Category Archives: Economy

Harlequin’s Merricks Resort “a rotting garbage dump – a liability not an asset”

Merricks Barbados Harlequin Bankruptcy 14Merricks Barbados Harlequin Bankruptcy 12

Why didn’t Barbados obtain completion guarantees backed with performance deposits and bonds?

Our political class, along with Harlequin and other developers, left Bajans holding the bag!

by Old Cutter

What a mess we have with abandoned and “on hold” construction sites and failed projects throughout this country. There is a reason for this and it is not “economic slowdowns” or “unforeseen circumstances”.

“We have these numerous failed project disasters littering our coasts because our DLP and BLP governments allowed unfettered development of our beautiful island by almost anyone that showed up.”

Politicians’ offshore accounts are fat and happy

Our elected representatives stuffed bags of cash into offshore accounts of their “consulting” companies but never acted to protect Barbados from shaky developers.

Our political class never imposed standard contract conditions like performance guarantees and deposits. The big developers hired DLP and BLP friends and family as ‘consultants’ in exchange for building permissions.

“Everybody knows how this place works, and why the political class never voted for Integrity Legislation or assets declarations since Bajan independence almost 50 years ago.”

Harlequin Resorts is just one more failed developer, but they fell in a big way and are worth looking at closely…

As the broader Harlequin Resorts debacle carries on in the courts we see Harlequin suing accountants Wilkins Kennedy and WK countering with accusations of their own, and many other court battles in various stages.

Somewhere in all of that there is a book figure for the value of Harlequin’s assets, including the abandoned Merricks Resort site in Barbados.

Whatever that book figure is for Merricks Resort, a visit to the abandoned construction site reveals a rotting garbage dump that is undoubtedly far less of an asset due to the demolition and environmental cleanup that would be necessary prior to any new activity. Barbados Free Press covered this story a year and a half ago, and the deterioration is easy to see when we compare the photos then and now. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Economy, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Tourism businesses must get serious about sponsorships!

“2013 ended with the lowest number of stay over visitors for 11 consecutive years. We must do something!”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

When you are working with miniscule marketing budgets, securing sponsorship is absolutely critical to the overall success of most promotions. The secret is to ensure that any sponsor ‘investing’ in a bigger picture project achieves a cost effective return.

That cannot be done without a careful evaluation of potential linkages and mutual benefits.

Quoting from a well known business publication,

“Sponsorship should not be confused with advertising. Advertising is considered a quantitative medium, whereas sponsorship is considered a qualitative medium.”

Beneficial partnerships can add tremendous value and credibility, especially if increased sales and market share can be directly measured to the strategic alliance. It also makes it far more likely that the sponsor would be willing to support future ventures.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Re-Discover Rewards campaign attracting and keeping tourists

re-discover barbados

Going Local helps tourists get value – and keeps Bajans employed

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While I can see the attraction of corporate Barbados offering Caribbean cruises as competition prizes or sales inducements, it is difficult to accept what if any real benefit the country gleans from the exercise. Payment almost certainly would ultimately be made in foreign currency (FX) to ship operators who legally avoid any significant taxation and largely employ extra regional crew.

We have been heartened at the initial response to recent launch of re-DISCOVER REWARDS vouchers by local companies – especially as many of those who have responded are looking at it from a national perspective. These businesses have made a considered decision to help protect Barbadian jobs, whether directly in the hospitality industry or sub-sectors like agricultural, food and wine distribution. Many of the participating restaurants have also made a conscious effort to use locally available produce, which again helps retain the foreign exchange and hopefully spread earned revenue right across the society.

While not wanting to use this column for propaganda or promotion, I just wonder how many people have figured out that this initiative is (to the best of my belief) absolutely unique across the Caribbean. It is a point that has not gone unnoticed by both our tourism planners and potential visitors to Barbados.

It was truly heart warming to receive a social media posting recently from a professor in Canada, who stated that one of the deciding factors why they chose Barbados over another Caribbean island was the fact they could eat every night of their stay at a different affordable restaurant, even over a three week stay.

Part of the battle is persuading the yet to be convinced various dining establishments to understand the concept. As with all businesses, there are fixed costs regardless of the number of customers. The first ten patrons per night at a set menu price perhaps will not be the most profitable, but they help negate those otherwise irrecoverable overheads. Continue reading

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Answering Loveridge about Barbados tax concessions to Sandals

Sandals' Butch Stewart doesn't look like he's starving to death.

Sandals’ Butch Stewart doesn’t look like he’s starving to death.

by William Skinner

The granting of concessions to the hoteliers is a capitulation on the part of the Barbados government, which now finds itself with a one step forward two steps backward economic policy; trying to please an essentially lazy and backward corporate class while inflicting serious blows on the already poor and economically downtrodden.

The hoteliers in Barbados have clearly demonstrated that they have failed to capitalize on an industry that has been in existence for over sixty years. They have whined their way into the taxpayers coffers, on the spurious grounds that the concessions granted to the well established Sandals Group should be automatically theirs for the taking.  In other words, while very few of them can ever boast or hope to come close, to demonstrating that they can ever reach Sandals’ heights, they have blackmailed the government into giving them similar benefits. It’s akin to a fourth division footballer demanding the same salary and perks of a first division superstar!

Be that as it may, they have also refused to sign on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be used to monitor  they operating in good faith with the agricultural community and other businesses , to ensure that the process is not exploited. In other words, the government wanted some formal agreement that the benefits will trickle down to local businesses. Low and behold, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) said that it will not sign any MOU. Imagine a beggar being so bold faced, to be a chooser as well! It was very pitiful and embarrassing to witness a minister backing down from this group.  Continue reading

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Barbados hotel investment collapsing as government concessions to Sandals set the expected standard

level-playing-field

Barbados tourism investment ‘level playing field’

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It reminds me a little of the rather repetitive ‘ad’ aired on local radio, ‘how low can you go’. There are almost always consequences for the failure to implement policies and address the overwhelming concerns of an entire industry.

Therefore it was inevitable that it would manifest itself in the shortest possible time. The Daily Nation article published last week ‘Jobs on Hold’ graphically demonstrates the dangers of attempting to invest, upgrade and re-open one of our many closed hotels, in a climate that lacks a level playing field.

If the reporting was accurate, then a potential 320 jobs, $4 million refurbishment plan, $5 million in foreign exchange and getting 145 improved rooms back into the marketplace for the upcoming critical winter season is now beyond possibility. That could represent a further loss of almost 300 airline seats per week, which may play a crucial part in helping fill and ensuring the sustainability of the two new Delta flights from Atlanta and New York starting early December.

An enhanced Amaryllis would have also helped bridge the gap of product quality offerings from when Sandals is scheduled to re-open its doors in late January 2015.

What I find so incredulous is that did our policymakers not think through that no substantive investor in their right mind would speculate millions of dollars into new or improved plant, before having in place the unimpeded similar concessions that Sandals extracted.

I also think that as a matter of urgency, some analysis needs to be done by the Central Bank of Barbados to see in ‘real’ terms if foreign exchange generated by our accommodation sector, that is retained in the country has fallen in a desperate attempt to replicate Sandals policy of collecting revenue offshore.

If in fact this figure is down there will be further negative implications in terms of taxation collected and payable to Government through VAT and any corporate taxes payable.

These issues have to be addressed now if there is any realistic chance in returning our tourism sector to growth and lifting it out of the current prolonged period of arrival numbers stagnation.

The longer the administration delays universal implementation of all the pledged concessions, the closer is the risk that more hotels will close.

As a destination, we currently hold the record for the most failed tourism accommodation properties within the Caribbean.

Later this week the Minister of Finance has kindly consented to address the third quarterly meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association. It would seem like this would be an ideal forum to declare that the promised ‘permanent’ legislation is now in place. Only then can the entire industry start rebuilding a sector that clearly is experiencing prolonged and severe distress.

Using the Minister’s own recent ‘instant coffee society’ analogy, as the pot has been on the boil so long already and the expectations have evaporated, it will not be the beverage of choice for me this Thursday.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Time for the Barbados Revegetation and Restoration Act

Barbados Sugar Cane.jpg

by Born B’badian

Bajans used to have big mouths, and gossip would spread faster than lightning.  It worked to help keep people straight, cause nobody wanted to be known as a crook or a thief. But reputations dont matter anymore in Bim. Furthermore, Bajans so busy buying and building bigass houses they can’t afford to furnish properly, and bussing their behinds to pay for, that they do not pay attention to what is going on in the country.

Bajans were never victims like I see now. They were always quick to open they mouth and cuss you out or land somebody a blow longside their head for doing them wrong. But now, the process has changed where people putting well known fall down drunks to run the country and crooked lawyers to handle the money matters of the country. The old people who sweat in the canefields to make Barbados a good place to live must be ready to jump out the grave with a fresh tamarind rod to beat everybody behind.

The people in Bim who still living sweet, are the ones who fix their little house good, and still have money in their pocket. They still planting a little kitchen garden and some fruit trees, instead of wasting precious land with front lawn. It is a sin to be importing vegetables and fruit, even seasonings from other islands while only grass growing on a big patch of land, taking up water, and keeping the place hotter than the devil’s hell.

Bajan’s got to stop letting foreigners buy their land, its the only thing we really own. People can’t go to Singapore and do this. Errol Barrow, God rest his soul, tried to base Barbados off of Singapore, but the current corrupt in power let toutmebackIlah samcouche and the duppy, get citizenship, buy land and do whatever they want on the island. Of course, bajan’s vote them in like loyal beggars blinded by cornbeef politics.  Ain’t no community spirit anymore, cause everybody lockup in their big house hiding that they eating saltfish and breadfruit and can’t pay the bills, or thiefing and whoring to pay them bills. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Economy, Environment

Peter Boos: Barbados current economic state all about poor leadership, zero transparency and a painful business environment

Peter-Boos-Barbados

Financial guru Peter Boos lays it out short and not so sweet at Caribbean360.com.

Here’s a sample…

Why are we not doing better?

There are several structural key performance indicators on which we must all focus before the economy will grow sustainably:

  1. Demand competent leadership in all sectors. Leadership with integrity and a set of shared national values and goals that are inspirational for all and grounded in trustworthiness and competence.
  2. Create a business friendly environment that provides world class competitive business facilitation services. Doing business in Barbados today is painful.
  3. Implement and vastly improve transparency and accountability in Government. The 2012/13 Auditor General’s Report is essential reading and should be discussed publicly and acted on. Mismanagement of public funds is a serious disincentive to taxpayers to pay even more.
  4. Commence a debate on strategic National Governance Reform that eliminates patronage and corruption and engages the full skills base in Barbados on a non-partisan basis.
  5. Reform the Legal Justice System.

We continue to refer to ‘the global recession’ as an excuse for our depressed state. Most of our wounds are self-inflicted.

The solutions are totally within our control. Difficult decisions are needed. Leaders are needed.

Confidence will begin to be restored when we make serious credible efforts to address the five issues above.

… read the entire article at Caribbean360.com Stop blaming the global recession; Barbados’ wounds are self-inflicted

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