Archive | January, 2010

Sick & Tired of BLP/DLP Politics

30 Jan

It is a pity that probably only a small minority of people in Barbados ( at most a couple thousand) take seriously what is sometimes said in the DLP and the BLP columns in the Advocate newspapers.

It is a good thing that the vast majority of people either don’t take these particular columns seriously or simply don’t read them at all.

For, the amount of colossal nonsense that is spewed out in these columns from time to time makes one wonder what are the real purposes for these news publishing companies actually giving these two old archaic irrelevant parties spaces in their weekend newspapers.

However, the PDC does NOT know if the DLP still refuses to have a column in the other newspaper and the PEP is the exception to the two traditional parties, in that, what it SOME TIMES has published in its column in the other newspaper is a far better and informed content.

Whatever the real purposes are still, these parties surely are contributing to the many falling standards in journalism in Barbados, generally speaking.

Take for example the DLP’s column in the Advocate Newspaper, Friday January 29, 2010, where in the DLP column it is stated that the DLP has embarked on a mission of restoring public trust in elected officials.

What colossal ignorance of the most objectionable kind! For, any serious politically inspired person can simply go to the DLP Manifesto of 2008 and read about the great number of promises that have not been kept by this party and therefore the amount of public confidence and trust in the DLP that has been lost by the DLP as a result thereof.

From promises to remove VAT from off building material valued up to BDS $400 000, to bringing about changes to the Defamation Act, to the enacting of an Agricultural Development Act to bringing about 500 homes in 500 days – all and more of which have remained unimplemented in this country; and NOT forgetting the associated time lines for some of these promises that came and went without NOTHING BEING DONE. Full stop.

No serious political individuals will continue to believe that this DLP Government is really on a mission to restore public trust in elected individuals. NONE!!

Not when in April of 2008 this unfaithful disloyal unruly wild DLP Government would have gone and increased the cost of fuel in this country and would have therefore gone and made sure that as a result of such increases greater hardship and misery were visited upon the broad masses and middle classes in this country.

Not when in July of the same 2008 this same wicked DLP Government would have gone and increased TAXATION on the backs of the broad masses and middle classes in the amount of at least BDS $ 150 Million – with draconian increases so-called Road Taxes, professional registration fees, liquor licenses, etc.. And which up to today 2010 have still remained in place.

Moreover, in July of 2009, the public in whom this DLP seeks their trust saw water rates went up by 60%, and now effective March 1, 2010, they are going to realize that electricity bills are going to up.

More and more burdens being piled up on the backs of the impoverished and marginalized in this country, yet this DLP claims to be the party of the poor in this country. What unbridled nonsense!!

For neither the DLP and the BLP represent on the whole the interests of the broad masses and middle classes of people in this country – and they will NEVER again. The leaders and the principals of these parties muchly represent the elites and themselves and a few some others in this country.

So, right away this nuisance party – the DLP – will fail in its so-called mission to restore public trust in elected officials in this country, since most of the public believe that there is much wheeling and dealing behind the scenes involving, esp. many elite in corporate Barbados and the many leaders and principals of the DLP and BLP.

And, with thousands and thousands of people of Barbados complaining more and more on a daily basis that this spiteful DLP government is terribly mismanaging many of the POLITICAL MATERIAL FINANCIAL AFFAIRS of this country, and to which the Prime Minister’s response is a most ignorant insensitive callous unforgivable utterance that Barbadian must stop moaning and bellyaching, this situation must be a sure sign of the uncaring nature of the political animal that is the Prime Minister.

For, surely the demonstration of an uncaring attitude by anybody far less a Prime Minister is one of the first steps in acknowledging further breaches of trust between the person, the prime minister whatever and the person to whom they seek to get the trust of.

Who the Hell though is he to state such foolishness??!!!

He really does NOT know, or pretend NOT to know, the pain and suffering that the broad masses and middle classes of people are going through right now in this country, esp when they lose their jobs, when they see sizeable reductions in their disposable incomes through the cost of living that he foolishly said he would reduce, still being so high up in the air, when their properties are being dispossesed at a very fast rate, and yet when they have families to maintain.

