American visitor: Barbados gun licensing shows a class-based system with the police favouring elites


An American who loves Barbados left this thoughtful comment on our September 8, 2011 post No jail sentence necessary for Johan Bjerkhamn, but larger issues ignored

by Patriot from Idaho

“No Police Commissioner has the right to act as a tinpot dictator and not tell the nation what the nation needs to know in order to form an intelligent and thoughtful set of solutions to commonly held problems.”

I have read many of the comments here, and I am aghast at the many misinterpretations of common law terminology. I am also, as a Life Member of the NRA here in the USA aghast at the apparent lack of openness and complete honesty of the Bajan Police. I am shocked and actually angered on the behalf of the entire Bajan nation that this situation of a lack of complete honesty about such an important body of law has not been corrected.

I have been visiting your beautiful and precious nation for over 20 years now and I have observed with relish the wonderful dialogue that comes with every election. A more literate and thoughtful populace anywhere cannot be found. And I respect the Bajan Nation for this in a way that I do not respect my own, sadly enough. I am very protective of the rights we Americans enjoy, and the differences between us and other nations.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a God-given Right, and not a privilege. But your system of government and politics is the English system, and ours is very distinctively different. If a government of the People, by the People and for the People becomes destructive of those aims for which that government was instituted, then it is the Right and the Responsibility of the People to rise up and replace the old forms of government, and institute a new form of self-government that will be responsive to that People and that will also be responsible TO The People who have formed it and for the reasons and aims for which it was created.

“No Police Commissioner has the right to act as a tinpot dictator and not tell the nation what the nation needs to know in order to form an intelligent and thoughtful set of solutions to commonly held problems.”

The same difficulties that the Nation of Barbados has in accessing firearms for self-defense also exist in New York City. Some years ago, TV show host Rosie O’Donnell had Tom Selleck on her show, which was filmed in New York City. Ms O’Donnell lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, about 90 minutes away from NY City. She travelled back and forth every day. Ms O’Donnell carried a firearm, a .38 caliber revolver under license from the NY City Police Department. Even though it is highly illegal to do so, as a resident of a different state than New York. Ms O’Donnell also had a Connecticut State Pistol Permit and could then, possessing both permits lawfully carry her gun. But New York State Law and NY City laws in force at that time (and still now also) make that situation impossible. Ms O’Donnell excoriated Mr Selleck for his involvement with the National Rifle Association, although Mr Selleck did not break the law as had Ms O’Donnell. He acted responsibly and did not get the Celebrities/Politicians/Big Shots/Police Officers ONLY NY City carry-concealed pistol license. Mr Selleck had a license in his home state. I have one in mine, Idaho that is respected and given reciprocity in 34 states here in the US. But it is not respected in NY City or NY State. I’m not a big shot. I am just an ordinary. Why can Ms O’Donnell get one? Who is she? No answer or explanation was ever forthcoming. So here I am in Idaho, and much happier for it for a lot of reasons.

But on the whole I’d much rather be in Barbados, a Barbados with the problems over this thorny and painful issue that separates Bajans and creates a class system that has no place in the Americas. And most certainly has NO PLACE in my beloved Barbados.

Thank you all for allowing my contributions to this debate.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Police

34 responses to “American visitor: Barbados gun licensing shows a class-based system with the police favouring elites

  1. robert ross

    Can’t open the link.

    “The God given right to keep and carry arms”

    I wonder what the authority is for that whatever it means precisely.

  2. Anonymous

    “The God given right to keep and carry arms”

    Actually it was not God given. It was man given as men wrote the law that gave them that right.

  3. marsdalebear

    What a complete and utter load of rubbish. As for American rights, I give you the Patriot Act.


    Comments typical of a redneck NRA member. We should all be glad that his warped point of view are not the norm here in Barbados. Shame on BFP for publishing this rubbish.

  5. BFP

    Hi Twwifos:

    We publish all kinds of views from all over whether we agree with the positions taken or not.

    Why, we even publish your views!



    Well, it looks to me like you agree since you called his comments “thoughtful”. They are about as far away from thoughtful as you can get.

    Thoughtful – reflective, contemplative, musing, meditative, introspective, philosophical.

    BTW: I’ve never written an article that you have published. Am I supposed to be impressed that you have not filtered my comments?

  7. Anonymous

    Plenty of civilised countries manage just fine without a “god-given right” for their citizens to carry lethal weapons, and strangely enough slaughter far fewer of their own nearest and dearest with guns than the US does. Barbados would do well not to go down that path.

