Open letter to the Queen (commemorating the BBC's 'Democracy Day' 2015 - part 2)

Intelek Int'l By Intelek Int'l, 21st Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/44-59hto/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Politics

First published on Allvoices.com in 2012, I have reproduced this open letter to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, as part of this BBC Democracy Day 2015 commemoration project.

The British-Barbadian continuum of character and corruption

HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and her Commonwealth Realms


May it please Your Majesty,
As celebrations for Your Majesty’s diamond jubilee are ongoing, I have decided to use this once in a lifetime opportunity to possibly engage Your Majesty’s attention via this open forum.

My hope is to draw Your Majesty’s attention to a deeply rooted, destructive culture of corruption in one of the jewels of Your Majesty’s Commonwealth Realms crown: Barbados, my island home.

It saddens me to have to raise this difficult, deeply grievous matter with Your Majesty during what perhaps should mainly be a time of celebration.

I would prefer that my first approach to Your Majesty via this or any other forum was solely a matter of good tidings or - as I am at times inclined to be grave, given my reflective temperament - a less direct, potentially distressing discourse (perhaps on the merits or otherwise of constitutional monarchy as a form of government).

However I believe that because Barbados is so highly regarded as a beacon of good governance - not only in the Commonwealth but around the world – the problem of systemic corruption on the island is of as much consequence and concern to Your Majesty and her United Kingdom subjects (among whom I number, as a foreigner residing in England) as it is to Barbadians at home and abroad.

I believe that given Barbados’ standing as the world’s smallest developed country, according to the United Nations Development Programme, any suggestion of systemic, historically entrenched corruption of its governing mechanisms warrants serious attention by the developed world.

And I believe attention at the highest political, commercial and other institutional levels is warranted globally not merely because systemic or endemic corruption may tarnish Barbados’ international reputation, but fundamentally, because it may cast a shadow over the reputations of political, commercial and other institutions of all countries in the supposedly “developed” world.

It may please Your Majesty to note that in last November’s annual UNDP Human Development Report Barbados was given the 5th highest rating of countries in the America’s, behind only the United States, Canada, Chile and Argentina.

Your Majesty may also find it useful to note that in this very forum, I have previously initiated an account of the deeply damaging and injurious consequences of systemic corruption – or institutionalized degeneracy - in Barbados as specifically experienced by another Commonwealth citizen, retired Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine, a long-time acquaintance of mine (here http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10723286-male-bashing-in-barbados-5a-caribbean-cricket-corruption-global-reach; and here http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10751663-male-bashing-in-barbados-5a-caribbean-cricket-corruption-gaylegoodine-correspondence; and here http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10885485-male-bashing-in-barbados-5g-occupying-the-crease-against-corruption ).

In the last link above (report 5g in that series of articles), I contrast Mr. Goodine’s dismal view of Barbados’governance with the more congratulatory views of another distinguished, retired diplomat’s: American civil rights veteran Andrew Young.

I note that Mr. Young, who marched with the late civil rights icon Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, attributes Barbados’ supposed sound governance to the influence of its British-derived education system.

Now at the time that I made that comparison, Your Majesty, I had no idea that I would be entreating the Queen of England on Barbadians’ behalf as I am now.

But the more I think about the matter, the fraught course of this public appeal for Your Majesty’s intervention upon which I am set, does not only seem like an appropriate strategy by which to address the problem of systemic corruption in Barbados: given the extraordinary historic ties between Barbados and England – rivalling the UK and US’s “special relationship” even – it seems the best possible strategy.

And I believe that my comparison last year of Mr. Young’s and Mr. Goodine’s contrasting views of the soundness of Barbados’ government confirms this.

I wrote “Where Young speaks of the advances Barbadians have made through a ‘tremendous educational resource contributed to by Great Britain’, Goodine paints a more complicated picture of a country where corrupt practices are enshrined in a culture of systemic silencing and control that is part of its British slavery and colonial legacy.”

