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IMF to Help Barbados in Economic Recovery, But Debt Restructuring Plan Results in Downgrade

New Barbados Government Uncovers Massive Debt and 11th Hour Contracts Signed by Previous Administration


An emergency plan has been created to fix Barbados’ ailing economy, and it includes getting assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and suspending payments to external creditors as it restructures government debt.

And while the strategy announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley has received the full backing of the Social Partnership, a regional credit ratings agency is not as impressed by the debt payment move and has given the country its first downgrade under the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.

Last Friday evening, following a meeting with the Social Partnership, Mottley announced at a press conference a multi-pronged plan to address critically-low levels of international reserves, unsustainably high levels of public indebtedness, poor growth and major failings in public infrastructure and social safety nets.

And part of the plan involves getting balance of payments support from the IMF.

She said she had already given the Washington-based institution notice, having spoken with its managing director Christine Lagarde and “briefed her on the present state of the public finances of Barbados; the current debt and reserve positions, and assured her that we are committed to taking decisive action to rebuild Barbados”.

“In turn, Madame Lagarde assured me that the International Monetary Fund stands ready to lend Barbados the necessary assistance and support to these actions,” she said. “The Government has invited a mission from the IMF to visit Bridgetown shortly. I am advised by the Governor of the Central Bank that that mission shall be here as early as Tuesday given the urgency that we have expressed.”

Largarde later issued a statement confirming that an IMF team led by Bert van Selm will visit Barbados to start discussions on how the Fund can support the authorities’ economic plan.

“Our ultimate goal is to help Barbados achieve higher living standards and more inclusive growth for the years ahead,” the brief statement said.

Prime Minister Mottley also announced that, with the country in debt to the tune of more than BDS$15 billion (US$7.5 billion), with public debt as high as 171 per cent of GDP – the third highest in the world behind Japan and Greece – her administration will be restructuring the debt.

“After extensive consultation in the last week with our Social Partners, with our Government, I announce today that we will seek the cooperation of our domestic and external creditors in the restructuring of our public debt. From today, we are suspending payments due on debts owed to external commercial creditors.

“Similarly, we will endeavor to make scheduled domestic interest payments. However, domestic creditors will be asked to roll over principal maturities until we reach a restructuring agreement. The truth is our debt has been unsustainable territory for some time. The arrears represent an effective default by the previous Government to Barbadians. We have never, and these arrears may I remind you, were at BDS$1.7 billion (US$850 million) at the end of September last year and we are awaiting May 31 figures next week, we have never taken this type of creditor action before and our actions today are designed, my friends, to ensure that we will never ever have to do so again.”

However, that announcement has resulted in regional rating agency CariCRIS dropping Barbados’ rating to ‘CariC’ on the foreign currency rating and ‘CariC’ local currency rating.

It placed Barbados on a “rating watch”, as it listed the island’s level of creditworthiness as “poor”.

In a statement issued over the weekend, CariCRIS said the rating action was “based on the June 1, 2018 Public Debt Restructuring Plan announced by the Government of Barbados, following its in-depth review of the latest fiscal and external liquidity situation in Barbados.”

“These ratings indicate that the level of creditworthiness of this notional debt obligation, adjudged in relation to other obligations in the Caribbean is poor,” said the Trinidad-based agency.

CariCRIS says it will be monitoring the situation in Barbados very closely in the coming days and weeks as it seeks more information on the planned debt restructuring, and will further adjust its ratings if so required.


Barbados PM Names Largest Ever Cabinet; MPs and Ministers to Give Part of Salary to Charity


A country with the third highest debt in the world, “egregious” contracts signed just days before the May 24 elections, and foreign reserves that are at a “tenuous” stage – generally, an economy that is in far worse condition than the recently ousted Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration had let on.

Those were the findings of the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration, within a week of taking over the reins of government following a clean sweep at the polls last Thursday.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley disclosed the state of affairs yesterday afternoon at the first post-Cabinet press conference. She said the country is BDS$1.7 billion (US$850 million) in debt and the country is “in need of serious, urgent action”.

