UPDATED: Purported Full Text Of Barbados Throne Speech Obtained By BFP Reader – And Why It Matters…

UPDATED: Government Posts PDF Version Of Throne Speech Online Friday Afternoon, February 15, 2008 – After Barbados Free Press published our original article below, and five and a half hours after the text of the Throne Speech was first published in our comments section.

The Barbados Government Information Service posted a PDF’d version of the Throne Speech online at about 2:29pm Barbados time – about a half an hour after we published this article and about five and a half hours after BFP reader Civilsociety published the text of the Throne Speech in our comments section at 9:08am.

You now can download the official government version of the Throne Speech from the Barbados Government Information Service website (link here) We haven’t yet downloaded the PDF or compared it to the text posted on Barbados Free Press. Perhaps one of our readers wouldn’t mind giving us a hand with that. Thanks!

Golly… If the Barbados Government Information Service finally posted the Throne Speech, I guess that fellow who was “off the island on personal business” finally returned! 😉

Here is our original article…

Interesting That The First Online Publication Of The Throne Speech Was On A Blog!

Today, Friday, February 15, 2008 at 9:08am (Barbados time), BFP reader Civilsociety obtained and posted what purports to be a legitimate and full text version of the Barbados Government Throne Speech read to Parliament on Tuesday, February 12, 2008.

We say “purported” because although it is probably as Civilsociety says the real thing received from the Barbados Government Information Service – the “real thing” is not officially posted online anywhere. And, after all, our reader is an anonymous citizen.

Did Civilsociety add or remove anything from the text that he or she posted? Probably not, but again, a posting on a part-time blog by an anonymous citizen is hardly the preferred method of providing general access to government public documents!

Nonetheless, a posting on Barbados Free Press is the method chosen by the Government of Barbados to make the full text of the throne speech widely available to the ordinary citizen.

Interesting.

A Bit Of Face-Saving By The DLP Government?

As of now, Friday morning, callers to the Government Information Service are being told that the full text of the Throne Speech was available to be emailed to citizens from Wednesday morning – HOWEVER – we know of two persons who phoned the GIS on Wednesday as late as 3:11pm and were told “ahh… I don’t know. Call back tomorrow (Thursday).”

Also most telling is the fact that DLP government insider Wishing In Vain was unable to come up with any version of the Throne Speech on Wednesday or Thursday – saying that the only government person who could post it was away from the island. (guffaw!)

The evidence is that the full text version of the Barbados Throne Speech has only been available to ordinary citizens since this morning – Friday, February 15, 2008 – after three full days of citizens on the blogs demanding transparency.

And still there is no “official” version posted online by the Barbados Government. It looks like a bit of “face-saving” is going on by the DLP government. They will send out the text via email if you call – but it can’t be posted online because (wink wink) the only government person capable of doing this is “off the island on personal business”. 🙂

Freedom Of Information & Government Accountability: Where Do We Go From Here?

Facilitating citizens’ access to public information published or held by the government is a true test of whether a government considers itself accountable to the citizens. Corrupt governments and corrupt government officials prefer to keep as much information as possible from the populace. Citizens cannot hold governments and officials accountable without access to information.

Transparency and Freedom of Information is not the government caving in to bloggers after three days of criticism and releasing a document via the “back door”.

Transparency and Freedom of Information is first of all, an attitude by the government and all of us – that citizens have a right to government information unless there is a compelling reason to not release such information.

There are genuine secrets of state. There is information that will be released but not at the present time because negotiations are in progress. There are privacy concerns: the government has everyone’s personal information on file and they cannot release that willynilly to anyone who asks.

So there must be protocols and guidelines established, and the government has promised to do this through Freedom of Information legislation.

We understand all that.

But we also understand that a huge amount of information that the government has produced, gathered or has under its control is indisputably public information that should be available to all citizens – immediately and without question.

We chose to make a stand with the Speech from the Throne because…

1/ It is indisputably a public document.

2/ It outlines the government’s promises and intents to the ordinary citizen.

3/ Possession of the document by the public will allow individual citizens to make informed judgments about the performance of the government in the year ahead – compared to the government’s stated intents and promises.

4/ We wanted to communicate to the DLP government our expectations and standards… and the fact that the citizens of Barbados expect and demand that the DLP Government keep its promises respecting Integrity Legislation, Conflicts of Interest rules, Declaration of Assets requirements, Transparency, Freedom of Information laws and protocols and a host of other like concerns.

Here Is The First Online Posting Of The Barbados Throne Speech

As first posted on Barbados Free Press by our reader Civilsociety on February 15, 2008, 1:08pm GMT (which is February 15, 2008 9:08am Barbados time).

Once again, Civilsociety is anonymous and says this was received via email from the Barbados Government Information Service. No version has yet been posted on an official government website.

INTRODUCTION

Mr. President and Members of the Senate;
Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly;

The representatives of the House of Assembly have been elected; and the members of the Senate have been selected.

You have met and have chosen your respective presiding officers.

Parliament is now fully constituted and so the new term of this great parliament can begin.

It is now my privilege and my duty to outline my Government’s programme for the second Parliamentary term of the 21st Century.

NATIONAL OBJECTIVES

My Government comes to this hallowed place at this critical juncture in the history of this nation, fully conscious of the varying yet significant contributions that our predecessors have made to the cumulative development of our beloved country. This Parliament is also acutely aware of the awesome responsibility and the great expectations which the people of this country have placed on the shoulders of their representatives.

This second Parliamentary term of the 21st century starts at a time when there is much foreboding internationally about global climate change, growing anxiety about global peace and security, and most recently great fears of global economic depression.

These notwithstanding, my Government reaffirms its commitment to moving Barbados forward while keeping and promoting our cherished traditions, aspiring to a higher level of development that is people-oriented, culturally specific and socially rooted in the basic spirituality of our ancestors.

It will ensure that the heritage, aspirations and goals of all of our National Heroes are not lost in a race for crude materialistic development. In short it will resume our quest for a better Barbados that is just, industrious, prosperous, proud and united…a nation that can stand tall in the international arena.

My Government understands most clearly that as a small island developing state it must make its voice heard on the international stage. It can only do so by investing in its people, asserting a positive national identity and working in tandem with its trusted allies regionally, especially within CARICOM, and internationally.

My Government does not believe that these things will happen miraculously. History has shown that with astute leadership, good governance, creativity, co-operation and respect, the people of Barbados can overcome whatever hurdles are placed in their way. They did so, most recently, in the 1960’s and in the 1990’s; and they will do it again.

The details of my Government’s programmes will be discussed in more detail in the Government’s Estimates in March 2008. Work has already begun to address these debilitating issues that tear at the heart of this nation. Its number one priority will be to address the most pressing needs of the people of Barbados.

LOWERING THE COST OF LIVING

My Government is conscious that it is the state’s obligation to intervene in the market to correct failings of the system and re-balance inequities therein. My Government will adopt a holistic approach to the problem of the cost of living.

As a matter of its first order of business, my government will establish an inter-disciplinary committee of Ministers and members of the social partnership and the informal sector to tackle the following tasks:

First, the contraction and consolidation of the import, wholesale and retail distribution sectors in this country. It will use the power and patronage of the government not to disadvantage existing participants in the distribution sector, but to allow for new and efficient players to come into the sector and through increased competition contribute to the creation of a fair market structure. It will liberalize this sector to spread the options available to Barbadians.

My Government will also provide incentives to new and existing small and medium size players to come into the sector. It will honour a previous commitment to more aggressively move to ensure that at least 40% of all government’s procurement requests for goods and services are reserved for sourcing from small and medium size enterprises.

At the same time it will review the basket of goods on which VAT and other impositions have been removed. It is obvious that that basket is too limited and in light of the high incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases and the need for healthier eating among the population something must be done, over time, to ease the costs of foods that fall into these categories. It will therefore expand that basket significantly, following full consultations with sector stakeholders, consumer bodies, and nutritional experts.

Energy costs have risen more often than they have fallen in the last two years and this has driven up the cost of production. My Government will examine the feasibility of removing the VAT initially on electricity bills for households and businesses alike; but it will ensure that some of our poorest households receive relief in this area.

My Government is mindful that workers are also consumers and as a net food importing country we have to be very careful how we balance the need to protect jobs in the local market, balance our trade accounts and at the same time provide food for Barbadians at a reasonable cost. The time has come for a complete review of our various regimes of protection for goods coming into Barbados. The need to lower or completely remove some tariff and non-tariff barriers is evident notwithstanding the necessity of defensive trade measures.

