Monthly Archives: October 2006

Barbados Cricket Film Still Looking For Extras

Barbados Hit For Six

From Linda at My Barbados Blog

Andrea is still looking for volunteers for the Barbados cricket film “Barbados Hit for Six”. I received this e-mail today from the Barbados Hash Harriers. So, if you are on the island, and want to participate, give Andrea a call.

Down to the last week so checking if you, or any of your friends or family, are available for any of the following…

Wednesday 1st November ­ Airport, 8am to 10.30am

Thursday 2nd November ­ Jolly Roger, 12.30pm to 4.30pm

Friday 3rd November ­ Savannah Hotel, times to be announced

Sunday 5th November ­ Party time at Windward, 1.30pm until 5.30pm

Monday 6th November ­ Nation, Fontabelle, 8.30pm to 6am

Could anyone that is interested please call me at 422 4256

Regards
Andrea

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Filed under Barbados, Cricket, Island Life

Yawn… Barbados PM Owen Arthur To Seek 4th Term

From The Jamaica Gleaner (link here)…

Prime Minister Owen Arthur has ended some speculation about his political future, saying he is prepared to seek re-election to Parliament.

“After three terms as a Prime Minister, it is a highly attractive temptation to just ride off into the sunset, after having made a contribution,” he told members and supporters of his Barbados Labour Party Sunday. “However, I feel that I have a contribution to make.”

What? Maybe you were expecting “Mama Mia” Mottley to be the next PM?

Not going to happen – and the BLP hasn’t groomed anyone else yet to take over for Owen, so the PM will just have to give one more bowl for the home team.

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Diversity’s Oppressions – And A Reminder That CARICOM Is All About Diversity

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Thomas Sowell On “United In Our Diversity” And Other Lies

…Diversity.

That word has become a sacred mantra, endlessly repeated for years on end, without a speck of evidence being asked for or given to verify the wonderful benefits it is assumed to produce.

Thomas Sowell (photo above) in The Wall Street Journal article Diversity’s Oppressions

I am fearful about the cultural impacts of CARICOM. Everyone talks about the economic differences in the CARICOM communities, but in this rush to unite the entire Caribbean, we forget that there are important cultural and social differences between the participants.

CARICOM supporters talk of “uniting in our diversity” and other wonderful-sounding catchy slogans, but the reality of free movement between CARICOM countries is a dilution of individual cultures. There are those who argue that the differences in Caribbean cultures are minor – to which I point out that the phrase “Culture Of Violence” hardly applies to Barbados or Dominica, but cannot be so easily dismissed when saying the word “Jamaica”.

The writers on this blog have often stated in one way or another – that we should be Bajan before anything else. No matter colour of the skin or religion or income, we should be strongly identifying with our island, our flag, our social culture and our fellow citizens.

Identity is a choice. If we choose to primarily identify as “black” or “white” instead of Bajan, we risk fragmenting our society. If we choose to primarily identify as “citizens of CARICOM”, it is done at the expense of our Bajan culture and society.

And… I prefer the society that we have forged to that of Jamaica.

post by Marcus

More thoughts on diversity’s oppressions and dangers by Thomas Sowell at The Wall Street Journal (link here) and Shay at Booker Rising (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History

Rebuilding Damaged Coral Reefs Is Possible – With Good Leadership & Not Too Much Money

After 12 Years In Power, Government’s Priorities Are Clear

To my father and his peers, one of the worst insults against a man’s judgement was the phrase, “I’ll bet he never changes the oil.”

Another bit of wisdom was the saying, “That be like buying a new bed ‘an the roof still leaking.”

All meaning, of course, that a person of good judgement should maintain what they have and not use their income to buy new toys while their assets deteriorate.

When BFP reader Nick Whittle sent us the following piece on rebuilding our coral reefs, I immediately thought of my father’s and his friends’ distain for fools who neglect to maintain a valuable asset – especially one that brings them income.

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Rebuilding Barbados Coral Reefs

With so much of our economy based on tourism, it is about time something was done to protect and rejuvinate the coral reefs which surround our beautiful island for everyone to enjoy, and which also offer some natural protection against extreme weather patterns.

The bad state of our coral reefs was reported at Newscientist.com on 21st June 2006 by Richard Fisher in Magazine issue 2557 (link here).

“In the past 30 years, humans have caused more damage to Barbados coral reefs than the reefs had suffered over the previous 220,000

SOMETIMES it’s easy to spot the twist at the end of a tale. Not so with the story of coral reefs across the ages, for here it’s only on the last page that the villain turns up.

“Our results leave little option but to lay the blame on people,” says Jeremy Jackson of the University of California, San Diego, who with John Pandolfi of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, has been studying the fossilised remains of coral reefs off Barbados. Humans have caused more damage in the past 30 years than the reefs have experienced at any time in the last 220,000 years, they say (Ecology Letters, vol 9, p 818).”

Perhaps the Government of Barbados should read “Coral transplants rebuild reefs wrecked in tsunami” in the Sunday Times 15th October 2006. (link here)

Coral Transplants Rebuild Reefs Wrecked In Tsunami

BRITISH divers are helping to develop a fresh way of transplanting coral grown in floating nurseries to restore reefs off the coast of Thailand damaged by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, writes Michael Sheridan.

The technique requires tiny fragments of coral to be grown in netted cages suspended in the sea, protected from grazing fish and strong currents. This improves the coral’s chances of survival.

The first crop has been transplanted onto badly damaged reefs at Koh Phai, a small island near the resort of Krabi on the west coast. The divers will now apply the method to other reefs off the islands of Phuket and Phi Phi, where thousands of holidaymakers died.

They have also created an artificial reef and may use specially designed concrete cylinders with many crevices to create beds for coral larvae to grow.

The teams adopted this method because they discovered that traditional “coral rehabilitation”, which involved sinking concrete blocks or marine wrecks offshore to allow coral to grow on them, did more harm than good in seas with strong currents, such as the Andaman Sea, and in waters with a high degree of sediment or pollution.

“Some rehabilitation work in the past unwittingly destroyed the reefs, partly due to inadequate knowledge of coral biology,” explained Nalinee Thongtham, the Thai marine biologist who heads the project. “Natural recovery of degraded coral reefs is only possible if coral seeds or coral larvae are still available in the area and environmental factors are right for the coral to regrow.”

… Benefiting from sympathy and attention after the disaster the Thais turned to Israel’s National Institute of Oceanography, which pioneered the new method in the Red Sea.

Six countries, including the UK, are now collaborating on the project. They have employed the local expertise of Andrew Hewett, a Briton who runs a diving school on Phi Phi, and who narrowly escaped the tsunami with his family. Two years on, he is enjoying the task of rebuilding the reefs that attracted many of his customers.

“One project is a floating coral nursery that is home to about 1,100 coral fragments,” he said. “This allows them to grow without additional pressure from predators, since the nursery floats about 16ft off the sea bottom and 16ft from the surface.” Later this month 300 divers will attend one of the largest coral planting dives ever held, to help transplant the coral fragments.

Foreign funding has paid for the creation of an experimental artificial reef, consisting of 100 concrete blocks, each 5ft square. “By using the concrete blocks we help reduce the damage caused by divers to natural reefs,” he explained. “At present our experienced divers are helping to stack the concrete blocks into pyramids underwater.” These blocks will become the home for the coral fragments, now growing in the floating coral nursery.

Although the concrete “reef” is less attractive than a natural one, the divers are confident that it will become an interesting dive site. “Already fish have taken up residence and are watching us as we lift the one-ton blocks into place,” he said…

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

Debate Over “The Father Of First World Barbados” Title For Owen Arthur

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BLP Political Strategists Declare Owen Arthur “The Father Of First World Barbados” – and Cheapen What Could Have Been

In our recent BFP post Blogging Around On A Barbados Sunday Morning, we noted that the BLP political strategists have declared Prime Minister Owen Arthur to be “The Father Of First World Barbados. BFP’s Marcus commented…

“To me, it sounds a bit personality-cultish and more than a bit buffoonish. Such self-proclaimed grandiose titles are common-place in African dictatorships and other tin-pot locations where the people are relatively unsophisticated. But hey, whatever the BLP inner-circle thinks will work!

Now, commenter Royalrumble replies at the BLP Blog

Regardless of which international report you pick up these days that examines the social, economic and political development in the world they have all ranked Barbados at number thirty among the developed counties or first among developing countries.

Clearly Barbados’ socio-economic and political development under this Barbados Labour Party administration, for which highly respected international institutions like UNDP and others have recognised, have placed us in a position where in the not to distant future we will attain first world status.

In the same way that Barbados’ progress to independence was charted by an architect whom we now rightly call our Father of Independence so to do we recognise that our progress to First World Status must have an architect who shall be the Father of First World Barbados and that person is the Rt. Hon. Owen S. Arthur, Prime Minister.

I must readily admit that I am not in the least interested in what the BFP thinks about this title. Who cares about your comments that have obviously sprung up from the bowels of intellectual dishonesty, political two-facedness and moral decadence. You have no authority to express an opinion especially unsolicited on matters of an ethical nature.

