Jeff_column

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – If You Can Keep It…

Jeff Cumberbatch - New Chairman of the FTC

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC

Legend has it that in the summer of 1787, a crowd of US citizens gathered around Independence Hall in Philadelphia to learn what type of government their representatives had formed for the new nation. When Benjamin Franklin walked out of the convention, a lady known as Mrs. Powel could wait no longer. She approached Franklin and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got…a republic or a monarchy?” It is alleged that Franklin turned to her and said, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

It would be equally intriguing to have heard the response were the identical question posed to those who represented Barbados at the Independence conference in Britain in 1966. Or even if one were to ask the members of the current governing administration what form of government we currently have. In keeping with the local wisdom, I suppose that the answer probably would have been then, as now, “a constitutional monarchy”.

Yet this answer is arguably somewhat anomalous. To the extent that we maintain a foreign monarch, and not a prince, an emir or a sultan, as the residuary of our executive authority according to the Constitution, then one might indeed argue with some force that we have a monarchy and not a principality, an emirate or a sultanate. Still, it must be conceded that we have no influence whatsoever in who that monarch may be or over which bloodline should be so accredited.

Moreover, the notion of monarchy, a merely fortunate accident of birth, religion, and, until recently, gender, is anathema to our constitutional ethos that emphasizes the equality of each individual. After all, we did solemnly declare, at paragraph (c) of the preamble to our Constitution, our intention “to establish and maintain a society in which all persons may, to the full extent of their capacity, play a due part in the institutions of the national life…” The idea of royalty is repugnant to this. And the express guarantee of protection from discriminatory treatment in section 23 merely juridifies and concretizes this principle.

Too besides, as is rightfully observed by some in their arguments for retaining the status quo, the current monarch, the Queen of the United Kingdom, has never interfered in the local affairs of state. So although we may formally be a Constitutional Monarchy, [note the capital “C”; because that is what the document provides] we may be, by practice and convention, a constitutional republic [since, in substance, governmental power remains with the people through their elected representatives] that makes its own policy decisions without reference to the monarch at all, or even her constitutional representative, on most occasions. Indeed, on a logical extension of that thesis, we may be more accurately described as a “constitutional Cabinet-ruled democracy”, since that body exercises full executive power except in those very few cases where the Governor General, as the Queen’s representative, is permitted to act in his or her own discretion –see section 32 of the Constitution.

The issue of “should we become a republic or not?”, as it is put, has, true to local tradition, once more raised its head in the domain of public discourse. We note that seldom is anything satisfactorily resolved in these parts; an issue comes up, there is extensive discussion or placement of the contending opinions by the local chatterati and literati, and then it suffers a natural death only to be resurrected at some future date with the identical process being iterated ad nauseam.

And while this does provide ample fodder for the local social commentators, it scarcely equates to effective policy. The impression appears to be that the respective governing administrations generally perceive the national divide, discount thereby any notion of electoral advantage in changing the status quo, and choose to remain inert. The catalogue is long –corporal punishment, capital punishment, race relations, freedom of sexual orientation, co-education, the current and future roles of workers’ organizations, religious entitlement, the justice system…

It may all be owed to our intrinsic and irrational fear of change. At times, this has served to gain us a reputation for caution and levelheadedness. However, this compliment has come at the cost of progress in a number of areas, even as we remain besotted with a nostalgic longing for some aspects of a selective past.

On this basis, it should come as no surprise that the majority local opinion appears firmly opposed to the notion of Constitutional republicanism for Barbados, even though the irreducible minimum of that exercise is merely the replacement of the British monarch as head of state. As some were opposed to Barbados becoming independent as a unitary state, and some to any form of independence at all, it is reasonably to be expected that there would be substantial opposition now.

Before we assess the cogency of this negative opinion, it bears remarking that discussion of the matter at this time, though unarguably intriguing, might be purely hypothetical, given the contrasting noises in the public domain about the official intention. While the foreign [mainly British] press had reported sometime ago that the governing administration was diligently seeking to replace Her Majesty as the repository of local executive authority to coincide with the celebration of our golden jubilee of the attainment of independence , this report has been recently dismissed as being without foundation, notably by a senior public officer. Nonetheless, the public discourse continues unabated.