“As of the 30th of September last year, outstanding wire transfers as per the Accountant General’s records were BDS$621.4 million (US$310.7 million). University of the West Indies, as per the last audit confirmation, was owed BDS$229.7 million (US$114.85 million) and state owned enterprises BDS$467.7 million (US$233.85 million), bringing to a total of BDS$1.315 billion (US$657.5 million),” she told reporters at Government headquarters.

“And when we add to that approximately BDS$345 million (US$172.5 million) owed by the Barbados Revenue Authority [to taxpayers] you see that we are on or about approximately BDS$1.7 billion (US$850 million).”

Mottley added that foreign debt payment will become due between June 5 and 18, which, she said, “represents a high point of foreign debt payment for us over the course of the month of June to the tune of BDS$100 million (US$50 million”.

“Our foreign reserves are at a tenuous stage…We have a state of affairs where our deficit is unacceptably high. Indeed our debt represents the third highest in the world after Japan and Greece,” Mottley said.

To make matters worse, she said there was still the sewage mess on the south coast to attend to and “I am now being advised that there are issues with the Bridgetown sewage project…with respect to failing equipment as well as the same woeful state of affairs with respect to garbage and the absence of garbage trucks, [and] the Transport Board”.

The Prime Minister also revealed that her team had discovered that even after Parliament had dissolved, and in some cases just days before the elections, the DLP government signed off on a plethora on contracts and concessions.

Mottley said there were unreasonable contract extensions, numerous renewals at statutory corporations, and even the approval of more than 150 permits to taxi and tour operators in the two and a half months after Parliament’s life ran out.

And a day before Barbadians went to the polls, tax concessions were granted to the Hyatt Hotel Division Developments Inc., including import duty, excise tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), tax on all supplies, motor vehicles, food, alcohol, beverages, and even construction supplies. This is although the Hyatt, which is embroiled in a legal battle, cannot yet start construction.

The Prime Minister also cited a contract signed on May 8, which saw the Government agreeing to a deal with a company called Global Ports Holding PLC that would grant them a 30-year concession to operate the Cruise Pier for what she called a paltry BDS$34 million (US$17 million), in exchange for the Barbados Port Inc. to collect charges from cruise lines. Under the agreement, the Government would receive one-sixth of the current passenger charge, and one-fifth of any increase in certain other charges.

“I will ask the Attorney General as well as the lawyers for the Port to advise on this as a matter of urgency, particularly since this contract seems to be tied to a Berth 6 contract which started with concrete piles being built in the Port in advance of any contract being entered into.”

The Prime Minister also revealed that on May 7, another contract was signed and incentives given by the Ministry of Finance to a company called Berth 5 Projects Limited, as well as to Vision Developments Inc., the company behind the proposed US$100 million Hyatt Centric Resort project.

The Prime Minister said Berth 5 Projects’ concessions include exemption of payments of import duty and VAT for all supplies imported or purchased locally, or used exclusively in connection with the project for a period of 22 months from when the contract was signed.

Regarding the activity after Parliament was dissolved on March 5, the Prime Minister drew reference to what she said was “the most egregious part” – the procurement of a high-end Mercedes Benz AMG GLC on April 12, to be used by a director of sales for the yet-to-be built Hyatt Resort, which would cost taxpayers more than BDS$330,000 (US$165,000).

“I have no bias against any person, and if investments are made for the good of this country, we will do it. But I’ve asked for all these things to be reviewed urgently,” Prime Minister Mottley said, adding that “there was an attempt to tie any Government’s hands with the appointment of personnel or the renewal of contracts and leases”.


First Female PM and New Attorney General Sworn into Office in Barbados {VIDEO}


Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley continued making political history yesterday, naming the largest Cabinet the country has ever seen and having Cabinet ministers take the oath of office in the first ever public swearing in.

When the day was over, she officially had a 26-member team – herself included – to lead the country’s affairs for the next five years. Mottley was sworn in as Barbados’ first female Prime Minister and her Attorney General Dale Marshall also took the oath of office at a more intimate ceremony before Governor General Dame Sandra Mason on Friday, hours after her Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was officially declared the winner of the May 24 general elections with an unprecedented sweep of all 30 seats in Parliament.

And at the swearing-in ceremony attended by other regional leaders yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Mottley announced that the 10 per cent of parliamentarians’ and ministers’ salaries which was restored in 2016 by the previous Freundel Stuart administration would go to charity.

BLP MPs had decided since 2016 to give their portion of the increases and back pay to charity. And Mottley said that would continue as an act of solidarity with the people of Barbados who have been enduring economic hardship.

“One of the items of my Cabinet’s meeting – and we will have two this week, the first one on Tuesday – will be to ask this BLP team 2018 to continue to share in the sacrifices being made by our public servants and other sectors of this society.

“For the last year, as a matter of principle, these men and women joined with me, as BLP Parliamentary representatives, and declined to accept the 10 per cent pay which the previous government took back by legislation. We took a decision to have our back pay and our continuous 10 per cent monthly pay goes to charitable organizations such as the Salvation Armey, the Diabetes Foundation of Barbados and a number of other entities on one simple principle: that we will not accept it until the public servants issues relating to terms and conditions are appropriately resolved in this country.

“Consequently, I shall similarly recommend to my colleagues, a continued commitment that that 10 percent will not be accepted until the public servants of Barbados receive their due,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minister also announced that all ministers would have to declare their assets.

“Pending the enactment of the integrity legislation, which we have already placed and made public since November, and the consequential establishment of an Integrity Commission, all ministers will submit a declaration of their assets, in a document to be held under sealed envelope and in confidence by the Cabinet Secretary, until the establishment of the Integrity Commission,” she said.

Explaining the size of her Cabinet, Mottley said it was necessary because of the dire state of the economy.

“The Cabinet will be relatively large because I’ve not only considered the mandate given to us by the people, but also the scope of the work to be done, and the level of expertise that is at our disposal, among elected members. I’ve opted to share the workload across a significant proportion of the parliamentary group, rather than conform to the theory of a small Cabinet, thus creating an unrealistic setting for members to function effectively,” she said.

“The salaries of a few extra ministers are relatively insignificant, given that there will be tremendous savings on the containment of wastage and the curtailment of corruption.”

The Prime Minister assured that she would be holding each minister to a very high standard. And she said the hallmarks of her Cabinet would be accountability, transparency, fairness, discipline and unity.

“We do not and will not subscribe to the notion of government by stealth.

Below is the full list of Cabinet and other appointments:

Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment – Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP

Minister in the Ministry of Finance – Hon. Ryan Straughn, MP

Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs – Hon. Marsha Caddle, MP

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs – Hon. Dale Marshall, QC, MP

Minister of Home Affairs – Hon. Edmund Hinkson, MP

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade – Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, JP

Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade – Hon. C. Sandra Husbands, MP

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training – Hon. Santia Bradshaw, MP

Minister of Health and Wellness – Hon. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, MP

Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations – Hon. Colin Jordan, MP

Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development – Hon. George Payne, QC, MP

Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development – Hon. Charles Griffith, MP

Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs – Hon. Cynthia Forde, JP, MP

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce — Hon. Dwight Sutherland, MP

Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment – Hon. Adrian Forde, MP

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy – Hon. Kirk Humphrey, MP

Minister International Business and Industry – Hon. Ronald Toppin, MP

Minister of Tourism and International Transport – Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, MP

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security – Hon. Indar Weir, MP

Minister of Energy and Water Resources – Hon. Wilfred Abrahams, MP

Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance – Dr. Hon. William Duguid, JP, MP

Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance – Hon. Peter Philips, MP

Minister of Environment and National Beautification – Hon. Trevor Prescod, JP, MP

Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports – Hon. John King, MP

Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology – Senator Kay McConney

Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs – Senator Lucille Moe


Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Tech and Vocational Training – Dr. Rommel Springer, MP

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs – Mr. Neil Rowe, MP


Chief Economic Counsellor to the Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment – Ambassador Dr. Clyde Mascoll

Ambassador at Large and Ambassador Plenipotentiary – Dame Billie Miller

Speaker of the House – Mr. Arthur Holder

Deputy Speaker – Mr. Gline Clarke, JP

Chairman of Committees – Dr. Sonia Browne


President of the Senate – Sir Richard Cheltenham

Deputy President of the Senate – Rudolph “Cappy” Greenidge

Jerome Walcott

Kay McConney

Rawdon Adams

Lisa Cummins

Lucille Moe

Rommel Springer

Rudy Grant

Lynette Holder

Damian Sands

Dr. Crystal Haynes



Hours after her Barbados Labour Party (BLP) created history by becoming the first political party to secure a clean sweep of the seats up for grabs in elections, party leader Mia Mottley marked her name in the history books as well, as she was sworn in as the island’s first female Prime Minister.

The 52-year-old took the oath of office before Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at Government House just after noon today.

Queen’s Counsel Dale Marshall was also sworn in as Attorney General.


The swearing-in came about nine hours after Mottley’s predecessor, Freundel Stuart, conceded that his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had been defeated at yesterday’s polls.

Mottley, Barbados’ eighth prime minister is expected to name the rest of her Cabinet over the weekend.

Speaking to the reports after the ceremony, Mottley said her immediate order of business would include dealing with critical issues such as the South Coast Sewerage Project; the lack of public transportation; the absence of regular garbage collection; the payment of the foreign debt which is due this month; and stabilizing the foreign reserves.

She disclosed that she had already spoken to the leadership of the Social Partnership and indicated that she wished to meet with them on Monday, so they could set a framework by which to go forward.

“I will want to meet twice monthly, particularly during this period of getting these mission critical issues right, with the leadership of the Social Partnership because above all else, Barbados needs consensus to move forward. Barbados needs to be talked through the difficult decisions so that everyone can play their part. My mantra has been many hands make light work and it shall continue to be that way,” she stressed.

The Prime Minister said that over the course of the next week, she hoped to put in place a financial discovery team so they could get a clearer picture as to the true state of Government’s finances and the necessary decisions could be made.

In addition, she promised that Government would regularly communicate with citizens, at least twice monthly in the first instance and thereafter, as required.

“There will be a Press Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office and a Press Secretary to Cabinet. We recognize that in the absence, particularly, of an official Opposition, we have an even greater duty to keep the public of Barbados informed at all times and I intend to ensure that that is done,” Mottley assured.

The Prime Minister said Government had urgent business to attend to and she would therefore like the ceremonial opening of Parliament done within the next two weeks, at the very latest.

She added that there were a number of areas that would engage the attention of the Attorney General, including dealing with the backlog of court cases; reforming the criminal justice system; and establishing a commercial court and a family court that has hybrid jurisdiction.

The Prime Minister also noted that the public would have an opportunity to comment on some of the controversial pieces of legislation, namely the Police Act and the Road Traffic Act, and, where necessary, sections would be repealed.


Commonwealth Citizens Finally Added To Electoral List in Barbados


Eight years to the day that Kamla Persad-Bissessar led her United National Congress to an election victory and became Trinidad and Tobago’s first female prime minister, Mia Mottley followed suit, but in more convincing fashion.

Mottley’s Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won a clean sweep of the 30 seats up for grabs in yesterday’s election, becoming the first party in Barbados ever to do so and putting the 52-year-old veteran politician in the history books as the country’s first female leader.

The results had been slow in coming in from a day of voting that had featured reports of some people not being able to find their names on the voters’ list – which led to an emergency hearing before the Chief Justice who ordered that 18 names added; complaints of poor direction at polling stations; and long lines at polling stations which resulted in some people leaving without casting their ballots.

Counting did not begin in most constituencies until well after 10 p.m. last night, and results trickled in in the early hours of Friday from the vote in which a record 132 candidates contested the polls.

But even before the counting was over, former prime minister Freundel Stuart conceded defeat.

Delivering her victory speech before a crowd at the BLP’s headquarters, where she headed after trouncing her rivals in the St Michael East riding – she got 4,553 votes compared to the 500 for the Democratic Labour Party’s Patrick Todd, 133 won by first-timer Kemar Stuart of Solutions Barbados, and 37 votes mustered by Barbados Free Party member Enlou Frere – Mottley said the win by the former opposition party was “the people of Barbados’ victory”.

She told the jubilant crowd that now is not the time for gloating, but a time for healing and for all to join forces to help rebuild the country.

“There should be no time for gloating. We are all one people. We are Barbadians. We will need many hands to help make light work. We will rebuild Barbados together,” Mottley said. “We have to get to the task immediately.”

The prime minister in waiting also addressed the issue of the absence of an opposition which resulted from the BLP’s whitewash of the former ruling party.

“I am deeply conscious that with the absence of an official Opposition in the House of Assembly we will have to evolve institutional arrangements to be able to allow Barbadians to have a greater say in the governance of this country. All ideas must contend before government takes a decision,” she promised.

“There is no way that there will be a mistrust of the absolute mandate that you have given us the people of the BLP. We will be your servants at all times.”

Mottley also reiterated her campaign promises and assured that her government would work to ensure Barbadians had more disposal income.

“We will give you a commitment that within the next few months that will be business number one for us,” she said, later indicating that she intended to select her Cabinet before next Monday.

During her speech, the BLP leader announced that all schools would be closed today and that she had encouraged businesses, except supermarkets and banks, to close at 1 p.m.

The BLP’s 30-nil victory came just over two months after a similar clean sweep in Grenada, where the New National Party of Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell won all 15 seats in Parliament.


Barbados Electoral Office Sticks to Guns on Not Allowing Commonwealth Citizens to Vote

Four Commonwealth citizens living in Barbados who had been fighting to get their names on the list of registered voters have now been included, giving them the opportunity to vote in the May 24 general elections.

Their inclusion came yesterday, after Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor complied with a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) order handed down in an unprecedented Sunday sitting.

The Trinidad-based CCJ gave Taylor until noon yesterday to ensure that St Lucian professor Eddy Ventose was registered, or be found in contempt of court and risk imprisonment and/or a fine.

Attorney-at-law Gregory Nicholls, who was on the legal team representing Ventose, the principal applicant in a class action suit against the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) that also included Grenadian Shireen Ann Mathlin-Tulloch, Jamaican Michelle Russell, and Montserratian Sharon Edgcome-Miller, disclosed that Taylor had done as the court demanded.

“All of the litigants in the matter have been registered and have received confirmation that they are on the voters’ list,” he told online newspaper Barbados Today.

In an emergency CCJ session on Sunday, a five-member panel headed by CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron said it was satisfied that Ventose, a professor at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), had satisfied the necessary legal and regulatory conditions for registration as an elector.

Professor Ventose had stated that he was qualified and entitled to be registered to vote but his registration was consistently refused. The Court of Appeal in Barbados last Tuesday ruled that he was qualified to be registered to vote, but stopped short of compelling Sealy to enroll him on the register of voters, only giving the electoral chief 24 hours to make a determination on his application.

When she failed to register him, Professor Ventose asked the CCJ to declare that he was entitled to be registered to vote and to order the CEO to enter his name on the final voters’ list ahead of its publication this week.

In delivering the ruling, Sir Dennis expressed the view that the CCJ’s decision should also resolve the matter for other Commonwealth citizens, resident in Barbados for the relevant qualifying period, who are also claiming a right to be registered as voters under the Barbados laws


Electoral Officials Ready; Parties Amp Up Campaigning Ahead of May 24 Poll in Barbados

The Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) is holding firm to its position that Commonwealth citizens in Barbados are not eligible to vote in the May 24 general election unless they have permanent resident or immigrant status.

And one of the lawyers representing four non-nationals embroiled in a legal battle with the EBC has warned the Commission that there will be hell to pay if it persists in “blatantly ignoring” the Court of Appeal ruling on the eligibility of qualified Commonwealth citizens to vote.

Gregory Nicholls said yesterday that that the electoral management body was flirting with danger and would “suffer the consequences of their actions”.

The EBC said on Wednesday, through its attorney Bryan Barrow, that it would hold firm to its position. That was in response to a ruling on Monday by Justices of Appeal Kaye Goodridge, Andrew Burgess and Margaret Reifer that the EBC is prohibited from relying on its longstanding policy as the criteria for determining electors’ eligibility, and must instead only rely on Sections 7 and 11 of the Representation of the People Act to determine eligibility.

An upset Nicholls told the Barbados Today online newspaper that not only was the commission looking for trouble, it was also being “disingenuous” and was lying to the public about the court’s ruling.

“They are being disingenuous and they are telling lies. The ruling of the court is clear and their attorney is misleading the public. I am not arguing with them any further because the court specifically said that the [EBC] is prohibited from using that policy. So I have nothing more to say to them because they will suffer the consequences of their actions,” Nicholls said.

The Commission has been embroiled in a legal battle over its stated policy to deny voting rights to Commonwealth citizens who reside here but are not permanent residents or citizens of Barbados. St Lucian Professor Eddy Ventose, along with Jamaican Michelle Russell, Grenadian Shireen Ann Mathlin-Tulloch and Montserratian Sharon Edgcome-Miller, all of whom have been living here for over a decade, sued the EBC for excluding them from the voters’ list.

Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson ruled in February that Commonwealth citizens who meet the requirements under the Representation of the People Act have a right to vote in Barbados. The Chief Justice also said at the time that any decision to exclude them would be in violation of the Act, which does not make it mandatory for the applicants to be permanent residents, immigrants or citizens of Barbados in order to vote.

“Only the Parliament of Barbados has the power to insert those conditions,” the Chief Justice had said, going on to explain that the only requirements needed for Commonwealth citizens to vote here was for them to be resident in Barbados for three years and living in the constituency in which they are desirous of voting for three months.

The Chief Justice ordered that Ventose, who had filed a separate suit from the other three Commonwealth citizens, “should be registered with dispatch” as he had met all the requirements. The EBC appealed the decision and the Supreme Court issued a ruling this week which Barrow said had quashed all of Sir Marston’s orders, while Nicholls, one of the lawyers who represented the four Commonwealth citizens, interpreted the Supreme Court’s ruling differently.

Barrow argued that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals who reside and work here on the CARICOM skills certificate did not qualify to vote in the election.

“The Court of Appeal found that no decision had been made and therefore there could have been no refusal to register any person. So to say that we unlawfully register people is incorrect. That did not happen,” he insisted.

“The Court of Appeal went on to say that our policy of only accepting documents in relation to permanent residents and immigration status was ultra vires [beyond the Commission’s legal power or authority], they never used the word unlawful, and they asked us to make a determination with respect to Professor Ventose, whether or not he should go on the register and that decision was communicated to Mr Ventose within the requisite time period,” the lawyer said, without revealing what was said to Ventose.

However, yesterday morning Nicholls revealed that the St Lucian professor was told that he did not meet the qualification requirements to register as a voter. He also said the other individuals in the class action suit were not included on the preliminary voters’ list but have since submitted objection forms.

The lawyer said while there was little that could be done to hold the EBC’s feet to the fire before the election, which is under two weeks away, the electoral management body could very well end up having to fork out large sums of money to disenfranchised voters.

“The fact of the matter is that time was always against us so the Electoral and Boundaries Commission can afford to play fast and loose with the processing of these applications. I am not sure how effective the fight is going to be before election. At the most you can object and if they don’t approve the objection then you would have to go court where you could get monetary compensation. By that time the election would have already been passed,” Nicholls explained while expressing no interest in seeking to hold up the election while this matter plays out. (Adapted from Barbados Today reports)


Election Date Finally Announced in Barbados: May 24


Now that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has set May 24th as the day for Barbadians to elect a new government, the Electoral and Boundaries Commission is reporting that it’s ready for the polls.

Without any fanfare, Stuart announced the date the country had been waiting for, via a brief release from the Barbados Government Information Service. In just two sentences, it gave the date for voting, as well as Nomination Day which is set for May 7, and indicated that Governor General Dame Sandra Mason had been informed of such.

