Barbados Advocate: “Barbados situation is nowhere near as dire as what is happening in Zimbabwe”

barbados-zimbabwe-cox.jpg

Nicholas Cox Writes A Truly Disturbing Article

My friends, I don’t know what to think about today’s article in the Barbados Advocate, Barbados Is No Zimbabwe.

Is Nicholas Cox defending the government? Is he making a plea to the world for help about government oppression of the media in Barbados? Or is he slyly doing both?

On one side, I am astounded that those in power would allow the Barbados Advocate to mention the fact that citizens in daily conversations are comparing Prime Minister Arthur to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. This has been happening increasingly in street conversations for about the last six months or so, but rapidly escalated with the government clampdown on Voice of Barbados Radio after talkshow host David Ellis made the mistake of asking Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch about his assets and integrity legislation. (See BFP’s articles Corruption Stories Being Hidden By Barbados Media & Government and also Barbados Government Blog Publishes Threats Against Journalist David Ellis)

Today’s article rightly points out that Mugabe is using murder, violence and threats of violence to silence the media and political opposition and that Barbados cannot be compared with Zimbabwe in this regard – but the article does compare the two countries in context, saying…

Whatever concerns Barbadians have about issues such as freedom of the press, transparency, and accountability of public officials, it is fair to say that the situation is nowhere near as dire as what is happening in Zimbabwe. Yes, many in Barbados, including myself, support the implementation of laws to facilitate the aforementioned issues, but to date, as a journalist, I have not been beaten to a pulp or threatened for voicing these opinions, as is likely to happen in Zimbabwe.

… David Cox in the Barbados Advocate.

“Nowhere Near As Dire As What Is Happening In Zimbabwe”

What an astounding statement to be printed by the Barbados Advocate!

Nicholas Cox is correct, the situation in Barbados is “nowhere near as dire as what is happening in Zimbabwe” but neither is everything just fine and dandy either. By the end of the article, Cox leaves the door open for the reader to assume that he believes a Zimbabwe situation is not out of the realm of possibility in Barbados…

“…if Barbados or any other government in the region decides to follow a similar path of oppression and intimidation, hopefully world leaders will condemn this as well, in the interest of the people that are suffering.”

Cox also throws a few bones to the government censors by saying…

“Furthermore, we should not use the issues that will undoubtedly be raised in a democratic country like Barbados, where at least there is the power to question and uncover the aforementioned problems, as well as free and fair elections, to make light of the rapidly deteriorating situation because of the dictatorship in Zimbabwe.”

“Free and Fair Elections” ????

As an experienced journalist, Nicholas Cox is well aware of the vote-buying and ballot-box stuffing that goes on in Barbados. He knows that the government unethically and unfairly put it’s new candidate Jeffrey Bostic in charge of a programme to hand out millions of dollars of free home renovations. He knows that we have no campaign finance laws and the the Prime Minister was recently caught depositing a $750,000 payoff, oops “campaign donation”, into his personal bank account.

Cox knows all these things and more. He knows that for the last 13 years, the Barbados Advocate has not published even one serious article of investigative reporting on Barbados political corruption. His paper didn’t even mention the three-quarters of a million dollar cheque that the Prime Minister put into his personal bank account, even though the information was revealed publicaly in Parliament and the Prime Minister admitted to it.

In the end, what I find so disturbing about the article in the Barbados Advocate is that Nicholas Cox is correct – one cannot compare what is happening in Barbados with what is currently happening in Zimbabwe.

But one can certainly compare what is happening in Barbados now with events at the beginning of Mugabe’s reign. It all started in Zimbabwe with repression of free speech in the media, intimidation of journalists through lawsuits and forced public “apologies”, newspaper editors being “advised” to fire columnists… until the media became silent about blatant corruption by government officials.

And it escalated from there.

We have all those conditions in place here in Barbados.

Journalists are intimidated. Columnists have been fired upon government “advice”, and citizens fear to speak out about obvious corruption of government officials. To ask a government minister how it is that his personal assets are so at odds with his salary is to have the full wrath of government descend upon the journalist and his media organization.

No… Barbados isn’t Zimbabwe, but it is how Zimbabwe once was.

Barbados Is No Zimbabwe

Barbados Advocate, April 9, 2007

Nicolas Cox

In recent weeks, in unofficial circles, there have been numerous comparisons between the socio-political situation in Barbados with that of the African nation of Zimbabwe.

These critics see Barbados as a mini-dictatorship heading in the same direction as Zimbabwe under the leadership of Robert Mugabe, and this is mainly based on the power, or lack thereof, of the media to question public officials issues like corruption.

Whatever concerns Barbadians have about issues such as freedom of the press, transparency, and accountability of public officials, it is fair to say that the situation is nowhere near as dire as what is happening in Zimbabwe. Yes, many in Barbados, including myself, support the implementation of laws to facilitate the aforementioned issues, but to date, as a journalist, I have not been beaten to a pulp or threatened for voicing these opinions, as is likely to happen in Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, we should not use the issues that will undoubtedly be raised in a democratic country like Barbados, where at least there is the power to question and uncover the aforementioned problems, as well as free and fair elections, to make light of the rapidly deteriorating situation because of the dictatorship in Zimbabwe.

Over the last few weeks, opposition members in Zimbabwe have been beaten and threatened and at least one journalist killed for daring to act out against Mugabe’s regime. According to an article in the New York Times yesterday, “The main faction of the leading opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, says that at least 500 of its members have been attacked in the last month. The number of attacks on civic advocates and other opposition figures is less clear but appears substantial.”

Some of those attacked are left with fractured skulls or broken limbs. A few have been shot. At least one has been killed: a week ago, a 65-year-old former cameraman for the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation was found bludgeoned to death in a field 50 miles from his home in Glenview, a south Harare slum that is a locus of anti-government sentiment. He was rumoured to have sold a videotape showing anti-government protestors being assaulted by police to foreign broadcasters.

I have been criticised in the past, by a local pan-Africanist who was unapologetic for supporting Mugabe, for receiving information about Zimbabwe from biased Western sources that only seek to portray the country in a negative light. However, I believe it is clear that the Mugabe government is going to extreme and inhumane lengths to stifle any opposition it faces.

The longer this situation is allowed to continue, the worse it will become. With only a vague mention of the incidents coming from South Africa’s President, Thabo Mbeki, and no official condemnation from the African Union, it is time for leaders in the this part of the world to speak out against Mugabe’s dictatorial actions. In this vein, if Barbados or any other government in the region decides to follow a similar path of oppression and intimidation, hopefully world leaders will condemn this as well, in the interest of the people that are suffering.

… while you can, read the original article online at The Barbados Advocate (link here). The Barbados Advocate removes online articles after a short time and keeps no public archives.

37 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Blogging, News Media, Politics & Corruption

37 responses to “Barbados Advocate: “Barbados situation is nowhere near as dire as what is happening in Zimbabwe”

  1. Inkwell

    A lot has been made of Mr Arthur depositing a “payoff” of $750,000 into his personal account. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    Wouldn’t anyone in their right mind make an attempt to hide money that was not received for legitimate purposes? The Prime Minister obviously has access to to external banking services.

    Any “payoff’ could easily have been directed to a foreign and untraceable account. Think about it . One thing all will have to admit is that Mr Arthur is neither naive nor stupid.

    Why would he put ill gotten gains in a local bank account when he knows that Tom, Dick and Harry’s brother or sister works in a bank and that Bajans mouth en have no cover.

  2. BFP

    No Inkwell, you are incorrect.

    The best way is to launder the money is to do it in plain view.

    We are late with our series, but it is coming – and after the series, you will look at this and other situations with a new perspective.

  3. victor

    Thank heavens there is not mass starvation and murders on the scale of Zimbabwe happening in Barbados yet – although poor people are losing their homes – but thin edges of wedges have to be rigorously addressed and the sooner the better.