In the final analysis, this Government will introduce through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development an innovative Food Security Policy that not only lowers the cost of basic foods but also enables the nation to feed itself for an extended period in the event of a natural or other disaster.

My Government will also increase the amount of disposable income available to workers. It intends to do so by means of human resource development, by identifying pockets of poverty and introducing additional reverse tax credits, and by strengthening the capacity of an extended Social Partnership to work out an effective Prices and Income Protocol as a matter of priority.

Rest assured that my Government will leave no stone unturned in its effort to do something tangible and meaningful about this vexing issue of the cost of living.

IMPROVING ACCESS TO PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
Access to decent, affordable housing and land – “owning a piece of the rock” – remains one of the major concerns of Barbadians from all strata of society, especially those now starting out on life’s journey. Decent housing is the key to good family life, educational success and productivity at work.

My Government is philosophically committed to ensuring that every Barbadian resident has access to comfortable shelter. It will therefore over time:

 Remove VAT from building materials on houses valued up to $400,000.

 Establish a Home Ownership Revolving Fund for public sector workers, providing interest free loans to appointed public servants with 5 years service who are first time homeowners.

 Provide 500 lots of land in five (5) months at $5 per sq foot for first time homeowners. These lots have been identified and land will be acquired by private treaty where necessary to speed up the process.

 Provide 2,500 house spots for sale to low and middle income wage earners.

 Build 2,000 housing solutions per year in the first term.

 Increase the tax deduction for mortgages to $20,000 per year.

 Initiate the full transfer of National Housing Corporation units to occupants living in the units for 20 years or more free of cost except for legal and transaction expenses.

 Build and maintain a pool of rent-to-purchase units for low-income earners, pensioners, and the disabled who may not qualify for mortgages and loans.

 Introduce Housing Communities, for low-income earners in which all the amenities – social, recreational and commercial – are provided.

 Promote starter home projects and partner with private sector companies in promoting the concept of “build and live”.

 Negotiate reverse mortgages with the financial institutions and give incentives where necessary, to provide for dignified standards of living for our elderly in their golden years.

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
The biggest challenges facing Barbadians are improvements in health care facilities and the development of healthy lifestyles. HIV/AIDS and chronic non-communicable diseases are the major causes of death in Barbados.

My Government will place health once again on the national priorities list and will immediately embark on a health promotion campaign to sensitize the public to the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles. It will intensify the campaign to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and give to all those who are sexually active a sense of ownership of the campaign.

My Government will implement a “Rescue the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Plan” which will include changes to the structure of the Board of the hospital as well as upgrade the geriatric hospitals and open selected polyclinics on a 24-hour, 7days a week basis.

The new St. John Polyclinic will be completed as a matter of priority and other capital investments, both private and public, in the health care sector will be undertaken to ensure the restoration of Barbados’ place as a number one community health care provider.

EDUCATION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
My Government recommits Barbados to high-quality, free education for all from pre-school to tertiary level. Education is the vehicle on which we have relied to improve our economic and social development. More than 20% of our national budget is spent on education but the return from this expenditure is becoming less and less satisfactory.

My Government is in the process of convening a National Consultation on Education to address the relevance of our present education system, ensure adequate and affordable educational opportunities for every Barbadian, make school a rewarding experience for every child, ensure that every school child benefits fully from the educational system, and help every child to realize his/her potential through education.

PUTTING FAMILIES FIRST

My Government believes that families should come first because they are the building blocks of nations. It believes that education begins at home. It further believes that man is a social animal who needs to be involved in family and community life.

My Government has established two important Ministries with a new focus: a Ministry of Family, Youth, Sports and Environment as well as a Ministry of Social Care, Community Empowerment and Urban Development. These Ministries will work together to give maximum support to parents in raising their children, strengthening communities, uplifting the level of sporting prowess and producing happy and productive citizens.

EMPOWERING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

Many of our young people are emulating mores borrowed from alien cultures. This value system is based on what is convenient and pleasurable, but not socially acceptable. The country needs to return to the values and standards that made us the envy of the Caribbean and the world.

My Government will put special emphasis on technical skills training for children whom the present education system is failing; broaden the scope and availability of adult education opportunities; promote programmes to foster and support strong family units and relationships and promote the values of self-help and community innovativeness. It will provide training and support in life skills such as parenting, dispute resolution and effective communication; eradicate the scourge of illegal drugs that is wrecking our communities; protect minors against indecency, vulgarity, illegal activity, and corrupt practices; restore Barbados’ reputation of respect for authority, property, traditions, icons and symbols; develop and inculcate a relevant system of values at all levels of society in consultation with community leaders.

My Government has already begun to review the Division of Youth Affairs with a view to introducing a comprehensive National Youth Service Programme to ensure that all young people are exposed to opportunities for empowerment, for giving civic service and making a smooth transition to adulthood.

TREASURING OUR SENIORS IN THEIR GOLDEN YEARS

My Government is committed to caring for all Barbadians in their senior years. It will introduce a minimum pension threshold for all Barbadians. No Barbadian citizen will receive less than BD$500 a month on reaching pensionable age. It will ensure that old age pensioners receive a non-contributory pension of $6,032 per year and contributory pensioners receive $7,384.00 per year.

My Government will also increase the tax-free exemption threshold for pensioners receiving $3,000.00 per month or less; and review the legislation that discriminates between government pensioners employed before 1975 and those after in relation to their government pension and NIS pension.

It will reduce the drivers licence fee for drivers over 70 years of age; introduce a deductible allowance for nursing home fees and expenses; and encourage Senior citizens to use the Community Resource Centres for training and recreation.

SPORTS FOR ALL

It is ironic that Sports has become a major industry at a time when Barbados has become a weak sporting nation. This has coincided with a growing sense of despair among young people, an increase in crime and violence among our youth, an increase in chronic non-communicable diseases among citizens and disdain for rules among children and young people.

My Government is convinced that Sports has the capacity to prevent these maladies among our people. It is therefore committed to supporting the 57 and more sporting disciplines that are practised in Barbados as a means of bringing health, social, psychological and economic benefits to the people of Barbados.

As a matter of urgency, my Government will reorganize the National Sports Council to reach out more effectively to schools and communities; and create a Sports Administration Centre for all sports without a home.

It will also construct a National Sports Hostel for athletes; upgrade the facilities at North Stars; build an international stadium in the East of the island; and work with the various associations and clubs, particularly the Barbados Football Association, to improve sporting facilities.

My Government will develop centres of sporting excellence in schools and communities; provide community-based coaches; offer Certificate and Diploma Courses for athletes and sports organizers; offer National Development Scholarships to budding athletes; offer paid leave to athletes in the public service; and encourage the private sector to do the same. It will support training for sports administrators at national, organizational and club levels.

My Government will waive Value Added Taxes on training and sports equipment; waive duties on transport facilities for sporting organizations; offer tax deductions for businesses which help sports charities; and make grants to successful sporting organizations.
It will work closely with the Barbados Olympic Association; complete the National Sports Policy; and draw up a Sports Development and Strategic Plan. Finally it will assist in the promotion of sports as a worthwhile activity for all Barbadians.

SOCIAL SECURITY: THE LAST SAFETY NET

My Government will put in place a final safety net to ensure that no citizen, for whatever reason, falls through the cracks into abject poverty and despair. It will change the conditions that tend to transform resilient people into long-term welfare recipients, who become increasingly dependent on the state.

My Government will therefore ensure that benefits will be given to eligible welfare recipients as a human right and not as patronizing handouts. Programmes to wean them off welfare will be introduced enabling them to become more productive.

MAKING OUR CULTURE WORK FOR US

My Government will make our unique culture work for us by creating the conditions for the full expression of our authentic way of life. Barbadians will be empowered to draw on our culture in a creative way, in order to improve the quality of our lives and enhance the tourism products that generate the bulk of the income on which the nation lives.

My Government has already begun to address the issues that have dogged our “Crop Over” Festival, which is one of Barbados’ largest foreign exchange earners, and will embark on an aggressive programme to develop and sustain the cultural industries.

HASSLE-FREE SERVICE

People enjoy their lives better when the hassles of going about their normal business are removed. Despite living in a small country Barbadians spend several hours of frustration getting from place to place and in dealing with various agencies both in the public and private sectors. This includes time spent on our congested road systems and is a cause of stress and other related illnesses.

My Government is convinced that it is necessary that services, including employment, be located where they can be conveniently accessed by the public. To this end it will make access to government services more convenient to the public by increasing access locations and using modern technology more effectively.