Yesterday, Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor told the Barbados Today online newspaper that voter registration is continuing, and the training of personnel who will help conduct the elections has been completed.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley had expressed concern after the announcement of the election date, that there was a clash with regional examinations scheduled for the same day.

Noting that schools were usually used as polling stations, she said that having voting on the same say students were doing Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) tests would be a logistical nightmare.

However, in a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Education said the external examinations would not be affected. It said the exams would go ahead as scheduled and would be administered in strict compliance with the regulations and procedures of the respective examining bodies.

“There will be special arrangements to be implemented at each centre to facilitate the entrance, controlled movement and exit of candidates and other examination officials during the day’s examination period,” it said.

“The Ministry wishes to assure the public and candidates that all steps have been taken to ensure safe and secure conditions for the administration of all examinations so that no candidate will be disadvantaged as a result of any events on that date.”

Meantime, the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) are intensifying campaigning.

At a press conference yesterday, the BLP’s general secretary and campaign manager Dr Jerome Walcott reiterated the party’s plan to immediately scrap the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which was increased last July 1 from two to ten per cent of the custom duty of both locally produced and imported goods; and to restore free education for Barbadians attending the University of the West Indies (UWI), within the first six months of being elected to office.

Dr Walcott promised that details on the source of funding for those initiatives would be included in the party’s manifesto which is due to be officially launched by the middle of next month.

However, Finance Minister Chris Snickler has dismissed the promises, saying fulfilling them and other undertakings given by the BLP would cost more than BDS$1 billion (US$500 million).

“So if the Barbados Labour Party has BDS$1 billion lying around somewhere that they can do this with, I believe that it is irresponsible of them to have not shared that money with the public of Barbados, because we could have done with it a long time ago. But if you are talking about eliminating NSRL, paying a wages increase to public servants, restoring tuition fees and paying off all of Barbados’ arrears, then we’re talking maybe one or two billion Barbados dollars,” he said.

“People want to hear the truth. People want to hear realistic proposals, things that are doable, not pie in the sky things that make everybody feel good. This is not about feel-good things; we’ve passed that stage and that type of politics [doesn’t] work.”

The DLP and BLP are among seven political parties and at least one independent candidate expected to contest the general elections.

The other parties are: the United Progressive Party, Solutions Barbados, Barbados Integrity Movement, the People’s Democratic Movement, and the Bajan Free Party (a coalition involving the Kingdom Government Party and the People’s Democratic Congress); while former prostitute, Natalie Harewood, is also throwing her hat into the ring as an independent candidate.


Barbadians will go to the polls to elect a new government on May 24.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart revealed the date in a brief statement released by the Government Information Service (GIS) this morning.

He also said Nomination Day would be May 7, and that he had officially notified Governor General Dame Sandra Mason of the dates.

The announcement came a month and three weeks after Parliament was automatically dissolved – March 6 – which was five years after it first met following the February 21, 2013 general election. It was the first time in Barbados’ history that Parliament was dissolved without an election date being announced.

The main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had been clamouring for Prime Minister Stuart to ring the election bell as it declared it was ready to take over the reins of government. The party’s chairman George Payne had even called on the Governor General to step in and name an election date, in order to avert a potential constitutional crisis.

Under the island’s constitution, the election would have had to be held by June 6.

The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), which is seeking a third consecutive term in office, will be challenged by the BLP along with five new political parties in the upcoming polls: the United Progressive Party, Solutions Barbados, Barbados Integrity Movement, the People’s Democratic Movement, and the Bajan Free Party (a coalition involving the Kingdom Government Party and the People’s Democratic Congress).

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Comment by Wycliff on June 6, 2018 at 12:11pm

What to do about nothing. I just read the article and can tell you that Barbados is doing well. 

Comment by william clarke on June 1, 2018 at 4:18pm
Mia Motley will do a great job as Prime Minister.
Comment by vaughn mitchell on June 1, 2018 at 2:18pm

She is a born leader. Nuff respect

Comment by Roots aka TJ What De Ras on May 30, 2018 at 3:01pm
Its about time Bim first
Comment by HandsomeMan on May 25, 2018 at 2:57pm

Go ahead mi gal.

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