Source: MP’s custom suits, casual clothes purchased in Miami with election funds or tax dollars

DLP Politicians in Miami “Went wild at shopping and partying…”

“Custom made dress shirts at almost US$100 each”

Immediately after winning the January 2008 election, groups of DLP Members of Parliament were rotated through a week in Miami ostensibly to familiarise themselves with our consulate operations in that city.

That was the public story. The truth was something else…

An election celebration in Miami

According to an anonymous email* received at BFP, the main purpose of the Miami trips was to outfit each Member of Parliament with extensive wardrobes of business and casual clothing so they would project a professional appearance as a government member. The politicians were also provided with individual tutors who coached them in the niceties of being diplomats and politicians. At least one of the lecturers had close ties with the American Democratic party – the political party of President Obama.

(The source refers to a lecturer as being “from” the Democratic Party, but we are unsure what this means. BFP would appreciate it if the source could clarify this point and other questions at the end of this article.)

Most group lectures were held at a Miami hotel instead of the consulate as the election-winning DLP viewed the consulate as a BLP “fortress” still occupied by “the enemy”. There may have been some truth to that feeling as our anonymous source* appears to be an insider.

“Did you ever check the label on the inside of your Member of Parliament’s suit? You should because it was likely purchased with your tax dollars or with DLP political contributions.”

As expected, some of the newly elected politicians required more tutoring than others. The source states that at least one MP required extensive polishing and another behaved so badly in Miami that they lost any possibility of a future Ministerial position.

How much is too much – when there is no transparency, accountability or rules?

When BFP received this story we were of mixed opinions about the propriety of Members of Parliament being outfitted with business and casual wardrobes. We understood the diplomatic lectures and we probably could be convinced about the necessity of having each MP visit a relatively nearby consulate to learn and to network with the professional Bajan diplomats and staff who represent our country to the world.

We expect that the hotels and coach class airfares and reasonable meals would be expensed in a trip to the Miami consulate. We have no problem with that.

Where we have concerns is when our Members of Parliament are provided with extensive wardrobes of custom tailored business suits (@$US1000 per suit!), custom tailored shirts (@US$100 per shirt!) and multiples of the finest shoes, ties etc. That’s what happened according to our source.*

Then there is the matter of casual everyday clothes purchased as well. All the finest. All purchased and tailored in Miami and not Barbados.

Watches too!

Yes, our MPs purchased “accessories” like watches as they “Went wild at shopping and partying…” Our MPs “tasted champagne lifestyle for the first time” and liked it. We at BFP observe “Who of us wouldn’t like that lifestyle?” but it was a hell of a lesson for newly-elected MPs. The fatted calf was promised by Thompson and apparently that’s what our successful DLP politicians received.

PM Thompson Says His Use Of CLICO's Business Jet Is None Of Your Business

Some flew to Miami by business jet

Our source states that some of the MPs flew to Miami in a borrowed (not government chartered) business jet, while others flew commercially. This once again raises the issue of secret contributions and benefits provided to our elected representatives by wealthy persons and businesses. Was the CLICO business jet used for the trips? Hey… didn’t Leroy Parris end up with a cushy government job at the CBC?

The DLP says that’s none of your business.

Where did all this money for the extensive wardrobes come from?

We understand that several DLP Senators and party insiders were also included in the Miami trips, but if we limit our thoughts to just the 20 elected DLP MPs and estimate US$5,000 per person on clothes and accessories (which is low by what we guess) that is US$100,000 spent on business and casual clothes.

Where did that money come from? The DLP election coffers? DLP supporters? Anonymous corporate donations? One big donor? MPs expenses covered by our tax dollars?

That matters because without election financing laws, integrity legislation, a Freedom of Information act, a Ministerial code and conflict of interest rules – the public is in the dark. And… everything is legal anyway because there are no rules.

What do you think?

Should our elected representatives have been provided with extensive wardrobes of business and casual clothing at no charge to the MPs?

Should the voters have a right to know how much was spent and where the money came from?

The next time you meet a DLP politician and he hangs up his jacket, when you hand it back to him have a look for the label. Is it custom made in Miami or off the rack in Barbados?

Or maybe… the label will be removed.

* This article is the result of an anonymous email received at BFP from a proxity-type remailer that hides the sender’s information. All we can say is that the email had the ring of truth. We’ve all seen the clothes and the cars that appeared miraculously within a month or so of the election. We’ve seen it every election with the BLP and the DLP but never in our memory like in January and February 2008 following the DLP victory when expensive clothes and new autos and 4x4s seemed to rain down upon newly elected MPs like manna from Heaven.

