Tag Archives: Barbados

Tomas Chlumecky: LIAT should tell the truth

Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the recent announcement that David Evans had been hired as LIAT’s new CEO. Will the change at the top make a difference? The rot goes deep, as this article by Tomas Chlumecky shows…

LIAT late

As LIAT continues to drain tax payers money, is it not time for the tax payers to ask for action and accountability from their politicians?

As an Airline Consultant, I thought I have seen it all, but LIAT is a very special case indeed. Experience shows that companies in decline MUST replace some of the people responsible for the decline, these people lead the company to its current position and are incapable of the mind set needed to make fundamental changes to the strategy they so blindly believed in that created the crisis in the first place. They may not see it, but they block any real changes because they are bent on defending the dying cause, therefore they need to go!

When will the Board realize that the Chairman of LIAT, Dr. Jean Holder and once again Acting-CEO and CFO Mrs. Julie Reifer-Jones are failed leaders that have led LIAT to where it is today? Any reasonable Board by now would have requested their resignation.

Recently LIAT blames the “summer meltdown” on its inability to sell its DHC-8 aircraft because they do not have the records for the aircraft up to date! One year after ordering the ATR’s and knowing full well they needed to sell them with records up to date, just the fact the records are not up to date is NOT acceptable. If they flew with records not up to date the then ECCCA needs to step in investigate. Just horrible management.

Next, the people of the EC are being told the new ATR’s are more economical and that is why LIAT went out to buy and lease 12 ATR’s. This is non-sense. The 8 ATR-72′s will cost about $US1.4 million lease payments per month! The 4 ATR-42′s being purchased cost $US 74 million at list price, so what LIAT did was substantially increase it lease obligations and debt at a time it has little money, pays salaries late and cannot even keep its maintenance records up to date. Continue reading

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Amnesty International says Barbados police torture prisoners

Dottin Police Shootings

According to Amnesty, on March 17, Mottley and Headley, in the company of their lawyer, presented themselves at the Hastings police station in “good health”, as certified by a doctor.

But hours later, Mottley’s lawyer Brian Clarke reportedly received a call from his client requesting his urgent presence.

“When the lawyer arrived, he saw that Adrian Mottley was in distress, he had a split lip and had vomit on his mouth. Shortly afterwards he fainted and began foaming at the mouth, ” Amnesty claimed in the statement.

It said after receiving medical attention, Mottley later told his lawyer that “police officers had wrapped him in plastic wrap from his feet up to his neck and then [beat] him around the body.”

… from Barbados Today Tortured?

Do Bajans believe that the Royal Barbados Police Force regularly beats prisoners? Do fish swim in the sea?

A few reminders from BFP stories…

March 25, 2013  Was Derek Crawford beaten by police to make him confess to rape?

November 25, 2012 Barbados Police competence, brutality, in spotlight as ‘wrongful’ rape charges explode in worldwide news

December 2, 2011 Death in Police Custody

May 30, 2011  Barbados Bar Association President: Police beat confessions from suspects

Sept 9 2010 Dear Police Commissioner

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Airbnb transforming tourism and hotel industry: but there will be casualties

airbnb barbados

Airbnb Barbados search returns over 200 rentals! Click photo for larger

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

If I had mentioned the name Airbnb a few months ago, I wonder, hand-on-heart, how many people could claim that they knew much about the company.

Perhaps hardly surprisingly, as not that long ago it sold novelty cereal boxes to stay afloat to now emerge as a major threat to the hotel industry and ‘close to becoming one of the world’s most valuable startups’.

If quoted plans materialise, private-equity firm TPG and boutique investment advisors, Dragoneer Investment Group, who are already in advanced talks will raise capital to put a value on what has been described as ‘the upstart home-rental site’ of US$10 billion.

Mutual funds are being sourced through the strategic research platforms of entities including T Rowe Price Group and Fidelity and are also in discussion to join the group.

To put that it context, the combined share worth of Airbnb would equate to US$2 billion more than the entire InterContinental hotel chain. Continue reading

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Is Barbados special enough to attract Chinese tourists?

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Bridgetown is a long way from Beijing!

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Much discussion has taken place over the last year or so about the importance of attracting Chinese visitors to Barbados, and few could disagree that it is a potential massive market that cannot be ignored.

Let us, though, take a minute to look at the practical reality.

