Barbados Prime Minister silent on mass murder shop fire. Why?

Is David Thompson really back on the job?

The second largest* mass murder in our country’s modern history has produced not one word of condolence or concern from Prime Minister David Thompson. Not so much as a press release, let alone a personal appearance.

And that is not the David Thompson we all know.

In light of this, citizens are naturally questioning if the Prime Minister is fit enough to return to his duties after returning a week ago from two months of medical treatment in the USA.

On September 4, 2010 Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Freundel Stuart issued a statement extending condolences to the families and friends of the six murder victims. The Deputy PM also expressed confidence in the police and commented on the “embarrassment” that in the 21st century Barbados still has commercial buildings with only one exit.

Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall, Patrick Todd and Attorney General Freundel Stuart talk at the murder scene Saturday morning. (photo credit: The Nation)

Stuart appeared at the fire scene the next morning and generally assumed the public leadership role.

In all of this, Prime Minister David Thompson was not seen or heard when many believe it would be appropriate for the PM to speak. We all realise he’s been quite ill, but there is a feeling that the good ship Barbados is drifting at the moment without a Captain on the bridge. Sure, the rest of the officers and crew are running things, but it’s just not the same.

Prime Minister Thompson must be unable to appear in public – or he would have by now.

The concern over the PM’s lack of appearance is not really about this horrible crime.

We know that David Thompson’s heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims. Of course he cares and grieves with the rest of us. The David Thompson we know would want to show some leadership and compassion in all the circumstances. Normally, he would have appeared by now – but that means that he is unable to appear.

And THAT, my friends, is the problem that the citizens are concerned about.

One of our readers, David Brooks, commented…

September 5, 2010 at 2:49 pm

“BTW, I sorry, but I can’t help but ask … still no direct word from or sight of the PM, especially even after this?

I could understand if Stuart was still Acting PM, but … ???”

Later, Brooks further commented…

“From an Operational point of view it is the AG who would be addressing the Nation – making the initial comments, calling for claim, etc. in conjunction with the Commissioner of Police, Fire Chief and so forth – which he did, so no problem there.

Same as Mia Mottley as AG did when we had the Prison Fire, which she did well enough in my opinion that did not warrant the PM of the day (Owen Arthur) to step in, and the same in the Arch Cot tragedy when AG Marshall was at the forth-front (but I do recall seeing Owen around too). But if you have competent Ministers (Lieutenants) then don’t undermine their position.

However, I feel that as head of the Government of the people of Barbados, he should since he has officially taken back over as PM address the nation from the angle of offering sympathy and to give assurances and that sort of thing. Of course he would back up and support his AG and operational branches.

If he had returned and NOT taken back over as PM as yet, then I would NOT ask these questions and/or make these statements. Of course, notwithstanding this heinous crime and resultant tragedy, it is still very odd that he has not been able to address the nation since his return AND resuming office as PM.

I do not think that the fact that he is back physically on the island means that he HAS to take back up over the mantle of PM if he could still be on sick leave.”

*Largest Mass Murder in modern Barbados history

The worst mass murder in our modern history was on October 6, 1976, when anti-Castro terrorists murdered seventy-three people by blowing up Cubana Flight 455 off Barbados.

Declassified letters and reports (like one from FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley to Henry Kissenger) show that the United States Government knew of the plot beforehand and not only that: they knew exactly who was involved almost four months before the bombing.

You can read our previous articles about Cubana Flight 455…

What Henry Kissenger and the FBI knew about Cubana Flight 455 Bombing

Cubana Flight 455 Bombing – 30 Years Later USA Still Harbours A Terrorist


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police, Politics

25 responses to “Barbados Prime Minister silent on mass murder shop fire. Why?

  1. West Side Davie

    Prime Minister Thompson should call it quits. I respect the man for his past service and dedication to Barbados, but his coming home to resume his position is more out of loyalty to the DLP than to his country. I’ll take this back if he comes on the television today in an open press conference, but otherwise he’s a very lame duck.

    No offense intended. It is time that the “captain” takes command of the ocean liner or retires.

