Barbados Advocate ‘Yellow Journalism’ Editorial Ignores the Truth: Hartley Henry carried out his threat at Barbados Underground

WARNING: MATURE CONTENT – Discussion of alleged intimate acts

Tell your neighbours, Tell your friends about the Lie in The Barbados Advocate

It is really very simple, folks. Let’s review what happened step by step…

1/ August 23, 2009 – An article at the Nation News is published accusing the PM’s senior advisor, Harley Henry, of threatening to harm the reputation of editor Carol Martindale if she did not publish a story about a DLP political survey in a certain manner. It is alleged that Hartley Henry told the Martindale that he would “turn Barbados against” her. He accused the paper of being “the mouthpiece” of Opposition Leader Mia Mottley. (Nation News: Threat to Sun Editor)

All Bajans are familiar with Miss Mottley, who is a rather heavy woman with a deep voice. Just reality – Miss Mottley can be quite a large figure in any photograph, especially when she wears her favourite all-red dresses and outfits. Like we say folks, just reality.

2/ August 26, 2009 – Hartley Henry publishes an article in The Barbados Advocate denying that he threatened Martindale as alleged – and surprisingly at the same time revealing the actual threat. Henry confirms that he told Martindale that unless she did as he demanded, “the whole of Barbados will come to understand how it is that”, a particular individual “can have unfettered access to” a known publication. Henry’s article No threat to press freedom, it is all about the ‘connection’ hits the internet the evening of August 26, 2009 when the Barbados Advocate’s August 27th edition is posted online.

How is it that a “particular individual” has unfettered access to The Nation newspaper? What was Mr. Henry threatening to reveal? What was “the connection”?

Barbados didn’t have long to wait…

3/ August 27, 2009 (about 5:39pm Bridgetown) – Hartley Henry follows through with his threat to harm the reputation of editor Carol Martindale by publishing an expanded version of his article at Barbados Underground blog.

Read in context of the current allegations of threats against the Nation News editor, Mr. Henry alleges what can only be a lesbian sex triangle involving two Nation News staffers and “said heavy roller” who gets “prominence on demand” in the coverage by the Nation News – according to Mr. Henry. Everyone in Barbados knows who Mr. Henry is referring to as “said heavy roller” who, Mr. Henry alleges, “licks” the two female Nation News staffers as they are “lying prostrate at every beck and call.”

Henry also alleged that the two Nation News staffers take turns running “the desk” at the Nation News for each other so they can each have sex with “heavy roller” up in “the nest” and “The whole thing makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like students of theology. In return, the heavy roller gets prominence on demand.”

Well, Mr. Henry threatened to ruin reputations if the newspaper didn’t print the article his way, and I guess he meant it.

4/ August 28, 2009 – Barbados Free Press publishes an article remarking on Hartley Henry’s disgusting allegations as published at Barbados Underground blog. BFP stated Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Thompson Follows Through With Threats Against Barbados Journalist.

5/ August 30, 2009 – The Barbados Advocate publishes a front page editorial Whose yellow journalism? backing Hartley Henry and declaring that everything is ok as Mr. Henry “did not utter threats against Ms. Martindale’s life, if he did express any vindictive emotions at all.”

The Barbados Advocate editorial never mentions that Hartley Henry did, in fact, follow through with his threat to ruin Ms. Martindale by publishing his disgusting allegations online at Barbados Underground blog.

Barbados Advocate readers will never know how deceitful the paper is unless they have internet access and read Mr. Henry’s article at BU or read about it at BFP.

Of course the editors at the Barbados Advocate know about Mr. Henry’s article at Barbados Underground. So does Prime Minister Thompson by now.

The Barbados Advocate has once again proven that citizens cannot trust the Bajan news media. The paper has also shown that it is truly undeserving of the name The Barbados Advocate.

Ladies and gentlemen, here (in text and a jpg) is the deceitful editorial as published in The DLP Advocate…

Comment: Whose yellow journalism?


‘Monkey See Monkey Do?’