The source asked us not to directly publish the email because they were frightened that quoting the entire email might reveal their identity. We have taken brief quotes from the email that appear in quotes in our article. We have withheld a few crucial details because we want to see more..

We (and for sure our readers) would like to know more. If the source or anyone else wants to post something anonymously without revealing their identity or their IP computer numbers, they can do so through anonymouse.org or any of a hundred other anonymous proxies.

Marcus

16 Comments

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

16 responses to “Source: MP’s custom suits, casual clothes purchased in Miami with election funds or tax dollars

  1. Jughead

    This is so typical of all of these self-serving politicians. No shame. Just take whatever they can get and let the taxpayer foot the bill.

  2. What will they think of next

    Come on BFP, you are not falling for that garbage are you?

  3. What will they think of next

    Something baffles me here, recently you were publishing posters computer IP addresses but you do not want to this time?

    Why the change? Something smells to high heaven here.

  4. BFP

    Hello WWTTON

    We do not publish the IP numbers of persons who provide tips, stories or general comments. In this case the person sending us the story used an anonymous proxy so we don’t know their true location anyway.

    We do publish posters’ IP addresses when they leave threats of violence on our blog OR when they post under multiple names to astroturf. We’ve been doing that for years and have even provided IP numbers to assist in police investigations, for instance when threats were made against Adrian & Margaret Loveridge and their business. You can read about it in our article Threats Against Adrian Loveridge Continue – Barbados Police Continue To Do NOTHING

  5. One who knows

    I noticed a definite and immediate improvement in the clothes and vehicles of successful dlp candidates within days of the election. Dr. Lowe got a new ride the third week in January. Michael Lashley did too. John Boyce’s new T came in early February 2008.

  6. What will they think of next

    What is Todd driving?

  7. I am a sucker for a well-dressed man … period! The question to be asked is … do the MPs look good? I could pin-point a few where the clothes didn’t make a bit of a difference (dey cudda save da money)

    I don’t mind them dressing well as long as the taxpayers aren’t paying for their wardrobe. I think they are making enough money that they could buy a proper suit for themselves.

    A business wear tip to all male MPs that should sustain him for the next three years:

    – About six well-fitting tailored suits
    – About three sport coats
    – About eight well-tailored slacks
    – Splurge on the ties and shirts (you could never have enough … ask Doug Hoyte)

    PS. Gentlemen don’t lose or gain any weight … hehe

    For the next greenshutters contribution … Business wear tips for all female MPs.

  8. crikey!

    Without transparency mandated by laws you won’t know whether your tax dollars paid for the clothes or whether some corporation paid for the clothes in return for some favour to come.

  9. oh no

    why must we always wear suit and ties… don’t they realise how bloody hot it is… its time someone brakes the chains and wears well fitting shirt and slacks and ditches ties and jackets……

    Lets start by having a national no tie day. See how much more comfortable we all are.

  10. West Side Davie

    ‘I don’t understand why we don’t have laws about election financing.’

    (Said tongue-in-cheek. I understand exactly why the political class doesn’t want that kind of scrutiny.)

  11. Fish Pot

    It might be true, but this would not stand up in court. Bring the proof. Whoever send the e.mail, come out and be counted.

  12. old story

    BFP you have covered this one before and yes we know its true because we all saw new toys and the new members boasting about it.

    The real question is who wrote the cheque, with whose help and which bank account paid for the new toys.

    Just like the Communist party in some countries, there is only one party and the rest are mandarins and consultants showing the new pigs at the trough how little they have to do and how to rip off the system through unearned incentives and consulting fees.

  13. BFP

    Hi fish pot,

    You are sure living in the past old friend. It should not be up to citizens to “bring proof” about how their tax dollars and campaign donations are spent!

    It should be up to the politicians to account for increases to their assets during their term in office.

    There should be transparency that is enforced by a Freedom of Information act. There should be rules about elected and appointed government officials taking gifts and money.

    That’s what Thompson and the DLP promised, but they lied.

    Barbados has no rules about all the above, so it’s all legal. The DLP politicians can take as much money as they want from whom they want and it’s all legal as long as they don’t directly promise to return a specific benefit to the person or corporation giving the money.

    And with no disclosure laws the whole thing remains a secret. It’s all secret… who gave how much money to whom. Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP say it’s none of your business.

    Welcome to a foundation for secret corruption that our politicians love!

  14. ninemikemike

    Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.

  15. John

    When the BLP get in next time, they will do the same!!

  16. akabozik

    we should not allow foreigners and foreign companies to donate money to political parties and candidates in Barbados. We are too small a country and our election process and voters can be heavily influenced by large injections of money from outside Barbados.

    I say stop foreign election donations.