Category Archives: Politics

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Address to the DLP’s 2014 Annual Conference

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Arresting the Gun Play

Guns captured by local police

Guns captured by local police

Ministers of government Adriel Brathwaite (Attorney General/Home Affairs)and Ronald Jones (Education) were in the news this week condemning rising gun violence in Barbados. The latest count is 7 gun killings this year compared to 2 for the same period last year. Brathwaite promised earlier this week strategies are in the offing to combat the worrying situation but it is no surprise he was not at liberty to allay the concerns of Barbadians by being specific.  He hinted though he plans to speak to the Commissioner of Police. Very comforting. Ronald Jones attacked the issue from the angle of gender by urging males to be more responsible and to stop holding the society to ransom. Both ministers are to be congratulated for mouthing politically correct positions but at the same time must be criticized because of the leadership role they should be playing to arrest the situation.

There is a tendency to focus on enforcement, the need to be efficient supported by the judiciary is required to maintain a stable society. The other part of the equation, just as important, is not usually discussed with the same vigour –  the need to factor causality. There must be a reason why an enlightened society in 2014 continues to produce too many dysfunctional young people comfortable  with a gun toting role in the criminal world. The reality for some is that crime is a means of a survival. We can improve detection and punish all with greater efficiency but it will not stem the problem.

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Was the BLP About to Expel Former PM Arthur?

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (l) Owen Arthur MP (r)

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (r) Owen Arthur M.P (l)

BU has been advised the reason former Prime Minister Owen Arthur resigned from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is because the executive was about to expel him from the party. Before the matter could be heard he quit. To be frank if this is true, and BU is doublechecking, Arthur took the right decision. The embarrassment of a former prime minister of fourteen years standing effectively being fired from the party would have been a big blow to the party for a man who has represented himself as a ‘red’ for forty years. It is unfathomable Mia Mottley had any influence in the politics of removing Arthur, if she had, some may describe it as bold politics, others incredibly stupid.

What does the future holds?

The Arthur faction is still embedded in the BLP parliamentary group, Symmonds, Payne, Marshall and there is Mascoll on the inside. This may be the first of other resignation to follow. The possibilities are endless what may result from the dysfunctional politics being played out in Barbados in both political parties. The next hurdle for Mia Mottley will be how the legal matter between two MPs on her side plays out. What the implosion of the BLP spells is that it gives wriggle room for the Stuart led government to meander on their merry way seemingly unaware of how to resolve the mounting challenges facing the country.

Vote Buying and Campaign Financing

On the 26 January 2008 BU posted the following blog in response to questions about voting irregularities reported in Deacons on election day,  the constituency of St. Michael North West seat was contested between Chris Sinckler and Clyde Mascoll. Sinckler won by 340 votes. Continue reading

Political Class of Prostitutes

Former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, M.P.

Former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, M.P., Independent

The unusual decision by a fourteen year prime minister to resign his forty three year membership in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and to sit as an Independent continues to create ripples across the political landscape of Barbados. Further, the decision for him to sit on the government side – and on the frontbench no less – has only added oomph to the political debate.  Not too long ago DLP talking heads were making political capital of Arthur’s reluctance to debate in a parliament he described as porakey. Predictably we have another politician who has exposed chameleon behaviour probably motivated by an undeclared political objective. Arthur’s inability to serve his party in the twilight of his career must be recorded as a failure of leadership on his part. What message does it send to the society when a political leader of longstanding is unable to reconcile issues to the benefit of the party. Unlike many BU believes Arthur has done his legacy irretrievable harm.

The posturing by prime minister Freundel Stuart on the day Arthur resigned from the BLP has provided insight to the Machiavellian machinations by the actors involved – there is more in the mortar than the pestle as far as this matter is concerned. Even the garrulous minister of finance  was  halting in his comment when asked if consideration will be given to accommodate Arthur in an advisory role.  He said yes.

Less than two years ago Owen Seymour Arthur was the man the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) loved to hate. A former DLP political strategist admitted the strategy in the last election was to shine a light on all of Arthur’s skeletons secreted in many closets, and it worked.  Who can forget the attack advertisements and vicious lampooning  of Arthur on social media.  In the last two weeks we have witnessed how members of the political class on the government side have comfortably shifted political rhetoric in the name of political expediency.

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Poison Under the Scab

Submitted by Beresford
 “Mia Motley is being politically slaughtered by Owen Arthur because he is teaching her the age old truth”

Owen Arthur (l) Prime Minister Stuart (r)

The season of fun and frolic is over and the country returns to the bewildering scenes of DLP toxic spread. Like any pyramid scheme, the DLP tactic of promising new ventures even as the ones they announced yesterday fail, will come to an inevitable end – collapse. The fumes of the garbage tax has so blanketed the country that it has covered up much of what is still very much decaying and destroying the country.

In the vital tourism sector, it is as if one player can save the day. The DLP still cannot get its vaunted new administrative and marketing entities up and running. Meanwhile 40 more people on the breadline. And the Chairman could not have gone a moment too soon. They spin a new Sam Lord’s. At the same time as the news that yet another of the projects spouted to save Barbados – the Sugar Point Cruise Terminal is stuck. No funding. Same with the careenage development. Paradise. The housing developments. Road projects. Pickering, that great figment of imagination is now replaced with a focus on North Point.

So the pyramid scheme is built and continues to crumble.

The destruction of the economy and the accompanying downgrades is making it impossible for the DLP to secure money for its many “saviour” projects. Not one has yet seen the light of day. Meanwhile, as warned, the social fabric of Barbados unravels. One more indication of Barbados’ slide is the report of Human Development Index, (HDI), which has just reported on Barbados’ slide, dropping from the a position in the 30s before 2008 to position No. 59, according to the last report released on 22 July, 2014. An indication of Government’s investment in its people, the HDI measures various areas of building social capital and indicators such as maternal mortality – and the inexorable fall down the ladder under the DLP is reflective of its cuts to education, health, the hospital. The combination of an economy destroyed, incapacity to execute its own recovery plan and lack of investment in vital areas is shuffling Barbados surely to an inferno.

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Who Would Have (Thunk) Thought – 1

Submitted by Douglas
Will Clyde Mascoll take the spoils?

Mascoll left in the political wilderness by Arthur?

Lately, I have found myself reflecting ever so often on recent happenings in my fair land. And, as events continue to unfold, I shake my head and smile in partial disbelief; and come up with the same thematic, satiric question: Who Would Have (Thunk) Thought?

So, here goes!

Not even the world’s most spot-on clairvoyant would have predicted that in 1993 a junior Opposition MP would have leapfrogged over his colleagues and later become PM of Barbados; and, for almost 14 years to boot?

Furthermore,  who would have thought that the same person – “the BLP’s saviour”, “We Going With Owen”, “Owen Now  More Than Ever”, “He’s the Best Thing Since Slice Bread” – would have unceremoniously resigned from the BLP and leave them “high and dry”?

Who would have thought that the so-called BLP ‘s modern day Moses, a man synonymous with a revitalized BLP over the last two decades, would quit the party just like that?

Who would have thought that a particular person who – although a lilliputian – walked this place like a colossus, instilled fear in the hearts of many and behaved like a megalomaniac during his tenure, would so abruptly abandon his party?

Who would have thought that a man, whose shelf-life had supposedly expired in 2008, would have rebounded and toppled a person missing-in-action, not once but twice, only to leave the BEES paralyzed and in a state of total shock.

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Barbados Take Note – Trinidad Government Proposes Bold Reform to Improve Governance

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad

Barbadians were promised a Republican form of government in 2005 under a Barbados Labour Party government, 10+ years later this promise among others made by elected officials remain unfulfilled. It is a problem Barbadians have become frustrated by the inability to respond and is reflected in the increasing number of eligible voters who have deliberately not exercised their right to vote and or demonstrate ignorance to do so.

In the face of evidence that any system is not working efficiently, sensible managers of the system will make changes. There is a heavy reluctance by Barbados to address a governance system that shuns holding the main actors accountable, for example, ignoring a decade of Auditor General reports, the inability to enforce government’s financial rules, the untold power of a prime minister come to mind. Yet we continue to hold up a system that is falling short as sacrosanct. Who will bell the cat?

It is evident Barbados has lost the leadership position it once held in the region. One reason, the inability of the political directorate to make timely decisions and execute efficiently.  Against the background that change is needed to make our political system more relevant, the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) led government decision to propose constitutional reform is noteworthy. The T&T experience has been eventful compared to Barbados but there is no reason why learnings from T&T should not engineer proactivity on our part.

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Non-Enforcement and Mockery of Election Laws

Many who scanned the Sunday Sun today [3/8/2014] to get a read of Caswell’s column encountered disappointment. BU is pleased to assist the Nation Publishing Company in making an ABC editorial decision – Barbados Underground

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

On July 6, 2014 the country was informed via the Sunday Sun that the 68 candidates in the February 21, 2013 general election spent just over $2.2 million on their election bids.

The report went on to say that regional political pollster, Peter Wickham, had voiced his concern about the manner in which the figures were collected. He called for a more robust system to collect the figures and suggested that the money declared had nothing to do with what was actually spent by the two major political parties.

Up to that point, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Wickham. Thereafter, his analysis exposed a gap in his knowledge of our electoral laws that caused him to make some erroneous conclusions. As a result, he merely provided excuses for politicians operating in our flawed electoral system. Barbados has more than adequate election laws to handle any perceived irregularity; the problems come from the lack of enforcement.

This week I intended to write part 3 of my mini-series on pensions but I could not allow the information attributed to Mr. Wickham to take root and spread. However, I would first like to deal with the one area on which we agree, and that relates to the under-reporting of election expenses.

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The Arthur Objective

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (l) Owen Arthur MP (r)

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (l) Owen Arthur MP (r)

The public statement by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that he is willing to endorse former Prime Minister Owen Arthur serving on an advisory committee of government has come as a surprise to BU. His statement comes a couple days after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made a similar statement. It is clear there is some public relations being done to smoothed or welcome Arthur’s entry into the DLP’s universe, a naked grab for a man who is widely regarded as one of the best economists in the region. The vast experience Arthur has accumulated leading Barbados for 14 years has positioned him as a priceless resource for an under resourced DLP Cabinet struggling to manage a contracting economy.

Until recently Arthur was the focal point of relentless attacks from the government that bordered on tactless and tasteless in the Lower House. Arthur may have contributed to the venomous attacks by his repeated references to a porakey parliament.  BU believes the angst the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) side holds (held) for Arthur is derived from him having been the face of a successful Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for close to fifteen years. His extended tenure gave the DLP a long time in the wilderness to all but self-destruct. If Arthur had not allowed the Mascoll factor to muddy the issue for the electorate in 2007  many believe Arthur would have served another term. He was mercilessly lampooned in all areas of the media which a generous general election budget supported. An attack on Arthur that resonated with the public effectively decapitated the the BLP figurehead and shorten his coat tail.  The DLP flawlessly executed the strategy to demonize Arthur in the last general election and Stuart was the beneficiary. Unfortunately the economic challenge that faced Barbados was a secondary message.

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