It appears that the major opposition to the idea of republicanism is rooted now, as it was formerly, in partisan political opinion, and it is a delicious irony that the current governing administration and its supporters were once vehemently against the idea when it was first proposed by the last or an earlier Owen Arthur-led Barbados Labour Party administration. I was then, as I remain now, in vocal support of the idea, and I recall a lengthy telephone conversation with the late Prime Minister David Thompson in which we discussed quite amicably the constitutional and political implications, merits and demerits of the proposed change.

This apart, it may be a weakness that the main thrust of the arguments for the change is located at the intellectual level -a veritable non-starter in a patently materialist environment. Hence, the bedrock of many of the opposing arguments is founded on the substantial financial costs of the change, the unlikelihood of its economic advantage and, from far out of left field, its probable negative implications for our tourism trade from out of Britain.

In such a context, arguments such as those raised above as to the anomaly of our constitutional realities; the psychological uplift that comes from being truly divorced from our former sovereign governors; and the moral compulsion of the domestic location of all our state powers -legislative, judicial and executive- will, of course, gain little purchase in a society that is figuratively “catching its nennen”, so far as its economy is concerned.

I recall a fitting excerpt from one of Sir Terry Pratchett’s novels in which a revolutionary band from a thinly disguised country is roaming the countryside in search of sympathisers to its cause. On encountering a poor farmer leading a lone cow by a short piece of string, they ask him, “What do you want, brother, what is it that you really want?” Expecting an answer such as the right to freedom of information, the enactment of integrity legislation or greater civic participation in governance, they are astounded when the peasant answers questioningly, “A longer piece of string?”

To be continued…

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60 Comments on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – If You Can Keep It…”

  1. Hal Austin January 10, 2016 at 6:08 AM #

    Jeff,

    I will reply once I have seen the full extent of your position.

    Like

  2. caribbeantradelaw January 10, 2016 at 6:27 AM #

    @Mr. Cumberbatch, I thoroughly enjoyed this article and I share your sentiments. Besides our endemic conservatism which you so poignantly articulated, I would also add a lot of the current opposition to the proposed Republican shift is due to mistrust of the Government’s motives, the timing and costs of such a move given our current economic situation and the general ignorance about what a Republic entails and what costs vs benefits will accrue to Barbados and Barbadians in general under such a shift. Perhaps in your part 2, you could consider the constitutional and political implications.

    Like

  3. David January 10, 2016 at 6:32 AM #

    @Jeff

    In your preamble this paragraph gets to the meat of the matter for BU:

    In such a context, arguments such as those raised above as to the anomaly of our constitutional realities; the psychological uplift that comes from being truly divorced from our former sovereign governors; and the moral compulsion of the domestic location of all our state powers -legislative, judicial and executive- will, of course, gain little purchase in a society that is figuratively “catching its nennen”, so far as its economy is concerned.

    Like

  4. David January 10, 2016 at 6:34 AM #

    @Jeff

    Surely that conversation is not covered by attorney client privilege? Please share where the late PM’s head was at!

    I recall a lengthy telephone conversation with the late Prime Minister David Thompson in which we discussed quite amicably the constitutional and political implications, merits and demerits of the proposed change.

    Like

  5. ac January 10, 2016 at 7:10 AM #

    Arguably and within the perspectives of past and present mouthing of both political parties it is quiet clear(now) that they both agreed on the change For Republic
    The opposing only lies in part in who is Advocating the change as the article clearly states. For what it is worth an utterance of support by past govt and now present govt have been openly stated for a change to Republic
    Nevertheless the political drumbeat a well known sound with usual repetitive catch phrase and nostalgic interference would continue to filled the air with pessimistic and opportunistic political dialogue depending on which side is doing the beating

    Like

  6. Caswell Franklyn January 10, 2016 at 7:52 AM #

    The change to a republican form of government is purely cosmetic. Right now the only thing that prevents Barbados from being a republic is that we have a queen as our head of state.

    Government has reintroduced the idea of republicanism at this time as a distraction to focus the electorate away from the ineptitude of the administration. Becoming a republic would not re-employ the 6,000 public servants that were sent home. It will not bring investment to the country. All that would happen is that some privileged yardfowl would become president of the republic.

    Like

  7. Shaft January 10, 2016 at 8:07 AM #

    Caswell, got it in a nutshell..! Nough said…

    Like

  8. Bush Tea January 10, 2016 at 8:25 AM #

    @ Caswell
    Boss, you have your own column….
    Why would you want to summarise Jeff’s in one paragraph…?🙂

    @ Jeff
    There is such a thing as PRIORITIES.

    Just because something makes sense, does NOT in and of itself, justify its implementation.
    There is always the question of what is MORE CRITICAL; what is AFFORDABLE; what is LOGICAL; and what is practical.

    Right now, meaningful as it is, republicanism is about 231st on the National TO-DO list.
    Froon and his band of idiots just happen to see it as number 3 on their CAN-DO list.

    …coming after protecting Leroy Parris and getting their hands on some Chinese money before leaving (being kicked out of) office.

    Like

  9. David January 10, 2016 at 8:29 AM #

    @Bush Tea

    Moving to a Republican system is a priority for the government because it is in the business of winning an election. Some might say against terrific odds.

    Like

  10. are-we-there-yet January 10, 2016 at 8:40 AM #

    Nice preamble, as David terms it or even “first course” to the promised banquet or less intuitively, executive summary to the exposition.

    I’m therefore looking forward to the main course in the coming weeks.

    But let me just repeat the paragraphs above that hints that the main course is not likely to be compelling.

    Jeff said;

    This apart, it may be a weakness that the main thrust of the arguments for the change is located at the intellectual level -a veritable non-starter in a patently materialist environment. Hence, the bedrock of many of the opposing arguments is founded on the substantial financial costs of the change, the unlikelihood of its economic advantage and, from far out of left field, its probable negative implications for our tourism trade from out of Britain. In such a context, arguments such as those raised above as to the anomaly of our constitutional realities; the psychological uplift that comes from being truly divorced from our former sovereign governors; and the moral compulsion of the domestic location of all our state powers -legislative, judicial and executive- will, of course, gain little purchase in a society that is figuratively “catching its nennen”, so far as its economy is concerned.

    There is the clear admission that the arguments for the change is located at the intellectual level… in a society that is — catching its nennen or donkey.

    That admission, in my book, suggests that the whole exercise is based on nebulous issues of little import to most citizens of the Land and might be a futile one vis a vis its ultimate objective, unless the “powers that be” bypass the input of the society in resolving the issue.

    In other words, a referendum, at this time can’t work so the whole matter may be consigned to the fate that Jeff sees for many other issues in out society. a metaphorical cyclical jousting at windmills.

    Like

  11. are-we-there-yet January 10, 2016 at 8:48 AM #

    David, Re. your 8:29 post. I think the odds are not particularly terrific at this time. OSA and Dr. Maria Agard have seen to that.

    Like

  12. Vincent Haynes January 10, 2016 at 9:09 AM #

    Jeff
    A good entre,will await the main course of pros and cons.

    Like

  13. Ping Pong January 10, 2016 at 10:43 AM #

    As I have stated before Barbados is already a republic albeit with a foreign person who is non resident as the titular (only for all practical purposes) head of state. Just writing this sentence seems so absurd but that the way it is. I cannot find any reasonable argument against tidying up our affairs by removing the queen. I did not think that removing the queen would incur any great cost but then Jeff Cumberbatch writes “Hence, the bedrock of many of the opposing arguments is founded on the substantial financial costs of the change…”!!

    Is this really so or was Jeff just being facetious? If removing the queen is really costly then given our poor economic circumstances at this time I would support postponing the queen’s removal until a more propitious time. However if this is not so then with haste tell the queen “Hasta la vista, baby!”

    Like

  14. Well Well & Consequences2 January 10, 2016 at 10:51 AM #

    An intelligent government would focus on getting “a longer piece of string” and everything else will follow, as long as they engage the taxpsyers and make a vigorous, collectively conserted effort to understand that they work for the people and that’s all, nothing more. Give up trying to be miniature dictators should be high on their list of their priorities in 2016….no one is impressed by that behavior.

    The assencion to Republism merely means that you are ridding the island of the civil servants in buckingham palace, ridding the island of all the pomp and pretentious nonsense. Let’s hope it’s not replaced with the pretentious mentality that obtains with those who attain sudden status and titles, it’s all good, as long as they remain grounded.

