Tag Archives: Transparency

TED Talk: The kill decision shouldn’t belong to a robot

Technology always brings unforeseen social changes

In Barbados we have zero transparency, zero accountability and the ruling political elites can do pretty well what they want. Author Daniel Suarez’s TED presentation predicts that as autonomous weapons become cheaper and more lethal, smaller governments and developing societies will have an advantage over larger, more developed societies. It seems far fetched to imagine Barbados wielding autonomous weapons and drones – but maybe not. Suarez also talks about private interests using the same weapons. Considering the Columbian and Mexican crime cartels, that’s not such an impossibility either.

The above YouTube video is brought to you by those friendly folks at Samsung. That’s right, the same folks that make your phone also make and deploy automatic killer machine guns for a very reasonable US$200,000 each. Just set ’em and forget ’em…

“This raises the very real possibility of anonymous war. This could tilt the geopolitical balance on its head, make it very difficult for a nation to turn its firepower against an attacker, and that could shift the balance in the 21st century away from defense and toward offense. It could make military action a viable option not just for small nations, but criminal organizations, private enterprise, even powerful individuals. It could create a landscape of rival warlords undermining rule of law and civil society. Now if responsibility and transparency are two of the cornerstones of representative government, autonomous robotic weapons could undermine both.

Now you might be thinking that citizens of high-tech nations would have the advantage in any robotic war, that citizens of those nations would be less vulnerable, particularly against developing nations. But I think the truth is the exact opposite. I think citizens of high-tech societies are more vulnerable to robotic weapons, and the reason can be summed up in one word: data. Data powers high-tech societies. Cell phone geolocation, telecom metadata, social media, email, text, financial transaction data, transportation data, it’s a wealth of real-time data on the movements and social interactions of people. In short, we are more visible to machines than any people in history, and this perfectly suits the targeting needs of autonomous weapons.”

Watch Daniel Suarez’s entire TED Talk here.

Thanks to an old friend for the suggestion.

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Filed under Barbados, Science, Technology

UK helps Barbados with damage control over tax transparency failure

International Community wants action, not promises

A new Barbados Government press release says that the United Kingdom will upgrade our country’s status with respect to the UK’s legislation on offshore non-compliance by U.K taxpayers, and petition the OECD to reconsider its recent report about Barbados that resulted in “highly prejudicial consequences”.

Last January the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) slapped Barbados upside the head for failing to comply with international standards for sharing tax information. The OECD review was part of a crackdown on money laundering and tax havens and found that Barbados “did not have legislation in place to fully share information on tax matters with international partners.”

See BFP’s January 28, 2011 article OECD: Barbados fails tax transparency standards

Barbados was once again sent to our room by the international community until we could behave ourselves and pass some laws and regulations like we agreed to do years ago but never got around to. So now that we’ve taken a few weeks and passed the new laws we’d like to come out and play with the others, and the UK is going to vouch for us.

This same scenario plays out once or twice a year in one form or another when the international community gets tired of all promises and no action. Last year Barbados was downgraded to a spot below Cambodia over our failure to fight human trafficking. This year it’s our failure to comply with international tax information standards. Next year it will be something else.

Laws? Standards? What you talking about?

You see, we Barbadians don’t like to pass laws or comply with outside standards. We like to make promises and statements of intent, but actually passing laws is another thing. Laws make it inconvenient for the ruling class to do whatever they want. That’s why the DLP won’t pass their promised Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws.

Unfortunately, while we Bajans understand our leaders making promises and then doing the opposite, the international community is less forgiving than the voters.

Moral of the story: After the OECD slapped us around, it took our government about two weeks to pass the required laws because the downgrade threatened our economy.

Too bad our government won’t act so quickly to pass Integrity Legislation,  Freedom of Information and Conflicts of Interest laws. Or Environmental Legislation.

Prime Minister Stuart could make those laws happen if he wanted to.

But he doesn’t want to.

Barbados Government Press Release Damage Control

British Government believes OECD Global Forum should review Barbados tax information-exchange finding as soon as possible Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Corruption, Crime & Law

OECD: Barbados fails tax transparency standards

Review part of crackdown on money laundering & tax havens

Measures on tax transparency in Barbados still do not meet international standards, according to The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, hosted by the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“In studies of 10 countries released on Thursday, it found that Barbados, the Seychelles, San Marino and Trinidad and Tobago did not have legislation in place to fully share information on tax matters with international partners.”

Reuters Africa story: Barbados, San Marino, others still not tax transparent

Further Reading

OECD Global Forum on Transparency

January 27, 2011 Information Brief (PDF)

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments

Barbados Government & The Caribbean Lottery announce a bigger tax on stupid people.

lottery-barbados

Buying a ticket only slightly improves your chance at winning!

“On Thursday, August 20th, 2009, The Caribbean Lottery will introduce the biggest jackpot game to ever grace our shores. Introducing…Super Lotto, a jackpot game with two sets of numbers carrying a whopping starting jackpot of $5.346 Million dollars!”

So begins the press release received by Barbados Free Press from the CaribPR Wire, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Any ten year old can do the math – that’s not under dispute at all. Only the stupid purchase lottery tickets.

What we’re curious about is… Where does the money go?

Nothing is transparent and there is no law in Barbados that would prevent Gtech – the outside lottery company – from (for instance) employing the wife of a government minister as a “consultant” for a fee.

As we mentioned back in December of 2008 in our article Barbados Lottery: Millions Of Dollars Flowing with No Transparency, No Rules…

Like many other smaller jurisdictions Barbados contracted with an outside firm to run official lotteries. How much “commission” is paid to “outside consultants” by the Barbados government or by the outside lottery company is not only totally unregulated – it is highly secret because if the Barbados public knew who was getting a cut of their lottery money…

…Well, we can’t allow that, can we?

We all hoped that a new Prime Minister would shed some light on the secret cash transactions of the Barbados Lottery, but alas, that didn’t happen. Nor will it.

David Thompson and the DLP promised ITAL (integrity, transparency and accountability legislation). David Thompson promised accountability for all the monies unethically taken from Barbados over the years by the corrupt BLP government.

None of what Thompson and DLP promised has happened – and only a fool would think it will.

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Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption

Barbados Civil Servant To Public: “How We Spend Tax Dollars Is None Of The Public’s Business…”

Efforts to reach (Acting Registrar of the Supreme Court) Clarke on Monday to find out the cost of the repair work, the name of the company contracted to carry it out, and an estimated completion date were unsuccessful.

Clarke’s secretary received the call, but when told of the information needed, she said: “Who is doing the work, and how much it will cost is of no interest to the public.”

The secretary added that Clarke gave the information she deemed necessary for public knowledge.

… from the Nation News article Facelift Coming To Magistrates’ Court

Arrogant and Stupid Registrar’s Secretary Illustrates Typical Elitist Attitude To Taxpaying Public

The secretary to Acting Registrar of the Supreme Court Marva Clarke is not only arrogant – she is stupid. She must be stupid because only a stupid person would fail to realise that the taxpaying public has had it up to here with their government employees saying that how tax dollars are spent is none of the public’s business.

We were promised Transparency and Freedom of Information from the new DLP Thompson government, but have received quite the opposite.

The Nation reporter was making enquiries on behalf of the public, and we’re willing to bet that the enquiries were being made because there is something afoot.

Who awarded the contract to repair the Court roof?

Does the contractor repairing the roof have any connection to any government official?

Were tenders properly issued?

Has the government official who awarded the contract ever received a gift from the contractor doing the repairs?

Marva Clarke's Secretary

Marva Clarke's Secretary

A Message To Marva Clarke’s Secretary…

Listen, you stupid cow…

The public has a RIGHT to know how our tax dollars are spent. We demand transparency, accountability and no conflicts of interest in the awarding of government contracts. You didn’t even have the intelligence to say to the reporter that you would look into his question and get back to him. Oh no… your arrogance and your elitist attitude made it so natural for you to snap back a “none a you bidness” smartass reply.

So typical of government workers. Try working in the real world out here with the rest of us for a while. You’ll soon change your smartass arrogance.

Stupid cow.

(photo courtesy of gimmecorn.com)

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Consumer Issues

Barbados Government Minister Patrick Todd – Outright Lie And No Reporter Had The Courage To Call Him On It

Patrick Todd - Dishonest Barbados Government Minister

Patrick Todd - Dishonest Barbados Government Minister

“We’ve declared assets.”

…Patrick Todd, Minister of State in Education and Human Resources Development lies to Barbados and the world.

Barbados News Media Repeats Sickening Lie From a DLP Government Minister With Not Even A Blink

No, Mr. Todd, DLP Members of Parliament and Ministers in the David Thompson Barbados Government have NOT “declared assets” – as you well know.

You are a damned liar.

As is your Prime Minister and the rest of your DLP crew who promised over a year ago to “declare assets” as a matter of transparency and accountability. And not only did you lie to us about that – it is still legal for government officials like yourself to award juicy government contracts to companies owned or controlled by you or your family members.

Prime Minister Thompson could have changed that with a simple policy order but he has not done so. The reason Thompson won’t change the policy is that the DLP piggies are rolling in the trough and Thompson isn’t going to do anything to make the feast an illegal act.

Well Mr Todd, the Nation News may have a policy of assisting the government to deceive citizens about the total lack of any Integrity, Transparency or Accountability Legislation or policies adopted by the Thompson government, but we at Barbados Free Press assure you that we cannot be bought off by government advertising revenues.

You and your do-nothing “can’t even pass one piece of legislation in a year” government sicken us with your damned lies.

So we’re calling you on this one.

Liar.

65 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Government, News Media, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

How Much Did Abdul Pandor Invoice Barbados For Re-Designing The ABC Highway?

barbados-flyover-scandal

Barbados Free Press received the following submission from an anonymous reader. As with all anonymous writings, including this blog, people should take a little salt, think for themselves and attempt to confirm or deny facts before coming to any conclusions. We have removed some information and sections from this piece.

Let’s see if anyone can come up with additional information that will assist the citizens of Barbados as they seek the transparency in the spending of their tax dollars – transparency that was once promised by the DLP but never happened.

Here is what we received…

In late October 2008 Mr. Pandor was appointed by Prime Minister David Thompson as head of the drainage unit our island’s newest new statutory corporation. This followed the floods of mid to late October.

Pandor was the Chairman of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) prior to his appointment to head the drainage unit; however, he did step down from this post following his move to the drainage unit.

At his press conference in October Thompson noted, “There are design problems that have come up recently in the ABC Expansion Project, particularly with this issue of drainage. I need him to work on the [design problems of the] ABC highway as well as the establishment of the drainage unit, a new structure for looking at these issues.”

Even before 3S was formally dismissed by Thompson Pandor was identified by the government as that person who would be asked to investigate the cost overruns relative to the ABC highway; additionally he was asked by MTW to redesign the ABC highway to reflect the removal of the flyovers.

Pandor submitted an invoice for the work required by MTW for (Amount Removed By BFP Editor). When the invoice was opened by the MTW civil servants; a few thought that their eye sight was playing tricks on them.

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Politics