Barbados Prime Minister and Attorney General confirm vote buying during 2013 election

Adriel Brathwaite Barbados

“Attorney General Adriel Dermont Brathwaite said it was distressing that some Barbadians were selling their votes.”

Two Political Parties have the money to buy votes

Newly-sworn-in Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite confirmed Friday to the news media that “some” Bajans sold their votes during the recent general election.

A different way of putting it would be that “some” political parties bribed voters with cash – for it is surely true that unless there were ready buyers, there wouldn’t be any sellers of votes.

So let’s cut the B.S. by our Attorney General and tell it like it is: members of the political class bought the votes of willing sellers during the February 21, 2013 election.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart also said he was concerned about reports (as in more than one) about people buying votes. The CBC said about PM Stuart: “…throughout the day he has heard stories of people exchanging money for votes. The Prime Minister said this is an ugly practice which digs at the roots of democratic structures.”

The first question of many is…

Who sold? Who bought? Who are the ‘Some’ mentioned by the Attorney General?

Missing in all the news and commentary about vote buying is the name of the person arrested Thursday for photographing their marked ballot in the voting booth. BFP covered the election day story as Cash for votes scandal in Barbados election: BLP, DLP… or both? but no details have appeared in the oldstream news media since then. Strange… or maybe not so strange.

What constituency did this arrest happen in? Did the arrested voter mark their ballot for a DLP or BLP candidate? How many other instances of vote buying/selling is Attorney General Brathwaite aware of? After all… he spoke in the plural.

DLP and BLP reject campaign financing laws, Integrity Legislation and FOI – No wonder!

The buying and selling of votes relies upon the political parties having large sums of cash available on election day. At $100 to $250 a vote it’s not cheap to buy an election, but neither is it impossible. BLP candidate Santia Bradshaw won the recent battle in St. Michael South East by only 10 votes, so only 11 bought votes would have changed everything.

Or maybe it was 11 bought votes that pushed Santia Bradshaw to the front? You see… that’s the problem when we allow this vote buying to go on. Now citizens suspect the entire process and become jaded about vote buying. Citizens also end up emulating their leaders’ actions. Don’t forget: this is Barbados where election to public office is supposed to dramatically improve one’s net worth over a number of years. Why do we say that? Simple: we’ve seen it happen with increasing regularity.

Will this story fade to nothing like most of the other stories that expose corruption? We will see…

Vote Shame!  (from The Nation)

MINUTES after being sworn in for a second stint in Cabinet, Attorney General Adriel Dermont Brathwaite said it was distressing that some Barbadians were selling their votes.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Brathwaite were given their instruments of appointment by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave during the swearing-in ceremony at Government House yesterday afternoon, the day after the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was swept back into office, winning 16 of the 30 seats.

Stuart, who was sworn in at 4:37 p.m. before an audience that included Clerk of Parliament Pedro Eastmond and Deputy Clerk Nigel Jones, did not meet with the Press, but Brathwaite flashed a huge smile for the media and expressed his concerns about the buying of votes during the election campaign.

“There are a few things that happened during the course of the campaign that concerned me and we need to look and ensure that we don’t go in the wrong direction as a people.

Cash for Votes

by the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation
Thursday, 21 February 2013

Heavy polling was reported some constituencies this morning as Barbados went out to start voting.

From as early as five this morning many lined up outside of their respective polling stations in an effort to cast an early ballot.

This was the situation across all 541 polling stations as the presiding officers made the boxes ready and declared today’s poll open.

Some 247,211 voters are eligible to cast ballots. Just fewer than twelve thousand new voters are among the eligible list.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is concerned about reports he is receiving of people buying votes. He expressed this concern after casting his vote at Bayley’s Primary School this morning.

Prime Stuart arrived to cast his ballot at the Bayley’s Primary School just after eleven this morning without much fanfare as voting at the polling station was reduced to a trickle. But he did say from what he had seen and heard people were voting with what he called robust determination adding that he expected a respectable turnout.

The prime minister told reporters however he was concerned about a bad practice that was reportedly creeping into general elections.

The Prime minister says the right to vote is a process many people have fought very hard for and the idea of people disrespecting it makes him very uncomfortable.

He says throughout the day he has heard stories of people exchanging money for votes. The Prime Minister said this is an ugly practice which digs at the roots of democratic structures.


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

22 responses to “Barbados Prime Minister and Attorney General confirm vote buying during 2013 election


    More long talk and less action. As most who was running will go back to sleep ,What happen to the front page news everyday of the PM running.
    The AG talking but no action either , These people need to be pushed to do the people work or get out of the way.
    Buying of VOTE s or land or what dont belong to you is the way of life in Barbados , Let see if the new leaders who are the same old leaders will do some work this time.

  2. 197

    DLP and BLP reject campaign financing laws, Integrity Legislation and FOI – No wonder!
    Copied from above .
    CASH for your Vote, where did all this money come from ? People desperate to get in where they can tief more money, will this Government have the guts to institute the Integrity Legislation. It is time to remove Politians and put a Management Company to run the Country.
    This last Election speaks for itself. I hope the New Ministers realise that we the people pay their Salary…( with over burdened Taxes) do what we want, not what you want to do ?

