Daily Archives: September 27, 2009

Using World Tourism Day to build bridges between cultures and religions

Rome’s Holy See puts out an excellent short video marking World Tourism Day

“Through tourism you have the chance to meet and to know people of different minds and opinions and religions and idiosyncrasies, etc. And this can be an enrichment because it could be an occasion of respect, of acceptance.”

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto
Secretary, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants

Today’s Barbados Advocate also has an excellent World Tourism Day section once you get past the use of the occasion to transfer government tax revenues to the paper through advertisements from smiling politicians.

I haven’t seen The Nation today and I wonder if that paper will have received an equal amount of government revenue.

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Where did Denis Lowe get the money to pay for this Barbados Advocate advertisement?

Denis Lowe Barbados 2

The Public has no right in law to monitor any government expenditures – Once elected, MPs do as they wish

The simplest questions are often the most awkward – but only if you have to answer them. Dr. Lowe and our other elected representatives don’t have to answer questions about money, so why should they worry? With zero transparency and accountability required of government officials, Barbados Members of Parliament don’t have to be concerned about keeping financial records showing where the money comes from and how it is spent.

Barbados has no Freedom of Information laws, so unlike in many responsible democracies Bajans have neither the right in law nor the tools necessary to monitor how government officials spend our tax dollars. We were promised an FOI law within 100 days of the DLP’s election, but you know what happened to that and other promises of Integrity, Transparency and Accountability.

But back to our simple little question…

…where did Denis Lowe get the money to pay for the advertisement in today’s Barbados Advocate?

Did Minister Lowe pay for the advertisement out of his own salary? (As if!)

Did the money come from the DLP’s bank account. (I don’t think so!)

I’d have to guess that the money came from the taxpayers. That’s your money and mine that Minister Lowe used to congratulate the Sanitation Service Authority for 40 years of hard work.

How much money does Mr. Lowe spend on newspaper advertising? How much on meals and entertainment? How much on trips? Has he ever purchased any personal items using government funds? Any computers or clothes? Any books or supplies for his “home” office?

How much money does Mr. Lowe spend in a year placing advertisements in the Barbados Advocate? How much in the Nation? How much does the DLP spend in advertising with the Advocate compared with the Nation?

These are all valid questions. Citizens have a moral right to know how our tax dollars are spent, but thanks to the joint efforts of David Thompson, Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and a host of present and past politicians, there is no transparency or accountability concerning the discretionary spending of the government and individual elected members.

And that is exactly the way that Denis Lowe, Mia Mottley and David Thompson prefer it.

Your local MP?

Your local MP?

And speaking about Members of Parliament and money, we hear rumours that one or two MPs turn around and walk the other way when they see certain landlords and creditors heading in their direction.

With no accountability for official spending and everyone willing to extend credit to members of a newly elected government, it wouldn’t surprise us to hear that some elected members have dug themselves into a little hole with their personal finances. This, of course, opens the door to temptation as a Member of Parliament who is under personal financial pressure might be susceptible to “loans” from land developers or people who obtain government contracts.

As strange as it seems, elected Members of Parliament are free to take “loans” or “gifts” from people who do business with the government – because Barbados has no law against this activity. Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP government reneged on their promise to implement a code of conduct immediately upon taking office, but we don’t hear Mia Mottley and the BLP Opposition saying anything about it. Something about pots and kettles.

Rumours of a Fax from Dr. Lowe

You might want to read our piece from December 19, 2008 to remember a controversy that came and died and was forgotten…

BFP, Dec 19, 2008: Barbados Government Minister Denis Lowe Seduced By The Dark Side

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption