Daily Archives: May 1, 2010

Bajan MP checklist: Suit, tie? check. Ankle holster, Glock pistol? check…

Has Parliament and politics in Barbados really come to this?

Forget for a moment that former Attorney General Dale Marshall says that Government Minister David Estwick pulled a gun from an ankle holster and threatened him with it at Parliament.

Forget the politics surrounding the event.

Forget that the Barbados government just flew in Reverend Al Sharpton to tell our young people to avoid gangs, violence and guns.

Just tell us this, Dr. Estwick…

What kind of example is it when a Minister of Government carries a handgun in an ankle holster in or out of Parliament? What does that say to the world about our country, our politics and our leaders?

Poor show, Dr. Estwick. Poor show.

Further Reading

The Nation: MP “Not so!”

The Nation: Marshall “Estwick threatened to slap me”

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics

Barbados businessman asks “Was Thompson’s election campaign a Big Lie? Not one single person held accountable for corruption.”

David Spieler

I have questioned why after so much political campaigning, that not a single person has been held accountable 3 years after elections.

I have questioned why after the DLP platform that promised us accountability and transparency and better judicious use of public spending for our island, that today absolutely nothing has changed.

If that promise were kept, then I would be quiet, but it has not been kept. So as I go off on Monday to ensure that the promise of best treatment to our customers is kept, I wonder whether our public servants will do the same.

I question the whole election campaign, and wonder whether it too, was a ‘Big Lie’. No proof after getting the government. Not ONE single person made accountable.

I want to know how much of the corruption was real, is real, and what is unreal. Will corruption be tackled in such a way to make an honest government? When?

Realise that what I call for – TRUTH and HONESTY- is in the best interest of Barbados, whether one is ‘B’ or ‘D’.

David Spieler

Editor’s note

This article was originally submitted as a comment by BFP reader David Spieler. It has been edited by BFP for length and grammar. The original can be viewed here. Photo of David Spieler courtesy of The Nation under fair-use to illustrate Mr. Spieler’s own writing.

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Mega-Disaster oil spill hits Southern USA – Lessons for Caribbean small island nations

The end of the world for many southern USA coastal communities

Unless you’ve been on the planet Mars or in Dodds Prison for the last few days, you know that a BP oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, USA exploded, caught fire and is spewing 5000 barrels of oil a day into the already-not-pristine waters of the Caribbean.

An oil slick the size of the state of West Virginia is starting to come ashore and threatens all along the southern USA coast from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama to Florida. The Mississippi River is covered with oil a mile up from the coast and that’s just the start.

This is the end of the world for many coastal communities because as we saw with the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the Shell Oil spill in Barbados these disasters kill everything for decades.

President Obama has declared a national emergency and sent in the military to do what they can do, but the magnitude of the spill means that only God could now prevent the total destruction of fisheries and tourism on thousands of miles of coastline.

“BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill — and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals — was unlikely, or virtually impossible.

The Coast Guard estimates now that at least 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers. The environmental catastrophe could eclipse the Exxon Valdez disaster, when an oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons off Alaska’s shores in 1989.”

… from the AP news story BP plan deemed major spill from Gulf well unlikely

Blame Game doesn’t matter right now

Some news stories indicate that the oil rig in question had major problems and safety violations for some time prior to the disaster. Some stories say that the oil rig was an older technology and that the operators were reckless. Some say that the rig met standards (whatever they are) but that nothing at sea is guaranteed 100% safe and secure.

Only the last statement about nothing at sea being 100% safe and secure is obviously true, but none of that matters to the poor folks along the coast who are seeing their lives destroyed. We know from past experience that any lawsuits will take two decades or more to settle. We know from past experience that committee after committee will perform study after study while tens of thousands lose their homes, jobs and businesses. Families will disperse. Lifetimes, even generations, of toil and sacrifice will be destroyed.

But BP British Petroleum will do alright because no doubt the rig was owned and operated by sub-companies with limited assets and even thinner insurance coverage and liability. BP will do alright because the politicians of the United States of America put the long term interests of the ordinary people and the nation secondary to the great god of MONEY and PROFIT.

All of which leads us to former Barbados Minister of Energy and the Environment Elizabeth Thompson.

During her tenure as Environment Minister, Elizabeth Thompson took the lead in auctioning off oil exploration areas around Barbados to multi-national oil companies. The Bajan news media proclaimed exaggerated benefits and mentioned no downside to this sell-a-thon of Bajan sovereignty.

Unnoticed and unmentioned by Liz Thompson and the Bajan news media though, was the fact that Barbados has no environmental legislation, regulations or enforcement organisation to police the oil companies. This disaster that will do so much damage along the US coast could easily have happened to our  beaches.

Imagine the slaughter of our economy if this happened to Barbados!

The days of “let the oil companies do what they want” should be long gone, but as we’ve seen with the Shell Oil pipeline spill along our south coast, our politicians for some reason seem to favour the polluting oil companies over our country’s future.

I wonder why that is? (He said knowingly…)

The oil spill disaster along the southern US coast should be a wake-up call to Bajan citizens. Hear the message well, my friends: our politicians are putting their own interests first over Barbados, and they can do so much damage if we allow them to act without the oversight of average citizens who are concerned for our children’s futures.

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Environment, Oil

Georgia Popplewell sends invoice to Newsday for unauthorized use of blogger’s Thomas Glave photo!

Will Trinidad & Tobago Newsday do the right thing?

Georgia Popplewell

The crew at Barbados Free Press try to be good boys and girls when it comes to attribution of photos and quotes. I’m not saying we’re perfect (and now someone will post a gazillion times when we’ve failed) – but we try to credit sources and photos at least with a link to the website or a mention in the story.

We’ve had some folks go bananas on us because we used their photo, credited them and linked to the photo, but never sent them money. Well, okay, we took the photo down when they complained. Ya have to know that WordPress where we host the blog would take the photo down if we didn’t and that’s okay because they know the law and such better than we.

But then there is the professional news media and you’d expect that they would know the exact laws and standards and that they would – or will – provide attribution and payment for photos when they use them.

Our friend Georgia Popplewell has sent an invoice to T&T Newsday for the unauthorised use of one of her photos and we hope she receives a fair cheque in the mail from the honourable folks at Newsday.

We’d show you the photo here but Georgia is on an understandable rant about this so we don’t dare!

So you’ll have to head over to Caribbean Free Radio (link above) to see her excellent photo of writer Thomas Glave. Georgia’s portrait of Glave really is something special and you should have a look and read her story.

But another reason I’m not going to display the photo is that Georgia is a fine looking, talented woman and I’d hate to violate her creative rights and ruin my chances to buy her lunch if I run into her later!*

*Disclaimer: Nothing untoward is meant by this statement. I admire Georgia’s work and would enjoy talking with her late one afternoon over some salad, little fisheggs on toast and some fine champagne!

Cliverton ;-)

FOR THE RECORD: The photo of Georgia Popplewell shown here is one we’ve been using since 2006. I can’t remember where we stole it from, but we did. Forgive us Georgia!

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging, News Media