Daily Archives: April 15, 2007

Barbados Strongman Owen Arthur Holds Media In Firm Control


In Barbados, another Internet blog, Barbados Free Press, is having a strong impact on politics in this country, in its effort to unmask corruption, agitate for freedom of information, transparency, and accountability, while developing a large readership and contributions from Government Ministers and other influential Barbadians… … Journalist Nicholas Cox from the Barbados Advocate

If the world needed one incident to show how difficult it is to be a journalist in Barbados, the government attack on BrassTacks journalist David Ellis provided that illustration. (See BFP’s article here)

But even before David Ellis came under fire for questioning Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch about his assets and integrity legislation, the Barbados media had started to examine how it became so weak and frightened.

The day after Minister Lynch stormed out of the Brass Tacks studio, journalist Nicholas Cox published the following article in the Barbados Advocate.

The article does not mention the Lynch/Ellis incident, and if we had to guess, it was probably written before the BrassTacks show in response to heavy criticism of the Bajan lapdog media from Barbados Free Press.

Mr. Cox speaks of a culture of “fear and victimisation” in the Barbados media and the fact that bloggers do not appreciate the “abusive calls that journalists endure as well as threats from politicians, and others, directed at their very livelihood.”

The attacks upon David Ellis and his subsequent lawyers-gun-to-the-head apology are proof enough that the media in Barbados lives under a culture of “fear and victimisation” as strongman Owen Arthur uses his power and threats to suppress free speech and a free press in Barbados.

The brave new world of non-traditional media

Web Posted – Mon Mar 26 2007
By Nicholas Cox

The role of the non-traditional media in politics got a serious boost recently, when the Internet blog The Huffington Post was credited with revealing the previously unknown creator of a video portraying 2008 US Presidential candidate, Senator Hilary Clinton, as a big brother type character in a spoof of an Apple commercial.

The video was traced to an employee at a media company employed by the Barack Obama campaign to improve its Internet presence, and appeared on the YouTube website. Obama’s campaign states that it had no connection to the creation or release of the video.

Appearing on the CNN news programme Reliable Sources on Sunday, commentator, Jeff Jarvis, described The Huffington Post’s coup as a great example of network journalism, journalism from the ground up. Founder of the blog, Arianna Huffington, described the process, “Last night, we sent out a challenge to the HuffPost team asking them to hit the phones and contact all their sources. As a result, we have learned the video was the work of Philip de Vellis, who was the Internet Communications Director for Sherrod Brown’s 2006 Senate campaign, and who now works at Blue State Digital, a company created by members of Howard Dean’s Internet Team.”

Responding to a question from the host of Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz, Jarvis explained that the blog was able to beat the mainstream media like CNN, and others in unmasking the source of the video, by reaching out to its network of commentators. Another commentator on the show spoke of the importance of video on demand, blogs, and the Internet on the whole, in getting the masses involved in the political system in the US, which he correctly described a positive move.

In Barbados, another Internet blog, Barbados Free Press, is having a strong impact on politics in this country, in its effort to unmask corruption, agitate for freedom of information, transparency, and accountability, while developing a large readership and contributions from Government Ministers and other influential Barbadians.

Unlike the Huffington Post, this blog is operating under the veil of anonymity, and sometimes carries out its work in the Bajan tradition of innuendo. Despite this, I believe that this and other blogs provide the important service of maintaining an outlet for the increasingly Internet-savvy Barbadians with concerns about the direction of this country, in a way that the traditional media cannot, mainly because of its constraints.

These blogs sometimes disparage the mainstream media in Barbados, in an adversarial tone, and there is hardly a mention of the fact that the media is hampered by the lack of the same laws whose implementation they have championed.

Furthermore, while there have been some early attacks on Internet blogs in Barbados from Government, it is important to note that these anonymous Internet outlets are much more unlikely to suffer from Barbados’ archaic slander and libel laws (because their location and identity is unknown and may be out of this jurisdiction), of which the mainstream media in this country is beholden to.

These blogs sometimes fail to realise that their anonymity can preclude them from abusive calls that journalists endure as well as threats from politicians, and others, directed at their very livelihood. This is not to say that journalists should be hamstringed by such threats and practice self-censorship. A renowned and controversial journalist in Jamaica once told me that our profession’s greatest protection is the very medium and the stories that we produce.

