Category Archives: Economy

Barbados raids national pension fund to provide severance pay to dismissed Transport Board workers.

Leroy Parris and good friend Finance Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne

Leroy Parris and good friend Finance Minister Chris Sinckler (left) share champagne

Robbing the future? Kiss your pension goodbye?

Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Juggling accounts because there’s precious little left in the treasury? All of the above?

The headline pretty well says it all – we’re broke!

Dismissed Transport Board workers are getting every cent of their long overdue severance pay, thanks to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.

Very reliable sources have revealed that the cash-strapped statutory corporation that provides islandwide public transport services had, through the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW), sought the assistance of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to meet its obligations to retrenched workers.

… read the full story in The Nation Pay Day at Last

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Barbados Government borrows $35 million to repay previous $35 million loan

Barbados payday loan

Like a drunk going back to buy another bottle

by Rainmaker

Let me try to figure this out. It might take time because even though I went to univercity of de West Indys on guvment money, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box, I know. Them univercity teashurs let me in to be fair and inclusive and I didn’t have to pay a dollar. Different now though because for some reason the guvment ran outta money for univercity. They should just borrow more and pay it off with other money they borrow.

Also I don’t know too much about guvment financing or stuff like that. I got fired before from Uncle’s store becuase I couldn’t make no good change for peoples. He said for every hour I worked for him on cash it cost him twenty dollars in misteaks.

Wuhloss! I was just doing the best I could but it weren’t no good. Uncle said I shoulda been a politician cause my mathematical skill set and handling of cash was just about like a politician.

I doan know ’bout that buy I know the guvment ministers know alot more about finanshul stuff than I do. So I’m gonna use science-tiffic raisoning to try to figure it.

Here goes…

The Barbados Advocate paper say “GOVERNMENT will today be seeking Parliamentary approval to borrow $35 million from the Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited.”

Okay. Got that. Now why are we borrowing all this $35 million dollars?

The paper say, “According to the Resolution, the money is being sought to repay a $35 million line of credit.”

Okay. Got that. We is borrowing this $35 million to pay off another $35 million that we borrowed before. I guess we filled up or tapped out that line of credit over time and didn’t pay any of it off. I guess we just paid the interest as we went along. I guess. Or maybe there was another loan we took out to pay the interest. The guvment probably does that so the peoples can’t marry up payments and interest charges with specific loans. Or somethin. Continue reading

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Great expectations for Barbados as visitors from the U.K. up 8% over last year

barbados-beach-sand-surf

UK long-stay visitors up, airline fuel prices down…

This has possibilities for recovery

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

A quoted 8 per cent increase in long stay visitors from the UK over the same period last year is very encouraging news. As often highlighted, it’s not just about the numbers, but the fact that the average British visitor stays longer and spends more, which is an equally important factor.

But with good news, it is often accompanied by bad and in this case the fall of the value of Sterling against the US Dollar resulting in Barbados again being perceived as a higher cost destination.

What could be the saving grace is the four year low price of oil and the effects that may have when it filters through to energy prices including electricity, water, distribution and airfares.

How long Government will take to positively respond to the dramatic fall will send a very important message to the industry.

For an obviously cash-strapped administration it’s a two edge sword. Lower fuel prices means less VAT collection, but if we are able to maintain a prolonged recovery in arrival numbers then this should be largely mitigated.

re-Discover Dining programme doing well

The 24 restaurants currently participating in the re-DISCOVER dine-around programme will soon have to make the decision whether to continue the initiative through the winter. There is no doubt in my mind that our visitors and locals alike are increasingly looking for value-for-money. No one can also reasonably question that it has galvanized more people to eat out. Continue reading

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Typewriter salesman calls for Barbadians to save his job by giving up their computers

Barbados Travel Agent

Okay, Okay… Indar Weir isn’t really a typewriter salesman – he is the President of the Travel Agents Association of Barbados and operates the Indar Weir Travel Centre. Indar and his industry are hurting badly because Bajans are booking their flights and vacation accommodations online – by themselves – and without a travel agent between the customer and the keyboard.

Barbados travel agents are pleading with Bajans to use their services instead of booking online “to save jobs and keep money in the country.”

In my little corner of this rock, charity will have to begin at home. I am not willing to pay the extra fee for something I can do myself online, after Google searching the millions of vacation options on the internet.

As much as I feel sorry for Indar and his colleagues, the writing was on the wall ten years ago. Mr. Weir and his colleagues tried to adapt, but were pushed out by the large online travel agencies. The travel agents’ plea in the latest Nation reminds me of the Luddites – who protested against newly developed labour-replacing machinery in the first quarter of the 1800’s.

Now that the Bajan economy is in melt-down with the government continually late delivering paycheques to employees, contractors and suppliers, most folks don’t have money to travel. Thousands are taking that “stay-cation” called unemployment after being made redundant.

Booking online is cheaper, easier, faster and offers more choices than any local travel agent. Sorry, but the world changed, and I will no longer be taking the afternoon off to pick-up my tickets from the travel agency.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Economy

Harlequin’s H Hotel: Latest photos of an eyesore that spoils Barbados

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 39

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 500

by St George’s Dragon

As promised I went to take a few photos of the Harlequin H Hotel today.

