Tag Archives: David Thompson

Lessons to Guide Another Dichotomous DLP Cabinet: Save Barbados Now!

George C. Brathwaite

George C. Brathwaite

At the 2007 Annual Delegate’s Conference of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the then Leader of the Opposition, David Thompson, began his featured speech by invoking a few disclaimers. It was revealed that there were groups within civil society actively speaking out against several perceived ills. Freedom of expression prevailed in Barbados under the political sacrosanct of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that was being led by the economically acclaimed and intellectually gifted Owen Arthur, in spite of mounting and troublesome criticisms against the government.

David Thompson, in his address, said then that the situation in Barbados had reached a stage wherein there were pronounced “signs of frustration and despair.” Thompson goaded the public into thinking that it was inconceivable why the BLP had become “so indifferent and disconnected from the people it was elected to serve.” Thompson’s utterances were glazed in flowery language and buttered with a mischief to exploit weaknesses which appeared in the seemingly invincible Arthur-led team. The DLP, through its leader, promised to “imbue new hope and optimism” into Barbadians because Barbados was on a “slippery slope of division,” and it had become infested by “stagnation and malfeasance in public administration.” One wonders how necessary was this charade at the end of 2007 when now compared with those things have been evidenced this year at the end of 2013?

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Has the BWA Short-changed Barbadians After Benefiting from a 60% Rate Hike in 2009?

The Late Hon. Prime Minister David Thompson

The Late Hon. Prime Minister David Thompson

Barbados Water Authority (BWA) acting senior engineer Stephen Lindo was in the news recently reminding Barbadians, yet again, that the BWA needs to source one billion dollars to fund the replacement of old infrastructure. Another point he made which should be of interest to Barbadians is that the government “would be approaching the IDB for money to buy a number of power generators, which are critical when there is an outage at the Barbados Light & Power Company.”  It is no secret that the BWA is 100% reliant on the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) for power supply at a time when the Barbados government has articulated that building out alternative energy supply is a national priority. In fact the BWA is reported to use 3.6 million units of electricity each month which equates to approximately 4% of the total output of BL&P.

The press conference by Lindo reminded BU of the address which the late prime minister David Thompson delivered to all employees of the BWA in 2009 over four years ago. His address was made on the eve of the decision by his government to implement a rate hike of 60%. Although the hike became a hot political issue most Barbadians were resigned to the fact the BWA needed funds to improve its plant and customer service. However by now the same Barbadians  would have expected that since Thompson’s speech many deliverables promised would have been deep in the implementation stage.

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Pickering Project Goes BOOM!

Reynold Austin, president of the Democratic Labour Party Canada branch

Reynold Austin, president of the Democratic Labour Party Canada branch

It seems like yesterday, although it was June 2010,  when a frail David Thompson turned the the ceremonial sod to announce the coming of the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development project. Depending on which local media outlet is sourced for information about the project the figures 800 million or 1.7 billion are mentioned . BU cannot remember so many projects going ‘bellyup’ in such a short time period when compared to the last 3 years. Have we compromised on our due diligence method for recognizing quality foreign investment? Have a read of the lofty words uttered by the late Prime Minister Thompson to describe the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development.

Prime Minister Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) need to explain the stench wafting from this project which appears to be stillborn 3 years later. Before the fowls begin to cackle, here is why. In the Nation article Not Jolly a Canadian businessman is reported to have invested USD750,000 in the Pickering project after being approached by a Reynold Austin who was and still is the president of the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch.  It seems a sordid affair that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is being advertised as guest speaker at the 6th Annual Errol Barrow Memorial dinner being planned by the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch.  One wonders what the late Errol Barrow would have to say to Reynold Austin if he were to be reincarnated at his memorial function – see DLP Canada website.

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DLP Propaganda, Indoctrination, Control: Moles Hiding, Mules Executing Poisonous Arrows

George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE

George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE

Given the political issues, crises, machinations and shenanigans impacting on Barbados over the last three years, and especially with the types of defences made by and for PM Stuart and his, the two poorest
performing Cabinets in living memory, several observers have concluded that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is superior to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) regarding the use of shaded innuendo, political ‘spin’ and crass propaganda.

Noam Chomsky presents the view that “even though people have the freedom to make their own decisions, they must guard themselves against powerful influences that intend to direct what they think and do in an attempt to maintain power.” Barbadians have to be very mindful of the indistinguishable moles and figurative mules that are antithetical to the interests of working class Barbadians and their offspring.

David Thompson speaking at the first DLP annual conference after he  became prime minister in 2008, reminded a DLP audience still basking in its long-awaited electoral victory that “we are a family and we have a duty to look out one for the other.” As if that was insufficient, David Thompson coached his followers directing them to understand that in no uncertain terms should they shy away from commitment to the DLP because, “your duty is to play your part in maintaining the honour and dignity of this institution, especially now when it forms the government.”

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Prime Minister Please Talk to Us

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

There was a time not too long ago when Barbados was looked to for leadership on the regional front. We were told we were a country fighting above its weight. There was a time when a president of the USofA, or two, would visit our shores, today they pass us by. Sadly in recent years we have lost our way spiritually, economically, politically, morally…

Barbados Underground does not agree with the view that because the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) won the last general election it means all citizens, which includes the BU family, should agree with all policies being enunciated by the government. Rubbish! The DLP won the last election by a two seats margin and a little over four thousand votes made the difference in the total vote recorded at 152, 593.  Of growing concern is also the large group of Barbadians who continue to ignore the right to vote.

In the lead up to the 2008 general election what led BU to be supportive of the David Thompson opposition was his promise to communicate with the people and to lead a government committed to being transparent.. Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur had assumed a dictatorial approach to managing Barbados which offended the BU household.  Sadly Thompson died in office before he was able to achieve anything of note.

Perhaps not!

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A Case of Massaging News

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica - photo credit Dominica News

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica – photo credit: Dominica News

On 27 April 2013 Barbados Underground (BU) posted the blog Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?. Although the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has denied the word making the rounds that he is a local shareholder, BU defends our right to ask questions of Skerrit or anyone in the interest of providing clarification.

In the interest of providing further clarification it should be noted that the Companies Act Cap 308 places sole responsibility of managing the company in the hands of the Directors. What this means is that unless a shareholder choses to be a Director the public is left to speculate who are the shareholders. The Act is drafted to protect the Shareholder who  – if not a Director – has no say in the conduct of the company.

BU reiterates our position taken in the original blog, in the interest of transparency the other names mentioned (Hartley Henry, the Estate of David Thompson and Leroy Parris) should state publicly whether they have an interest in Cost U Less (CUL).  The government has approved significant concessions to CUL and given the names mentioned the public has a right to know. It should be noted that Pricesmart has since denied receiving similar concessions. Also at the time of launch it was widely reported that David Staples represented local shareholder interest. Perhaps in the interest of protecting its goodwill CUL should make a public statement stating who are the local shareholders.

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Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?

Former Prime Minister David Thompson (l) Former Chairman CLICO Holdings B'dos Ltd rumoured to be local partners in Cost-U-Less

Late Prime Minister David Thompson (l) disgraced former Chairman of CLICO Holdings B’dos Ltd rumoured to be local partners in Cost-U-Less

We do not charge membership fees and believe we can offer low prices to Barbados shoppers, just as we have in our most recent store opening in the Cayman Islands, which was also a partnership with local business people

NorthWest Company trading as Cost-U-Less July 2008

It has been almost five years from the time of the announcement Cost U Less Maybe Coming To Barbados that it launched in Barbados. However, based on consumer feedback the wait has been in vain.  It has been two months since launch and Barbadians continue to wait for the low prices promised. Before the coming of Cost-U-Less the Trinidadians, who now have a vice grip on our food retail and distribution channels, had promised Barbadian consumers the same, that is, we would benefit from economies of scale created by a larger T&T market.

Barbados now finds itself in a situation where we have a new entrant to an already competitive retail food sector.  And it has not demonstrated any appreciable price differentiation in its offering. Sad to say the inevitable must follow.  We created 200 jobs with the coming of Cost-U-Less but SuperCentre and DacostaMannings, owned by the Trinidadians, continue to send home employees.

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Notes From a Native Son: Politicians Must Come Clean about Their Programmes for Change

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
In our democracy, politicians have the simple task of collectively being rainmakers, they simply bring talent together and, from that collection of outstanding individual instrumentalists, create a harmonic sound. Times of crisis call for innovative thinking, experimenting with new ideas, adopting what we in Britain call the Dunkirk spirit.

It is at historic points in the development of capitalism such as this that we see the best of what we have to offer, when the creators of new and imaginative ideas come to the fore, when those who have the future of Barbados at heart rise up.

With the sudden announcement of the general election, which gave off a smell of panic, we as a nation have had to sit and watch the humiliating nonsense of our leading politicians and the two rival parties, launching in to a campaign without manifestos, the roadmaps to their policies, for the first week or so. They were travelling up and down the country, talking themselves silly, without a detailed, or even outline, of the policies they hoped to introduce if the people of Barbados returned them to power. In other words, we have had a government which, after five years in power, could not come to voters with the simple message that they should be returned to finish off what they had started. Maybe, there were five wasted years and they could not ask people to vote for a non-existent unfinished programme.

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the one that got away

YouTube video posted by social commentator Agyeman Kofi

Leading up to the last general election (2007/2008) a key platform message for the then David Thompson led Opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was to PROMISE Barbadians transparency legislation. Another general election is upon us – five years later – and although the government has hurried the Anti-corruption Bill through parliament, it is yet to be operationalized. Many argue that the more important piece of transparency legislation is the FOIA,  giving ordinary Barbadians access to information. The FOIA languishes in draft.

“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.”

― Bruce Coville

Noel Lynch Attacks the Late David Thompson

Some believe Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Michael South Noel ‘Barney’ Lynch crossed the line at a political meeting held at Heroes Square 18/01/2013.