Barbados! Fifty Years of Independence

Barbados Flag

Barbados is the Gem of the Caribbean Sea! Well that is what various people and a few songs say. This year, Barbados and Barbadians from all around the world have the opportunity to celebrate fifty years of Independence from physical colonial rule. I say physical because many of must be aware by now that Barbados, like any other West Indian, Caribbean, non-North American, developing or post-colonial State, is controlled by external forces, powers and economic circumstances apparently far beyond its reach. Put aside the futility that is seemingly our reality alright? It is time to celebrate!

We have sun, we have sea, we have, oh yes we have sand: lots of sand. Fifty years of Independence and all that comes with such a time. Fifty years of gloriously filthy politics where in an island number fewer than three hundred thousand people we pit one section against another in political parties. For what? Apparently instead of making our futures brighter together our time is better spent squabbling over a land much larger than few other island territories and smaller than many many many other territories (not just countries) in the world. One other thing! We have sex but hush hush we are too hypocritical to admit what tourism largely entails.

There is no need to worry and every reason to rejoice for Barbados is the land of Calyp … well no that is Trinidad and Tobago or at least they lay the strongest claim. Maybe we are the land of Reggae and Dub? Well no that is Jamaica. We cannot even claim Reggaeton. Leave that alone. It belongs to Latin America a la Jamaica of course. No, no, no. I am not trying to put Barbados down at all. Of course not. We are the land that invented rum but let us leave that alone. If I get into that now I may have no idea when I would stop. We have Spouge. A music, a beat, a language we all but abandoned as we did its pioneer and our fellow Barbadian Mr. Jackie Opel. Surely, we will hear a bit of Spouge now that we are celebrating the big Five Zero.

Five-Nought! Yes, for fifty years are but a speck in the eye of so many others humans have existed but let us celebrate being adults now. Let us also celebrate all of the people who put us in this position save those who do not or did not belong to your ideological camp, was or is not the skin colour you prefer or whose ideas were just oh so far out there that you consider that person a downright fool. Yes. Celebrate. 

Poverty abounds and surely women, hard-working and industrious as they are must be feeling the pressures more than ever now. In this matrifocal society women head most households (let us not fool ourselves by thinking otherwise) yet we have men beating women at so many turns. Of course we cannot blame women for this predicament. We must blame the absent fathers and everybody else not in the child’s life. Curse me, hate me even for saying this but who raises a child matters less than how that child is raised. Children need love more than homes with nuclear families. I have always found the term nuclear family quite amusing. Sounds to me like something will explode. You know what? Blame no one. Responsibility need not be taken at all. Let us burry our heads in our glorious independent sand and wish reality away, away, away. 

Listen, I am not bashing women. Not at all. Another term I find amusing is testicular fortitude. The testicles, balls, nuts, whatever you want to call them are so fragile that such a term should be an oxymoron. Vaginal fortitude is the strength worthy of such acclaim. It should be obvious why but apparently not since that foolish term about male genitalia is still in vogue. With all of the women ever born to claim Barbados as home and only one female national hero? Alright. Whatever you say.

Who are you by the way? Who are the people who decide what, where, why, with whom and how things happen? Fifty years of Independence and not only must we still have to struggle against external forces (that is is only natural since there greedy humans abound) we must also deal with home grown oppressors using the rule of law to bind us. We must also deal with their supports hiding in the bushes intellectually and otherwise masterbating to the thoughts and wishes of their appointed leaders. What a waste of a people and opportunity.

Let us end this on a good note. We, Barbadians, have accomplished much in these fifty years. We have accomplished so much we can forget everything that ever happened before Independence. We are a proud people. We will be the best. Pride and Industry are our watchwords.  Hollow words now. The words our “leaders” often feed us like rotten porridge. We are too accustomed to drinking hollow words. Hollow words are all we have and all we will ever have until we fill them with action.

Time For Change?

Close-up of a clock showing the words "Time For Change". Shallow depth of field.

From time-to-time we often hear there is a need for change in the country. Someone calls in on a radio programme. Another person in your neighbourhood, maybe a friend, makes a comment about how the politicians are ‘wicked’ or ‘corrupt’. You know how it goes. Election time comes and the politicians begin campaigning with promises of ‘change’. Yet, somehow, after all of these calls and decisions made in hope of change things, today, seem so much like the same. 

