How Do We Keep The Next Barbados Election Honest?

barbados-election-bribe.jpg

Votes Have Been Bought And Sold On Barbados Since Forever

Even if we haven’t personally participated in selling our vote, most of us on this island have heard the election-time stories.

– Meet the man with the blue truck behind the certain shop or just off the roundabout. Give your name, go to vote and then say hello to a certain man sitting outside. Shake hands around back with another man. Be careful you don’t drop anything after you shake hands!

– A group of fisherfolk go together to vote, only to run into another group of their friends meeting the same fellow outside. Embarrassed smiles and winks all around.

– Vote and give a nod to certain gentleman = nice Christmas basket delivered that year. No nod = no Christmas basket. Meet another gentleman and be seen… maybe somebody comes and has a little chat with you in a few days.

… and on and on and on.

Such things have been a tradition going back I don’t know how long. Everyone has a story or two about election time.

How Do We Stop This, Folks?

They bribe us legally with our own money during the term and especially just before the election is announced. A nice project for this village. A new community center for that parish. A grant of some paint for a church, a road leveled out…

That’s politics. But what we are talking about is something else… Something that undermines democracy, and makes a citizen less than a citizen. Something that makes a man less than a man.

Such happenings have not been restricted to the governing party.

How do we stop it this time?

Any ideas? Shout Them Out!

Future article: Looking At The Voting Process.

Send us your experiences and your ideas. We must take back the democratic process. Even if we trap only a few the next time around, we will start to safeguard the future.

Now where did I put that video camera and hidden tape recorder?

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

16 responses to “How Do We Keep The Next Barbados Election Honest?

  1. Jupiter

    BFP

    You get better all the time.I was waiting on an article on voting in Barbados for a long time.
    BFP when you do the next article please consider the Guyanese connection and why Owen Arthur has been encouraging them to come here.
    Last week’s article by a jamican statician said that their numbers in 2ooo was set at 23,000, that is,close to 10% of your local population.
    So by now 2006 we have probably nearly doubled that given what has happened with the P.M. raking immigration officers over the coals when they dare to deport illegal guyanese back home.I’m reliably informed that these officers have also been transferred.

    So what could happen is that given that the illegal guyanese are sold and given I.D cards by those politically connected
    then the move that seems to be afoot by the BLP is to get them to vote – and who are they going to vote for? the BLP of course who is responsible for getting them here and allowing them to stay.

    So the people of a country who from all reports are fed up with the Blp and want them out of office,will now have their will frustrated by illegal immigrants – who as soon as the money in the country goes will go and be a drain in another country.

    Serious business BFP.

    That’s why I applaud you and condemn the Nation and Advocate.They know what’s going on,the bajan people have been complaining about the large numbers of guyanese here for the past 3 years and these newspapers have not seen it fit to keep the issue on the front burner.

  2. passin thru

    Thank you Free Press for talkin bout a 4 bidden subject again. Video camera an recorder hidden, eh? Make people very nerbous 4 sur!

  3. Green!

    I see many instances of Guyanese labour here on the island being referred to as “illegal immigrants”.
    I find it hard to believe that our previously-draconian Immigration Dept. can turn a blind eye to that many illegal immigrants.

    I imagine that many Guyanese labourers here are on a firm legal footing (how I don’t know),
    and I’m sure there are some illegal’s among them,
    but I do find it hard to believe that so many of them are indeed il-legal.

    NOT that I’m pleased with that many immigrants onto our already-overpopulated island,
    far from it, but I just thought I’d address the alarmist characterisation
    suggesting that any and all immigrant labour must be,of necessity, illegal.

    As much as we see ourselves as some sort of Amerikin kickoff territory,
    this is not Southern California,
    and we’re not importing Mexican wetbacks, who are nightly crossing the desert border,
    so please let’s get real about the subject.

    If there are that many illegal Guyanese labourers here,
    I submit that it is your social duty, ladies and gentlemen,
    to divulge any information you may have, to the Commissioner of Police
    and/or to The Chief Immigration Officer.

  4. Jupiter

    Green

    You for real or you just talking crap?Ask yourself a couple of questions:

    1) How was it that a J’can statistician was able to tell us about the 23,000 figure?

    2)Remember questions were asked of the Prime minister and Mia Mottley the then attorney general to tell us how many guyanese were here and she give a very ridicously low figure of about 2,ooo which was based on official figures for work permit found in the official gazette?

    3)Is it beyond possibility that those migrant workers who came for 6 months on a work permit and disappear before or after the expiry of that permit that they will still be here?

    Aren’t you aware of the numerous cases before the courts of guyanese who turn up charged with a criminal act and are then found to be in the island illegally for 5 years,12 years etc.

    But the biggest crap of all – “If you have information take it to the commissioner of police or the immigration dept.”

