The Barbados King of Letters To The Editor, Carson Cadogan, delivers a full broadside to the Barbados media in his latest letter to Caribbean Net News.
Well done, Carson…
To Caribbean Net News (link here)
Your reporter here in Barbados, Dawne Bennett, was quick to report “Barbados least corrupt country in the region”. That might be easy for her to report.
However any good journalist should do some digging before running with a story as she obviously did.
The Barbados government and its supporters no doubt feel good about this report, but it is my considered view that we have nothing to shout about. The country of Barbados is governed by some of the most draconian libel laws in the universe.
People at all levels of the society are afraid to speak out publicly about bad practices and corruption in Barbados. Everyone is petrified of being dragged before the law courts and being heavily fined or imprisoned for making statements, even if they are true, about individuals, government ministers, civil servants, private sector officials.
As a result, incidences of corruption are constantly being swept under the carpet because people who know about them are too afraid to speak out publicly. Practices for which people would go to jail in other countries nothing is ever done about them in Barbados. Bad practices will be discussed privately but no further than that.
As a result of more liberal libel laws in other Caribbean Islands the press highlights corruption routinely, not so in Barbados. They are silent in Barbados. The impression is then conveyed to the gullible that all is well. Hence headlines such as “Barbados least corrupt country in the region”. That is laughable!
Another point worthy of note is the fact that at all the media houses in Barbados here are riddled from top to bottom including directors with members of the ruling Barbados Labour Party which forms the current Government. That alone speaks for itself!
The Government owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation is tantamount to the public relations department of the Government and the Barbados Labour Party. Your reporter needed to point out these facts.
When the Barbados Labour Party was recently in opposition they campaigned, among other things, on a ticket that when they came to power that they would relax the libel laws. They also promised to privatise the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation because they felt that it was too much in the hip pocket the ruling Government.
They felt at the time that the libel laws were being used unfairly against them. That they was a lot of cover-up which they could not expose because of the draconian libel laws which exist here in Barbados. Of course they were in opposition then.
When in opposition you say one thing, when in government you do the exact opposite. They have now been in Government for about twelve years and they done nothing to ease the libel laws as a matter of fact they have used them with telling effect against all and sundry. That is just another reason why I have little respect for politicians!
The so-called press in Barbados should have been hammering the Government to make them keep their promise with regards to relaxing the libel laws but they too have become a part of the problem and not a part of the solution.
Please ask your reporter before writing these flowery pieces do a bit of digging and present stories with balance instead of public relations pieces for the current Government.
Carson CO. Cadogan