  4. Go,Advocate!

    Of course the situation in Barbados is nowhere NEAR as bad as it is in Zimbabwe today.
    But the situation in Zimbabwe had to start somewhere on its long slippery slope downhill,
    and that’s what we’re trying to avoid by voicing our opinions on this ‘scandalous’ Barbados Free Press blogsite.
    Looks like The Advocate is reading us, fellas!
    ——————
    I may be wrong, but a cheque denominated in Bds.Dollars is little use outside of Barbados?
    Mind you, when the bank in Miami/Zurich/Cayman or wherever goes to clear it with Barbados Central Bank,
    the ‘instruction’ would have been ‘pre-positioned’, so that when said cheque reaches that clearing point, it somehow gains Magical Clearance and all is well, and the funds are okayed.
    I’m probably wrong: my wife says so all the time!

  5. Inkwell
    April 9th, 2007 at 3:42 pm
    Any “payoff’ could easily have been directed to a foreign and untraceable account. Think about it . One thing all will have to admit is that Mr Arthur is neither naive nor stupid.

    Why would he put ill gotten gains in a local bank account when he knows that Tom, Dick and Harry’s brother or sister works in a bank and that Bajans mouth en have no cover.
    ————————————————————-

    Call it a human failing; we are all susceptible to them from time to time, no matter how smart we are made out to be. I would only wonder about this action if it were not the truth, if it was not admitted too, and Owen has left no doubt about his guilt. To him it is but a mistake, to me and with “The prevention of corruption act of Barbados” as a point of reference, it seems likely to be at least a misdemeanour.

  6. There is no starvation, but many have to settle for fatty chicken parts and pig tail soup.

  7. Inkwell

    “The best way is to launder the money is to do it in plain view.”

    “IF” he was laundering. The source of the cheque would be an indication. Where did the money come from?

  8. backspace

    my queries to you inkwell …

    why place $750,000 campaign pledge on his personal bank account in first place?

    does interest accrue on his personal bank account(inclusive of $750,000) where does that go?

  9. Jerome Hinds

    “…if Barbados or any other government in the region decides to follow a similar path of oppression and intimidation, hopefully world leaders will condemn this as well, in the interest of the people that are suffering.”
    ______________________________________

    Mr. Cox must also realised that INFLUENTIAL world leaders also condemned the BUSH ADMINISTRATION on the war in IRAQ…!

    4 years later the WAR still goes on….!

    As citizens of Barbados we CANNOT afford the situation under Owen Arthur BLP to get to the stage of ZIMBABWE…..because WORLD LEADERS are already speaking out about the situation in ZIMBABWE…..!

    The IMPORTANT question, why has Owen Arthur and the BLP…..NOT condemn what is HAPPENING in ZIMBABWE….?

    It is TIME to remove the BLP from OFFICE….!

    Mr. COX in his ARTICLE recognises this….but the EMPLOYER and FEAR factor….stops him short from saying so….!

    But at LEAST his article should OPEN…..our EYES and MINDS…!

  10. Economix

    “does interest accrue on his personal bank account(inclusive of $750,000) where does that go?”

    Of course interest accrues on that(on any!) bank account…on a daily basis, if I’m not mistaken,
    even though the accumulated interest may only be credited to the account, monthly or quarterly.

    And a very handsome interest it would be too!

    I’d like to BORROW that 750K for just a few months, (I’ll give it right back,too, honest)
    – just for the interest it would earn!

  11. Economix

    Even if Oweing eventually gives back every cent of the 750K,
    in the time it’s bin sitting in his a/c,
    it has done him WELL!

    Go, Oweing!

  12. Yardbroom

    Inkwell

    You are asking the wrong question.
    If the $750,000 is the property of the Barbados Labour Party -which we are led to believe it is – it should not be deposited in the personal account of the Prime Minister, the issue is as simple as that.

  13. John

    Economix

    “I’d like to BORROW that 750K for just a few months, (I’ll give it right back,too, honest)
    – just for the interest it would earn!”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Only a worthwhile activity if the interest you have to pay for the loan is less than the interest it earns in your account.

    Suspect you are wishing for an interest free situation on your loan, no different to what Owen got.

    Can’t blame you, 10% on $750K is $75K which over a year amounts to over $6000.00 per month, more than twice what a policeman earns, if earlier figures in the comments are correct.

    Even 7% interest will give more than a policeman’s salary.

    Here is an idea. Why don’t the Police confiscate the money and begin an investigation as to where the funds originated !!

  14. Yardbroom

    That Barbadians should take comfort their Government ” is nowhere as dire as what is happening in Zimbabwe” – as reported in the Advocate – is no reason for congratulations.

    The Government of Zimbabwe is a despised regime, where the leader of the opposition party has been arrested, badly beaten and hospitalised, where thugs of the ruling party are free to terrorise its citizens.

    Where meetings are broken up with unbridled violence, where the economy is in a mess, where the lack of foreign currency renders the basics of ordinary life almost impossible to secure, and inflation is rife.

    That Barbados a democratic country, should be compared with Zimbabwe in its present state, is no reason for self-congratulation, it is a reason for shame, that we a proud people have been brought to this sorry impasse.

  15. No - Name

    At least we know that Adocate reporters are reading BFP. Perhaps before he wrote the article he should have spoken to some of his fellow journalists at the nation newspaper and some who previously worked at the Advocate. He should have contacted Neville the bad man Clarke who was treated badly by Owen at Government Headquarters.

    If I knew Cox personally I could have given him the names of a few journalist who Owen called at home and cursed. Ask Mackie, his former personal aide about the number of journalist and other people Owen cursed.

    Additionally people have been personally invited to Owen’s office for a good tongue lashing and cursing when they publicly disagreed with Owen. Ask Doc Broomes about what Owen did to him when he disagreed with a BLP position in the Senate? Why do you think he is no longer a senator?

    …and while asking all dem questions ..ask people close to Owen whether he does call COW and his white Lords AND CUSS THEM?

  16. Sean Gooding

    The comparison and ensuing debate is somewhat akin to when the different ethnic people debate who has had the most injustices committed upon them. Native Americans, Jews, Blacks, Hispanics — each touting that historically they have been through worse than the other.

    In other words, at this stage the point should not be to draw comparisons between the two. Rather we need to face and deal with our own problems in the context of our own situation. Our concerns are real and serious to US even if they may pale or exceed that of other societies. So at this time…concern ourselves with Barbados.

    What I believe we Barbados need most [aside from sincerely civic-minded people willing to perform political service] is a populist lobby. An independent association of ordinary people who act as watch guards for our society to fill the vacuum passing generations have created. With the passing of the 50s, 60s and 70s the number of individuals who would stand up for a cause and be counted generally disappeared. Yet we seek someone to embody these things.

    What about US the people forming such a group?? I for one would certainly join. So the task is out there…charter a constitution for Barbados’ first non-political, independent lobbyist group for the people so we can be heard by our governments.

  17. Yardbroom

    Sean Gooding

    Whilst I agree there might be some merit in a “populist lobby or an independent association of ordinary people who could act as watchguards for our society” as you have alluded to.

    I believe the way forward in Barbados is a democratically elected Government, elected by the citizens of our country and responsible to the citizens of Barbados.

    “An independent association of ordinary people” would have no authority, they would be responsible to no one, and in time would only be considered, because they would have deemed themselves academically superior to the ordinary people.

    I am not and have never been in favour of any kind of elitism – I am sure that is not what you meant.

    I am only interested in what is just and fair for the people of Barbados, rich and poor, black and white and most importantly and all encompassing fairness, that will be the core of our society.

    A society that will allow all of us to walk forward, hand in hand, proud in the knowledge that we are Barbadians

  18. Progress

    I wonder what non-BFP readers must think of this comparison-with-Zimbabwe article.

    “Where did THAT come from?” they must ponder. “Why Zimbabwe?”
    Average (newspaper-oriented) guy-in-the-street must be a little puzzled.

    Well, people(in here) this article goes to show that we/BFP are making Some People THINK.. ..and even respond!

  19. Sean Gooding

    Yardbroom > “I am only interested in what is just and fair for the people of Barbados, rich and poor, black and white and most importantly and all encompassing fairness, that will be the core of our society.

    A society that will allow all of us to walk forward, hand in hand, proud in the knowledge that we are Barbadians”

    In those few short lines you already outline a basic charter for a people’s lobby. The basic tenets are right there. It isn’t about elitism but it is about mobilising ourselves into something more meaningful that calling Brass Tacks or posting Blogs. A small community has been created online but it remains virtual in a tangible world. Surely the effects could be greater if we were organized.

    One of the basic things going against us as Bajans has been our reticence to move to meaningful action. Fine, that is our culture and I am part of it but I am willing to be counted on something that is important to me.

  20. vortex

    Inkwell, you seem to be intelligent.

    Should a Minister of Finance accept a cheque from a Financial Institutionin his personal name and deposit it to his personal bank account in Speighstown the day before the 2003 election?

    This is the most obvious case of conflict of interest because the Minister of Finance issues banking licences! PJ Patterson resigned for less than this. Owen Arthur said he made a mistake – what was the mistake then?

    Further, is it of interest to you that David Shorey was Chairman of the Financial Institution?

  21. reality check

    Sean Gooding

    congratulations!!!!

    the first to step up to the plate to influence at the grassroots level issues of transparency, accountability and environmental concern. None of the so called democratically elected parties are addressing these issues so far and the BLP lost cedibility years ago.

    Now if you can just get 1000 like minded Barbadians to take out memberships in both parties, you will become an important block of positive influence for all Barbadians and the future. Let people know on the web how we can all help your movement.

  22. Yardbroom

    Sean Gooding

    I take your point, and it is well made.

    However, everyone must plough their own furrough to achieve desired outcomes as he/she is minded to.

  23. Observer

    Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I was thinking to myself that the article in question might be meant to have a superficial appearance of defending the status quo and the state of Bajan democracy in order to get published, but actually the author has an ulterior motive in publishing this article. That is to actually awaken the populace to the possibility that Barbados could head down the Zimbabwe road (and what the dire consequences could be if that were the path we followed) if we are not careful and not willing to hold our politicians to account.

  24. Maat

    A legacy of unjust British rule, a parliamentary type democracy, a small European elitist group that is perceived to control the economy, export crops based agricultural background, a poorly paid police force, with a highly paid top level civil service. These are some of the similarities between Barbados and Zimbabwe. We need also to remember that Robert Mugabe was once a popularist leader that was a part of the initial struggle for independence from British rule. For the first ten years of independence the popular ruling party and people waited patiently for the system to work out an equitable system of wealth distribution. It never happened.
    Promises that were made by the previous foreign governors, were not kept, frustration set in. This would be like Owen Arthur coming to power with a mandate to re-distribute wealth (a wealth built on agriculture) and then having the peoples plans thwarted by stubborn European descendants who do not wish to relinquish their ill gotten advantages.
    If, after enduring continued humiliation, Arthur told the poorly paid civil servants, police and soldiers to go and take back their inheritance (go republic), if Arthur decided that the opposition was being funded and supported by foreign forces that did not have the peoples mandate as a priority. If the popular leadership decides that the constitution needs to be reviewed and adjusted to suit an emerging global reality, would this government become a dictatorship for making these changes?.
    Zimbabwe’s problems and challenges are being highlighted as the epitomy of evil and sadly many are jumping from their own bandwagon of suspected fixed elections (as in America), vote buying and questionable campaign donations (as in the UK-contributions for peerages) and dubious donations from companies to local ministers personal accounts; to a bandwagon that condemns the regime in Zimbabwe.
    None of us can say that Zanu FP is correct but what do you think would happen to Barbados if certain elitist groups felt seriously under threat of losing their economic advantage. Why do you think that the BLP would make covert attempts to control the media?.
    Any African leader that attempts to re dress the wrongs of history is vilified, any leader that attempts to develop a more just economic system that tries to empower the poor (such as Cuba or Venezuela) is defined by the media as evil regimes.
    The difference between Zimbabwe and Barbados is that Arthur and the BLP are not even pretending to do what they do for the well being of the masses.

    We need to beware that the changing global economy including the latest threat of recession, our poorly paid and disrespected armed forces and an informed yet frustrated youth does not lead Barbados into a similar situation as that of our African brothers and sisters. At such a time the type of chaos that could ensue will require firm leadership, that can make and stick with some tough decisions and not just follow the lemmings into destruction.

    Peace

    Peace

  25. Sean Gooding

    Reality Check – it is an idea I’ve tossed out from time to time among my friends etc… A few have shown some sort of interest but collectively not enough to motivate a group (or even myself) into doing anything more. I shall cast the fishing line again and see who bites. If others on BFP feel similarly inclined maybe the feedback can start something going…

    Yardbroom – I agree each much choose his path. It is the beauty of a free democracy.

  26. IAmMyBrothersKeeper

    The problem as I see it our political system needs to work not from the top down but from the bottom up. Where communities get together and decide what is best for them. Because the current “democratic political systems” reflect the wishes of the powerful and not those of the majority. I think on a global scale we will find that we will have to reflect on and rethink how we govern ourselves. Clearly from where I stand the systems we have are not working to benefit the majority. We also think in temporal terms that are far too short, for example our lack of responses to Global Warming which could be the greatest threat to our planet, we dither and continue with business as normal.

    Sorry I just had a little rant.

  27. Inkwell

    Yardbroom,

    I take it then that the $750m was not a payoff or bribe as has been suggested earlier and that it was the property of the party. Didn’t the PM state that it was not the first time a campaign contribution was processed in that manner? I think I heard him say so. And couldn’t the other party members be aware of and be comfortable with this method?

    Vortex,

    I am unaware of the circumstances of the transaction to which you refer. How can you be sure it was not a bona fide transaction? Even prime ministers sometimes need to borrow money to fix up their houses or whatever.

    I maintain that the PM could not be so stupid as to attempt to launder money through his personal account in Barbados. You say that the PM admitted he made a mistake. Was the mistake in relation to that particular transaction?

  28. BFP Cliverton Not Signed In

    I take it that the cheque was made out to Owen Arthur personally, or it could not have been deposited into his personal account (unless we are to believe that it was made out to the BLP, and the party endorsed it so that the PM could put it in his personal account.)

    The more you think about it, the more it stinks.

  29. vortex

    Inkwell, obviously you are not and were not listening to the House debate. Owen Arthur accused David Thompson of saying he had $3 million to run a political campaign. In response Thompson said that he never made such a statement and after explaining went on to point out that Owen Arthur received a cheque from a bank in the last election which he deposited in his personal bank account in Speightstown. He went on to say that the amount received by the PM was in excess of the constituency statutory limit.

    Arthur said it was a political contribution paid to him for the party. He gave the impression it was paid over to the party. But he clearly said that he has made mistakes before while mopping his brow with a handkerchief. He even looked at his colleagues for support.

    But it appears – if it was for the party – it never reached the party, or so I am told by a former General Secretary who was flabberghasted by the revelation! I saw the faces of those sitting behind the PM and they too were obviously shocked.

    I ask again: should a Minister of Finance receive any cheque by way of a political donation to him personally or for the party from a financial institution? Does it strike you as strange that David Shorey was Chairman of the bank making the contribution to the PM?

    This is a very serious matter, in my view.

  30. Yardbroom

    Inkwell
    I am sorry you have approached the cheque situation from the wrong angle. It is immaterial if this was the first, second, or third time a cheque was presented and so processed, it should not have been done.

    Does the Barbados Labour Party not have its own Bank Account – I am sure it does – should it not be used for the purpose intended receiving monies for the Barbados Labour Party.

    “…couldn’t other party members be aware and be comfortable with this method,” that is not the issue, such a practice is open to corruption and a responsible Government Minister, and the Prime Minister in particular know this, evidenced by the fact he said he made a mistake. Your opinion has been demolished by the utterances of those you seek to defend.

    We should not go down the road of supposition as regards repairing houses etc that leads us nowhere.

    That this transaction can be seen as acceptable for a Prime Minister, shows us how far as a society we have declined.

  31. ecoanalyst

    Thank you Vortex for edifying us re the debate where the $750,000 was received by Mr. Arthur and deposited in his personal account. He admitted to this and also that there were other similar deposits, which were supposedly given to him for the BLP coffers. The issue here why the monies were given to him rather than to the party. Also, were the monies actually transferred to the BLP. Where is the audit trail? Also, what are the rules regarding companies giving such large contributions to political parties? There is a price to pay if there is no enforced regulation. Humans are humans, and we know everyone has his price. We know that so well – see all the ex-DLP’s and their big rides and first class power trips etc etc etc.

    Maybe the shocked look on the faces of his BLP colleagues and his obvious nervousness said something – did Thompson reveal the tip of a payoff iceberg? . To deflect the effect Arthur asked Thompson to reveal the details of his Clico connections and the money he received from them. Maybe Arthur should reveal the alleged $3 Million he received from Clico as well. Maybe one day Barbadians will set some rules regarding “contributions” to politicians and their parties. I doubt that will happen as those involved are being asked to set the rules.

    What I see now is a country in self distruct mode as the people lose respect and feel betrayed by their leadership. Leadership was the theme of the BLP in the last elections … but leadership means that the leader has to be an example. What Mr. Arthur has reflected in the last few years is extremely bad leadership for the country and the country will pay dearly for this.

    I was told by a Trinidadian a couple of years ago that their PM Manning was having personal financial problems after he lost power to Panday. He projected and seemingly lives a life of personal integrity while in office. One never really knows, but this contrasted to Panday and his $10M slush fund he had in London. At least they had laws re personal disclosure of assets. That will never happen in Barbados unless everthing crash and the people demand it.

    I think “The Politics of Inclusion” as practised by Arthur has created some very negative and destructive tendencies. It could have been built on the Singapore model of working to build an lean and efficient government with low taxes and enhanced productivity. But NO! The opposite was the case – destroy the opposition, buy support with appointments and commissions and build more and more quasi govt entities like GEMS and BTI which are not accountable to Parliament. Who really knows what the full tab really is, or what we taxpayers will eventually have to pay?

    Added to this is the bloated civil service and the expensive cars and support systems including overseas travel etc. This a small little island, but it is not properly managed. But it is costing more for less each year. Just examine what is happening around you in each area of government expenditure and you get the feeling that this lifestyle built around deficit financing of at least $600M a year is not sustainable.

    Political corruption is worldwide – it comes with the territory. However it is the degree of corruption, and whether it becomes systemic. If people within the system know that stealing is going on at the top, they will fell less guilty stealing in whatever way they can – and a lot of that is going on. The Auditor General does not have the staff to really examine what is happening. Is this purposely done? Oh sorry! We do not ask such questions in Bim.

    Now we have reached the stage where people cannot even ask questions for fear of financial and personal ruin. The network supporting the “system” has become all encompassing . We have monopoly business, monopoly unions and monopoly government working in tandem fashioning a “social contract” for Barbados that is self serving to their own continued existence. Who cares about the ordinary Barbadian anyway?

    During the slave trade the slave ships did not go to West Africa with white soldiers who went capturing black inhabitants in the bush. Far from it! Black Africans captured their own and sold them into slavery. It was “strictly business”, jjust another item to trade for beads and shoes and cloth from Europe. Today, nothing has really changed – now we have BMW (Black man wheels), Nike and the latest garbage we buy to plaster over our inferiority complex… while we are slaves to the system that keeps us in bondage – Consumerism.

    Anyway Mr. Arthur went to London to give the Wilberforce Lecture on the 200 year anniversary on the abolition of slavery… what a laugh. We still slaves and we know who the slave masters are and who their intermediaries or “house slaves” are as well.

    There may soon be a worldwide recession, as seems possible based on USA policies and the Iraq war and China currency issues. If this happens we will not be able to support the bloated spending infrastrucure we have. The rising debt situation has been building up over the years. We have been living on steroids, and after World Cup the realities will sink in. No more steroids. Arthur talks about borrowing internally up to 1% GDP a year. What we have to talk about is living within our means. Balanced budgets have to be the norm.

    The future reality as we take off foreign exchange controls at year end is that we cannot support our dollar if our credit ratings are lowered and there are large outflows of hard currency, allowed by law.