From election cycle to election cycle in countries around the world the calls of change are made. Outside of election time, committees and organization, local, regional and international, are created with the purpose of making some change in some place in this world. Where is the change? 

I will list some questions for you. You can take the time to think about them when you have a chance. I have some responses but I will keep them to myself at least for now. Here they are:

  1. If the world is supposed to be such a loving place why is there so much poverty?
  2. If certain doctrines, religious and legal, label us all as created equal then why are we making a world that is not?
  3. Why is it that that in many parts of the world people have the right to live in poverty but are barred by lay from ending their lives?
  4. Is there really a way to end poverty?
  5. Is political correctness the way to conduct public discourse? Maybe there is room for the not-so-nice-talk.
  6. Are safe spaces necessary?
  7. Why is it important to have Black people represented at awards shows?
  8. Is atheism the answer? One may ask the answer to what?
  9. Do we need governments?
  10. What would the world look like without money?

It seems as though we have a lot of the wrong change in this world. People doing little things with little effect. Pocket change maybe?

When Will People Take Control of Their Lives?

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In democratic societies, especially the liberal kinds, the electorate is often faced with the challenge of weeding out, from among those who offer themselves for public service, those who ‘know’ and those who think they ‘know’ but in reality do not. It is a peculiar case for any people to have to carry out such an action because it means we have to think. Each eligible person and even those under the age of voting, to a lesser extent, must peruse their minds about what they want to see become of their country, whose message resonates with how he or she feels and who is the person most likely to make this happen. Unfortunately, thinking or maybe I should say critical thinking is quite lacking among the general populace. Even those who think they think critically do not.

Ever so often, about every four to five years, the Caribbean people in particular are faced with a melancholy. They must elect without knowing the candidates. Arguably, aside from politicians in very authoritarian democracies and dictatorships, Caribbean politicians enjoy a large cushion of protection from scrutiny. I should say here that when I say Caribbean I really mean primarily those in the West Indies. Yes, that place which like most other post-colonial regions adapted the British West Minster System into ‘models’ to ‘suit’ the New World Environment.

When one really thinks about the whole situation, there is little surprise coming to mind as to why the people do not really know the policies of those they elected and those who want to be elected. The ‘models’ we have, we, as a collective, did not make. We trusted our pioneers and founding fathers to make certain decisions such as the construction of our Constitutions which dictate almost every facet of our living instead of taking a stake in the pie. Yes, one may argue that West Indian Constitutions are Acts of the British Parliament and not even our leaders of the time really had a say. Yes, we may also argue that the ‘we’ about which I speak really means our foreparents so today’s people are not to blame for what we experience presently. Surely, we know all of that to be erroneous.

We are the ones living today and every day we let pass without engaging the very nucleic forces of our society is another strike taken off of the ‘we’ of the past to be marked against the ‘we’ of today. The politicians need not go beyond a manifesto to debate because we have hardly ever challenged them to do it. Think about it. If it is that those who sell goods and services usually provide a certain quantity and quality commensurate with market they serve then would not it be reasonable to assume that our leaders (trade union leaders, parliamentary members, clergy, teachers, government administrators) would respond to our demands since we are the market and the only market to which they can ply their trade? Normally markets are held captive but geography and nationality hold our suppliers captive; making us their masters and them our servant-leaders. 

With this small argument in mind, hopefully you recognize that it is within your rights to demand from those you employ the deliverance of what you want. It is also your right to do and say nothing to affect this occurrence. However, if you neglect your duty, even though you may benefit from the actions of those who demand what they want, in the long-run you, mostly likely, will also be neglected. 

Barbados’ Loyal Opposition Says No!

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The following was distributed by The Barbados Labour Party and contains the details of the No Confidence Motion to be laid against The Speaker of The House of Assembly.

PARLIAMENT OF BARBADOS

MOTION of NO CONFIDENCE
Against
The Speaker of the Honourable the House of Assembly of Barbados

WHEREAS the Standing Orders of the Honourable the House of Assembly provides for the election of a Speaker at the beginning of each Parliament and before the House proceeds to the dispatch of any other business when so directed by His Excellency the Governor General through the Clerk of Parliament;

AND WHEREAS the powers of the Honourable Speaker include those set out in the Standing Orders of the Honourable the House of Assembly as well as a general power to regulate the conduct of business in all matters not provided for in the Standing Orders;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker is the representative of the House itself in its powers, proceedings and dignity;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker is the spokesman or representative of the House of Assembly in its relations with Her Majesty, the Senate and other authorities and persons outside Parliament;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker presides over the debates of the House of Assembly and enforces the observance of all rules for preserving order in its proceedings;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker on ceremonial occasions presents addresses to the House of Assembly and the Senate of Barbados from Her Majesty, communicates to the House letters and documents addressed to him as Speaker or to the House as a whole;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker communicates the resolutions of the Honourable House to those to whom they are directed, conveys its thanks and expresses its censure, its reprimands and its admonitions;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker issues warrants to execute the orders of the House for the commitment of offenders, for the attendance of witnesses in custody and for giving effect to other orders requiring the sanction of a legal form;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker represents the House of Parliament in a wide range of public forums and takes the lead in engaging with the public and informing them about the role and work of the House;

AND WHEREAS by reason of the foregoing the office of Speaker requires the holder thereof to possess qualities and attributes which promote and advance the dignity

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and honour of the Honourable the House of Assembly and require the highest probity in the conduct of the affairs of the Honourable the House of Assembly;

AND WHEREAS the office of Speaker is of such eminence that it is ranked No. 9 in the Table of Precedence for Barbados;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Member for St. Michael West was elected the Speaker of the Honourable the House of Assembly on the 12th day February of 2008 and re-elected as Speaker on the 6th day of March 2013;

AND WHEREAS since his election as Speaker the Honourable Speaker he has been appointed to the honour and dignity of Queen’s Counsel and as such is a senior attorney at law who is expected to set proper examples for other members of the legal profession;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker acting in his capacity as Attorney-at-Law on behalf of the Estate of Muriel Worrell received the proceeds of three (3) time deposits from the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and also received in 2012 the proceeds of sale of a property at Dayrells Road, Christ Church owned by the said Estate;

AND WHEREAS the Personal Representative of the said Estate made numerous requests of the Honourable Speaker acting in his capacity as Attorney-at-Law for the said Estate and trustee of the client funds belonging to the said Estate;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker in his capacity as Attorney-at-Law failed, neglected and/or refused in spite of repeated demands to pay into the hands of the Personal Representative all sums due and owing by him to the said Estate in a timely manner or at all;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker having failed to hand over the money as aforesaid, an action was commenced by the Personal Representative against the Honourable Speaker in his capacity as Attorney-at-Law for the purpose of recovering the said sums; and a judgment was entered on the 15th day of December, 2014 by the High Court of Barbados against the Honourable Speaker in the matter of High Court Suit No. 746 of 2014 ordering that the Honourable Speaker in his capacity as Attorney-at-Law render an account of all sums belonging to the said Estate received by him in his capacity as Attorney-at-Law and that he pay to the Claimant and Personal Representative of the said Estate all sums shown by the said account with interest thereon;

AND WHEREAS the conduct of the Honourable Speaker in his legal professional capacity is inextricably linked to his position as Speaker insofar as in both capacities he is expected to display dignity, honour and the highest standards of probity;

AND WHEREAS the failure of the Honourable Speaker in his legal professional capacity to pay the funds being held by him as aforesaid to the Personal Representative on demand was a flagrant breach of Rule 5, Rule 30, Rule 70 and Rule 74 of the Legal

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Professional Code of Ethics 1988 made under the Legal Profession Act Chapter 370A of the Laws of Barbados;

AND WHEREAS the person who occupies the position of the Speaker of the Honourable the House of Assembly must enjoy the full and utter confidence of the Honourable Members of the Honourable House and must conduct himself with honour, dignity and the highest standards of probity;

AND WHEREAS the public of Barbados must also repose its confidence in the dignity and honour of the Honourable the House of Assembly if the Honourable House is to effectively fulfill its role in the Governance of the Island pursuant to the Constitution of Barbados;

AND WHEREAS the aforementioned judgment and the aforementioned breaches have served to reduce the confidence which the Honourable Members of the Honourable the House of Assembly have in the Honourable Speaker and which the public of Barbados should repose in this Honourable House;

AND WHEREAS the Honourable Speaker has only repaid the said sums pursuant to the aforementioned Order of the High Court of Barbados ONLY after the fact of the said judgment was made public on the 11th day of January 2015;

AND WHEREAS the aforementioned conduct of the Honourable Speaker in his legal professional capacity is not expiated by reason only of his subsequent repayment of the said sums due and owing;

AND WHEREAS the aforementioned conduct of the Honourable Speaker was referred to the Committee of Privileges on the 13th day of January, 2015 by Her Honour the Deputy Speaker of the Honourable the House of Assembly, the Honourable Member for St. John;

AND WHEREAS the said Committee has not as of the 4th day of March, 2015 presented its report to the Honourable the House of Assembly;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Honourable the House of Assembly censures the Honourable Speaker for the aforementioned conduct and the aforementioned breaches;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Honourable the House of Assembly no longer possesses any confidence in the Honourable Speaker;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Honourable the House of Assembly call upon the Honourable Speaker to resign from the esteemed and venerable position of Speaker of the Honourable the House of Assembly with immediate effect.

4th March, 2015

 

The Ostensible Chronicles: From Freun To Barb

heartbreak

The Ostensible Chronicles is a RealTalk.BB comedic series shedding light on social issues facing various societies. We hope you enjoy. Remember to rate, comment and share. Thank you!

Dear Barb,

I am not sorry for being silent this past year. When you took me back last year you knew what you were getting. I am a man of seemingly big but surely silent words. I inherited you from my brother-in-arms. He wanted you but I never did. I never expected to have to provide for you or comfort you. Last year, after dragging things out I gave you a choice. You could have left me. You could have chosen another man or woman for all I cared but you stayed. I barely uttered two words and it appears as though you thought that would mean I would speak forever. I am not a man who often speaks. Stop trying to change me!

I need peace and quiet to think. If the children are hungry, need lunch money or tuition fees need to be paid do not ask me. There are other people in the family to lean on you know so ask them. Right now the Cabinet is bare so stop looking for miracles to come. I want some time to myself. I cannot think with you always complaining about Chikungunya and Ebola. I have other things to do.

I was told communication is the key to success in any relationship so I’m trying something new. This letter is my way of talking. Be happy with what you are getting now. You won’t hear my voice until these five years are over but at least you have my words. Are you happy? I am not using any big words. I am just talking to you about us and what we need to do. Well, what you need to do. You need to work harder. You need to put your back into it. You used to be on top but now you are at the bottom and you have me doing all of the work. I didn’t expect this and I don’t think I want it. There are others who may want a turn though so call Chris or Don but leave me out of it. I just want to live out these final years in tranquility and rest at home. I want a divorce! I am tired of you but I am stuck with you for a little while longer.

I should call the Men’s Educational Support Association and complain! This emotional abuse is too much. You won’t even try to be productive but you expect me to make things happen. You expect me to create miracles but am not God and I am not a magician. I did the worst thing by opening my mouth last year and I am not doing it again man. I fear my silver tongue is too sweet. If I open up you will surely want to be with me again and I can’t handle you. You are too much. Too demanding. You need someone else. You need someone who can handle your high maintenance. I am not your man.

My love for you is not what you think. Before you I had few things but I was happy. Now I have more but I cannot even enjoy them. What is a man to do with a big house, lovely bed and an unhappy bride ? I am frustrated in every way possible. We cannot possible co-exist for too long. Consummation feels more like taxation. You want more things from our relationship but I unable to give you! Stop asking me for the impossible. It is time you learned about me. I am a man without a plan but guess what? I am honest.

PLEASE find someone else. Here’s a list. There is Chris, Don, Arthur, Ron and Amor. It doesn’t matter which way you swing. Just choose one. Wait! I forgot Dave. He may even take you back to Africa. Wouldn’t that be exciting ? Don’t you want to go far, far, far away from me and see your people. I would not mind. I am an understanding man. I understand you have needs that I cannot satisfy.  My back is broad. I can take a horn. You can start horning me now until we divorce. There is no need to be sad. This was always a weird relationship mixed with funny emotions that made us do weird things like get together in the first place. We know we won’t last. We should call it quits and go our separate ways.

Yours Ostensibly,

Fruen DiBroad

Rise Up or Shut UP !

Haiti

At this point in time, Barbados is a failing society and the Caribbean, for the most part, is in the same sling.

Long before the 2008 economic recession we were failing. The failure about which I speak is not economic but philosophical. The poverty, ignorance, xenophobia, schizophrenia and unwillingness to change that we experience today are products of a cataclysm of thought. Long before we can earnestly discuss building cultural industries, talent based markets or rebuilding the education system, we must establish Read More…