Barbados Prime Minister Thompson and The Arrogance Of Power

What possesses the leader of a political party to appoint someone who is viewed as the patron of his political party, who is the chairman of a major regional financial entity (CLICO Barbados), as the chairman of government-controlled/national broadcasting company? I asked myself that question at the time of the appointment…

This just seemed to be leading down the road of conflict of interest or just awkward situation sometime soon…

… The Trinidad arm of the chairman’s company hits the financial skids and needs government help. The opposition party leader in Barbados wants to make comments about the issue and is ‘denied’ airtime. Guess what? It does not smell right and only a dodo would not have seen the possibility of this doo-doo…

Why would you as head of government and Minister of Information to boot, put your government and yourself up for this awkward situation waiting to happen, even if you were not looking to push a platform of transparency and good governance? Is it part of the arrogance of power? Is it a blind spot for a friend and associate? Clear thinking? Good decisions?…

Living In Barbados Blog delivers a well-deserved blast to David Thompson in Another Fine Mess

Corrupt Thompson Doesn’t Give A Damn About Integrity, Transparency & Accountability

david-thompson-piggy-smlLike the arrogant and corrupt person who occupied the office before him, Prime Minister Thompson cares so little for integrity that he doesn’t even bother anymore to pretend that it matters to him.

Thompson appointed his financial supporter and business jet chauffeur Leroy Parris to be Chairman of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation – a state-controlled broadcaster. Thompson didn’t care how this looked and he obviously did it so his government could control the message of news media and also deny the Opposition BLP access to the Bajan public.

Yes, we know that the Barbados Labour Party did the same thing to the DLP when the situation was reversed.

Now, like a petulant and vengeful little child, David Thompson is misusing his power exactly the way that Owen Arthur did. Instead of setting a new ethical standard as he promised, Thompson has again proved that he cares for nothing but power. Power at any cost. Power and to hell with democracy or integrity or freedom of the press or anything else that stands in the way of his ability to continue in power and bestow the benefits of his power to his friends. Friends like Leroy Parris.

Nothing has changed.

Prime Minister Thompson, you damned liar: Where is your promised integrity legislation? Where is your Ministerial Code that prohibits Conflicts of Interest? Where is your Freedom of Information Act? Where is our country’s freedom of the press?

Same old, same old ’bout hey!

Further Reading

Living In Barbados Blog: Another Fine Mess

37 Comments

Filed under Barbados

37 responses to “Barbados Prime Minister Thompson and The Arrogance Of Power

  1. Margaret Knight

    If you go interfering with baby birds in a nest, then watch out for the mother to fly at you and peck your eyes out. I don’t care what you say about me, but I will defend my family.

    I had truly hoped that this moment would not come, but unfortunately it has. I was warned about BFP before I started visiting and blogging, but I am not one to back away from a challenge. Alas, my first taste of what I can only refer to as spite and venom was when someone (no names called) posted a comment on here, which was insulting to me and my son, David Thompson. I sought advice and guidance from BFP (through e-mail) before taking the matter further, and all I got in return was a spiteful reply – “grow up and get over it”, or words to that effect. I was hurt, but I brushed it aside and moved on. I posted comments on subjects that I was passionate about (Graeme Hall, the environment and the wanton destruction of our coastline, a proposal to build a marina at Six Mens, rumblings about some sort of development at Holetown, etc., because I dearly love Barbados) I agreed (and still do) with BFP concerning the matter of ITAL, and I have stuck my neck out on more than one occasion. Just because you’re a member of an organization doesn’t mean that everything they do is right.

    Well, the time has come for me to remove myself from this blog forever. (Yes, I think I hear you, BFP, saying, “so who bloody cares?” No problem). I have suffered insult after insult over my son for many many years, and in fact, I was once successful in suing VOB for allowing a remark made by a caller to “Brass Tacks”, but when I can read on here that my son is a “despotic liar”, that’s the end of this road for me. I’ve had enough. You, BFP, are entitled to your opinion, and this is your blog – I am ever mindful of that, but I will NOT associate myself with those dastardly insulting remarks against my son.

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

    BFP says,

    Mrs. Knight, we are truly sorry to see you go, but we understand. You have sometimes taken a position that is contrary to the Prime Minister’s on various issues and we understand the conflict that this might have caused within you and your family. We have nothing but respect for your integrity and strength of conviction and it is certain that our readers and Barbados will be all the poorer for your leaving this widely-read public venue.

    As to describing the Prime Minister as “despotic”, well perhaps it is a bit of hyperbole, but you must not miss the point that the Prime Minister did appoint his chief financial backer to a position in charge of the government-controlled broadcast news media – an obvious Conflict of Interest from a man who promised us more ethical government. The politicizing of the CBC, combined with the CBC’s recent refusal to allow the Opposition Leader to make fair public comment, is an obvious threat to democracy. The Prime Minister’s recent comments show that he is not concerned about democracy.

    As to the fact that he has lied many times about Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information Legislation, Transparency (consider his jet trips where the details remain hidden) and especially that he lied about “immediately” implementing a Ministerial Code to prohibit conflicts of interest – well, the truth is that he did lie.

    I shall remove the word “despotic” from the article out of our respect for you, and in recognition that it is a bit hyperbolic – but we would be far more pleased with the Prime Minister if he could show Barbados that his government cares about democracy, rule of law and ethical standards.

    That is “show” not talk.

    We hope you will change your mind about not participating here at BFP – not for us, but for the country as we believe that you should be heard. Frankly, if you wanted to write an article about anything, we would publish it unedited.

    Certainly Bajans would be happy if you started your own blog at WordPress.com or anywhere. We would link to your articles without fail and we’re sure that other blogs would do so too. That way Barbados would still have the benefit of your thoughts, but you wouldn’t have to come here to BFP. We do hope that you will start your own blog.

    Yours truly,

    Marcus,
    Editor in Chief
    BFP

  2. BFP

    BFP says,

    Mrs. Knight, we are truly sorry to see you go, but we understand. You have sometimes taken a position that is contrary to the Prime Minister’s on various issues and we understand the conflict that this might have caused within you and your family. We have nothing but respect for your integrity and strength of conviction and it is certain that our readers and Barbados will be all the poorer for your leaving this widely-read public venue.

    As to describing the Prime Minister as “despotic”, well perhaps it is a bit of hyperbole, but you must not miss the point that the Prime Minister did appoint his chief financial backer to a position in charge of the government-controlled broadcast news media – an obvious Conflict of Interest from a man who promised us more ethical government. The politicizing of the CBC, combined with the CBC’s recent refusal to allow the Opposition Leader to make fair public comment, is an obvious threat to democracy. The Prime Minister’s recent comments show that he is not concerned about democracy.

    As to the fact that he has lied many times about Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information Legislation, Transparency (consider his jet trips where the details remain hidden) and especially that he lied about “immediately” implementing a Ministerial Code to prohibit conflicts of interest – well, the truth is that he did lie.

    I shall remove the word “despotic” from the article out of our respect for you, and in recognition that it is a bit hyperbolic – but we would be far more pleased with the Prime Minister if he could show Barbados that his government cares about democracy, rule of law and ethical standards.

    That is “show” not talk.

    We hope you will change your mind about not participating here at BFP – not for us, but for the country as we believe that you should be heard. Frankly, if you wanted to write an article about anything, we would publish it unedited.

    Certainly Bajans would be happy if you started your own blog at WordPress.com or anywhere. We would link to your articles without fail and we’re sure that other blogs would do so too. That way Barbados would still have the benefit of your thoughts, but you wouldn’t have to come here to BFP. We do hope that you will start your own blog.

    Yours truly,

    Marcus,
    Editor in Chief
    BFP

  3. Juris

    Is it in fact illegal to broadcast political advertisements outside of an election period or have you not bothered to check, BFP? And there have been some pretty unusual Chairmen of CBC over the years. Or have you not bothered to check, BFP. Now, tell me where is the conflict of interest in Parris’ appointment?

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

    BFP says,

    Yes, it illegal to broadcast political advertisements out of election time and that law is wrong and anti-democratic.

    But it appears that the CBC considers interviewing the Leader of the Opposition to be an election advertisement.

    As to your not being able to see a conflict of interest when the Prime Minister appoints his chief financial backer to be in charge of a major government-controlled news outlet, well, that remark says far more about you than you obviously realise.

    Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

  4. Willie

    Patronage, favouritism, partisanship may all describe the appointment to which you refer. But conflict of interest – I hardly think so. In fact, seen from the perspective of the one making the appointment, it was well within his interest to select someone in whom he had absolute trust. The optics might not be pleasant but not illegal either.

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

    BFP says,

    OF COURSE it is a conflict of interest to have a political supporter in charge of the media that is supposed to be unbiased. And yes the optics stink. Corruption usually does. Now that Parris is getting millions of public money and the political opposition wants to talk about that on the television stations that Parris runs for Thompson, the political opposition is silenced.

    And no, it is not illegal, just corrupt and despotic.

    Nothing is illegal in Barbados because Thompson broke his promise to declare conflict of interest rules, integrity legislation, freedom of information, etc etc etc.

  5. leadership

    These little bureaucracies like those in the civil service have long since lost their way and forgotten their goals. They need to be abandoned along with the deadwood that supposedly runs them.

    Hardware is a fraction of what it use to cost.Communications with a network of young people supplying the news, sports, weather and local stories needs to be encouraged from the bottom up. Give out several licenses with an obligation of balance and social justice and see who survives.

  6. Juris

    I’m accustomed to your childishness when the questions get too hard, BFP. Now let’s pretend you are smart and I am stupid. Now please show me the “conflict of interest” in the appointment this time?

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

    BFP says,

    What you call childishness, the first world calls integrity standards. If you can’t see the conflict of interest by Mr. Parris, then we’ll just have to disagree rather than have me cast pearls before swine.

  7. Hants

    BFP don’t sugar coat it.

    The BLP wants to take back the government of Barbados and they are not prepared to wait until 2010.

    I am surprised you haven’t produced a print edition to assist them in their quest for an immediate return to power.

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

    BFP says

    Sounds like a good idea Hants. Perhaps the people will then wise up that there is no difference between the BLP and the DLP and we need a new party founded on principles and RULES of integrity. If the foundation is rotten, nothing good will ever be built upon it, and the foundations of the BLP and DLP are rotten to the core.

  8. Juris

    So I can’t see it and neither can you…fine BFP. We agree there is none…the pearls before swine metaphor is most apt in this case.

  9. reality check

    conflict of interest cuts a very wide swath

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest

    “conflict of interests can be defined as any situation in which an individual or corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal or corporate benefit.”

    The potential for conflict of interest does not mean there was one and while I doubt Leroy Parris has much of an expertise in broadcasting maybe those on the inside can let the bloggers know if there was anything the public should be concerned about. What was he paid and for how much time?

    Its hard for me to imagine who would want to work for such a political institution with a nest of vipers as the CBC.

    The BLP put in people in the CBC all the time who they trusted but were not necessarily qualified to run a roti stand.

    This is all really a question of transparency and hiring people who are capable and knowledgeable and not because they know someone or have the seniority.

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

    BFP says,

    Thank you RC. Our main problem with Thompson is that he promised a change and ethical leadership. Like declaring conflict of interest rules “IMMEDIATELY UPON FORMING A GOVERNMENT”

    He lied big time.

  10. Hants

    The general manager of CBC is…..

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/1/509/350

    This MIA lawsuit about air time is probably just another clock and pull story.
    Have to be careful with word association.

  11. RRRicky

    DLP = David Lying Party

  12. Turkey

    Wuhloss people of a certain hue got uh falling out. I gine stay out of um bosey. Yeh right!….But Margs, yuh partisan petty coat showing. Man BFP call Owen sum all kind uh tings especially when he compared himself to Fidel Castro, and you aint lodge nuh complaint. Look guh long do, num body aint gine miss you. stupse.

  13. Turkey

    Wuh kind uh leader Mia Mottley would make doah? As she can’t get her way she does always threathen to sue. Is that leadership? stupse.

  14. Hants

    @ Turkey says
    “she does always threathen to sue”

    Who is Sue?

  15. Sargeant

    Wha happen Turkey? De existentialism argument over at BU flyin ova yuh head? Now yuh fine yuh self over hey talking bout people of a certain hue. Wha hue is dat? Stop pretendin to be de protector of all tings black, we know when yuh had de chance to vote for a black man yuh went and plump McCain and de pit bull wid lipstick…

    I jus had to talk out yuh han

  16. PiedPiper

    wuhlosssssssss…….ha ha ha ha ha (sic)

  17. PiedPiper

    You pick a good handle fuh yuhself Adrian.

  18. Thomas Gresham

    It seems that this blog only attracts people committed to one party or the other. I find myself criticising the government of the day much, these days, but I was a Barrow supporter and think I can call a spade a spade.

    The Leader of the Opposition calls a press conference about Clico and Constituency Councils. These are hot topics and the first is on everyones’ lips. The conference lasts about 30mins and is carried on VoB and is on the front page of the Nation and close to the front in the Advocate – so it is considered newsworthy by a range of people. Yet CBC does not carry any clip on either subject. The Chairman of CBC is also a Chairman of Clico Barbados and so he was in a position to influence whether the broadcaster carried a news item that concerned his company. That, is a pretty clear conflict of interest.

    I do not believe that David Thompson is a corrupt man, but as Dennis Jones writes at the top, whether there was any tampering or not, and we all know what is possible at CBC, far better to avoid the perception of or potential for, conflict in the first place.

  19. Rumboy

    It was carried by all except CBC, this to me is free press right. I don’t understand your gripe. I would if it not been carried at all. To Mrs Knight – stay.

  20. J

    Dear Rumboy:

    Wha’ kinda idiot you is?

    You think that when CBC did not carry Mia’s press conference, that CBC was asserting its press freedom?

    You may be an idiot, but what make you think that we is idiots too?

    CBC ain’t carry Mia’s press conference because the Chairman didn’t want it to be carried.

    And I am not generally a Mia supporter.

  21. J

    Dear Sargeant:

    How come you stay all the way up in Amerca and hear that M.I.A. have a baby boy?

    You is the godfather?

  22. J

    Or the chile father?

  23. J

    Dear Rumboy:

    You NEED to put away the rumbottle.

    You beginning tolose it.

  24. Willie

    The Leader of the Opposition is right to call for the resignation of the Chairman of CBC. I still contend that his appointment was not a direct conflict of interest, but circumstances have conspired to place him in such a position. The potential existed from the beginning, and the PM left himself open to that possibility – poor judgment, perhaps. The Chairman should have the decency and commonsense to do the right thing and resign.

    It is the same as the Minister of Education continuing to be head of the Football Association, with the PM’s backing. A member of Cabinet should never expose the boss or him/herself to such potential conflict. If the boss, a lawyer, cannot see that he must be blind or in denial.

  25. J

    Leroy Parris should not have been appointed Chairman of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation BECAUSE he cannot speak standard English.

    Being able to speak standard English should be a condition of employment or board membership of ANY media organisation.

    Plain and simple.

    No sophisticated arguments needed.

  26. Sargeant

    @J

    • How come you stay all the way up in Amerca and hear that M.I.A. have a baby boy?
    ***********************************************
    What the heck are you talking about? I don’t even know how to respond

  27. Hants

    @ Sargeant

    This is what you missed. It was me who posted this information.

    http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/node/149182

  28. Royalrumble

    It is very seldom that I support the BFP but on this occasion I must agree with their position. It stinks to high heavens what going on in this country with respect to this unholy relationship between Parris and Thompson.

    I warn Barbadians that it is going to get worse simply because Thompson has already decided that based on the very narrow margins of victory in a number of constituencies this DLP Government may very well be may a one term Government.

    As a direct result Thompson and his boys have resolved to will grab whatever they can. That is why this they pursuing policies and programmes that run contrary to their campaign pledges.

    Parris is Chairman of Clico, which is currently facing financial difficulty. It is the recipient of millions of taxpayer’s money as a bailout. To use his position as Chairman of CBC to block the Leader of the Opposition’s comments on the matter is setting a very dangerous tone. Over 45% of Barbadians voted for the Opposition and must therefore heard on our state own television station. Ms. Mottley’s position is a constitutional position and should not be played with, at least not by an idiot like Parris.

  29. Sargeant

    Thanks Hants

    I was going to accuse J of hitting the bottle but I guess she must have the two of us mixed up , after all we do look alike (LOL).

  30. J

    ‘Morning Hants. ‘Morning Sarge.

    The 2 of you so good looking that I got you mixed up.

    My apologies?

    Still Hants I’ve read your link and I still need to ask if you the godfather or the chile fadda to M.I.A.’s new born baby boy?

  31. Hants

    @ J “Still Hants I’ve read your link and I still need to ask if you the godfather or the chile fadda to M.I.A.’s new born baby boy?

    No J.

    I like the lady’s name though. Without the dots.

  32. Foolbert

    Everybody knows that Government has always contolled CBC.
    Politicians love having the ability to spread their popoganda at will to a captive audience and find it difficult to adjust when they lose it.

  33. The Scout

    Margaret Knight
    Sorry to see you gop but I understand and respect your position.I have great respect for you for your outspokeness even though you don’t always agree with your son’s party ideas. I too have always been and will always be a supporter of the DLP but there are things which I don’t agree with but in the end I wish the party well in whatever path they take. BFP is a sick blog and I post items here very seldom, however, I will still “shout you up” occasionally.

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

    BFP says,

    Scout didn’t think BFP was so sick when it was ripping into the BLP Government for no Integrity, Transparency or Accountability legislation. Only when BFP continued to demand ITAL from the Thompson DLP government did Scout and the others become upset with BFP.

    Robert

  34. J

    Dear Royalrumble you wrote “As a direct result Thompson and his boys have resolved to will grab whatever they can. ”

    And I ask.

    “Is there anything left to be grabbed???”

  35. bob

    Dear BDP… I have been informed that Mr. Bostic, the BLP candidate for the city during January 2008’s elections who ran against Mr. Patrick Todd in now the Chief at the Immigration Department… Is this True ??
    What i found quite shocking is that Why would Mr. Thompson put a member of the opposition party in such a highly exposed and very important position and especially after accusing the same BLP party for the massive foriegners infiltrating our island ???
    Don’t we have anyone in the DLP party or in the neutral zone capably on this position??
    Frankly all throughout the election campaigne I kept hearing that we are ready… How can this happen??

  36. thehonourable

    This is what happens when we keep practicing a system in Barbados that does not allow for good talent to make contributions.

    http://thehonourable.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/the-flaws-of-our-political-system/