Daily Archives: April 25, 2006

Barbados Deputy PM Mia Mottley Repeats January 2005 Statement – But She REALLY Means It This Time…

File Under: Ongoing Barbados Republic & Constitutional Debate

Hold The Presses!

With files from the April 25, 2006 Barbados Advocate

Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced on Monday afternoon that a new Constitution is needed in Barbados, but it has been held up because the Government has given a commitment to ask Barbadians a question on this matter.

But, didn't Ms. Mottley and PM Arthur announce the same thing in January of 2005? Oh yes…

From Caribbean Net News, January 25, 2005…

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: The people of Barbados could very well become nationals of the Republic of Barbados by the end of 2005.

This was made known by Prime Minister Owen Arthur while he addressed a meeting of the Christ Church West and St Michael South branches of the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

The country's Attorney-General, Mia Mottley will be presenting a draft bill to Parliament in March designed to amend the Constitution.

Ok. Ok…. To be fair, Ms. Mottley didn't say exactly which March of which year she would be introducing the legislation. 😉

And, wasn't there a Bill laid in the House on October 10, 2000 having to do with a referendum question? Oh yes, I remember now…

From the August 28, 2005 The Nation News...

But what of the new Referendum Bill (and no mention of the Constitution Bill, which should really come before the referendum debate)?

When the original Bill was laid in the House on October 10, 2000, Government pooh-poohed concerns that the question was so phrased as to demand an emotional response from every patriotic Barbadian: "Do you agree that the Head of State of Barbados should be a citizen of Barbados?"

According to Arthur, it was a clear, succinct, accurate and brief question – all of 16 words, to be exact.

Nearly five years later, a couple of flip-flops by Arthur on whether there would or would not be a referendum, and even more confusion, Government now has a new, longer, convoluted question of twice as many words – 34.

Try reading it aloud: "Do you agree with the recommendation of the Constitution Review Commission that Barbados should become a parliamentary republic with a Head of State of Barbados being a president who is a citizen of Barbados?"

Out of breath yet?

For something that the Prime Minister had airily dismissed on January 31 as "a false issue" when he insisted there would be no referendum, but a week later on February 5 – without an explanation of why he changed his mind so suddenly – said on TV that a plebiscite was still "fundamentally valid", this referendum question has sure made the Government go to a lot of trouble.

Let's See The New Constitution BEFORE The Referendum

Doesn't it make sense that Barbadians should know exactly what they are voting for when they are asked to give their blessing through a referendum?

Somehow, I think that both the Prime Minister and his Deputy would rather have it the other way… "Just give us a 'Yes' and then we will tell you what you agreed to."

Yes… welcome to Barbados Republic and Constitutional Debate – different day, same old s – er, stuff.  

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life, Politics & Corruption

Former Trinidad Tobago PM Basdeo Panday Jailed – Failed To Declare London Bank Account

The former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has been sentenced to two years hard labour. Apparently, Basdeo Panday "forgot" about a 1.6 million dollar bank account he had in London.

From the CBC Caribbean News

Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday has been sentenced to two years hard labour for making false declarations to the Integrity Commission.

…The Court found him guilty on three counts of knowingly failing to declare a London bank account to the Integrity Commission…The court also ordered that the $1.6 million London bank account be seized and ordered that should he default in his payment of the fines, then he should serve a further three years in jail.

When Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur was contacted by the Barbados Free Press and asked to comment on the jailing, PM Arthur stated…

* "No problem, Marcus. Barbados doesn't have an Integrity Commission… Besides, 1.6 million is peanuts…and keep up the good work with the Barbados Free Press. I simply LOVE Shona's photographs." *

* Just in case somebody missed their coffee this morning, we didn't really talk with the PM – but it is true that Barbados does not have an Integrity Commission.

Further reading…

"Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur: His Secret Bank Accounts, Stock Portfolios"

"Proposed Barbados Anti-Corruption Law Absolves Government Family Members and Associates For Past Corruption." 

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Spending Cannot Continue – And GEMS Scandal Just Keeps On Going And Going And Going…

The alarm bells are ringing, but the vault has already been emptied. Barbados is living on borrowed money, borrowed time and a mortgaged future.

As we commented in our posts "Barbados Government Cash Flow Problem – Tip of the Iceberg?" and "Barbados Free Press Readers Comment On 'Is Barbados Bankrupt?' ", we can't go on spending far more than we bring in.

Dr. David Estwick recently made some dramatic statements to a DLP meeting… but we don't think the Doctor's statements were really so outrageous. Here are some samples from The Nation

"Barbados is bankrupt," he said, charging that the national debt had moved from $2 billion to $4 billion under the Barbados Labour Party Government and that the entire public sector debt had reached 100 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

He said Government's finances were in such a bad state that "if the World Cup does not give an immediate return of revenue to Barbados, we (are) in serious trouble".

Estwick also charged Government was avoiding going to Parliament to seek approval for some large financing programmes, including that associated with the controversial "Gems of Barbados" project.

Calling it a flagrant breach of the financial administration audit act, Estwick said the "disrespect" shown by Government to Parliament was the type of behaviour that led to the creation of "banana republics".

"If I were a lawyer, I would take them to court," he said, declaring, "We have to find a way to take this Government to court."

Estiwck said Government had granted the Gems company, Hotels and Resorts Limited, a loan of $145 million without first having it cleared by Parliament. Some $29 million in interest had accrued on the loan "and not a cent paid".

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Filed under Barbados, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption