Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Good governance is required!
In a movie, involving a family trip, one of the children kept asking: Are we there yet? We see the Caribbean as one nation but we are aware of the deep idiosyncrasies of our individual island states. We recognize the void of leadership; the betrayal by our intellectuals; the current attempts to marginalize the trade union movement. We suggest that the current hopelessness that is enveloping the region can be traced to our collective failure to engineer and embrace models of development designed to propel us into a new era of prosperity.
However, it is obvious that as the current economic crisis deepens, the underlying mental realities of our past and the injection of self doubt and mistrust that were the results of slavery and colonialism remain psychological threats to our true independence. Unless we find ways to arrest these negatives within our psyche, we are afraid that the Caribbean is some distance from being a vibrant entity on the global stage.
Our research confirms that many of our most brilliant minds opt to remain in anonymity inside the region or self imposed exile in what is called the Diaspora. The half century of considerable brain drain has effectively robbed the region of much needed intellectual capacity. We are engaging ourselves in pseudo intellectualism hoping that the magic of words and the regurgitating of eighteenth century economics theory will save us. We are turning a blind eye as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Apologists are identifying our progress in terms of gains made via independence and generic development in health, education and housing. They are refusing to admit that most of those gains were before the information highway and the current international monetary crisis engineered by greed and graft in Washington, London and other so-called developed countries.
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.
George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE
In contemporary Barbados, several questions are being raised by the inquiring citizen whose voice attracts the political whip. Many persons could care less of an individual’s curiosity or the need to know once burning issues are scrutinised. Inquirers and commentators are often. In contemporary Barbados, several questions are being raised by the inquiring citizen whose voice attracts the political whip. Many persons could care less of an individual’s curiosity or the need to know once burning issues are scrutinised. Inquirers and commentators are often and dismissively thrown into the political camps of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) or the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). In relation to the current Cabinet or executive, there are increasing trends of neo-authoritarianism being exhibited on a regular and disconcerting basis. This observation is profound and it serves to demarcate an approach to governance that is not consistent with the 2008n and dismissively thrown into the political camps of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) or the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). In relation to the current Cabinet or executive, there are increasing trends of neo-authoritarianism being exhibited on a regular and disconcerting basis. This observation is profound and it serves to demarcate an approach to governance that is not consistent with the 2008
Issue after issue, there are repeated cautions that are registered against those persons and/or groups critical of governmental policies, actions or inactions. In turn, apathy and determinism have mimicked the cowardly forms of inevitability demonstrated by the national executive.
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Building a brighter future
After what has been described as one of the most bruising political campaigns in history of Barbados, the commonsense approach is for all Barbadians to quickly put our shoulders to the plough in the interest of country. There is no time for the traditional honeymoon period. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart needs to quickly get his human and other resources in position. The current state of the local economy is well documented and should not become loss in the euphoria of an election victory. The prospect of a challenging winter season does not bode will for the country in the short term. Restructuring the economy will take time.
The dust has not settled after 2013 General Elections but the BU household continues to be concerned about the relatively low voter turnout. The data for the 2013 General Election are (not datum) still being crunched but according to CADRES we had about a 60% turnout in 2013. The question which Barbadians need to ask is whether this situation should continue to go unaddressed. It was interesting to listen to Mia Mottley in an interview after the general election result was known. Her focus on the need to address governance issues should align well with Prime Minister Stuart on this issue who is seen by many as a man of integrity.
2013 BLP Manifesto
The manifestos of the DLP and BLP have been released about ONE week before the E-Day of February 21, 2013. Generally people pay very little attention to manifestos in most countries. A manifesto may be described as a political tool to get political parties elected. Although we know they are usually littered with pie in the sky promises, BU had hoped this one time around, given the unprecedented challenges which confront service-oriented economies like Barbados, the electorate would have been wooed and teased by a vision articulated by both political parties (espoused in the manifestos). How do they plan to navigate the economic and social milestones currently strewn in our path? Why is it this one time our people could not have been convinced to turn-down the political rhetoric, and instead, engage in a level of collaboration hitherto never experienced in democratic Barbados? As a highly regarded small predominantly Black country here was an opportunity created by the prevailing economic challenge for us to lead; a role which is not unfamiliar in the post-Independence period.
Kudos to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for being ‘first’ out of the blocks with their Manifesto launch – a sarcastic comment you ask?. Although a trivial point, it has not escaped the notice of BU that apart from the first page which features an aggressive air-brushed image of Owen Arthur reflected on The Team for A Better Tomorrow, Mia Mottley’s photo appears in the most prominent position. To those with an ‘eye’ for these things it is called subliminal advertising and it is designed to draw the eye and create an impression in the minds of the electorate.
During the stewardship of the DLP government (2008-2013) a few issues have always occupied the attention of the BU family. Heading the list is GOVERNACE! On Thursday an increasingly cynical electorate will have to decide which party leads (by a nose) on the issue of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation (IL) among others.
Related Link: Manifesto WATCH
Posted in Blogging, Tourism
Tagged 2013 Barbados General Election, Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Economy, Barbados Elections, Barbados Government, Barbados Judiciary, Barbados Labour Party, Barbados Lawyers, Barbados Police Force, Blogging, Caricom News, Democratic Labour Party, Fruendel Stuart, Governance, Justice, Law,Crime, Local Politics, Manifesto, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur
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
As the general election campaign heats up, some of us are looking in vain for an improvement in the quality of the discussion. So far, however, it remains on a level that would have been familiar to Eric ‘Fly’ Sealy and some of the old fringe campaigners who would say anything for anyone if the money was right. But the real victims of this low grade discourse are the ordinary people who are out of work, cannot pay their bills and, more often than is publicly acknowledged, cannot even feed their families. In the meantime, they allow themselves to drift along with the half-truths, lies and total fabrications often heard from the political platforms, and, even moreso, the omissions and denials piped through the media, both print and broadcast.
There are things about our island that we can genuinely celebrate: we do not have political assassins stalking public figures; we do not have drug addicts at every street corner nor toddlers taking drugs, no matter what self-promoting ‘criminologists’ may say; we do not have organised criminal gangs, apart from those people in influential positions who make it part of their project to rip off the tax man. In the main, Barbados is a relatively law abiding and decent society, despite pockets of deviancy and vulgarity.
Memo to Commissioner of Titles
Department of Inland Revenue document
Doctor Watson declares Violet Beckles’ fit’.
Violet appeals to Nation newspaper for HELP!
The Old Lady appeals to Mia Mottley, former Attorney General
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Adriel Brathwaite, Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Government, Barbados Judiciary, Barbados Labour Party, Barbados Lawyers, Barbados Police Force, Barbados Press, Beatrice Henry, Blogging, David Thompson, Democratic Labour Party, Fruendel Stuart, Global News, Governance, Hal Gollop, Justice, Land, Law,Crime, Local Politics, Mia Mottley, Nation Newspaper, Owen Arthur, Plantation Deeds, The Farm Plantation, UDC, Urban Development, Urban Development Commission, Violet Beckles
Auditor General Leigh Trotman
After reading the Are VIPs Exempt From Paying VAT? which followed BU’s The G Virus, BU remains convinced we have a crisis of governance in Barbados. As election time draws closer BU will be highlighting examples to show that it does not matter which government is in office, the decadence which permeates our governance system is foreboding.
During the last general election Barbadians listened to several accusations of financial wrongdoings by the then Opposition. With another general election on the horizon Barbadians are hearing the same concerns from the current Opposition. Needless to say many Barbadians have become turned off by the politics being practiced in Barbados.
Do Barbadians remember the two Special Audits done by the Auditor General in 2006? Continue reading
How to increase national productivity must be the topic of conversation.