    I am truly concerned about my country and I hope that my fears are incorrect, however I doubt that they are. What amazes me more is that the waste and overspending continues unabated. I see overruns in the road building projects looming and even more borrowing. Where will it end? Does the IMF have to soumd a real warning and come in? If they do then the medicine will be layoffs especially of government servants. The 8% govt servants cut by Sandiford will be childs play – so the BLP will have to forget that mantra for the next elections.

    Who would want the job of getting Barbados out of the morass it is in? Owen Arthur of course – “The man who moves Heaven and Earth”- Good Luck Owen – you got us there, show us the way out!

    God Bless Barbados!

  32. Rumplestilskin

    Poster above:”But it appears – if it was for the party – it never reached the party, or so I am told by a former General Secretary who was flabberghasted by the revelation! I saw the faces of those sitting behind the PM and they too were obviously shocked.”

    Firstly, in the first place for propriety’s sake all funds relevant to a company or party should be made into the name of the company. Ask for example, the name to put on a cheque to a furniture manufacturer and he will tell you company name, not personal.

    Secondly, as to your paragraph above,

    You better be wrong.

  33. Patrick Porter

    Did you expect anything different from the Advocate. When you to support the Government you had better not stray off the line you are told to follow, other wise you might find yourself in the deep doo doo. The Advocate is no different from the Nation, they will support the government to the fullest of their power. I see the Rev Atherly is blaming the knocking of cricket and saying it is a bad thing. He doesn’t realise that people are not knocking cricket but the CWC. The spin is really starting to work, and people are going to buy it hook line and sinker. What he is trying to do is to take the heat off the government and put it on Bajans who question the CWC. You know the best form of defense is attack, and that is what you have to expect from this group of bandits. It is up to us on this forum to keep the debate alive

  34. Inkwell

    I’m through playing devil’s advocate on this one.

    I don’t mind being the whipping boy as it has given the opportunity for clarification of the issues. The questions I have asked have served to remove possibly viable explanations for events and circumstances. In similar vein, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

    I had to miss the wind up of the budget debate, but from the above descriptions, it appears the PM has a lot of explaining to do, not least to his colleagues in the party who appeared shocked by the revelations. Under normal circumstances, there would be serious repercussions, but since there have been none (of which we are aware) it would appear that there are skeletons in the other closets as well.

    We may yet see some fallout if there remain any people of integrity in the party, but I won’t hold my breath.

  35. reality check

    ecoanalyst

    excellent analysis of our existing situation

    The BLP has allowed itself to become a party of one.

    Far too much power in the hands of one for any democracy.

    Its not even a benevolent dictatorship for the common good but rather for those elitist few who care nothing for the Barbadian citizen.

  36. John

    Someething has been bugging me for a while about this cheque.

    I really don’t recall the figure of $750K being given by David Thompson in parliament.

    The number seems to have come up from the blue and I wonder if anyone could identify who gave this number first.

    Is it right?

  37. Sirs, the Pope shows his true Nazi colours. First, “Upon this rock will I build my church,” has nothing to do with deciple/apostle, but to do with Christ, the only solid Rock. God said, “Trust not in man whose breath is in his nostrils”. Second, there is no denominational roll-call in Heaven, only those who did the will of the Father. Third, Roman Catholics preach worships idols in the form of Mary, who cannot be called “Virgin” after 7 0r 8 children. Fourth, Catholics preach half a gospel. and deny their followers the right to drink symbolically the blood of Jesus at Communion. Life is in the Blood, without which there is no confession. Lastly, nth number of “Hail Marys ” wont do a thing for anyone. You may pass this to the Advocate and Nation newspapers. I cant get through to them. Check me back on margaret@horsley17.freeserve.co.uk. Tel: 01914136173. I am Bajan and Researcher in Theology. Check with Nation’s Harry Mayers and Advocate’s Janelle who wrote on the New Light Ministry Church on Country Road. I had dealings with the “money-man” hireling who fled or Pastor Cuke dubbed, “Wolves in sheep’s clothing”