The function of aid is not to make us feel better about ourselves; it is to promote development, and if a well-informed African tells us that we are inadvertently having the opposite effect, we had better take heed…
… from The Independent book review: Dead Aid, by Dambisa Moyo
What Happened To The European Union’s Sugar Grant To Barbados?
On Monday an old friend directed our attention to The Independent for an excellent book review of Dambisa Moyo’s controversial work Dead Aid. (Well, “controversial” at UWI’s Cave Hill campus, anyway!)
About a month ago we first wrote about “Dead Aid” in our article George Ayittey on “Dead Aid” To Africa – Someone The Barbados Government Should Listen To. At that time, we made the parallel between the easy-money that (according to author Moyo) is holding back Africa and our own situation in Barbados. Out of the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and forgivable loans that Barbados has received, we zeroed in on one piece of aid from the European Union and asked…
Can anyone tell us what the last $10 million European Union sugar grant to Barbados was used for? Can anyone point to a benefit or a national asset that resulted from the $10 million?
We’re Still Asking What Happened To This One Piece Of Foreign Aid To Barbados
In January of 2007, Barbados received $5.63 million in EU aid “to transform” the sugar industry, and the funds were provided without monitoring or accountability requirements – not that the EU didn’t try!
As related in our August 20, 2007 article Secret European Union Reports Slam Barbados Ethanol Plan, in late 2005 European Union Ambassador Amos Tincani received instructions from his superiors to “explain reality” to then Prime Minister Owen Arthur about the EU’s determination to phase out sugar subsidies and also to require detailed accountability of a one-time 4 million dollar grant from the EU that was supposed to be used for re-development of our sugar industry.
The EU’s demands for accountability regarding the sugar grant millions caused a diplomatic face-off when Prime Minister Arthur and Minister of Agriculture Erskine Griffith went public in April and May of 2006 talking about callous “colonial” attitudes shown by the European Union. Our source states that Prime Minister Arthur was outraged when told about the EU’s intent to attach accountability and monitoring structures as a condition of the 4 million dollar EU sugar grant. After Arthur ignored the EU Ambassador and went directly to big-ups in Europe, the EU reversed it’s position on accountability in order to avoid a diplomatic war over Ambassador Tincani’s not-so-private comments.
So the people of Barbados the Owen Arthur – Mia Mottley Government received millions in EU sugar grants for which there has been no accountability – not a bit.
Were the EU sugar funds paid to friendly “consultants” or companies owned by BLP Ministers or supporters?
Mottley isn’t saying. Arthur isn’t saying.
And neither is David Thompson… because for all his blowhard ranting and finger waving about introducing integrity legislation, transparency, conflicts of interest rules, freedom of information and accountability laws, Prime Minister Thompson has done nothing that would limit the ability of government members to profit from their offices.
It is still legal in Barbados for an elected or appointed government official to award a government contract to a company owned by the official or a close family member. Thompson said he would change that “IMMEDIATELY” upon taking office in January of 2008. Thompson lied.
Would The People Of Barbados Be Better Off If Foreign Aid Was Conditional Upon Performance Standards and Accountability Structures?
Hardly a week goes by that we don’t read some news story about Barbados receiving yet another grant, loan or “assistance” from the international community for some purpose or other. Whether the subject is EU money for sugar, US money for anti-drug operations, UN money for “studies” or IMF money for infrastructure, our politicians control hundreds of millions of dollars without independent oversight, accountability or even reasonable rules and limits on how they spend the money.
We don’t do “accountability” in Barbados. When the Barbados Director of Emergency Management cannot account for funds for an entire missing house – nothing happens. When the Prime Minister gets caught depositing “campaign funds” into his personal bank account – nothing happens. When the new Prime Minister announces that members of the previous government stole millions and deposited the funds in offshore accounts – nothing happens.
When the international community started to make noises that there should be some changes in our offshore financial industry, Barbados said all the right words. We held press conferences where we announced the formation of an Anti-Money Laundering Authority – suitably funded by the United States, of course.
Then three years later we had to admit that Barbados never really formed such a unit.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we at Barbados Free Press believe that individual citizens and our country would be much better off if the international community only provided funds to Barbados that are conditional upon meeting performance and accountability standards.
So back to our question: Can anyone point to a benefit or a national asset that resulted from the last $10 million EU sugar grant?