Category Archives: Politics

The hottest topic on BU, news, opinions, analysis…

The Bear Wrestler and POTUS

Presidents Obama and Putin

Presidents Obama and Putin

We live in the information age which gives currency to the view he who controls information controls the world. In response to the explosion of information governments  in the name of protecting national interest have been aggressively encroaching on the civil liberties of its citizens.  How far is too far when national interest is at stake?

BU has been observing events playing out in Eastern Europe and predictably positions will be drawn based for the most part where individuals were born, educated and socialized. No better place to observe a delineation in perspectives  – Russia or the USA, Putin or Obama – than to compare US media reports to African, Eastern and other non US sources. Any desire to be informed requires a methodical ferretting out of information to reach a fair conclusion. To retreat to dogmatic positions is to admit ignorance. A balanced view therefore requires operating on the premise both Russia and the USA have geopolitical interest to protect.

Barbados and the Caribbean are insignificant players on the world stage. However we should be concerned and react to how global conflicts continue to affect small island economies. This is even more critical in the current protracted and volatile global economic condition. Ironically the USA and Russia, two key players in the Ukraine conflict, makeup two of five five permanent members of the United Nation Security Council charged with policing the globe.

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Trade Unions and the Great Conspiracy

Submitted by William Skinner
...Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector ...

…Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector …

In our midst, there are some very skilful manipulators of public opinion, who would like to give the impression that the trade union movement has only been in bed with the Democratic Labour Party. This is a great lie. The truth is that both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party have enjoyed incestuous relationships with the trade unions. I say unions because a very close and objective observation would reveal that none of the major unions has avoided being hijacked, at some point or the other, by members of the two ruling parties.

Ever since the fall of Grantley Adams, the Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector and really had no need for the financing of its politics either in money or kind from the BWU. This left the field wide open for Errol Barrow to inflame the traditional white corporate sector and skilfully create a black rising business/professional class that has supported the Democratic Labour Party. Barrow established a very clever bond of capital and Labour and with great cunning, convinced the masses that the Dems were for them and the Bees for the whites. The Bees equally cunning deliberately started to paint the Dems as anti-employer and the ploy of these two behemoths parties has continued. And it has worked amazingly well.

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Rise of the Professional Politician

Westminster system

Westminster system

In a popular democracy, citizens, collectively, are the ultimate principal; elected representatives are their agents. These agents are also principals who, through the legislature, delegate authority to a host of departments and agencies that make up the sprawling executive branch of government – Fraser Institute

It has become obvious to many several built in checks and balances of the Westminster system of government Barbados has adopted from its colonial past are failing.  It is a system of governance which requires exhaustive participation by citizens to work effectively. Nearly 40% of eligible voters  did not vote in the last general election, an obvious symptom of a democracy in decay if we sample just one indicator.

Auditor General reports (2004 to 2013) of successive governments record a consistent performance of fiscal indiscipline. A flouting of the financial rules. An easy translation of the Auditor General’s comments can be described as  a system of graft and corruption. A scary observation is that the private sector is the entity which sells goods and services to government therefore citizens who should be holding ‘government’ accountable are complicit. In the case of Barbados we may not compare with Nigeria and other more openly corrupt countries but there is a view the covert nature of how we do business places us in the ballpark.

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It Can’t Happen In Barbados, No Sir, I Tell You That Can’t Happen Here

Submitted by John Farmer
Dr. Anthony 'Gabby' Carter popularized Jack - at cyan happen here in this country

Dr. Anthony ‘Gabby’ Carter popularized Jack – ‘‘dat cyan happen here in this country”

How many times have I heard those words spoken? Then the person who I have been speaking with goes on to qualify his/her statement. “Here in Barbados, we have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. We have the third oldest parliamentary system in the Commonwealth with a democratic governmental system almost four hundred years old. Also Barbados has a good education system plus a good Justice system. It is impossible for that to happen here!” Have you not heard these words spoken before?

I heard these same words uttered by Venezuelans just 15 years ago. At that time their democratic form of government was the longest surviving democracy in South America, a mere forty years of existence, but still the longest lasting democracy at that time in South America. Their primary and secondary education was good and they had many excellent Universities, with Simon Bolivar University rated one of the four top universities in the whole of South America. All education was free and on a scale of meritocracy the top students were selected by the top Universities, but they could apply to any university of their choice.

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An Invisible Auditor General

Auditor General, Leigh Trotman

Auditor General, Leigh Trotman

However, a second driver for the interest in the performance and capacity of PACs has been the global interest in governance and oversight and in the role of parliament in curbing corruption - (Stapenhurst et al., 2006).

What is certain about this time every year when the Auditor General releases his report is to expect the same trite remarks to be made by all and sundry led by the politicians. The traditional media takes the opportunity to relieve itself of the responsibility to report on the findings for a few days by sensationalizing an aspect of public sector malfeasance which is bound to manifest itself in the report.  Then business continues as usual until next time around.

