BU listened with interest to DJ and others at Voice of Barbados (VOB92.9FM) extending best wishing to Senator Tony Marshall on his appointment to the Upper Chamber of the Barbados Parliament as an Independent Senator. BU on the other hand withholds all plauditory remarks until Tony Marshall shows respect to the public he pretended to serve while he was #1 afternoon talk show host and Chairman of the important National Insurance Scheme.
Some will see the irony of Senators Marshall and Byer-Suckoo being members of that Chamber in the current term. It was the then Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo who refused to renew Tony Marshall’s appointment to the National Insurance Board. The usually loquacious Tony Marshall has not issued a public statement that we are aware of on the matter. There was rampant speculation at the time on BU about the ‘optics’ he would have exuded as Chairman of the NIS Scheme given his former role as a director on the CLICO Board. There was the other camp who believed it had to do with matters arising from the NIS on again off again decision to fund the problem plagued Paradise Beach Development Project (Four Seasons Project). Whatever the reason the public, taxpayers, are none the wiser.
Tony Marshall given his roles to date BU regards him as a person of public interest and we are within our right to place the former banker under the microscope. As the #1 talk show host in Barbados he never used the VOB92.9FM bully pulpit to speak out about CLICO from an insider perspective. Contrast his position with Tony Hoyos who resigned on principle from the Barbados National Bank Board (now Republic Bank) to express his disagreement at the time about the share price government was willing to accept from RBL (how this matter finally was settled is fodder for another blog).
The other issue- alluded to – which continues to concern some Barbadians was the abrupt way Tony Marshall was jettisoned by Minister Byer-Suckoo and government as Chairman of the NIS Scheme. The Minister at the time felt comfortable explaining that Marshall’s contract was not renewed BUT does the public deserve a fuller explanation Senator Esther Byer-Suckoo?
Senator Tony Marshall has a chance to redeem himself in the Senate BUT we will not hold our breath. One can only wonder what was the criteria used by the Governor General to appoint Marshall to the Senate. Was it a backroom understanding? Is it the ‘fraternity’ raising its head yet again? Rest assured if the status quo remains the public will never know. Hurray for democracy!
Another probing of the Governor General’s picks for the Senate has been the ‘dropping’ of Dr. Francis Chandler. Again one wonders the rational used by the Governor General. Dr. Chandler has been one of the most vocal and active members of the last Senate. The fact that she is top of her field in the world of agriculture did not count Sir Elliot? Bear in mind Barbados is expected to focus more than in the past on this sector and environmental matters. Who better a person to have in the Senate than Dr. Chandler, a truly independent voice. If this reason is not good enough, the Governor General has not appointed one damn woman to the Senate.Should we expect Leader of the Opposition to be vocal on this matter? What about Santia Bradshaw MP, Maria Agard MP, Cynthia Forde MP, surely they have a vested interest? Needless to say the same inquiry can be directed at Deputy Speaker of the House Mara Thompson.
On this issue social commentator Agyeman Kofi posted the following to his Facebook page this morning:
“Are no independent thinking woman existing in Barbados? How in 2013 a Governor General of a developing democracy appoint a senate and not one female is among appointees? What is even more appalling is the deafening silence of the woman organizations or perhaps they too may be compromised in their quest to remain mendicants to government largesse. Some may say I am an alarmist but hindsight is always 20/20 vision. Barbados is fastly becoming a place where the ostrich and sheeple syndromes are pervasive and excuses for mediocrity is now commonly accepted. Why are few willing to speak out and offer honest feedback? Too many are licorish and now place ethics and morality on the back bench to ensure cocktails invites continue. Thus,will a few honest unselfish Bajans stand up and be true craftsmen of our fate for future generations? Two Barbados will always exist if the current social order is not challenged and the bottom up approach is not taken in our need for social justice and equality. Long live Dr Francis Chandler a true independent woman!”
How can we have a democracy which is suppose to encourage participation but our leaders continue to make decisions which depart from commonsense?