Daily Archives: May 17, 2009

When Did Ian Bourne’s Bajan Reporter Dump Link To Barbados Underground?

Major Barbados Blog Removes Link To DLP’s Barbados Underground Blog

Barbados Journalist Ian Bourne

Barbados Journalist & Blogger Ian Bourne

Last Thursday we were doing our morning surfing – visiting our regular websites by following the links from one to another – when we noticed that The Bajan Reporter no longer featured a link to Barbados Underground blog in the sidebar link list.

“Hmmmmm, that’s interesting” we thought. There have been a few times in the last year and a bit where we have ourselves discussed removing the link to Barbados Underground. We sent a proxy-protected anonymous email off to Ian Bourne to ask him why he removed the link to BU, but we haven’t heard back in 3 days.

So… we will have to speculate on the reasons why The Bajan Reporter – the most popular Bajan blog penned a named author – removed the link to Barbados Underground: a blog that was once an important voice demanding integrity in Barbados politics.

Why Did Ian Bourne Dump The Link To Barbados Underground?

We think we know. In fact, although we haven’t dropped Barbados Underground from our sidebar links, I can’t remember when we last linked to one of their stories – or they linked to one of ours.

Failing our hearing from Ian himself, here’s why Barbados Free Press is considering dropping Barbados Underground (BU) from our sidebar links…

1/ Racism

Barbados Underground allows itself to be used as a forum for those who espouse positions and arguments that are essentially racist. Blanket statements against Indians, Chinese, Whites and other racial minorities in Barbados are allowed to remain on the blog by the moderator. Here is one example where a regular Barbados Underground commenter named “Negroman” says that “Indians are only bidding their time in Barbados” and he wants to “alert Black Barbadians about the (Indo Guyanese) monster that is at our door and about to unleash itself on Black Barbadians.” The reader is none too happy with Chinese or White Barbadians either – but that is only one of at least a hundred similar comments on Barbados Underground by a variety of commenters.

It is one thing to discuss immigration policy and CARICOM, it is another to provide a platform for those who hate – and Barbados Underground does just that.

2/ Threats Against Witnesses & Political Opponents

In a much talked about series of articles authored by now-revealed Iain Deane, a defendant in a contentious lawsuit called Kingsland, Barbados Underground allowed itself to be used as a forum for vile comments calling for the harassment and stalking of witnesses testifying in that case. There were also threats against Ian Bourne and his wife and their home and pets – which we and many other folks believe came from the same group of people that seem to have free rein at B.U. As to the sources of these threats, don’t forget that Member of Parliament Dr. Duguid publicly confirmed that one of the computers at the Barbados Legislature was used to make death threats against witnesses in the Kingsland case. Failures of our courts, police and the corruption of the rule of law are real and serious issues for Barbados.

As we said in our December 11, 2008 article Witness Intimidation In Barbados

So you can perhaps understand why we are upset and saddened to see that David at Barbados Underground blog has now allowed his venue to be used to deliver further threats to witnesses in the Kingsland case. The author called BWWR (Black Woman Who Reads) has been publishing various Kingsland articles on Barbados Underground and always comes right up to the line – calling Madge Knox crazy and such just like the wording we’ve all seen in the rape and murder threats. This time, however, BWWR is calling for citizens to harass Mrs. Knox and her daughters at their homes and beach home.

Don’t forget, this exhortation to harass the witnesses comes after threats of rape, murder and the firing of the son John Knox from his position at the University.

No matter which side of this Kingsland matter you favour, this threatening, harassment and firing of witnesses by very powerful government elites is the most disgusting event. It has been going on for far too long because of the powerful people involved and the cowardly behaviour of our police.

3/ Barbados Underground Ceased Calling For Integrity Legislation When The DLP Government Broke The 100 Days Promise

From their first articles published in April, 2007, Barbados Underground joined the call for integrity in public life – taking the Arthur/Mottley BLP Government to task for conflicts of interest, unethical behaviour and lack of transparency. Throughout 2007, Barbados Underground hammered the BLP government for its failure to implement Integrity Legislation. When then Leader of the Opposition David Thompson pledged in writing to do so and also revealed a “political donation” cheque deposited by Prime Minister Arthur into his personal bank account, Barbados Underground ripped into Owen Arthur’s corrupt act and celebrated David Thompson’s stated intent to hold politicians and their developer friends accountable to citizens. Thompson and the DLP also promised to implement a conflicts of interest Ministerial Code “IMMEDIATELY” upon election and they promised to make government officials accountable for profiting from their positions.

That was then. This is now…

Everything changed the moment that the David Thompson DLP Government failed to keep the promise to introduce ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation) within the first 100 days of their mandate. Barbados Underground became silent – revealing that their calls for integrity in public life were nothing more or less than strategic partisanship in support of an election… or…

… or perhaps it is a little more complex than that. On April 6, 2007, Barbados Underground published an article examining the all-too-close relationship between David Thompson and CLICO CEO Leroy Parris. Today it is difficult to believe that the same Barbados Underground published that 2007 article about the Thompson/Parris relationship: The Man Behind David Thompson: Will He Prove To Be a Liability Yet Again?

Contrast that article with the current BU offering Time To Rally Around Prime Minister David Thompson or Is CLICO Being Used As Target Practice?

Frankly, we wonder if the authors of Barbados Underground were not caught out by the government and co-opted into becoming the only active blog for the Democratic Labour Party. Whatever happened, Barbados Underground long ago ceased to be an effective voice of the people for demanding integrity from the Barbados government and public officials.

Each One Of Us Makes Our Own Decisions

At Barbados Free Press, we’re all for free speech and we’re also for the rights of blogs to publish those opinions and subjects that they wish to. That means that everybody sets their own limits and lines. At BFP we often let folks come right up to the line and maybe even step over.

Where is the line? Sometimes we don’t even know until we see someone go over it. That is the nature of blogging where the public can comment freely.

But just as people have the right to freedom of speech, they also have the right to pass judgment upon the positions taken by others, and it appears that Ian Bourne has had enough of the racisim, hatred, threats and double standards of Barbados Underground.

We Ask Our Readers…

So what do you think, folks? Should Barbados Free Press follow Ian Bourne’s lead and remove the links to Barbados Underground?

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Race