I support the calls for more investigative journalism, and try to heed them myself, but also recognise the aspects of Barbadian culture of fear of victimisation and lack of information that make this so difficult. The age of the Internet clearly fills a void in the traditional media, however, both aspects have deficiencies; ultimately its the public that benefits from the synergy between the two.

… read the original article online at the Barbados Advocate (link here)


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

How Bad Is It? – Cricket World Cup Is Now Free, With Open Gates And Thousands Of Free Tickets Given To Schools, Churches, Businesses and Government Offices

On Friday at 11am, a man walked into a large government office and put 227 tickets for next Thursday’s match into the hand of the office manager. Earlier in the week, the manager of the RBC bank on Broad Street had 20 free tickets delivered. A youth group in Speightstown received three tickets for every child, and a church in Grape Hall was asked how many free tickets they want for next Thursday. The tickets will be delivered Tuesday.

Thousands and thousands of free Cricket World Cup tickets have been distributed in the last week.

Today, Sunday April 15th, the Cricket World Cup is free to all after 11am.

How bad is it?

That bad.

Oval open to all


The Barbados Local (LOC) Organising Committee is throwing open the gates to Barbadians for today’s Cricket World Cup Super 8 match between Bangladesh and Ireland.

A Press release last night from the LOC stated that from 11 a.m. today cricket fans can come to Kensington Oval and watch the match, free of cost. This offer is being made because even though about 22 000 tickets were sold for the match in anticipation of it being an India versus Pakistan clash, thousands of supporters from those countries cancelled their plans, leaving hundreds of seats available.

Chief executive officer of the Barbados LOC, Stephen Alleyne, said his committee had “decided to turn this challenge into an opportunity” by allowing people in free to fill the empty but paid-for seats.

He added: “While the expected clash between rivals Pakistan and India has not materialised, the fixture between Bangladesh and Ireland has the potential to be a competitive and exciting match.”


Alleyne also said it was important to remember these seats were paid for and it was necessary to ensure which ticket holders intended to access their seats. The open day would therefore commence from 11 a.m.

… read the entire article at The Nation News (link here)


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cricket

Barbados Advocate Editorial Humour – “Present Administration At The Forefront Of Efforts To Implement Integrity Legislation – Since 1976”

Once again, I just don’t know how to take an editorial in the Barbados Advocate. When the writer says that the BLP has “has remained at the forefront of efforts for (integrity legislation) implementation” and offers as proof the BLP’s 1976 manifesto, I don’t know if the Barbados Advocate is mocking the Prime Minister or not.

They are a very confused bunch over there at the Barbados Advocate.

Check it out for yourself…

Turnaround On Integrity

IT IS ironic that talk-radio is pushing the subject of integrity legislation without acknowledging that the organisation which constitutes the present Administration initiated and has remained at the forefront of efforts for its implementation.

In fact, even before the Constitution Review Commission under Sir Henry Forde’s chairmanship made the appropriate recommendation in its Report to Parliament in 1998, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had been pressing the issue. The General Election manifestos of 1976 and 1981 confirm this. As Prime Minister, the late J.M.G.M. Tom Adams had argued for its enactment, but it ran into stiff opposition, not least from the late Errol Barrow who contended that there was no need for such law, since anti-corruption legislation was already on the Statute Books.

The proposal was just as vigorously resisted in the Senate where Independent Members protested mainly on grounds that the legislation would adversely affect wives, chairmen of statutory boards, Senators, senior public servants and others.

Sir Henry’s response

The response by Henry Forde, Q.C. to Barrow’s objection was that although anti-corruption legislation existed it was archaic, and was therefore being updated to include new prevention provisions in the Integrity Bill.

As Senator Nigel Barrow explained in the Upper Chamber, a select committee could address the objectors’ concerns. No parliamentarian would sit on that committee. However, Parliament was dissolved before that meeting could take place and the matter did not come up again in the next Session after the Democratic Labour Party regained power. Fortunately, it was given renewed prominence in the Forde Commission’s Report and there seems to be another switch in the Opposition’s position (Errol Barrow had also refused to introduce an Aliens Landholding Bill, but now the DLP is calling for one).

