Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands At No-Show At Barbados Parliament Opening – WHY?

Our Governor-General will not be attending the opening of Parliament tomorrow. Filling in will be Retired High Court Judge Elliott Belgrave, who will read the Speech from the Throne outlining the policies and goals of the new DLP government.

The Barbados media was told last Wednesday that Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands is “indisposed”. No other reason was given to the public, but many knew that he would be “indisposed” for the opening of Parliament even though he was still performing official functions as the news came out!

Sir Clifford was born August 5, 1926 and is eighty-one years old, but he is known to be a sharp, energetic and robust man who is often photographed… most recently appearing in the Barbados media at the swearing in ceremonies for MPs and Senators. That was only last week.

So how is Sir Clifford “indisposed at the last minute” if it was known almost a week before the opening of Parliament that he would not be attending?

Slippery Albert Brandford’s Nation News Article

In his article Belgrave Acting As G-G, Albert Brandford glosses over the reason for Sir Clifford’s non-attendance and seeks to minimize the importance of this development – saying that the opening of Parliament is a “largely ceremonial affair”.

Sure… it is full of pomp and is “largely ceremonial”, but at its heart the G-G’s role is foundational to our system of government for without the Governor General opening Parliament, our elected members do not form a legal body that is able to pass legislation.

Also, as much as the republicans hate to hear it, the Governor General is the last line of legal defense for democracy in Barbados. Because we have a Governor General, any despot would have to act illegally to seize power or to dispense with the rights of our elected members.

So the Governor-General is vital to the opening of Parliament and that is why a retired justice is standing in. All legal… but raising so many questions that the Barbados news media is ignoring.

Could It Be About The Secret Order In Council?

Back in September of 2007, multiple sources told of the BLP Government’s implementation of a secret Order in Council to enable the tapping of phones and interception of internet communications without going through Parliament. (See BFP’s Secret Order In Council Cancels Privacy Rights – Invokes Executive Powers – Barbados Government Takes The First Step Towards The Abyss)

Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands may have been a party to that Order in Council. He should have been in order to put a veneer of legality upon the government’s actions.

Is this why the Governor-General is “indisposed” now? Has Prime Minister Thompson made his displeasure with Sir Clifford known to Her Majesty? Has this “indisposed” excuse been adopted as the the face-saving solution for our country? Will a new Governor-General be appointed soon? Is Sir Clifford in poor health and unable to carry out the duties of the Governor-General? Is he on holiday out of the country? Does he have the flu?

We don’t like the lack of transparency about this development because is smacks of the Machiavellian contortions of the last BLP administration.

The people of Barbados deserve to know the truth about why Sir Clifford will not be opening Parliament – but we obviously can’t rely upon Albert Brandford and the “professional” Barbados news media to provide us with the truth.

71 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics

71 responses to “Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands At No-Show At Barbados Parliament Opening – WHY?

  1. passin thru

    BFP you have once again asked a valid question that should have been asked by our news editors and reporters. I thought the same thing when I read the newspaper. What is the real story? We will probably never know.

  2. justice

    How can the G-G be 87 years old if he was born in 1926?

    **********

    BFP Replies,

    The G-G who was born in 1926 can easily be 87 years old if a/ there is a typo, or b/ Cliverton’s math sucks.

    We’ll say it was a typo and change it.

    Thanks!

    Robert

  3. 87 or 81, our worthy Governor General is elderly whatever your mathematical propensity.

    Let is be Christian and not Machiavellian in interpeting his absense from one of the key duties of his office.

    It is quite likely, speaking as a person who suffers from “indispositions” myself, that while he may be able to handle a brief ceremony on his home turf, it could be socially precarious for him to do so for as long as the Parliament ceremony lasts.

    Many actions have simpler natural causes than we like to give credit for, hunting bogeymen in every closet.

  4. (69)

    Justice

    The original article said 81.
    What is more important is why the GG is not performing the ceremony.
    Is it, if memory serves me correct, the phrase “my government ” used through out the throne speech. The gg would have a problem with that.

