Happy Birthday! Five years of Barbados Free Press

On January 17, 2006 Barbados Free Press hit the internet calling for integrity, transparency and accountability in Barbados government. That was five years ago today and since then we’ve published over 4,000 articles and seen our readers contribute almost 100,000 comments. In 2011, BFP will welcome our 10 millionth visitor.

Over the years we’ve seen our articles picked up by major news outlets like CNN, Fox, The New York Times, BBC, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Sky News and, yes, even the India Times. That makes for some fun and doubly so when the article is about corrupt politicians, land grabs and abuses of power. With over 4,000 articles online, you can’t Google search for anything relating to Barbados without coming across a BFP article somewhere, often in the first few returns.

And yet…

Sometimes we feel like failures because nothing has really changed in five years. We were lied to by Owen Arthur and the BLP, who promised changes, transparency, accountability and integrity. Then we were lied to by David Thompson and the DLP who promised changes, transparency, accountability and integrity. This week we’re being lied to in St. John.

It is still legal in Barbados for elected and appointed public officials to award contracts to their own companies, spouses and relatives. It is still legal in Barbados for elected and appointed public officials to receive gifts of any value from persons doing business with the government. We expect our politicians to become rich in office, and mostly we accept it. Owen Arthur gives US$100,000 to a cricket charity and most folks don’t even think about how much wealth it takes to give away that kind of after-tax money.

There are no laws about campaign financing and anything goes.

Whether it’s money from Cuba, China or some big offshore company, politicians never have to acknowledge the source of their money or account for it. As we’ve seen, even a Prime Minister can take a huge “campaign donation” and shove it into his personal bank account with zero repercussions.

There is no transparency. There is no freedom of information. You have no right to know where your tax dollars are spent.

DLP & BLP politicians at work

Each change of government only brings new piggies to the trough – it doesn’t change a thing. When the DLP came to power they soon forgot their promises to hold corrupt BLP officials to account. Dodds Prison? VECO’s gifts to members of the BLP government? Hey… David Thompson and the DLP didn’t want to hear about it and never asked the FBI for the evidence. Same thing with Hardwood Holdings, Hotels and Resorts and all those companies that supply to the government through middlemen and “sourcing consultants” in Miami and New York.

There is only one political party in Barbados

Think about it folks: Thompy made a big deal about Owen Arthur putting “campaign donations” into a personal bank account, but upon becoming Prime Minister, Thompson appointed Owen Arthur to monitor international elections for corruption! Like we say… there’s only one political party on this little rock and you’re either a member or you’re not. David Thompson (rest his soul, truly) was a member and so is Owen Arthur. Same party, maybe more like a cartel.

The Barbados news media remain extremely selective in what they will (or can) report so it’s up to citizens to carry the flag until folks wise up.

Political financing reform would be a start, but as Dr. Duguid says, the BLP and DLP politicians will never implement Integrity Legislation – so fat chance of getting them to vote for accountability in political financing!

Sorry to write such a downer piece for our fifth birthday party, but we’re going to have to work much harder to make Barbados a better place for our children.

Marcus, Shona, George, Robert, Cliverton and Auntie Moses

26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

26 responses to “Happy Birthday! Five years of Barbados Free Press

  1. what will they think of next

    Happy Birthday Barbados Free Press.

  2. WSD

    Thanks BFP for five great years and don’t forget, AFTER the NEXT election we’ll have integrity legislation and freedom of information. The DLP promises and so do the BLP.

    And I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you too! 🙂

    Happy Birthday BFP.

  3. Red Lake Lassie

    Happy Birthday to you!

    It doesn’t feel like five years. I had hope when David Thompson promised Integrity laws and FOI but it never came to pass. I’ve noticed a change in BFP that robert doesnt do his airplane and travel stories anymore and I miss that. Robert, take me to a different place once in a while. I loved your stories about India and flying. I don’t understand some of the technical terms but I feel like I’m flying myself. More flying please.

  4. cq8

    Happy Birthday BFP and long may you write.