The original Integrity Bill, drafted by Mr. Justice Errol Chase, put Barbados ahead of other Caribbean countries in terms of preparation to introduce Integrity Legislation. Barbados was setting the standard, but even when the BLP spoke about it on public platforms there was trenchant political opposition to the concept. Either ignored or misunderstood was provision for lawmakers to use a blind trust, a feature of legislation in Canada, the United States and other jurisdictions.

How the system works

An MP hands over his or her assets to a trust company or person with power of attorney, who manages them during the MPs tenure in Parliament. The trustee provides an agreed amount of income without divulging profits from investments, etc., and makes returns for tax purposes.

All assets are then turned over to the beneficiary when the individual ceases to be an MP. This is a commonsense way to avoid possible conflict of interest where, for example, an MP may be able to determine who gets contracts for goods or services. There is integrity legislation throughout the Caribbean, including Trinidad & Tobago, but that country has widened its provisions to include Judges, senior public servants, chief technical officers, counsellors, etc. Sadly, its implementation has not always been met with approval because it has not been applied in a non-partisan manner.

Given the stout resistance previously mounted against integrity legislation, one is entitled to ask whether the scales are now coming off some people’s eyes, like Saul on the road to Damascus.

… read the original article here.


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

Satellite John – “We Played Cricket For Love”

Our friend Satellite John wrote the following comment on one of our articles. We think his words deserve a wider audience….

Here is the beginning of an interesting article on Cricinfo…

Daan van Bunge: is his retirement a sign of things to come?Amid all the World Cup headlines, one piece of news from Holland understandably slipped under the radar. Daan van Bunge, who is destined to be forever introduced as the man who Herschelle Gibbs smashed for six sixes in an over, announced that he was retiring from international cricket.

In itself, that’s not earth-shattering news. He is just one of many players who will choose to bow out after the game’s biggest tournament. The difference is that van Bunge is 24, talented, and represents the future for Netherlands cricket.

The reason he gave for his decision was that he could not commit the necessary time to play for his country as well as pursue a full-time job. That should set alarm bells ringing across all the Associates and within the offices of the ICC. There is a real danger that as the demands on part-time cricketers increase, more will decide that balancing those with other aspects of their lives is not practical.

This is the essence of what has happened with WI Cricket.

West Indies is not a country, it certainly is not in the opinion of Prof. Beckles “a nation imagined”. Even if it were, the collective GDPs of all of the countries cannot compare with India, Pakistan, South Africa or Australia.

These larger countries have the wherewithal to pump large sums into sport we do not.

We were great at cricket in the past because we played for the love of the game. It was an art form for us.

Cricket is no longer a game, or a sport we play for love.

It is all about money. We cannot compete in this game.

We need to realise that cricket has developed into something which is different from the sport at which we excelled long ago …….. and also we have developed into people who are different to those who played for love, ……. long, long ago.

Maybe we should just accept this and move on, with or without cricket.

Our leaders and the ICC have actually done us a favour. They have provided the fiasco which can but only open our eyes.

…. we’ll be paying for it for years, but at least now, unless we are complete idiots, the penny will have dropped and we will know we have to make our way in this world on our own.

Up till now, we have been taken for a ride by people who we believed had our interests at heart.

It is time to wake up!!



Filed under Barbados, Cricket


Lost or Stolen – 73,135 Cruise Ship Passengers

According to moderator Dennis Johnson on the popular Down to Brass Tacks programme, Friday 13th April 2007, the six cruise ships currently berthed in the Bridgetown Port accommodated a total of 1,865 passengers.

Sea Dream – 38, Galaxy-682, Blue Moon-675, Carnival Destiny-350 and Silver Wind-120!

Right up until 25th March 2007, when the Minister of Tourism, Noel Lynch, appeared on the Sunday Down to Brass Tacks programme he was still boasting that ’75,000 cruise ship passengers’ would be here for the CWC event.

In addition to ’90,000’ visitors for the final week!

Where can these other 73,000 passengers be?

Adrian Loveridge
14 April 2007


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cricket, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism