Was the US charge d’affaires surprised by Barbados’ refusal to look after Haitian injured?

Rickey Singh upset about diplomatic breach – Doesn’t mention that Barbados could take in some Haitians

In his current Nation News article US envoy’s ‘pressure’ on Barbados Rickey Singh is all upset that Brent Hardt, the chargé d’affaires of the United States of America for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, went public with Barbados’ refusal to take in Haitian injured.

Here’s some of what Rickey says:

My understanding is that both Minister of Health Donville Inniss and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine McClean had communicated to Hardt why his request could not realistically be entertained. Then followed the diplomat’s surprising letter which, to say the least, did not accurately reflect the ministerial positions that had been conveyed to him before his written request, as he made known to the media.

The question is, why? When he claimed, as reported, that the “significant medical capacity in the Caribbean” made these countries “well placed” to treat the injured Haitians, was Hardt speaking out of first-hand knowledge or assumption? And which of the other governments in the region had he communicated his request to before, or after, engaging the attention of the Foreign Affairs and Health Ministers of Barbados?

Perhaps when, as I understand, he receives an official written response to his request on behalf of the injured Haitians, we may learn why, in the first place, the Barbados Government had to suffer such an unnecessary inconvenience to explain to a United States diplomat its inability, at this stage, to offer the medical care needed by the injured Haitian earthquake victims. Why push Barbados on the defensive when, like other CARICOM states, it is also currently actively involved in various efforts to help the people of Haiti?

US diplomat Brent Hardt

Aside from the diplomatic faux pas by Mr. Hardt (which I don’t mind at all considering he was trying to save some lives and Barbados said “Let ’em die”), I pose this question…

Could it be that Barbados has spread the “first world, little Britain” propaganda so effectively that Mr. Hardt truly is unable to comprehend our refusal?

Alternatively, might it be that Mr. Hardt is disgusted with Barbados because he, like everyone else on this island, knows that Bajans could easily take in a dozen or so amputees and their close families?

Could Mr. Hardt believe that the government’s refusal is based primarily upon current anti-immigration feelings in the population and other political considerations?

Whatever the reasons for refusal given by the Government of Barbados, the message comes through loud and clear: “No stinkin’ Haitians aboard the good ship Barbados. Not a one. Let ’em die.”

If you think that’s unfair, perhaps we can talk about it over cocktails at the Hilton or during a round at Ape’s Hill. Or, we could meet at the oval and chat while we admire the $300 million dollars we spent on our cricket palace.

Just don’t try to say that the sovereign nation of Barbados doesn’t have what it takes to accept 10 or 12 Haitian amputees and their close families for a year. There’s probably going to be that many rooms empty all year at Time Out at the Gap hotel alone.

Rickey Singh had better know that the Barbados government’s refusal to take in even a single Haitian victim and family has nothing to do with our capabilities.

The US chargé d’affaires knows that too.


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster, Ethics, Immigration, Politics

15 responses to “Was the US charge d’affaires surprised by Barbados’ refusal to look after Haitian injured?

  1. Red Lake Lassie

    BFP says “Could Mr. Hardt believe that the government’s refusal is based primarily upon current anti-immigration feelings in the population and other political considerations?”

    Yes. Most emphatically YES.

  2. The Watcher

    We have served as the “United States of the Caribbean” for many years with specific relation to opening up our borders to immigrants. Eventually(and we are already seeing the effects of this) our resources in this 166sq mi island will be stretched to their breaking point.
    The US, in times of hardship or reduced resources allocates those resources to US Citizens first, others after. It is as simple as that. Why shouldn’t we do the same?
    We’ve helped with donations(and we really don’t know where that money will eventually end up) and manpower assistance. So have many others in this region and worldwide by opening up their hearts and pockets in times of economic hardship which incidentally the US has a monumental role to play in these fallout experienced today. So now it seems like we’re going to get a whipping for saying no to offering medical assistance on the ground here when we’re in an already tough situation with our own medical establishment!
    Look, we’ve done more than our part! Nuff is enuf!
    Bajans first!
    Nuff said!

