September 6, 2011
Political analyst, Peter Wickham, fired from CBC

Political analyst Peter Wickham has been fired as resident analyst on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) radio and television stations in Barbados, in a move which at least one media house in Barbados has said is related to the publication of a confidential United States cable.{{more}}

According to The Nation newspaper, Wickham confirmed that on Thursday, September 1, he received a four-line letter terminating the services of his organization, Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), which is the entity that is contracted to provide the services as resident analyst. The termination is effective September 30. Wickham assumed the post with CBC from December 2009.

“No rationale was given,” the Nation quotes Wickham as saying. “Needless to say, I am not pleased.”

“Where there’s a termination letter there’s always the impression conveyed that there was incompetence, misbehaviour, non-performance or underperformance, and I hope that’s not the belief that goes out there,” he added.

Another Barbadian publication, The Barbados Free Press, (BFP) is however claiming that Wickham was sacked over the contents of a US Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks on August 30, 2011.

The BFP claims that a CBC insider told the publication that the Barbados Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government and CBC senior executives remain “outraged” at the contents of the cable.

The Barbados Free Press also claims that Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is said to be “beside himself” over the cable, which alleges, among other things, that CLICO executive, former CBC Chairman and DLP supporter Leroy Parris, funded the ruling party of Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt, in exchange for being named a “Goodwill Ambassador” of Dominica, a “particularly friendly business environment” and the construction of a new housing development in Dominica.

The Barbados Free Press says that the Barbados government members are concerned that the cable will provide more fodder for calls from the opposition Barbados Labour Party for details on CLICO financial abuses and CLICO’s political funding of the Barbados DLP.

The Wikileaks cable includes a comment from the US Embassy which says that the Government of Dominica’s interpretation of “Goodwill Ambassador” appears to include real diplomatic status. The cable said that in September 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Dominica sent the US Embassy a note requesting that it issue a visa in the diplomatic passport of “Ambassador at Large” Parris.

“Despite Post’s (the Embassy) repeated requests for an explanation of the capacity in which Parris, a Barbados citizen, will serve as a Dominica diplomat, the MFA failed to provide an answer. Post recently returned the passport to the MFA without the requested visa,” the cable said.