  5. Bajanboy

    Government needs to get out of the habit of selectively releasing information. The GG is our head of state and, as a result, a most public figure. Barbadians have a right to know if he is unwell.

  6. ROBOT

    it is quite clear that sir clifford will not be reading that throne speech
    sir clifford like all rational individuals must have a valid reason for not doing so
    i think that he obviously sees something in the whole affair that points to a good enough reason
    i wait to hear more on this issue but i am not entirely surprise
    my spider senses are tingling !

  7. Whoever reads the words of the speech, they are taken to come from the Governor General on behalf of the Queen. (The Queen obviously never sees the speech, or has anything to do with it, because the GG is left to his own devices- a further reason whythere is no real need to form a Republic to “get rid of” Her Majesty).

    If a Governor General felt he could not address a new Parliament I am certain he would gracefully leave office, for citing age as the reason. The fact that he did not do so conforts me there is no sinister undercurrent flowing.

  8. TMS

    A complete non story filled with constitutional nonsense

  9. Justice

    It seems above there is someone else posting on this site using the handle justice also?

  10. Hants

    It is my understanding that the Throne speech has absolutely no input from the Govenor General.

    He merely reads what the Government has written.

    If I am wrong correct me.

  11. frankology

    TMS, I believe you mistakenly typed in “T” instead of “P”. How could you call this a non-story. Further more, this is far from constitutional.

    When Dame Nita became GG in 1990 in the DLP regime and remain there until 1994 when the BLP won the election. She remained GG until her passing on December 19, 1995.

    Sir Denys Williams acted as GG until 1996 when Sir Clifford took up the office.

    Please tell me that we are might be acting too fast. Or should we listen to howling of the winds stating that it is a continuation ‘for change’. I await the facts.

  12. justice

    You are correct, Hants.

  13. frankology

    Please tell me that we are might be acting too fast.
    …………………………………………………………………………………..
    The “are” should have been deleted, Blame my rushing.

  14. You know he is a die hard BEE and it would strangle him to say my government. It goes to show how deceitful these so called leaders are can’t separate the truth from fiction. He is a deceitful man and cannot stand to see the DLP back in power why sugar coat it. Albert cannot write the truth because he cannot see it, he is always drunk.

  15. TMS

    “the Governor General is the last line of legal defense for democracy in Barbados. Because we have a Governor General, any despot would have to act illegally to seize power or to dispense with the rights of our elected members”

    ——————————————

    frankology, that is the part that is total constitutional nonsense

    Of course the reason why the GG cant do it is a story but not the sinister constitutional crisis the BFP is alluding to. That part is the total non story

    *************

    BFP says

    You don’t get it, TMS. We, the citizens of Barbados, have a RIGHT to know the truth about the public functions of OUR government.

    That the G-G is truly “indisposed” is in doubt because he was fulfilling official duties AFTER it was announced that he is “indisposed” for the opening of Parliament.

    Transparency. Accountability. Openness of process for democracy.

    All of these things obviously still count for little even with the new DLP government.

  16. TMS

    The GG is a representative of the Queen and the post and function exists whether he is able to do the queen speach or not.

    The constitution already provides for the circumstances where the individual is “indisposed” for whatever (likely highly private and personal) reason.

    There is no obligation for us to know why and the opening of parliament will continue. There is no constitutional crisis whatsoever

  17. TMS

    “He is a deceitful man and cannot stand to see the DLP back in power why sugar coat it”

    What total nonsense.

    Why did he swear in every MP and every minister then??

    Is there no individual decent enough in this country to avoid being slandered on this blog?

    ***************

    BFP says

    Poor TMS still doesn’t get it!

    It is no slander to ask the questions that many citizens are thinking when talking about OUR government.

    Even our new government obviously doesn’t get the fact that the questions will go away with transparency and accountability to the voters.

    Public figures are welcome to resign at any time, but by accepting positions of public trust and prominence, they are duty bound to be ACCOUNTABLE.

  18. Bob

    BFP

    I THINK MANY OF YOUR READERS WOULD LIKE AN OPEN DISCUSSION ON THE “ROYAL SHOP STRIKE SITUATION” WITH THE UNION AS I BELIEVE THIS WILL BE A CASE TO REMMEMBER FOR ALL TIMES
    I BELIEVE ALSO THAT IT WILL BE A PRECEDANT IN LABOUR LAWS THAT CAN SPAWN SEVERAL CHANGES IN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS HERE IN BARBADOS.
    PLEASE GIVE THIS TOPIC SOME SPACE.
    THANKS

    ***************

    BFP says

    An excellent idea, Bob. Any chance you could write us a few paragraphs of an intro? How you see things?

    Thanks!

    Send it to us at barbadosfreepress (at) yahoo.com

  19. Technician

    ah…..TMS…….NOPE!!

  20. Bob

    I will try to do so later later in the evening.

  21. Sam Gamgee

    When I read that he was indisposed I also wondered what was the matter. Of course I have not gone off anywhere with my question but I would like to know what is the matter with him.
    Is it true that the US president has medicals every year and the results are released to the public? Well at least that they know whether he is well or ill?

  22. Centipede

    I hope if Bob writeas a few paragraphs to open a ‘Royal Shop’ discussion that his imput will carry FACTS and not personal opinion.

  23. Curious.

    The Governor General was not present for the Independence Parade either. :O!! WAIT A MINUTE!! The Bees were in power then, weren’t they? Hmmm.. the plot gets curiouser and curiouser – asses!

  24. Time will Tell

    Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands found!

    I just received word from a reliable confidential DLP goverment source.

    Sir Clifford was abducted 3 days ago by aliens.

    PM Thompson is in constant contact with these aliens to safeguard his return.

    I will keep you all posted as my sources are very reliable…

  25. passin thru

    I notice that the old tyme yardfowl tend to mock the asker when they don’t like the question.

    Keep asking the questions that make them uncomfortable, BFP. Keep asking the questions that make people step back and reconsider what they believe.

  26. Time will Tell

    Wow!

    That was deep “passin thur”. However, we should focus our energies on the safe return of our Governor-General. These aliens can be very dangerous.

    Credit should be given to our PM for exercising good judgment in this time of crisis. I have been told that the channels of diplomatic communication were opened immediately upon his abduction. kudos David.

    PLEASE! Lets rally together.

  27. reality check

    I always thought Governor Generals were to be chosen for their neutrality not for their affilation to one party.

    Was this man chosen as a friend of all Barbadians and a protector of democracy and the the Rule of Law or was he chosen as a BLP yardfowl?

    Dame Nita and Sir Denys certainly understood those two hard fought for and cherished ideals.

    Does Sir Clifford understand these concepts? If he can’t stomach the words “my government” or can’t do the job he should resign forthwith.

  28. TMS

    “Poor TMS still doesn’t get it!
    It is no slander to ask the questions that many citizens are thinking when talking about OUR government.”
    ————————–
    This is what Owen Philips said;

    “He is a deceitful man ”

    Is that asking a question??????

    Sorry BFP You didnt get it

    ************

    BFP says,

    We thought your concern was with our article.

  29. TMS

    BFP says

    You don’t get it, TMS. We, the citizens of Barbados, have a RIGHT to know the truth about the public functions of OUR government
    ———————————–

    Sorry BFP, you dont get it. Somethings constitute personal privacy and you DONT have a right to the information. The constitution provides for a replacement representitive to act in his place and it does NOT provide for the the GG to have explain every time he cant make a function

    ************

    BFP says,

    I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, TMS. We don’t consider the opening of Parliament to be just another “function”

  30. TMS

    If the queen speech was not being performed then we would have a right to know.

    The details of the GGs incapcity we do NOT have a right to know. He may tell us but he is not so obliged.

    Tell me BFP, does the Government have a right to your identity since you merely “ask questions” of them?

  31. TMS

    You think the Queen of England is obliged to let someone know when she is “indisposed” the exact reason?

