Monthly Archives: September 2006

China’s Next Export To Barbados – Men

Why is the long standing practice of killing girl babies in China making problems for Jamaican men ? … from Female Infanticide In China: Jamaican Men Feel The Pain – Jamaica and the World Blog

In our continuing quest to link with other Caribbean bloggers, we recently discovered Jamaica and The World blog, and we’ve added a link on our sidebar. While we haven’t read everything on the blog, and we don’t agree with everything we have read (heck… we can’t even agree among ourselves at BFP!) – we are interested enough that Jamaica and the World will now be part of our daily reading.

Here is a Jamaica and the World post that made us stop to consider all the gifts that China has been lavishing upon Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean lately. As we keep pointing out at Barbados Free Press… Ain’t nothin’ be free…

China’s Major Export In The Coming Decade – Men

Female Infanticide In China: Jamaican Men Feel The Pain

Why is the long standing practice of killing girl babies in China making problems for Jamaican men ?

Because the Chinese Government’s infamous One Child policy has produced an estimated 41 million more adult Chinese males than females.

Human reproduction still requires females, and there are not enough to go around, no matter how many women are kidnapped/trafficked from the cities and neighboring countries.

So what to do ? Well, what you can do is export as many adult males as possible to as many Chinese-government-funded projects around the world as possible. Take, for example, the Greenfield Stadium being built for the 2007 Cricket World Cup in Trelawny, Jamaica…..

Exporting men helps China on its way to becoming the world’s sole superpower sooner rather than later….AND it frees up a little of the pressure on the police state at home….

… read the whole article at Jamaica and the World Blog (link here)

17 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Island Life, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Why Is Barbados’ Marketing To American Tourists Failing?

UPDATED – Linda from My Barbados Blog chimes in…

“The BTA (Barbados Tourism Authority) spent $40 million to attract Americans, and the campaign failed. They could have paid me a cool million to give them some advice. If anyone over at BTA reads this, drop me an e-mail.”

Linda is not kidding… our fellow blogger at My Barbados Blog runs a very successful travel agency in the USA – so she knows what Americans want in a vacation and who of her clientel travel to Barbados. In response to Adrian Loveridge’s letter below, Linda has written a major article at her blog (link here).

After reading Linda’s article, it sounds as if no one at the Barbados Tourism Authority has any clue about marketing Barbados to Americans. Forty million dollars just shot to h*ll.

Original Article… 

In the following letter to the editor, Adrian Loveridge makes a good point… Barbados is subsidizing each airline seat with $300 of taxpayers’ money, and we still can’t fill those airplanes. Last year, the Barbados Tourism Authority spent US$40 Million Dollars in a failed bid to attract US tourists.

What’s going wrong?

We don’t know, and neither does Mr. Loveridge appear to have the answer – but at least he’s naming the problem, which is more than the Barbados Tourism Authority is doing with its “everything is fine” message.

Something must fundamentally wrong with the marketing of Barbados in North America.

‘We’ were not able to sustain a single weekly flight of the United States fifth richest state, New Jersey, operated by Continental Airlines.

Flights to both Charlotte and Philadelphia operated by US Airways have been severely reduced.

And now the latest blow is the cessation of the Trinidad-Barbados-Washington service by BWIA or the new company that is set to replace it come 1st January 2007.

In all cases these routes were operated by smaller aircraft, Boeing 737’s, Airbus 319’s and the occasional Airbus 320.

120 seats or less!

Deduct the accepted level of visiting friends and relatives estimated at 25% of our total long stay visitor arrival numbers, plus another 10 plus per cent that are connecting on flights to Barbados’s neighbours, we are then only really looking for around 80 passengers per flight for these aircraft to operate to capacity.

Put another way, if the economic break-even level for revenue passengers is 50 per cent, that number is reduced to just 36.

I cannot believe that of our four largest markets, with the United States receiving the second largest proportion of the BDS$80 million (US$40 million) spent by the Barbados Tourism Authority last year, we cannot ‘find’ these relatively insignificant numbers.

And it isn’t as if ‘we’ have to compete with our neighbours on equal pricing. Currently the Best of Barbados programme is using taxpayer’s monies to subsidise each and everyone booking a package by US$300.

So, even with selling the ‘product’ below cost, we simply seem incapable of sustaining desirable airlift.

It must now be apparent even to those wearing the most rose-tinted glasses that ‘our’ marketing strategy in North America is simply not working and must be dramatically re-visited.

Adrian Loveridge
22 September 2006
Barbados

37 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

CaribbeanPressReleases.Com – Interesting New Site

In the last month we’ve been seeing “Caribbean Press Releases.com” coming up with increasing frequency during online searches involving “Barbados”, so yesterday we stopped in and had a look. Here’s what the website says about itself…

CaribbeanPressReleases.com seeks to provide an avenue for businesses, organizations, associations and other entities to distribute their text and multi-media releases online.The site is owned and managed by veteran TV producer and broadcaster, Sharon Coward, who has more than a decade of experience in news reporting, radio and television production and management, press release writing and more recently, web design and content management.

Ms. Coward’s website is an interesting concept – a regional business news site that is also attempting to be a resource for publicity-hungry businesses and organizations. The aggregation of items from the Caribbean is obviously working to attract the automatic search engines like Google and Yahoo as that is how we came to know about Caribbean Press Releases.com.

We hope it works out in the long run, because the site is coming up with some interesting stories and press releases that we don’t see anywhere else.

Good Luck, Sharon!

Visit CaribbeanPressReleases.com

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking

Sugar Revenues Down 10% In 2006 – But 2007 Will Be A Killer… Another 36%

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Excerpts from The Barbados Advocate article Developments In Sugar Industry

AS this country prepares for a new planting season for sugar, official reports have put this year’s export earnings for that commodity at just over $40 million. Central Bank of Barbados information reveals that sugar sales to the European Union (EU) netted $40.2 million in 2006.

The amount was below the $44.3 million earned from the 2005 sugar crop…

Sugar produced in Barbados is sold to the EU under the terms and conditions of the Cotonou agreement. However, from next year Barbados will be getting a reduced price for its sugar sold to the EU.

Beginning early 2007 the EU could be instituting its 36 per cent price cut, a move which has forced the Owen Arthur administration to reform the industry into a sugar cane one. ACP producers have criticised the EU for moving to lower the price, saying it will create some economic fall out.

However, the EU has proposed a major financial package for the affected countries…

…read the rest of the Barbados Advocate article here

“Some Economic Fallout…”

Yes folks, if sugar revenues fall another 36% after this year’s disaster, there will be “some economic fallout”.

It is a good thing that the Owen Arthur Government recognized a decade ago that sugar revenues were crashing and that Barbados had better plan for new innovative revenue streams!

Remind me… what was the Barbados government plan to replace the sugar revenues?

Oh ya… I remember now…

1/ Beg the Europeans for money – playing upon white man’s guilt.

2/ Sell the rest of the island to foreigners.

Ya… good plan, Owen!

photo by Shona in the NorthWest

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Politics & Corruption

Mullins Bay Blog asks: Beach Erosion or Natural Cycles?

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Many of the articles by our friends over at Mullins Bay Blog are focused on the health of the bay and issues surrounding beach erosion and pollution. The above two photos of the same seaside home illustrate their current post – which is well worth your time…

From their post Dynamic Mullins Bay

With all the beach engineering currently going on in the Mullins Bay area it is probably appropriate that we be reminded of the power of the ocean to which it is connected, and that we learn to respect and live with that power. Beaches are dynamic because of the constant action the waves upon them, sometimes causing dramatic changes not just over time but sometimes overnight…

…continue reading Dynamic Mullins Bay (link here)

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment

Barbados Free Press Hate Mail Up 1000% !!!

We must be doing something wrong because hardly a day goes by now that we don’t get one or two emails from frothing-at-the-mouth types. Gosh, do you suppose that someone is getting a little cranky out there? Wonder what’s bugging them?

A small selection taken from today’s offerings at our Yahoo.com email address. All from different Bajan IP addresses. We have never received such emails from overseas…

ARe uall tryin to destablize de country?
your posts are very strange
dread

I wish you dead.

F*c* you in the head you f*c*ing DLP cowards you neva gon win nevas

We know where you are and we are coming for you.

…down a well and your children…

Enjoy your last week out of jail basta*ds…

… and those are the mild ones.

Nice to know we’re appreciated!

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Filed under Barbados

A Tale Of Two Barbados Farmers – One Wise, One Foolish

ONCE UPON A TIME in the 1960’s, two Barbados farmers worked the land that their ancestors had left them. All was well and they prospered – growing sugar and selling their crops for high prices. American farmers and industry had not yet discovered sugar beets or fructose, and the Cuban competition was effectively eliminated from the North American markets.

Times were good.

But then things changed – sugar prices crashed, labour became costly and both farmers were hard-pressed to feed their families and keep those golfing memberships paid up. What to do? What to do?

The Wise Farmer’s Solution

“I know!” cried the wise farmer. “I will personally cut back on expenses any way I can, and everyone is expected to do the same. My family will have to make do with less for now – so that the future can be secured. We will sacrifice everything to highly educate our children. If sugar will not support the family any longer, we will work hard and equip our children to find other modern ways. But this will take sacrifice by this generation so that the children will do well when it is their turn to have families…”

“We may even lease some of our land to others, but we will never NEVER sell the land to maintain our current lifestyle, because if we do that, we will surely reach a time when all the land will be gone, and we will not have achieved anything except to keep the golfing memberships for a few more years…”

The Foolish Farmer

The Foolish Farmer said to himself, “My family will never understand that things have changed and we now have to make do with less, so I will tell them that it is necessary to sell just a little land now, to pay the taxes on the rest of the land. We have so much land, and if I sell just a little at a time, we will be able to maintain those golfing memberships..

