Journalism in Barbados is dead and unfortunately no one seems to know when it died. Was it one single event or a series of events? Perhaps we can point our fingers to defamation laws or perhaps we can point our fingers at the close ties between the media and the government or maybe it is the business class. You don’t think journalism is dead? Let me show you why I think it is.
In 2015 the Apes Hill project owned by Bizzy Williams borrowed 25 million from the NIS “Dat is the people pensions.” Apes Hill has since “defaulted” on this debt according to the upper echelons of NIS with not so much as a blink of an eye. I’m just a nobody and know this, I have alerted the various political parties and they seem unbothered, whispered in the ears of the media and they seem unbothered.
This article isn’t about “poor” Bizzy though so let me continue, hopefully a journalist can interview him and ask him if he even plans on returning the money. But moving on…
In like every year since independence allegations of corruption existed ? Honestly I’m not old enough to know or remember, but it feels that way. The BLP elite fan the flames of allegations, while stating there is evidence of over-invoicing and other questionable practices, but somehow not enough to bring anyone before the court. They are playing a dangerous political game and any reasonable journalist would ask about the evidence or stop writing about it. For example you allege to have evidence of various overpaid lawyer fees yet fail to bring it to court? Surely the government has access to not only to the old paper trail, but also to the bank accounts of government to generate new statements. I’m sure a journalist can figure this out, so what is the issue?
Alternatives to Defaulting?
From my extensive research as a non journalist countries don’t default on their debt; it is exceedingly rare. From the Washington Post to The Economist that point is reiterated over and over again. My simple journalistic question is this;
“If a country goes to the IMF to improve its creditworthiness, why default and then go to the IMF?”
Let me ask that a different way, what sense would it make publicly telling your bank that you are are going to refinance and their is nothing they can do about it (defaulting) and then hoping that a future bank or lender would want your business.
Journalism Under DLP rule
Before some partisan person states that I have DLP bias I should perhaps state that journalism under the DLP was equally as woeful. The only thing I’m thankful for is that the media really did their job in helping to oust the persons who brought the economy and country to its knees. Perhaps one could argue that journalism wasn’t dead in the months leading up to elections, the media struck back? So kudos to the media there for that small victory, however if the media were perhaps doing their job the economy wouldn’t have gotten so bad and perhaps we wouldn’t even had had the DEMs again in 2013, but alas that is history.
Investigating, shaping the minds of the public
Perhaps the media houses had too much control in any case and this dilution of power is a good thing and the tradeoff is simply shoddy journalistic standards as the media can no longer afford to retain the best talent. Perhaps we need more civic minded persons to write and speak out or perhaps only experts not auditors speaking out as economists or politicians speaking out as professionals beyond their scope. I don’t have all the answers so don’t mind me either for I’m not a journalist.
P.S. Advocate, Nation or Barbados Today(pretty sure Barbados Today wished a reporter recently) I apply to be a journalist as of mid October 2018 Terms and Conditions apply. Perhaps I can contribute in some small way.
2nd P.S. Freelance only ! I don’t wish my NIS going to well never mind.
Just a year ago Starcom Network kicked its Gospel Station 97.5 to the curb. CEO Vic Fernandes explained the move that the programming on 97.5FM will merge with that on VOB92.9. Starcom Network needed the frequency to operate the newly launched Caribbean Superstation also there was the usual spin about operating efficiency. The merge generated some negative feedback from a segment of VOB’s fan base but in the end dollars and cents won the argument. With the launch of Christ is the Answer radio station their prayers were eventually answered.
OCM, the Port of Spain parent of Starcom, announced last week that it made a net profit before tax of USD11.2 million dollars. It was a seven percent increase over the same period in 2011. OCM and LIME will be remembered by BU as two of the large companies operating in Barbados which decided to ditch employees at the start of the recession. The plea from the social partnership to protect jobs fell on deaf ears.
Of interest in the regional news this week, OCM launched a gospel station W107.1FM.
Maureen Holder (r) replaced Peter Wickham (l) as resident political scientist at the CBC when his contract was not renewed.
It has been some time since I have made a contribution to the blog, but at this time I feel compelled to put pen to paper once again so as to state some facts.Since the May 5th and most recently the September 30th a political poll was published The member base of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) seems to have gone on a campaign to assassinate the character of pollster Peter Wickham who carried out the poll commissioned by the Nation newspaper .
I have never meet Mr Wickham but I know of his outstanding work as a pollster in Barbados and in the Caribbean. Needless to say wherever he has done his polling, political or otherwise he has always been correct. Mr Wickham was trained by the late Pat Emmanuel and then worked under him from 1994 until his death. He carried out his first poll in 1998 and has done so successfully since in Barbados and throughout the wider Caribbean. There is no doubt that he has been successful. The Cadres poll which he directs is no fly by night firm nor is it a hit and miss guess work organisation.
Polling is a science and somehow he seems to have perfected it and with every poll he puts his professional reputation on the line. This is why I do not understand the thinking of the members and or supporters of the DLP and especially some Ministers of Government. It makes you wonder if this is the same Peter Wickham who carried out the poll which was commission by the same Nation newspaper in 2008.
Many have been asking what is it Pat Hoyos said on last Sunday’s Brasstacks which caused Minister Denis Kellman to exact an immediate apology. Here is what BU can confirm.
Last Sunday during the airing of the Brass tacks programme, listeners heard Pat Hoyos [moderator] make an apology to Minister Denis Kellman and many wondered what it was that Mr Hoyos had said that caused him to make the apology. It has now been found out. During a break, and unknown to Hoyos and the others appearing on the programme, one of whom was Mr Clyde Mascoll [Barbados Labour Party chief spokesman on economic matters], that the line was still open to Mr Kellman, Hoyos remarked in relation to the Minister Kellman “I give he five minutes and he talking bare shite “. Kellman insisted on an immediate apology before continuing his contribution. The apology immediately came from Hoyos.
Certainly VOB cannot allow this man Hoyos to continue to disrespect persons who do not share his views .
There was an exchange this week between a regular caller to the talk show, known as anti-American, who challenged moderator David Ellis that he (Ellis) and traditional media should have done more to lead public awareness about the FTC BL&P recent rate hearing. David Ellis predictably responded that his job as a journalist was to present news and not lead public opinion.
The exchange brought to mind whether a journalist who essays the overriding need to be balanced is qualified to host a talk show which promises to fully ventilate issues of national import. What it means, if public sentiment overwhelmingly speaks to its concern about a matter, Ellis the journalist who needs to be balanced will not feel obligated to champion the cause. How could he when his philosophy is to be ‘balanced’?
The Christian right (also known as the religious right and the evangelical bloc) is a term used predominantly in the United States of America to describe a spectrum of right-wing Christian political and social movements and organizations characterized by their strong support of conservative…
The Christian Right in the United States is known for its strong lobby to support public policies it views as being social conservative. Remember the name Jerry Falwell? There is also a strong Christian lobby in Australia and recognition of a growing Christian Right in Canada. One cannot help to envy the ease which people organize in those countries to promote common interest.
Last week in Barbados a raging debate was stoked by the controversial Anglican Reverend Charles Morris who asserted that no where does the bible address the issue of pre-marital sex. The hailstorm of opinions and analyses but moreso condemnation by Christians which followed his comment signalled to many that Barbados is indeed a Christian society, or regards itself to be. The normally taciturn Right Reverend Bishop John Holder was provoked to deliver a rebuke from the pulpit to Reverend Charles. We should expect that Reverend Charles will remain a priest who is unassigned a Church to pastor for a little while longer.
My problem with Starcom and the Nation Newspaper is that their coverage lack balance. I focus on them because no one reads the Advocate, CBC has always been CBC, we look to the Nation and VOB for some unbiased, good journalism.
I have problems with the quality of the Nation and Starcom’s coverage of issues. In my opinion, their columnists and articles in general provide very little context to the issues they opine on, and very few facts are introduced into the discussions.