Yellow-JournalismIn what seemed to the unbiased reader to be a self-righteous diatribe against a known party-political activist, another section of the media rushed into print last Sunday, August 23rd to make out a case against “intimidation”. The Barbados Advocate would wish today to bring some sanity and sobriety to the issue and to demonstrate that it is even less than a ‘9-day wonder’. In fact, if truth be told, the matter seems to be of such minuscule importance that the seemingly “offended” newspaper appears guilty of ‘making a mountain out of a mole-hill’.

The burden of the claim seems to be that Mr. Hartley Henry, a former Journalist and a regionally known political strategist attached to the ruling Democratic Labour Party, called the Nation Newspaper and requested that the results of the CADRES poll conducted for the DLP “get the same treatment as polls done on behalf of that same newspaper”.

Mr. Henry is alleged to have made remarks to Sunday Sun Editor Ms. Carol Martindale, threatening to “tarnish her reputation” and “turn Barbados against her” and “bring her down … if she did not do the right thing”.

This story received the full treatment in the particular section of the media from which it emanated, namely a Headline story and a “Page One Comment”. The Barbados Advocate wonders why the matter was dealt with in this way.

Let it not be said that this newspaper condones any unprofessional behaviour from any part of the society against professional journalists; after all, this newspaper prides itself on being in the forefront of the fight against those who would vent their vindictiveness against media workers, particularly those in the print segment. However, this recent brou-ha-ha has made the Barbados Advocate come out to put matters in proper perspective, lest the public be fooled into “taking up other people’s FIRE-RAGE”.

Let us get this matter straight; Mr. Henry did not utter threats against Ms. Martindale’s life, if he did express any vindictive emotions at all. More to the point, Ms. Martindale fully knows that there is a way to gain redress for harassment – inform the Royal Barbados Police Force – not cry “wolf, wolf” when there may simply be a canine growl from a corner which has been battered, bruised and blasted by Ms. Martindale’s paper in the past.

There was a time, not so long ago when the DLP-in-opposition would have been subjected to some of the most cruel jokes, snide remarks and lampoonings from her newspaper, particularly after it fell into the hands of media moguls from the twin-island republic.

Persons like Mr. Henry then received short shrift whenever they complained of such biased treatment.

Let us be further enlightened. This is a tiny island with the greatest population density in the world; it is a closely-knit community where the private lives of well-known individuals are usually common knowledge. The journalistic community knows well whose ‘breadfruits hang low’ and therefore it is passing strange that the other section of the print media should scream loudly about threats of “exposure” and “tarnishing”, unless there is some matter of substance to be bruited abroad.

The Barbados Advocate wonders why it was necessary for that particular newspaper to bring to the attention of the critical mass in this island, a story which has had no particular hold on the public imagination. Surely, all proper local channels should have been exhausted first and an investigation allowed to follow its course before drawing such negative attention to Barbados’ journalistic reputation on the world stage.

One wonders if there was another motive behind the lurid captions. Surely that section of the media should not need to boost the sale of its publications! After all, it regularly trumpets the point about the 200 000 plus readership per week and then there is the ‘HEAT’ which is apparently “doing extremely well”. Sometime ago our paper was criticised for exposures and there was a ‘hue and cry’ about “yellow journalism”. Today the discerning Barbadian public can easily judge the merit of such sensationalist claims and the Barbados Advocate says “who the cap fit, let them wear it!” After one week it is apparent that the story ‘has no legs’ and that this was one big fizz.

If this is a case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’, then it serves only to highlight the age-old notion that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but the imitators must be careful not to tarnish themselves. After all, we should remember the pertinent Barbadian proverb, ‘the more the monkey climb, the more he show he tail’.

To be continued


Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

25 responses to “Barbados Advocate ‘Yellow Journalism’ Editorial Ignores the Truth: Hartley Henry carried out his threat at Barbados Underground


    Good for you BFP. Simple and clearly laid out. Easy to understand the deceit of the Advocate in not reporting Henry’s Barbados Underground “lesbian lick’em” article.

    Someone remind me please. Wasn’t Hartley Henry supposed to have some street smarts in politics? He must have been drunk when he hit “send” on that article!

  2. reality check

    Randolf Hearst would be extremely proud of the Advocate and BU were he alive today.

    Extortion, blackmail, sexual innuendo, economic control of the media, victimization, political power at any cost and much more.

    Just another day in Barbados.

    God have mercy on us.

  3. knat

    This Hartley Henry is the senior advisor to your Prime Minister? He wouldn’t last an hour in Washington or for that matter in any small town in the US. I doubt he could get himself elected as dog catcher.

  4. Johnnie Too Bad

    I have had emails from Germany, Italy , Canada, the UK, New Zealand and even from some friends in Pretoria. We in Barbados appear to be one of the laughing stocks of the world right now.
    My contacts want to know what precisely is the PM saying about all this, when his chief political adviser can sink to a cesspol of villany, indirect blackmail, threats, gossip, defamation of people’s character and the PM is staying out of it.
    What in god’s name kind of PM do we have in Barbados?
    Why is there no condemnation of any significance from the leading church authorities? How can a government or its leader continue to support Hartley Henry in his outrageous attempt to destroy another professional’s reputation without any possible repercussions whatsoever.
    There are only two possible reasons for this apparent silence from the major opinion leaders, they must either agree with it and see it as the right thing to do. Or sad to say, democracy in this little country of ours is so badly tarnished that we are now immuned to any thing that takes place in this island.
    Let us call a spade a spade or whatever, Hartley Henry is an odious little bully that has no place at the table of the highest power in the land.
    When will it be that he does not do a similar thing if he could not get a loan from the bank, that he could not get fish when vendors have none, his car repaired in ten minutes, his meal on time in a restaurant? Who else should suffer simply because he cannot get his way.
    All good people in this country should rise up against such behabiour. How can the timid members of the DLP agree with this kind of crap? What happens if another party were to behave in that fashion against the DLP when next they are in opposition? Wake up Barbados and demand that the PM do something about this.

  5. J

    Dear knat you wrote ” doubt he could get himself elected as dog catcher.”

    Can’t get elected as dog catcher in BArbados either.

  6. David Ross

    I “wonder” how “the journalists” who “wrote” that scare-quote-studded “editorial” ever got “out” of “English class”.

  7. PiedPiper

    BFP, if yu have a moment, can you tell me the author of that editorial?

  8. Paul Barnes

    At the end of the day (as Miss Mottley loves to say), most right-thinking Barbadians know that Hartley Henry is nothing more than a nefarious little man who lives and operates under the darkest and dankest of political rocks. It is also well known that the Barbados Advocate is a strong contender for the title of the worst newspaper published in the English language. Hopefully, most people will see that when these two stars of the media world are in alignment that liberal pinches of salt need to be taken with their comments.


  9. BFP

    The Barbados Advocate didn’t say who wrote their editorial.

    If you mean our article, Marcus did that.


  10. J

    Paul Barnes wrote “It is also well known that the Barbados Advocate is a strong contender for the title of the worst newspaper published in the English language.”


  11. PiedPiper

    Clive, I meant the Advocate editorial. There is something very familiar about the style of writing and turn of phrase, familiar as in a regular contributer over at BU.

  12. Jack Bowman

    Dear BFP folks,

    Any chance you can release my latest from moderation? I make no complaints. If you can’t release it, could you just tell me to go away? If you do release it, please feel free to delete this comment.

    Thanks a mill.

  13. Jack Bowman

    The Advocate’s front-page comment (or, since its editors would doubtless decorate it with wholly needless quotation marks and pointless capitalisation, its “Front Page Comment”) is both comical and troubling.

    If I’ve got this straight, a bizarrely capitalised Regional Political Strategist (bizarrely capitalized as a “Journalist” in the editorial), telephoned a newspaper editor and told her that he wanted her newspaper to present certain information in a particular way. If she did not do that, apparently, he would harm her reputation.

    In short: if you don’t do A, I’ll do B, and I think B will make you unhappy.

    On the corner of the universe where I hang out, that’s called a threat. Perhaps the editorial writers at the Advocate hang out on different corners in a different universe—where words have different meanings, and where completely ordinary terms like “regional political strategist” have to be rendered as “Regional Political Strategist”, to make Those Words seem Important to the Uninitiated.

    The best bit of the editorial comes in the first sentence of the fifth paragraph, where the writer enjoins us NOT to say something:

    “Let it not be said that [the Advocate] condones any unprofessional behaviour from any part of the society against professional ¬journalists; after all, this newspaper prides itself on being in the ¬forefront of the fight against those who would vent their vindictiveness against media ¬workers.”

    Being in the “forefront of the fight”, then, consists of publishing a front-page editorial that seeks assiduously to minimise a threat to a journalist. Man, it must take real balls to be in a fight like that. Remarkable guts. The entire tone and substance of almost everything else in the editorial indicates that it should INDEED be said that the Advocate is perfectly happy if a “part of the society”, even a bizarrely capitalized Regional Political Strategist, even a randomly capitalized former Journalist, threatens a newspaper editor.

    The alleged threat, of course, has been condemned publicly by professional journalists. But that doesn’t matter to the editorial writer at the Advocate, who is doubtless in the trenches fighting the good fight against threats to journalists. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    That’s the crux of the matter. It’s hard to know what to do with the rest of the editorial except deconstruct it in sequence.

    It begins: “In what seemed to the unbiased reader to be a self-righteous ¬diatribe …”. Truly unbiased readers, by definition, would not see a self-righteous diatribe. They’d see a newspaper story that might have another side. ONLY a biased reader would see a diatribe from the outset.

    It continues with, at my count, nine different instances of completely unnecessary pairs of quotation marks. Quotation marks are like winking. As my old tutor used to tell me: you might wink once at someone in five minutes, perhaps twice in ten minutes. But if you wink at someone all the time they’ll think you’re an idiot.

    The third line is cool. Apparently, another newspaper tried to “make out a case”. American teenagers in the 1960s used to make out. These days, grown-ups who can write English with any degree of facility tend just to “make a case”.

    Random capitalization, a perennial and smile-inducing feature of Bajan journalism, litters the editorial … so we have a Journalist and a Newspaper and a Headline. That might seem minor, but if “journalists” can’t get the most basic writing stuff correct, you really have to wonder about their capacity for critical thought.

    The sixth paragraph is a beauty: “Ms. Martindale fully knows that there is a way to gain redress for ¬harassment – inform the Royal Barbados Police Force – not cry “wolf, wolf” when there may simply be a canine growl …”.

    Quite apart from the fact that the sentence displays the grammar of a none-too-bright adolescent, the editorial writer has failed woefully to grasp the moral of Aesop’s fable. Don’t they have access to Google at the Advocate?

    Paragraph nine claims: “this a tiny island with the ¬greatest population density in the world.” Factually incorrect. Of the hundreds of journalists I’ve known, not even the worst would write such a thing without making the most minimal effort to fact-check. Don’t they have access to Wikipedia at the Advocate?

    I could go on (about the ludicrous use of the term “critical mass”, among many, many other things), but why bother?

    It’s hard even to blame the “journalists” (in this case, the quote marks are definitely needed). Given the kind of stories that they are told or choose to report on, sometimes I wonder how they manage to get out of bed in the morning. You: re-write this puff-piece from the Toyota dealership about which guy sold the most RAVs this year. We’ll run it on page 3. You: check out which kid won a prize for good attendance at St. Dull’s last month. We’ll run it on page 4. You: we got this PR copy from the Deteriorating Hotel. Make sure it gets onto page 5.

    The economy is going to hell in a handcart, people are desperately worried about the future, and what’s above the fold on page 1 of my Advocate today? “Nurses Must See Themselves As Professionals”. Almost perfect in its wrong-headedness.

    The tenth paragraph of the Advocate editorial worries about “negative attention to Barbados’ journalistic reputation on the world stage.” Man, grow up. Barbados doesn’t HAVE any journalistic reputation on the world stage.

    Best wishes.

    Oh, and as the Advocate editorial says: “to be continued”.

  14. Hants

    Very good article on page 12 of the Advocate today by Youth leader Jason Francis.

    Yes Jason Barbados is full of hypocrites.

  15. Avatar Gurl

    Well well well!

    As we talking about “lickin'”…

    Wasn’t the Double H “lickin'” a prime piece of pork recently?

    Bar-B-Q Pig Tails…

  16. J

    Jack Bowman wrote on September 4th at 9:37 p.m.

    “Don’t they have access to Google at the Advocate…don’t they have access to Wikipedia at the Advocate?”

    Yes the Advocate has access to Google and Wikipedia.

    But the editorial writer does not have access to a brain.

  17. PiedPiper

    Wishing In Vain // September 6, 2009 at 10:34 PM


    “How do you know that the article submitted to you was a true representation of Hartley’s story it may have been edited and sent to you, so how then can Hartley be said to be the author of the article anyway??”

    Please read the above quote carefully and see a) how HH intends to worm his way out of responsibility and b) David’s colusion with HH.

    Below is a very relevant question to David from poster “checkit-out”:

    “Is there a closer CONNECTION than meets the eye between HH and BU?”

  18. Markus

    So all this silly bashing of Hartley Henry. Tell me, is he lying? If he isn’t, then I don’t know if statement of truth amounts to a threat.

  19. BFP

    Yes Markus, when a powerful person from the government says to a newspaper editor, “Do this or I will turn Barbados against you” and then the editor doesn’t comply and the powerful government person then follows through with the threat and prints articles accusing people of improper activities that he was willing to ignore if only the editor did as told…

    Yes, that is a threat. It is also extortion.

  20. If I were Dale Marshall

    Under the Microscope: Owen and Mia – Six and half a dozen


    By Hartley Henry

    I hold no particular brief for Mia Mottley, but what Owen Arthur is doing to her is not right and definitely not fair. It appears that he set her up to fail and she has failed.

    Arthur handed over the leadership of the party to Mottley but never once gave her the guidance and support that she needed to break free of the tattered image that she brought to the helm of the organisation.

    He grudgingly handed over the gavel but never once, it would appear, wished her well in that position. Now, 18 months later, the issue of leadership in the party is no more settled than it was at the beginning of the journey and all of a sudden, Arthur has sprung to life. Arthur spoke for 45 minutes last Sunday, but again, never once said that he was supporting Mottley or that he was committed to her success.

    She in turn, did not wish to offend him two weeks ago, so she il-advisedly conceded that she trails him in popularity and appeal. I would never have advised her to do that. Frankly, I think it was a response to the recent poll not befitting a person of Mottley’s vast political experience.

    I do not know where the BLP train is headed, but I would advise any friend or relative of mine to jump off. There is no way I can see Mia Mottley being ousted from the leadership of the Barbados Labour Party and remaining quiet and dignified. She is no David Thompson. She will not walk away and lick her wounds. I predict that if she were to be ousted from the leadership of that party, she would “brek it up”.
    Frankly, she would have all rights to, because she was not given a fair chance. Arthur never gave her the support that a former leader should have offered.

    I have my doubts as to whether she would have done any better than she did in terms of image and appeal, but that does not take away from the fact that Arthur should have been there for her. He stood away from Parliament. He stood away from Roebuck Street. He kept his hidden kitchen cabinet operating and never once endorsed or supported any of the battles that she waged. The fact that I believe Mottley is unsuited to lead Barbados now or anytime in the foreseeable future is irrelevant to the discussion. She was appointed and anointed leader and she should have been supported by all in and around the party.