  8. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    OH come on. Tell us something that the average Joe do not know. Stuppse this is nothing new. They judicial system is also highly prejudice and crappy. We also got serious issues of covert racism in this country but that aint nothing new either. What is new is the bad fish issue that no official not even the blogs seems interested in writing about. And now the possibility of a reported zoonoses in Barbados.Also what is new is the boldness of criminals in recent times and the spate of weekly suicides. These are the new surprises in our corroding if not decaying economically, socially and morally island.

  9. Canadian Tourist

    Fuck, I thought Americans hadn’t discovered Barbados yet….

  10. re: a God given right…. Good grief. For me, it is Americans’ incessant state of excitement regarding firearms which causes much of the rest of the world to tune all Americans out. The point he wished to make was lost when he cited God in his defense of the right to bear arms. It wasn’t God, btw, it was your constitution that granted you that right. God supports peace and equality, not shoot-outs. It’s hard for Americans to understand that this tiny country’s politics will never demand an armed overthrow of government. The country’s civilized population would simply throw the lot in the ocean to be swept out with the next tide, and then, only if they couldn’t wait for the next election.


    Bajans are a passive lot. Talk talk talk. Nothing more.

  12. robert ross


    What do you want us to do and in respect of what?

  13. Bad Bob

    “God created man, Samuel Colt made them equal.”
    And if you are stupid enough to bring a knife to a gun fight, so much better for the gene pool.

  14. D Oracle

    When I tell a man pun my property to leff bowt hay an cyah he rawsole an he doh do so, i duz put two shot in he skont and den he duz leff qik so.

  15. I think what our American Visitor is saying is that he would like to see every Tom Dick and Harry be able to get a gun licence. That way it would be fair and even. How sweet.

  16. Bad Bob

    Drumbeat, you are missing an important point. Tom, Dick & Harry SHOULD qualify for a license or carry permit if they meet certain (reasonable) requirements. However, at least in the US, some cities or states, the system is stacked against you and you will never qualify. Hence, challenges against those punitive restrictions whereby Constitutional Guarantees (read that as 2nd amendment) has enabled those restrictions to be overturned and “Law Abiding!” individuals can now own and carry. The issue has always been those who would not, and should not possess firearms-but in violation of the law, do.
    I would suggest that, in Barbados, the vast majority of firearm crime is committed not by licensed owners–but rather by those who would NEVER qualify to carry or possess. At least in the US, when confronted by a firearms carrying thug, the American may be able to shoot the SOB dead.
    So how about the Govt of BIM let us know how many violent crimes have been committed by licensed vs unlicensed individuals. Want to bet that those numbers will never be forthcoming?
    It has always been easier in BIM to kick down the door of a licensed owner and nab him for possessing 51 rounds of ammo rather than 50–than is has been to catch the thug that roams the streets at night with an unlicensed firearms.

  17. Bad Bob
    I agree with your opinion but what was the original posted getting at then ?

  18. Bad Bob

    My read was that although permits were issued to “qualified” individuals, some people appear to be more qualified than others. Thus, even though permits should be issued to everyone who is clearly not crazier than a cockroach or has a rap sheep 12 feet long. There are clear exceptions in the US as to who may possess a firearm. You should not be denied because the chief, sheriff or commissioner doesn’t like you. So although I direct my text to the US & it’s rules & regs..I know that there are exclusions in BIM for no good reason other than, “the commish doesn’t like you,”…etc…
    I also know that legitimate certificate holders in BIM DO get singled out for harassment-but oddly, pursuit of the real bad guys appears [to me at least] to be minimal.
    Thank you, drumbeat-not meant to abuse you with my response & I appreciate your note. Didn’t want to prattle on too much-so my lack of clarity is strictly my fault.

  19. Anonymous

    Barbadians are too dumb to know they are dumb. The writer may have given his compliments too soon. He probably realizes that now.

  20. Anonymous

    I own 3 firearms it took me many many years to get them. The system tries to frustrate you and then you just give up. Back in my day to apply for a firearm was free, just file out the form and wait.
    Police sergeant would call come and see you and your wife. You would give him a beer or five and wait again. Then another fatter police office would call and you might have to go to dirty office and go through same chat again. This normally would take between 3 to 6 months. Then you get a brown envelop in post box saying that you have been turned down. Then you started all over again. Now they say you have to pay BDS $500.00 to apply.

    What is more worrying to me is all the licensed firearms in the hands of the old folks that have no training at all.

    But the rich will always have the upper hand in a corrupt island like Barbados.

    Ask Dr. Sparman how he got his firearms…

  21. D Oracle

    And while you’re there ask Dr Sparman how he got his bogus qualifications.

  22. Anonymous

    I think what the guys is saying is that the “procedure” use to decide who is “suitable” for to get a firearm license is very open to corruption. First of all what is that procedure/criteria?

    The fact is that the know it all know nothing bajans that will attempt to answer that question do not have a clue what they are talking about. And, naturally, in fine bajan style they will see themselves, and be seen by some other bajans at authorities on the subject.

