Self-Destruction of Barbados Opposition Could Impact Foreign Investment

Leonard Shorey has an interesting piece in The Barbados Advocate today, wherein the dear doctor writes about the dangers to democracy when the opposition tries to muzzle its members and self-destructs at the same time.

The highlight…

(We need to remain) constantly alert to the risk of encroachment on our rights as citizens of Barbados.

We are often inclined to say, “It can’t happen here”, but we would do well to remember Mr. Burnham’s Guyana, where citizens increasingly tolerated such encroachments until, eventually, protest was made only at great personal risk. We must not let this happen here. We ought therefore to be very concerned about any action which would appear to place unjustifiable constraints on the speech and/or actions of citizens, Parliamentarians or not. Consequently, a party which would seek to do this to its own members must inevitably cause one to wonder what it might seek to do if elected to govern the country.

Moreover, the manner in which Mr. Clyde Mascoll was removed, indeed ousted, from office, will for a long time leave a bad taste in the mouths of Barbadians, including many who are not party members. Of even greater concern is the absence of a strong and well-functioning Opposition party; something that is absolutely essential to the proper maintenance of our democracy.

Full article here.

Missing from Doctor Shorey’s analysis is the fact that any instability in the political system of Barbados – even lack of effective opposition – causes concern to offshore investors.

Already there are some foreign governments and investors who are looking at Barbados a little more closely than is desireable (1). The perceived chaos in Bajan opposition politics is also being reported in the foreign media (2) and brings another element of negative attention to our country.

We can argue about politics, rights and societal issues in private all we want, but the minute we take our conflicts to a public stage, we must remember that the world watches us far more than is justified simply by the beauty of Barbados and its people. We do not have a self-sustaining economy without foreign investment, and stability is the life blood of foreign investment. All politicians and politicos would be wise to consider that before continuing the verbal slug-fest on public radio.

(1) Examples of Negative Foreign Attention Towards Barbados

Wall Street Journal Writer quotes “Gems of Barbados” sources…

“Imagine the Prime Minister appoints a board to run a private-company, Hotels & Resorts Limited; the board appoints his best friend to the post of CEO without his knowledge; he allows over $190 million to be spent on the project; and then proceeds to use taxpayers’ money to pay off the company’s debt.”

The Hollinger Scandal in the New York Times…

A unit of Hollinger International made bonus payments totaling $3 million in December 2000 to Conrad M. Black, Hollinger’s former chairman, and two of the company’s other top executives, wiring the money to the Barbados unit of a Canadian bank. The complex transaction, recorded in documents described by people…

Recent speech in Canadian Parliament…

As a result of the tax convention between Canada and Barbados, Barbados has become the third ranking destination, after the United States—understandably—and Great Britain, for direct Canadian investment. If I remember correctly, the amount going to Barbados is around $25 billion or $30 billion.

Is that small island capable of supporting such large investments in terms of manufactured goods or services? Certainly not. We are not fools, and neither is the general public.

Full text here.

Barbados’ Credit Rating In Danger of Downgrade

Unless Barbados reduces both its pace of government spending and its pile of national debt, its high credit rating may be reduced in the next 12 months.

That negative forecast, warning if you will, for 2006 has come from Standard & Poor’s, the world’s leading sovereign credit rating firm on Wall Street.

Standard & Poor’s Article here.

(2) International Media Coverage – Mascoll Affair

Caribbean News: Former Barbados Opposition Leader Seems Set to Join Ruling BLP

Trinidad & Tobago Express: Bajan Opposition Leader Resigns, Joins Ruling BLP

Jamaican Observer: Ex-Bajan Opposition Leader Heading to Arthur’s Gov’t

Unsheathing the Political Carving Knives


Filed under Barbados, Business, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

3 responses to “Self-Destruction of Barbados Opposition Could Impact Foreign Investment

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  2. Rumplestilskin

    While in terms of the overall political process generally Dr.Shorey makes a valid point, in terms of the need for a strong and well-functioning opposition, it is interesting that Dr.Shorey’s article comes suddenly before the election, bearing in mind that Clyde Mascoll’s resignation and political about-turn came so long ago, why not comment then?

    Indeed, since Mascoll resigned it appears that the party has since been able to rally around one leader.

    The timing is interesting indeed.

    Quoting above”constraints on the speech and/or actions of citizens, Parliamentarians or not. Consequently, a party which would seek to do this to its own members must inevitably cause one to wonder what it might seek to do if elected to govern the country”

    What does Dr.Shorey think the current BLP administration does daily? Do you really think that Liz, Noel etc speak freely and at will?

    Further quote ”absence of a strong and well-functioning Opposition party; something that is absolutely essential to the proper maintenance of our democracy.”

    As I noted above, this comes rather late, just when the Opposition is actually getting its act together, this comment was more appropriate a year and a half ago, why now?

    However, more than this do we actually have a well-functioning RULING party, when so many major projects are being run so far off the road?

    Why does his article not address this? Does ‘strong and well-functioning’ merely mean a party that sticks together, even at the expense of country?

    If so, I guess he is happy. I prefer to think of a well-functioning party as one that addresses the comcerns of its members, also the populace in general and not only makes but implements decisions based on sound philosophy and practice.

    On such basis, we do not have a ‘well-functioning’ party in power either.

  3. Rumplestilskin

    How about this as a ‘weather advisory’.

    Hurricane ‘Election’:

    Hurricane ‘Election’ is travelling westward at a speed which will deliver it to Barbados very shortly.

    Winds at 155mph, with higher gusts. Northern Parishes such as St.Peter to be especially affected, although the hurricane will have vast impact throughout Barbados.

    Finalisation of contracts to party faithfuls to be rushed to completion, before landfall.

    Distributions of small ‘commodities’ such as corned beef and biscuits to be urgently implemented.

    Populace to be kept in the ‘dark’ until the last moment.

    Hurricane ‘Election’ is expected to cause widespread change and disruption to party plans and political connections.