Mr. Prime Minister you are the servant of the people NOT the master of our people!!

The Prime Minister must listen to the cries of those who have been profoundly affected by many of the brutal effects of those policies that he and his government have put in place to help make sure that recession was to come about in Barbados and that recession was a great way of making persons in Barbados more poor and poverty stricken and weak and more dependent.

To NOT listen to the cries of the people and moreso to respond to them in the very heinous way in which the Prime Minister did by telling them to stop moaning and bellyaching, is to help create or foster in the minds of many people of there being a divide between the political leader of this county and his party, and they themselves – which is a situation which will surely NOT encourage public trust in elected public officials.

So, as we talk with so many people of varying social political and religious backgrounds on a daily basis as they live through what has now become a depression from a recession, they talk about NOT having faith any more in so-called politicians including DLP ones and stating how they have been given the run around in this country by so-called DLP politicians and names like these normally figure Dr. Dennis Lowe, Mrs. Irene Sandiford Garner, Dr. Ester Byer Suckoo and Mr. Patrick Todd.

One ordinary poor member of the DLP even told the PDC yesterday that he deliberately stayed away from the DLP lunch time lecture because of the fact that he is in serious disagreement with the increases in water rates.

As a result of those increases in electricity rates, he certainly could NOT believe that the DLP did all its power to stop the BL&P from getting those increases at this time. Moreover, he believes that the DLP conspired with the FTC to increase electricity rates .

So, finally, no serious politically conscious individuals in Barbados including that ordinary poor member of the DLP are going to believe that this DLP Government is really on a mission to restore PUBLIC TRUST IN ELECTED OFFICIALS. NONE whatsoever, given the failing track record of this DLP Government in that regard.
PDC

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Police Overstepping?

30 Jan

Commissioner Darwin Dottin

Fear can incapacitate or motivate a person, thus the Fight or Flight doctrine. Recently we heard of confrontations between the media and overzealous police officers. This overzealous behaviour is mostly common in animals who hunt in packs like wolves thus the Pack Syndrome. Rational thinking person becomes irrational due to the collective of personalities.

I must say I was apprehensive in my decision to comment on this troubling behaviour of Law Enforcement Officers behaving like they are the Law. But as a supporter of Law and Order and the Police I must be fair in my social commentaries. When asked if I am not afraid I will be profiled and end up having an unfortunate accident or incident. My retort was my fear is much greater for not speaking out as remaining silent will only seek to encourage unruly behaviour. It seems if a Barbadian is fed his constitutional rights in a bowl of soup it will drink in ignorance.

Mr Commissioner, Citizen Journalist can only assist the Royal Barbados Police Force in the solving of crimes and ensure there is no deviation from what is right and ethical in the execution of their duties. Thus the most recent incident in which photographer Mr Jimmy Gittens was held for over 90 minutes and then released without been charged must be strongly condemned. He reported to me he was asked to move his vehicle while filming an incident which he did. However he continued to videotape incident from afar only then to be detained. Are you telling me that not a Sargeant or Station Sargeant at the station felt it decent enough not to infringe the freedom of a law abiding citizen. How do people who do wrong sleep at night? We must remember the laws of physics unlike man made civil law cannot be defied .The Laws of Retribution are laws of the universe and cannot be altered.

It is even more vexing when the citizenry is so silent and the hierarchy of the RBPF does not speak to this recent incident in an effort to maintain public confidence. We only need to look next door at our neighbours to see what happens when the public looses confidence in those who took the oath to Protect and Serve. This is our country be you black,brown,ugly,mustard,differently able,fisherman or vendor the Constitution guarantees you the rights to social justice and protection of your human rights.

This intimidation of Citizen Journalists by the Constabulary cannot continue if we are to preserve the rights of every person protected by the constitution of Barbados. Every member of the Royal Barbados Police Force must be reminded they are once a Police twice a civilian. Each encounter with the public despite how difficult and stressful your job may be, must be a polite and reassuring experience unless faced with a forceful encounter.

