To many the Caribbean is synonymous with a life of ease and relaxation. So it comes as something of a revelation to read the New Year’s Message issued by Branville McCartney, the Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). Few outside the Bahamas will be familiar with Mr McCartney, and yet the content of his message elucidates much of the mood that is abroad in the seemingly idyllic islands. The country would appear to be riddled with “crime and the fear of crime” a fact that according McCartney is exacerbated by institutional corruption and the apparent impotence of the ruling party. For all the catalogue of woes McCartney appears quite happy to vent his spleen and certainly any tourist reading this communiqué would have second thoughts about visiting The Bahamas. Did this party leader really intend his press release to further undermine confidence in the country’s economy?
For a document that has been produced by a qualified and practicing barrister this makes fascinating reading. If for a moment one puts to one side the excessive and inaccurate use of the exclamation mark the language deployed is both colourful and at times redolent of some bygone age. McCartney does not hold back in what he sees as the remedies required to cure the country’s apparent ills; “Enforcement and administration of the cat-o-nine-tail – in Rawson Square, no less – must be reintroduced.” A firm advocate of capital punishment and here is a fully paid up member of the ‘hang’em and flog’em’ brigade. His message to “My Beloved Bahamians” censures the current administration for being reactive as opposed to proactive, but in advocating a portfolio of draconian and in some cases simplistic and discredited solutions the Leader of the DNA is in real danger as coming across as a reactionary of the first order. Some will always rally to the vengeful and judgemental, but such sentiments tend to sit more easily with the followers of demagogues as opposed to those who are true adherents of parliamentary democracy for all its weaknesses and imperfections.
Six years after the global meltdown we remain a divided people
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.
― Edmund Burke
Modern societies are fighting to stem an unprecedented level of corruption across the globe. There is pervasive hankering for material things even when personal values are compromised in the process. Is Barbados insulated from the global experience?
There has been a lot of puffing of the chest by the political people in reaction to Transparency International’s release of the global corruption barometer for 2013. BU understands that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart gave an interview to BBC and addressed the issue – how Barbados maintains its clean image given our high rating. Any good PR planted in the UK space is good given the dent to our reputation in the last 12 months. BU is not bowled over by Transparency International reports because we know this is based on a ‘perception index’ and then there is the relativity of the result. What is the significance of Barbados registering a better score on the corruption index compared to Jamaica, T&T, EC countries and others in the English speaking Caribbean anyway? Let us smile about the PR opportunity for Barbados but let us not forget that the incumbent government ran its campaign in 2008 on what it perceived was corruption by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Who do we believe Mr Prime Minister you or Transparency International?
More important should be the focus by Barbadians on what political science refers to as ‘legitimation crisis’. This is defined when “a governing structure still retains the legal authority by which to govern, but is not able to demonstrate that its practical functioning fulfills the end for which it was instituted.” Some will argue that BU is being harsh in its assessment of the reality that is Barbados. We think NOT.
National Integrity Action (NIA) is a not-for-profit organization that was launched in December 2011 with the objective of combatting corruption in Jamaica on a non-partisan basis. This film, produced by NIA, graphically details four episodes in Jamaica’s 50-year Post-Independence history, each of which speaks to how corruption undermines Jamaica’s achievements.
Submitted by Yardbroom
Barbadians urged to vote INTEGRITY
Deliverance from Whom?
Leadership to Where?
Pragmatic in what we can reasonably afford.
All underpinned by “INTEGRITY” for without that, we are nothing.
In a matter of days Barbados’ electorate will go to the Polls and elect a Government for the next five years. The time for crunching figures is over. The pollsters have trotted out their numbers, the columnists showing bias have pontificated on the rightness of their selections and those in the shadows with much to gain, have invested their dollars and largesse to be distributed, no doubt expecting a large return on their investment. The manifestos are near ready but they too rely on that word INTEGRITY for without it, they will be as useful as a loser betting tickets discarded at the Garrison Savannah.
I asked deliverance, from whom? Deliverance from those in the shadows, whose faces are never seen but their dollars are. They do not mount platforms and tell ribald jokes, and their parentage, domestic arrangements and physiognomy are never questioned, but like a fox at a Leghorn fowl shin-dig, they cannot be ignored.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Barbados, Barbados Elections, Barbados Government, Barbados Labour Party, BL&P, Blogging, Corruption, Democratic Labour Party, DLP, Governance, Integrity, Local Politics
Submitted by Afra Raymond
“Afra Raymond is an anti-corruption activist/blogger whose work – http://www.afraraymond.com – has focused on the collapse and bailout of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerate – CL Financial – and corruption in the property/construction arenas.
We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history’s page
With expectations great,
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate
National Anthem of Barbados (chorus)
The failure of Almond Beach Village has fuelled feeling in some quarters that Neal & Massey is shedding assets to rebalance the acquisition of BS&T a few years ago. This has caused tongues to wag about whether Barbados has a viable land use policy. It is no secret our land space is known to be approximately 166sq miles. The absence of a robust land use policy should make this a concern for all Bajans at home and abroad.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Almond Beach Village, Almond Resort Inc, Bajan News, Barbados Land Use Policy, Blogging, BS&T, Caricom News, Corruption, Dave Ames, Global News, Harlequin, Harlequin Hotels & Resorts, N&M, Neal & Massy
Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)
To the independents who voted for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) last election, it is evident that it has retreated from its promise to make enactment of transparency legislation a priority. Of equal concern to BU has been the reluctance by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to pressure the government to honour its promise. Civil society should be concerned that the BLP – the government in waiting – is committed to following through on proclaiming transparency legislation. There will be the obvious argument that the 2011 perception index released by Transparency International, Barbados achieved the highest ranking in the region of 7.8 out of 10. Perhaps the two political parties might suggest in light of the #16 ranking out of 183 countries, anti corruption legislation is not a priority. Such responses can be dismissed by asking – why did both political parties see the need to include it as a deliverable in their last manifestos?
Listed on the Corruption Index for 2011 are the USA at 7.1 and India 3.1. Although at opposite ends of the index these two countries are regarded as economic power houses on the global stage. More interestingly, the two are regarded as the two biggest democracies in the world. To acquire government approval in India for the most mundane request one must overcome an institutionalized system of corruption. Last week two angry Indian farmers acted out their frustration by dumping two dozen snakes in a government tax office. It is interesting that in India the fight against corruption in government has tossed up Anna Hazare. His charismatic leadership has attracted millions of Indians to the movement which has forced the government to prioritized its anti-corruption policymaking agenda. It seems India deserves its rating of 3.1.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Media, Barbados Press, Blogging, Corruption, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Information, Governance, Integrity Legislation, Transparency International, Transparency Legislation
Submitted by Eli Davis
Peter Wickham recently sacked from the CBC TV8 has been at the forefront of calling for political campaign reform in Barbados
Every so often I get the urge to contribute (?) a comment to this forum that I believe merits attention. This time around it is that of The Business of the Political Campaign and its Financing. It is an issue that is basic in determining the relevance of our electoral process and, as a result of the moneyed interests involved, is the most difficult of topics to have discussed in public.
Few people would know that a study on this topic was commissioned by the OAS back in 2003 and resulted in a report that was published about three years later. My concern with the entire topic has to do with whether or not it is an appropriate topic for consideration in our current political environment that has demonstrated little in the furtherance of the long term viability of our peoples and nation states.
Basically, in my view anyway, a political party is simply an (legal?) entity that seeks to gain administrative control over the funds in the Treasury, and that’s it. How these are spent and on whom form the essence of the business of the party. The business requires that the populace be deceived into supporting the party campaign and once successful, that control over the funds be maintained for as long as possible.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Media, Barbados Political Campaign and its Financing, Barbados Press, Blogging, Caricom News, Corruption, Governance, Integrity & Transparency Legislation, Integrity Legislation, Justice, Local Politics, Peter Wickham
The manipulation of a gullible Bajan electorate by the political class has seen corrupt and unethical behaviour now appear as normal. Perennial breaches of the government’s financial rules can be followed in recent Auditor General Reports to compare with how Barbadians follow Days of Our Lives on the CBC TV; routine.
Then there is the impotence of a committee of parliament meant to be important in our system of government, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), rarely mentioned by John Citizen, media and other members in civil society. PAC is a committee which seeks to give the power to members of parliament to investigate breaches of the government’s financial rules by public and elected public officials. We are therefore forced to ask, why are we witnessing an exponential breakdown in law and order in a country not too long ago known for its orderliness?