Monthly Archives: April 2006

Blogging Around Barbados: Black On Brown Racism, Hurricane Scuttles Atlantic Row, Sugar Cane Ethanol vs. Hydrogen, Chinese Communists Give Cricket to Dominica – but nothing is free…

A lazy Sunday afternoon on a lazy weekend, so we will take a look around the near and far blogosphere (new word for today) to see what some of our friends have to say about this and that…

Brown Skin Tax and A Rainy Morning In Jamaica

Our friend Stunner from Kingston, Jamaica writes the blog Stunner's Afflictions and is often proof that humour and deep wisdom can co-exist in the same sentence. We will direct you to a few of his worthy reads…

Stunner is a "Brown man" – Jamaican for "not black enough" – and is often (ie: daily) the object of Black on Brown racist comments and actions.

The Browning Complex 1 – I Call It Discrimination!

One of the tortures I had to endure while growing up and still am enduring is constantly being called Brown man or Browning. … I find it extremely annoying when I'm referred to as Brown man or Browning. It feels as if I'm being singled out for the colour of my skin. If you don't know my name, I'm ok with "young man" …or refer to be by the colour of my clothes. That's how a person of dark complexion calls to another dark person in Jamaica, why do I have to be referred to by the colour of my skin? I don't walk around calling to people as "Black man", "Black woman" or "Blackning"!

The Junction is the most winding and treacherous road in Jamaica. Corners inside of corners, semi-loose rocks on one side of the road and precipices on the other side of the road. As the bus rocked to my side this fat woman attempted to crush me to death. So in an attempt to save my life, I used my elbow to gentle ease her up. She didn't like it and proceeded to cuss me out. "People like yuh nuh fi travel pon bus…” and the statement that took the cake, "…all if mi did brown like yuh mi woulda have mi own car…” How the hell the colour of my skin will magically allow me to have a car? I have to for a living just like any other Jamaican!

I find that in Jamaica there is a price for dark skinned people and a price for light skinned people. If I decide to buy something from some of the higglers who sell on the side of the road, I have to pay Brown Skin Tax (BST). Just because of the colour of my skin, some of these higglers think that I am rich….

But as we all do, Stunner has learned to live with the faults of some of his neighbours. He loves his country and his fellow Jamaicans – and this comes out in his brilliant photography, which he refers to as "StunnerCam".

Aside from his blog, he is also in the early stages of establishing a flash-driven photography website called "Scenes of Jamaica". Hopefully, Stunner will get this off the ground, as some of his photos are breathtaking. Here's a sample…

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Hurricane Scuttles Bhavik Gandhi's Atlantic Row

On April 15th, Barbados Free Press posted "Bhavik Gandhi Rowing From Spain to Antigua – Day 4" – about Bhavik's attempt to be the first Asian to row across the Atlantic – from Spain to Antigua. We ended our article saying "Good luck, Mr. Gandi – and row hard because hurricane season is fast approaching."

On April 16th, Bhavik made a decision to abort his row until October 2006. He details his decision in his post "Attempt aborted. Till after the hurricane season."

We wish Bhavik well, and we are sure that he will successfully complete his solo crossing later in the year. He is trained, well prepared and well equipped. The difference between courage and foolishness is often judgement – and Bhavik is certainly no fool.

See you in October, Bhavik!

Barbados Sugar Cane Ethanol Project vs. Hydrogen

An interesting quote from our friends at Booker Rising Blog

"Unlike President Bush, I am not that much optimistic about a hydrogen future. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells may be the perfect PR for governments and oil multinationals, as a way of showing to the public that they really care about the environment and the future. And while experts fail to agree on the role hydrogen may play in meeting the world's future energy needs, one wonders if speeches written for politicians should simply be taken at face value.

If there is one country that is close to achieving some degree of energy independence, it is Brazil. With a 30-year old ethanol program, Brazil appears to lead the world when it comes to finding a solution to limitless energy for powering automobiles.

According to this Wikipedia article, Brazil produces a significant chunk of its automobile fuel from sugarcane, which is fermented to ethanol. Such a program has its critics, as do all undertakings with environmental consequences. But ethanol producers across the globe may soon be smiling to their banks if other governments choose to place more faith in ethanol plants rather than in hydrogen-powered fuel cells." — Chippla Vandu, Nigerian-born moderate blogger

Beware Of Communists Bearing Chinese Gifts…

From Caribbean Cricket.COM comes a good question…

The Communist leadership of China "gives" a cricket stadium to Dominica, but Dekkah Niobe asks what real good will it do? (Which is another way of saying, "Could the money have been better spent?")

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Culture & Race Issues, Environment, Island Life, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Free Press – Best Day Ever!

1331 Unique Visitors in the 24 hour period ending 23:59hrs GMT, Friday, April 28, 2006.

That is over a 100% increase in unique visitor traffic compared with the best day in March.

Thanks everyone!

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Barbados HIV – AIDS News

Report: Male Circumcision & Fidelity More Effective Than Condoms At Preventing HIV – AIDS

From the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society meeting in Johnanesburg, South Africa comes yet another report that condom use is going nowhere in African culture – but that male circumcision and fidelity are effective.

I wonder how long it will take HIV – AIDS organizations in the Western world to come to the realization that simply putting condom machines in high school washrooms or even making them free on every street corner is not working…

Promoting male circumcision and fidelity to one partner seems to be more effective at curbing the spread of HIV than promoting abstinence and condom use, USAID researcher and technical adviser Daniel Halperin said last week, the Chicago Tribune reports.

As Halperin and other researchers analyze 20 years of studies on HIV/AIDS throughout Africa, they have tried to "put aside intuitions, emotions, ideologies and look at the evidence in as coldhearted a way as we can," Halperin said. During a speech at a meeting of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society in Johannesburg, South Africa, Halperin said he and his colleagues discovered that regular sex partners rarely use condoms, and abstinence merely delays HIV infection among young people by one or two years.

Read the entire report here.

Barbados Gold Medal For HIV – AIDS Commission Chairman (Chair Woman!)

In other HIV – AIDS News, Dr. Carol Jacobs, chairman of the National HIV – AIDS Commission, has been awarded the first ever Barbados' Gold Medal of Achievement…

From The Nation News

DR CAROL JACOBS has scored another first in her long and distinguished service to Barbados and the wider world.

This long-standing medical practitioner, who is chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, has been named as the first ever recipient of Barbados' Gold Medal of Achievement.

Jacobs will receive the award for leading the fight against the dreaded disease, both locally and globally, including being the first woman appointed chairman of the Global Fund Board that was created by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2001 to intensify the fight against AIDS…

… Jacobs, who received the Barbados Centennial Honour in 2001, is attending a conference in Geneva.

Good for you, Dr. Jacobs. We will be anxious to hear your views on the HIV – Male Circumcision protection relationship as reported above.

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Email from USS Monterey (CG 61) Off Barbados

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From BFP readers who happen to be on the USS Monterey (email IP checks out!), we received an email with the above photo taken from the USS George Washington. (Somehow, I never thought that sailors would be surfing the web on their ship – but I guess they do.)

Anyway, our friends on the USS Monterey unequivocally state that theirs is the better ship. Hmmmm…. wonder if the guys and girls on the USS George Washington would agree with that? 😉

Here is the email from the USS Monterey…

Hi Barbados Free Press from USS Monterey the best ship in the United States Navy. Came cls to Barbados saw your G Washington pic. Monterey is the better ship. pls post this pic for us. thx

Caribbean Sea (April 23, 2006)- The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) prepares to conduct a fueling at sea (FAS) with Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). George Washington Carrier Strike Group is currently participating in Partnership of the Americas, a maritime training and readiness deployment of the U.S. Naval Forces with Caribbean and Latin American countries in support of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) objectives for enhanced maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Robert Brooks

Previous Barbados Free Press article: "US Aircraft Carrier Group To Visit Trinidad as "Signal to China" – Skips Barbados"

USS Monterey (CG 61) Official Ship's Website

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Friday Fish Day In Barbados

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Shona's big brother did very very well on the boat yesterday, so we might not work too much today…

We have to get ready for the beach party tonight. Yum!

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Barbados Labour Party To Introduce Integrity Legislation By 1976

Well, that's what the Barbados Labour Party promised in 1976…

THE 1976 MANIFESTO of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) proclaimed that it was ready to introduce integrity legislation to Barbados:

"We will pass legislation providing for Members of Parliament, senators, and politically-appointed members of statutory corporations to disclose their financial assets and liabilities on assuming office, periodically during office, and on termination.

"A code of proper conduct will be laid down for ministers, senior civil servants and political appointees to statutory corporations."

