Photo Credit: Barbados Today
The Fourth Estate plays a critical role to the proper functioning of a democracy, it must. Providing citizens with information which equips them to make the best decisions and at the same time act as a watchdog targeting those who act as gatekeepers of authority and influence in our society. Any attempt to sanitize, filter, manipulate information which it feeds to the public must be rejected as a fourth estate reneging on its obligation. The consequence is a compromised democracy.
In Barbados the media [fourth estate] is heavily self-censored. With the exception of a couple media practitioners there is a lack of respect for the profession by the decisionmakers and general public. It is fair to suggest that media workers demonstrate a lack of respect for themselves if we are to judge their inability to promote a vibrant union or association. The Barbados Association of Journalists (BAJ) does not even have an official website or Facebook presence in 2013 such is the inadequacy of how media workers see themselves.
Related Link: Statement issued by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ag) Crime, Lionel M. Thompson
Former Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin
The top story of the week stoked by the local media is that a newspaper snagged a video which was circulating on Facebook for over a month and posted a blurred image of two teens having sex in a classroom full in the knowledge they were being video recorded. BU has no doubt the public outcry provoked by this incident like all the others before will pass with nothing material done to address the factors at the root of juvenile and parental delinquency in our society. It must be said that the newspaper at the centre of the incident must have experienced a spike in sales.
This is one week since the Police Service Commission Report to Retire Commissioner Darwin Dottin was released by BU and ignored by traditional media. How can anyone take the local media and the bevy of talk show hosts seriously when in one breath they pontificate about the moral issue emanating from the sex video, and rightly so, but ignore an issue which attacks a key plank in our governance system. What separates Barbados from the rest has been our ability to maintain law and order on our little island. Despite all of our challenges Barbadians have always prided themselves in being a peaceful and law abiding nation.
While Barbados was consumed this week by the sex video saga the global media reacted to news that the USA (Big Brother) hacked the phones of prominent persons across the globe. All part of adhering to national security. And in Britain there was the news that the long awaited trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson is set to begin, a case where two journalists are alleged to have hacked the phone records of members of parliament, members of the royal family and others – Phone hacking: Court told of tabloids’ ‘decade of deceit.
Mia Mottley, leader of the opposition
Former Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin
Assistant Superintendent met with the Commission on 22 July, 2011. She gave an account of a meeting she attended with Commissioner of Police and Inspector Anderson Bowen, during which meeting the Commissioner manipulated his laptop computer and played a recording of a telephone conversation between Inspector Bowen and another person…
(Extracted from the Police Service Commission Recommendation of Retirement of the Commissioner of Police)
The passing of Inspector Anderson Bowen has given reason for pause in the BU household. While many may remember his exploits to capture the fiercest criminal, BU will always remember him for daring to challenge Commissioner Darwin Dottin in 2005 and as a consequence suffer uncalled for indignity before his peers when he was disciplined in 2007. Although he was reinstated by the Police Service Commission in 2010, his career had been effectively derailed by Dottin.
Barbados is becoming like a war zone, with reports of shootings almost everyday by reckless and underemployed young men (they are almost always men). It is now taking on the characteristics of West Kingston in the mid-1970s when a surplus of arms fuelled the resentment of gangsters affiliated to the two dominant political parties. This aspect of Caribbean shootings has not yet raised its ugly head in Barbados, nor has the savagery of the murderous gangsters in Trinidad, although the choke and rob muggers of Guyana has been adopted by some Barbadian youths. In all this, the apparatus of law and order seems helpless, apart from a demand to better arm the policy and the unopposed willingness to put the Defence force on the streets and parading some of the West Coast beaches. It is a development that will eventually end in tears.
Crime and punishment is one of those subjects that have been raising people’s blood pressure since Adam and Eve. From the church to every man and woman at the street corner, we all have explanations for the break down in law and order. Those opposed to the drift in to a more repressive society (see: Stuart Hall: Drifting in to a Law and Order Society) are frequently forced to ask: whose law, what order. However, crime causation is the issue that pre-occupies most criminologists and criminal justice workers.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, overtime and extra duty removed from the Police Force announced in the recent Budget
Submitted by Posh
I read in the Barbados Today publication about the meeting held between the Force and persons who have a vested interest in the St. Lawrence area. I particularly noted that it was stated by Inspector Streeks that the mobile unit is sometimes only staffed once a week due to resources. For those who don’t know resources really means man/woman power. (Not trying to patronize anyone).
There are one perhaps two issues I’d like to identify and perhaps offer my own opinion as to what might assist this situation. Firstly, the man power situation within the RBPF is not going to improve any time soon and in fact is only going to become worse. With the end to overtime and extra duty, all short falls in man power which would previously have been reinforced by extra/overtime is now no longer an option.
Then you have the ugly side effect of morale, no extra duty means low morale for any police force and while it is unfortunate it is unavoidable. So this tourist season we should all be prepared for less patrols, less visibility and less presence. What might happen is that some areas might be left vulnerable while others are bolstered.
The following was extracted from Wade Gibbons’ Facebook Page. He is a reporter for Barbados Today and is a former policeman.
Some excellent administrative and proactive moves by acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith. He is going to make a terrific leader of the RBPF, a position he should have held a long time ago.
The phones of innocent law-abiding Barbadians could not have been tapped by Dimwit Dottin without the knowledge and participation of some in the Special Branch which Dottin once headed. It was an ongoing criminal act by Dottin, deserving of imprisonment and not pension, and as such the hierarchy of that specialised department should have squealed on the thug and not be drawn into his criminality. No commissioner of police – an incompetent one at that – can compel a police officer to commit a crime.
If the force is to be purged of Dottin’s criminal presence, then of necessity some house-cleaning has to be done in departments such as the Special Branch. One transferred from that department is as close to me as a brother and I love him as such but wrong is wrong. Now that the Dottin cancer has been removed the organs of the body should gradually start to heal and return to a state of normalcy. Full praise to Commissioner Griffith. May God guide your every move.
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.
Submitted by Douglas
Mia Mottley’s has bee critical of the way Commissioner Dottin was removed.
Since late last year, and again earlier this year, some persons in the BLP had been telling this country that they had no confidence in the Police Service Commission. They wanted to see the back of the the Commission that was chaired by the highly respected and above-board Dr. Trevor Carmichael, and the other members.
I guess after all the griping and bad-mouthing of the Commission, Dr. Carmichael, an outstanding Barbadian of impeccable character, appeared to have had enough of the idle talk and stepped down.
A new Chairman, an attorney at law, an untarnished former senior police officer and former Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority, Mr. Guyson Mayers, a man with an unblemished reputation, was appointed.
Updated 05 September 2013
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin
Barbados Today published the story that former COP has formally handed over to COP Griffith and withdrawn from court matter against the Police Service Commission. Included in the report is alleged authorization of wiretapping by Dottin.
Read report: Darwin Dottin officially hands over reins of police force
- Letter sent to Commissioner Darwin Dottin by the Police Service Commission – parts I,II
Submitted by Benny
Deputy COP Seymour Cumberbatch
I wish to congratulate the Police Services Commission (PSC) for the bold stance they have taken in recommending the removal of Mr Dottin from office. I have made numerous calls for some form of sanctioning of Mr Dottin. The members of the Royal Barbados Police is feeling a little relief. However the job is not yet finish.
Mr Dottin’s problem was that he was hand picked by the government of the day to lead the force when he was not equipped with general policing knowledge to adequately fulfil that role. If we cast our minds back we should remember that this was stated by Inspector Anderson Bowen some years ago. The second issue for Mr Dottin was that he attempted to draw on the experience and knowledge of those he assumed he could trust. Little did he know that he was embracing the Devil himself in the person non other than the current acting deputy Mr Seymour Cumberbatch. I will now call on the PSC and the PM. Mr Stuart to complete the job with the immediate suspension of Mr Cumberbatch and an immediate investigation into the second fatal accident for which his brother is responsible.
Mr Cumberbatch transferred the collision reconstructionist Sgt Mayers because the report he submitted was unfavourable to his brother as charges was recommended. Secondly the vehicle driven by his brother was taken to a private garage after the accident instead of being impounded as an exhibit until all mechanical checks were done by the MTW personnel. This vehicle was escorted by Sgt 1051 Cumberbatch himself a questionable character. It is common knowledge that Mr Cumberbatch was always viewed with suspicion among the ranks. He was the S/Sgt in charged of the Major Crime Squad in the 1990s when a number of his juniors were removed from that department by the then COP Mr Durant for corrupt practices. Mr Cumberbatch should recall when the Special duty officer saw him in the late 80s off loading blocks from the then CID land rover M3607. This was after the watchman at the Heywoods Hotel which was under construction reported to District E that this vehicle was seen removing blocks. Mr Cumberbatch has reached a very high rank in this organisation despite always being of suspicious character. It is would be a total mockery of the law and the Royal Barbados that this man should be allowed to use the court system to seek elevation to the rank of DCP whilst at the same time still engaging in corrupt practices. He never had respect for the very law that he swore to uphold and should not be allowed to continue to commit and condone crime.
The removal of Mr Dottin should be followed by the removal of Mr Corrupbatch, it should not be seen as a political vendetta but a matter of cleansing
Submitted by Benny
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite
Mr Brathwaite can you not see that the members of the Royal Barbados Police Force and the wider society is loosing confidence in you. In following the debates on this blog all appeals are being made to the Prime Minister, what is happening is under your portfolio and we the citizens of this country fully know this. We understand our system of government. Had I been in your position I would be seriously concerned that they are calling for the PM to micro- manage.
I am wondering why your voice is so deafeningly silent on these issues. Why cannot you order an investigation into the whole Derrick Crawford issue? I am in a trusted position and I will only divulge this much, the COP has refused an offer of technical assistance from other quarters in an effort to solve the issue. Why is he so adamant that he is sticking to his guns and now that the bluff is being called for him to expose the so called information that he said he has he gone sick?
Of interest is that I understand from reliable sources that his cousin, the female sergeant made mention of on this blog had indeed been transferred and she took his lead and reported sick. Is this what we the tax payers of Barbados is paying for?
Submitted by Benny
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart
I wish first to congratulate you on your return to office. The people of Barbados have instilled their confidence in you. I do personally admire you, and despite the beating that your leadership style has taken throughout the years I am satisfied that the Barbadian electorate is justified in returning you to office. We believe that your are honest, of sound character and fully capable of making this nation proud again. I must say though that I felt disappointed that you thought is necessary to respond to Muscle Mary as it was not worth the effort. In a day like today when persons cannot articulate themself without referring to another person physical appearance it is a sad. We accept the beauty of your character and honesty and the magnitude of your intellect; I buy into your concept of building a society. Mr Arthur explicitly stated that he does not know any philosophy about building a society, he only knows about building an economy. Well where the only vision is an economic vision the society becomes an open prison where respect is lost and freedom is curtailed by there resulting acts of criminality. Mr Arthur failed to see that when everything is premise on the almighty dollar it leads eventually to a state of anomie.
Mr PM you must take fully in your hands the reigns of leadership. You have created history being the first Prime Minister to inherited a Government and won back in the election, and to add to that, in the toughest economic times. This definitely speaks volumes to the high regard in which the right thinking Barbadians hold you and your Government, may God bless you and give you the health and strength to continue.