    You are anything but failures. The fault is not with you but with the corrupt corned beef and biscuit mentality that is cultivated by politicians.

  5. Politically Tired

    Happy Birthday BFP. Thank you for bringing so much to our attention & provoking great debates (& a few mindless quarrels!!) You’re doing an amazing job.

  6. algernon phillips

    Happy Birthday BFP , my second daily internet read after the NY Times ( got to know what’s goin on back ‘home’

  7. SMALL FROG

    You are doing the Barbados public and the wider world a great service. Keep up the good work and I wish you many more “birthdays!”

  8. permres

    Happy Birthday, BFP.

    I do not post much but I read a lot here, barely touch the Nation website (we do not bother anymore with the dead trees edition), and the Advocate does not exist unless you sometimes give a link.

    Even now our family and friends say the blogs are wicked. Keep it up, you naughty people!

  9. Has it been five years already? Happy Birthday BFP and to those who spend their time and efforts to keep us informed.
    As Small Frog said:
    You are doing the Barbados public and the wider world a great service. Keep up the good work and I wish you many more “birthdays!”

  10. Adrian Loveridge

    A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY Barbados Free Press.
    You have allowed those of us that passionately believe in free speech
    a forum where we can express out thoughts without political censorship.
    Long may you continue.

  11. John

    Happy Birthday

    It has been a great five years.

    I appreciate greatly the opportunity for open discussion.

  12. Missing Home

    Barbados Free Press redefined Bajan politics in the last 5 years. That is not too big a claim. In the next 5 years I believe with all my heart that BFP’s efforts will prevail. I predict that BFP will turn into a political movement. Do not despair! Your influence is deep and wide.

    More citizens. More internet. More cameras!

    We can make these piggies accountable as BFP says.

  13. bajandave

    Congrats on your fifth anniversary. I enjoy this site because it offers free opportunity to comment on news matters and also highlights stories the regular press sweeps under the carpet.

  14. TWWIFOS

    Happy Birthday! Change is hard…..keep writing. :-}

  15. cornerstone of democracy

    “Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one’s discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments – and even human rights groups – all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.”

  16. congrats on 5 years

  17. Mr Coco

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Many happy returns.

  18. passin thru

    Thanks BFP for five excellent years. 4000 articles! wow. No wonder your blog comes up whenever I search for anything to do with Bim. Sometimes the comments come up in a search too so the internet is full of your blog. The crooks in politics can run but they can’t hide! All the best to the writers at BFP.

  19. Postage Paid

    Congratulations!

    Here is a bit of trivia, is there a Minister in Barbados who has just had his house in rendezvous completely renovated by a contractor to the tune of several hundred thousands of dollars? Is that contractor currently contracted on a project within the same Minister’s ministry? Does anyone have the photographs of the progress of the works in Rendezvous?

  20. Postage Paid

    Does this seem familiar, do you remember St.Joseph Hospital Commission of Inquiry?

  21. Sargeant

    Congratulations BFP, keep on being a burr under the politicians saddle

  22. r3lfholfi

    5 yrs too long..

  23. Pieter Pieper

    Congratulations on 5 years of good public service.

    Why should any rational or sane individual expect this current government to introduce never mind pass transparency, accountability and integrity legislation when its prime minister has gone on record to the effect that there is no problem with the legal profession in Barbados. Also, Marston Gibson will never be appointed Chief Justice and no doubt Fraud (sorry,Freundel) Stuart has been aware of this from the beginning.

    Poor Barbados !

  24. Pieter Pieper

    Congratulations on 5 years of good public service.Why should any rational or sane individual expect this current government to introduce never mind pass transparency,accountability and integrity legislation when its prime minister has gone on record to the effect that there is no problem with the legal profession in Barbados.Also,Marston Gibson will never be appointed Chief Justice . Stuart has been aware of this from the beginning.Poor Barbados !

  25. Pingback: Chairman of the Turks and Caicos Integrity Commission services may be more needed in his native Barbados | The tcipost