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  3. David G. Brooks

    I want to reiterate one of my comments above for the record – I’m sorry that I cannot put it in bold print … (let us be clear on this)

    “If he had returned and NOT taken back over as PM as yet, then I would NOT ask these questions and/or make these statements.”

  4. cq8

    Hello Mr. Brooks,

    I understand what you’re saying and I feel the same way. I know that the PM is trying his best and there were calls for him to return and political pressures etc. etc. etc.

    However, when he did return he announced to the country that he was ready, fit and able. That is probably not the case as recent events show.

    It would have been better if he had left the AG as acting PM and taken another month to recuperate. I don’t blame the PM in any way. He’s doing the best he is able and the country could take another few months with him in the background had he left things the way they were.

    It is the uncertainty that creates the instability and weakness and this latest incident where the PM would have shown up if he could but didn’t is a big red flag.

    Once again, I’m sorry for the PM and I hope he gets better soon.

  5. Cut him some slack

    The man is fighting for his life.. at the same time trying to retain command over politics of the island

  6. Anonymous

    All speculation! Why must the citizens of this supposedly free, open, and democratic country have to speculate on who is in charge, who is running the shop, and whether or not the man with the title is up to doing the job?

  7. Skinnin Cuffins


    Former PM Owen Arthur made the following comments recently at a BLP Haggatt Hall meeting;

    “At a time when the Government of Barbados doesn’t have any money, when the businesses of this country are struggling, when there is no sectors going on, is prepared to dip into you the taxpayers pockets and find 48.0 million dollars to allow for a re-design of the marina that has already been designed.

    And the company , (and you are going to hear about this shortly) the company was written by the BTII chairman, indicating that they were the substantial bidder and the most responsive bidder, putting in the best contract. In fairness to the chairman (BTII), a Mr. Thorne, he resigned over the incident and one of Barrow’s friends sons, a Bernstein, a loyal DEM, he has been so disgusted by the madness that he has resigned too from the BTII. Because he cannot understand why 48.0 million dollars must be taken up to give to this company in which Bannister has an interest, to redesign a marina that has already been redesigned, madness.”

    For anyone interested to to the link above and listen the former Prime Minister talk about the wanton and scandalous abuse of power and utter corruption by this administration.

    Barbados Shipping and Trading and its Managing Director is in the front page of todays Business Authority calling for Government to address the issue. Mr. King claims not to know what the situation is with the Pierhead marina, is that true?

    I assume the Bannister referred to by former PM Arthur is the same fellow associated with the VECO Dodds Prison deal, is it? If it is, why would this administration want to give him or his company 48.0 million dollars to redesign a marina the taxpayers have already paid 12.0 million dollars to have designed in the first place? Certainly these are questions easily answers by Senator Darcy Boyce who not only has responsibility for BTII but was also the CEO of BTII prior to January 15 2008.

    Four loyal DEMS resigned from the board of the BTI over the incident. The chairman, the deputy chairman and two directors. Is it because they point blank refused to sign a MOU with Bannister for 48.0 million dollars? This needs investigating.

    I waiting on Owen to feed us more so we can see who is caught up in this mess.

  8. Makin' Sense

    Everyone understands that this is a very difficult time for PM Thompson and his family – coming to terms with the potential loss of a father and husband is never easy. However, to say ‘cut him some slack’ and that Barbados can wait is simply not an option and smacks of a lack of knowledge. While we are all sympathetic, as PM you have to be prepared to do what is best for the country, especially in times like these. We cannot continue to wait; how many people will suffer in the upcoming months because no one is holding the reins? He is lucky he can afford to go overseas. The same poor people that he claims to champion are not so lucky; they rely on a corrupt, broken system at the QEH.

    His coming back to the island and ‘resuming his duties’ is more to do with his own ego, it seems to me, than what is good for the country and it’s people at a time of economic uncertainty which has seen the majority of those in power with their heads in the sand. It is clear that the DLP are scrambling to get what they can before the ship goes down; the BLP are probably preparing their action plan all like now (did you see the full page ad in the Nation a few weeks back?!)