  32. Isn’t anyone aware of the deal to make ‘Sleepy’ Smith the next GG?…before year end….the recommendation has already been sent to the Queen…Sir Clifford has not been well for sometime and wants out…one missed fact is that he has not been doing the customary visits to the 100 year olds since mid last year..

    *************

    BFP says,

    Not true… He did such visits in November, December and January. Photographs were in the Nation and some are still online.

  33. TMS

    Slug

    I dont know of any deal but I do know Sir Frederick would like the post and he is likely first in line with the Dems.

    Thanks also for pointing out the state of Sir Cliffords health. It is disgusting to see the insinuations against this gentleman here on this blog.

  34. Citizen First

    Time will tell….you have it wrong as usual. Word on the street while “passin thru” is that two Guyanese and a Jamaican (all muslims), on the instruction of Mia Mottley, kidnapped the GG. This was done in a “wishing in vain” (pun intended) attempt to stop the opening of parliament. Realising something fishy was up, PM Thompson has Denis ($13,000/month) Kellman as chief negotiator. ” If he can get a GG out a Guyanese then he should be able to get a flying fish out of a Trinidadian” said Foreign Minister Sinckler who is also monitoring the situation as “it is an international incident-dem is aliens”. Police suspect that the GG is being held somewhere in the Graeme Hall swamp, which according to C’bean Splash shows that this is a dangerous place which is best bulldozed and turned into a waterpark in the interest of national security. Barbados is on orange alert (fresh and nutritious from Dominica).

  35. Hants

    BFP…You surprise me sometimes.

    Excellent cartoon showing Mia.

    Wonder if she “wanna be wid Dem”

  36. Time will Tell

    Citizen First
    February 12, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Time will tell….you have it wrong as usual.
    *****************************
    My apologies.

    Then, are you implying that my DLP sources are unreliable?

    I hope not!

  37. Citizen First

    All I can say is that time will tell if they are!

  38. born and bred

    classic Citizen first !!

    Keep that wit going.

  39. Victor Callender

    Riots in the land, Riots in the Land. Riots Riots on this Island, the people and dem say that the gine fight cos Sir Clifford is outta sight.

  40. TMS

    BFP says,

    ……………. We don’t consider the opening of Parliament to be just another “function”
    ——————————————————–

    Agreed.

    This is why the constitution provides for replacements in the event the GG is unable. The drafters of the constitution well recognised the post would be held by an elder statesmen.

    A more interesting story for you BFP is why the chief justice is not taking his place as provided.

    *******************

    BFP Says,

    Hadn’t heard that. What’s the story, TMS?

  41. TMS

    By the way, Owen wanted to offer the post of GG to Sir Frederick but certain BLPites put the brakes on it.

    True story.

  42. TMS

    BFP,

    the chief justice would be in line before justice belgrave.

    I dont know the story behind it. I have not heard it either.

    **********

    BFP Says,

    Oh, I see what you mean. Hadn’t thought about that. I don’t know the law, is there a defined replacement routine in law, or can they choose anyone who is legally able to act? ie: Must they have asked the Chief Justice before the retired justice who they chose?

  43. Tony Hall

    I can’t believe that because the GG is unavailable that all of these insinuations are being made. I live here in New York and I pay attention of what is going on in Barbados. If you guys were paying attention to the GG’s recent outings you would have seen from his physical appearance that he is not doing well. Please cut out all of these conspiracy theories.

  44. TMS

    “Must they have asked the Chief Justice before the retired justice who they chose?”

    —————————————————

    I would say yes. The law does give an order of preference but of course the chief justice is also allowed to say he is “indisposed”

    I think this is more of a story because the question is; was he asked and he declined? or was he overlooked.

    That we do have a right to know !

  45. TMS

    The only way the order of appointment can be skipped is by the GG appointing a deputy GG(who can be anyone) but such an appointment can only be done if the GG is abroad or ill

  46. TMS

    To summarise,

    if the GG is neither ill not abroad, the ‘acting’ GG MUST be one of ;

    – appointed by the queen
    – the chief justice
    – the president of the senate

    If he is ill or going abroad then he can appoint a deputy (who can be anyone) in consultation with the PM

    Here BFP I think is your story. We do have a right to know how exactly justice belgrave has been appointed.