Please Mr Commissioner,do remind your rank and file of the need to maintain the respect of the Royal Barbados Police in the eyes of the public. Congratulations to those who were recently promoted and especially Inspector Victor Forde and Sargeant Carlos Lindo do continue to be exemplary in your service. I appreciate your dedication and hard work but will never stifle my beliefs.

Kammie Holder

Constituency Councils: for the people?

26 Jan

The constituency Councils Bill was passed by the Parliament of Barbados in 2009 and could change the political landscape forever, either for good or ill. The two main political parties supported Constituency Councils of one type or another. However there are those who believe that these councils will serve politicians first and the people second. Some have expressed the view that there is no need for Constituency Councils at least not for the purposes set out in the legislation. Barbadians were not paying much attention when this legislation was passed and continue to be unconcerned about the impact that this legislation could have on our democracy.

In order to engage in what should be an ongoing dialogue, as the Constituency Councils evolve, it is critical that we start by knowing what the legislation says, so here we go:

Purpose
The purpose of each constituency council is to (a) improve the delivery of services to constituents; and (b) effectively and efficiently assist in the management of resources assigned for the development of each constituency within the framework of good governance.

Function
The functions of each Council are to (a) build databases (b) identify the priority needs of the constituency (c) make recommendations to the Minister on programmes and projects for the benefit of each constituency; (d) refer residents to Government agencies; (e) assist with the delivery of services to Constituents; (f) carry out activities designated by the Department on behalf of the residents of the Constituency; (g) facilitate the flow of information to and from the Minister.

Consultants
Consultants may be engaged to carry out the work of the Council and their pay is to be determined by the Minister of Finance. The legislation states expressly that an audit of the Councils can be carried out.

Conflict of Interest
Members are required to disclose their interest in matters brought before the Council and disclosed in the minutes, for example if the member has an interest in a company or other entity with which the Council purports to make a contract or transaction. The member is barred from any deliberations, discussions or voting.

Members
It is proposed that there are fifteen Council Members that can be chosen from a wide variety of areas. Individuals may also act in their individual capacity.

The role of the elected representative
He attends as an ex officio member. They are to be notified of any regular meetings and may attend any of the Council Meetings. One wonders then whether they will not be notified of special meetings.

The Representative of the Constituency is also allowed to attend the bi-annual meeting to make an address “on any relevant issue”

Payment of Council Members
The legislation provides that they are eligible for remuneration.

Public Participation
There are bi-annual meetings.

There are concerns that Constituency Councils will be used as a tool by politicians to gather information on the most vulnerable for political ends, provide a mechanism for Government funds to purchase support, weaken the community even further by taking the power away from the people to create their own organisations and raise their own funds, undermine the representative of the Constituency if he or she is not a member of the Government of the day; remove the anonymity when interfacing with the Government in providing sensitive social services (people in your district up in your business) allow for duplication and wastage of Government resources.

What do you think?

Focus on Parliament: Does good debate matter?

24 Jan

“The Parliament of Barbados is one of the most important institutions in our democracy. Some have argued that over the years the standard of debate has plummeted. This could be a reflection of the calibre of individual that is now drawn to politics or it could also mean that the passion for people and development is no longer at the centre of politics in Barbados. Politicians do seem to be under a considerable amount of pressure – not to be serious but to be entertaining.” – Barbados Allegiance, January, 21, 2010.

There are several issues which are being raised in the above blog of which we will deal with quite briefly bit by bit over time. For now though, on the issue of the standard of debate falling over the years, this is true. Gone are the days of the late parliamentarians Errol Barrow, Tom Adams, Cameron Tudor, and Harold St. John, and still alive Sir David Simmons, Branford Taitt, Louis Tull, Dr. Don Blackman and others who at their greatest levels of parliamentary debate possessed great intellects, had good debating skills, and read widely. Well, gone are the days too of the struggle for adult suffrage, for granting trade unions legal status, for Barbados achieving independence and nationhood, for etc. And, gone are the days when so many men ( as opposed to women) in Barbados really wanted to and did continue helping to build this country in a serious way through a sense of achievement and having great pride in doing so.