I could have written – perhaps should have written – that Goodine is merely pointing to a pattern of human degeneration that afflicts not only British or Barbadian, slave or free, colonial or colonizing but all societies.

I suppose I took as a given that persons familiar with my views on British-Barbadian inheritances and relations would understand that at my most Pan Africanist, I am guided by my Pan Humanism, fundamentally.

Your Majesty, if the only thing I achieve by this open letter to you (or others that I think will follow subsequently) is some reflection by Your Majesty, members of Your Majesty’s Court or other influential citizens of your Realms on the manner in or methods by which the good purposes of a British education could be perverted to facilitate the kind of entrenched, systemic corruption that Mr. Goodine laments – the very entrenched corruption that I too have witnessed and which has rendered me an “exile” of sorts from my beloved country – I would consider the difficulty and grief that the writing of it imposes on me no imposition at all.

If by this initiative, I could convince Your Majesty that inherent in the process of elitist education upon which the British colonizers of Barbados embarked - virtually from the island’s settlement in 1627 – there is a character corrupting germ of arrogance (the root and fruit of an invidious sense of impunity) that perpetually undermines the bonds of empathy between governors and the governed, I would consider that I have given Your Majesty a diamond jubilee gift of good-natured, well-intentioned counsel that no other subject or servant in Your Majesty’s Realms could rival.

Yet I counsel myself, Your Majesty, that of all the inhabitants of Your Majesty’s Realms, Your Majesty is probably among those least in need of such convincing.

I have considerable regard for Your Majesty’s long and broad life experience: the permutations of both that which is praiseworthy and perverse in human nature that Your Majesty has seen.

I am mindful too of the efforts of the British Royal Family to engage more openly with Your Majesty’s subjects and servants – as demonstrated by Buckingham Palace’s establishment of Twitter and Facebook accounts.

I ask that Your Majesty view this open letter initiative as a response to and collaborative, constructive facilitation of those efforts to broaden access and encourage empathy between the governors and the governed in Your Majesty’s Realms.

David Thompson: Mr 'Cool and Deadly'?

More than this, I ask that Your Majesty recommend a similar commitment to openness and empathy – a similar commitment to accountability and transparency - by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados and other powerful servants and subjects governing that island.

Prime Minister Stuart and the other members of Barbados’ Parliament (the 3rd oldest in the Commonwealth, as I am sure Your Majesty knows, having attended celebrations for that Parliament’s 350 anniversary in 1989) have all sworn allegiance to Your Majesty. An oath to the British Crown is a standard procedure by which all Barbadian politicians are given access to and invested with the power of our lovely island’s Parliament.

I read that oath, in preparation for this letter. I reproduce it here as it touches on the nature of the administration of Your Majesty’s affairs in Barbados. If it please Your Majesty, please take note of the Oath’s emphasis on secrecy.

As documented by Wikipedia, the "First Schedule" section of the Constitution of Barbados, the official Oath of office for the Prime Minister, Ministers of Parliament, and Parliamentary Secretaries of Barbados – the Oath overseen by Barbados’ Governors General, acting on Your Majesty’s behalf - is as follows:

I, _________________________, being appointed (Prime Minister/Minister/Parliamentary Secretary), do swear that I will do the best of my judgement, at all times when so required, freely give my counsel and advice to the Governor General (or any other person for the time being lawfully performing the functions of that office) for the good management of the public affairs of Barbados, and I do further swear that I will not on any account, at any time whatsoever, disclose the counsel, advice, opinion or vote of any particular Minister or Parliamentary Secretary and that I will not, except with the authority of the Cabinet and to such extent as may be required for the good management of the affairs of Barbados, directly or indirectly reveal the business or proceedings of the Cabinet or the nature or contents of any documents communicated to me as (Prime Minister/Minister/Parliamentary Secretary) or any matter coming to my knowledge in my capacity as such and that in all things I will be a true and faithful (Prime Minister/Minister/Parliamentary Secretary), so Help me God.

I wonder, Your Majesty, if the confidentiality or secrecy invoked by this Oath, may explain the behaviour of some Barbadian politicians and other public servants.
I wonder, Your Majesty, if perhaps what I perceive as their indifference to my, Mr. Goodine’s or other Barbadians’ and foreigners’ interests and other seeming manifestations of indirect aggression that I and others have suffered at the hands of some Barbadian politicians and public servants may in fact not be evidence of malice or mischief at all, but merely manifestations of those persons mindfulness of their duties to the British Crown.

Could the now emerging shadowy transactions of tragically deceased former Prime Minister David Thompson in his dealings with Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) be explained by this Oath of secrecy?

Could the apparent decision of Chief Executive Officer of Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation, Ms. Donna Hunte-Cox, to ignore or disregard an approach that I made to her office in 2011 be justified by some legitimate confidentiality or secrecy minded mandate from the current Minister for Culture, Mr. Stephen Lashley – or Mr. Thompson’s Prime Ministerial successor, Mr. Stuart himself?

Might the good that I seek to do - not merely for my own household but the households of all Barbadians – through the Poetpourri House project that I have invited the NCF to collaborate with me on be legitimately viewed as a threat to some right that Barbados’ or Your Majesty’s representative the Governor General of Barbados has to secrecy?

Your Majesty, I make no pretensions to an understanding of the finer points of administering a government’s business.

But it seems to me that in a Commonwealth country which purports to function democratically, those who hold political office or are otherwise retained to perform public service owe a duty of care to all citizens of that country.

I am a Barbadian, Your Majesty. I was born and raised there. It is in the cultural and other “vineyards” of Barbados that I have laboured most of my adult life, paying taxes into and otherwise enriching its Treasury.

It is in the bank of Barbados’ national development that I have stored my intellectual capital and invested my hopes for prosperity.

From picking cotton, during school holidays as a teenager, to acting as a holistic communications and education consultant in a department of the office of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, I have toiled for the betterment of myself and other Barbadians persistently.

By what justification might Ms. Hunte-Cox, Minister Lashley or Prime Minister Stuart now reject my claim to a stake in Barbados’ pool of prosperity?

Is there some provision of the Official Secrets Act of Barbados that warrants or justifies the relative “exile” that some powerful persons in Barbados would apparently have imposed on me?

By the permission of the United Kingdom Border Agency – and Your Majesty’s leave, ultimately – I currently reside in England, as I have been doing since July 4th, 2006 (the anniversary of American independence, significantly).

But I do not imagine that my sojourn here in any way relieves governmental authorities in Barbados of their duty of care to me.

Rather, it seems to me that the snub of silence that Ms. Hunte-Cox has dealt me may be a tributary of a mainstream pattern or policy of silence that like the body of water that is the Thames river, silently but no less powerfully surges through the main arteries of Barbados’ political economy.

I marvel, Your Majesty, that the kind of voluminous anti-Royalist protests and lamentations voiced just this past week by Barbadian parliamentarian Hamilton Lashley and Pan African activist David Comissiong are never voiced in defence of my rights and entitlements as a citizen of that country.

Both men know of my grievance to be sure. I have sought the assistance of both Mr. Lashley and Mr. Comissiong in my efforts to establish or restore harmonious relations between myself and members of Barbados’ establishment who regard me with antipathy.

I have sought Comissiong, Lashley’s and other influential locals’ assistance in my defence against some Barbadian religious, educational, political, media and other elites whose ill-will toward me is clearly evident.

I marvel that while Mr. Comissiong could rally his “afrocentric agitation” associates to champion the interests of a foreigner, Dr. Alfred Sparman (an American, albeit a black one) the most he seems prepared to do on my behalf is advise me to promote myself.

I marvel at the afrocentric “selectivity” of Mr. Comissiong, Mr. Lashley, local public relations barons Al Gilkes and Hartley Henry, and similar political lobbyists and opinion-shapers whose passionate protests on behalf of black people seem to be available to anyone but me.

It is the indifference of these and other champions of justice to this black Barbadians’ pleas that led me to seek the intervention of Amnesty International in 2007 - having considered that somewhat like former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford, I was being treated like a criminal.

Actually, Your Majesty, I even fear for my life sometimes when I think of travelling to Barbados.

I sometimes think that because I am still speaking truth to the powers that dominate Barbados’ institutions (in defiance of my “exiled” status) some of my enemies might try to use the occasion of my presence there to “upgrade” my exile to extinction.

So determined is their resistance to the truth: so substantial is their emotional, social and even financial investment in a perverse stoical denial of reality – a shadowy stoicism that has arguably been modelled by their view of royalty; modelled, in fact, though unintentionally, by Your Majesty.

I think of the king I have dubbed “Add-Denial” and his second queen Lie-e-lah”: so enveloped in their own self-justifications that they will hear no other opinion.

Not even from a Rastafarian, royal I and I sympathizer like me.

Not even from one who empathises with that “royal couple’s” choice of polygamy – though not agreeing with how they misled and marginalized the “king’s” first wife Hartley (http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10941872-as-obama-at-the-crease-male-bashing-in-barbados-5i).

It is my firm, unshakeable belief that the cold, indifferent, aloof and scorning attitude Add-denial has demonstrated toward me has some root in a perversion of the education he received at Harrison College – the Barbados equivalent of Eton College, Your Majesty.

And David Comissiong and Hartley Henry (a personal advisor to the tragically deceased Prime Minister Thompson mentioned above) are also Harrisonians, incidentally.

I firmly believe that the elitist sense of entitlement and superiority that these and other educated or privileged Barbadians project is rooted in an understanding of educational excellence that is deeply suspect.

And like Isaac Goodine, I link that it is critical to understand the role the “old school tie” factor plays in Barbadian politics if the problem of systemic corruption in the island’s governmental institutions is to be meaningfully addressed.

I close this letter here, Your Majesty, though there is much else I wish to say. Much about the church-school legacy of Barbados’ formerly Anglican-dominated education system, among other things.

That will have to wait until a sequel to this open letter though.

But for now I shall leave Your Majesty with some of my thoughts on the dangerous, degenerative capacities of conservative religious education, published in this forum some months ago.

Given the launch last Sunday of Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Sun newspaper and news coverage of the approaching presidential election in the “highly developed” United States of America, Your Majesty may find this article extract useful in assessing the scope of my agenda.

If there is any hint of obsession with my own burdens only here, Your Majesty, please think it an unfortunate error that is entirely my fault. I assure Your Majesty that my concern is not only for myself; nor is it for Blacks, whites or any other group exclusively.

I write to Your Majesty because I care for us all.

“Indeed, a cursory study of the teachings of not just the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, but also other nationalist or ethnic political movements like the Irish Republican Army, the Rastafarian movement, the Nation of Islam and the Lord’s Army of Uganda shows the menacing malleability of religion in the service of various extreme racist, ethnic and similar antisocial interests.

The delusional double-mindedness, moral disconnect or compartmentalizing that I am highlighting here is therefore not peculiar to Christians, to whites or even to conservative thinkers - though, there is considerable evidence - including findings from Canadian psychologist Victoria Talwar’s research on lying - which suggests that conservative hearts and minds are more prone to it.

Fundamentally, the moral muddledness of mostly well meaning American conservatives that I am addressing here – the Elliot Spitzer type schizophrenia that I am suggesting Rupert Murdoch may be facilitating through Fox News programming – may befall any of us, once our consciences become eroded.

However, I think the overwhelming evidence of history – and the history of Christianity in particular - suggests that right wing, conservative religious individuals and movements have a propensity to become thus muddled, losing their moral bearings.”

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Queen Elizabeth Ii, The Queen

Meet the author

author avatar Intelek Int'l
"I think therefore I jam"
I'm a holistic communication and education specialist, trading as Intelek International (www.intelek.net).
I write about spirituality, science, philosophy, politics, love.

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