  47. Bajejun

    BFP
    TMS is correct if you read the Sunday Sun they highlighted the replacement order, and according to the law the Chief Justice was next in line, obviously though, the paper never sought to find out why he skipped or was skipped
    Hmmmmmm.

  48. Victor Callender

    As long as they don’t give Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford no more free money, by making him GG. The last time Sandiford came close to a little bit of power he f—-d up B’dos. If Thompson should make that sob GG who knows what the sob will do this time, player hating sob.

  49. reality check

    “To summarise,

    if the GG is neither ill not abroad, the ‘acting’ GG MUST be one of ;

    – appointed by the queen
    – the chief justice”

    well lets hope the Queen hops on an appointment
    right away

    alternative #2 would be a complete and utter sham

  50. Linchh

    What a pity that successive governments of Barbados have gotten into the bad habit of appointing aging citizens with assumed sympathetic political persuasions, and they subjecting them to the stress of change of the political administration.

    We just seem to love state funerals!

  51. VOB 92.9 morning new just carried a story at 7.30 am, which said that His Excellency GG Husbands went on leave from February 9 to 17th. The said he will not be involved in LARGELY CEREMONIAL affair. I am at a lost why this SO CALLED Barbados media has to emphasize or DE-EMPHASIZE that the state opening of parliament is not a ceremonial but is a “LARGELY CEREMONIAL AFFAIR”. THE FACT IS THAT THE GG is an integral part of the very existence and functioning of parliament. While the opening is ceremonial, it should never be described by Barbados media as LARGELY CEREMONIAL. They should not better and are doing a disservice to the cause of education.

  52. Time will Tell

    NICE JOB HENSLEY!

    FARMERS WHO TURNED UP at Roberts Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Lower Estate, St George, yesterday left in a state of shock at higher feed prices. Nation News…………….

    Be careful what you ask for! You may just get It!

  53. Time will Tell

    It truly makes me wonder, what purpose is served,
    when you choose to MODERATE some comments and not others. Such language is offensive….

    #
    Anonymous
    February 12, 2008 at 8:52 am

    K I S S

    Y U H

    ****************

    BFP says,

    The balance of Time will Tells’ posting was removed by BFP. TWT had cut and pasted the whole foul comment of the folks who have been harassing and threatening us for months.

    1/ I guess that time will tell hasn’t listened to anything we’ve said about moderation or why it sometimes takes us several hours or even a day to moderate.

    2/ Your comments have simply become additional harassment – primarily directed at the writers of this blog rather than discussing issues.

    3/ Time will tell is now banned for deliberately posting foul language and general harassment.

    You’re outta here, TWT.

  54. Jason

    Some mothers do have ’em! I was wondering when your patience would run out on Time Will Tell.

    Bye the way, Time Will Tell’s abbreviated name “TWT” could be pronounced “Twit” !

  55. Rumboy

    Do not think the PM will make that mistake. What we need is a reasonable young GG who will get out more amongst the people, youth in particular and not stay within the confines his Residence. Only time that the present GG is seen is at ceremonial functions or at 100 birthday celebrations.

  56. Everything that a Governor General does in his official capacity is a “ceremonial function”. That is his function- to be the ceremonial frontispiece for the nominal head of state, The Queen.

    Quite possibly the reason why such old people have served in this office is that BLP was always waiting to foist the Republic on us, without a Referendum, until they cottoned on to the fact it was by no means an open and shut case.

    There may be no strong reasons for retaining the Queen as our head of state, but there is a slew of good reasons not to have a President who, for all we know in an unseen Republic Constitution, may have all sorts of powers that could be abused.

    If we are to retain the “devil we know, over the devil we don’t” then there is good reason to have a younger Governor General who can perform his various ceremonial duties, which- let’s face it, we rather like, and are part of our traditional culture.