The site has obviously suffered less than Merricks, presumably because it is in a more populated area. It looks as though it was secure until fairly recently, although when I went it was possible to walk straight in from the boardwalk side of the site as someone has ripped the site hoarding door off its hinges.

There are still a few items of plant and materials on site, although nothing of any great value.

Such a shame. So many people have lost money just to create an eyesore that spoils Barbados.

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach boardwalk!

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach and boardwalk! Click photo for larger view.

Editor’s Note: The exposed rebar is salt-drenched and rusted, with salt-laden water dripping down into the concrete. How long before no self-respecting structural engineer would approve further work? Has that time already arrived? Do we have an architects or engineers out there to comment?

More Photos… 
Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Economy, Environment, Offshore Investments

Thomas Cook drops Manchester-Barbados route – while Barbados government markets to a low-income / high employment area of the UK

Thomas Cook airline

Sad news – maddening news

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It would appear we are losing the summer weekly Thomas Cook Manchester-Barbados flight from early May 2015. Perhaps there is sufficient surplus capacity on the Virgin Atlantic Monday flights, but Thomas Cook provided a lower cost option for many and while we are lacking in empirical evidence, my guess is that this flight was used by many people who have a second home on Barbados and/or who stay in our lower priced accommodation options.

While Virgin currently retains their larger once-a-week Boeing 747 on the Manchester service during the low season, it may not prove a challenge at all.

But if Virgin decides to change equipment to the smaller A330 as they did from Gatwick, clearly less capacity and more demand will lead to the inevitable higher air fares and deter the more budget conscious holidaymaker who largely keeps the industry afloat during the eight long summer months.

For travel in April 2015, a return flight from Manchester with Thomas Cook is presently available at GBPounds 376. With Virgin the cost is GBPounds 638 over a similar period. In fairness luggage and meals are ‘extras’ with Thomas Cook, but there is still a huge price differential – particularly if a family of four are considering travelling.

What is also a little puzzling was our tourism policymakers had already indicated that there was going to be a special effort in growing the markets out of the North of England and Scotland.

And especially after the July long Barbados Summerfastic tour by a beautiful liveried bus in partnership with Capital FM which visited several northern cities and Scotland.

I totally agree there is tremendous further potential, but you also have to look at the demographics which should take into account average disposal income and affordable access to the airport serving the destination.

Unemployment is at its highest in England’s North East and North West with average weekly earnings considerably lower than the south of the country. Clearly the cost is often the ultimate deciding factor.

And now I make no apologies in returning to a pet-peeve subject, websites which are not kept current…
Continue reading

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Desperation: Over 6,000 apply for 600 Sandals Barbados jobs – police called in

Barbados sandals resort employment

Barbados Acting Tourism Minister “SHOCKED!” at large, unruly crowd – fights, pushing, fainting…

DLP Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner - Insulated from reality?

Shocked DLP Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner – Insulated from reality?

Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, Acting Minister of Tourism, told reporters that she was “shocked” at the behaviour when over 6,000 desperate Bajans lined up to apply for fewer than 600 available jobs at the new Sandals Resort.

No matter the astonishment of the political elites, the vast majority of ordinary Bajans were not shocked to see a once-proud populace begging for menial work serving tourists – and pushing their way to front of the line by any means necessary.

Clean that toilet? Sure, I’ll do that! Carry bags from the bus to hotel rooms? Pick me! Pick me!

Bring drinks to spoiled 20 somethings on the beach? “Sure! I’ll do anything. Anything at all. Please… hire me. Think of my family. Hire me, please.”

Barbados Government gave everything away to Sandals

What a deal! Sandals will pay no taxes, no import duties on building materials or supplies shipped in. The exact details of the concessions haven’t been released because… because… well… our Barbados government gave everything away in a move of desperation. Damn right they did, because after three decades of mismanagement, theft and giving the dole to anyone who wanted it, Barbados has nothing left.

Our nation of Barbados is as desperate as the Bajan job seekers – so our government put aside long-term considerations and totally caved to Sandals just to land a few hundred jobs. How many jobs really? Who knows? The deal doesn’t require Sandals to provide work for a specific number of Bajans. How many Sandals employees will come from other countries? Don’t ask! You’re not allowed to know – it’s part of the deal.

Rum? Hey… that will come from Jamaica at zero duty rates while our own (and superior) Mount Gay Rum takes a more expensive back seat. Chicken? All frozen from the USA. Vegetables? Ha! The Sandals policy is price first, quality and local supply second and third.

Don’t be surprised my friends. This thing that has happened to Barbados is not getting better. Every other Caribbean island increased their tourism visits in the last 12 months… except us. Look after your family and friends as best as you can…. you might need help next.

Thanks to The Nation for the photo!

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Rush for jobs

The Nation: Thousands rush to job fair

Dr. Tennyson Joseph: Sandals desperation

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy