the 9-day noise erupts from the population and abates until the next project.

One of the principals behind the project is the omnipresent Mark Maloney, a member of the Bjerkhamn/JADA consortium, who on the 24 January was quoted in the news as saying, “ …We are at the stage now where we are going to be building a plant at the Flour Mill. We have all the land identified and we are going through the regulatory processes and all that now but, in the interim, we are building a temporary plant [adjacent to the Flour Mill site], which is in construction right now, and we hope to be able to have the cement to market by the end of March, early April”.   We have subsequently observed a pullback from Maloney’s position after questions were raised by the public of the level of Town Planning involvement. What Maloney’s statement confirms however is that the tail continues to wag the dog.

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Broken Trident and Broken Promises–What Next!

Independence - the broken trident symbolizes a symbolic break from its status as a colony

Independence – the broken trident symbolizes a symbolic break from its status as a colony

One of the biggest disappointments for BU in the post Independence era has been our inability to capitalise on the investment of billions sunk into education to create a sustainable economic model by developing the human resource of Barbados. We boast we are a literate country compared to others but the true measure of success must be in the quality of our decision making, processes and quality of intuitions.   The goal of educating a nation’s people has to be about equipping the citizens to make relevant decisions based on the challenges – always changing – being confronted. In 2014 – after 48 years of Independence – can we say we are happy with the state of affairs?

Critiquing a system where the stakes are high if there is failure must be embraced as a constructive exercise. In this case criticism should not be defined within the narrow confines of a political lens. The challenge is for the leadership and people of Barbados to welcome and filter all feedback and criticism by citizens with a conciliatory and collaborative mindset. We have slowly surrendered to a political system which encourages divisiveness.

In the same way the adage ‘no man is an island’ is generally accepted read no human being is a repository for all information, the same can be stated for government and political party.  BU is convinced the success of Barbados must rise on the backs of the collective wisdom of all citizens and other actors in civil society.

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Barbados Government Not Committed to Transparency

Bolt Solutions Inc, CAIPO registry # 37941, Category = company, date registered 2014-02-19 Bolt Solutions Inc, CAIPO registry # 37941, Category = company, date registered 2014-02-19 – see CAIPO Director document

Just like 3S and others we observe companies being registered on the face of it to be eligible to tender and receive government contracts. In the case of the above project being managed by the Ministry of the Environment (Denis Lowe’s ministry) we question who is BOLT Solutions Inc. It is the right of Barbadians to ask questions but more importantly the government promised to be transparent. We want to know.

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No Change!

Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe,

Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe,

Six years later Barbadians continue to wait for the implementation of transparency legislation. It was a campaign promise of the incumbent government made in 2008 but in 2014 remains outstanding. BU views it as another unbroken promise which makes a mockery of the social contract we refer to as the Manifesto. How can Prime Minister Stuart, Minister of Finance Sinckler, Minster Inniss and the off again on again Minister of Agriculture Estwick seriously expect sensible Barbadians to trust government’s policies, when there is incontrovertible evidence key members of the Cabinet of Barbados lied to the electorate about the urgency to rollout transparency legislation.

There is the popular saying credited to Albert Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results defines insanity. Over one decade of Auditor General reports which consistently detail unacceptable levels of graft and weak governance in the public sector therefore the need for government to urgently respond, yet implementation in 2014 remains a low priority. Bear in mind the public sector has to interact with the private sector to do business and are implicated in the sham. Also we recall the attempt to rollout similar legislation thirty years ago failed, the difference, it was a Barbados Labour Party government leading the charge then, or so it appeared. How are Barbadians expected to trust the policies of any government if there is clear evidence they have disregarded implementing policies to avoid scrutiny.

Both governments have been accused of squandering public funds and there is evidence to support the claim. In times of plenty inefficient allocation of resources will go unnoticed however in a guava season greater fiscal discipline must be the obvious approach. In fact commonsense suggests that fiscal discipline  must be the preferred approach in good and bad economic times. What do successful people and organizations have in common?

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Integrity Legislation:Lord I Can’t Take It No More

Submitted by Benny
Fruendel Stuart (r) Arthur (l) won the Integrity race last general election

Fruendel Stuart (r) Arthur (l) won the Integrity race last general election

I will urge the people to vote out this government as soon as possible if they fail to bring integrity laws. This situation is really ridiculous. This government knew full well why its campaign message was centred around bringing such legislation.

I have always held Prime Minister  Stuart as an honest man and do not believe he is involved in corruption but the upholder is as good as the thief if he continues to sit and allow this situation to continue he must be painted with the same brush. There is no plausible explanation why going into their seventh year of mis- governing this country that integrity laws should not have been enacted.

This situation makes the Attorney General and his department look impotent. My lord there is Viagra on the market i.e. the backing of the populace demanding such legislation. The only conclusion there can be is that both parties are cut from the same cloth. I have supported this party for all my life but I am rapidly loosing faith

BTII: Investment and its Importance to the Local Economy

Sen. Darcy Boyce, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy

Sen. Darcy Boyce, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy

Positioned on the periphery of local politics, the independent is always forced to chuckle. The idea that Senator Darcy Boyce was CEO of the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTII) between 2004 and 2007 reporting to former minister Noel ‘Barney’ Lynch is reason enough.

BU will continue our remit to shine a bright light at the underbelly of Bajan society much to the annoyance of the establishment. Politicians on both sides have become very comfortable issuing vacuous promises to a largely forgiving electorate. The coming of transparency legislation indeed!

All agree tourism along with attracting investment are critical  to a vibrant local economy. The agencies responsible for overseeing related activities are expected to bring a good game.  Have a look at the BTII website which has… committed [itself] to this development and invites investors around the world to evaluate our investment opportunities and work with us in profitable and beneficial projects. You too can benefit from our success by taking advantage of tourism investment opportunities on the island…Local media has credited the BTII with leading the agreement to purchase Heywoods property known as Almond Beach Village.

BU is willing to offer the management of BTII an apology if proved wrong but the website appears not to have been updated  since 2006. Here is a snippet:

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the one that got away

YouTube video posted by social commentator Agyeman Kofi

Leading up to the last general election (2007/2008) a key platform message for the then David Thompson led Opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was to PROMISE Barbadians transparency legislation. Another general election is upon us – five years later – and although the government has hurried the Anti-corruption Bill through parliament, it is yet to be operationalized. Many argue that the more important piece of transparency legislation is the FOIA,  giving ordinary Barbadians access to information. The FOIA languishes in draft.

“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.”

― Bruce Coville

Government Moves Integrity Legislation Pass the Lower House

As incredible as it may seem to some, the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2012 has passed the Lower House on its journey to being proclaimed. Hopefully this will be done before the Prime Minister rings the bell for the next general election. One suspects though that Prime Minister Stuart will deliver on this piece of legislation, this is the stuff legacy is built. Perhaps the one regret is that yet again Hansard will NOT record a contribution from the leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur.

A listen to the debate disappointed yet again. Members of parliament on both sides joined hands to paint a picture of a courageous group who has had to bear the brunt of vilification from the public. References were made to the #16 ranking which Barbados holds on Transparency International. The Prime Minister referenced the need to recognize that there is a perception that many in public life engage in questionable behaviour, therefore the need to have integrity legislation.  The listener was left with the impression that the government although tabling the legislation, has done so kicking and screaming.

To state the obvious integrity legislation serves many purposes. In private enterprise rules governing code of conduct is routine. It ensures that all employees are aware of the consequences of certain actions. It helps to feed a culture of excellence. BU posits that many practices which currently fly under the radar may be discontinued or forced into the open with the advent of integrity legislation. Should we remind the Attorney General that Transparency International’s ranking is based on a perception index? It is known how PSV permits were procured by may as a good example. A read of the Auditor General reports from 2006 also helps to form positions unfavourable to politicians and others in the public sector.

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We Promise…

Do we need a Political Ombudsman?

Election manifesto is a statement by a political party,explaining what it will do if they win the elections.Through election manifesto the voters come to know about the policies of the political party they are going to vote for.They can easily think that which party will prove the best for them,they can decide that with whose policies they want to go.therefore an election manifesto is very important – WIKI

Political parties the world over will make promises to an expectant electorate. Based on the ‘complexion’ of the political climate these promises are as outlandish as they come and bear no relationship to the reality of getting the promises implemented if the party is elected.

To be fair to political parties there is nothing wrong with using a manifesto to ‘promise’ what it will do if elected. What must be challenged is the need to establish a ‘check’ for John Citizenry to exact accountability. Why shouldn’t the electorate feel comfortable knowing that the UWI, Cave Hill, Fourth Estate and other entities in civil society have the credibility to challenge, clarify and demystify promises made by political parties on the campaign trail? Why should John Citizenry not have recourse in the law to recall ministers and members of parliament who they are perceived to have under-achieved?

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Is It Too Late For Integrity Legislation?

 

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has suspended 46 government officials

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart promised that the Prevention of Corruption Bill will be passed in the current term. With a few months to go it seems like touch and go. Why rush such an important piece of legislation anyway? There must be serious debate which has to take place followed by the operationalizing of the law. Does this government have the time required to implement this important piece of legislation? What BU does not want to have happen is the passing of integrity legislation for the sake of doing so.

On a related note read about what Liberian President did!

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