  3. Rastaman

    Amazing,Bajans could re-elect a man who left the Barbados Football Association $400,000.00 in the RED .But we like it so!!!!

  4. Well Well

    It is time Adriel Brathwaite answered questions about which of his colleague are buying the votes, Let’s hope that the guy who got arrested for taking a photo of the ballot, can name the candidate or the assistant who approced him/her.

  5. 25

    Well, I guess the thirty-five thousand policy holders can kiss their premiums good-bye now that it has been re-invested and the “boss” looks after his “friend” who financed the distribution. Never expected anyone to go to jail and all the more so now. Anyway, what’s the difference between buying votes during an election and enticing an elected official to cross the floor with an offer of a ministry after the election? What’s the difference of buying a vote during an election for $100 or buying a party for $2M before the election and a plane ride after?

  6. Neco Ifill

    For those of you wondering, it is alleged that Owen Arthur, Joseph Atherley, Mia Mottley, Chris Sinckler, Rudy Grant and Dwight Sutherland bought votes. Mia and Owen didn’t buy votes in their constituencies but assisted other members in areas such as Atherley’s.

  7. Fed up

    Dont forget the flat screen cost u less TV up by Dennis Lowe, the votes bought by Sealy in Brittons Hill, James Paul in his area. They all guilty bad and hope the lil $200 to $300 help them with their woes over the next 5 yrs

  8. Rastaman

    Pot calling the kettle black…

  9. barbadostripadvisor

    Reblogged this on barbados.tripadvisor.

  10. Mark Fenty

    How is cash for votes a novel phenomena in Barbados politics, Aaron Trust BLP minister of tourism did it in the 1980s.I recalled quite vividly people from Bush Hall, Bank Hall, and Station Hill going down town

  11. John

    …. and then there is the politics of inclusion!!

    A high falluting name for vote buying.

    If vote buying is practised at the highest level why would we be surprised at what happens in an actual election.

  12. Analyzer

    Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where’s the peck that Peter Piper picked?

  13. Anita

    If the reports are true this is really a very sad day for Barbados. If both parties are guilty…SOMETHING IS SO WRONG.

  14. Mark Fenty

    There is nothing new about buying votes in Barbados, it has been happening for many years.

  15. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Now what is wrong with buying votes. Come on..You make this sound like a new thing. If the politicians are rich being their wildest dreams from their deals and draw backs, what is to stop them flaunting a few Sir Grantley’s around to the starving and desperately in need cash-strap-bajan. They just trying to ensure that the leak in the treasury remains.

    ON another note I so glad, frigging glad, that Noel Lynch lost to the Prime Minister. Hope he realizes now that the people in his constituency do not appreciate him because of his arrogant, twisted tongue, insulting ways. Got what he rightfully deserved a kick up his butt. Not that he would mind LOLOLOL . YEAH COME AND SUE ME FOR MY MOUT COME…BARNEY WHO U GINE CUSS NOW….HAHAHAAHAHAAHAH

  16. Beefcake

    Irony is that the votes were probably bought with public funds

  17. 54

    That is what really pisses everyone off, using taxpayers money to pay taxpayers to vote. Irony indeed.

  18. Shanni

    I know it happened for a fact, in St. Lucy when DEM gave my housekeeper $600!!!

  19. Mark Fenty

    Former BLP Tourism Minister Aaron Trust, Make it a family business of buying votes from the people of Bush Hall, Bank Hall, and Station Hill.

  20. Andre

    Why is this a surprise?

    Isn’t this what politics is all about?

    Normal votes are bought indirectly with promises.

    All we have here is that we have a few who are will to kill what they eat, and others pretending the meat materialized in packages.