    Should this come to the point of an election, then I hope Barbadians vote in a hung parliament – perhaps then they will keep each other on the straight and narrow; perhaps then you will see the transparency that has been promised; or perhaps both parties are so corrupt that they will hide each other’s secrets…..the web of deception just keeps getting bigger and more intricate.

    It is time that new generation of young people are found to replace the old guard who are simply ineffectual – technology has advanced, thinking has changed and they are still in the dark ages, squabbling amongst each other while pocketing what they can. When are we going to see a government that actually looks beyond the next 5 years, and – God forbid – actually makes decisions for the good of the country? There are so many issues – many of which have been raised on this site – that could so easily be dealt with so that the government can get some easy wins; but when you have a bunch of ministers who are only thinking about themselves and what they can gain materially, this will never happen.

    What goes around comes around, people. Those same government ministers that are banking twice their salary every month and yet doing nothing for the ministry they represent – your time will come. In the meantime, we need to find a way to change this self-serving attitude that pervades society (not only here, but around the world). We, as a country, need to start asking for answers, and demanding a better representation for ourselves – they are employed by us. Remember that. It is the people who have given up their power and their voice; and only the people who can take it back.

  9. David G. Brooks

    I understand the news-media has gone back to saying ‘Acting Prime Minister’ Stuart, if that is so then okay, but then that still puts the onus on him (Stuart) to address the nation in general terms as PM on this subject.

  10. David G. Brooks

    cq8: I agree with you too, but its the secrecy and the political hop-scotch that is most worrying, it begs the question(s), if they will do this what else is being hidden? What other ends will be gone to in another situation not involving a sickness scenario?

    Am I the only one thinking along these lines? Am I being unreasonable? The running of a country is no child’s play!

    Yes, he is sick (and obviously very much so that he will not or cannot appear in public) and I sympathise with that and pray for his recovery and support for his family, but it does not relinquish him, no, let’s say the DLP Administration & Govt. from doing what they are doing or not doing, let’s put it that way then.

    Everywhere we turn now the ship simply seems to be going forward by simple inertia, with the engines just idling or the sails just flapping in the winds. Even something as simple as addressing the nation, denouncing the act of the Tudor Street tragedy and offering the nation some sympathetic support – PM or Acting PM.

  11. Donald Duck Esq,

    We need to know more about the Pierhead fiasco!!!! BFP why don’t you do some digging???

  12. bajan

    Have any of ever been seriously ill? You all just like the politicians, say one then turn and do another. Just the other day everyone was wishing him well and now you all are up in arms because of his silence. Do you honestly think as the leader of this country he could be happy with what has taken place? What is it that you all really need him to say that has not been already said? All who are involved know what they have to do and it will be done. These men have little options and they will be found very shortly. I personally would like to see them hung but we all know that will NEVER happen, just read to the words of the AG and you’ll see the watering down tone in his statements. “Every one want the death penalty until it is someone close to them, then they want the best lawyers to defend them” as my father always said to me as a youngster growing up ” if you find your self in foolish trouble, don’t call me because i won’t be coming” and i knew he meant every work. Our communities are rotting because of our double standards. Everyone of us is guilty of some form double standards or another. I have said this before and i’ll say it again, we are creating an environment none of us want to live with. From reading this blog and with what i know i know to be true, this is on corrupt little island form top to bottom.

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  14. David G. Brooks

    Um, BFP, its been a few hours and two of my comments awaiting moderation again. I really would like to know the words that I used that got them caught in the spam filter.

    Spam filters are or were good, but I myself (as an IT Professional) have been getting fed-up with them as they just as trying as the spam itself.

  15. Eddie

    I think you should give the PM a breather.

  16. David G. Brooks

    I could not agree more – why can’t anyone get that through their skulls here. Of course, take all the time he needs, with in reason of course.

    The only issue is the flip-flop, wishy-washy way in which the public relations is being handled and all I’m saying is that it breeds mistrust and more so lots of speculation, not the least of which is that there is some grand political DLP (propaganda) scheme behind the whole affair.

