The Constitutional Amendment Act Of 2007 – A Deceitful Cover-up
Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur and his government have a problem. The country is in far worse shape financially than they can ever admit – and that was even before the wild spending orgy called Cricket World Cup.
With an election fast approaching, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have to find some way to hide the bad news – if not forever, at least until after the election.
Their dishonest solution is happening this week in Parliament…
Secretly, before anyone can catch on, the government is amending the Constitution and changing the way the Country’s books have been done ever since Barbados became a country.
This is the first article of a three part series where Barbados Free Press sounds the alarm and exposes the government’s deceitful attack upon democracy in Barbados.
THE GENESIS OF THE DISASTER
(Part 1 of 3 about the proposed Constitutional Amendment Act of 2007.)
The BLP came to power in times of unemployment. Keynesian economic theories (the PM is an economist) were used to get Barbados back on its feet. In those days borrowing money and spending on projects was justified to jump start us and create more jobs.
But while this was going on the government ‘forgot’ to put controls in place which would ensure there was no leakage, no graft, or larceny in the spending program. Worse, they promoted a policy of secrecy and obfuscation to hide the incompetence, the cronyism, and the eve- increasing theft of public monies. The people in the lower ranks of government took their cue from the top and things got worse in that more and more leakage occurred. Larger dollops of the borrowed funds were not used for productive purposes but instead found their way into cars, trips, investments that were sure losers and handouts to friends. To top it all off Government Ministers awarded valuable government contracts to companies which they or their cronies owned without any public tender or disclosure.
Then, at a time when prudent fiscal policies might have turned the tide and avoided the coming financial meltdown the government instead adopted the ‘bread and circuses’ strategy employed in earlier days by the Roman Empire. You know that one: exploit the masses, overtax them, mortgage the country’s future and then when they start to complain, or worse, put on grand spectacles the Coliseum – or in our case at Kensington -to distract them.
And so CWC 2007 was chased and won. This tactic, they knew, would mesmerize the people for a while, probably through 2007, but what to do when the honeymoon was over and the price tag arrived?
By then of course what with all the past fiascoes (how about GEMS, how about $50,000,000 being owed after arbitration for a contract that was never completed…tips of the iceberg these…we could go on) the debt will be out of the stratosphere. The country already owes or has guaranteed well over US$1 billion dollars that we know of. Debt service (interest) payments have climbed to over US$6,000,000 a month. There is no way we are going to be able to pay all this back.
All of the country’s valuable assets have already been mortgaged off. CWC is not – never has been – the hoped for cash cow and so soon and very suddenly there will be no way to hide the impending disaster. Which is not good because there is an election to win in 2008. If the people find out the truth before then the perpetrators of this disaster, our beloved government are doomed to go down to defeat and maybe to jail.
What to do, what to do?
Enter Arthur the Illusionist. All that is needed here is some good old fashioned sleight of hand.
… to be continued in Part 2