Mercedes-Driving Corrupt Public Works Minister Chides Barbadians To “Watch Your Spending!”


They say it is “not fairly to shoot de bird when he be sitting on de ground”, but Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke makes himself such an easy target.


“BARBADIANS MUST LEARN how to manage their money better.”

This chiding statement comes from Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke to the tens of thousands of Bajans who are struggling just to put enough on the table. To the single mothers who cry at night for their children’s hunger. To the fathers who work two jobs and stand looking at the price of milk, knowing that this week bad choices have to be made to keep the family mortgage paid.

This statement to me that I should “watch my spending” when this week there are shoes to buy for a growing son, but there will be no new shoes. He will be wearing hand-me-down shoes from his cousin.

This chiding from a man who has two houses and drives a Mercedes! This statement from a man who pays “cash cash cash” for certain things so there will be no record. (More on that later. Some people are tired of hearing “cash, cash, cash” from Mr. Clarke)

This chiding statement to “watch spending” from a man who built a house for one of his women on land that he expropriated as a member of the government “for public housing” !!!


Price of food in Barbados “Not that expensive”.

Where has Mr. Clarke been living lately? In an interview in the Nation News he says that food is “not that expensive” in Barbados. Why, the price of food and fuel is comparable to North America, he says! Perhaps Mister Two Homes should acquaint himself with the average salaries in Barbados and the USA and then talk about things being equal.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… call the election, Mr. Prime Minister. Just call the election.

Further Reading Guaranteed To Enrage The Ordinary Bajan…

The Nation News: Clarke: Watch Your Spending

BFP: Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke – House and Mercedes On Expropriated Land


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

24 responses to “Mercedes-Driving Corrupt Public Works Minister Chides Barbadians To “Watch Your Spending!”

  1. Anonymous

    Gline Clarke is a real fool to say this. Food not expensive? He is a bigger fool than I thought.

  2. stupid is as stupid does

    Clarke: Watch your spending
    Published on: 11/7/07.

    BARBADIANS MUST LEARN how to manage their money better.

    This was the view of Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke, who said that with less than 11 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, and less than eight per cent unemployed, “things are not that bad in Barbados”.

    He told the House of Assembly yesterday during the debate on the cost of living in the country, that “when you look at $300 per week, which is approximately $1 200 . . . and when you look at that over a year, you find that those persons would be taking home US$7 000 annually”. Check spending

    He continued: “Now we have to understand that people who work for $300 a week must look at how they spend their money. I believe it is the way how people, especially the poor, spend their money.

    “When you look at the per capita of Barbados, one cannot say that persons who are taking home $300 a week can be classified as ‘poor’, especially when you look at the Caribbean context or when you look at the world.”

    Clarke noted that “people are shopping . . . prices of food are comparable to overseas, a litre of gas in North America is 96 cents which is comparable to a litre of gas here”.

    “More Barbadians have cellular phones than any other country in the world per thousand.

    “The poorest schoolchildren have cellular phones, the working poor have cellular phones, look at what is happening in ‘poor’ homes. When you see, come back to me and tell me what you are seeing in ‘poor homes’.

    “People must spend their money on food and on things that are essential, and this Government has protected the poor in that regard,” he stated.

    In fact, he stated that the price of food in Barbados was “not that expensive”.

    “Throughout the Caribbean islands the cost of living is high. We import inflation because of our spending patterns . . . . Look at our import bill,” he said.

    In addition, the MP for St George North said Government had set up systems to help low-income Barbadians “as well as people who we would classify as being poor”.

    “This Government has also increased the welfare grants from time to time over the past 13 to 14 years. We have introduced reverse tax credits and there are a number of persons who now do not pay taxes on their property at all. Barbados ‘not bad’

    “These mechanisms [Government has put in place for the poor] do not exist in First World countries.

    “We have a free health service where we take care of persons with diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer, children under 16 years old and persons over 65 . . . .

    “People are working, people are saving, houses are going up, poor people are building every weekend. We must not allow it to be said that Barbados is so bad.

    “Yet the Member for Christ Church East Central would have us believe that things are very poor in Barbados,” he said.

    Clarke also urged Barbadians to go back to producing food “and grow what they eat, and eat what they grow” and suggested a national educational programme “to show people how they must spend their money” should be started.

  3. Hants

    Mr.Clarke is right.

    The price of food in Barbados for me when I visit with my Canadian dollars which are worth $2.14 Barbados.

    Mr.Clarke as long as I keep the mindset that I am spending Canadian dollars and that being in nice warm Barbados is a Bonus, I don’t mind paying two to three times as much as I pay for some food in Canada cause I love to be in Barbados.

    However Mr.Clarke,Don’t worry about me, I would like you to tell the people living in Barbados where you buying this food that “not that expensive”.

  4. Anonymous

    Clarke needs a dose of the real world they all do

  5. Bajan

    women that works for $300 as he said live off a men like him

  6. John

    First time I’ve seen “Adrian Hateridge” from these guys.

    They are coming up in the world!!!

    This actually took some thought!! Suspect they probably will be burnt out after the effort.

  7. Explain?

    With house rent anywhere between 900-1200 dollas, fuel going up, and the high price of food how does a 1200 salary a month not make you poor? We have not even mention the other bills that a person may have.

    Too bad we can’t all expropriate land for our own good Mr. wuk fuh wuk.

  8. paul sealy

    Most of these politicians are pompous jackasses just waiting to be put back out to pasture,when he loses his seat and he will,just for those stupid statements i hope he followed Noel Lynch’ plan to get rich because he will soon be crying like the single mother’s. when these crooked supermarket merchants have him in a serious bind,thief enough money here Glyne!!!

  9. peltdownman

    Isn’t this the same man who said there were no drunk drivers in Barbados, just “tired” drivers?

  10. rumboy

    This article was very well written. I could sense the passion. Congrats.

  11. vetlet

    Not expensive? Sure if you’re bringing in a huge salary. When I visit, I find things expensive even bearing in mind I bring pounds, which are worth about $4 each now.

    How folk cope on local salaries, I don’t know. but I do know that Barbados has a very high cost of living, even for basics.

    He’s right about how folk afford mobile phones though, I had a look around, and phones which I get free with my contract here, are costing (with a contract, I believe) $400-$500.

  12. Pingback: Hypocrisy: the name of the game « Rantings of the Superlative1

  13. Wishing in Vain

    What does that tell you about the thinking abilities or lack of them to those entrusted the management of this country no wonder we are in the dire straits that we find ourselves in at this time.

    We have a clown for a minister running around on radio and TV trying to fool the masses that by removing an excessive burdensome tax that they put into play on TWO 2 items of meat will create a miracle and instanly reduce the cost of living to the poor and suffering in this country, what a load of hog wash, but shame has caught up with them and for them to adopt the measures that would really make a difference to the cost of living in Barbados, measures such as the removal of the VAT on the electrical bills which would have meant something meaningful to the real issue.

    Then again we are seeing more of the slackness of the blp administration and the tiredness of Arthur, and the lack of direction or focus, and the amazing display of repeating what Mr Thompson said only one night ealier in Toronto re making temporary public wokers full time staff, this was amazingly inept on Artur’s part.

    The real issues facing the real cost of living and inflation in Barbados will not be addressed by the removal of duty on two items of meat, it takes a more in depth look into the real source of the inflation some such items are these big companies with offshoot companies owned by the same directors of these local companies operating in places like Costa Rica and the USA thru which most of the imports are passed thru thereby incurring another level of markup before arrival in Barbados they have created a profit offshore never to be seen in Barbados.

    A classic example of this is the setup with Banks where their bottles are purchased thru an office setup in Costa Rica partly owned by close family connections to the Chairman and these bottles are shipped out untouched by the hands or seen by the eyes of the shell company, or explain to me why and how the chairman son would be the one with the drink machine operation without any cost attached to his doing business?

    When the gov’t eliminates things like this then we will make progress in tacking the real sources of the increasing cost of living.

    Boy Sorry I now remember Allan Fields was given his Knighthood for service to Arthur, and his donation to the Bridgetown upgrading, oh yes he is also Arthur’s blue eyed boy and chairman of the mouthpiece of the gov’t CBC.

  14. Wishing in Vain

    Are we to take Arthur seriously when he has failed to attend the house of Assembly since the budget debate ?
    This in istself is a downright disgrace to the people of this country.