    Bossman,if the head honcho himself has given instructions to the agency responsible for immigration – ie the immigration dept – to back off the guyanese – what complaining to them could do?

    I realise that white businessmen or even whites in general,some Blp supporters and the few who stand to gain from this unregulated large wave of immigrants are the only people who throw up nonesense arguments.

    Check out Britain,the USA,the Bahamas and other countries who are starting to take a tough stand on unchecked immigration.

    This ain’t about race o.k.?this is about survival for bajans.

  5. I don’t think there is any real interest in keeping our elections clean, and that this temid show of concern is driven by fear of the outcome of the next elections.

    I contributed the following to a forum in 2005
    http://www.barbadosforum.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=3330&view=findpost&p=34099
    ———————————————
    QUOTE
    Election 99′
    Liz Thompson also confirmed statements made by her DLP opponent Kerrie Symmonds that she was giving away things to constituents.
    “They say I giving away fridges, stoves, fish, milk, hampers and hams and cash and you know what, it is true. But I ain’t start giving away stuff since elections were called , but from the time I was voted in,” she said.
    She then promised constituents the construction of “massive” community care centres and the launching of a mentorship programme for the youth in the constituency.

    Compared to Ernest Dieghton Mottley

    QUOTE
    “The essence of this system is the exchange of economic and social favours to the poor and fragmented group of people in return for political support ….. Whatever may be said for or about his style of campaigning with money, and with offering inducements to the electorate, it has help to set a standard for many years from which we have found it difficult to escape.
    —————————————————————-

    Cornbeef and biscuit politics to de max, and you know you can’t give nuh lil five dollar nuh more. Given todays prices of all those things Liz usually gives away no wonder they are demanding a wage increase. Buying votes in 2007/8 is going to be a huge and costly task.
    Deighton Mottley legacy lives on

    Concider the role that the Planter/merchant class played since 1941 in the buying of votes, concider the role of the Goddards and the Mottely in continuning this trend. No real real interest in stopping the buying of votes, this is just the underdog complaining because he aint got the cash to buy the most votes.

  6. John

    Why complain over Guyanese?

    We have bought into CSME and this is what we get.

    Actually we haven’t really bought in to CSME at all.

    Politicians repeat over and over the good news and pay to have it broadcast but if you ever come across anyone who isn’t a play play Bajan, you will get an earful ….. and there are plenty.

    In a way, CSME is about fear, reluctance to speak out, (not that there have not been strident voices) and the fact that Bajans are too busy with their own lives, either working or having fun, to make noise. Why rock the boat.

    I have a feeling that if a whole set of Guyanese appear at a polling station to vote, whether they come in dribs and drabs or en bloc that there might be trouble. That is how Bajans are, wait for the last minute, but they have been known to make a noise..

    Owen and the rest have not addressed the deep down fear and loathing which I believe Bajans have for things that are too foreign.

    ….. and yet Bajans can be manipulated into picking on other Bajans when it is clear that a united front is what is needed.

    If we don’t want CSME, just say no!! If we have a bunch of idiot politicians who have gone and signed in without speaking to us, tough, they need to find a way to sign out.

    What will happen, God only knows.

    I think there is a different dynamic at play. It is still about money but there is something else I haven’t quite put my finger on.

    I think there are forces at work far greater than any force a monied party can of its own exert through money. I think people have twigged that there is not enough to go around but haven’t yet understood why and what to do. I think violence is distinctly possible in Barbados.

    What may or may not have happened in the past is quickly becoming irrelevant, if it isn’t so already.

    Wish I knew the answers.

  7. Jupiter

    John

    You said :” I think violence is distinctly possible”.

    Those words give me a chill down my spine John because its what I have been hearing from the 30 and up and the 65 and over and I really don’t know what to make of it.

    I wish politicians both B’s and D’s but especially the B’s – the governing party- will sit up and pay attention and listen – I MEAN REALLY LISTEN – to the people.

    I wish those persons who have influence in this society and God knows you can barely find enough to count on your right hand will start adressing the bread and butter issues that are affecting not only the working class but the large middle class which is slowly shrinking.

    When the turmoil starts the guyanese and the vincentians and expats can run back home but we bajans ain’t got nowherelse to go but here.

  8. Rumplestilskin

    John said >>I think there is a different dynamic at play. It is still about money but there is something else I haven’t quite put my finger on>>

    Bingo.

    You know it.

    The Government has not quite got it. Still on their ‘agenda’, not realising that things are changing, you know how the earth moves in movies when an earthquake is coming, that wave of earth?

    The next election is going to be something, that I can tell you. And all the slogans are not going to help. If anything, may just irritate the average Bajan more. The BLP advert machine is lost in the wilderness with no compass.

    Again, I say I am non-partisan, I comment because there are ways to do things and ways to not do things. Both parties have their errors, their incompetencies.

    Nevertheless, the Government of the day is the BLP and it is at their feet, having been in 12 + years, that all recent problems must lie.

    Do not complain about things ongoing when you had 12 years to fix or prevent. Tis your own responsibility.

    The worrying thing is…I have no confidence that those that be are being candid with us about the economic state.

    Finally, you want a surprise? You think the DLP has its problems? I am starting to suspect, based on movements in the last year and a half, that the Gov’t has its own.

    1) Why keep on Ministers who have consistently failed?….you need them for support.

    2) Why chase down first one and then the other opposition member and then proceed to give them lead roles in the Cabinet?…you are desperate, because you have no confidence in your ‘lieutenants’or…you and your lieutenants are not seeing eye-to-eye.

    3) Of course the PM will run a fourth term…he has to in order to assure the Go’t of a decent chance at the next election…if not, they beat for sure, and the confidence of the ‘BLP Godfathers’ is not there in ‘the lieutenants’.

    THINK.

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  10. Economix

    Rumple worries..“I have no confidence that Those That Be are being candid with us, about the economic state.”
    Don’t worry, Rumple, things are just as you suspect: not great. The floor of the Treasury is concrete, and it’s showing!
    We live from Loan to Loan, as usual.
    Barbados remains “financially independent” as long as we keep getting the loans.
    Barbados can’t even afford to paint the white lines in the road, hasn’t been able to afford those kinda absolutely necessary ‘frills'(as They see it)for some years,now.
    How more tourists don’t die on our roads at night is beyond me!
    Driving non-suburban Bajan roads at night is downright perilous!!

  11. Velzo

    BFP, can you take any member of parliament seriously who has these questions on the Order Paper of Parliament for more than two years?

    8. Dr. William Duguid (Christ Church West): To ask the Minister of Social Transformation: Is the Minister aware that during the last administration some floodlights were installed at Ferniehurst, St. Michael but that there is need for a pavilion and community centre in the area? Will the Minister disclose if there are any plans for the provision of such facilities in the area?

    Notice of this Question was given on 13th January, 2004.

    9. Dr. William Duguid (Christ Church West): To ask the Minister of Social Transformation: Will the Minister disclose whether his Ministry has plans to develop a Community Centre for the convenience, use and recreation of the residents from the districts of the St. Matthias and Hart’s Gap areas of Christ Church?

    Notice of this Question was given on 13th January, 2004.

    10. Dr. William Duguid (Christ Church West): To ask the Minister of Social Transformation: Will the Minister state whether the Urban Development Corporation has conveyed any of the lots in the Halls Road Tenantry to any of the qualified tenants? If the answer is in the negative, will the Minister state how soon the Urban Development Corporation will convey such lots?

    Notice of this Question was given on 13th January, 2004.

    11. Dr. William Duguid (Christ Church West): To ask the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities: Will the Minister state: (a) whether his Ministry has any plans to improve the standard of bus service provided by the Transport Board for the residents of the Kingsland area? (b) whether his Ministry has any plans to improve the standard of bus service provided by the Transport Board for residents of the Lowlands area? (c) whether his Ministry has any plans to improve the standard of bus service provided by the Transport Board for residents of the Dayrells’s road area? (d) whether his Ministry has any plans to improve the standard of bus service provided by the Transport Board for residents of the Rendezvous area?

    Notice of this Question was given on 13th January, 2004.

    14. Dr. William Duguid (Christ Church West): To ask the Minister of Housing, Lands and the Environment: 1. Will the Minister state: (a) whether her Ministry has any plans to build any more rental housing units in the Bennetts and St. Matthias areas? (b) whether her Ministry has any plans to build any more rental housing units in the Deacons, St. Michael area?

    Notice of this Question was given on 13th January, 2004.

    I have to question my own sanity when I read some of the things I read about Willie on this site. Is he a mouse or a man?

  12. John

    To claim William is somehow involved in the cat burgalry (how can he then be a mouse) of the DLP headquarters is plain ridiculous.

    The approach to discredit him based on questions he asked but never got answered is a more reasoned approach and which I agree will require some attention from him.

    But being realistic, do you really think all those questions on Housing and the Transport system will ever get answered? Not in my lifetime, … probably not yours either!!

    The Government is out to lunch …… and he is a part of the Government.

    Our representatives need to make some simple decisions, ….. and soon!!

  13. josephine

    Jupiter that first comment is the most ignorant thing to say you must have fallen on your head as a child

  14. Jupiter

    josephine

    What first comment are you referring to?Anyway I take your above comment as a compliment because anyone who thinks and talks like you do,I am relieved when they don’t lump in the same group as them .

    You could spell brilliant though?

  15. John

    Josephine

    Do you know anything about the PM’s alleged second daughter?

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