    Frankly, I do not understand how and why thinking citizens would seek to distinguish Arthur from Mottley when it comes to leadership. They are one and the same, when it comes to leadership style and approach. Persons seem to forget that Mottley was a heartbeat away from the leadership of Barbados during the past two terms. That there was a period in the first half of the current decade when Arthur spent more time away from Barbados than he did in the land and where Mottley chaired the Cabinet of Barbados and led the troops in Parliament for weeks unending.

    All the arrows that can and have been pointed in the direction of Owen Arthur can easily be pointed in the direction of Mottley. She was his sidekick in many respects. They are a political Siamese.

    The Gems financial fiasco occurred with Arthur and Mottley at the helm. The $750 million in cost overruns racked up by the former BLP government came about under the twin-headed leadership of Arthur and Mottley. The ABC Highway scandal that has now come back to haunt and hurt Barbadian taxpapers is the product of the genius of Arthur and Mottley. The embarrassments that are today UDC, RDC, Invest Barbados, NHC, an over-priced, hard to use Kensington Oval, the prison at Dodds, the office complex at Warrens, the millions of dollars in unserviceable equipment brought in by a mutual friend and a host of other infelicities, the details of which will be made public in the fullness of time, were all done with the full knowledge and sanction of Arthur and Mottley.

    How is it today that people are seeking to make a distinction? There is no difference between what Arthur did and what Mottley would do. All that Mottley knows she learnt at the feet of Arthur. Therefore just what the electorate rejected in January, 2008 is precisely what they would receive were Mottley to assume the reins of government any time soon.

    From when is the Barbados Labour Party so “poor rakey” that it has to look back to go forward? Following the defeat of Bernard St. John in 1971, it looked to Tom Adams in 1976. It had the likes of Henry Forde, L.B Brathwaite and then young turks like Louis Tull, Billie Miller, David Simmons, Richard Cheltenham and that generation in its armor, but it went for the then fresh and unblemished Tom Adams.
    In 1991, following the defeat of Henry Forde it worked around the aforementioned remnants of the great combination and chose Arthur. Now today, in 2009, it finds itself so bereft of talent that in going forward it is looking to the same rejected leadership of 2008 to propel it towards 2013.

    What does this say of the likes of Marshall, Mascoll and the host of new faces it introduced in the last general elections? What truth are they admitting about the new candidates they have sprung upon the electorate in the past 12 months? Aren’t any of them leadership material?

    In 1987, long before David Thompson had penned his name to a nomination paper, the country knew that here was a future leader of Barbados. The same applied to Errol Barrow in the 1950s and Richie Haynes in the 1970s. We saw in them, what we wanted in future leaders. Mia Mottley has been in the forefront of national leadership for the past 20 years and today, in the year of our Lord 2009, is being touted as a person with leadership potential who needs to be nurtured and given a chance. Give me an asprin!

    What more chance does Mia Mottley require? That name alone is supposed to bring with it certain pedigree. She is a third generation politician. She served for several years as Deputy Prime Minister. Her face is known to many, her lips are known to more. Her tongue is legendary. She is a former Attorney General and a Queens Counsel. What then is preventing her from being a natural, logical choice for future leadership of Barbados? Could it be that Barbadians do not have a mirror image of Mia Mottley when they focus on the type of leadership that’s good for this country?

    And what of Owen Arthur? He was given a chance over several others back in 1994. He did a relatively good job initially, but, like most short men, power got to his head. His economic genius, when finally tested, netted very poor results. He has left a legacy of economic destruction, with hardly a profitable public enterprise and no social safety net to protect the poor and vulnerable. Is Arthur really ready to stand in the political dock and have his charge sheet read out? I think not!

  21. Mugaffy Allamby

    Bowman, I may not always agree with what you say, but I must say, that bit above was very nicely written indeed.

  22. Jack Bowman

    J said: “Yes the Advocate has access to Google and Wikipedia. But the editorial writer does not have access to a brain.”

    That made me laugh out loud, which was unfortunate because I was drinking tea at the time. Took three cloths to get the tea off my screen.

    Thanks for the grin, Mr/Ms J.

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