It will also facilitate commercial and industrial development in country areas; increase the availability of government services in places outside Bridgetown; facilitate and support the development of town centres in major areas of settlement; review the country’s traffic management systems with a view to improving the flow on major highways; improve public transportation to encourage its wider use; and promote the use of flexi-time by businesses and in the public service.

ECONOMIC POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

The development of a country is essentially a relationship between capital, labour and the government. My Government is therefore committed to an expanded Social Partnership which incorporates the informal sector to promote the development of Barbados. It will continue to provide appropriate support for private sector initiatives but will, in turn expect the private sector to respond with a sense of corporate social responsibility. It has already sent a signal to the nation by strengthening its economic development muscle through the appointment of three Ministers with strong technical skills in management, finance and labour-relations within the Prime Minister’s Office to enhance the delivery of its goals in this area.

My Government recognizes that the rapidly changing global economic environment of the 21st century presents particular challenges to small economies. The impending cessation of preferential market access; the move towards full reciprocity through the accelerated liberalization of domestic markets; and the removal of all remaining barriers to the movement of finance and investment capital are all conspiring to narrow the scope of our policy responses.

Against these realities, my Government will give maximum priority to the creation of a macro-economic environment that stresses fiscal prudence in the allocation of expenditure and the absorption of revenues; protection of the fixed exchange rate regime through careful management of the fiscal and external current account deficits; a tightly managed debt accumulation strategy targeted at the reduction in both domestic and foreign components of the national debt; the attainment of full employment through the private’s sectors response to new domestic entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in traditional and, more importantly new, industrial, cultural and knowledge sectors.

Fiscal prudence will be the hallmark of my Government. It will restore fiscal stability to the management of the affairs of government. This objective is a central theme of good and responsible governance; it is absolutely essential to the credibility and maintenance of the fixed exchange rate regime. In light of this, my Government will give priority to achieving and maintaining a balanced budget while allowing for small manageable fiscal deficits where necessary to facilitate the development objectives of the country.

It will implement taxation policies that reduce fiscal drag on the economy. This will require that public expenditure be kept under continuing review to promote efficiency and economy in the use of fiscal resources. It will also undertake a comprehensive review of the proliferation of government-owned companies.
Given the commitment to a fixed exchange rate, my Government will adopt a cautious, measured, systematic and selective approach to liberalization of the capital account and will adopt a sequenced approach to capital account liberalization within the CSME.

My Government will implement a program to promote further development of the capital markets. Its capital market programme aims to foster the development of the domestic capital markets by increasing the range and scope of domestic financial instruments and promoting increased liquidity in the stock and bond markets. This will serve to increase savings and investment opportunities, improve the pricing of financial instruments, enhance foreign exchange reserves by providing attractive investment instruments to keep capital at home and attract capital from abroad and of course create jobs for Barbadians.

TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT

Another major responsibility of Government is the establishment of an efficient infrastructure for the development of the economy. However, there are serious problems of worsening traffic congestion on our roads and poor communication within the region.
My Government wishes to reiterate that a possible solution to the problem of traffic congestion is to decentralize the provision of services. It will establish a constellation of town-centres across the country that are the seats of Constituency Councils. Each Constituency Council will have at its disposal a budget that would enable it to deal with local problems at the level at which they emerge. Provision will be made for both the Parliamentary Representative and the Local Councillors to show their accountability to the people of Barbados on a regular basis.

My Government will, with a sense of urgency, explore the feasibility of using ferries to take passengers and goods from secure berthing points around the island to and from Bridgetown and other towns. A modern efficient ferry service will link places such as Six Men’s Bay, Speightstown, Holetown, Bridgetown, St. Lawrence Gap, Oistins, Silversands, Foul Bay, Martins Bay, Bathsheba and River Bay, thereby taking the pressure off the roads.

It will also invest heavily in modern information technology with the appropriate training of people to facilitate e-government, e-commerce and the growth of the informatics industry.

FACILITATING MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE AND GOODS WITHIN CARICOM

Regional integration will not flourish without the implementation of mechanisms that facilitate the free movement of goods and people. With respect to regional travel, it is useful to remember that 46% of our trade is with CARICOM countries; and that the third largest source of visitors to our country, which depends on tourism, is these CARICOM countries. Yet communication between these countries, many of which are less than 500 miles away, is embarrassingly poor and expensive.

My Government, because of the significant investment by it in LIAT, will review the capacity of LIAT to meet the needs of air travelers in the region. At the same time it will spearhead negotiations with CARICOM countries to invest in maritime transport to move large numbers of passengers and goods between the countries of the region.

NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION POLICY

My Government will prioritize the creation of a new and genuine production enterprise culture in Barbados. This will be marketed behind a holistic policy that will include (a) the creation and prioritization of a new industrial enterprise culture which seeks to aggressively enhance and promote the country’s potential to be an export leader in the areas in which it clearly has some comparative advantage; (b) the location of its new industrial policy within the context of the opportunities for new market access both in the CSME and further afield in global markets; and (c) the reallocation of national resources to areas of private sector investment that push profitable and sustainable industrialization and manufacturing.

My Government will also consolidate the various venture capital windows in Barbados into one agency. It will create a new industrial development and innovation fund through partnerships with UWI to vigorously promote research and development activities in this area; and offer appropriate tax credits to companies that pursue research and development of innovative projects targeted towards manufacturing or agro-processing activities.

My Government will re-examine the Port charges with a view to significantly reducing these to manufacturers and Port delays which are of concern, as cruise liners are almost always given priority over cargo ships.

Finally it will introduce policies that will encourage commercial banks to work with local manufacturers to allow them greater access to, and a freer flow of finance and support as well as an accelerated write-off for investments in new manufacturing, processing, and associated information and communication, energy, and environmental technologies.

EMPLOYMENT AND ENTERPRISE: OPPORTUNITIES AND RIGHTS FOR ALL

Barbadian workers face competition in the labour market from foreign workers. For the most part, these workers come from other CARICOM countries, attracted by employment opportunities and the improved standard of living that Barbados offers. These workers may initially accept lower wages and less agreeable working conditions than their Barbadian counterparts, thereby affording some employers the opportunity to bypass the Barbadian worker. The potential for tension is obvious.

My Government will therefore introduce policies to manage immigration in the interest of the local labour force and the foreign worker who may otherwise be subject to exploitation.

My Government will put in place the legislation, institutional structures and the resources to increase the number of self-employed entrepreneurs from about 10% of the working population to 20% by 2016. It will assist in the creation of new enterprises through training, direct subsidies and easier access to capital for investment and promote actively the cooperative model by entrepreneurs as a business development model.

My Government will as a matter of priority expedite the implementation of a “Worker Protection And Workplace Conditions Of Service Security Policy” aimed at guaranteeing high quality work for all Barbadians and invited immigrant workers alike.

It will also move to immediately enact a comprehensive national Labour Rights legislative compendium which will include a full Employment Rights Act, an Alternative Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Committee, a Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act, national Minimum Wages legislation; and legislation fully recognizing Trade Unions.

MAKING TOURISM EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS

The importance of Tourism to the growth and diversification of the Barbadian economy is part of the success story of Barbados. The tourism industry has allowed Barbados as a country to take advantage of the few natural resources with which it was blessed – fine beaches and a warm equable climate. However, the time has come for us to address in our tourism planning, critical issues such as manpower and human resource development; the carrying capacity of the destination; the diversification and enhancement of the tourism product; and improving the economic yield of tourism.

My Government will therefore draw up a Tourism Master Plan, which will diversify and enhance the tourism products of Barbados by linking tourism to agriculture, culture, sports, the arts and the environment. This will include the development of the concept of Community Tourism through training and motivating local people to provide accommodation and other services to visitors in their communities.

LAND USE PLANNING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

Establishing priorities in land use planning is of critical importance in a small island faced with competing demands on its limited land resources. Policies that leave the use and sale of land to market forces, are putting considerable pressure on agriculture and the natural environment.

My Government is convinced that sugar cane production is essential to environmental and ecological sustainability in Barbados, and will apply its best efforts to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from the production of all the products and byproducts of the sugar cane plant.

It will provide continuing support of viable agricultural production, when viewed not from a narrow focus of financial profitability, but from a broader perspective of national resource use. Agricultural output contributes vitally to food security in the context of the possibilities in a small island economy. It continues to provide income, employment and output for rural communities and contributes to rural prosperity. Indeed, the growing demand for healthy food to combat obesity and related lifestyle diseases provides welcome opportunities for efficient production.