    The reality is very simple. There are no criteria. Its discretionary, and up to the office of the commissioner of policy. Hardly democratic is it.

    Let me tell you why i think bajans would totally miss what the guy is saying and instead attack him in righteous indignation (bajan style)

    Lets say we are all slaves on a plantation… so some of us are house slaves, yard slaves and field slaves… in other words, slaves but in diffent classes..
    Someone comes along an advocates freedom for all slaves – because slavery is wrong (or some other silly concept)

    This could be the result.

    House slaves: Well i am a house slave and i get to serve the massa directly and i am better than the yard slaves and the field slaves. I dont want freedom because i would be equal to those field slaves..

    Yard Slave: Well i aint a house slave but i certainly aint a field slave.. I am kinda ok where i am. I dont get work so hard as the field slaves and i sometimes get to meet the massa’s friends when they come over. I hardly get beaten anymore like the field slaves do. why would i wnat to upset that with this freedom thing.. i got somewhere to sleep and i get something to eat. i even sometimes get stuff to eat from the massa own table. I am good here. Plus i know one of the house slaves that would put in a good word for me if need be.

    Field Slave: Well i am a field slave and i dont have no business being free. Slavin is what i know and its all i know and them will only make bad for we with this freedom nonesense. Freedom is for the white man not for us slaves. I cant trust myself if i have to make my own decision. The massa does work me hard and beat me sometimes but there is a simplicity in that that i like. I dont have to think.

    The substance of what the guys is saying is about corruption, and nopotism and racism and classism. He just happened to use guns as an illustration. Its sad that with all of this free education we cant see the wood for the trees. Finally, i myself have applied for a firearm license and the entire “process” took about 3 or 4 years and i was denied. No reason was given, i was not able to find out where i came up short. The reality is this, if you dont have “connections”, if you are not white, in politics or have money you will be denied. I know for a fact the people are given licenses that in some cases never even applied for a gun license. The elite can get licenses for calibers that the other members of society cannot. People have been granted licenses that did no competency tests, no psych tests, no nothing. But they were amoung the anoited class and they got their licenses.

    This country is a joke. The the joke is on the very people that enforce the same double standards that they themselves are victims of.

    Anyway, maybe some spelling errors etc, kinda in a hurry. Cuss me bajan style and i will respond when i get a chance.

    Thanks for reading

  23. Knight of the Long Knives

    I see no good reason average bajans should not have firearms licenses after all they are freely available to criminals in high and low place. I want to protect my property same as Bjerkham and whoever else. I work a damn lot harder for what I have as I had not plantocracy hand me downs.

  24. Anonymous

    bajan have to start demanding change from government. The police and the government has been covering up the real number of gun crime and crime in general.the also fail acknowledge that there are thousands of illegal firearms on the island you can get a gun just as easy as a glass of rum on this island.they also fail to realize that police take minuets but in of of the rbpf they take hours when seconds count we as as bajans have to demand the right for self defence and defence of property

  25. When you apply for a licence, you have to satisfy a number of criteria.
    Be of good character, so no convictions and perhaps not well known to the police. Any mental illness ? You need a reason to have a licence, so a farmer or shopkeeper or sportsman gets a Shotgun licence by having a farm (vermin killing) a shop (teefer killin) or by being a member of a shooting club,
    Handgun is similar, for sport join a club, for self defense, carry a lot of money, or have to go certain places on your property late at night on your own assume large property only. The policeman will come with you and look at the ground and may ask to also visit at night.
    The policeman has to determine that you could actually defend yourself and not have yet another gun in the baddie hand, so to speak.He will inspect your gun safe. He will determine that you know the rules of having the type of licence you are applying for, if you don’t tough.
    If he is in any doubt on any of these, then no licence.
    I do not know what the original poster observed, and actually means and I have only ever once visited the Waterford shooting range (pistol shooting), and there I observed, no women, one tall white man with not a hair on his head, and numerous non white men, all of whom. how can I say this, could eat real food. Perhaps lots of the men there were police, there must have been 40 or so all shooting away as targets, It was really noisy and I have never seen anything like it before or since.
    But be careful how you go because there are an awful lot of armed men out there in Barbados.

  26. Anonymous

    Drumbeat, you couldn’t be more wrong. What you are saying is part of the legend. None of what you are saying happens. You “need” 2 objective things (as the story goes). 1. A certificate from the psychologist and a competency cert from a range of your choice.
    Part of the application asks you for a reason why you need a firearm.. what you put there does not matter, thats like asking you to provide a good reason why you need a car.
    There is a difference between a sporting license and a personal carry license… Many of those guys you see shooting have neither. You do not need a license to shoot at the range…

  27. BadBob

    “Part of the application asks you for a reason why you need a firearm.”
    The ex-Mrs Bad Bob would ask that same question. I don’t “Need” firearms, I just want them! Now I’m up to 150+, 100,000 rounds of ammunition, no end in sight. I am out of control, but I am also prepared for when the Jihadists land on the South Coast.