Anyhow, of the current House of Assembly ( pity NOT much public attention is given to the Senate as much as the House of Assembly ) only Mr. Owen Arthur and Mr. Freundel Stuart – in their own ways – possess great intellects, have good debating skills and have read widely.

For sure, these three aspects – and there are other aspects like the ability ( of parliamentarians ) to produce great political dramatics, have left the greatest impressions on the PDC in analysing for whether parliamentary debates have sunken or not over the years, and are such that when altogether produced successfully in one parliamentarian or a few parliamentarians could make for impressive showings at times in the House of Assembly, or Senate, for that matter.

And while Mr. Arthur is true in saying that the standard of debating in parliament leaves a lot to be desired, it does not mean that because he is of a greater ( not necessarily better) intellect than most of the other parliamentarians in the whole House of Assembly and Senate, that he should find it fit to be so absent in the current House of Assembly. For, Mr. Arthur knows that he is able enough physically to go and be there more often to represent the people of St. Peter – the primary reason why he is a parliamentarian, NOT to delight in an intellectual challenge, and when or if there is a lack of that, to then flee from the House Assembly for some while, then return. This behaviour is most objectionable.

Yes, it is partly as a result of the type of individual who has actually gone to the House of Assembly or who has been appointed to the Senate, whether or NOT he or she possesses those three and some other aspects sufficiently, which will in turn show whether or NOT the standard of debating in the House of Assembly or Senate is good, bad or whatever, whenever.

A lot of what determines whether or NOT a parliamentarian is engaging in a good standard of debate has to do with the extent to which he or she has learned from and can articulate and can politically act out more or less what they have learned from/internalized and the extent to which he/she has learned from and can articulate and politically act out more or less whatever amounts they have learned such that he or she can go to parliament and produce consistently good debating standards.

So, it is essentially a reflection of NOT just the individual and his/her personal professional academic scientific achievements or desires, or their party’s purposes for being in the House of Assembly and Senate, but also is essentially a particular reflection and a particular composite/confluence of that which is contained in the wider local external political social educational academic systems that are helping to produce those types of intellectual individuals at given points in time in history. For instance, there were many parliamentarians who were once schooled in the classics in the school system of Barbados and elsewhere and who apparently used such training to great effect in parliamentary debates ones like the same Tom Adams, Cameron Tudor. But there is little about the classics that is really done in schools today in Barbados.

As well, this variable/issue about the passion for people and development no longer being at the centre of politics in Barbados hardly explains why the standard of debate is falling even though in itself this passion for a peoples development is seriously on the decline in this country, where many – not all – of today’s parliamentarians are concerned, and whose interests today are primarily oriented around their own personal agendas, those of some of their families, those of many of their friends, those of many of their corporate business interests, and those of their foreign interests, and NOT mainly around the public’s interests when it ought to be so, simply because that is what representative politics in Barbados is mainly about.

PDC

So what’s happening in Parliament?

21 Jan

The Parliament of Barbados is one of the most important institutions in our democracy. Some have argued that over the years the standard of debate has plummeted. This could be a reflection of the calibre of individual that is now drawn to politics or it could also mean that the passion for people and development is no longer at the centre of politics in Barbados. Politicians do seem to be under a considerable amount of pressure – not to be serious but to be entertaining.

Nevertheless the citizens of this country have an obligation to understand what is happening in their Parliament. This is the reason for listing the Barbados Parliament website in our blog roll. There are currently three bills under discussion The Barbados Water Authority Amendment Bill; The Public Service Amendment Bill; and The Constitution Amendment (No.2) Bill. The debate of these bills should raise key questions for Barbadians. One of the core issues must be modernising the public sector. And Barbadians really should sit up and pay attention when there is any amendment, however small to the Constitution.

There is also notice of three resolutions concerning acknowledging the contribution of Victor “Gas” Clarke to football; a resolution to acquire the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and a resolution concerning the state of the Barbados Economy.

In addition there are a number of questions that have been raised by members of parliament. In many instances it would seem that these questions are often a matter of posturing. Quite often these questions are never answered. In the current sitting questions have been raised about constituency matters such as housing and playing fields but other matters have also been raised concerning CLICO and the state of the economy. This is of course a very lame way to have something like question time that is a feature of many commonwealth parliaments. For some reason it seems as though we did not choose to copy that aspect of the Parliament.

While we need not copy the UK Parliament, would not a vigorous question time be useful in our Parliament?

In Defence of Sir Lloyd

19 Jan

Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford

I am hurt like any other rational thinking patriotic Barbadian at the pronouncement by Mr Trevor Prescod in the Tuesday Daily Nation under the caption Prescod: Why Honor Sir Lloyd?. Mr Prescod you should tell us what you would have done? Devalue the dollar or cut the government`s wage bill. I shudder to think what damage you would do to our country if you were to given oversight of the country`s affairs.

Grassroots thinking Mr Prescod cannot be responsible for this sub base level of ungrateful thinking in the history of our politics as a former member of the DLP. If its one person who deserved a Knighthood its Sir Lloyd. He made a tremendous sacrifice to the whole country`s benefit. Prime Minister Owen Arthur as the great economist he is recognized to be, appreciated the sacrifices of Prime Minister Sandiford. The most honorable thing Barbados could have done for him was to offer a knighthood.

What has me more disappointed is that you failed to express your disapproval of this appointment to your leader. Are you the same Trevor Prescod who was in the DLP, NDP and now BLP. What is your legacy? Is it empty eloquence and manipulation of the mind of voters. We need to say to all who aspire to serve as politicians we need a new level of representation. The times of flowery talk, manipulations of minds and offerings of rum are no more. A Non Partisan Movement is the only option if we are to keep 30 persons from destroying these fields and hills we call our own.

What the Political Parties in Barbados need to be concerned more about is their inability to show Transparency be it the publishing political donations and the introduction of Integrity Legislation. The person who pays the piper calls the tune. I will not accept that bribes,corruption and a lack of transparency is the acceptable norm in politics worldwide. Corruption is just as devastating as money laundering and we only need to look at Haiti, Guyana, Trinidad, Nigeria and others.

You can make a difference by finally saying something that makes sense as flowery words are most often empty.

Kammie Holder

Haiti & Our Foreign Policy

18 Jan

The efforts of Barbadians in sending relief to Haiti must be placed squarely within the context of Barbados’ Foreign Policy.

One would however venture to say that Barbados’ Foreign Policy tends to be of little concern to the majority of Barbadians. Few aspects of a political campaign are run on a foreign policy platform. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs though large has few jobs for politicians to offer to Constituents. There are many people who believe that when the Minister travels he/she is having a good time. This is not to say however that the Minister responsible does not get the opportunity to see the world and interact with the different peoples in a way that most do not.

The attempt to create a CSME has caused Barbadians to focus on this one aspect of the country’s foreign policy, largely because of the free movement of people. Although it is also true that most of the people coming into Barbados were not doing so through the Treaty of Chaguaramas, but through the traditional immigration process. Those coming through that Treaty are professionals and it is interesting that Barbadians as a whole seem to have less concern with this class of immigrant.

After these immediate efforts are spent what will be Barbados’ relationship with Haiti?

Haiti is a member of CARICOM and for years there has been a discussion about the participation of the Dominican Republic as well. It is unclear as to why the relationship with the Dominican Republic has not advanced in a similar fashion. One wonders whether the Dominican Republic would be seen as a much greater challenge to the political norms and the pecking order established in the CARICOM framework. CARICOM does have a challenge in ensuring that the membership of those countries should enhance the governance of the region.

In terms of providing assistance to other countries Barbadians have a tendency to respond that there are people in Barbados that need help too. Of course this is also the case with all countries that provide assistance to Barbados. Those countries have people that need help too. As Barbados matures developing a foreign policy which has a donor focus component should evolve. This is important for Barbados in extending its political influence and is also good for the soul of the Nation. Barbados should develop a long term foreign policy with respect to Haiti. The areas that immediately come to mind include Health, Education, Construction and Agriculture. Barbados needs to identify a narrow but consistent programme for the nation of Haiti.