Blogging Around Barbados – Hurricane Season, Pimps, Media and Sugar-Ethanol Plans

Marcus and I are putting together a piece on Barbados Government Land Expropriations, but while we do that – here's a few things we've seen around the Barbados blogosphere…

Doan Mind Me writes about a young man in a Barbados Court who was asked by the Judge as to how he makes his living. "I'm a Pimp" answered the young man!

Our next stop is My Barbados Blog, where Linda has posted an excellent article on the predictions for the 2006 Hurricane season. (Barbados usually escapes direct hits, but Shona reminds Robert that he needs to purchase some new plywood for the front windows anyway.)

Patrick Hoyos is up to his usual brilliant standard at the Broad Street Journal, where he writes that it is time for the Barbados Government to get out of the media business. You will have to go to the BSJ website and then look up the article titled "Media Concentration" as Patrick still uses a "framed" website, so we can't directly link to the article.

(Hint, hint, hint… Patrick…. It is time you dumped the framed-style website and provided others with direct permanent links to each article. Do that and both your Google hit rating and web traffic will soar.)

Here is an excerpt from Patrick's article "Media Concentration"…

Of course, the real reason most governments try to hold on to the taxpayer-owned TV stations, even when they have to subsidise them with millions of dollars, is to protect themselves as far as possible from unfavourable press. The TV station can always be used to counteract any unwelcome criticism appearing in the newspapers or heard on the radio.

But with the government running a deficit of half a billion dollars and the national debt expected to surpass Bds$5 Billion for the first time in history this coming year, not to mention our present debt amortisation costing $600 million a year, the government may be finding that CBC is just too expensive to operate, far less to expand.

As for me, I think the government has “fixed” the corporation as much as it can, and it’s time to get out of the media ownership business and instead try to safeguard the citizenry where necessary, as most other jurisdictions do, with the appropriate regulatory authority.

Carib Pundit takes a look at torture of terrorists at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba). Apparently, one of the tortures is for a solder to eat peanut butter in front of a terrorist prisoner. Really.

And as a final note, Robert Lucas asks in a letter to the Barbados Advocate just why Barbados plans to use sugar to produce ethanol at such a high cost – when it would be much cheaper just to import ethanol. (It doesn't have to make sense, Doctor Lucas – so long as somebody is going to make a dollar… but your question is a good one. Just doan expect no answer from de government.)

post by Robert with help from Shona

3 Comments

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

3 responses to “Blogging Around Barbados – Hurricane Season, Pimps, Media and Sugar-Ethanol Plans

  1. John

    Looking forward to your piece on expropriations. Land is an emotive issue in Barbados.

    Yesterday’s Nation says the EU has $4million for Barbados for free to cushion the removal of preferential treatments that exist for sugar.

    Only thing we have to do is have a strategy for our sugar industry to collect. EU says no strategy, no $4Million, and you can’t blame them.

    Instead, Barbados wants $400 million to convert its sugar industry into a sugar cane industry. Guess there is a new factory to build at $150 million (who gets the contract, been looking for the tender notice) and a multitude of other things that will add up. Maybe elections are close!!

    The land expropriations (mostly for housing), sales to foreign interests and the absence of a Physical Development plan make the land too “valuable” for agriculture.

    Agricultural land sells at $0.50 per sq ft, if you can get it, and development land at any price up to $50.00 per sq ft, sometimes higher.

    No plan, no strategy guess what…….. and then there is the water issue!

    Understand the GEMS property Eastry House sold recently for in excess of $10 million to a foreign interest. Remember GEMS bought it to protect it from foriegn ownership.

    But that was then….. at least it is claimed that the foreign interest has Barbados connections!!. Think it was bought for (expropriated at??) $3.2million and had a couple of million of taxpayers money spent on it but today it is derelict.

    So Government seems to have achieved a good price and is in the money.

  2. Jane

    John, In response to your comment
    “Instead, Barbados wants $400 million to convert its sugar industry into a sugar cane industry. Guess there is a new factory to build at $150 million (who gets the contract, been looking for the tender notice) and a multitude of other things that will add up”.

    Check out

    http://www.nationnews.com/story/285799474042786.php

    Barbados ‘not waiting on EU’ for sugar help
    Published on: 4/6/06.

    by TREVOR YEARWOOD

    WHETHER OR NOT the European Union (EU) comes up with financing, Barbados will push ahead with a plan for transforming the sugar industry.

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Senator Erskine Griffith, made this comment Tuesday during a media conference at Island Inn Hotel.

    He said Europe, which for many years had been a major buyer of Barbados bulk sugar, was losing its significance to the island’s economy. Griffith spoke against the backdropof the European Union’s (EU) plans for a gradual reduction in preferential rates for bulk sugar shipped by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of nations.

    In the interim, the EU has allocated about $96.6 million to the group for 2006 for coping with the coming loss – provided the countries meet a deadline for submission
    of plans for a viable sugar industry – or what Griffith calls “an adaptation strategy document”.

    “We are proceeding with that,” Griffith said. “But we already have our plans drawn up for the industry . . . and we’re not going to be waiting on the EU to take us in that direction.

    “If we wait on them with that, by the time they get through their process the industry would be dead and we don’t have that luxury; we can’t afford that luxury.”

    Head of the European Commission’s delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Amos Tincani, explained that Barbados had until monthend to submit its plan or risk losing over $4 million in aid.

    Griffith said Barbados was transforming the sugar industry into a sugar cane industry, producing special sugars, pharmaceuticals, electricity and ethanol.

    “[The European] market is not going to be important to us in terms of the exportation of bulk sugar because we are moving out of that,” he said.

    “Even now we are not competitive and the plans which the Government has approved for the transformation of the industry certainly do not include any exportation of bulk sugar.

    “Our plans will include the generation of 30 megawatts of electricity to be used by the local company. It will include the production of 14 million litres of ethanol for mixing with the gasoline for the domestic market.

    “It will include the production of 10 000 tonnes of special sugars for export. It will include the production of 5 000 tonnes of special sugars for the domestic market. It will include the production of 12 000 tonnes of refined sugar which we now import – we will supply it.”

  3. John

    Jane,

    Is Senator Griffith quoted in the Nation of 2/2/06 speaking of reckless drivers in Barbados —————

    “Everybody in this day and age seems to be in a hurry,” Griffith noted. “The question is: where are they all hurrying to go? Because what I notice is that persons will pass you at top speed, and when you continue at your usual speed, and you travel for ten minutes or so, you’ve caught up with them.”

    —- the same Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Erskine Griffith who made this comment in the article you quote, barely 2 months later?

    “We are proceeding with that,” Griffith said. “But we already have our plans drawn up for the industry . . . and we’re not going to be waiting on the EU to take us in that direction.

    “If we wait on them with that, by the time they get through their process the industry would be dead and we don’t have that luxury; we can’t afford that luxury.”

    Guess sometimes we do need to be in a hurry.

    Would dearly love to see the plans made totally public.

    So far, the perception is that Government plans for the sugar industry seem to have been characterised by a singular lack of success. Can’t believe that all of a sudden it will all change.

    Hopefully it will. Sugar needs some good news.