In bed together

Government uncomfortable with BLP’s relationship with NUPW

Two Government officials have gone on the offensive against the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), suggesting that top officials of the island’s largest public sector union are in bed with the Mia Mottley-led Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

Addressing a branch meeting of his ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in St Andrew last night, Minister of Education Ronald Jones joined with Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Irene Sandiford-Garner in launching the attack against the trade union.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones and Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner.

It follows a warning issued just over a week ago by the NUPW President Akanni McDowall that the ruling DLP was seeking to influence the outcome of the union’s internal vote on April 5. In fact, McDowall had suggested at the time that the current challenge that has been mounted against his presidency by the NUPW’s Deputy General-Treasurer Roy Greenidge was “another attempt to prevent union from holding Government’s feet to the fire”.

At the opening of the union’s 73rd annual conference last Thursday, NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith further sought to underscore McDowall’s concerns, saying the union, which was once viewed as “a darling for agreeing to hold strain and not seek a pay increase for its membership” was now considered, not only to be “the worst institution in Barbados”, but also to be “partisan and mad” because it decided “that it cannot morally continue to support Government in this particular regard”.

However, without calling the NUPW by name, Jones spoke of trade union leaders “holding the hands of the political leader and marching up and down”, in a clear reference to participation of members of the NUPW’s top brass in the recent Opposition-sponsored national March of Disgust.

Prior to that, Mottley had also participated in protest action led by the NUPW in defence of workers at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.

In a spirited speech in which he also castigated Mottley saying, she thinks she must be the first female Prime Minister of Barbados, Jones was admittedly taken aback by the seemingly close relationship between members of the NUPW’s executive and the BLP.

“When we should be celebrating committed, focused, spirited young leaders in the industrial relations movement, what we are seeing happening is that now politicians are becoming industrial relations leaders.”

Jones also suggested that the founders of the trade union were turning in their graves, even though he was himself a teachers’ union representative before he became a politician.

“It used to be an industrial relations leader becoming a politician to further advance the cause. They became politicians to advance the cause of the labour movement, [but] today, there are politicians who become trade union leaders who are there first to advance their own cause, and secondly the cause of the BLP. That is as clear as day. If you call a rally, but your trade union leaders are holding the hands of the political leader and marching up and down, what does that say?” asked the former president of the Barbados Union of Teachers.

“We know that they meet. Every one of those persons on a particular side is [a] member of the BLP — strong and diabolical supporters of the BLP. . . so they are running as a team. They could as well call themselves Team BLP,” Jones told the gathering at the Alleyne School, Belleplaine.

His position was strongly supported by Sandiford-Garner, who also addressed the meeting in her St Andrew constituency, and called on the NUPW to “leave politics out of trade unionism.

“Your union leaders must not come to you as politicians. Leave the politics out of trade unionism, leave it out!” Sandiford-Garner advised.

She also likened last week’s NUPW annual conference to a BLP political rally.

“Someone who attended told me they were never more uncomfortable at a public meeting, furthermore a union meeting. . . . He felt as if he was at a Barbados Labour Party mass rally. He said he was sent by the Prime Minister, but he did not know the protocol. He felt like walking out. He was that uncomfortable.

I told him he should have walked out. The sort of things he told me that were said would have made me walk out, protocol or no protocol, because at some point you have to decide when you would not be politically correct,” she said.

Sandiford-Garner, who said she was invited to attend opening of the NUPW conference, said when she heard that the guest speaker was the BLP’s economic advisor Dr Clyde Mascoll, she threw away her invitation.

“You do not invite persons to your house to disrespect them. Not only did the disrespect come from the guest speaker, but I understand McDowall and other members of the executive were exceedingly disrespectful.

“I am going to be very frank with you my colleagues. Until the NUPW acquires respectful, mature, and disciplined leadership it can take my name off their guest list. I will not be attending any functions they invite Senator Garner to. I heard the [former] First Lady of the United States of America [Michelle Obama] said, ‘when they go low, you go high’. That is a different situation . . . . There will be rallies, there will be meetings, but when you invite people to your home you do not disrespect them. There has to be a line drawn. There is open and blatant disrespect now. The Prime Minister is called all sorts of names on social media. Then we hear about victimization,” Sandiford-Garner added. 

21 Responses to In bed together

  1. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe March 27, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Two DLP crazies ….

  2. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd March 27, 2017 at 11:18 pm


  3. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 28, 2017 at 12:51 am

    You people are wicked. No wonder why you are the most unpopular government in the history of Barbados DLP politics.

  4. Bajan First March 28, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Respect is due dispite political differences. I however am not surprised. Too many immature people in leadership positions! While I don’t have a problem with union leaders being associated with political parties they need to exercise maturity and be able to put country before party!

  5. Lee R March 28, 2017 at 7:38 am

    I am sick and tired of this DLP gang. As soon as you criticize them you are the worst person. Definitely a time for change in our island.

  6. hcalndre March 28, 2017 at 7:44 am

    These 2 political party members would like to see the whole of barbados following them like sheep. They believe that who ever don`t sing in their choir are unpatriotic. Talking about a party association is a big problem for the DLP when all the previous union leaders after they took the members for a ride, look and see which party they`re with, Jones, Trotman, Maloney, Alleyne and I`m sure that they`re more as I`m not too familiar with all the happenings. What the members endure for a long is plain to see when they retire or resign, there is another Roy on the horizon trying to take over from Mc Dowall and if he succeeds then they will have the wine for the old barrels.

  7. Timothy Thomas March 28, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Irene the reason your friend from the city did not walk out was because he was sitting finally taking in the truth. It is totally appalling that mature adults cannot take the truth. Do you walk out of cabinet meetings when Estwick walks in. He said your Government (his Government) is a failure. I attended that meeting and that is exactly what came across, the truth. Your party want to do the world of folly and no one must say anything. Who the heck you guys think you are, are you or any member of your party beyond criticism. Your take swipes at the union day in and day out and can’t take it when people speak the truth. I am not a member of the BLP, actually the DLP has enjoyed the majority of my support but I will not be voting for Barrow or Sandi. I intend to vote wanna out. Bunch of incompetent people masquerading as a Government. Get me sick with silly rants before wanna do something to help this ailing economy that wanna create.

  8. RB March 28, 2017 at 8:19 am

    For all of the years that the BWU was associated with the DLP (Trotman even ran for Parliament as a Dem), that was OK. Now, because some union folk may lean towards the BLP, it’s an issue? Get real! Is it any wonder that people worldwide do not trust a politician? They talk so much cr*p.

  9. gsmiley March 28, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Does anybody take Jones seriously far less ISG?


  10. chris hill March 28, 2017 at 8:55 am

    these DLPs didnt have a problem when Sir Roy Trotman was the Head of the BWA and sending home 3000plus persons on his watch without even a whisper. but now they have a problem. hey our memories are not that bad.

  11. Bajan First March 28, 2017 at 9:22 am

    The problem is not about association or even membership of a political party, that has existed long before Sir Roy’so time. It goes back to Sir Grantly and Sir Hugh. What is more important is maturity and respect not to mention loyalty to country

  12. Carson C Cadogan March 28, 2017 at 11:02 am

    The whole of Barbados is seeing that the NUPW is in the pocket of the Barbados Labour Party.

  13. jrsmith March 28, 2017 at 11:11 am

    The (Democrats ) are so catching at straws , what their are doing is to try and separate they party faithfuls in the unions , reminding them they are party faithfuls and must start dividing themselves …………… from the BLPs ) members , so now the corned beef, rum and biscuits starts ……. thats why they didn’t ban the corned beef………………………………………
    The said (Democrats ) are running scared , although a long way off from the general election , they cannot lay claim to anything which they have done since being in office , other than increase taxes………..
    @, Bajan,First , hail, hail , good shot , but please be reminded our nation has become so political , out of the window has flown , our future generation’s heritage, our culture and the tugging of the heart strings at our way of life…….
    That’s why the 1% of our population have no time for politics but enjoys the control which is given to them with the support of our politicians……… we have a 98% to 1% split in Barbados, plus the other 1% who have business interest in barbados but is never here , but how is the 98% split …………..

  14. Sam Clarke March 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    A drowning man will clutch a straw. This is the most pivotal clutching for straws, that i have ever seen.


  15. Bajan First March 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Don’t care about the split. Both political parties have served us well and both have disappointed us! While we continue to be lead by one and then the other I would wish that the PM services for no more than two terms even if the party is elected for a third or fourth term. I have been around long enough to have observed the behavior of those who have lead beyond a second term, not only here but wherever it has occurred in the region and beyond. These people behavior as though the country belongs to them. I am therefore calling for a commitment from both parties to bring legislation to limit the PM to two consecutive terms. The USA has seen the wisdom of this we need to follow on this one

  16. Sheron Inniss March 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Steupse, vote for the independents. What else can we lose now? I still backing McDowall. I WANT ALL OF THEM LIMIT TO ONE TERM. It is not what the country can do for them but what they can do for the country. One two many of them in the race for the money. For heaven sake Bajans wake up and smell the coffee.

  17. Harry March 28, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Frank Walcott, Roy Trotman, Bobby Morris senior members of the BWU all of whom were MPs and unionists at the same time. In fact Morris voted for in his words ” murderous cuts” the 8% pay cuts under Sandi, what is good for the gander got to be good for the goose

  18. Lorenzo March 28, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    These Dems are hilarious,everyone must agree with them.Heard Their greatest supporter Maureen Holder attacking Mr McDowall saying how immature he is ,he does not know what he is doing etc.When amember of his Union came on to praise him she started behaving aggressive towards the lady trying to cross talk over her but the lady stood her ground.Another lady came on saying she preferred Appointment over raise as she didn,t need it,well good for her everyone cannot say the same and Ms Holder urged her on ,to even bring on her friends.Luckily some of what she Ms Holder was saying was cut.She is without doubt a Dem.What party did Sir Roy,Mr Morris etc belong to?

    • Sherlock Holmes. March 28, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Politics as they say is a dirty game, unions who lean to any particular side will defeat the purpose of what a union should be. I have stated that such actions will always come back to bite the union on it’s tail and the workers will be the ones who will suffer.This has been going on for years but it has become very awkward as of recent with level of immaturity leading the Nupw i know the unions are rife with those who have their political leanings but the head clown leading the Nupw will surely lead to it’s demise unless he is reined in.He is too thin skinned, too pompous , too arrogant and too immature for the post period until i see different i will not be removed from my stance.

    • Sherlock Holmes. March 28, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Sir Roy who lorenzo?

  19. Lorenzo March 29, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Sherlock Holmes you really asked me Sir Roy who?You need to change your name.Let me clarify for you Sir roy Trotman,Bobby Morris Evelyn Greaves ,Sir Frank Walcott which party were they aligned to?Where were your objections then?Let me spell it out for you the only crime Mr McDowall has committed in my view is that he is supposed to be aligned to the BLP which is his right in a democracy.Therefore all like you,Maureen Holder,Ms Decided,the Trini lady,Joan Worrell Loretta Griffith Carson Cadogan, greengiant,Ras Unjay,Coralita and other Dems will not change his stance.


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