My Government will also encourage the orderly development of the fisheries subsector, which continues to be an important part of our economy, through the provision of necessary infrastructure and the conclusion of negotiations with Trinidad and Tobago on a Fisheries Agreement.

On a larger canvas, my Government’s land use policies and the need to save agriculture, are part of the commitment to preserve the natural environment. It will therefore introduce the Agriculture Protection Act that will require a 2/3 majority of both Houses of Parliament for a change of use of land from agriculture. At least 30, 000 acres of land will be reserved for agricultural use.

It will introduce amendments to the Land Acquisition Act that will require Government to pay compensation on the replacement value rather than the market value of properties being acquired where those properties are owner-occupied.

A CREATIVE ENERGY POLICY

The single biggest challenge of our generation is the drain on foreign exchange created by the high cost of oil. Responsible governments around the world are therefore moving to change long held and cherished consumption patterns.

My Government is prepared to be bold and move aggressively in the area of energy conservation, reducing the oil import bill and preserving our delicate environment for the future.

It will therefore provide significant incentives to encourage ownership of fuel-efficient vehicles, particularly motorcars. It will also provide incentives for greater use of solar energy in meeting the electricity needs of consumers and businesses. The goal is to implement a package of incentives to cover up to 50% of the cost of installing solar electric systems.

It will create a SMART ENERGY FUND of $10 million to provide low interest loans to households seeking to purchase solar panels to power their homes; introduce a tax rebate for the cost of installing a solar electric system; ensure all new government or government related facilities will be fully fitted with solar electric systems; and phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs from all Government buildings and private households.

A MODERN CIVIL SERVICE

Government is the single largest employer in Barbados. My Government will spare no effort to establish a well-trained and impartial public service, free from political interference, which is essential for good governance. It will formulate and implement a Human Resource Development Policy for the public service. It will also implement a service-wide public service training policy, which will see the establishment of Public Service training programmes to meet the qualification requirements for public officers; the reintroduction of Induction Training for all new public officers; and management and leadership training at various points in a public officer’s career.

It will review the results of the last job classification exercise; establish a full-time Chairman of the Public Service Commission to play an effective role in the management of the Public Service; re-organize, retrain, rename and retool the Data Processing Department to become the Central Information Technology Agency responsible for a new focus on information technology in the public service with a goal of having all Ministries and Departments fully computerized and connected by 2016.

Finally, it will strengthen the office of Public Sector Reform; providing the required staff and other resources necessary to carry out its functions efficiently; providing it with statutory powers to ensure implementation of agreed reform initiatives; and implementing customer charters in all Government Ministries and Departments to develop a truly customer-focused, customer-driven public service.

It will provide new options within the pension plan for public servants, which will allow better provision to be made for the surviving spouse of a public servant who dies either before or after retirement.

It will improve the physical and environmental conditions under which many public servants work; introduce a pilot project providing day care facilities for the children of public officers; increase the no-interest vehicle loan facility to $60,000 for those who qualify; and provide duty free motorcars for designated public servants.

GOOD GOVERNANCE

Good Governance is essential for the sustained development of Barbados. Its characteristics include participation, accountability, transparency, responsiveness to the needs of voters, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, authentic inclusion and respect for the rule of law.
Good Governance assures that corruption is minimized, the views of the people are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable members of society are heard in decision-making.
My Government will put systems in place to reverse the trend of concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands, as well as attempt to rekindle trust and confidence in the system of parliamentary elections and constituency representation.

It has already kept the people informed of what the Government is doing on their behalf through regular press briefings following meetings of the Cabinet. It will also publish essential details of agreements and contracts involving the Government and its agencies. It will issue formal Ministerial statements at regular intervals on the progress of ongoing programmes and projects. There will also be a revision of and adherence to the rules regarding Parliamentary questions.

My Government will also establish state-funded Constituency Councils to execute community enhancement and development projects. These Councils will comprise representatives of the church, civil society, and the political administration. In this way, perennial problems of street lighting, sporting and recreational facilities, drainage, poverty alleviation and youth programmes will be administered and resolved at the constituency level. My Government intends giving power back to the people.

My Government has established a Governance Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office to service a Public Integrity Council which will immediately circulate draft integrity legislation requiring a declaration of assets by public officials; a Code of Conduct for Ministers; a new Freedom of Information law; amendments to the Defamation laws; and new constitutional provisions to rationalize the powers of the Prime Minister.

LAW AND ORDER

As a matter of urgency, my Government will provide better remuneration and group disability and life insurance for Police Officers; improve and/or build new police stations in designated areas; review the ranks in the police force thereby creating more promotion opportunities; and permit the police force to function free of political interference.

It will also upgrade the Government Forensic Sciences Centre to help solve outstanding crimes and restore confidence in law enforcement agencies.

Finally, it will consider converting Glendairy Prison into a publicly funded modern drug treatment and rehabilitation centre. Above all, it will put more emphasis on the prevention of crime and the rehabilitation of criminal offenders, in an effort to reduce the incidence of recidivism from 60% to under 50%.

NATIONAL SECURITY

In addition to enhancing its role in the existing security systems, the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) should be part of our national identity.
My Government will seek to ensure that the BDF becomes more involved in the march towards First World status, more innovative, more strategically focused and more proactive. It will, as a matter of urgency, carry out a comprehensive Organizational Review of the BDF and develop a strategic plan for the Force. This will include a complete analysis of its structure, size and management of resources.

My Government will expand the career prospects, training opportunities and counselling and welfare services available to all ranks; introduce performance indicators; develop a scheme of resettlement training for persons leaving the force; review and simplify the procedures dealing with pension; and provide new options within the pension plan for soldiers, which would allow better provision to be made for the surviving spouse of a soldier who dies after retirement.

It will also improve the intelligence and security information-gathering capabilities of the Barbados Defence Force and forge closer ties with the Royal Barbados Police Force. It will implement a building maintenance programme to restore and maintain the current facilities; and build multi-purpose disaster management facilities, which may be used during normal times by youth groups and sporting organizations. These facilities will also house areas for skills training as well as for coaches in various sporting activities.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE: SUCCEEDING ABROAD, WINNING AT HOME

My Government will re-engineer the country’s external trade policy to securing and increasing market share abroad; and winning the battle to maintain dominance in our domestic markets.

With this in mind it will, to the extent permitted by our regional and international commitments, negotiate and secure expanded foreign market access for Barbados’ goods and services.

It will build a competitive productive sector that produces world-class goods and services capable of increasing our market share across the world; and allow for managed entry of goods and services from abroad so as to protect our most vulnerable sectors, and enhance our food security profile.

It will increase the foreign exchange earning capacity of the country and thereby attract higher levels of investment.
In pursuit of these objectives my Government will prioritize the negotiation of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and economic development agreements.

In the final analysis, Barbados will continue to pursue its long-standing policy to be “friends of all and satellites of none”. It will continue to defend the interests of its citizens at home and abroad.

My Government will respect those treaties entered into by predecessor Governments and seek new alliances conducive to the achievement of our goals.

My Government will work towards the realization of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. However, it will embark on a major public education programme to sensitize Barbadians to the challenges and opportunities that the free movement of labour, goods and services will bring. It will then prepare Barbadians for taking a leading role in the development of the wider Caribbean Community.

TOWARDS SECURING OUR PLACE IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Mr. President and Mr. Speaker,

Fifty years are but a moment in history. It is a short time in the life of a nation. But it is a long time in the life of an individual. Whatever your perspective, my Government owes it to the people of Barbados to demonstrate what a resourceful people can do within 50 years of achieving their Independence. Put simply, my Government intends to use all the resources at its disposal during this Parliamentary term to make a great leap forward on the pathway to developed country status.

My Government is confident that with God’s help and with the support of all segments of society, Barbados can secure its rightful place as a good jurisdiction in which to live, study, work, invest and enjoy the highest quality of life.

I extend to you best wishes for a successful and productive Parliament.