    Anyway, I done with this because it will only get out of hand and don’t matter what I say, someone will think that I pestering the ailing PM.

    DWD – (Done Wid Dat)

  17. A Thinking Man

    Mr. Brooks, i to share your concerns and comments. i wish the PM well and hope he make a speedy recovery but i can’t understand, why in the space of one week the country can’t hear or see it’s leader?

    before the PM left, he had a press conference, he was sick then. he is back and it would appear from his statement, he still has challenges but why take up the post of PM and not face the country.

    this action has all kind of wrong attached to it. my biggest fear and question is who, is leading the country? yes we get statements from the PM’s office but if the we can’t hear or see the PM are we to believe that he is capable of authorizing these statement?

    again my heart goes out to the PM and his family in this trying time but if he needs more time, he should have it.

  18. Settle

    Settle down. Tomorrow you should hear something.

  19. BFP

    Hello Settle,

    Oh… you mean one of the PM’s aides read our story and subsequently put out a press release for him so he didn’t have to appear on the television? That’s nice. Thanks.

  20. Peltdown Man

    Owen getting the last laugh. Wunna get there and vote out the man, now most of wunna willing to get pun one knee and beg he to come back and save us. Things so bad we don’t even know who is the leader. Bajans worry about who really is the leader and who really going to be the leader, all at a time when Barbados and Bajans should be focusing on how exactly we going to survive this recession.

    If the government spend 48,000,000.00 to redesign a marina, I am the second in line behind Skinnin Cuffins calling for an enquiry or investigation, somebody want locking up because a marina CAN’T, CANNOT cost 48,000,000.00 to design, this got to be stealing on a grand scale.

  21. checkit-out

    I overheard someone making this case justifying the new marina design costs.

    Obviously the original 12 Million $ marina design under the BLP was inadequate and had to be changed substantially so the DLP had to get a better one for 4 times that amount and therefore 4 to 5 times better in all respects.

    Everything the BLP did was wrong. Twelve million $$ is’nt enough to design a proper marina and leave enough slack for other important below the line costs. The new design bringing the total cost to $60 million dollars is just about right. We will have a world class marina whose design cost rivals that of the best marinas in the world.

    Why would you expect the “new” administration to totally accept designs done by the old administration for major economic projects ? It just isn’t the done thing. No administration in Barbados has ever operated in that way, although in the past changes have usually only been cosmetic and with marginal cost implications.

    When he finished I noticed that his tongue was stuck to his cheek,

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  23. Easy Lite

    Checkit-Out that is a good blog. I laughed and laughed until I remembered it’s 48 million we talking about, then I cried for Barbados. What could be done for or with 48 million? THINK of the much needed equipment that could be installed in the QEH for that money. THINK how much stimulus to the much depressed economy that amount of money could generate if invested in capital projects and not paper. THINK How many bridges, roads and or school buildings could be fixed for that money. THINK how much international advertising that amount of money could buy to promote Barbados. $60 million dollars for nothing but paper, can’t withstand sunlight. If the BTI board approve 48 million for some non entity company without an office, which an employee, without a fax machine or computer, without a postal address, without a telephone number, then I think we will be hearing from them and seeing them on the nightly news in the future during the commission of enquiry.

  24. Expatriate

    Transparency, what a crock of bu******. When these politiricksters announce their candidacy, this so called tranparency should start. However, no one in Barbados except the political elite can for certain say what illness Thompson is stricken with. If he can come before a compassionate and grateful nation and be tranparent at this time, do you folks really think, the DLP or BLP ever will? Tom Adams died a mysterious death, and to this day, no autopsy was done, and no revelation was made about his demise. This political club of elites, have hoodwinked and bamboozled bajans for years. If you take a “German Shepherd,” to Korea, it’s not called a “Korean Shepherd.” My point is whether or not any of the two parties are in power or not, bajans still will be left wondering what just happened in their lives, relative to truth in government.

  25. aunt carrie

    How you reach autopsy ,too previous,wait nuh.