  15. Yardbroom

    I am in complete agreement with the Minister, yes the “Government” should learn how to manage the public’s purse better. The onus is on them more, for unlike a private citizen, the money has been entrusted to The Government – to spend prudently on behalf of The Nation.

    An individual’s private income is his/hers to spend as they wish. I would even venture to suggest, that those who are unemployed, and many are, would be delighted to have money, far less money to manage.

    To suggest that the population at large, has enough money to take care of their needs, and it is only a lack of prudent management skills, which is causing them hardship is untrue.

    However sledge-hammer like the matter has been addressed by the Minister, it is full acknowledgement that the high cost of living is hurting ordinary Barbadians.

    The flaw in the Minister’s argument, is that he has unwisely and clumsily, addressed a problem that is a major problem to the ordinary citizen. The eleven percent of the population living below the poverty line, does not tell the whole story. What about the large percentage just above the poverty line, what existence do they have?

    The Minister states…” Now we have to understand that people who work for $300 a week must look at how they spend their money. I believe it is the way how people, especially the poor, spend their money”… this on its own does not tell the true story.

    I would suggest, that it is wise for “all,” poor or not to manage their money wisely, but to suggest that better money management “alone” would eliminate the problems of the poor cannot be true.

    The problem comes from a lack of income, to suggest otherwise, indicates that if the Minister previously lived in a poor household, he has forgotten the money management mechanics of it.

    In a household below the poverty line, or just above. When the basics of living eg rent, lighting, fuel, and transport are taken care, of there is not much left to manage. From the meagre amount left, food has to be provided, and if there are children, and there often are, this is a “must” add on expenditure. In essence there is not much left to be prudent with, that is why people are poor, not to understand this is not seeing the problem.

    What the Minister has done, is use a mechanism for blaming the poor, it is your fault, your problem can easily be addressed by proper resource management.

    I say to the Minister those lessons have not been learnt by your Government.

  16. Anonymous X

    I notice Lynette Eastman met with members of the retail sect0r in relation the reducing prices. If this is successful along with Clyde’s plan of a 40 to 60 % reduction of beef and lamb it will be history. The private sector don’t ever pass on savings that are achieved from Gov’t policy.

    The cost of living is extremely high in this country and there are many persons who are working for the same money or less than they did 15 years ago. A good example is someone who perhaps worked in the hotel industry like at Sam Lords or the Hilton and who changed jobs and are now working in the retail sector. Cashiers for instance worked for betwen $1200 to $1500 per month inclusive of service charge, that is more than cashiers in retailing recieve now.

    It would be interesting to find out how much money the Swan Street Store owners are paying employees these days. Ten years ago some were paying about $85 a week.

  17. Pat

    I visited Barbados twice this year and the second time, my second suitcase and carry-on was all food. Give me a break. I am retired and at today’s exchange rates my Canadian pension is approx $140k Bim $, and I find it damn expensive down there. When I visit I dont have rent, just utilities to pay. Imagine how I feel when an 89 cents can of Allens apple juice sells down there for in excess of $6. That is quite unreasonable. A box of Muslix cereal that cost $1.88 up here in Canada is $14.00 in Barbados. Those are not comparable prices by any stretch of the imagination.

    Right now I am buying up sale items to ship a big box down for the poor relations for Christmas. What they ask for is cream of wheat and oatmeal. I alsways send canned salmon, which is also over priced on Bim.

    On $300 a month, you can pay your water, hydro and phone bills, not much else.

  18. Undertaker

    On one side the minister is completely in a different bracket than most, so he would not fell things the same ways as the “ordinary” folk. But look on the other side. Who has the most expensive phone, but the most phone cards, expensive brand name clothes, jewelry, etc, goes to every cat fight and dog show. You said it the poor folks, (well of course not all but too many) the ones who can least afford too, $90.00 for a ticket, shirt $150., pants $200, shoes $250.
    You get the dirt, if that money was spent helping mama pay some bills or bank/credit union the over a period of time you would see the results.

  19. Undertaker

    Ask any teacher at a secondary school which children have the expensive phone, bags, shoes, and pants, THE ONES THAT DO NOT LEARN! The “poor” peoples children. Some of us bajans have our priorities all wrong, we want to impress other by buying things that we do not need, cannot now afford, and cannot maintain. All in the interest of impressing others, and being able to look down on others. Of course they are people who are genuinely poor and in need of help, I am not meaning these ones I mean the ones who abuse money and then complain about things tight. Two years ago I had 3 credit cards, today I have 1 which I try hard not to use. I made a decision to sacrifice and get rid of 2 it was rough at times but I made a decision and stuck to it.
    That is why when the rough(er) times come the guyanesse, vincy, and lucians will service here easier that most of us, they know how to budget and not have false pride. When don’t know about growing, only about buying canned stuff. Well time will soon tell, we need serious money management classes in the class rooms and work places.

  20. Wishing in Vain

    When you look at the makeup of Arthurs team it is very easy to see that they are so many misfits and has beens running for office it is an insult to the voters to bring people such as Toppin, Rommel Marshall,Rawle Eastmond,George Payne, Joe Edghill and others, these are ones that have sat around and have achieved nothing in all their years in the house of assembly.
    When Eastmond can state that he does not know what he did to Arthur that he Arthur has done nothing for him in his area for 9 years, what does that leave you to think or to do?
    We cannot be so stupid for them to believe that after years of neglect that they are to come to us and pretends to care for us when they know fully well they are only seeking power and a means to rob the treasury even further.

  21. FamilyB

    Well folks, if it is now not clearer than ever, that the current government has completely lost touch with the people they were elected to serve, then I would concede that Plastic Bag’s song was indeed a song for this time.

    Daily the politicians in an attempt to stifle the sentiment of the people and effect damage control, are flooding the media with rubbish statements that show their arrogance, and a vain attempt to maintain a status quo. Paint a nice veneer over everything and the public will suck it up and move along.

    The Minister’s call is one that every citizen should heed, but how much more so the government? We have seen misprioritzed spending in almost every sphere of the public sector, while critical areas are neglected, starving for not only financial but serious managerial attention.

    Sure, blast the $1200 cell phone, $300 Timberland boots and other things, but remain absolutely silent on the $60 now $180 million highway expansion project – a project that the minister HIMSELF presided over. Isn’t that a slap in the face?

    Go ahead and complain about the $100 hairdo and nails, but ignore and pooh-pooh the calls for explanations for the Greenland waste-facility fiasco, the cost-overruns at the Dodds prison facility, and the unbelievable state of affairs at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

    I honestly cannot condone people playing keeping up with the Jones’, but I absolutely abhor Government’s playing at First World country, because while they are putting on a good show for the world stage with an exquisitely furnished living room, a peek behind the curtain will reveal bedrooms in disarray, a rat-infested and filthy kitchen, and a dilapidated outhouse.

    What is even more astonishing is the silence of the people on matters such as these. Perhaps it’s because the media is required to stifle them in an attempt to paint a rosy picture of Barbados on the world stage. It would appear that we only act when the fire is directly underneath us … if it’s over there and not bothering me, there’s no need to act.

  22. Anonymous

    Family B

    Please quote the highway figure in BDS $ dollars ie $120 million – $360 million Bds $ and not $60 million U.S. $ – $180 million U.S. $.

    On the point of the media stifling comment in ‘an attempt to paint a rosy picture’ – have you listened to Starcom’s call- in programmes lately?

    Makes your point don’t they?

  23. Wishing in Vain

    Rise reported in Government tax revenues
    GOVERNMENT’S Overall tax revenues rose by 3.6 per cent during the period January to September this year, says Dr. Marion Williams, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados. She also reported that import duties rose by 12.1% during the first nine months of this year,value-added tax receipts were up by 1.8%, on top of an expansion of 12.1% in the corresponding period of 2006.Direct taxes increased by 5.5% during the review period, Government’s fiscal deficit is anticipated to reach around 2.5 per cent of GDP, approximately 1.0 percentage point above the ratio registered one year ago.

    And we are wondering why our cost of living is climbing?
    Take a look at the fact that gov’t continues to tax us off the map, Mr Benn was correct in his call to remove taxes of feeds etc for the livestock and to remove the burdensome VAT on electricty bills and maybe we will make a meaningful effort to reduce the cost of living.