    Like

  15. Greg January 10, 2016 at 11:09 AM #

    Just a thought, the more we divide ourselves the less power we have, there is strength in numbers and political ties.

    Perhaps the focus should first be on getting CARICOM functioning properly rather than further isolating Barbados and our government?

    The reason the US has so much power has nothing to do with what their leaders do, it has more to do with how they were settled…united as one country…unlike Europe which was split into many countries many of which are now struggling alone as the EU wants nothing to do with them.

    Eventually becoming a republic may be a viable option but first I believe CARICOM needs serious implementation.

    Like

  16. Sargeant January 10, 2016 at 11:40 AM #

    @Jeff C
    It appears that the major opposition to the idea of republicanism is rooted now, as it was formerly, in partisan political opinion, and it is a delicious irony that the current governing administration and its supporters were once vehemently against the idea when it was first proposed by the last or an earlier Owen Arthur-led Barbados Labour Party administration.
    +++++++++++
    There, in one meaningful sentence you have captured the essence of Bajan politics, if the other Party is for it we are against it and vice versa. Discussion on any benefits (or not) accruing from this change is moot since Party policy determines position.

    From a Commonwealth perspective the history of countries which have adopted republic status is middling to poor, in our region T & T has a ceremonial President and Guyana has an elected President neither state of affairs inspire much confidence. In Africa the majority of countries which were affiliated with Britain have a Republican form of Gov’t while the mainly ‘White” Commonwealth countries Canada, Australia, NZ maintain the Queen as ceremonial Head of Gov’t. Which is not to say that Barbados won’t be successful where others are still floundering but history is not concluded in one generation as France is now in its fifth Republic.

    Like

  17. David January 10, 2016 at 11:57 AM #

    @Sargeant

    The same observation can be made about transparency legislation. In the 1970s the BLP attempted, or so it seemed, to advocate the urgent need to enact this type of legislation, almost 50 years later the DLP promised the same and what. We like it so!

    Like

  18. Hants January 10, 2016 at 12:17 PM #

    The Republic of Barbados.

    Like

  19. Ping Pong January 10, 2016 at 12:22 PM #

    Sargeant you have forgotten Malta, Mauritius, Samoa and Singapore which are small island states, Commonwealth states, well administered and financially well off and … republics.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Bush Tea January 10, 2016 at 2:23 PM #

    @ Ping Pong
    The only important criterion in your list is ‘Well administered’.
    The others are neither here or there…

    Like

  21. Jeff Cumberbatch January 10, 2016 at 3:35 PM #

    @David, thanks! No, the conversation with the late PM was not covered by privilege of any kind, although I should be interested to discover whom you would have as attorney, and whom as client! No I chose not to disclose the content of the conversation because of the principle “de mortuis nihili sed bonis” which decidedly does not mean, as legend has it at my secondary school, what one second former construed it to be -down in the mortuary nothing but bones!

    Seriously, though, he was merely interested in why I had been so vocal in supporting a position to which the party had expressed opposition. I had been a guest that evening with Ms Billie Miller, John Boyce, and Dr Leonard Shorey on the evening call-in programme on VOB that ran then. I suppose he rather respected my opinion and wanted to ascertain the precise nature of my thoughts. I think that is enough for now.

    @Alicia – as Caswell noted, and as I stated in the essay, the irreducible minimum is the removal of Her Majesty as the head of state. Any further offering on my part as to constitutional and especially political change would be merely uninformed conjecture.

    Bear the title in mind, if we want it, and if we get it, we should try to keep it! The nettlesome thing about Republicanism for us, beyond the theory of it, is that we are yet to be told, if it does come, precisely what form it will take. There will be a President yes, Caswell suggests a yardfowl, but will that be a fair charge if he or she is elected by the people…or if not how would his or her poultry-like propensities differ from past Governors General?

    Like

  22. TheGazer January 10, 2016 at 3:46 PM #

    For the record: I remain as perplexed as ever about what being a republic means for Barbados. I will wait on the continuation.

    Like

  23. Jeff Cumberbatch January 10, 2016 at 4:12 PM #

    @Gazer, it simply means that we would not be attached in any way to a monarch of any kind, foreign or local; constitutionally, Constitutionally, formally, or conventionally!

