Daily Archives: June 1, 2007

Arson, Burglary, Bedroom Spying – Three Separate Incidents Make A Bad Day For Fired Barbados Journalist Who Is Critical Of Government

Welcome To Barbados – Or Is That Zimbabwe West?

Perhaps it was all a coincidence – or maybe it was a little message from a supporter of a Barbados government that has grown tired of all the accurate and extremely embarrassing criticism from tourism pundit Adrian Loveridge.

Adrian does not say that recent events at his home were politically motivated, but anyone who has heard or read his commentaries would be hard-pressed not to have questions about why a journalist that the government had fired should have such troubles in one day.

Suspicious Fire

It started out last Monday afternoon when a two-acre grass meadow at Adrian’s home burst into flames all by itself. Adrian was not around at the time and the fire department obviously took some time to attend to put out a 2 acre grass fire – complete with burning palm trees – in the middle of a residential neighbourhood at Inch Marlow. When Adrian finally came home the fire had destroyed his telephone wires, but fortunately his structure is made of concrete.

Break-In At Night

That very night at about 1am Adrian was awoken by the sounds of his security alarm as someone kicked in the back door of his kitchen, entered and forced a lock on an adjoining door.

Our Adrian is no coward. He armed himself and raced to the kitchen but was too late to confront his tormentor(s).

(Adrian… don’t be so damned foolish you old man! Next time they will be waiting for you and it will be the old “must have surprised a burglar” excuse when they find your body. Arm yourself, stay in your bedroom and call the police… oh… they took out your phone system beforehand, didn’t they? And will the police always come or be in time?)

Police Take 90 Minutes To Attend “Crime In Progress” Call At Adrian’s Home

The police were called at the time that Adrian went to confront the burglar(s), but they took 90 minutes to attend. (You can practically drive around the entire island in 90 minutes, let alone get to Adrian’s place from the police station a dozen times in 90 minutes.) The police returned at 6am to take a report and their forensic chap arrived later to fingerprint and photograph.

Bedroom Spying

Then Adrian noticed that an extendable ladder had been placed to his bedroom window in the middle of the night. Had “they” been watching Adrian and his wife as they slept? Or was it all part of a not-so-subtle message?

That these incidents all occurred on a single day is of concern – but when taken in context of the stepped up government attacks on a free Barbados media, what happened at Adrian’s home is truly disturbing.

Being A Critic Of The Barbados Government Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

When Barbados Tourism Minister Noel Lynch became angry with Adrian Loveridge’s weekly newspaper articles published in the Barbados Advocate, the minister called Loveridge at home on a Sunday morning and screamed at him for 12 minutes before slamming down the phone. The next day Minister Lynch called the editor of the newspaper and threatened to cut off all government advertising unless the Barbados Advocate fired Adrian Loveridge.

Loveridge was fired because of Government threats to the Barbados Advocate newspaper. (See Cowardly Barbados Advocate Newspaper Caved To Screaming Government Minister)

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Crowd Threatened To Attack Journalist Upon Hearing Prime Minister’s Comments

Then there was that little incident when Loveridge was attending a political rally where Prime Minister Owen Arthur was speaking. In Loveridge’s words…

I will always remember the incite (full) speech by the Prime Minister at a political rally at Oistins naming me and the next thing I knew a crowd of people had surrounded me and my wife shouting ‘attack them”.

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Tourism Minister Lynch Had Journalist Dumped From Radio Show Panel

Most recently the Minister of Tourism refused to allow Adrian Loveridge to appear live on the Brass Tacks radio programme as part of a panel to question the Minister regarding a number of issues in the tourism sector. This was most embarassing for the StarCom Network as an invitation to Mr. Loveridge had already been extended and accepted – but the radio station canceled Loveridge from the lineup anyway. (See Barbados Minister Of Tourism Dictates To Cowardly StarCom Network – “Adrian Loveridge Not Allowed On Brass Tacks Radio Show Panel”)

When public pressure over the Minister’s refusal to talk with Loveridge on the air became too much, StarCom had to recall Loveridge to the Brass Tacks programme, but made him sit in another studio because that cowardly, elitist Minister Lynch refused to sit in the same room.

The controversy over setting up the show was nothing compared with the fireworks that happened later! Part way through the programme Minister Lynch stormed out of the studio when radio journalist David Ellis asked how it was that the Minister’s high net worth was so out of kilter with his salary as a government official. (See Barbados Tourism Minister Storms Off Radio Show – Audio Now Available!)

My Friends, Make No Mistake!