  21. Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group.
    The Mahogany Coconut Group submits that the real vote buying is in the upper echelons of our society. What we witnessed on Election Day was some voters getting cash, cell phones, IPods and a bill paid here and there. The real votes were bought by those shadows- black and white, – who Dr. Don Blackman referred to a few decades ago! Of course Dr. Blackman talked only about white shadows but the corporate landscape has dramatically changed over the years – we now have shadows of all colors and ethnicities.
    While we shout from the roof tops about what took place on elections day, we bury our heads in the proverbial sand, by refusing to ask one simple question: How did the two political parties, both claiming to be rather financially impoverished, raise a conservative estimate of over twenty million dollars to pour into a three week campaign? We ask Dale Marshall (BLP) to tell us about the successful “cake sales and car washes” that raised their money. We ask Ronald Jones (DLP) to tell us more about the “$500 here and there” that was given to his party by well wishers. Let’s face it; elections are now big business and the corporate shadows are well entrenched in both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party.
    Anybody who believes that car washes, cake sales and a five hundred dollar donation here and there, can raise this large amount of money, needs to seriously wake up from his/her slumber!
    The truth is that deals are common place in our politics and state agencies are used to distribute largesse. There is a sophisticated corruption sanctioned by both parties. We hear about consultants and contractors being given work for which they are unqualified. We should pause and thank the majority of our civil servants who are honest, hardworking and not corrupt, like some found in other countries. We maintain that our civil servants are berated for cheap political gain, but they are the ones, who have kept this nation afloat. We elect incompetent politicians who simply cannot get the management of our island state right. Many upright civil servants have been denied promotion and overlooked for professional growth because they did not allow the BLP/DLP politicians and operatives to dictate how they functioned. Just imagine civil servants of many years standing having party hacks, paraded as consultants, telling them what to do and being paid higher salaries.
    We can state emphatically that the desire to control, and in some cases corrupt civil servants is rampant throughout all the ministries and statutory boards. What we witnessed on Election Day is a deepening of this process as it encompasses all areas of national life. We either root it out now or face the dire social and economic costs later. However to only concentrate on corruption every five years, during elections, is to make a mockery of the fight against the negative trends. Rest assured that many of those who got a handshake or a gift last Thursday may never encounter their so-called representatives until 2018.In the meantime, those who invested millions will be well looked after away from the cameras.
    While we oppose the buying and selling of votes, we are not going to renege on our duty as a viable watchdog group to expose corruption at all levels. While our sources reveal that the giving of considerable sums of money and other gifts were widespread on Election Day, we are aware that this trend has been a regular feature of our elections for decades. What we resent most of all, are the attempts to always identify the corruption when it is connected to the lower echelons of the society. We therefore submit there is need for tougher election laws and at least partial financing of campaigns by the state. The buying and selling of votes and political favors are at ALL levels of our society. We call for progressive campaign finance laws. In the mean time let us look at political corruption at all levels of our society. We also call on all citizens to abandon this habit of selling or buying votes. The vote is an expression of political freedom and participation in national politics and development and should be treated as such. We call on both the BLP and DLP to stop this practice immediately. We therefore condemn those speaking on behalf of both parties as first class hypocrites since, like in many other matters, neither the Barbados Labour Party nor the Democratic Labour Party has any moral high ground on this issue.

    William Skinner, Information Officer, the Mahogany Coconut Group.

  22. Sheila

    SO WHAT’S NEW, it used to be called ‘corned beef and biscuit’ politics, back when Bajans didn’t know how to negotiate for something better. Now it’s switched to cash. The real question should be. “where is all that money coming from?’ Nobody foolish enough to think it came out of the pocket of the politicians. So we have to look at business, special interest groups with money, and other governments who want a stake and control over what happens in Barbados. Our dear father Erroll Barrow, would turn over in his grave, he fought so hard to move us away from ignorance into a country of independent self sufficent thinkers.

    The worse part is, the lack of thought about the future of the island, of their own children and their life, when they sell their vote. Once upon a time, Bajans would take the money and then vote for who they want anyway, but the politicians turn everybody stupid. Now if anybody had a court case and their lawyer turned up pissing drunk, then you would fire that lawyer fast fast. But Bajans so blind and ignorant nowadays they don’t even thinnk about putting a fall-down drunk to be their Prime Minister. He aint got no shame and Bajans aint got no shame no more. How can you trust the security of the country to a man who gets drunk just by smelling a rum bottle. And nobody in the party put their foot down and said, you get your yellow backside in rehab and come back clean if you want to be party leader.

    As for Mia Mottley, by herself she is a walking Sodom and Ghomorow ( yeah I spelt it like that on purpose). The Bible says, when the blind lead the blind they both fall into a pit. Barbados in a real pit of corruption, sexual, political, religious, spiritual, and any other thing you can name. We used to have old grandmothers taking their young grands to church teaching them right from wrong, but now the T.V. and video games and tourist looking for a ‘good time’ teach them something different. Barbados is hemorraging bad, and Frundel Stuart aint no leader man enough to stop it. He lucked into being Prime Minister ( some say he and wifee worked some hoodoo on David Thompson to get dee post.). But however he got it, and tried to keep it, he is a weak leader. He and Mia and Owen like dogs that vomit and den lie down in it.

    He aint got common sense enough to know he killing dee tourist industry with all the building dat going on. All them townhomes and condos is what giving the hotel industry licks. Dee place hot hot like hell already come dey. Barbados is known to be one of the most expensive destinations from America, but the price going down when people can cut cost in a condo or town home. And what the hell people going to eat after all the argricultural land gone, and Fruendel sell dee country down the river for foreigners to buy land and sell back lots at 500% to Bajans and others. Bajans cant afford a home in their own country anymore. Even the contractors are foreigners. And everything imported, from jackboot to slipper.

    People cant live and people cant dead, $20,000 to bury a dead body. Allyuh better stop looking at America and start thinking bout dee rock. Dee place small and all dem American style houses dat aint mek room for see breeze and trade winds and need air conditioning all dee time is backward. What dee hell Ba’dos doing approving dem kinda plans for American cold weather houses. Monkee see, Monkee doo, cause monkee cant tink fuh heself. Dat is pure mock sport going on. PLANT SOME TREES, mek everybody plant trees on their land, every house should have shade trees for the road, and couple fruit/food trees on the lot instead of all this grass crap. Yuh cant eat grass unless you’re a cow or goat or sheep. What de hell all that lawn gud for? Nothing,
    So I say my ha’penny worth. Let him who haf ears to hear, hear.