    Like

  24. Ping Pong January 10, 2016 at 4:23 PM #

    @J Cumberbatch

    What are the “substantial” financial costs of simply substituting a locally appointed president for the queen?

    Like

  25. Vincent Haynes January 10, 2016 at 4:42 PM #

    @Jeff Cumberbatch January 10, 2016 at 3:35 PM #

    Bear the title in mind, if we want it, and if we get it, we should try to keep it! The nettlesome thing about Republicanism for us, beyond the theory of it, is that we are yet to be told, if it does come, precisely what form it will take. There will be a President yes, Caswell suggests a yardfowl, but will that be a fair charge if he or she is elected by the people…or if not how would his or her poultry-like propensities differ from past Governors General?
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    ……precisely what form it will take……..and that is the crux of the matter,tell us what you the Govt. intend to put in place other than a name&figure head change.

    My feelings are that a new form of governance,well articulated in a referendum should accompany this leap to a Republic…..let the populli decide.

    Like

  26. Bernard Codrington. January 10, 2016 at 7:37 PM #

    The truth is that there is no material difference in the two nomenclatures. There is no advantage to the citizens in T&T and the citizens in Barbados. Just a name change. Same old Khaki pants, Change for change sake.

    Like

  27. Jeff Cumberbatch January 10, 2016 at 9:49 PM #

    @Ping Pong@ 4:25…you realize,of course, that I am merely restating the view of the antagonists?

    Like

  28. Jeff Cumberbatch January 10, 2016 at 10:00 PM #

    Mr Haynes, the difficulty with doing that by referendum is determining who will formulate the question and what should it be. For example, a question, “Should the President be appointed or elected” seems perfectly reasonable…but it does not say elected by whom…leaves no room for those who do not think we should have a President at all…and begs the question since it presumes that there will be a change to a republic. And when there are more questions than one asked, that is further confusion.

    Like

  29. Bush Tea January 10, 2016 at 10:15 PM #

    @ Ping Pong
    Boss, if it cost $700,000 in legal fees for a half arsed lawyer to read a contract for a Cave, ..what would you guess at the likely legal costs alone, in legal opinions, review of laws, review of titles, review of contracts of those employed in affected positions, etc etc…

    You mind Jeff…??!!
    He probably has no problem with our money being funnelled to his past students…or his faculty.. but surely we taxpayers should have many..

    Your characterisation of this ‘simple change’ betrays your otherwise perceptive appreciation of the level of political incompetence in Barbados.

    What could be ‘simpler’ than buying a computer system to run the damn NIS ….TWICE!!?? …over the past 15 years….?

    What could have been simpler than building low cost housing for Bajans….?
    ..or upgrading a sugar industry that has been run successfully in Barbados for 4 centuries… by non graduates…

    You know that a simple step can be as a mountain to a brass bowl…..

    Like

  30. Bush Tea January 10, 2016 at 10:27 PM #

    @ Jeff 10.00 P.M.

    Don’t insult our intelligence Boss.
    The way it should be done is that Government does its research, holds its consultations with whatever experts it chooses, AND THEN comes up with a proposal that is put to citizens for their understanding, review, debate etc.

    The SIMPLE question is then put…..

    WUNNA AGREE WITH DIS PROPOSAL (YES)
    …or
    WUNNA DISAGREE WITH THE SHIITE (NO)

    The details should be determined well before any damn vote.
    Matter fixed.

    Like

  31. Ping Pong January 10, 2016 at 11:12 PM #

    Good Lord, look at muh crosses!

    OK Mr Cumberbatch, so replacing the queen with a president who will function much the same as the present Governor-General is getting the republic on the cheap. I can live with that. However Bush Tea makes a reasonable point. The potential for consultancies, legal opinions etc etc with the associated fees for favoured supporters is probably too much to refuse and there lies the substantial costs. Maybe we should leave well enough alone.

    Like

  32. Jeff Cumberbatch January 11, 2016 at 5:34 AM #

    Bush Tea, You flatter me. I really do not think that I can “insult your intelligence”, as you aver. Do you not understand that it is not possible ever to cover every angle…. so that whatever proposal is arrived at, there will be those of the local “intelligentsia” who will be able to pick holes in it. The more detailed it is, the greater the possibility of dissent by some “brassbowl” with too much time on his or her hands. But you probably knew that. I sincerely regret insulting your intelligence, Sir!

    And why would there be any need for any review of any laws or titles? Do not open that Pandora’s box. You are out of your league…merely setting up irrelevant straw men and knocking them down. Given your obvious influence as some EMINENCE GRISE here, you should be more responsible.

    See…now you have scared poor Ping Pong into suffering the Barbadian version of schadenfreude…..thinking that others will get large consultancies and not him or her!

    What review of contracts what?

    Like

  33. Bush Tea January 11, 2016 at 7:51 AM #

    Jeff
    The Bushman said insult ‘OUR’ collective intelligence…
    You are much too young …and apparently too naive, to insult Bushie’s intelligence.

    So now you are saying that brass bowls may be able to pick holes in any proposal…. so therefore you are suggesting that Government should just go ahead and DO IT…??!!

    You serious…?

    You are therefore saying that the CAHILL project was rightly done secretly too…since there would always be brass bowls objecting to giving contracts to old, broke, albinos from Canada to build untested technology in St Thomas…?

    NOTHING in this world is cut-and-dry. The governance of people is based on consensus, discussion, compromise, and democracy. Shiite man…. 49% of Bajans voted AGAINST the damn DLP…..and they still get to F%#& up the whole place.

    Why a need to review contracts…?
    Why did we need to review the Cave contract…? it looked quite obvious to Bushie…
    Why did someone need to review the CAHILL contract..?
    …so that the damn money can flow from the Treasury….THAT’s why…

    You are talking shiite Jeff….
    …and
    Nobody ‘scared’ Ping Pong into anything. He just happens to be one of those rare bajans who are genuinely intelligent …and probably have a mind disciplined by the study of a genuine science… rather than some legalistic or economic bullshit.

    %#&=rig

    Like

  34. Bush Tea January 11, 2016 at 8:08 AM #

    @ Jeff
    And why would there be any need for any review of any laws or titles?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    …so are you saying for example, that in a republic, it will still be possible for a court to to sentence a person to jail ‘at Her Majesty’s pleasure’?
    ..or are you saying that a clerk will just go through the books and cross that out …and replace it with ‘at Froon’s pleasure’ ?

    You must know how many similar references are made to the Queen throughout our laws, commissions, etc…

    Like

  35. Jeff Cumberbatch January 11, 2016 at 8:46 AM #

    I should think that if you can detect the need for textual changes from the Queen or the Crown to the State, not Froon as you seem to fear, then most 11-year-olds would likewise. Don’t worry, the constituent Act would take care of those?

    And if there is already, under whatever system we might have now, a slush fund for lawyers and others as you seem to suggest…Republicanism should not carry the blame for its continuance!

    There are no more monsters in that Republican cupboard than already exist, Bush Tea…..no need for a night light!

    Like

  36. Jeff Cumberbatch January 11, 2016 at 8:48 AM #

    Constituent Act – the Act making the change to Republicanism…

    Like

  37. Bush Tea January 11, 2016 at 9:30 AM #

    @ Jeff
    If you, Caswell, Ping Pong and Walter (….or others of wunna ilk,) were responsible for implementing a republic in Barbados, then 95% of Bajans – INCLUDING BUSHIE, would close our eyes and wave you on….

    Pick sense from that….

    Bushie does not want to argue with an angel about what the devil would or would not do….

    Like

  38. Sargeant January 11, 2016 at 9:50 AM #

    @Bush Tee

    If you, Caswell, Ping Pong and Walter (….or others of wunna ilk,) were responsible for implementing a republic in Barbados, then 95% of Bajans – INCLUDING BUSHIE, would close our eyes and wave you on….
    +++++++++++
    Another example of convoluted and irrational thinking, as in I’m in favour of an Independent Barbados but only if Barrow leads, never mind who may follow.

    Like

  39. Vincent Haynes January 11, 2016 at 9:55 AM #

    @Jeff Cumberbatch January 10, 2016 at 10:00 PM #

    Bush Tea has expended on my suggestion at….Bush Tea January 10, 2016 at 10:27 PM #…..in your responses you have not as yet stated why this is a bad idea.

    Like

  40. Donna January 11, 2016 at 10:04 AM #

    We do not trust our politicians! That is the major hindrance to agreeing with this move. We will see ulterior motives in their proposals because we perceive them to be self-serving individuals. It is impossible for them to overcome these fears without proving themselves trustworthy by first of all allowing us the opportunity to scrutinize and remove those guilty of impropriety. Before recent times I would have stood firmly behind the idea of a republic and I still lean in that direction intellectually. But I have lost all confidence and pride in my country and so I can’t say I care much whether or not it becomes a reality. What does it matter who presides over the king-sized mess this country has become and with this current crop of “leaders” will probably continue to be. My passion for the movement has gone simply because I see no difference between our SERVANTS WHO WOULD BE RULERS and the past colonial rulers. As a matter of fact- when yuh own dog bite yuh yuh well bitten. It hurts far more when you expected better.

    Like

  41. Box Cart January 11, 2016 at 11:23 AM #

    What happens when democracy becomes a hindrance to sensible policy initiatives?

    Replace the Queen and name her current representative as President on November 30.
    Welcome to The Republic Of Barbados.

    If wunna want a fancy Republic with fancy Executive President, terms limits and power of recall, then go ahead and hold wunna referendum, otherwise just mek de change and dun nuh.

    Like

  42. flyonthewall January 11, 2016 at 12:16 PM #

    @Donna
    I believe you are right. Trust — or rather lack of it — is the primary reason for opposition to Barbados becoming a republic. We have come to the sad point where, whenever our politicians recommend or push anything, we question their real motives. We don’t ask “What’s in it for me?” We ask “What’s in it for them?”

    Like

  43. Vincent Haynes January 11, 2016 at 12:22 PM #

    @Box Cart January 11, 2016 at 11:23 AM #

    The ideal situation for all is a new governance system that includes a republican status for this country.

    Every one agrees that the westminster system is flawed,after 70 odd years of UWI we should be able to give ourselves a new system for our 50th birthday.

    Like

  44. Well Well & Consequences2 January 11, 2016 at 12:58 PM #

    Any political system will be flawed, you can try to agitate for new rules and procedures that directly dictates everything the politicians do benefits the people, but look, you can’t even get them to implement integrity legislation, conflict of interest legislation etc on the island…..so at the end of the day it’s better to distrust them, watch them and expose them since they have proven over and over through the decades that it’s not in the people’s best interest to trust them….I would not and people around the world now share the very same sentiments.

    Like

  45. Bush Tea January 11, 2016 at 3:17 PM #

    LOL @ Sargeant
    “…convoluted and irrational thinking…?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You DO know that this is the attitude that most NCOs hold to high-level-strategic initiatives coming from senior COMMISSIONED officers…don’t you?
    Remember, yours (as an NCO) is not to reason why…..yours is but to do and die.

    In all fairness thought, the remark was directed at Jeff – a commissioned man, and he was intended to ‘pick sense from it’. You are excused for finding it ‘irrational and convoluted’. Note that Donna was able to pick sense from it…🙂
    Perhaps you need to keep out of the officer’s mess….

    By the way…. are you on board with the strategic thinking behind Amused and Bushie’s critique of CXC now….?
    …or are you still struggling in boot camp…?

    Like

  46. millertheanunnaki January 11, 2016 at 4:01 PM #

    @ Jeff Cumberbatch January 11, 2016 at 8:46 AM
    “I should think that if you can detect the need for textual changes from the Queen or the Crown to the State, not Froon as you seem to fear, then most 11-year-olds would likewise. Don’t worry, the constituent Act would take care of those?

    Would the change to a republic translate in the reduction of the numerous times the State violates the Constitutional rights of people on remand, some in excess of 5 years without a fair trial in a reasonable time as mandated by the provisions of Chapter 111.

    If the intention is mainly to transfer complete ‘Titular’, sovereignty from a foreign-based monarch to some local politically appointed hack why not let the real Sovereign the People themselves decide on the move?
    Why must the political class with their barnyard of followers (yard-fowls) from the chatterati (twitterati) and literati be the ones to impose their will and decide for People?

    Why not use that expressive organ of democracy and political fair play called ‘Referendum’ to ascertain the true desires of the People?

    Even the dying mother country from which total political separation is sought can see it fit to allow the sovereignty of the people to override any partisan political intentions. The recent Scottish referendum rings any bells?