GOVERNOR GENERAL

Government House

BARBADOS

February 2008

64 Comments

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

64 responses to “UPDATED: Purported Full Text Of Barbados Throne Speech Obtained By BFP Reader – And Why It Matters…

  1. Donald Duck, Esq

    BFP

    Get your facts straight. The throne speech has been published at the following site

    Click to access Throne_Speech%202008.pdf

  2. Donald Duck, Esq

    The DLP Government has copied this proposal from the blp manifesto of 2003 and expanded it

    “My Government will, with a sense of urgency, explore the feasibility of using ferries to take passengers and goods from secure berthing points around the island to and from Bridgetown and other towns. A modern efficient ferry service will link places such as Six Men’s Bay, Speightstown, Holetown, Bridgetown, St. Lawrence Gap, Oistins, Silversands, Foul Bay, Martins Bay, Bathsheba and River Bay, thereby taking the pressure off the roads”

    They should check with the previous government to determine why it was not implemented

  3. Donald Duck, Esq

    I refer to the comment “My Government will examine the feasibility of removing the VAT initially on electricity bills for households and businesses alike;” This was taken from the DLP manifesto. However during the campaign Prime Minister Thompson stated in his final political broadcast on television that the DLP WILL remove VAT on electricity bills. Has he now found out how much such a measure will cost and has reverted to his manifesto pledge.

  4. Donald Duck, Esq

    The Speech says absolutely nothing about international business. Has the government not realised its importance to the economy especailly now that Jamaica and Trinidad are developing an international business sector

  5. Jerome Hinds

    Donald Duck, Esq
    February 15, 2008 at 6:35 pm
    BFP

    Get your facts straight. The throne speech has been published at the following site

    Click to access Throne_Speech%202008.pdf

    ****************************************
    BFP,

    From my very first posting on this subject matter (THRONE SPEECH ) I implored you to do some research on how such matters are to be treated .

    But no…………..you simply continued to rely on the SKULDUGGERY & SHENNANIGANS of the past 14 years of BLP rule RULE!

    Further allowing that HUMPTY DUMPTY ( of an IMBECILE ) Dr. Duguid to FOOL you and tell you that if he had an electronic version……he would have posted it on – line !

  6. Donald Duck, Esq

    I refer to the following comment in the Throne Speech “My Government will also increase the tax-free exemption threshold for pensioners receiving $3,000.00 per month or less;” This comment was also in the DLP manifesto

    Is the writer of the manifesto and the speech not aware that the Government increased this threshold to $40,000 per annum in December?

  7. PI VIEW

    I am interested to know how DONALD DUCK (as stated above) found that document. I have frantically tried to search for the speech on the Government of Barbados website and agencies index to no avail, over the last several days. In fact, I tried to do the search today following this disclosure and still came up empty handed. The purpose of my quest today was not to prove you wrong but it was out concern for the several other persons who like me, wanted to review elements of speech. I gave up on the Advocate Newspaper FIVE (5) years ago and have since prevented myself from purchasing copies of that publication. I have been inclined in 2007 and earlier this year to do the same with the Nation Newspaper. I am however currently allowed subscription by virtue of the office I hold. If this should come to an end however I will have to search my heart for way forward in so far as the Nation Newspaper is concerned. I will not therefore burden myself to say that I am disappointed in that both that there has not been a timely publication of the full document. For the new Administration’s part, I cannot at this stage be sure who is at fault, so I will also reserve comment for the time being.

    ***********

    BFP says

    Thank you PI View for your detailed comments.

    Yes, all the elements and issues of the Throne Speech deserve open public discussion – which is why we spent the last four days hammering away at government to recognise citizens’ right to access indisputably public government documents.

    We’ll try to put up some subject headings tonight or tomorrow.

    Now that the copy has been found, and post here as well, let us proceed with some healthy discussion on some of the key developments contained therein. I urge Barbados Free Press to post specific articles on key elements. I for example would welcome FEEDBACK ON THE PROPSED FERRY SYSTEM AND OUR WAY FORWARD AS IT RELATES TO TRANSPORTATION GENERALLY. I MUST ADMIT THAT THIS ASPECT OF THE PROPOSALS SEEMS EXCITING AND IT WOULD REPRESENT A RADICAL AND NEW APPROACH TO THIS ISSUE. I AM HOWEVER INTERESTED IN THE VIEWS OF OTHER, IN RELATION TO WHETHER THIS WILL BE VIABLE, PRACTICAL AND MAKE ECONOMIC SENSE. I LOOK FORWARD TO DISCUSSIONS ON ALL AREAS.

  8. Yardbroom

    The Greek philosopher Marcus Aurelius said:
    “it is our reactions to things that matter most”
    This has always been a non event in terms of the fuss it has caused here.

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

    BFP says,

    “Non event”

    On No. Yardbroom… It is a certainty that the government does not now find it to be a “non event” and neither do many of the citizens.

    The government would like to say that all went as planned, but we know from our sources that is definitely not the case! There was much scrambling went on at GIS yesterday afternoon and only first thing this morning was authorisation given to post the document on the internet.

    The government does not want to say that it danced to the bloggers’ tune, and we understand that.

    But most important: The precedent has been set that indisputably public documents should be easily and widely available to citizens on the internet.

  9. Donald Duck, Esq

    PI view

    You should check the 2003 BLP manifesto and you will see the same plans for a ferry service were outlined under transportation policies. You should enquire why the government did not proceed with the plans

  10. wow, checking from the previous posts on this topic I see tht nearly 200 comments hv already been made altogether. I suspect tht once it gets past 100+ comments there isn’t much more than can really be added :o). Still, one more comment can’t hurt either, so…

    First, where I disagree:

    The charge that the government is willfully withholding information in this case is probably not true. Certainly, I would find it hard to believe that any government would try to suppress the distribution of its brand new legislative programme.

    The throne speech Iassume would contain all ur flagship policies tht presumably present u in the most positive light. So it would be counterintuitive to want to willfully keep citizens in the dark about it, EVEN if u were only in the thing for wht u could get, which seems to be the default position that people hold regarding politicians.

    (Funnily enough, I always try to convince ppl tht, contrary to the stereotype, most politicians in most countries are probably honourable. But tht is another discussion for another day :D)

    Second, where I agree:

    But I think you are absolutely right to call the government on not making the material IMMEDIATELY and WIDELY accessible. I think governments tend not to treat access to information with the priority and urgency it deserves. (However, from tht charge suppression or dishonourable motives shdn’t be inferred; just misplaced priorities I think)

    Of course I’m preaching to the converted here, but governments should take PAINS to make sure every piece of official information is easily accessible to ANY citizen who so desires it (including those who don’t hv the luxury of internet access). In fact, governments shd probably err on the side of redundancy and over-replication.

    For example, a google search for >queen’s speech 2007state of the union address 2008< gives links to the Whitehouse website AND the State Department’s website AND your pick of C-SPAN, CNN, FOX, etc.

    and concerned citizens such as yourselves need to demand tht making information WIDELY available becomes an AUTOMATIC part of how governments work.

    but while doing so, the word ‘corrupt’ shd probably be used more sparingly than in one of ur paragraphs above:

    “Freedom Of Information & Government Accountability: Where Do We Go From Here?

    Facilitating citizens’ access to public information published or held by the government is a true test of whether a government considers itself accountable to the citizens. Corrupt governments and corrupt government officials prefer to keep as much information as possible from the populace. Citizens cannot hold governments and officials accountable without access to information.”

    And filing the post under ‘Politics&Corruption’ is probably a bit hasty :o)

    Now to actually go and read the speech…

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

    BFP says,

    Hey Neil!

    Thanks for your detailed comments on the situation. I think that we (you and I, Marcus) probably see eye to eye on the big issues surrounding this incident. I don’t believe that the government “intended” to keep this Throne Speech “secret” – but there might have been a decision made originally to not make the text available. I note that only the 2003 Throne Speech is available on the GIS although other documents go back to the mid 1990’s.

    Hey… I guess we accomplished something.

    This whole incident probably reflects an attitude by both the government and the civil servants at the Government Information Service that the “rabble” (that’s us!) doesn’t need to have access to public documents except as the elites choose to dispense them to us mere mortals – and only when it supports the government agenda, of course.

    The problem now facing the the GIS and the government elites is that the world has changed. Whether the government danced to the bloggers’ tune or really did intend to post the Throne Speech online (which I doubt – only one of the others is posted) – the precedent has been set…

    … indisputably public government documents must be made easily and widely accessible to the citizens.

    This was only a start, and it proved a good place to make a stand.

  11. Donald Duck, Esq

    Could some one tell me what the following statement means:

    “It will implement taxation policies that reduce fiscal drag on the economy. ”

    Does this mean that the dlp will be increasing taxation and or sending home government workers?

  12. Yardbroom

    In the administration of Government it would be nice to think that us “bloggers” have the clout to dictate events.

    I believe it would be a mistake for the DLP to allow a web to dictate events.

    If the DLP go down that, road in time they will bitterly regret it.

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

    BFP Says,

    Hey Yardbroom,

    Substitute the word “citizens” for “a web” and see how you sound.

    It seems that you and many other DLP supporters were all for the rights of citizens to openly criticize government, for government being accountable to ordinary citizens, and for implementing the mechanisms for that accountability to take place…

    …. until the DLP formed the government.

    Had this been the BLP in power and we made an issue of their failure to publish the Throne Speech, you would have been 100% supportive of citizens’ rights.

    My, my, my: how things change, and how some things never do.

    The government cannot allow bloggers or any citizens to “dictate events”, but this government by publishing the Throne Speech has shown that it can be responsive in considering criticism.

    There will be many other times that bloggers and the DLP government bang heads – but we still believe that Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP sincerely intend to be far more accountable and responsive to citizens than the previous government.

    We shall, with the help of our readers, keep them on the right track.

  13. Donald Duck, Esq

    The DLP says it will build 2,000 housing solutions per year in the first term. Could someone tell us how much is this going to cost? If we assume that the land and the housing solution together costs say $150,000, then the annual cost for his exercise will be $300.million. If we assume they are being buit to sell then there still needs to be cost outlayed to construct them. Where is this money coming from. If the need for housing is coming from those who cannot afford to purchase then is the Government planning to outlay upwards of $300 million per year on this exercise. Do we have suffcient workers to build these housing solutions or do we need the chinese to help?

  14. BFP

    BFP says,

    Hey Neil!

    Thanks for your detailed comments on the situation. I think that we (you and I, Marcus) probably see eye to eye on the big issues surrounding this incident. I don’t believe that the government “intended” to keep this Throne Speech “secret” – but there might have been a decision made originally to not make the text available. I note that only the 2003 Throne Speech is available on the GIS although other documents go back to the mid 1990’s.

    Hey… I guess we accomplished something.

    This whole incident probably reflects an attitude by both the government and the civil servants at the Government Information Service that the “rabble” (that’s us!) doesn’t need to have access to public documents except as the elites choose to dispense them to us mere mortals – and only when it supports the government agenda, of course.

    The problem now facing the the GIS and the government elites is that the world has changed. Whether the government danced to the bloggers’ tune or really did intend to post the Throne Speech online (which I doubt – only one of the others is posted) – the precedent has been set…

    … indisputably public government documents must be made easily and widely accessible to the citizens.

    This was only a start, and it proved a good place to make a stand.

  15. Donald Duck, Esq

    BFP

    Can I suggest that you start and lobby government to provide the information that is contained in the official gazette 0n the web and not leave it for the selective few who can afford to subscribe to it

    **********

    BFP says,

    An excellent idea, Donald Duck … (even if your BLP government wouldn’t even have considered it!)

  16. oops, in my previous comment i meant to say:
    —-
    For example, a google search for ‘queens speech 2007’ would show the text replicated at Downing Street’s website AND Parliament’s website AND the House-of-Commons-Leader’s website AND Labour’s website AND your pick of any major media house (BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, etc.)

    Similarly a google search for ‘state of the union address 2008’ gives links to the Whitehouse website AND the State Department’s website AND your pick of C-SPAN, CNN, FOX, etc.

    somehow it came out all garbled…
    …but u got my point :o)

    and thnx for the reply.

  17. Name Not Allowed... Pick Another

    TO THE PERSON WHO POSTED THE BELOW COMMENT…

    The name you have chosen is a variation of BFP and is therefore not allowed. Choose another if you wish to post.

    Original post by now anonymous reader…

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

    Donald Duck, Esq
    February 15, 2008 at 7:50 pm said,

    “Does this mean that the dlp will be increasing taxation and or sending home government workers?”

    BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Donald Duck, Esq

    BFP

    I am not a member of any political party. I follow governments who do things right for the people who they govern

  19. getting elected was the easy part

    “It will implement taxation policies that reduce fiscal drag on the economy. ”

    It means nothing because it says nothing

    doesn’t define what the fiscal drag is and certainly doesn’t mention what taxation policies it has in mind.

    this is definite parliamentary ofuscation for ” we definitely need to do something but we are not too sure what it is yet and if we told you our ideas it would be premature because we haven’t determined how bad our treasury has been damaged and we have no idea how to fix the problem”

    now that GIS and the government hopefully understands that these public documents need to be immediately accessible to all media including blogs with electronic copies at the same time as all governments and members of parliament, lets move on.

  20. Donald Duck, Esq

    The throne speech states “My Government will also increase the amount of disposable income available to workers. It intends to do so by means of human resource development, by identifying pockets of poverty and introducing additional reverse tax credits, and by strengthening the capacity of an extended Social Partnership to work out an effective Prices and Income Protocol as a matter of priority.”

    What does all of this mean. When the reverse tax credit was introduced in 1998 the dlp opposed them. The dlp was not in parliament when the BLP government increased them to the extent that persons earning less than $18,000 per annum from their employment in 2009 will now be eligible for a credit of $1,300.

    How much are the additional credits that the dlp is talking about will cost? What is meant by an “effective price and income protocol?

  21. Donald Duck, Esq

    BFP

    I will leave you all now as i have other commitments. I am tempted to write a more thorough analysis of the speech but time does not permit. I look forward to seeing other comments tomorrow

    Good night

  22. Wishing in Vain

    Do any of you have any idea just who is responsible from running and updating the Gov’t portals and websites ???

    A cog within a cog and understand this was run by a blp party faithful and do you believe that this person would be rushed into posting anything DLP ???

    ***********

    BFP says,

    So you are saying that the Government’s intent and order to publish the Throne Speech at the Government Information Service was deliberately thwarted and delayed by a BLP supporter?

    That is a most interesting statement, WIV… on a number of levels.

  23. frankology

    Further allowing that HUMPTY DUMPTY ( of an IMBECILE ) Dr. Duguid to FOOL you and tell you that if he had an electronic version……he would have posted it on – line !
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Jerome, you seems to be a compulsive user of untruth, you deliberately state that Duguid had plans in posting the speech. This is what Duguid wrote.
    “william duguid
    February 13, 2008 at 10:47 pm
    Even If I had it electronically. I Do not think I would put it up. It is essentially their manifesto re -written with the words “My Government.”

    Now you see how you always fabricating lies.

  24. frankology

    Next excuse WIV

  25. Yardbroom

    BFP
    Critics of the BLP were doing it after 13 years of thier admisistration not less than 30 Days.
    Perhaps there is some difference.

  26. Centipede

    When all the flak was exploding about the DLP not publishing the ‘throne speach’ there seemed to be some inuendo (some silent, some just glimmering) that …for whatever reason… they didn’t want to publish it.

    I TWICE asked in these columns what reason could there be for DLP not wishing to publish. Nobody enlightened me.

    Now the speech is available from the GIS am I sensing that the opinion is, it was published because the blogs were railing?

  27. Jerome Hinds

    frankology
    February 15, 2008 at 8:57 pm
    Further allowing that HUMPTY DUMPTY ( of an IMBECILE ) Dr. Duguid to FOOL you and tell you that if he had an electronic version……he would have posted it on – line !
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Jerome, you seems to be a compulsive user of untruth, you deliberately state that Duguid had plans in posting the speech. This is what Duguid wrote.
    “william duguid
    February 13, 2008 at 10:47 pm
    Even If I had it electronically. I Do not think I would put it up. It is essentially their manifesto re -written with the words “My Government.”

    Now you see how you always fabricating lies.
    *******************************************
    FRANKOLOGY,

    You are a proven COW – TOW !

    Since your famous speech on 4th December 2004…it is clear to ALL that you have a very DISTURBINGLY low degree of COMPREHENSION !

    Dr. Duguid NEVER stated categorically that he won’t post the the speech !

    He stated that he do not THINK ( still UNDECIDED ????? ) that he would post it on the net !

    FRANKOLOGY…….pray tell us does Dr. Duguid run the GOVERNMENT of Barbados Printery or GIS ??????

    So……how on EARTH would Dr. Duguid have an electronic version in the first place ???

    That is the type of CRAP I am talking about coming from CRAPAUDS like you and he !

  28. Sam Gamgee

    WIV, truth be told, you keep putting your foot in your mouth. Read what you write before you post it neh!
    You are not helping the new gov’t at all, you just seem to be coming up with a lot of paltry excuses. Excuses are not necessary here.

    Just because BFP comes over at times like a bullet shot from a gun does not mean you have to jump at every sound.