He deluded himself and his family, saying “This is just for a time that we will have to sell some small pieces of our land. Something will come up, and in the interim, we will continue to enjoy a wonderful lifestyle with new cars and many servants.”

This went on for three terms, and although the Foolish Farmer talked about making changes and preparing his children for the future, he never really did anything about it. But he did keep selling off little pieces of his children’s inheritance to buy them many presents now.

The Foolish Farmer’s children all loved him and rejoiced that they could continue to live well.

And so, with full bellys, new flyovers and a hospital and schools that were falling apart, the children re-elected their father for an unprecedented fourth term…

Wise Or Foolish…?

Excerpts from The Nation News (link here)…

Paying By Land

by DONNA SEALY

PRIME MINISTER OWEN ARTHUR last night defended the sale of Barbadian land to foreign investors, saying the country had to be able to pay its bills.

Alternatives such as casino gambling, legalised prostitution, currency devaluation and private beaches would not be considered by the Government, he said…

He added that the country had “so little to work with and so much to gain” and therefore there was a need for innovative ideas.

…Agriculture and manufacturing would work, said Arthur, but not the same as years gone by. Current times were challenging, he added, and he could give no assurance that sugar, a $40 million industry, would be able to pay the country’s bills in the future.

“What will be the new economy that will give you the assurance that wages in the public sector will be paid when they fall due?

“The sugar industry is $40 million a year, the public sector wage bill is $700 million a year and I can’t tell them at the end of the month [to] hold strain and hold an IOU . . . How will we have our bills paid . . .?”

…Stressing he would not be going the route of devaluing the Barbados dollar, licensing casino gambling, legalising prostitution or having private beaches, Arthur said the land could not be treated as “static”.

He warned that the country was “spending more that we are earning” and he was not inclined to “borrow our way out of it”.

Arthur noted that the way to deal with the national debt was to “increase our capacity to earn”.

“All across Barbados we have given the impetus in building a new capacity to earn foreign exchange for this country . . . ,” he said.

The Prime Minister, who has responsibility for town planning, said that “when people come here they must respect our laws”, adding that social surveys must be conducted to show how a project would impact on the environment or the neighbourhood where it would be built.

…”I am thirsty for the campaign trail, I really am,” Arthur said.

from The Nation News…

Hey folks… the new proxy server is fouling up our ability to post links. I’ll get to it later today. Sorry!

Robert

15 Comments

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

Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards – Judging Panel Announced

Barbados Free Press is pleased to announce the members of the Judging Panel for the 2006 Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards. The judging panel will determine who will receive the first prize of one thousand US dollars – CASH.

As detailed in a previous article (link here) the “Piggy” as the award is affectionately known, is presented annually to the Barbados politician or civil servant who, in the opinion of the judges, best misuses position, political contacts or internal knowledge to benefit self, family or friends.

How Do We Know The Judging Will Be Fair?

In comments posted on the original “Piggys” article, Barbados Labour Party Senator Lynette Eastmond questioned who would make up the judging panel, and how BFP readers would know that the contest was being judged fairly.

Good point, Senator!

So after not much discussion at all, the staff of the Barbados Free Press have decided to expand the Judging Panel to include one member from each of Barbados’ three political parties.

Senator Lynette Eastmond Nominated as BLP “Piggy” Judge

Senator Eastmond has been nominated by the permanent judging panel (Marcus, Cliverton, Robert, Shona and Auntie Moses) to be the BLP member on this year’s panel. Under the “Piggy” rules, any political party or their representative can, of course, decline to serve on the judging panel, in which case that judge’s seat will remain vacant.

The top nominations will be published online in mid-December, and the judging panel will communicate and vote via email with the results being announce on New Year’s Eve.

The DLP and PEP judges have not yet been announced.

Cliverton

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

The Nation Newspaper Declares Victory For Ruling Party and Current Barbados Prime Minister In Coming 2008 Elections

Hey… why bother with an election now? 

From the Nation News… 

BLP Surge

by ROXANNE GIBBS, Executive Editor

WITH JUST 18 MONTHS to go before a general election must be held, the popularity of the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) appears to be surging.

In fact, if an election were held today, the BLP would be returned to an unprecedented fourth term with Owen Arthur at the helm.

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) under its leader, David Thompson, while registering a boost in public confidence, is still suffering from a seemingly entrenched public perception among likely voters that it isn’t ready to lead the country.

These are some of the key findings of a public opinion poll conducted for this newspaper by CADRES (Caribbean Development Research Services) in the 30 constituencies of the island last weekend…

… read the rest here.

But Mia Mottley Might Want To Revise Her Outlook On Becoming Prime Minister…

Yup, with a “popularity” rating of about half of what George W. Bush had at his lowest, Mama Mia had better start wondering about whether she can hold onto her seat, let alone become Prime Minister. 

“But if the DLP should be worried about the poll’s result, so too should Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley, whose standing with the public has plummeted, going from a 22 per cent favourable rating a year ago to 15 per cent this year, perhaps an indication that her shift from Attorney- General to Minister of Economic Affairs which took her out of the spotlight, may be hurting her image….” 

 It is a long way to the election folks, and we all know what Winston Churchill (or was it John F. Kennedy?) said about poles being for dogs, but the biggest revelation to come out of this pole just might be a question…

…Is Mia Mottley electable next time around? 

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

BFP Announces 1st Annual Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards – US$1,000 Cash Prize For Winning Nominator

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First Prize Nominator To Win One Thousand US Dollars – Cash

Barbados Free Press is pleased to announce that the 1st Annual Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards will take place on December 31, 2006. The “Piggy” as the award is affectionately known, is presented annually to the Barbados politician or civil servant who best exemplifies the “chow down and climb right into the trough” spirit of Bajan corruption. The winner will be the Barbados politician or civil servant who, in the opinion of the judges, best misuses position, political contacts or internal knowledge to benefit self, family or friends. (And yes, extra points will be awarded for creativity or sheer brazeness)

Land Expropriation or Forced Sale Is This Year’s Theme

With so many types of corruption flourishing on Barbados, it was a tough decision to decide which category of unethical behaviour should be the focus of this year’s contest. Robert was all for Nepotism (oh so many targets!) or simple kickbacks for government contracts, but in the end our sponsor’s first choice won out – with Shona and Marcus also giving the vote to “Land Expropriation or Forced Sale”.

The Public Is The Nominations Committee

Nominations are open immediately, with anyone able to nominate any current or past Barbados politician or civil servant for the prestigious “Piggy”…

And we don’t care how far back in time that the corruption occurred. Whether the unethical actions happened last week by a BLP supporter, or two decades ago under a DLP government doesn’t matter – we’re looking for real quality here, folks. Only the best, most audacious hog will be this year’s winner!

Nominations Can Be Made Anonymously – Cash Prize Can Be Delivered Anonymously

The person nominating this year’s winner will take home a cash prize of One Thousand US Dollars – which will be delivered in a “dead drop” (read a spy novel if you don’t know about dead drops – or consult the Wikipedia entry here)

Marcus & Robert Meet Contest Sponsor – “Mr. O”

Two days ago, Robert and I met with a man who wants to make Barbados better and who has put his money where his mouth is. Neither of us had never met him before, but we knew who he was (as most any Bajan would) and we questioned him about his motives and his business history.

“Mr. O” is a Bajan, born and bred in Barbados and he has done well for himself and his family. He says he has seen all the good and bad things that Barbados has done and not done in the last few decades.

Under questioning, “Mr. O” admitted that he has probably benefited from the way the system has been even though he has to admit that it is not always fair. This system, the system we inherited from the British, has favored him and his friends while also disadvantaging other “non-connected” residents of Barbados.

He approached us with mixed feelings and, for reasons we can understand, has insisted on secrecy. Why? Because, he says, he knows how the system works. As long as he looks the other way when tax monies are wasted or ‘borrowed’ by public officials never to be repaid, as long as he takes his piece while others around him are taking theirs and says nothing, he will have a nice life.

But, he says, he knows the other side too. Rock the boat, express disapproval, try to do the right thing by speaking out to stop some of the excesses and you immediately become a pariah.

And then it starts: phone calls, visits from ‘concerned friends’, blocking and obstructions of things you need for your business such as imports, permits, and customers who suddenly don’t want to do business with you. Audits happen, monies owed to you are delayed or never paid. And then your life, and the life of your family become tough. So you keep quiet and shrink away from the more serious sins that are being committed.

“Why now” we asked. “Why after living quietly on the so called good side are you suddenly coming out?”

He was ready with an answer: “Because, because it is getting worse; and I worry that if it does not stop the real Barbadians and future generations are going to be harmed. You’ve seen it on other islands, in third world countries, and it can happen here. When there are no controls it just escalates until the have-nots turn on the have’s and chaos reigns. And that is going to happen here and spoil everything if we don’t put a stop to it.

And don’t just blame the politicians. They are part of it, sure, but they are just doing what comes naturally, feeding at the trough. And they get fatter and need more, and more, until they fall in or, worse, the trough is emptied so there is none for anyone. And so it keeps on going till someone puts a stop to it. And that is why I am here.”

And then he put to us an interesting proposal. At first I thought it was a bit off the wall – but after a while we all thought that this will work…

The first annual ‘PIGGIES AT THE TROUGH CONTEST’

The prize is US$1000 cash which he gave me (See how honest I am Mr. O. I could have pocketed your money and what could you have done? But even though that is a lot of money to me I agree with you- we need to get started putting a stop to the piggies that are slowly but thoroughly destroying the fabric of our country.)

The contest requires Barbados Free Press readers to identify cases where lands expropriated by the Barbados government have ended up back in private hands. Here are the rules… You can enter as many times as you want. Just give us as many of the details as you can about each entry.

1. Name of person
2. Location of land
3. Description of land
4. Original owner of land
5. Date of seizure or expropriation of land by government
6. How much did government pay for land?
7. Date of transfer of land to new owner.
8. How much did new owner pay?
9. Picture of land taken within the last year.
10. Put a code word on your submission so we can identify you (see below).