  28. Anonymous

    What ever happen to the Holder fella from Caters General Store.
    I saw his at Bubbas looking skinny and grey ….he get off ??
    He sell off nuff M4s to gun dealers….but all get tec back right ??

  29. Anonymous

    No clear system in place for issuing firearms in Barbados. Rules change daily. But if you are a fake doctor that rapes and kidnaps you can get one or two or three….
    Is it just me or can any one else understand what the hell he is saying ???

  30. Richard Johnston

    PFI, you do not get to carry your dangerous firearm into my city because you don’t need it, and you might accidentally or intentionally discharge it for one reason or another; Ms. O’Donnell may need hers, so she does get to carry it. If every dingbat, macho gunslinger from the provinces brought his sidearm with him in this city of 8.3 million (67,000/mi², 54% white) from your state (1.6 million, 15/mi², 81% white) with constant human interaction, conflicts and honest misunderstandings there would be shoot-em-ups all the time. New York City has the lowest crime rate of any major US city despite also having some of the most restrictive gun legislation in the country. Enjoy our world-class culture; you’re safe here. I am using my real name, not hiding behind a pseudonym.

  31. we3Kings

    why do we NEED guns in a small Island like BIM, who’s idea was it to issue gun license to trade guns on our soil? there was a generation in bim that wanted to be British, they spoke English with perfection, and did every thing English-British, (house niggers). This generation seems not to follow in the footsteps of their parents, but would rather follow the American dream(nightmare), I think it is time for the WOMEN to rule the world, as our men have failed us world wide. MIA I am with you……I wid you.

  32. Just Commenting

    This comment related to Barbados’ gun licensing laws is very true. The class based system in which the lower-class police love to kiss the backsides of the “upper-classes” is rampant. The last CoP loved to give Doctors and Lawyers gun licenses and then send them off to gun clubs to learn how to shoot.
    Classic colonialism at work here. Can you imagine a black “free” ex-slave gaining access to a gun?
    Unheard of! And we’re still in that mode.
    Damn BLP loving, lower-minded, backward-thinking, slave mentalities we’ve got about this place.
    I wont be spending my money with folk who have disrespected me for years but whose greed is un-ending.
    Times changed!

  33. bagejan

    Wow the time for standing up and overthrowing the government was when the patriot act was passed looks like you missed the party but even so in a socitety where you dont even know the name of your own next door neighbor I doubt you can mount a uprising of any form. But truth be told when the government enacted the partriot act the battle was won already, the word “patriot’ threw you off, all of a sudden you hear the word patriot and you stand at attention while repeating ” God bless America” as they were taking your rights away.

  34. Anonymous

    Born (and proud of it) in Barbados. Duel citizenship & moved to Canada at age 24. Avid shooter in Canada for over 15 years & own several rifles. Do not hunt but sharpen my skills with target & cowboy action shooting.
    Grew up in house where I was taught to respect a firearms deadly potential & taught to be familiar around guns from a young age.
    All you guys debate about your right to to possess a firearm & how your countries laws allow or inhibit this. If that is the primary concern, then you should not have a gun at all.
    A gun is an instrument of potential death – PLAIN & SIMPLE. Guns were invented to kill shit, not shoot targets. Does not matter what your reason for owning a gun is; it’s the person holding it that makes the difference.
    It is the degree of interpretation of this fact that determin every countries laws regarding gun possession.
    Understanding these laws is vital as (especially here in Canada) you do not have to commit a “criminal act” to be subject to significant fines, jail time & being sued by contravening firearms regulations. Not only are there federal laws, I have to consider provincial law plus local municiple by-laws governing firearms safety, storage, transport & discharge.
    Owning a gun is a PRVILAGE – NOT A “GOD GIVEN RIGHT”. Last time in checked no one got shot in the bible.
    As for the comment that referred to the population being as stupid as the gun laws of Barbados ( I’m guessing you are a dumb ass American) – look at the statistics (that means numbers hillbilly) of gun related gun crimes compared to any other country in the world compared to your population ratio (you still with me or should I use smaller words) then I wonder which country is more “stupid”. Simple fact, any country that has more restrictive gun regulations & education program’s built in creates a smarter law abiding gun owning population.
    Final note – yes I enjoy shooting as a recreation but I am a realist & keep “bug out bag” with no hesitation about defending myself. That’s for the Americans who think I’m a good two shoes passive Canadian.