What is under threat in Barbados is nothing more or less than individual rights and freedoms. Certain elements in our government have forgotten about the rule of law and democracy. They are rotten to core, have become rich beyond beyond your (or their) dreams because of their position – and they possess a sense of entitlement to their power that makes a mockery of everything our flag stands for.

These people are ruthless and they do not hesitate to use all their powers to intimidate and shut down a free media in Barbados or any citizen who gets in their way. If they want land, they expropriate it and don’t pay. Then Ministers of Government build their houses on the expropriated land.

When Barbados citizens want justice in the courts, they go before a man who was part of the powerful inner government cabinet one day and then became Chief Justice a few weeks later.

Barbados is closer to the precipice than we dare to believe.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, Politics & Corruption

EarthRace Gives Up – Hull Fractures In Storm

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The strange looking bio-diesel powered EarthRace boat suffered a hull fracture in a Mediterranean storm that forced the team to abandon it’s around the world record attempt.

Too bad. Read all about it at Motor Boat & Yachting (link here)

Bajan Reporter’s Ian Bourne has been following the EarthRace closely and just yesterday posted another story – this one about the storm but before it was known how badly the vessel had been damaged. (link here)

We at Barbados Free Press have to wonder, could EarthRace have been successful if Marcus had navigated and Ian had done the driving…? ;-)

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Ian Bourne in the pilot’s seat on EarthRace

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

Silenced Venezuelan TV Station Now On YouTube

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) — Radio Caracas Television, the station silenced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has found a way to continue its daily broadcasts — on YouTube, the popular video Web site.

Although the station is officially off the air, CNN’s Harris Whitbeck said its news department continues to operate on reduced staffing, and the three daily hour-long installments of the newscast “El Observador” are uploaded onto YouTube by RCTV’s Web department.

In addition, RCTV’s Colombia-based affiliate, Caracol, has agreed to transmit the evening installment of “El Observador” over its international signal. The program, which will run at midnight, could reach about 800,000 people in Venezuela.

… continue reading this article at CNN (link here

Go to YouTube.com and search for “RCTV”

(Our thanks to BFP reader D for the tip) 

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Filed under Barbados, News Media, Politics & Corruption

VECO Wouldn’t Do Anything Like THIS In Barbados, Would They?

No Way VECO Could Get Away With Using Subcontractors To Bribe Politicians In Barbados – It Wouldn’t Work!

;-)

Here’s the straightforward arrangement: oil company decides to remodel senator’s house, oil company finds contractor, contractor creates new first floor in senator’s house, contractor sends invoices to oil company, oil company reviews bills, oil company faxes bills to senior senator, senior senator pulls cash from a special account set up specifically for the construction and pays contractor, senior senator never speaks to contractor.

The arrangement looks fairly questionable on its face. And it looks even more questionable when you take Veco’s track record into account. The person from Veco who hired Paone was Veco CEO Bill Allen. Allen happens to have just pled guilty this month to federal conspiracy and bribery charges for “giving things of value” to local lawmakers…

… The plot thickens in the VECO bribery scandal. Muckraker.com

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Canadian Prime Minister Harper To Visit Barbados In July

Canadian PM Has Been Outspoken Against China Human Rights Abuses

“Canada Will Not Sell Out To The Almighty Dollar”

Fine words about human rights abuses in China from Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but I seem to recall that like the U.S., Canadian Walmart stores are loaded with goods from Communist China – no doubt much of the goods and the low prices benefiting from China’s use of slave labour camps.

But at least Harper talks about China’s human rights abuses, unlike our government in Barbados.

I wonder if the Canadian PM’s visit to Barbados will be anything more than a refueling and champagne stop?

Too bad the article in the Canadian press is called “Harper to visit volatile capitals in southern hemisphere”

Excerpts from the Brandon Sun…

Harper to visit volatile capitals in southern hemisphere

OTTAWA (CP) – Stephen Harper’s promise to be an outspoken defender of human rights abroad will be put to the test this summer as he visits two of the most volatile spots in the hemisphere: Colombia and Haiti.

The stops are part of a larger prime ministerial tour of the region, and the most substantial trip since he took power 18 months ago.

Sources familiar with the schedule say he’ll stop in Colombia, Chile, Barbados and Haiti. The trip will follow hot on the heels of Governor General Michaelle Jean’s trip to four Brazilian cities.

Jean will be in Brazil between July 6-15, and Harper will tour the region between July 15-21, sources say.

Harper and several of his ministers have said publicly that they view Latin America and the Caribbean as a priority region for Canada, one where it can play a leadership role in the trade and social spheres. Still, sources say that to date there has been little consultation between Harper’s office and experts in the region, including non-governmental organizations and bureaucrats, in the lead-up to the trip.

(big snip)

David Bruer of the social-justice organization Interpares said he’ll be watching closely to see if Harper raises human rights issues with Uribe. Harper has been outspoken in his criticism of human-rights abuses in China specifically, saying he would not “sell out to the almighty dollar.”

“If (trade is) the only agenda, I think that would be a mistake on Canada’s part,” said Bruer. “Canada has to link trade with human rights, and to go to Colombia and not talk about displacement…I think would be unfair to the people of Colombia.”

Haiti is another country facing intense challenges. United Nations forces stationed there are straining to combat rampant gang violence, but must contend with a inadequate judicial system.

In many ways, Haiti is a natural stop for Harper. Canada has sent 100 police officers and $520 million to stabilization and development efforts there, and its commitment to the country remains one of its points of pride in the region. Haiti is second only to Afghanistan in the list of Canada’s long-term development commitments.

(snip)

Barbados will be another opportunity to discuss trade with a meeting of all Caribbean leaders.
Canada has been in talks with them since 2001 to strike a trade deal. Carlo Dade of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) says the relationship has not been as vibrant in recent years as Canadian leaders have not been as focused on the area.

“It’s like, ‘You don’t call and send me flowers anymore,”‘ said Dade. “But there’s still an appreciation that we’re not the United States…and we’re still a major player on the development front.”

… read the entire article online at the Brandon Sun (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption, Slavery

Shontelle – Bridgetown Girl Doesn’t Know How Popular She Is At Central State University, Ohio

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Our (Very Safe) Prediction: Shontelle Layne Will Never Practice Law

“Shontelligence” Breaking This Fall

Shontelle doesn’t know it but she has quite a little fan base at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio – and if somebody truly confessed they would probably have to apologise for a bandit recording made last November when the street crowd gathered outside of a certain yellow-windowed house in north Bridgetown.

Our only advice to Shontelle – we know why your publicist tries to mention someone else in the same breath whenever they can but that is a short-term strategy that will do you no good in the long run. Comparisons will always happen because BIM is a small rock, but you and your music will do just fine standing on your own.

SRC Presents Bajan Queen Shontelle

The Nation News – December 2006: Shontelle On Universal Roll

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Filed under Barbados, Celebrities

Surprise In Our “Top Ten” List For May – Bizzy Williams Parties All Night And Gets The Girl!

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This Month’s Surprise… Bizzy Williams!

Our readers will notice that our “Top Posts” list on the sidebar changes often – even minute by minute – as it reflects a “What’s hot right now?” report of what Barbados Free Press readers are most interested in on the blog.

Behind the scenes we are able to view statistics of the posts that have been most popular during the last week and the last month and there are often surprises about which ones most attract our readers. For May the #1 post is Heard On The Streets Of Bridgetown, Barbados – Fact Or Only Rumours?

The article about the lawsuit against the Prime Minister of Barbados was only posted a week ago, but it attracted so much international attention in just seven days that it easily pushed to the #1 spot.

The biggest surprise came in at the #4 spot Does Bizzy Williams Know How To Party? For Sure!

We’d have to guess that some envy played a role. I mean… come on… how many old guys have enough energy to have their photo taken with a pretty girl while still partying the next morning at 8am? ;-)

Barbados Free Press Top Ten Posts for May, 2007

1 – Heard On The Streets Of Bridgetown, Barbados – Fact Or Only Rumours?
2 – Barbados Lawsuit Names Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons And Many Prominent Citizens And Businesses
3 – Prime Minister Owen Arthur On Cricket World Cup – ‘The Only Thing We Will Get…’
4 – Does Bizzy Williams Know How To Party? For Sure!
5 – Mr. Prime Minister – Why Are You ONLY NOW So Concerned About Conflicts Of Interest With Duty-Free Autos?
6 – Barbados Muslims Won’t Kill Anyone “Unjustly” – Bajan Muslim Commenter On Barbados Free Press
7 – BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Politicians Indicted For Taking/Arranging Bribes In VECO Scandal – Involves New Barbados Prison
8 – DLP Leader David Thompson Tells A Whopper Of A BIG LIE
9 – How Many BLP MPs and Candidates Have Construction Businesses?
10 – Flyover Files Missing From Barbados Government Corporate Affairs Office

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Filed under Barbados