For example, Sanka Price provides a solution to the cost of living by removing some taxes as done in Guyana. Does Guyana provide the same level of social services as Bim? He makes no reference to the cost of such a solution and seems totally oblivious to any trade offs involved.
I understand the rationale but I am not sure I agree with those who call for a removal of so-called “smut” from soca or calypsos. What really is the “smut” persons are referring to? Are we talking about sexual connotations? If so, then why pick only on the calypsonian?
Seventy per cent of the songs I hear on non-gospel stations in Barbados include some element of implicit and explicit sexual reference. Indeed, I marveled a few weeks ago in the midst of the Movado/Vybes Kartel hullabaloo, when, in banning two Jamaican artistes from coming to Barbados to sing smut, our society then authorized a radio station to send two probable teenagers to the United States to see smut. This writer has a fundamental problem with that!
I was all for the banning of the Jamaican duet because I objected philosophically to the notion that they had a role to play in helping to shape the thought processes of our youth. There are far too many role models in Barbados for me to accept that a Jamaican dance hall artist is required to point out right from wrong and lead our youths along the straight and narrow path. I also have a difficulty in these tough economic times, of our encouraging low income earners to assign hard earned resources each week to what, to my mind, is low level entertainment. I therefore supported the ban on Movado/Vybes Kartel.
The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) decision to change the radio programming by expanding the talk segment appears to have gone down well. The introduction of the controversial neoliberal Peter Wickham as a moderator will boost ratings for that reason alone!
We also observe that the CBC was able to entice Marsha Hinds-Layne from Voice of Barbados (VOB) as well. We have become accustomed to the movement of personnel between CBC and VOB over the years and the competition in talk radio should hopefully make for better radio. We have to admit that we are not surprised at the move by Marsha. She appeared to be frustrated in recent months working under the heavy hand of VOB Talk Show Czar Michael Browne. We shouldn’t blame Browne, he is obviously acting under instructions from CEO Vic Fernandes. It is about saving the station money, to hell with standing up to frivolous suits to protect the honour of the Fourth Estate.
Lars G.O. Söderström Lars G.O. Söderström - CEO CBC
Peter Wickham’s departure has come as more of a surprise. After being treated like a step child by the Nation newspaper in the period leading up to the last general election, VOB was steadfast in their support for Wickham. He has admitted this publicly. We can only surmise that Wickham believes working for one year at VOB in the post election period should be enough to reward that loyalty!
A bit of advice to Lars who has been going about his work quietly at the CBC. You don’t need Wickham on the air for three days, he will become boring after awhile. Why not team-up the hugely popular Tony “Admiral’ Nelson and Larry Mayers to cover the topics of Entertainment/Culture/Sports on Wednesdays? That”s the finish you need!
After many months of death threats to regular contributor to the blogs Adrian Loveridge and his wife, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Adrian Loveridge recently received communication from a representative of C&W International! We would have been more comfortable getting a response from C&W Barbados but maybe this is the way this saga needs to play-out.
I have recently read the post you placed on “Barbados Free Press” and was very concerned by what had been written, I’m not sure of the legal position or the requirement’s in the region but I have asked our team to advise and get back to me and I also raised a case within the UK our Ref : ADV01290999 to see if we can pursue this for you to identify the people involved in these threats, if you have raised this locally already with CWC please advise and I will close our case here and let the local teams progress also if this is logged with the local police can you advise the police reference number in case our team request this.
Mr Stuart B McGinney
Service Desk Specialist Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia and USA
Direct Dial : +44(161)266 8682
Internal short dial: or comnet 755 8682
Switchboard: 01612668997 www.cw.com
BU can confirm that Adrian L has submitted a formal complaint to the Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin and we now wait for a response from this quarter. We have written previous articles which highlighted the power of the Blogosphere. However, some people in high places in Barbados, who should know better, continue to operate in the old way of doing things. Some of us do what we do at great sacrifice to self and family but we do it because we feel the education which was afforded us by our forefathers post-independence creates the obligation for us to perform our civic duty, i.e. to fully participate in our great democracy. In the case of Adrian Loveridge and his wife, the contribution which they continue to make to Barbados is even more laudable given that they are naturalized citizens. Remember that we don’t have to agree with the man but in a democracy he has a right to voice his opinions provided he does so within the Laws of Barbados. The fact that the traditional media has refused to pick-up this story is an indictment of the serious kind. We do not intend to be overly dramatic but if something bad were to happen to Adrian L and his wife, we know that it would make headline news on VOB, CBC and the other media outlets. Shame on Vic Fernandez and Anthony Audain, shame on Anthony Bryan at the Advocate and shame on the government of Barbados which owns the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.
Let us try to do the right thing as human beings are expected to do.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, and known to be the right hand man of Prime Minister Arthur, wants the citizens of Barbados to believe that he has no knowledge about the Operations Free Flow Project outside of the reason for the increase in the cost of the project linked to a change in the scope of works. When asked a direct question by the battered David Ellis about why it has taken government so long to respond to a statement by 3S Barbados SRL regarding the increase cost of the flyover project, which is now estimated by them to move to BDS360 milliondollars, Clyde Mascoll in a clear the air statement corrected the figure to BDS120 million dollars (increase). He went on to explain that a reason for the delay in responding to 3S had to do with the fact that the substantive Minister Gline Clarke is on leave, and consequently the government dropped the ball.
We say loudly to Mascoll please don’t insult our intelligence!
BURNT-OUT. The extensively damaged room that once held the two reception classes at the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary School in Spooners Hill, St Michael, suspected to have been caused by arson. The room no longer has windows and because it is not boarded up, there are fears it will be difficult to keep the children out of this section, especially during lunchtime. (AM)
by SANKA PRICE and DONNA SEALY
POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING a fire at the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary School that extensively damaged two classrooms of the Matilda Deane Block. The fire in the room used for the two reception classes occurred on August 20. It was the second at the Spooners Hill, St Michael school in three weeks.
This morning Barbadians hear about yet another news report of a building damaged by fire. It seems to BU that the reports have become all too frequent. Have you the public ever wondered why we never hear of the authorities telling us the cause of the fires after their long investigations? Is it unreasonable to ask why many of the fires which occur under suspicious circumstances never seem to produce a culprit? The biggest question which we should consider is whether our Media Houses is doing a good job to keep serious issues at the forefront of the public. Are Barbadians so pure in their reputations that buildings which have been burned to rubble or extensively damaged should never yield a culprit?
We should blame many but at the top of the pile we hold the Media Houses in Barbados accountable.
A check of Wikipedia defines the role of the press as “its explicit capacity of advocacy and in its implicit ability to frame political issues. The term goes back at least to Thomas Carlyle in the first half of the 19th century.” We think Barbadians in recent months have become resigned to the fact that our media practitioners in Barbados operate with the fear of reprisals if they advocate on any issues which will confront officialdom. Their comfort level is to passively report on the “harmless” events which will usually offend no one.
All Barbadians know that Adrian Loveridge who is a Barbadian citizen has been one never afraid to speak-out. It is something that all Barbadians should take note of if our democracy is to be protected.
The Daily Nation
The Barbados Advocate
CBC TV News
On the 11th May 2007 in the Royal Courts of Justice (London), Jonathan Laszlo DANOS, President of 3S (Barbados) SRL, the company currently engaged by the Government of Barbados to widen the ABC Highway and build overpasses was charged with fraud and conspiracy by his former employers, Mabey and Johnson Ltd.
3S (Barbados) SRL, contention was that they had gained valuable experience while constructing Flyovers in Panama. According to Robert Capurro, Director of Sales-Latin America & Caribbean-Mabey and Johnson Ltd., “Mabey & Johnson has supplied a number of steel flyovers to Panama since 1997. As far as we are aware, no other company has supplied or completed such steel flyovers in that country.”
Bearing in mind the Project Manager of 3S (Barbados) SRL, George Siddall, recently announced that the estimated cost of the work undertaken was expected to rise from US$60 million to US$180 million, it is difficult to understand why your publication/station has not carried this story.