First Prize Nominator To Win One Thousand US Dollars – Cash
Barbados Free Press is pleased to announce that the 1st Annual Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards will take place on December 31, 2006. The “Piggy” as the award is affectionately known, is presented annually to the Barbados politician or civil servant who best exemplifies the “chow down and climb right into the trough” spirit of Bajan corruption. The winner will be the Barbados politician or civil servant who, in the opinion of the judges, best misuses position, political contacts or internal knowledge to benefit self, family or friends. (And yes, extra points will be awarded for creativity or sheer brazeness)
Land Expropriation or Forced Sale Is This Year’s Theme
With so many types of corruption flourishing on Barbados, it was a tough decision to decide which category of unethical behaviour should be the focus of this year’s contest. Robert was all for Nepotism (oh so many targets!) or simple kickbacks for government contracts, but in the end our sponsor’s first choice won out – with Shona and Marcus also giving the vote to “Land Expropriation or Forced Sale”.
The Public Is The Nominations Committee
Nominations are open immediately, with anyone able to nominate any current or past Barbados politician or civil servant for the prestigious “Piggy”…
And we don’t care how far back in time that the corruption occurred. Whether the unethical actions happened last week by a BLP supporter, or two decades ago under a DLP government doesn’t matter – we’re looking for real quality here, folks. Only the best, most audacious hog will be this year’s winner!
Nominations Can Be Made Anonymously – Cash Prize Can Be Delivered Anonymously
The person nominating this year’s winner will take home a cash prize of One Thousand US Dollars – which will be delivered in a “dead drop” (read a spy novel if you don’t know about dead drops – or consult the Wikipedia entry here)
Marcus & Robert Meet Contest Sponsor – “Mr. O”
Two days ago, Robert and I met with a man who wants to make Barbados better and who has put his money where his mouth is. Neither of us had never met him before, but we knew who he was (as most any Bajan would) and we questioned him about his motives and his business history.
“Mr. O” is a Bajan, born and bred in Barbados and he has done well for himself and his family. He says he has seen all the good and bad things that Barbados has done and not done in the last few decades.
Under questioning, “Mr. O” admitted that he has probably benefited from the way the system has been even though he has to admit that it is not always fair. This system, the system we inherited from the British, has favored him and his friends while also disadvantaging other “non-connected” residents of Barbados.
He approached us with mixed feelings and, for reasons we can understand, has insisted on secrecy. Why? Because, he says, he knows how the system works. As long as he looks the other way when tax monies are wasted or ‘borrowed’ by public officials never to be repaid, as long as he takes his piece while others around him are taking theirs and says nothing, he will have a nice life.
But, he says, he knows the other side too. Rock the boat, express disapproval, try to do the right thing by speaking out to stop some of the excesses and you immediately become a pariah.
And then it starts: phone calls, visits from ‘concerned friends’, blocking and obstructions of things you need for your business such as imports, permits, and customers who suddenly don’t want to do business with you. Audits happen, monies owed to you are delayed or never paid. And then your life, and the life of your family become tough. So you keep quiet and shrink away from the more serious sins that are being committed.
“Why now” we asked. “Why after living quietly on the so called good side are you suddenly coming out?”
He was ready with an answer: “Because, because it is getting worse; and I worry that if it does not stop the real Barbadians and future generations are going to be harmed. You’ve seen it on other islands, in third world countries, and it can happen here. When there are no controls it just escalates until the have-nots turn on the have’s and chaos reigns. And that is going to happen here and spoil everything if we don’t put a stop to it.
And don’t just blame the politicians. They are part of it, sure, but they are just doing what comes naturally, feeding at the trough. And they get fatter and need more, and more, until they fall in or, worse, the trough is emptied so there is none for anyone. And so it keeps on going till someone puts a stop to it. And that is why I am here.”
And then he put to us an interesting proposal. At first I thought it was a bit off the wall – but after a while we all thought that this will work…
The first annual ‘PIGGIES AT THE TROUGH CONTEST’
The prize is US$1000 cash which he gave me (See how honest I am Mr. O. I could have pocketed your money and what could you have done? But even though that is a lot of money to me I agree with you- we need to get started putting a stop to the piggies that are slowly but thoroughly destroying the fabric of our country.)
The contest requires Barbados Free Press readers to identify cases where lands expropriated by the Barbados government have ended up back in private hands. Here are the rules… You can enter as many times as you want. Just give us as many of the details as you can about each entry.
1. Name of person
2. Location of land
3. Description of land
4. Original owner of land
5. Date of seizure or expropriation of land by government
6. How much did government pay for land?
7. Date of transfer of land to new owner.
8. How much did new owner pay?
9. Picture of land taken within the last year.
10. Put a code word on your submission so we can identify you (see below).
On December 31st, at midnight we will select the winner, who will receive the US$1000 cash prize via dead drop – or if the winner desires, we will donate the cash to the hospital.
Anonymous Entries Accepted
And the unfortunate part about this is is that in order to make this contest work we have to go out of our way to make sure that the entrants are protected so that their identities are never known – even to us. So don’t put your name on the entry, use a code word. You can email it to us or mail it to us (address to be supplied later).
When we select a winner we will publish your story and then a way for us to get you the money without being detected by, dare we say it, the piggies who will not be happy that you are interfering with their trough. Or if you don’t want or can’t take the money we will donate it in the name of the BFP to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
So fire up those computers, folks. You might win a thousand bucks US (that’s real money) and you’ll help bring accountability to government in Barbados. (Hey, if the politicians don’t want to bring in conflict of interest and integrity legislation – no matter. We’ll show them that they can’t hide anyway!)