Using Great Circle (shortest route by air) distances, Beijing is a mind-boggling 8,775 miles from Barbados. Shanghai is some 9,381. Even if current aircraft could fly those distances non-stop, it entails a minimum flying time of 17 to 19 hours and then there are all sorts of crewing and equipment challenges.

Air China is presently the only airline to operate non-stop services from Beijing to New York (JFK) with11 flights weekly by B777-200 aircraft and a flight time of around 13 hours. China Eastern Airlines operate Shanghai to JFK at least daily.

In an extensive interview recently, when questioned about direct flights into the Caribbean, Dr. Zhihang Chi, Vice President and General Manager of North America for Air China stated that was not an option. However, he said ‘that China’s flag carrier would instead be targeting more flights to North American hubs and striking up partnerships with local carriers to funnel traffic into the Caribbean’.  Continue reading

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Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

Honey Bea III refuses to answer accusation of fishing for turtles

Contributed by BFP reader CJB

The Careenage and Harbour used to be a garbage strewn muddy dump. They have spent years cleaning it up and landscaping the surrounds. They have even restored the lift bridge to working order. However now that the area has been cleaned up and the water is far less murky (polluted?) turtles have started to appear, largely attracted by the free food from the deep-sea fishing boats moored there.

Unfortunately some of the deep-sea fishing vessels are now also trying to catch the turtles with rod, line and hook. The boat we saw was Honey Bee III. (Editor’s note: I think he means Honey Bea III)

They had a rope over the side with what looked like the entrails of a large fish at the end of it – two Hawksbill turtles were attempting to get bits off it. One was an adult, another a juvenile. However there was another conventional fishing rod and line with hook also dangling in the water. It was baited with fish – quite why it was there is a moot point. It was this that the adult turtle got caught on – obviously attracted to the bait on the hook. There was quite a struggle by one of the guys to ‘land’ it and the rod bent right down. Eventually the turtle surfaced and its head broke the water – my photo in hi-res clearly shows the line from the rod to the hook in its beak.

Then the line snapped and the turtles (both) swam off. The two staff carried on gutting a barracuda as though nothing had happened. The whole incident also witnessed by a number of tourists.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Loveridge: We should spend our tourism marketing budget where it will do the most good.

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

According to figures released by the Barbados Statistical Service, January 2014 recorded the second highest long stay visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom in the last 12 years, with 18,134 persons.

Only January 2009 exceeded this number with 20,911 persons.

Having said this, there is still a mountain to climb especially if you look at the situation in perspective; this lone month has to take into account recent past performance.

In 2012 our single largest market registered a decline in every consecutive month of that year, ending with an overall fall of 15,631 stay-over visitors. 2013 finished with another 4,786 arrivals down over 2012.

So over the last two years we have already more than 20,000 ‘lost’ British visitors to make up for. February 2014 United Kingdom figures continued with what hopefully will be an ongoing trend with a 10.2 per cent increase when compared with the identical month a year ago.

Sadly though, the decline across other markets resulted in an overall fall, registering the lowest stay-over numbers for any February during the last 11 years. More than any, the second month of the calendar is often the barometer of whether the winter season is going to end successfully or not.

Brits and Europeans stay longer, spend more!

We know that the ‘Brits’ and Europeans stay longer, therefore it is reasonable to assume they spend more. Based on this knowledge, should we not be spending a larger proportion of precious marketing resources in this market? Continue reading

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LIAT disaster continues as Ralph Gonsalves challenges his critics to put their money up

“Put your money where your mouth is . . . . Everybody wants to talk about LIAT, but a number of these persons don’t want to have an authoritative position to speak about it. Being a chief executive officer of a company or the prime minister of a country which is not a shareholder doesn’t give you the right to talk authoritatively about LIAT,”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in the Nation’s No place for buccaneers in LIAT says PM

Is the reality that LIAT’s failure is not about leadership, financing or equipment? Could it be that 70 years of Caribbean commercial aviation has revealed a basic truth that no Carib-based airline could ever be profitable?

Here is the fourth letter to LIAT shareholders from Dominica hotelier Gregor Nassief, urging PM Gonsalves to step aside as chairman of the LIAT shareholder’s committee.

Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
LIAT (1974) LTD
V.C. Bird International Airport
P O Box 819
Coolidge
Antigua

Dear Prime Minister Gonsalves:

Re: Run it like a business before it goes out of business

On the televised program Time to Face the Facts on Sunday, February 23rd, I appealed to you to step aside as Chairman of the Shareholder’s committee of LIAT. As mentioned on the program, given the respect and admiration I have for you, particularly on your stance and leadership on issues such as reparations and the cholera outbreak in Haiti, it was personally difficult for me to do this. But it is necessary.

LIAT has moved from an operational meltdown in the Summer of 2013 to a financial meltdown a mere 7 months later. LIAT drains our treasuries, operates inefficiently and stifles competition. The source of LIAT’s problem is its financial unsustainability and as with everything else at LIAT, no one is accountable. As Chairman of the Shareholder’s committee, the buck stops with you.

LIAT needs to fight the battle of its life to transform itself to be financially viable and sustainable. But you believe, and have stated so publicly, that LIAT can never be profitable. This battle, therefore, needs a different general.

Unsustainability

LIAT has lost ec$120m in the last four years. Last month, LIAT could not pay both the lease on its aircraft as well as its payroll. So it chose one and delayed the other. A leased ATR gives 36% more seat capacity than its closest Dash 8 equivalent but is double the (lease) expense. In 2015, repayments will begin on LIAT’s recent loan of us$65m to purchase new aircraft. So monthly cash outflows go up even more.

And the new inflows to cover this? Inter-island tourism is down 60% in 7 years and LIAT’s load factor is running at about 55%. The fantasy (aka “business plan”) is that the load factor will go up to 75%. The fantasy is also that LIAT will fly its way out of losses by expanding to new destinations – Jamaica, Haiti, Aruba, Panama, and eventually to cities in North and South America.  Continue reading

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Barbados bus terminal? Nothing wrong here!

Barbados Bus terminal Freundel

Courtesy of BFP reader PJ (click photo for large print size)

I’m not really sure what has become of the Transport Board…

It’s a dicey topic to be honest – unserviceable vehicles, long and arduous routes, tardiness…the list could go on!

Here’s my take on the whole thing.

PJ

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A bricklayer’s passing reminds me that we never know if this is the last day

Jeff Britwell Barbados

That’s Jeff and Trudy Birtwell in the photo. Jeff passed in his sleep while holidaying in Barbados last Tuesday.

Jeff was a relatively young man of 53 years old, and I say ‘young’ because I’m not that far behind. He was a bricklayer so he must have been healthy and fit enough but he died of a heart attack on holiday – sleeping with his woman beside him.

There are worse ways to go, and I admire the man after reading a news article from his home town Clayton-le-Moors in the UK. He leaves two fine sons who speak highly of him, as do many people, so says the local newspaper.

Jeff has me thinking about my own life tonight. Regular BFP readers know that I don’t have a steady woman or children. I have no legacy, no important things I’ve done and if the truth be known someone will probably have to hire people to carry my casket.

But after reading the newspaper article about Jeff’s passing in Barbados, I suspect that nobody will have to be hired to carry Jeff Birtwell on his final journey.

Good for Jeff. He went too early, but as I think about how he must have conducted his life to have the loving family and friends that he does, I find him an inspiration. Maybe I should conduct my life a little differently: call some friends, take Auntie to lunch once a month… maybe even find a good woman I could be loyal to.

Jeff… I didn’t know you, but I admire you. Thank you.

And Cliverton… pour me another two fingers of Mount Gay and we’ll toast a farewell to a good man we never knew.

Robert

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, People, People

Glorious consultations between China and wonderful Barbados friends!

China Barbados Negotiations

Chinese Embassy Held the 4th Regular Consultation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados

Chinese Embassy in Barbados press release

On February 27, H.E. Ms. Wang Ke, Chinese Ambassador to Barbados and Mr. Charles Burnett, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados co-hosted the 4th Regular Consultation at the Ministry. Mr. David Bulbulia, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade attended.

The two sides both spoke highly of the achievements of the bilateral cooperation that had been made since the 3rd consultation, and deeply exchanged views on keeping promoting the cooperation between the two countries in the areas of economy and trade, consular affairs, culture, education and international affairs.

Read the Glorious account of the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China!

DO NOT read the lies of the bourgeoisie Barbados Free Press! They are lies! Lies against the peoples of the great Republic of China and the Wonderful Barbados Homeland!

Pay no attention to these fanciful stories of Chinese slave camps, forced abortions and repression of Christians…  Continue reading

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The other Barbados

Barbados Barrels CharityIt’s not all Platinum Coast, you know.

There are more than a few folks I know looking forward to barrels from friends and family abroad.

(Is is Christmas yet? No? Send them anyways!)

Things are going to get very very bad this year and next.

Hey you lot over there… please send some barrels.

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Bitcoin Barbados connection

bitcoin_barbadosThe massive half-billion dollar theft of Bitcoins from Mt. Gox took a new twist today as allegations surfaced that Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles lied about the alleged theft.

For me, I’ll put my little wealth in gold, silver, artificially low Chinese currency, land and tools. If everything else fails, tools can keep you fed and happy.

There’s nothing like a new 90 degree drill and a few good clecos to make me happy.

Bitcoin? Ya takes ya chances…

The recent success of Bitcoin, a decentralized cryptographic currency, has raised new research questions on the opportunities and risks of virtual currencies. A handful of research papers have appeared in multiple disciplines, spanning a range of outlets, including top security conferences, legal journals, and reports of international financial organizations. This workshop aims to bring together interested scholars who study virtual currencies, Bitcoin in particular, and their supporting ecosystems from a technical or socio-economic perspective.”

… from the website of International Financial Cryptography and Data Security AssociationThey sure got that one wrong!

While Media Chased Nakamoto, Crypto-Geeks in Barbados Marveled at his Creation

While the hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto morphed into a media circus last week, a community of cryptocurrency experts from which the bitcoin founder likely sprang was tucked away in sunny Barbados discussing the present and future of his remarkable invention.  Continue reading

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Forbidden questions about Extraordinary tax concessions to Butch Stewart’s Sandals Resorts

“I had no intention of offending anyone.”

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

While it was very tempting to write on any subject this week other than the ‘Butcherisation’ I received at the recent Barbados Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, that would have been the easy way out and certainly not in my character.

First for the record, I had no intention of offending anyone.

In fact I made it abundantly clear in my opening remarks that many of us greatly admire Mr. Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and the hotel empire he has spearheaded. I am not so remotely naive to believe that any one person can achieve this alone and a great part of the success is attracting the right people around you. This equally applies whether it is a small or large business.

Perhaps what surprises me more than anything is that a person who has received everything he has asked for within weeks and possibly more than we are aware of, yet was so unwilling to respond to legitimate concerns. Especially, while so many who actually live on Barbados have toiled to build the destination’s tourism industry over several decades while being consistently denied similar extraordinary concessions.  Continue reading

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Internet pornography kills love, warps young minds and sustains slavery.

Donville Inniss associated website: Pregnant women porn at Orgasm.com

Government Minister Donville Inniss associated website: Pregnant women porn at Orgasm.com …CLICK PHOTO FOR DETAILS AND STORY…

by Grenville Phillips II

by Grenville Phillips II

Pornography is now easily available to all school children who have access to a tablet or a smart phone.  It is facilitated by persons who allow unrestricted access to the Internet in their homes or at the many Wi-Fi hotspots around Barbados.  So let me share a solution; but first, let me describe the problem.

Pornography has two main damaging effects.  The impact for viewers is that that they can primarily view sexual intercourse as a means to satisfy themselves rather than satisfying their partners.  For male viewers, this can lead to a less satisfying sexual experience for her and a boring routine for him.  He will likely develop an uncaring attitude towards her if she does not express a similar delight in his sexual performance as those whom he watches.  His sexual experience should be all about satisfying her, and her sexual experience should be all about satisfying him.

The most damaging impact is on the victims whom the watchers are viewing.  Many women, especially from Asian and eastern European countries, are forced into the sex slave trade, with harsh consequences if they do not show delight when raped (See ‘Half the Sky’ and other research into sex slavery).  As the watchers view these victims, they are supporting and sustaining this slavery.  If people choose not to pay to view pornography on the Internet, then they still support and sustain the sex slave trade by adding to the web sites’ page views, which increases their potential advertising revenues.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Government, Human Rights, Politics & Corruption, Slavery

British tourist complains of dangerous bus rides “Lucky to be alive”

Barbados Bus Accidents

Dear Barbados Free Press,

So sorry to hear of yet another serious bus crash here in Barbados. I am not in the least surprised as my husband and I who are on holiday from England think ourselves lucky to be alive after a horrendous yellow bus ride last Friday!! We had lunch at Mullins Beach and were returning to Holetown when we refused to get on one bus as it was well overloaded.

We got on the next bus to find ourselves being shouted at to move back up the bus to let more people on. There was no room to move and we hung on for grim death, even the fare collector was hanging out the door!  Continue reading

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Patrick Hoyos: Side effects from the drug of borrowing money

Estwick Gun

Barbados Minister of Agriculture David Estwick should stick to doctoring crops

I like to watch those drug ads on American TV in which the part at the end that starts with “Do not take such-and-such if you are, etc…” takes longer to recite than the part telling you about the benefits of the product at the beginning.

During this part of the ad you are warned of imminent serious side effects or even death from taking said drug if you happen to have any one of perhaps a dozen other ailments besides the one it is supposed to treat. But at the same time there are scenes of the happy patient enjoying a sunny life with his or her family, obviously not having any of the grim preconditions being read out as fast as possible by an anonymous voice.

I was reminded of these ads when reading the presentation to the Cabinet by Minister of Agriculture Dr. David Estwick, the text of which was published recently in the NATION.

The symptoms were outlined: Patient Barbados broke, mired in debt, can’t pay bills. Diagnosis: It needs a lot of money fast.  Prescription: Swallow US$3 billion from the United Arab Emirates and wake up feeling a whole lot better in the morning.

… read the full Broad Street Journal article by Patrick Hoyos: Take three billion and call me in the morning

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Definition of Irony: Fat Sandals Resort Chairman Butch Stewart chides Barbados hoteliers to complain about overtaxed tourism sector!

Sandals Butch Stewart

Butch wins! Disproving “Too much weight on a race horse, it can’t win.”

Nice work if you can get it: Stewart chides other Barbados hoteliers for not getting the same tax concessions as Sandals…

Sandals’ Chairman Butch Stewart says…

The fact is if you put too much weight on a race horse, it can’t win. When you burden an industry by overtaxing, you cannot do enough business. The real fallout is not so much the fact that you are not doing business is the condition of the properties because there is not enough money between the competitive rates today, paying taxes and at the same time being able to improve, expand and modernise the hotel.”

Noting that cruise ships are able to avoid the same tax levels as land-bound tourism providers, he nonetheless stated, “The cruise ships are a vital part of the tourism industry; it is not the cruise ship that is at fault. The growth of the cruise sector has to do with not having to pay taxes – taxes and exports don’t mix.”

In terms of concession, the hotelier highlighted, “Our criteria is transparency, so everyone knew we got concessions. In Grenada we spent [money] developing and building a hotel that we would not have been able to do if we were not able to look at the long-term 25 years of concessions and spend money based on long-term thoughts. We plan to do much the same here in Barbados because as we have a long-term view.

“The same way a company negotiates with government and gets concessions I believe that the business community, if you believe as strongly as I believe, that anything to do with export taxation impacts business, you have a responsibility to do [or] say something about it.”

Adrian Loveridge says…

Put it in simple terms. For my hotel to buy a 750ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch would cost me sixty US dollars. Sandals are able to pay ten dollars.

“Unilateral concessions to Sandals immediately destabilized the other 120 hotels on the islands, not to mention the condos, villas, apartments and guest houses. Completely destabilized the industry.”

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New bill creates Barbados Tourism Product Authority and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Currently before Parliament are the Barbados Tourism Product Authority and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., bills. Not surprisingly, considering the protracted time it has taken so far getting these long promised changes in legislation to this stage, many industry partners may have forgotten about them altogether.

Given the infrequent holding of Parliament, the late starts, early finishes, extended lunch periods and volume of none constitutional subjects discussed, whether it is now realistic to have the required readings of these bills in both houses and passed into law by the stated 2nd April 2014 date seems rather ambitious.

The Barbados Tourism Authority as we have known it will cease to exist and be replaced by the two new entities. What does this mean in reality?

Will some current employees be severed and if so how many? Government’s stated moratorium, ‘no new hiring’ will surely limit staffing the new statutory corporations – so what is the plan?

Reading through the documentation contained on the Parliament’s website, it would also appear that all the substantial debt of the present Barbados Tourism Authority will be transferred to one or both new companies. How will this impact on budgets and spending?

Are there now to be two boards with two Chairman, two Deputy Chairman, two Presidents/CEO’s, two luxury SUV vehicles, multiple first class travel allowances, two administration offices etc., and what will become of the current ‘consultants’ employed by the BTA after the transition? Will either or both organisations be mandated to operate on performance based criteria and obliged to publish their annual audited accounts on a timely basis?

So many unanswered questions! Continue reading

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