Disappointing has been the failure of THIS government to enact transparency legislation. It promised the legislation soon after it was elected in 2008! More disappointing is the change THIS  government championed the repeal to the Public Accounts Committee Act which makes it almost impossible for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to operate with teeth. The feeble excuse given by government that public officers must be protected is lame. Can anyone imagine the National Housing Corporation borrowing from the National Insurance Scheme to pay salaries BUT hiring employees in the lead up to the last general election? Please explain why leader of the Opposition in her capacity as Chair of the PAC was not doing taxpayers business by placing Permanent Secretary Ronald Bascombe under pressure for his role in the affair.

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Open Letter to Vivian-Anne Gittens and the Nation Newspaper ABOUT Venezuela

Vivian Anne Gittens: Publisher of the Nation Newspaper

Vivian Anne Gittens: Publisher of the Nation Newspaper

Dear Ms Gittens,

Approximately one week ago, you and your Nation Newspaper facilitated the staging of a Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Barbados by the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) — a United States of America dominated association of media corporations and media owners. And as was to be expected, the IAPA utilized its Barbados-based conference to unleash a negative propaganda attack against the democratically elected socialist Government of Venezuela — the administration of President Nicholas Maduro.

Furthermore, in the aftermath of the said Conference, the Nation Newspaper has published a number of articles and at least one editorial that have promoted the views and opinions of a group of right-wing Barbados-based critics of the Venezuelan government, and that have also attacked the efforts made by the Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee of Barbados to give principled solidarity and support to the Government and people of Venezuela.

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Where Does the DLP Go from Here?

Submitted by Beresford
Dialysis patients have their lives put in jeopardy by the absence of three critical drugs at the QEH

…Dialysis patients have their lives put in jeopardy by the absence of three critical drugs at the QEH…

As Barbadians struggle to survive the permanent hot mess by the DLP, the Moody’s review, the Auditor General’s Report, yet another tax, the iniquitous so-called Municipal Tax, unanswered questions about the Cahill deal, along with diverse other unanswered charges from the business community and citizens opened new sores on the disease riddled Government.

First in the week that was, the characterisation by the DLP of Mia Mottley as power hungry and the BLP as preachers of doom was stripped bare and revealed as the nonsense it is by the latest Moody’s report, confirming the truthfulness of everything that the BLP and the several objective commentators are pointing out. Moody’s managed to do what no one has so far managed – galvanize a country numbed by six years of economic, social and personal bleeding with new fears.

If Barbadians were not scared to death by the taxes, brutal sending home of people, Gestapo-like treatment of civil servants in the rush to establish the Revenue Collection Agency, they certainly took note of the full frontal condemnation of every aspect of the DLP’s resuscitation programme as taking effect as much as a tortoise in a 100 metre race with Usain Bolt.

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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

We Want to Know…

The following was posted by Artaxerses on the blog Notes From a Native Son: Reshuffling Sinckler Out of the Cabinet Needn’t Be Painful
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Have we conveniently forgotten:

That the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler said his life had been threatened and as a result, he is currently being ‘detailed’ by member of the local constabulary. He was reported as saying…..“On my way here I received a call from my secretary [telling me to] come back because a Superintendent from the Royal Barbados Police Force Special Services wanted to speak to me on a security matter… He told me that they had credible information that two people were overheard planning to shoot me.” What is the status of this investigation? Has the police Special Branch made any progress in determining the reason behind this alleged “hit” or the identities of the alleged “assassins”?

Sinckler’s comment that school children were being allowed to travel free on Transport Board buses as a measure of security, because they were being taken in and out of Barbados for the purpose of prostitution. Does not his statement contradict those reasons given by David Thompson’s during the 2008 budget presentation?

Sinckler’s revelation that he was reliably informed of a discussion held in a BLP secret meeting, which suggested…… should the BLP be elected to office in 2014, they would retrench 10,000 civil servants?

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Pertinent Questions About the Venezuelan Political and Economic Situation

Submitted by John E. Farmer
What about PetroCaribe?

What about PetroCaribe?

WHY does President Maduro keep demonizing the USA in every speech he makes? Also, why, like Chavez did, does he blame USA for Venezuela’s problems? Is it not true that IN 2013 USA purchased an average of 792,000 BARRELS of OIL PER DAY from Venezuela which is more than a third of Venezuela’s daily oil production? Is it not true that Venezuela owns refineries in the USA as well as 14,000 petrol stations under the name of CITGO? So where does Venezuela’s revenue come from? Yes, it comes from the good old USA, approximately 80 million dollars a day – not a bad pay cheque, eh?

Why, last week, did Maduro plead with the USA public not to let the government put sanctions on Venezuela? Very simple answer to that one, the already catastrophically weak Venezuelan economy would completely implode. Secondly, it is rumoured and not too difficult to certify that many of the Regime’s high echelon and Military upper crust own businesses, mansions and bank accounts in USA, Can you imagine if the USA applied sanctions and froze these accounts. What would happen if the regime suddenly had to run! The situation is looking a little dicey right now, isn’t it? Wasn’t Maduro two months back threatening the USA? Now he is pleading with them ‘please.’

What about PetroCaribe? Was this a gift offered to the West Indian Islands of the Caribbean or a guise? Could it perhaps be another way to infiltrate into the economy and geopolitical environment of another sovereign country?

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