  57. Natural Mystic

    I disagree with a young GG. A mature GG can understand the soon to be made journey, and is more liable to act impartially.

  58. Centipede

    JUST IN CASE YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW. I said KNOW.

    He says “in there is too close and hot and it makes me feel badly.” He does not want to have to be taken out on a stretcher…

    You will recall he had an incident to the Cathedral a while bad. Same problem.

    He feels claustrophobic in those situations and is bothered by the heat, etc.

    Well, now you KNOW.

    ************

    BFP replies,

    OK… thanks Centipede. A Governor-General who can no longer visit Parliament? OK… we’re not getting any younger either.

    Now… if we only knew that was the real situation. AND… why didn’t the Chief Justice step in as he was (according to some folks) next in line.

  59. justice

    The CJ is not next in line…see section 29 of the Constitution.

  60. dissapointed citizen

    This article brings me much dissapointment. Please read the constitution to see that proxy for the GG is legal. In fact, it is a regular occurrence. This article is full of red herrings and is unnecessarily distrusting. I enjoy the free press for the way it challenges injustice and calls out the issues on our island. Let us keep the focus on this, and not on petty/unfounded concerns about the GG. We certainly have bigger fish to fry.

    ************

    BFP Says,

    Hi DC,

    The problem is that with NO transparency, citizens are unable to judge what is normal and what is not.

    That goes for just about everything on this island.

    As far as the Order in Council is concerned, we stand by that story and wonder if the DLP administration will have the courage to bring the truth out.

  61. TMS

    the CJ will not have to step in if a deputy is appointed.

    since it has been reported that the GG is on leave for the relevant it is virtually certain the GG is a deputy

    It is fair for us to ask the exact the manner of the appointment of justice belgrave (or at least be informed) but why the GG is on leave is nobody’s business but his.

    There are no constitutional issues, the office of the GG is intact

  62. TMS

    the NEW GG is a deputy

  63. What’s wrong with young GG..Canada have a young, sexy looking, BLACK GG whose origin is Haiti…She is doing an excellent job….out GG’ s position seems to be “pat-on-the-back”…”put-out-to-pasture” reserved favour for connected geriatrics…that needs to change…

  64. Donald Duck, Esq

    The recently delivered throne speech was non focused, rambling and out of touch with what is going on in the country. It had nothing in it about the international business sector which is one of the buggest contributors to our economy. I noticed that acting GG was absolutely great with ihis empasis on words such as the “designated” persons who will get the duty free cars. It was also noted that the elimiaotion of VAT on houses over $400K will come over a period of time.

  65. John

    I never got the impression Dame Nita was old …. she had real energy and brought a dynamism to the office all of the male holders have never approached.

  66. Centipede

    I didn’t hear ther whole ‘throne speach’ — was there any mention of the promised ‘integrity legislation’ ?

  67. ROBOT

    some ‘o’ wunna on this blog talking so much crap it is a shame
    the blp did want to foist a republic pon somebody ?
    wha kinda nonsense is that
    btw what is arong with republic ?
    trinidad and tobago is a republic
    i doan see any problem in t+t as a result

    man gi’ me a break

  68. ROBOT

    who is owing after ?

  69. ROBOT

    time for a younger govenor general
    we have a young prime minister
    we have young senators
    we have young ministers

    my relative sleepy smith is not young
    philip greaves –not young
    evelyn greaves–maybe young enuff
    keith simmons ?
    all politicians

    i doan think so !

  70. BajanGal

    Just to let interested persons know – this statement is on http://www.gov.bb/portal/page/portal/GISMEDIA%20CENTRENEWS%20MANAGEMENT/News%20Composer%20Page/Leave%20extended%20for%20Governor%20General

    — Quote —
    Leave extended for Governor General
    13-MAR-2008

    Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands is unable to perform his duties for the further period, from today, Tuesday, March 11 to Monday, March 31 2008, a Government House statement said today.

    Acting Governor-General Elliot Belgrave, will continue to perform the functions of the Office of Governor-General during Sir Clifford’s absence.
    — Quote —