Managing the finances of the BU household requires adherence to a simple rule which cannot be broken. Do not spend more that is earned! It is the only way individuals can create a financial security blanket (creating wealth) for the family before retirement. We live in a world which has become addicted to consumption. It has become a place where the value system is securely anchored in love for things at the expense of people or what is commonsense.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) next talkback forum has as its topic ‘Putting Money Back in your Pocket”. The topic should provoke all Barbadians to think about what kind of country we want. We understand that political parties are in the business of winning elections, and the opportunity to promise what is often impossible or illogical is par for course at this time. It explains why the period leading into a general election is labelled ‘the silly season’. However Barbadians must be able to rationalize and force the best decision based on what is before us.
Barbados is an economy where we import most of what we consume, we produce little. If we do nothing or follow the trend of expanding our consumption, it means we have to improve the inflow of foreign exchange. It is a simple equation to balance which has implications for being able to defend the parity of the Barbados Dollar and avoid the clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). BU’s simple analysis is that Barbados can continue to live above its means; we have been doing so for the last 20 years, and suffer the fate of many countries across the Caribbean and the world – OR – we can make structural changes to our social and economic model to be able to sustain a wholesome and practical lifestyle for Barbadians in the present and generations to follow, while at the same time build out mitigating options to buffer the exogenous shocks which will affect us from time to time.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Barbados Labour Party, Blogging, Caricom News, Democratic Labour Party, Fruendel Stuart, General Elections, Governance, Local Politics, Owen Arthur, Privatization, Productivity
Auditor General Leigh Trotman
Many financial analysts agree that a poor governance structure contributed to the collapse of Wall Street, and precipitated a global economic meltdown not experienced since the Great Depression. A consequence of it all, small countries like Barbados have seen ‘wanton’ destruction to gains accrued to standard of living built out over the years.
On the regional front we have not been immune to the G Virus. We witnessed it with the collapse of Stanford Bank and more visibly with CLICO. The CLICO mess exposed the lack of a robust regional regulatory framework to govern pan Caribbean companies. Several years after the demise of CLICO the jury is out whether any serious attempt has been made to improve the regional regulatory framework. It is ironic to note however that despite a commitment to Caricom by regional leaders, they all own Central Banks with the exception of the sub region.
Locally, we are confronted by the G Virus at every turn. The best example is the perennial disrespect which both political parties have directed at the Office of the Auditor General. Exceptions to the financial rules of government have been highlighted by successive Auditor Generals and ignored by successive governments. How can we be serious about being competitive and building out a disciplined society?
It is appropriate BU returns to the issue of Freedom of Information (FOI) on the second anniversary of death of former Prime Minister David Thompson. The promise that FOI and Integrity Legislation would have been introduced by this government early in its term swayed BU and we supported the DLP in 2007. Sadly the government has not demonstrated the political will to implement transparency legislation. Five years later it is fair to describe the promise as a gimmick to win votes.
Submitted by Old Onion Bags
Greg Christie was appointed Jamaica’s fourth Contractor General in 2005
The call has been made umpty times now on BU for Barbados to have a Contractor General. For those wondering what are the duties of such a noble sounding executive officer, in a nutshell….”to assist government in the fair advertising, soliciting, and final disbursements of contracts for services and purchase of major worth.” More detailed….
The Contractor General is given the onus to monitor the award and the implementation of government contracts with a view to ensuring that –
such contracts are awarded impartially and on merit;
the circumstances in which each contract is awarded or, as the case may be, terminated, do not involve impropriety or irregularity;
without prejudice to the functions of any public body in relation to any contract, the implementation of each such contract conforms to the terms thereof; and
to monitor the grant, issue, suspension or revocation of any prescribed licence, with a view to ensuring that the circumstances of such grant, issue, suspension or revocation do not involve impropriety or irregularity and, where appropriate, to examine whether such licence is used in accordance with the terms and conditions thereof. (Courtesy Jamaica’s Office of Contractor General).