  29. Sam Gamgee

    Centipede, be careful. You might encounter the ire of BFP.
    Reading what is written and reading what is only hinted at can say a lot about the authors. I think you have got it but you better not say it.

  30. Yardbroom

    I try to see beyond the immediate in terms of what is best for the long term “proper” governance of a Democratic country, Barbados.

    Only the course of time will tell – perhaps in five years – if the DLP Government of Barbados should allow their agenda to be set by the web – however august.

    I will leave it at that.

  31. Tom K

    Thank you free press for keeping the new governnment honest.

  32. Donald Duck, Esq

    I was reminded this evening of some comments made by Prime Minister Thompson when he was leader of the opposition in early July 2007 on the subject of the take over of BS&T by Neal and Massey.

    “I am saying that the Democratic Labour Party is against the wholesale sell-off of BS & and T to non-Barbadian interests. ……If the election is called before the ink dries on the sale, it shall be halted by a DLP administration. We must help Barbadians to preserve what is theirs.”

    Was this only political rhetoric? As the DLP Government has not halted the sale can we really trust what Mr. Thompson says he will do in the future?

  33. John

    A ferry is a boat, and as a land loving Bajan I am serving notice to my Government that I am not getting in no boat to go out in no deep sea, ….. Throne Speech or no Throne speech. No wonder it was kept under wraps.

    They ought to know Bajans better than to try and make them get on a boat.

    Many may be called but few are chosen where love for the sea is concerned and very few of those few live in Barbados.

    One of those few who love the sea sailed around the island this past weekend. Even dreaded cancer could not overcome his love.

    For many of the rest of us, the sea has no backdoor and we keeping far!!

    Enough talk about boats. I am getting seasick.

    Why not consider the train line from College Savannah to Bridgetown and build one flyover by Norman Niles Roundabout and Howells Cross Road for the train to get into town.

    Stops at Sunbury and Buckeley to allow park and ride.

    Operate back and forward during the day and provide an added tourist attraction.

    Restore a sugar factory on the way, there are several …. Constant, Buckeley, Carrington, Harrow, Three Houses ….. and produce specialty sugars for sale.

    Four Square Rum Distillery is not far off the line!! Taxi tours possible at stops.

    College Savannah provides the gateway into the Scotland District for those who enjoy a walk along an Old Train Line. ….. Consett Cutting to Bath or Martins Bay or even Belleplaine.

    Kill a few birds with one stone. Address the transportation issue, integrate tourism and agriculture, save our agricultural land ….. and address the fuel import bill …….. too good to be true!!

    Touring a sugar factory used to be a joy. It doesn’t have to be huge.

    If it works well, put a line beside Highway 2A to the North and do the same, old sugar factories at Lancaster, Heymans, Fairfield, Spring Hall, besides Portvale. Animal Flower Cave at the end.

    … and if it works really well, use one of the four lanes of the ABC highway, which will have become superfluous by then, to connect the two lines ……. by rail!!

    We’ll always wonder what the economic sense was in spending $117 million on road widening for more cars when we don’t have a train.

  34. frankology

    Remove VAT from building materials on houses valued up to $400,000.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    A house can only be valued when it is finished. If the value exceed the $400,000 ceiling by $800,000. Would the homeowner be billed VAT on that excess?

  35. frankology

    FRANKOLOGY…….pray tell us does Dr. Duguid run the GOVERNMENT of Barbados Printery or GIS ??????

    So……how on EARTH would Dr. Duguid have an electronic version in the first place ???
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Let me enlightened you about technology, since you have a virgin brain. It is simple to achieve an electronic version, simply by typing the speech from a hard copy or scanning the hard copy and changing it to text. That will give you an electronic version. Plain and simple.

    Your rationale regarding the words “I DO NOT THINK” is totally out of context since he used the following words “It is essentially their manifesto re -written with the words “My Government.”

    That showed his positiveness of his refusal to place a speech on the net. You propaganda is simply flat.

  36. Linchh

    getting elected was the easy part
    February 15, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    “It will implement taxation policies that reduce fiscal drag on the economy. ”

    It means nothing because it says nothing

    doesn’t define what the fiscal drag is and certainly doesn’t mention what taxation policies it has in mind.”

    The term “fiscal drag” is used to describe the increase in real tax revenue when inflation raises nominal income and pushes people into higher tax brackets in a progressive income tax system.

    Anyone who listened carefully to Clyde Mascoll’s pronouncements on fiscal policy while he was on the right side would be familiar with the term. You can draw your own conclusions from that statement.

    Frankology’s observation that:

    “Remove VAT from building materials on houses valued up to $400,000.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    A house can only be valued when it is finished. If the value exceed the $400,000 ceiling by $800,000. Would the homeowner be billed VAT on that excess?”

    flags a key issue that could confound policy implementation. The VAT is supposed to be a tax on flows. Land is a stock and transfer of that stock should not be liable to VAT. Perhaps, a better alternative might be to streamline the other taxes applied to property ownership. When taxes on building materials become embedded in the costs of owning property, a measure of cascading results, and, if at all possible, this should be avoided. To anyone who is really interested in understanding this problem I would recommend the book by Alan Tait entitled “Value Added Tax: International Practice and Problems”, particularly pp.80 ff.

  37. Anon

    Don’t forget the new administration has inherited an army of inefficient, “don’t care” people to work with.

    Service to the public and especially good and timely service is not really on their agenda. It will be interesting to see how the new administration goes about raising the bar in this regard.

  38. Donald Duck, Esq

    In the the throne speech stated

    “It will therefore OVER TIME:

     Remove VAT from building materials on houses valued up to $400,000.”

    However in the manifesto this removal was due to take place in the first 100 days.

    Is the government aware that the blp in december 2007 passed the housing incentives act which allows developers of 15 houses or more (where the house and land is worth not more that $150,000) to recover the VAT on the cost of constructing the houses provided the houses are supplied to first time home buyers. Isn’t this a case of the blp leaving the dlp a good wicket to bat on!!!!

  39. jimbo

    John
    man i live in a place where ferries operated and it is the best thing that can happen. it eases pressure off the road for travelers and attract tourists and local sight seers.

    a trainline is an expensive and a not environmentally
    friendly undertaking. not to talk about the noise.

    saying that though your proposal sounds good if they could somehow find an environmentally friend train.

    in re-the ferries, government will find that it will not be easy a ferries to the eastcoast. building docks and parking around the docks will also be expensive

  40. Tony Hall

    Guys, come up with issues which you believe you can put to the Gov’t which will assist in the upliftment of Barbados instead of worrying about whether a Throne Speech was put online or not. There are so many other important issues. Some persons on this blog are trying to create the “innuendo” that the Gov’t didn’t want the public be privy to copies of the speech. What would the Gov’t have to gain by doing that?

  41. All you guys footling around splitting hairs while Trotman threatening a National Strike over a relative molehill!

    Let’s get our priorities right.

    Is his Majesty, Sir Roy just flexing his political muscles to let our new PM remember who really holds the reins of power in this country of ours?

  42. De Orginal

    A note to the DLP Government they need to check out what is happen with that BIG portal as a matter of urgency as it was designed by a company with know personal links to the current opposition leader I would advise that they examine it carefully also access to all IT servers in government………. a word to the wise.

  43. Jerome Hinds

    Donald Duck, Esq

    All you can QUACK about is VAT on building materials ?

  44. Tell me Why

    I am surprised that the Sandy Lane management is bent on not re-hiring the strikers. First let us understand something. Was the strike not based on missing money? If the answer is yes, we can go further. Since we heard that the full amount of money was found in the same room, why is the hotel still adamant of not re-hiring those workers. Regardless if the strike was sanctioned by the BWU or not, these workers had a democratic right to be represented by their union who should be allowed to have discussion with the said company. If the company realised that a mistake was made of firing these workers. The company should be braved enough to re-hire these workers based on ” a mistake”.

    Another area to be challenged is the legality of the guest having $60,000.00 on his person. Was that money declared at the port of entry? If not, since that money has been located, will the authority bring charges against that person with that undeclared amount?

    I fully support The Union on their stance to have these workers re-hired and an apology should be forthwith.

    In relation to the unfortunate worker at the centre of the strike. The Attorney General should should intervene and hastily apologise to this guy on behalf of the Police.

  45. Donald Duck, Esq

    Jerome

    I have quacked about a lot more than vat on building materials.

  46. John

    jimbo
    February 16, 2008 at 1:53 pm
    John
    man i live in a place where ferries operated and it is the best thing that can happen. it eases pressure off the road for travelers and attract tourists and local sight seers.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    One environmental benefit of the ferry or the train could be the reduction of the numbers of cars needed to get people around.

    Less emissions, less fuel.

    It is easy to envisage a train, or for that matter a series of “street cars” on a track travelling at 30 mph. Only a special kind of watercraft is capable of matching that speed.

    The efficiency in moving people on rolling stock on land has to be greater than moving people by water.

    The trainline goes through the middle of the St. George Valley. Admittedly it is over our main sheet water reserves but it is difficult to imagine a scenario that would see large scale pollution of those resources by a trainline.

    A truck transporting gasoline or oil would be a bigger threat and we have plenty of these already.

    The noise aspect should also be minimal because the trainline is through the middle of the St. George Valley, away from most houses.

    In fact I would venture to say that not many modern day Bajans have ever been on the track because it is “off the beaten track”.

    They probably have crossed it routinely and never even knew they were.

    The ferry to and from the Atlantis Submarine, Jolly Roger, Bajan Queen etc. are specialties which cater to moving probably no more that a couple of hundred people on any given day …… and those people pay, it isn’t cheap!!!

    I think any coastal ferry service will become just that, a specialty where mainly tourists go for an outing and not a serious means of transport.

    For me, I can say I am not crossing the deep sea by any boat if I can avoid it!!! I think many Bajans, like me, have a natural fear of the sea which would make a coastal ferry service uneconomic unless it was targetted at tourists.

    I think transport by water as a means to ease our traffic woes is not a solution when compared with other options ……. including the obvious one of getting our public transportation system to work properly.

    A train can move large numbers of people cheaply and also fill the role as a specialty service in much the same way as a coastal ferry can.

    The London Underground performs these two functions daily. Both commuters and the tourists are moved seamlessley.

  47. John

    Many people who commented on the Throne Speech and its non publication have high expectations of the new DLP Government and don’t want to see business return to the same as usual.

    Sadly, many do not have such high expectations and resort to making excuses for them.

    These are the supporters of the DLP and they don’t seem to realise that they are doing the DLP a great disservice by offering those excuses.

    Lighten up!!

  48. jimbo

    john

    i am not disagreeing with all that you are saying.

    but the connecting points to the train will mean clearing land or moving houses to erect car parks and train stops.

    according to the type of train the noise is bound to affect residents in the valley area and other areas. there is no avoiding that.

    people in Bim have to get over their fear of the sea. besides building docks and car parks where there is none. this should be no more expensive than a train

  49. Rumplestilskin

    John,

    Two things. Firstly, a few like myself who commented on the Throne Speech ‘issue’ may not be DLP supports, indeed I am not per se.

    However, all the speech represents is more promises.

    Just as yourself, I want action. I want financials for GEMS, I want Integrity Legislation and Freedom onf Information Legislation AND practices, as Yardbroom has said before, if I may quote him, a cultural change in the way we do things.

    I want Greenland dealt with, I want the beach access issue dealt with, I want our national debt levels down. I want the agricultural land to remain as productive.

    I want the Health Service to be improved. I want the Police and Teachers to be properly recompensed and their lot improved.

    I want many things that are made by action, not just words in a speech.

    Indeed, I mentioned a grace period for some things. Somew will take longer, but such as the Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information Legislation can be enacted AND acted upon much sooner.

    I agree that this Government is being held to a higher standard as a result of the transgressions of past Governments.

    I make no excuses on their behalf, but assess the situation differently.

    You can expect that I shall be harsh in assessmenty if urgent matters are not dealt with, urgently.

    Peace.

  50. Rumplestilskin

    John,

    With the expected state of oil, we shall revert to boats for much inter-island travel, it is the only way to maintain a reasonably priced service.

  51. Yard Fowl

    I like the train idea, but I fee that they should build an underground train and railway system, however the cost of this exercise will be way too expensive and long to implement.

  52. Jerome Hinds

    Yard Fowl
    February 17, 2008 at 1:55 pm
    I like the train idea, but I fee that they should build an underground train and railway system, however the cost of this exercise will be way too expensive and long to implement.
    **********************************

    The underground cave system will make this plan a virtually insurmountable challenge !

  53. John

    Rumplestilskin
    February 16, 2008 at 8:59 pm
    John,

    With the expected state of oil, we shall revert to boats for much inter-island travel, it is the only way to maintain a reasonably priced service.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I agree, inter island transport is what a ferry service should seek to address and not coastal transport.

    Additional to the price of oil which will push us that way, when the delays at the airports are taken into consideration, the time to travel to and from a neighbouring island may become comparable.

    …… however, I am still not getting on any boat and going out in the deep sea unless I cannot possibly avoid it!!!

  54. John

    Rumplestilskin
    February 16, 2008 at 8:57 pm
    John,

    Two things. Firstly, a few like myself who commented on the Throne Speech ‘issue’ may not be DLP supports, indeed I am not per se.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I had no individual in mind when I made my comment …. am, errrr, well ok, there were a couple!!

    I was looking more at the excuses which cropped up during what was quite an intense comment session.

    I guess I worded what I wanted to say badly. I almost deleted the comment when I reread it before submission.

    Those excuses did the DLP no justice although they were made no doubt with this object in mind.

    It is a Bajan thing to understate and make excuses for a situation.

    I do it alot.

    However, it is good to have expectations of people, including yourself, which are high because if those expectations exist, very often people will deliver and thrill both themselves and you.

    In the absence of high expectations, anything goes, and it is usually bad.

    Everybody benefits when expectations are high.

    It is ok to be cynical too, I often am, but so much more natural and refreshing to be an optimist and be a part of life as it unfolds for the better.

    … and when things do go wrong, and they often do, there will be the memories of what was possible with a positive outlook to help overcome those setbacks.

  55. Donald Duck, Esq

    The dlp says they will

     Build 2,000 housing solutions per year in the first term.

    They did not say the private sector will. lets assume these housing solutions aare for low income housing and the land islaready in government’s land bank, what will this cost. At say $65,000 per housing solution and that is conservative, the total cost per annum will be $130 million. where is the dlp getting those funds from

  56. Leviticus

    I havent been her for a while. But Frankology is just not sensible. You can remove VAT two ways -one of which is to give a reverse tax credit to the house-owner for the $400,000.00! Simple!

  57. Donald Duck, Esq

    leviticus

    Please explain how your proposed reverse tax credit will work.

    For your information the new housing incentives act ( passed in December 2007 by the BLP) leaves it up to the developer who is developing 15 houses or more ( where each house and land plot is valued at not less than $150,000) to recover the input VAT. If the present government merely increased the $150,000 limit to $400,000 then it would be a better way for the input VAT to be recovered. It however means that the individual who wants to construct his own house and recover the VAT will not be able to do so.

  58. Donald Duck, Esq

    The following is a relevant extract from the CBC web site

    Minister says 100 day programme on track

    Thursday, 14 February 2008
    Social Care Minister Dr. Denis Lowe says the Democratic Labour Party is intent on carrying out the initiatives promised in its 100 days programme.

    Dr. Lowe, after meeting with Prime Minister David Thompson Wednesday, says government plans to stick to its programme, even if adjustments are to be made.

    “My meeting with the Prime Minister he indicated that we are pretty much on track in those critical areas. A commitment to the public is a commitment to the public.

    “As we continue to probe the various ministries that we have to manage we will be discovering things, whether they be matters related to administration or space or whatever.

    “Really at the end of the day I don’t believe the achievement of any hundred day program is going to make any difference if the people who have to deliver the mandates of those programs are unable to deliver their work.”

  59. Frankology

    I havent been her for a while. But Frankology is just not sensible. You can remove VAT two ways -one of which is to give a reverse tax credit to the house-owner for the $400,000.00! Simple!
    …………………………………………………………………………………
    Do you understand the rationale of a ‘tax credit’ or you, like others, use terms because it sounds interesting. Answer the question. Will individuals have to to repay the VAT office for costs over the $400,000 limit?

  60. Rumplestilskin

    John,

    Cheers.

  61. Donald Duck, Esq

    For all those persons accepting appointments to Boards please remember that the proposed integrity legislation will cover you as well.

  62. Donald Duck, Esq

    Anybody knows anything about the new Chairman of the National Housing Corp

  63. Donald Duck, Esq

    The Trinidad press should provide the full text of the presss conference held by Prime Minister Thompson in Trinidad last week

  64. Donald Duck, Esq

    BFP

    You should create a separate column for bloggers to include items that they want dealt with in the first DLP budget