Thanks To Europe For The $28 Million Spare Change!
Hey… What Happened To The Last $10 Million EU Sugar Grant?
We can’t find anything in the local papers about yesterday’s occasion of Barbados receiving another EU handout – this one for Bds$28 million.The Barbados Government Information Service published the story Barbados Signs Agreement With EU, and it was picked up word for word by South Florida Caribbean News (link here).
But even if the news media does carry the story, the announcement of the gift will be the last that we’ll hear about it. For some reason the Barbados news media never does any follow up to see how, when and if such foreign aid funding is ever spent in the manner that is announced when everyone sits around the table smiling and congratulating themselves on scoring another few million from foreign governments.
We will not belabour our point, but let us briefly consider the following…
- Successive Barbados governments have positioned Barbados as an international beggar – all the while squandering hundred of millions of dollars in foreign aid without visible results or readily apparent benefit to the people of Barbados.
- When the European Union finally insisted upon accountability for aid in 2006, then PM Owen Arthur and Agriculture Minister Erskine Griffith went public talking about callous “colonial” attitudes shown by the European Union. The BLP government raised such a fuss that the EU threw in the towel and provided the money without insisting on any real accountability. (See BFP’s article Secret European Union Reports Slam Barbados Ethanol Plan.)
- Barbados has a proven history of taking foreign aid funding and then failing to fully implement the projects that were being funded under various agreements. Most recently, Barbados had to admit that the Barbados government Anti-Money Laundering Authority acted illegally and without authority for two years. Hey, we took the USA’s aid money to set up the unit and then never did – we only said we did!
- The David Thompson DLP government were elected on their promised commitment to implement Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information laws, Conflict of Interest rules and a code of conduct for Government ministers. Thompson and the DLP promised IN WRITING to implement the Ministerial Code of Conduct “immediately” upon the DLP taking office in January, 2008. He also promised that the Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws would be implemented within 100 days of taking office.
- Thompson lied about Integrity Legislation, FOI, a Ministerial Code etc. As a result, Barbados politicians and government officials can still legally profit from their position – while the public is denied the right to examine government spending records.
New EU Foreign Aid Not Tied To Specific Projects – Funds Are Dumped Into The General Accounts!
To top it off, the EU has capitulated to demands from the Thompson Barbados Government that foreign aid not be tied to specific projects which can be audited or seen to be accomplished or not.
In his remarks yesterday, Senator Boyce said: “The resources of the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries Initiative 2007-2010 is provided by way of Budget Support rather than direct Project Financing as occurred in previous programmes…”
So the latest EU foreign aid funding is being dumped into the general treasury instead of being directly tied to specific projects capable of being audited. The government has made some promises about “going to do this” and “going to do that”, but without direct funding pathways to specific projects and without Freedom of Information laws to allow the public access to government spending records… that money is already gone, gone, gone.
If you have any doubts about the lack of accountability, just put in a Freedom of Information request to review the government records that document how the last $10 million EU Sugar Subsidy was spent! Just don’t hold your breath while waiting for an answer…
Thompson’s coup is complete. He hasn’t implemented any integrity legislation or conflict of interest rules – and the foreign aid money is being dumped in with the general government accounts.
Well done, David! Not even Owen Arthur was able to accomplish that feat!