Daily Archives: May 24, 2010

Respected community leader: Some Barbados politicians might be taking payoffs from drug gangs

When Drug Money, Gangs and Politics mix – Worries in Barbados

The Chairman of the Barbados Youth Development Council made a surprising remark last Friday and said in public what many folks have whispered to each other privately. Roger Husbands came right up to the line for public comment in Barbados, and even more surprising The Nation printed some of what he said…

POLITICIANS are either “getting assistance” to keep quiet about gang activities in their constituencies, or they just don’t care, says Roger Husbands.

Speaking yesterday during a quarterly meeting for the Barbados Youth Development Council, chairman Husbands blasted politicians…

… from The Nation article MPs urged to face gang problems in districts

In Barbados it is legal for drug dealers to make secret “campaign donations” to Members of Parliament

Roger Husbands is to be admired for his courage and straight talking – which we’ve seen reported before in Ian Bourne’s Gangs of Barbados article.

Now Mr. Husbands has made new remarks and his concerns are especially timely considering that as I write this article Jamaica is aflame with riots and shooting as drug gangs battle police for control of the streets – and it’s all about drug money injected into politics.

The news in Jamaica is about the relationship between Prime Minister Bruce Golding and the murderous drug dealer ‘businessman’ Christopher “Dudus” Coke. If the news stories are to be believed, Dudus Coke the gang leader was a big political supporter of PM Golding, and in return Jamaican government contracts were given to the “legitimate businessman” Mr. Coke.

The folks over at Jamaica and the World blog are asking Prime Minister Golding’s wife Lorna Golding what she meant when she told people to “read between the lines”…

“Is it that Bruce received a reminder from ‘Dudus’ that he,  Dudus, made him, Bruce, the M.P. for West Kingston  ? And can make him the “former M.P. of West Kingston” anytime….. (snip)

… Or should we read between the lines and stop feeling sorry for Bruce, who having sold out to Dudus so he could be PM,  has now turned around and sold out Dudus in order to remain PM for a few more weeks and months ?

Approving the extradition order for Dudus was the cross…. Now we’re waiting to find out what’s the DOUBLE CROSS.”

… from the Jamaica and the World article Reading between the lines with Lorna Golding (and Dudus Coke)

Drug Gangs and Political Financing in Barbados – Barbados politicians don’t have to account for money they receive, and there are no laws about who can “donate” and how much.

Roger Husbands’ statements to the Barbados Youth Development Council are a warning. Barbados has no campaign financing laws. There is no transparency. There are no rules. No integrity legislation. No conflict of interest laws. No restrictions on who can give how much money to politicians.

No rules and it’s all done in secret. That’s the Barbados political financing reality.

Mr. Husbands is right to be worried that drug gangs are part of the financing to Barbados politicians, and that the gangs might be protected in return.

We’ve all heard the whispers, but now a respected community leader has said those whispers out loud.

What will Barbados Members of Parliament do about it?

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Jamaica, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Will Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe attend World Environment Day Parish Walk – Saturday, June 5, 2010?

Why does our Environment Minister shun citizen-organised Environmental events?

Minister Denis Lowe

With his friendly demeanor and large frame Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe is easy to spot when he appears in public, but other than his press interviews and carefully-staged talks at schools, political functions and Ministry show-projects, Mr. Lowe remains The Invisible Man to ordinary citizens.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 is World Environment Day (UN WED website here).

Commemorated on 5 June since 1972, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

This year, the National Conservation Commission and the Future Centre Trust are jointly holding a World Environment Day Parish Walk from the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph to Bathsheba.  This event also marks the 40th Anniversary of the NCC.

We wonder if Environment Minister Lowe will attend this citizen-organised walk or if he will limit his participation to taking out one of his famous full page adverts in The Barbados Advocate. In lieu of the full page advert, perhaps he might be planning to do one of his “I am concerned” media interviews while standing in front of government crews cleaning drains. (The Barbados Advocate covers Dr. Lowe’s stand up interviews faithfully but that has nothing to do with the regular full page government advertisements… honest!)

Pardon our cynicism folks, but Dr. Lowe and his Ministry have been no-shows at so many environmental events that we have to wonder. Most recently the Barbados Government, Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the Environment Ministry were invited to participate in the planning and execution of No Plastic Bag Day.

Denis Lowe canceled a scheduled meeting with the Future Centre Trust at the last moment saying he had more important commitments. Lowe sent no stand-in. No Ministry of the Environment personnel responded to invitations either – and no politicians from any party showed up during the planning or on the day of the event. The Barbados DLP Government of Prime Minister David Thompson did do one thing though: the DLP denied a duty waiver on the green shopping bags imported as part of No Plastic Bag Day.

The good Doctor Lowe hasn’t been seen at any beach or gully clean-ups either. He’s also been conspicuously absent from the site of the Shell Oil pipeline spill since he was elected.

“There is no question that Shell Oil bought and paid for two successive Barbados governments. How else can we explain the actions of both the BLP and DLP governments in allowing this negligent and abusive company to walk away free from a major pipeline leak that polluted the water table over hundreds of acres, ruined agricultural land and still threatens our beaches?”

from the BFP article How Much Did It Cost Shell Oil To Buy Two Barbados Governments? Without Election Financing Laws, We’ll Never Know

Prior to the DLP victory in January 2008, Denis Lowe was happy to work with environmentalists and concerned citizens to look for justice for the victims of the Shell Oil pipeline spill. Lowe attended with Adrian Loveridge and others to pull buckets of Shell jet fuel from household water wells and demand that Shell take responsibility and clean up their mess.

That was prior to the DLP forming the government, of course.

Now? We have Shell Oil’s “fixer company” saying they will “ensure government buy-in” to Shell’s position.

Hey… Dr. Lowe, please tell us how much in “campaign donations” that you and the Democratic Labour Party have received from Shell, SOL or associated companies since you lost interest in the Shell Oil pipeline spill?

Does it matter whether or not Environment Minister Lowe shows up for World Environment Day?

At this point? Nope. It doesn’t matter at all. Not a bit.

Barbados Free Press will be there though. See you on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 5am for a 6am start at the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph.

(5am? I know, I know! But Clive promises he’ll either get up early or stay up all night. Do we believe him? Sure! 🙂 )

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Disaster, Environment, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Oil, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption