Would Barbados Be Better Off If Foreign Aid Was Linked To Government Performance Standards and Accountability Structures?

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

Barbados euro_2007In 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?

11 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

11 responses to “Would Barbados Be Better Off If Foreign Aid Was Linked To Government Performance Standards and Accountability Structures?

  1. reality check

    The international bureaucracies that prop these governments up without appropriate levels of transparency and accountability need their citizens woken up to the fact that they are not getting solid long term value for their tax dollars.

    BFP, every time a grant or loan is given by one of these agencies, maybe it would be good to, not only question the accountability aspects required in Barbados but also the international agency directing the grant or loan.

    Failure to get a proper response would then involve a question e mailed to the local newspapers in the country which gave the loan or grant asking if people are aware that there is no accountability.

    Beware, even the EU bureaucracy is now becoming incredibly unaccountable to those that pay the bills.

    Which bureaucrat in the EU over ruled his local advisor and folded like a cheap suit when Owen threw his temper tantrum?

  2. J

    Dear BFP you wrote

    “book review of Dambisa Moyo’s controversial work Dead Aid. (Well, “controversial” at UWI’s Cave Hill campus, anyway!)”

    Can you document who at UWI/Cave Hill finds Moyo’s book controversial?

    And if you cannot provide evidence that your statement is the truth would you please withdraw it.

    and again you wrote:

    “Whether the subject is… US money for anti-drug operations our politicians control hundreds of millions of dollars without independent oversight, accountability or even reasonable rules and limits on how they spend the money.”

    Can you please provide the evidence that the above statement is the truth. And if it is not the truth would you please withdraw it.

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  4. MANJAK

    Foreign aid have always been used as as swill bucket
    for careerist and corrupt third world politicians to dip their sticky fingers into.
    The question you raised is an oxymoronic is it not. Or to phrase it differently it is a no brainer.
    You surely do not expect any regime led by Billie Miller/Mia Mottley/Owen Arthur/David Clico Thompson to be transparent and accountable or to adhere to any kind of performance standards do you. This Bajan politcal caste is quite content to swim around in the murky cesspit of corrupt politics and will fill their boots with all the Grantleys they can garner.

    They of course will get away as long as they remain unexposed and their are no laws enacted onto the statue books that curtails and prevents such reprehensible and ugly behaviour.
    Expect nothing from the supine Bajan print and broadcast media …………….those who can keep the anvil in the fire and shine a light on these cockroaches must do so in the most unrelenting manner.

  5. BLUE BUNNY

    Would Barbados Be Better Off If Foreign Aid Was Linked To Government Performance Standards and Accountability Structures?

    YES! Definately

  6. Knight of the Long Knives

    I have to concur our whole system of governance needs rewriting.

  7. BFP

    Oh Please!

    J, Cave Hill is the center of the universe for those who believe the world owes them a living because of what happened to our long-dead ancestors.

    As to the fact that “our politicians control hundreds of millions of dollars without independent oversight, accountability or even reasonable rules and limits on how they spend the money.”

    … Please tell us what independent oversight, accountability or reasonable rules and limits the politicians have on spending the money.

    Let’s see here…

    How about a conflicts of interest law that would prevent politicians from awarding government contracts to themselves? Nope… we don’t have such a thing.

    How about Freedom of Information that would allow ordinary citizens to have independent oversight of government spending? Nope… we don’t have it.

    How about the agreement of our government to allow the EU to examine and audit what became of their millions given to revise our sugar industry? Nope… our government refused to build such controls and oversight into the process.

    Get real, J.

    Have a great day!

  8. David Brooks

    Has anyone noticed how St. Vincent’s PM Gonsalves is hinting – every time opens his mouth recently – about leaving Caricom or OECS?

    Has everyone forgotten that his core political views were Communistic – as in very far left – back in the late 70’s? Forget that Tom Adams threw him out of BIM for said reason? He laid low for years and now “Comrade Ralph” is in power.

    Has anyone noticed that while the Communitist USSR desolved back in the early 90’s, only to be slowly replaced by leftist leaning countries in Latin America? Where did nearly all the refugee Nazis run?

    Russia is beginning to show signs of rekindling the fire. China has been extending a hand to everyone around here too. I have no problem with accepting a helping hand or for us extending a hand to Cuba, but what is expected in exchange? Its the under-currents that concern me.

    What does all of this portend ???

  9. David Brooks

    I should have added … only to be slowly replaced, “10 to 15 years later”, by leftist leaning countries in Latin America?

    Some will agree that is enough time for infiltration to occur and quite easily in a ‘poor and under-privelged peopled’ Latin America.

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