A case for more enemies of the state

Mr David Comissiong is not the archetypal enemy of the state. Nor for that matter is any citizen of Barbados who exercises his or her democratic right to question the actions of Government or seeks to ensure that all legal and traditional processes are followed in the conduct of the state’s affairs.

We applaud the Freundel Stuart Government in attempting to attract investment into Barbados, to generate foreign exchange, to provide employment opportunities for citizens and generally, to further the development of the island. Barbadians should be mature enough and sufficiently patriotic to support any initiative that redounds to the benefit of the country, irrespective of who occupies Ilaro Court.

And we also laud Mr Comissiong for insisting that all processes – legal and customary – be followed in ventures undertaken by Government. As a trained attorney-at-law, Mr Comissiong does not appear outlandish or political for insisting that all the necessary and established protocols be followed in the Hyatt Centric project.

When ordinary citizens attempt to build or extend their homes, businesses, horse stables or pig pens, they must first conform to any rules or regulations which might be in place to regulate such construction or extension. It is true that often the process of getting approval and meeting certain requirements can be tedious and frequently seeming a waste of time. But rules are rules.

We do not suggest that the major players behind the Hyatt Hotel project have broken any rules. No sane developer would attempt to pour millions into a project without first ensuring that all the necessary paper work was in place. However, we have had examples before where because of political promises and patronage, certain procedures were circumvented or simply ignored because it was expedient to do so at the time.

That Mr Comissiong has insisted on an environmental impact study being conducted before the project gets off the ground is not an unreasonable request. And this is whether required by law or not. Such studies in Barbados have been the norm previously on other major state and private sector projects. Thus there is precedent to support the social activist’s call. That Mr Comissiong has insisted on town hall meetings where residents and business owners in close proximity to the project get the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns, is not an unreasonable request. Again, there is precedent to support his call.

With a General Election due within the next ten months, it comes as no surprise that Government would wish to have the project started as soon as possible. Projects such as that at Pickering, St Lucy and Four Seasons have not come to fruition under the Freundel Stuart administration’s watch and the Hyatt Hotel would be a timely political boost. If the Opposition Barbados Labour Party were the Government of the day, it would also be pushing for a speedy start to the project and for the same reasons. It is politics. We understand that and neither party would be diminished in our equation for seeking to gain political mileage.

But Mr Comissiong’s main contention – on the surface – does not relate to the politics of the situation, but with Government’s compliance with established procedure. He has been consistent in his public articulation of the reasons for his objections to the project and with his application before the High Court that has stalled the start of construction.

Now the controversy has taken a rather peculiar turn. And if history can be used as a guide, it does not ring strange that St Lucy Member of Parliament Mr Denis Kellman is the individual taking the argument into outer space. Mr Kellman had this to say on the floor of the Lower House yesterday: “I find it very shortsighted of some people who cannot appreciate that any development that comes close to London Bourne Towers or Nelson Street or so on, can only be a positive and not a negative.

“And anybody who stands in the way should be seen as an enemy not only of the State, but must be seen as an enemy to the people who are also living in the London Bourne Towers, because they are depriving them of an opportunity of having a job, of being able to provide a service to service the debt, or service the liability that they have with the NHC [National Housing Corporation] at some point in time.”

Really, Mr Kellman?

We believe that even in the hurly burly of politics, there is nothing wrong with logic occasionally nesting and the cranium being regularly engaged whenever the mouth is opened. We have seen no instance in this matter where Mr Comissiong has sought anything other than for Government to follow established practices. The Hyatt Hotel project might prove to be the greatest thing to come to the City of Bridgetown. It might be the greatest complement to the London Bourne Towers. But that has not been Mr Comissiong’s focus.

There are too many instances in Barbados – from Greenland, St Andrew to Brittons Cross Road, St Michael – where protocols were not followed and the voices of the people ignored to everyone’s detriment. Perhaps a few more enemies of the state are needed to ensure that transparency, accountability and procedure are respected.

12 Responses to A case for more enemies of the state

  1. Keen Observer April 27, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Really? Mr. Comissiong has been an advocate for Cuba. I am sure that opposition leaders in Cuba would love to be able to challenge some of their country’s policies in court. This is court action is political. In addition, a trend is being set where a lot of projects can be challenge going forward just to stall efforts on the part of a governing party and this could deter investment.

    • hcalndre April 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      @Keen Observer, you said that Mr. Comissiong is an advocate for Cuba and the Cubans would like to challenge some of the policies in court but they can`t, but Barbados being a democracy, any citizen has the right to challenge the government, right? So by your own admission, Comissiong is within his right to do what he`s doing, so next time you must be more Observant.

  2. W April 27, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Well stated, David is doing his job. For educated fools to compare this to his support support for Cuba is sad. Take a history course, it would help.

  3. Frank White April 27, 2017 at 7:50 am

    We appreciate all your efforts brother Comissiong, we need alot more like you to ensure that the right and interest of Barbadian citizens are not trampled on, I am with you 100%… Keep on keeping on brother…

  4. jennifer April 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Civil obedience is literally going to kill us. The true enemies are the YES people sitting in that big house in bridgetown perverting the cause of justice.

  5. Ivana Cardinale April 27, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Good job Comissiong! At least you care for the country, not like some, that only care for the MONEY!!!

  6. Sheron Inniss April 27, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I appreciate your efforts Mr C. I don’t always agree with you but you are logical and factual when you speak. I commend you and I am hoping you win the case.

  7. sticks and stones April 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Ok lets keep kickkng the proverbial political ball down tge road. The question is where does it end.
    Did not govt state that an enviromental impact assesment was done prio to seeking premission of another project
    Nothing wrong in having all i’s dotted and t’s crossed however the problems which arises with issues of these sort begs the question how much is enough and how too far east is west.
    Which brings to mind while the grass is growing the horse is starving.

  8. Tony Webster April 27, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Would be interesting to see David vs. Goliath-Mouth…in the 15-th floor penthouse ring…wid mouths (sorry, gloves) off.
    So many little wheels get busy-jes’ so….turning an’ spinning..levers clicking into place…some wheels going very slow…other wheels are almost still….might be needing some mo’ oil.. Doan worry…another wheel will soon turn..and de big bell gine chime. Hmm…but for whom does the bell toll? Those wheels of justice….does move slow, slow, but grind fine, fine, yeh!

    Let the games begin!

  9. Carol-Ann Scantlebury April 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Keen Observer I just read your comment and I am thinking about you in expletives. ‘Stupid’ does not begin to describe your comment. What does Cuba have to do with legal compliance relating to construction in Barbados. There is an environmental, health and traffic impact related to that particular venture. Maybe even drainage as Bridgetown is known to be flood prone and treatment of sewage comes to mind. This affects the future of our nation. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH CUBA? This government is piss poor if only because they refuse to follow protocols that were put in place to protect its citizens. Fools like you would defend something that is not in your best interest.

  10. Sunshine Sunny Shine April 28, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Barbados Today, I am convinced that you are pushing a BLP agenda. Yesterday you had the piece about that silly woman who would not look before she speaks. That silly woman is Mia Amor Mottley. Why is she silly? Because of her leaning towards her indifferent self asking for an increase in parlimentarians when Barbados, who could barely pay civil servants, have to print money, or borrow from the NIS in order to meet its salary and wages obligation. Now the piece about Mottley wanting more parliamentarians is gone. How is thtat you can keep for months a a Tribute to Dwight Sutherland, but not a single day about Mottley’s ignorant proposal. That is why Barbados cannot be any better. Too many sell outs to one political party or the other.

  11. Greengiant April 30, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Thanks @ sunshine sunny shine; not that BT have a political agenda or is biased towards any one party, as I don’t agree with you on that. I must however pay attention as all barbadians should on the opposition leader who is always talking about reducing the public dept, talking about increasing the number of parliamentarians. Now Mia, please tell us if this won’t increase the public dept, if no then who will pay these wages for these additional parliamentarians.

    I know for certain based on the political habits of the BLP that under your management, revenue will increase, but so will the dept. As usual you will spend all that you earn, and borrow simply because you can. This is the unsustainable practice we must not return to, and as result there goes your case for a return to Government.


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