  3. oh come on

    save your breath the watcher, some ppl think that tings sweet as sugar in barbados, these same ppl almost never have to go to the qeh or the polyclinics for medical attention. they go sandy crest and fmh and then the companies they work for medical insurance take care of the Cost.

    if the government put us at risk economically by doing more than it can and the country standard of living goes to the dogs, bfp will be out front and vocal on here about how the government has failed us and probably blame ITAL or FOI (sarcasm)

  4. BajanLover

    This situation reminds me of a case that happened in Barbados in 2006. A man from St. Kitts said he was going to sue the QEH because his wife, who was airlifted from St. Kitts to Barbados for heart surgery, died before the surgery was performed. A shortage of hospital beds was partially to blame for the woman not getting the surgery in time. See the following link of the “NationNews” article:


    I am sure it seemed like a good idea to send the woman to Barbados when the surgery she needed was not available in St. Kitts, but the reality was that Barbados did not have a bed available for her in the surgical intensive care unit. The healthcare system in Barbados is not satisfactorily accommodating Bajans. Bringing sick people from Haiti to Barbados at this time would result in their having to continue to do without things they had to do without in Haiti or Bajans being bumped and forced to wait longer for services, so that the Haitians could be accommodated. It is a no win situation.

  5. De Original

    It is evident that the US have been canvassing the region for a place for these Haitians and they have been able to influence persons with a quid pro quo. Bermuda have gone public with the information that it will be taking some of these persons. when they do not have the infrastructure to support this over a long term, which is necessary for the rehabilitation of these injured persons. But what is interesting is that the government have also gone public with the news of changes to remove Bermudians with drug and violent crime convictions from the Us Stop List. The US have held fast in the past about allowing such persons into their country. So I am proud of Barbados for their stance living up to the legacy of Errol Walton Barrow. “friends of all, satellites of none” foreign policy objective

  6. John


    For me, this article says it all ……

    An Eye Care Centre gifted to Barbados in the early 1990’s by LIONS INTERNATIONAL to assist “our CARICOM neighbours” ……

    …. and never commissioned ….

    …… and now a refusal by Barbados to provide care to some of our same “CARICOM neighbours”.

    Yet our leaders speak of attracting investment from philanthropic organisations.

  7. oh come on

    my friend a heart attack victim forced to stay down on a bed in the a&e unconcious and on oxygen becuz no more beds available in any wards. and you want government compound this situation by accepting more strain on barbados’s medical resources? do some of yall really live in barbados?

  8. John

    ….. a whole new wing of QEH donated (free) by LIONS Internantional to be used to provide medical services for ourselves and our neighbours in Caricom …….

    …. yet to be commissioned for its intended purpose more than 15 years hence ….

    … but used for a variety of other things, ….

    …. including at one time, as a blood collecting unit ….

    … and also orthopaedic surgery!!

    If we can’t figure out how to put this act of philanthropy by an international philanthropic organisation to use for the benefit of ourselves and our neighbours, we really don’t deserve to have received it.

    To whom much is given, much is required.

  9. Maurice

    BFP are you kidding me. Barbados is not a colony of the US that needs to be dictated to by its master. They asked and we politely declined. Nuff said.

  10. BFP

    Hello Maurice,

    The moral issue is not that the USA asked us to help some injured Haitians. The issue is that they had to ask at all.

    Doesn’t really matter because our government has declared that not a single stinkin’ Haitian will set foot on Bajan soil. Not for a year or a week of assistance. “Let ’em die” says the government.

    Your concern is probably that we inconveniently mention the situation at all and that we reduce it to a simple truth: Some people will die because Barbados will not take in a dozen amputees and their close families for a year of care.

  11. oh come on

    i ask this again, have any of you who disagree with the government decision ever spent time in the qeh? or are you only sand crest, private doctor patients?

  12. Commander

    As a worker in our much maligned health care system I can safely say that I agree with what the government has done. At this time we cannot ……..(don’t mind what the politicos normally say) even take care of our own properly. We run out of basic supplies and resort to frustrating Barbadians with wait times andunavailability in the hope that they will find the $$ and get it done privately.

    I cannot be running out of gloves and paracetamol and have people playing big fashion accepting people into our country who will only result in further degradation of our situation.

    It is the first time in a long time that I have seen the politicians act with a sense of the reality that really exists in our health care system. I do however blame them for part of the public relations problem. They spend too much time bragging lies about how well our system is doing to expect that someone would not call their bluff at some point.

    In short Barbados has done well by its citizens but the truth swept under the carpet is that our health care system is stretched and cannot be maintained at this current level of taxation for free!
    ( this is even if we fully cut out wastage, fire excess useless dead weight and stop non-nationals from accessing our strained resources which they do for free every day in our polyclinics)

  13. oh come on

    commander, just save your breath, i have come to the conclusion that most of the people that comment here do not even live in barbados and have very little first hand knowledge on what goes on.

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