    If the ruling administration is so keen to see Barbados become a republic (even before Jamaica) why not use some of the millions to be spent on fete and frivolity (with monarchical pomp and pageantry) why not hold referendum within the next 6-8 months (possibly when the schools are on holiday)?

    Vox populi, Vox Dei, (N’est-ce pas?)

    Like

  47. Ping Pong January 11, 2016 at 7:51 PM #

    Do Barbadians know that over $11 million is being spent to celebrate 50 years of Independence ?!

    Do most Bajans know that 260 000 letters are being posted to Barbadians inviting them to celebrate 50 years of Independence. Presumably without this letter many just would not know that Barbados has been independent for 50 years!

    I wonder what is the going rate for a republic…maybe $22 million? Not so says Jeff Cumberbatch. All it costs is a little Constituent Act but then ….what’s the fun in that?!

    I don’t know anyting bout “schadenfreude” but I know bout “steupsatfreundel” (and there is some pleasure in that!)

    Like

  48. Jeff Cumberbatch January 12, 2016 at 6:34 AM #

    Touche, Ping Pong. Your German is spot on.

    @ Miller, I never said that I was against a referendum (I will deal with this in Part 2). The thing with a referendum however is that while it seems perfectly consistent with the principles of participatory democracy as a measure of popular sentiment on an issue, none can be certain that a voter’s response has anything to do with the question asked. All sorts of extraneous considerations might enter in….whether one likes the chief protagonist’s attitude; whether the party one favours is for or against; whether or not one understands the issues….The democratic thing to do…maybe. The optimal thing…I am not sure.

    Another issue is determining what subject matters are appropriate for referendum….the CCJ was not…nor Independence, nor some recent taxation…nor the Jubileee celebrations.

    Should they have been?

    Like

  49. David January 12, 2016 at 6:39 AM #

    After all the palaver the system of government we practice thrust the decision making in the hands of those elected to form the government. Is it a flaw to use Vincent’s description? Until we find a better system this is what it is and those elected will have the suffer or benefit from decisions made.

    Like

  50. Ping Pong January 12, 2016 at 6:58 AM #

    What’s wrong with the website? When I click on a link in the Recent Comments sidebar I get an error message.

    Like

  51. ac January 12, 2016 at 7:15 AM #

    same question error message 404

    Like

  52. Sargeant January 12, 2016 at 8:44 AM #

    Same issue as Ping Pong & AC started yesterday afternoon, also the link for newer/more recent comments has disappeared

    Like

  53. David January 12, 2016 at 9:26 AM #

    There was a problem with WordPress, hope all issues are resolved.

    Like

  54. Sargeant January 12, 2016 at 10:05 AM #

    @David

    Still some issues the “newer comments” link redirects you to “older comments” and I don’t see a link for “older comments”. The most recent comments I see under “Sports “ is June 2015.

    Like

  55. are-we-there-yet January 12, 2016 at 11:23 AM #

    As a temporary fix, one can add a few digits to the URL, eg #comment-639103, make that 639104.

    Like

  56. are-we-there-yet January 12, 2016 at 11:35 AM #

    Oops!

    Should have said above; where there is a problem with the counter not advancing:
    try increasing the number in the URL section /Comment-page-X/, by 1 to say comment-page-2/ you might also have to increase the last section in the url, eg /#comment-639111 to 639112.

    But David will get it fixed soon so that such workabouts will not be necessary, I hope.

    Like

  57. David January 12, 2016 at 12:27 PM #

    Thanks, working on it.

    Like

  58. Raw Bake January 12, 2016 at 2:32 PM #

    Since the “Older Comments” is now missing, could you move it to the top or add an extra one to the top of the comments section.

    On android it gets tiresome having to scroll down 100 comments to find the link.

    Like

  59. David January 12, 2016 at 2:47 PM #

    The problem is being looked at by WordPress, until it is resolved we have turned on the nested feature. Bear with us.

    Like

  60. Gabriel January 12, 2016 at 3:39 PM #

    Yep I have got the same experiences.I am reminded that Kaieteur News gave a synopsis of their hits and found Barbados was no 4,after US,UK and Canada.BU must be a very busy site.

    Like

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