…from today's editorial in The Nation

Previous BFP Posts – Government Integrity & Corruption…

* Barbados Prime Minister Arthur and BLP General Secretary Dr. William Duguid – Standup Comedians Supreme!

* Former Trinidad Tobago PM Basdeo Panday Jailed – Failed To Declare London Bank Account

* Barbados Tenantries – Land Title Transfers – To Whom The Benefit?

* Barbados New Sugar Factory – $140 Million Contract To Government Friends, No Tender?

* Barbados Government Land Expropriations: Always A Murky Swamp of Unanswered Questions

* Friend of Barbados Deputy PM Mia Mottley Received How Much Government Money? !!!

* Proposed Barbados Anti-Corruption Law Absolves Government Family Members and Associates For Past Corruption

* Auditor General – Barbados vs. Trinidad and Tobago: A Study in Contrasts

* UN Convention Against Corruption – Barbados Seminar Update

* Welcome Delegates to UN Corruption Seminar – Barbados

* UN Hosts Corruption Seminar in Barbados… How Appropriate!

* Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur: His Secret Bank Accounts, Stock Portfolios

* Barbados Greenland Landfill Tenders: Let The Graft Begin!

* New Barbados High Court Judge Jacqueline Cornelius Sworn In. HOWEVER…

* Barbados Tender Process Corrupt?

* Prime Minister Owen Arthur Opens a New Can of Paint – To Cover Old Corruption

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

PM Arthur Says EU Wants “Total Abandonment Of Barbados Sugar Cane Agriculture”

From The Barbados Advocate

Saying that Caribbean countries must accept the inevitable phasing out of preferences and the need to adjust our economies, Prime Minister Owen Arthur nevertheless stated that the region was concerned with the callous manner in which the transition is being managed.

Speaking during the opening of the fifth UK/Caribbean Forum yesterday at the Barbados Hilton, he said that this action was witnessed last November with "the instant and unilateral evisceration of the Sugar Protocol."

He noted, "In the case of Barbados, we have in fact already started to develop new activities as we diversify around our dominant sector, sugar, as suggested by the Commission, but our exchanges to date with EU officials have left us in no doubt that the prescription they would ideally like to impose upon us is the total abandonment of sugar cane agriculture."

"For reasons such as this the Caribbean may be forgiven if it holds the view that there is unfortunately little sign of genuine dialogue towards the most viable and mutually acceptable transition arrangements", he continued…

Our Comments…

Of course the U.K. and the European Union want "total abandonment of sugar cane agriculture" – because for decades they have been paying Barbados way over the world price for sugar as a subsidy.

In better times, "charitable" or "national interest" subsidies might have been an easier sell to Europe and especially to citizens of the United Kingdom – especially with the friendly relationship that Barbados and the U.K. previously shared.

But Mr. Prime Minister… do you really expect U.K. citizens to happily continue to subsidize Barbados when they often see their Monarchy, the Queen or a young Prince being publicly insulted in the media by the Prime Minister of Barbados? Do you really think the average Brit hears the Prime Minister of Barbados insult the Crown and then says, "Oh we had better send some more sugar subsidy to Barbados then" ?

Yard fowls do come home to roost occasionally, so be polite on the world stage, Mr. Prime Minister. Its called "diplomacy".

If Barbados wants to become a republic, we can achieve our goals without having our leadership going out of the way to insult or denigrate old allies and valuable trading partners.

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Island Life, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Free Press RSS Statistics Skyrocket

RSS or "Really Simple Syndication" is a tool that allows you to choose the website content you want to read and have new articles and posts delivered immediately to your computer shortly after they appear on your favourite websites. Here at Barbados Free Press, we subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds to keep up with worldwide news about Barbados, and we also publish our website in RSS format so our readers can receive our new posts immediately.

Governments & Businesses Also Subscribe To Barbados Free Press RSS

Many people in North America and Europe use RSS Reader Programs to "subscribe" to the Barbados Free Press. We also notice more than a few subscriptions going to Government offices and large businesses – not just in Barbados, but around the world. (Hello U.S. Department of State! Hello British Broadcasting Corporation!)

For April, our RSS feed subscriptions are up 347% over March, so many of our visitors are putting us on their automatic daily reading list. Thanks very much for the compliment!

Short & Simple Online Video About Using RSS

For our readers who are unfamiliar with RSS, we recommend a Cnet online tutorial (its free) "RSS – News You Choose". The article explains the technology and reviews the various RSS Reader programs. Some computers have an RSS Reader already installed. Maybe yours does – all you need to do is take two minutes to learn how to use it.

The Cnet series also includes an online Video Tutorial that takes only a few minutes to watch and will excite any web surfer about the possibilities of RSS. Check it out here.

(Our RSS Feed is near the bottom of the sidebar menu on the right side of the screen. Scroll down to "RSS Feed" – or "Meta" for separate Content and Comment RSS Feeds.)

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Filed under Barbados, RSS Feed

Best Wishes to Barbados Tourism Minister Noel Lynch – Featured Speaker At Dubai Conference

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Barbados Tourism Minister Is Featured Speaker At International Conference

Tourism Minister Noel Lynch will be speaking at the Emerging Island Destinations session at the Arab Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai between April 29 and May 1, 2006. He will take to the stage to debate issues of island marketing along with Ministers Samia Hassan from Zanzibar and Dr Mahmood Shaugee from the Maldives.

Minister Lynch will also be seeking investors for our tourist-based economy, and we wish the Minister and his team good luck in every facet of this important international conference.

Do a good job Minister, and we won't even mention the European Vacation "Tourism Study" that you are going to tack onto the end of the conference. (Of course we heard about that, Sir!)

Just go easy on the European Vacation "Tourism Study" expenses, and we will consider it fair compensation for the last month you have spent preparing for the conference. Deal?

Why Is Barbados A Better Tourist Destination Than Other Carib Islands?

One of the conference discussions of great importance to Barbados will be about how to distinguish our "Barbados Brand" and product from so many other small Caribbean islands. Think about it… to the tourists, all the islands and all the beaches generally look the same. What can Barbados offer that others cannot?

Minister Lynch will have an increasingly difficult job as oil prices cause airfares to rise. Don't forget, Barbados is one of the farthest "Caribbean" destinations from North America, and there are many beautiful islands between Florida and Barbados. From Europe, the difference is not as great, but again, there are cheaper destinations.

So what would cause a tourist to pay the higher Barbados ticket price if a similar island is closer and cheaper?

A number of Barbados differences came to mind last night as the BFP writers got together for a meal, but the two that stood out most were Tourist Safety – Security and what we will call Visible Pollution.

Tourist Safety – Security

Think "Tourist Safety – Security" and then compare Jamaica with Barbados. No contest. Barbados is a very safe country. Even our few "bad" areas aren't really so bad. Jamaica has some of the most beautiful natural sights in the world – in truth, even prettier than Barbados – but many tourists won't set foot on the island because, as they see it, Jamaica is just not worth the risk.

We in Barbados shouldn't forget about that when the issue of policing comes up. The Royal Barbados Police Force should be the highest paid, best trained and best equipped policing organization in the Caribbean. The police are the true guardians and promoters of the most important segment of our economy. If the tourists don't feel safe in Barbados, you can kiss goodbye to about 80% of our gross national revenue.

The peaceful nature of Barbados and our reputation and record of providing a safe and secure vacation destination is probably our greatest asset in setting our island above other Caribbean, and Central and South American vacation market competitors. Let's work hard and pay whatever price is necessary to maintain our reputation.

Visible Pollution

Here, Barbados could use some improvement. True, anyone who has been to Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico or seen Havana Bay up close might rate Barbados well in comparison, but that is hardly something to brag about.

We at the Barbados Free Press believe that there is a direct and inverse link between tourist dollars and visible pollution. The more visible pollution – the fewer tourists and tourist dollars.

Barbados as a country and individual Bajans simply must pay more attention to environmental, waste and pollution issues or the tourists will start to notice our problems – if they haven't already.

Minister Lynch needs to recognize that Minister of the Environment Elizabeth Thompson can be his greatest ally – or enemy – depending upon the performance of her ministry.

Article Source Link

Khaleej Times – United Arab Emirates

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Island Life, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

U.K. Lottery Winner Heads for Barbados

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Gareth Cooper is a retired factory worker who just won 2.5 million pounds in a South Wales lottery.

He can think of no better place to spend his winnings than Barbados, and we can't disagree with his decision at all.

IC Wales News website story here.

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Barbados Prime Minister Arthur and BLP General Secretary Dr. William Duguid – Standup Comedians Supreme!

Monty Python could not have done any better…

After 12 years of the BLP in power, and 12 years of failing to introduce any Conflict of Interest or public integrity legislation – despite a majority government – Dr. William Duguid, the General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party, had this to say about the recent arrest of former Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Basdeo Panday…

BLP general secretary Dr William Duguid said his party held to the highest ideals and principles and believed the greatest of integrity should come with serving at the highest level.

He said it was not about what the country could do for politicians, but what they could do for the country.

"This is what we hold dear to in the BLP and we are appalled to see that others do not hold dear to that as well."

As a guess, I have no doubt that Dr. Duguid's favourite Monty Python episodes would have to be The Upper Class Twit Olympics and the Dead Parrot.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur Also Does Comedy Routine About Panday Conviction…

Oh my…this is just tooooo much! We have tears rolling down our cheeks. Shona is hyper-ventilating. Clive is practically on the floor…

Will somebody PLEASE sign these guys up for the BBC Comedy Hour?

The Prime Minister of Barbados says that he never introduced Integrity Legislation because Barbadian Politicians On All Sides Have Been Honest….

"It is one of those things that have been on the backburner. Quite frankly, it has gone on the backburner . . . . Not being facetious, the kind of corruption you hear about in other places, I don't truly believe is the case in Barbados.

"There are people who have become wealthy, whether in politics, but very often those are people who are not part of the Government.

"I am not offering an excuse here, but the edge has gone off it because our system works too, and I believe that by and large the Barbadian politicians on all sides have been honest.

"I can't swear because I'm dealing with human nature, but I think you will find that most former ministers are not people who accumulate wealth through politics.

"Most former prime ministers of Barbados, I must tell you – prime ministers of Barbados as a class – have not been wealthy people, either in office or out of office.

"The Barbadian people can't say that their leaders have 'dipped in', that is true. They live modest lives, and have lived in a way that would suggest to the public that there is no 'gouging' by themselves for personal gain.

"And those kinds of things have taken the edge off (integrity legislation), and you are right that we will have to look at it again. Because anything that can make the system work can only but give the population the comfort that if people stray, that they will have to be held accountable. I think it could only be to the good.

"I don't want to get into instant policy, I haven't discussed it with my colleagues. I think this is going to stimulate interest in matters such as these. It will help politicians too, you know, because you live always under a cloud of suspicion, and if people were made to know what our circumstances are, a lot of that cloud would evaporate," Arthur said. From The Nation News.

"I don't want to get into instant policy, I haven't discussed it with my colleagues…"

Oh no, Mr. Prime Minister, we wouldn't want you to get into INSTANT POLICY. Perhaps another 12 years will be necessary to think about it just a little more? Sure. We understand.

We Call Upon Prime Minister Owen Arthur To Reveal All Offshore Bank Accounts and Assets.

Publicly. Right now, Mister Prime Minister. Or sit down and shut up about integrity.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Island Life, Politics & Corruption

Hercules Bar – Oistins, Barbados

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Good Evening, Friends…

Welcome to the Hercules Bar in Oistins, Barbados. The fish market is just across the street, so no need to ask how fresh the food is here. Rob – 'e is the best griller known to man. Dolphin like you never knew could happen! 'An when the Marlin are crowding de sea – you never had such a feast as at the Hercules!

But the best happens after, oh, maybe 2am. The band is still here, but the tourists have gone back to their hotels and rooms.

And the girl, she sure can sing…

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Island Life, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Deputy PM Mia Mottley Repeats January 2005 Statement – But She REALLY Means It This Time…

File Under: Ongoing Barbados Republic & Constitutional Debate

Hold The Presses!

With files from the April 25, 2006 Barbados Advocate

Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced on Monday afternoon that a new Constitution is needed in Barbados, but it has been held up because the Government has given a commitment to ask Barbadians a question on this matter.

But, didn't Ms. Mottley and PM Arthur announce the same thing in January of 2005? Oh yes…

From Caribbean Net News, January 25, 2005…

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: The people of Barbados could very well become nationals of the Republic of Barbados by the end of 2005.

This was made known by Prime Minister Owen Arthur while he addressed a meeting of the Christ Church West and St Michael South branches of the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

The country's Attorney-General, Mia Mottley will be presenting a draft bill to Parliament in March designed to amend the Constitution.

Ok. Ok…. To be fair, Ms. Mottley didn't say exactly which March of which year she would be introducing the legislation. 😉

And, wasn't there a Bill laid in the House on October 10, 2000 having to do with a referendum question? Oh yes, I remember now…

From the August 28, 2005 The Nation News...

But what of the new Referendum Bill (and no mention of the Constitution Bill, which should really come before the referendum debate)?

When the original Bill was laid in the House on October 10, 2000, Government pooh-poohed concerns that the question was so phrased as to demand an emotional response from every patriotic Barbadian: "Do you agree that the Head of State of Barbados should be a citizen of Barbados?"

According to Arthur, it was a clear, succinct, accurate and brief question – all of 16 words, to be exact.

Nearly five years later, a couple of flip-flops by Arthur on whether there would or would not be a referendum, and even more confusion, Government now has a new, longer, convoluted question of twice as many words – 34.

Try reading it aloud: "Do you agree with the recommendation of the Constitution Review Commission that Barbados should become a parliamentary republic with a Head of State of Barbados being a president who is a citizen of Barbados?"

Out of breath yet?

For something that the Prime Minister had airily dismissed on January 31 as "a false issue" when he insisted there would be no referendum, but a week later on February 5 – without an explanation of why he changed his mind so suddenly – said on TV that a plebiscite was still "fundamentally valid", this referendum question has sure made the Government go to a lot of trouble.

Let's See The New Constitution BEFORE The Referendum

Doesn't it make sense that Barbadians should know exactly what they are voting for when they are asked to give their blessing through a referendum?

Somehow, I think that both the Prime Minister and his Deputy would rather have it the other way… "Just give us a 'Yes' and then we will tell you what you agreed to."

Yes… welcome to Barbados Republic and Constitutional Debate – different day, same old s – er, stuff.  

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Former Trinidad Tobago PM Basdeo Panday Jailed – Failed To Declare London Bank Account

The former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has been sentenced to two years hard labour. Apparently, Basdeo Panday "forgot" about a 1.6 million dollar bank account he had in London.

From the CBC Caribbean News

Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday has been sentenced to two years hard labour for making false declarations to the Integrity Commission.

…The Court found him guilty on three counts of knowingly failing to declare a London bank account to the Integrity Commission…The court also ordered that the $1.6 million London bank account be seized and ordered that should he default in his payment of the fines, then he should serve a further three years in jail.

When Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur was contacted by the Barbados Free Press and asked to comment on the jailing, PM Arthur stated…

* "No problem, Marcus. Barbados doesn't have an Integrity Commission… Besides, 1.6 million is peanuts…and keep up the good work with the Barbados Free Press. I simply LOVE Shona's photographs." *

* Just in case somebody missed their coffee this morning, we didn't really talk with the PM – but it is true that Barbados does not have an Integrity Commission.

Further reading…

"Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur: His Secret Bank Accounts, Stock Portfolios"

"Proposed Barbados Anti-Corruption Law Absolves Government Family Members and Associates For Past Corruption." 

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Barbados Spending Cannot Continue – And GEMS Scandal Just Keeps On Going And Going And Going…

The alarm bells are ringing, but the vault has already been emptied. Barbados is living on borrowed money, borrowed time and a mortgaged future.

As we commented in our posts "Barbados Government Cash Flow Problem – Tip of the Iceberg?" and "Barbados Free Press Readers Comment On 'Is Barbados Bankrupt?' ", we can't go on spending far more than we bring in.

Dr. David Estwick recently made some dramatic statements to a DLP meeting… but we don't think the Doctor's statements were really so outrageous. Here are some samples from The Nation

"Barbados is bankrupt," he said, charging that the national debt had moved from $2 billion to $4 billion under the Barbados Labour Party Government and that the entire public sector debt had reached 100 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

He said Government's finances were in such a bad state that "if the World Cup does not give an immediate return of revenue to Barbados, we (are) in serious trouble".

Estwick also charged Government was avoiding going to Parliament to seek approval for some large financing programmes, including that associated with the controversial "Gems of Barbados" project.

Calling it a flagrant breach of the financial administration audit act, Estwick said the "disrespect" shown by Government to Parliament was the type of behaviour that led to the creation of "banana republics".

"If I were a lawyer, I would take them to court," he said, declaring, "We have to find a way to take this Government to court."

Estiwck said Government had granted the Gems company, Hotels and Resorts Limited, a loan of $145 million without first having it cleared by Parliament. Some $29 million in interest had accrued on the loan "and not a cent paid".

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New Rihanna S.O.S. Album Debuts At #1 in Australia – and Pretty Well Everywhere We Bet!

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Rihanna's new offering S.O.S. debuts on Tuesday everywhere… and it is now Tuesday in the Pacific.

So let's follow the debut around the world and see how our girl is doing. We will update as the time zone changes…

Australia (Debuts at #1)

Japan

United Kingdom

Barbados

United States

Canada

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life

Prince William Rumoured Heading for Barbados

What? Barbados Free Press engage in rumours? Us? No Way!

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But we just couldn't help it…

Britain's Prince William is planning a Caribbean holiday with sweetheart Kate Middleton – and is bringing along his ex-girlfriend.

The happy couple will reportedly be joined by pretty Jecca Craig – who reportedly had a fling with the handsome royal a couple of years ago – while they are in Barbados.

According to reports, 24-year-old Kate invited William's old flame, who is the daughter a wealthy Kenyan researcher, to tag along for the week. A source told Britain's The People newspaper: 'It shows how secure Kate feels with William that she is happy to invite Jecca on holiday with them. 'A few years ago that would have been unthinkable as Kate was deeply suspicious of the rumours that Jecca and Wills still had something going on. But now she is relaxed about things. And amazingly, the women have become good friends.'

Meanwhile, the prince has fuelled speculation he is set to propose to Kate during their trip. The 23-year-old has been on the look-out for a villa that will give him and brunette Kate privacy on the island, which is popular with celebrities and the paparazzi. The pair, who met at university and who have been together for almost three years, have sparked engagement rumours on several occasions. A source told The People: 'It is now no longer a case of if Kate will become William's bride, but when.'

From Royal Watch News.

Of course, given that Prince William is a proper gentleman, he will probably not even mention Prime Minister Owen Arthur's incredibly vitriolic and buffoonish comments of last August.

What was it that Sir Winston said to Chamberlain? Something about "Go… Just Go….", I think…

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Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (Part 1) – A Barbados National Treasure… But For How Much Longer?

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Thanks to years of effort by some dedicated key individuals in and out of Government, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary exists as a gateway and a guardian to the largest, and now the last remaining, healthy mangrove swamp on Barbados. This internationally recognized natural treasure has almost been lost many times in the past – to neglect, greed and development pressures.

But the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary only takes in 33 hectares, a small portion of the larger Graeme Hall mangrove swamp and wetlands. The battle to recover and preserve this important natural ecosystem continues between those who seek a sustainable future for Barbados and others who only have a selfish desire to convert one of the Caribbean's premier natural heritage sites into quick money.

Which vision will win out?

Do the Government and the people of Barbados have the long-term national will to preserve this treasure… or will they sell out their children's environmental and economic future for short term interests? (And yes, the economic future of Barbados is very dependent upon a sustainable and healthy environment.)

In this first article of a three-part series on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Barbados Free Press looks at the recent designation of Graeme Hall Swamp as a "Wetland of International Importance" under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Part 2 will look at the important role that wetlands play in a healthy ecological system and the direct relationship with the Barbados economy, while Part 3 will focus on the history and future of the Graeme Hall mangrove swamp and wetlands.

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Congratulations & Thanks to Environment Minister Liz Thompson

Yes, you read that correctly. Although we have been critical of Environment Minister Elizabeth Thompson, we will give her a tip of the hat for her work to date in helping to achieve the Ramsar designation for a part of Graeme Hall mangrove swamp…

On April 12, 2006, 33 hectares of the Graeme Hall Swamp in Barbados was officially designated a "Wetland of International Importance" under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. This is a large step forward for the Barbados Government as they move toward sustainable development and improved water quality by the wise use and management of important wetlands sites such as Graeme Hall.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 151 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1593 wetland sites, totaling 134.7 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Ramsar Designation Was Not An Easy Task For Minister Thompson

On February 2, 2006, the first World Wetlands Day ever celebrated in Barbados, Environment Minister Thompson made a passionate speech at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in support of a Ramsar designation. We have heard that the Minister and her staff worked hard to convince the Government to take this important step, and that success was not easily achieved – with some members of the government resisting. So once again, thanks to Minister Thompson and her staff for not giving up.

Two months later, on April 12, 2006, the Convention on Wetlands came into force for Barbados and part of the Graeme Hall Swamp was declared a "Wetland of International Importance".

Next in This Series: Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (Part 2) – Barbados Needs Wetlands

Links for this series

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Website)

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Barbados Data)

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (Website)

News Articles…

Nation News "Special Place For Swamp" December 18, 2005

Photos borrowed from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Photo Gallery (but somehow, I don't think they will complain.) 

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