On December 31st, at midnight we will select the winner, who will receive the US$1000 cash prize via dead drop – or if the winner desires, we will donate the cash to the hospital.

Anonymous Entries Accepted

And the unfortunate part about this is is that in order to make this contest work we have to go out of our way to make sure that the entrants are protected so that their identities are never known – even to us. So don’t put your name on the entry, use a code word. You can email it to us or mail it to us (address to be supplied later).

When we select a winner we will publish your story and then a way for us to get you the money without being detected by, dare we say it, the piggies who will not be happy that you are interfering with their trough. Or if you don’t want or can’t take the money we will donate it in the name of the BFP to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

So fire up those computers, folks. You might win a thousand bucks US (that’s real money) and you’ll help bring accountability to government in Barbados. (Hey, if the politicians don’t want to bring in conflict of interest and integrity legislation – no matter. We’ll show them that they can’t hide anyway!)

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

A Message From Marcus – We’re OK, But I’m Posting From An Internet Cafe

Hi Folks

Robert and I are not yet back home, but we did successfully meet with our mysterious host yesterday – and what a meeting it was.

Our thanks to all our friends who sent advice to be cautious… and especially our little birdie who let us know what’s happening at a certain internet service provider. We hear you five by five and we’ve switched our proxy service…

…Which is why it will be another day before things get back to normal around here.

It seems that “someone” is devoting government resources to discover the origin of Barbados Free Press (Imagine that!), so I’ve slipped into an internet cafe to post this. The new proxy service will be ready tomorrow, and we’ll see you then.

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Filed under Barbados

Something’s Up In Barbados – BFP’s Marcus Heading For Secret Meeting

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UPDATED:  3:30am Saturday 23 Sept 06
Just heard  from Marcus. All OK. Returning tomorrow morning.

… Cliverton

How Secret Can A Meeting Be If It Is Posted On A Blog?

Here at Barbados Free Press, we receive emails a few times a month from different people offering us all sorts of information if we will only meet with them face to face.

Duh…. Do we look that stupid?

Oh you should see some of the tasty information morsels that have been dangled before us in the last six months – but when we say “Just email it” they go away: until they try again using a different name and hotmail address.

But this time, we’re going to the meeting.

This chap has promised us something, and we think that he is sincere – so this week in a series of communications worthy of any good spy novel, we have arranged a method of meeting face to face while protecting our identities.

Robert and I will be gone for two days – leaving Cliverton carry the load alone until Sunday. Clive says he’ll post something if he’s sober, but in the same breath he warned “its another frosh weekend ya know” (Clive is away at school again)

If this trip works out, the next few months around this blog are going to be fun!

See you later…

Marcus & Robert

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Cayman Islands Running Off Ex-Pats – Some Lessons For Barbados

Dear Sir:

I was in two minds about sending in this letter because of a concern about some sort of reprisal but then felt that there are some things that have to be said…

Letter to Cayman Net News from a South African Ex-Pat (link here)

Those of us who are native-born Bajans know of the conflicted thoughts and struggles we have over foreigners coming to live longterm on “our” island. On one hand, we as individuals and as a nation enjoy considerable cashflow from the thousands of ex-pats who live, and sometimes work, on Barbados.

On the other hand, ex-pats sometimes take jobs away from Bajans and drive housing and the cost of living into the stratosphere because they can pay far more for everything than most average working Bajans.

So we are often caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place – restrict foreign residents, but then lose the foreign investment we have come to rely upon.

The ex-pat debate is obviously heating up in the Cayman Islands. Here are some letter excerpts from an ex-pat who fears retaliation for having written to Cayman Net News

Dear Sir:

I was in two minds about sending in this letter because of a concern about some sort of reprisal but then felt that there are some things that have to be said.

For as long as Cayman Net News and Cayman Compass have been on the internet I have been an interested reader of news and views from Cayman without opinion or comment until the rollover issue came to light.

As an outsider I have no right to comment on the Cayman’s internal politics but I am an affected and interested party in that I have a daughter who has been working on Grand Cayman for the past seven years.

She also has money invested on Cayman. I also spent some time on Grand Cayman some years back and have fond memories of a happy and contented place and people and certainly no hint of the mood I am picking up now. It saddens me to see what is going on and I feel compelled to add my views.

Listening to all the arguments from those strictly for the implementation of the policy I would say they are being myopic and not seeing the big picture. I also see an exhibition of conservative paranoia fuelled by the politicians.

The saying goes that ignorance is bliss but ignorance is also a source of fear – fear of the unknown which is what the politicians are playing on in the minds of the more conservative, less enlightened citizens of Cayman.

This was very well said in the editorial in the Cayman Net News on 1st September. “Fueling of civil war” (I hope the good citizens of Cayman are taking note of Cayman Net News editorials – wise words are flowing from the pen of the Editor.)

If some readers thought the article sounded melodramatic they should consider what happened and what could have happened in a country like South Africa when the apartheid regime came to an end.

It may sound strange to compare Cayman and South Africa which are many thousands of miles apart but there are many parallels and perhaps lessons to be learnt. Had Afrikaner conservatism and polarization been allowed to flourish, the peaceful transition into the new South Africa would have been a very different picture despite the efforts of a great man like Nelson Mandela.

At the end of the day what do the Caymanians want? My understanding of human nature is Caymanians want the same as any human being wants anywhere in the world… peace, prosperity and a better life for their children. To the citizens of the Cayman Islands I say please don’t be blinded by rhetoric and see the big picture.

Who are those against the rollover policy in its present form?

They are the enlightened, worldly wise expats and Caymanian people who have also traveled beyond the borders of their comfort zone. Because of their experiences they have a broader view and understanding of the world and bring new ideas to invigorate the environment in which they live and also become part of the global village in which they will prosper and grow. The alternative is to wither and die.

Ironically, I see a parallel in another recent article in Cayman Net News “Genetic disorder fading” 3 September 2006. The article says, I quote “… and with the growing trend of Caymanians marrying expatriates, the chances of having the disease or even being a carrier are gradually disappearing”.

Can you imagine what the people of Cayman would be like if this had not happened. It’s the expat that ultimately will save the Islands from more than just a genetic disorder. Just by the way, are not all those Caymanians who call themselves true Caymanians descendants of once upon a time expats on the island?

Who is this roll over policy going to hurt the most for now?

Obviously those expats who have been here for some considerable time and approaching “their sell by date”. Since they have not left the island beforehand they must be happy with how the Cayman Islands are. They have grown to love Cayman and the lifestyle and are solid, experienced and committed islanders, or shall I say were committed until the reality of the roll over policy started impacting.

Before, whenever my daughter came home on vacation she would speak with pride about her little island which she called home but now it’s spoken of with sadness and disappointment.

Does the fact that many have given a good chunk of their productive lives not show commitment?

Does settling into homes and acquiring pets and possessions not show commitment?

Does putting heart and soul into the restoration of the island after Ivan….doing reef clean ups, getting businesses back on their feet whilst living under the most appalling conditions not show commitment?

Does staying on after Ivan and rebuilding their lives after losing everything without any compensation not show commitment? If they were there just for their own selfish reasons and didn’t feel for the islands, they could have gone home and waited for the Caymanians to sort their problems out, or they could have abandoned Cayman completely by staying home or moving to some other more expat friendly island.

Does putting up with rising cost of living and all the other little inconveniences of life not show commitment?

There is no threat to Caymanian identity and culture from these people.

Expats will move on and build up their lives again but those who are going to hurt the most in the long run are the Caymanians.

And this not only in the tourism sector – it’s in all sectors. Many other islands and even Qatar are aspiring to and vying to become top tax free, offshore financial centers.

Finally, I won’t even comment on the decision regarding the time period an expat must stay away from the island, its tantamount to rearranging the furniture on the Titanic.

I wish the Cayman Islands only the best.

Beefy Mance,
South Africa

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On Power, Authority and Governance In Barbados – And Land Transfers

Lower Burney Housing Project – Barbados

With all the questions flying back and forth about how certain people came to live on certain lands in Lower Burney, we dug way back into the online archives to find this little tidbit. (and yes, we know the word is properly supposed to be “titbit”, but we’re a family blog, doan ya know! – Which is a polite reminder to Cliverton that we had an agreement about certain things being posted and certain things not… OK?)

Have a read of this from the website of BANGO – Barbados Association Of Non-Governmental Organisations. Apparently, an NGO was having some trouble receiving cooperation from the Minister of Housing about a public housing project in Lower Burney.

It looks like they were later able to work out some arrangement because the housing project was eventually given the go-ahead.

Remind me again… do we know anybody who lives in this public housing project?…

Power, Authority and Governance

When Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) put in its proposal to the Minister of Housing in 2002, to partner with Government on the housing project in Lower Burney, it was at first met with some caution.

After several meetings between PCW, the Minister of Social Transformation, the Minister of Housing and his advisors, it was agreed that PCW should be given the opportunity to prove itself at another level of developmental activity.

The partnership between PCW and the Ministry of Housing was officially launched with a ceremony held at the Lower Burney site. It was acclaimed by the Minister as a revolutionary step in Government’s relations with Civil Society.

In May 2003 the Government was returned to office but the portfolio of Minister of Housing changed hands. Now there seems to be a virtual about face to the partnership between PCW and the Ministry of Housing.

There is no doubt that we will hear the reasons for the about turn and unless the Minister can show some kind of incompetence or lack of cooperation on the part of PCW, then any other reason could only be counted as subjective.

As this column has advocated from time to time, Civil Society cannot properly function based on personalities; who is whose friend or enemy for that matter. Civil Society is about identifying and deploying expertise, skills, knowledge, etc., for the common good of the people; for developmental purposes and devoid of personalities.

The motto which PCW has been instilling in its leaders for many years, now forms the closing of nearly every speech which is made by the Minister of Social Transformation, “No obstacle is greater than the cause”.

Among other things it means that personal relationship should not get into the way of the objective at hand. If therefore there is animosity or bitterness between a Coordinator and a donor or benefactor, then another Coordinator takes on the role of liaison between the organisation and the donor or benefactor.

This is not necessarily to pacify the donor or benefactor but to keep the objective in focus. Whatever enmity exists, the personalities will have to work that out by themselves in another arena.

This is a strategy that is utilised by the private sector as well because similarly a shrewd businessman would not let anything or anybody get in the way of sales. Those who get in the way of the prosperity of the company will either go or the company will go; although a person with skills or expertise may be differently utilised by the company.

When it comes to social justice and governance, the politicians’ responsibility to the electors is similar to the responsibility of parents who have two or more children. If they want to run a peaceful household, they should not to things like make one child do all the chores and the others relax or dispense justice based on favouritism.

The most crucial factors in dispensing justice are fairness, certainty and equality. If you read the Constitution of Barbados you are bound to find these principles enshrined.

You will also find that these form part of the expectations of what is termed “Good Governance”, a responsibility or mandate which is vested in those who form the Government.

So good governance is not simply about keeping law and order but about how Government interfaces with the people; how they govern the country and the extent to which the people have confidence that justice is being fairly dispensed. Good Governance is about bringing quality to democratic practices.

It is unthinkable that this Government has been spearheading the implementation of the CSME and yet some of its rank and file are not demonstrating the spirit of development that we are expected to achieve.

There is no need for a Government Minister to get involved in overturning a decision which had the approval of the former Minister and more than likely the approval of Cabinet too.

This is now a matter between the Establishment and the organisation and unless the Establishment reports to the Minister that the organisation with which Government is seeking to partner is not cooperating or is falling short of its responsibility then the Minister has no grounds to intervene or intercept without calling into question the transparency of such actions.

As we move to seek greater cooperation between Civil Society and Government, matters like these will be held up to scrutiny because they smack of bad faith. They have implications because if you can do it to one then you can do it to all.

We have to move to a new level of governance. We have to develop what could be called “good democratic practices”. We have to understand that elections are about deciding who is best suited to be vested with the authority of Government.

Further the people of Barbados must not be left to feel that politicians, rather than using the authority vested in them to achieve good governance are instead using that authority against any of the people of this country.

The people of Barbados are becoming more and more sophisticated. We are learning fast about what is required to compete in a global environment. Many young people are entering this competitive environment and getting first hand experience about what is required to survive globalisation and are quickly putting it into practice.

Our people are also keeping a keen eye on how Government is operating because they know that they can be either empowered or disempowered by their Government’s decisions.

It is no political secret that the extent to which power or authority can be wielded is defined by the extent to which the people are tolerable to overuse or abuse. Sooner than later ordinary people will seek to influence government in order to survive the global onslaught. Participation is the key.

Therefore opportunities for participation should not be snatched from communities and government going back on its word should not be taken lightly. Since PCW has done everything to comply with Government’s demands to take on this partnership, it is only fitting that they are allowed to fulfill their commitments.

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Rally Barbados 2006 – Flying Cars, Pretty Ladies & Good Times

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Rally Barbados 2006 Photos Online

Our friend Zinger from Shark’s Hole alerted us to a fabulous set of Rally Barbados 2006 photos posted at zhaust.com (link here).

There’s crash photos…

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And Some Spectator Photos As Well…

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Hmmmmm….. Wasn’t Shona at Rally 2006?

🙂

Cliverton

photos courtesy of www.zhaust.com 

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Wonder of Wonders! – Barbados Nation News Covers DLP Integrity Legislation Speech

Barbados Media Had Ignored DLP Integrity Legislation Announcement

Last Sunday, DLP candidate and executive member Chris Sinckler spoke at a DLP rally and delivered a major policy position – promising that the DLP will institute Integrity Legislation and ongoing audits of public expenditures.

Although their reporters were present, neither The Nation Newspaper nor the Barbados Advocate chose to even mention the Integrity Legislation policy, and so the people of Barbados – including yours truly – remained unaware that last Sunday, the DLP publically declared that Intergrity Legislation will be a major issue in the forthcoming election…

…Until, of course, the Barbados Free Press published DLP Leader Gives Major Speech – No Mention Of Integrity Legislation, Conflict of Interest Rules etc… on Monday, and then a second article also on Monday, Barbados Free Press Reader Says DLP Meeting Started With Integrity Legislation Speech

Now, after three days of the Barbados Free Press and our readers talking about what happened on the weekend, The Nation News has finally decided that the DLP’s Integrity Legislation might be worth mentioning.

Golly… wonder what happened over at the Nation’s newsroom? Did they just wake up… or like so many others, are the Nation’s editors starting to smell something new in the wind this season?

Barbados Media Ignores Ongoing BLP Government Integrity Scandals

Do you suppose that the Nation News might now start sending some reporters over to the Land Registry to see how a certain Minister of Government came to live on government-expropriated “public housing” land?

Nah… probably too much for the citizens of Barbados to hope that their big old media might actually do some investigative digging about conflicts of interest and such.

Oh well… at least the guys and gals over at The Nation News are starting to smell that new breeze…

From The Nation News (link here)

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Dems Promise “Better to Come”

A NEW Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration will be placing greater emphasis on transparency and accountability.

This was the word from Chris Sinckler, who led off his party’s public charge during its political mass meeting on Sunday night in Quakers Road, Carrington Village, St Michael.

He said the DLP would be focusing on measures to combat wastage and squandermania, much of which he claimed had taken place over the past 12 years under the incumbent Barbados Labour Party administration.

Sinckler, a member of the DLP’s executive council, listed projects with problems ranging from GEMS, the flyovers coming for the ABC Highway, to Government’s office complex at Warrens.

He also pointed to both the Urban and Rural Development Commissions as areas where there had not been an efficient application of resources.

It was against this background that Sinckler, who is expected to be the party’s candidate in St Michael North West in the next general election, highlighted three specific things which the Dems would introduce to eliminate these problems.

They would be integrity legislation, an audit for public services (different from the one done by the Auditor-General), and expenditure surveys.

He said integrity legislation was particularly necessary for leaders, while the public services audit would allow for accountability on how resources were spent.

This is a system in place in several African, Asian and Latin American countries. Sinckler added it also helped to build accountability since it would involve both the politicians and technocrats.

With the expenditure surveys, also used in a number of developing countries, there was no need to wait on the Auditor-General to do an annual report, he said. Departments must follow and map expenditure of their various programmes to know how money was spent and if services were delivered.

Since it was not always an issue of money but how service was delivered, Sinckler added it was important to look at procurement rules to ensure transparency.

He said the entire system needed an overhaul – not just a case of throwing more money behind a project, but efficiently allocating resources.

Sinckler, who unsuccessfully contested the St Michael Central seat in the 1999 general election, told his audience that the Dems were on a mission, promising that “better can be done, better is to come.

“This is no time to fool around. I’ve decided to re-enter politics at this level, not to stay in Opposition, but to win.”

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Case Clearing In Barbados Courts Makes Me Nervous

The courts in Barbados are a little backed-up right now, but the Chief Justice has the answer – Toss Out Cases Without Hearing Them!

Chief Justice Sir David Simmons is concerned about the backlog of both criminal and civil cases before the courts in Barbados. While we understand the need for the Chief Justice to occasionally step in and kick some bu… “politely prod the system” where lawyers are dragging their feet, we are very nervous about the wholesale tossing of cases as a method of reducing the backlog.

From The Nation News (link here)…

…Phase I of the Backlog Reduction Project involving civil cases in the system since 1990, had 66 of the 127 cases retired. Another 18 cases were listed for trial while in the remaining 43 cases, adjournments were sought.

(Chief Justice Sir David Simmons) warned attorneys that during the second phase of the project for cases from 1990-2005 where only documents had been filed, a notice would be published in the newspapers after which they would dispose of the cases.

Which Civil Cases Will Be Tossed By Sir David?

The wheels of justice often turn very slowly – with civil cases sometimes taking years to reach trial. But is it a good idea to toss older cases simply because the courts do not have enough resources, physical space, judges and support staff?

The rule of law and an independent judiciary are probably the most important foundations that we have – because without them, nothing else can work.

We have said it before, and we will say it again – whatever the professional qualifications, wisdom and personal integrity of Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, it looks bad that he was a powerful member of the ruling Government one day, and then Chief Justice immediately thereafter.

Please understand that I am in no way suggesting that Sir David will not perform his duties in an unbiased and professional manner. What I am saying is that Sir David’s appointment lacked the appearance of impartial appointment. How can a man be a powerful member of government on one day, and then be expected to judge cases involving his old government friends the next day?

It just looks bad.

So Chief Justice Sir David Simmons is already operating under a professional handicap. With this in mind, we had all better hope that none of the cases thrown out by Sir David during this “cleanup” in any way involve lawsuits against the government.

It would just look bad – but I sense that very few people in the Barbaods Government are aware of the important concept that not only must justice be done – it must also be seen to be done.

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Bye Bye Bwee

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BWIA Says “So Long”

I don’t care if the flights were always late, or if the equipment was not exactly up to date – I’m going to miss Bwee.

BWIA was one of the last Western operators of the 707. Long after everyone else had scrapped the old Boeings, Bwee’s last “three sisters” still flew the Bridgetown-Heathrow route until noise regulations in the UK made it impossible with the old engines. (BWIA never did re-engine their 707s. It was easier to lease newer aircraft than to look after the old girls)

Dad always loved the old Boeings, and one of my fondest memories as a child is of him waving and smiling from the top of the stairs and then patting the side of the aircraft as he boarded for his last flight in a 707. (Miss you dad.)

Peter Wickham also says goodbye to Bwee in The Nation News (link here)

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