Barbados Government Minister Threatened To Withdraw All Advertising If Columnist Was Not Fired
The Wikipedia entry for “Media of Barbados” has needed correction for some time. It says in part …
“The Media of Barbados have had a long history of being entitled to an open policy by the Government, and by the citizenry with respect to press Freedoms… In terms of Broadcast-media the Barbados Government largely has a hands off policy, as long as the content being aired by a media outlet is not profane, libelous, lude, slanderous or vile…”
We all know a hundred times over what a lie that statement is, and here’s more proof…
Hotelier Adrian Loveridge used to write a weekly column for the Barbados Advocate – which ended suddenly (rumour had it) after the Government of Barbados became weary of criticism and truths contained in Mr. Loveridge’s articles. Now, directly from someone who appears to be Adrian Loveridge, we learn the truth about how the cowardly publisher and editor of the Barbados Advocate said “YES MASSA!” to Owen Arthur’s Government and fired their columnist.
Adrian posted this comment at the Barbados Free Press article How Much Is The Barbados Government Paying To Moor Cruise Ships In Other Countries?
From Adrian’s post, it seems that current Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch was the Minister who threatened the Barbados Advocate’s publisher to fire Loveridge…
“In a nutshell, we do not get any assistance from BTA or Ministry of Tourism. Each year we organise a trade/consumer show dedicated to building Intra Caribbean travel, called re-DISCOVER the Caribbean and despite being captured by the media on film and in print, where the Minister of Tourism promised $25,000 towards promoting the event, absolutely nothing has been forthcoming.
Intra Caribbean travel is the ONLY major market where Barbados has seen consistent above inflation growth over the last 12 years.
The same Minister screemed down the phone at me for twelve minutes one Sunday morning and the next day the publisher of the Advocate (where I had a weekly column on Tourism) told me that Government had threatened to withdraw all paid advertising unless my column was terminated.
The previous MOT dismissed me from my post as unanimously elected chairman of a small hotels committee on which I served (unpaid) for two years as ‘being not sufficiently indigenous’ and for the same reason we were denied membership of the Intimate Hotels group. It was up until recently the ONLY trade association of Barbados that denied membership to permanent residents (contrary to the Laws of Barbados – 1966 Act of Constitition).
I could go on, but its hardly likely to make a difference.
I am outspoken because there are so many things going on in this country where there is no degree of accountability or transparency.
During the years I wrote a weekly full page column on tourism in the Advocate, no-one was able to dispute its contents because they were factual and well researched. Thats the reason (I think) that pressure was applied by Government to terminate it.
The reality about tourism on Barbados is that we are not doing very well in comparision to our competitors.
As Peter Morgan used to point out, we are the only Caribbean destination (apart from Haiti) NOT to have grown our hotel room stock in the last 12 years.
In fact over 18 hotels have been lost (conversion to condos) or remain closed.
Between 2002 and 2004 over 2,000 jobs were lost in our tourism industry or put another way one in eight or 14% percent of the workforce.
The Minister may brag about increased arrival numbers, but again in fact many of being counted twice (home porting) and how visitor spending has increased, by 4%. But if inflation is running at 7%, what is the real gain?
Don’t anybody take my word for it, speak to the taxi drivers, room maids, waiters, restaurant owners etc.”