Daily Archives: May 11, 2007

Mr. Prime Minister – Why Are You ONLY NOW So Concerned About Conflicts Of Interest With Duty-Free Autos?

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Arthur had made it clear that no one connected to Barbados Shipping and Trading (BS&T), the parent company of Warrens Motors, Members of Parliament, Government ministers or persons associated with the organisation of the cricket tournament should be sold these luxury cars under the relaxed duty concessions offered. … from The Nation News Rush On For CWC BMWs

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

For the past 13 years, you and your Barbados government have handed out tax money, jobs, favours and perks to friends, family members and supporters without any regard for real or perceived conflicts of interest.

You have done this personally and as a government. Is there even one member of your Cabinet who can say that they have never used their position or influence to arrange a benefit for a friend or family member?

Friends and supporters of the government have driven duty-free, cheaply purchased, government-depreciated autos for years. What is the problem now, Mr. Prime Minister? Why did you now change your policy and prohibit Warrens Motors from selling duty-reduced CWC autos to members of the government and their families?

Insiders have long known how the system works…

The government buys or leases vehicles that are to be used for a few years in government service. Senior insiders are even allowed to select the type, features and colour of the vehicle that will be assigned to them. After a time of carefully driving a vehicle in government service while it depreciates in value, a magical process occurs that sees the vehicle transferred to a wife or cousin after it is purchased for it’s heavily “depreciated” value.

Why No Public Auctions To Dispose Of Government Autos Or Other Desirable Assets?

Mr. Prime Minister, there is never a public notice about the sale of government autos… and sure as anything no records are published or are even available to curious citizens. There are no rules about who sets the sale price or who ends up with the government vehicles. Sometimes your government makes a show of turning over groups of used government autos to dealers, but the phrase “that one is already sold” is applied to a good portion of the vehicles.

That is the way it has been under the Owen Arthur government, and under past DLP administrations as well.

That is how so many family members, friends and supporters of government end up driving “government used” vehicles.

That’s never been a secret. That’s just the way it is.

The difference now is that we can talk about this corruption in public without fear or retribution.

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Why The Big Show About The Cricket World Cup BMWs?

Mr. Prime Minister, if it is somehow wrong or unethical for government members to obtain a duty-free CWC BMW now, how is this different from what has happened in the past? Haven’t you just admitted that it is unethical that many of your government’s friends and family members drive duty-free used government vehicles?

The only thing that has changed this time is the high profile and number of the the duty-free vehicles.

You and your political colleagues – including the opposition party – have until just this past year ignored integrity and conflict of interest issues because it suited your little group to continue to do as you please.

We the people of Barbados have had enough from those who abuse our trust. We will not be deterred by small side shows intended to apply a false veneer of integrity to a corrupt government operating freely within a corrupted system. If you want to come clean, Owen Arthur – have each of your Cabinet declare who in their family and close friends drives a former government vehicle.

Hear us well, Mr. Prime Minister. We the people of Barbados will hold you and your colleagues accountable for every penny you have unethically taken from us and given to friends and family.

Further Reading

Who Will Get The Duty-Free BMW Autos? Barbados Government Contract Conditions Exposed As Sham

Who Will End Up With These Barbados Cricket World Cup BMW Autos? Pick Me! Pick Me!

Luxury Auto Dealership Opens At Barbados Courts!

119 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

CARICOM Membership Fallout – High Crime In Other Caribbean Countries Hurts Barbados

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World Bank: Caribbean murder rates hurting growth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rising murder rates have made the tourism-dependent Caribbean possibly the bloodiest region in the world and are severely affecting potential economic growth, the World Bank said in a report on Thursday.

… from a Reuters world news report

When You Have Declared Yourself To Be A Family Member, Your Brother’s Reputation Is Yours

Time and time again, Barbados is lumped into “the Caribbean” in news and NGO reports. Whether the subject is murder and crime statistics, literacy levels or societal values, Barbados is never mentioned as a separate society or even as an independent and sovereign nation. The crime reports and tourist horror stories in the world media seldom (as in “never”) say, “However, things are very different in Barbados…”

As recent murders have shown, we have our own crime troubles in Barbados, but they are minimal in comparison to most of the other Caribbean nations. Yes, we see the trends, and yes, we have taken the government to task for ignoring, under-paying and under-valuing our Royal Barbados Police Force – but to have the world’s perception of public safety issues in Barbados based upon reports of gang warfare in Jamaica, drug assassinations in the Dominican Republic or the chaos in Haiti is both inaccurate and unfair.

What has the government done to distance ourselves from the rest of a troubled Caribbean?

What has the government done to establish the notion in the minds of potential tourists and investors that Barbados is NOT the Caribbean? Nothing. In fact, the message from the Barbados government has probably harmed our interests more than helped.

The message from the government of Barbados has actually been to embrace the rest of the Caribbean through CARICOM and to proclaim that “we are one.” The recent Cricket World Cup was in many ways supposed to be a CARICOM showpiece. Just one big Caribbean nation.

So when the World Bank proclaims that the Caribbean has the highest murder rate in the world – that’s Barbados too in the minds of the traveling and investing public in North America, Europe and those “new markets” in Asia that Noel Lynch and the boys are always talking about.

Goodbye, Barbados – Hello Caribbean gang wars.

Just one big happy CARICOM family now.

Great strategy, Mr. Prime Minister. Just great.

Further reading…

United Nations Press Release – High Levels Of Crime And Violence Threaten Caribbean Growth And Prosperity

U.N. Report, Full Text PDF – Crime, Violence, and Development: Trends, Costs, and Policy Options In The Caribbean (PDF)

Jamaica Gleaner – That World Bank Crime Report

ABS Philippines – World Bank: Caribbean Murder Rates Hurting Growth

McLatchy Washington Bureau – Crime Costs Steep In The Caribbean, World Bank and U.N. Say

29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, CARICOM, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues

Once Again: The Real Cuban Health Care System

American filmmaker Michael Moore is now under investigation by the US Treasury Department for traveling to Cuba – a contravention of the current embargo – to film scenes for his upcoming “documentary” lambasting the American health care system (Story at Breitbart.com).

Mr. Moore brought with him ailing 9/11 rescue workers, no doubt in an effort to show how wonderful and effective the Cuban health care system is, as opposed to the cruel and heartless American one.

What a hoax! What a joke! This, friends, is the real Cuban health care system:

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You can see and read more in the previous BFP article:

If Barbados Needs Cuban Medical Help, Then We Are Really In Trouble

In addition, the Babalu Blog has put together a rather definitive collection of photos and articles here.

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Filed under Barbados, Health