Barbados’ current state of affairs is a vast improvement to what it use to be in the early 1990’s when the entire country was under the dictatorship of a “like or Lump it” DLP regime. Yet the Dems, BFP included would have us believed that that period was the best thing to have happen for us. Lets us accept a few fundamentals here and now. (1) Our views on what is right or wrong are polls apart. (2) The DLP can never ever be the judge of anything that the BLP does. You have no moral minimum.

Barbados Free Press Responds

Royalrumble and the BLP political strategists who coined the term “The Father Of First World Barbados” are now trying to popularize their clever election-time moniker for the party leader.

They presume that the crushing national debt and continuing annual deficit of Barbados will not combine with world events and government mismanagement to send our country back into the stone age of the 60’s and 70’s. They embrace the Arthur/BLP legacy of new highways and cricket celebrations and ignore the failings and longterm neglect in collapsing sewerage, water and health infrastructures.

The title might seem a tad premature to those citizens still hauling water in buckets while stepping over greenish rivulets of human waste making its way to the sea from overflowing cesspits.

Bestowing Such A Title For Election Purposes Cheapens It, And Destroys The Honour

If Owen Arthur is ever to be properly declared “The Father Of First World Barbados”, such an honour should be…

a/ Bestowed by the People of Barbados with widespread popular support, not just created and declared by some backroom political hacks in the runup to the next election.

b/ Only given after Barbados IS a first world country.

c/ Only given after Mr. Arthur has retired from public service. Otherwise, what would be a National Honour is cheapened into a mere partisan political slogan.

Those BLP “Strategists” Just Don’t Get It

History and Barbados will judge Owen Arthur in the full measure of time – his strengths, his weaknesses, his failings and successes. Owen may well deserve such an honour at some time, or not – but we must wait for history to unfold.

The BLP idiots who have cheaply thrown this onto the table in the runup to an election have done a disservice to Owen Arthur and to Barbados.

Not to mention that should a reversal occur in the Barbados economy – perhaps due to something totally beyond the Prime Minister’s control – the title would become a mockery, useful only to the political opposition.

About This Debate And BFP’s Comments

It is certainly healthy to see this type of open debate going on in Barbados because, as we all know, before the internet and call-in radio shows, public political debate on a mass scale was carefully controlled in Barbados by both DLP and BLP governments.

In recent and not-so-recent history, once elected, governments from both parties have each exhibited a sense of entitlement to power and privilege that can only be called corrupt. So far, neither the DLP nor the BLP have seen fit to introduce integrity legislation and conflict of interest rules.

We at Barbados Free Press will continue to shine the spotlight on the political elites – and we don’t care which party they belong to. Until someone declares integrity legislation, they are all headed for the Piggy Trough as far as we are concerned.

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Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur Speaks The Truth…

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PM Owen Arthur Delivers Culture Warning

“In our schools, on our roads, in our community relationships and activity, in the expression of lifestyles, in our personal behaviour, there is an increasing lack of discipline, a decline in moral and spiritual content and values, a tendency to indulge in ostentatious, extravagant and sometimes lewd and tawdry behaviour,”

… from The Nation News Bajan Way Of Life “Under Moral Threat”

We agree 100% with the Prime Minister on this point. Other than a total ban on American television, movies and music, we don’t have many ideas for a cure though.

Clive always says that we should look to the Cubans (in Cuba, not Miami!) because family and social relationships are stuck in 1959. With little outside media and “entertainment” influence – and no way of accumulating assets – family, people and relationships are the most important things in life to the average Cuban.

This will change about 10 minutes after MTV and DirecTV arrive in Habana on a large scale.

Photo taken from The Nation News online. Fair trade for the link.

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Island Life

Seraphim Joe Fortes – How A Black Sailor From Barbados Became A Legend In Vancouver Canada

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UPDATED: July 29, 2010

Thanks to one of our regular friends, we’ve just learned of a wonderful video on YouTube all about Seraphim Joe Fortes. (link below) It is really worth a few minutes of your time to learn about this famous Bajan who was loved so much in Vancouver that almost 90 years after his death his name lives on. In 1996 he was named “Citizen of the Century”.

How could a flat-broke black sailor from Barbados arrive in Vancouver in 1885 and still be loved over a hundred years later? It is quite a story…

Seraphim Joe Fortes Became A Favourite Son Of Vancouver Canada

Huge Public Funeral In 1922 – Monument Erected, Library Named In His Honour

In 1922, the largest public funeral in Vancouver’s history was held for a black man from Barbados. “Tens of thousands” lined his funeral procession. Continue reading

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Refco Inc – Guatemala Bancafe Bank Scandal Has Barbados Link

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Collapse & Fraud At Commodities Broker Refco Inc.

Barbados Central Bank Will Step In

Conflict Of Interest – U.S. & Guatamalan Politicians Tied To Scandal – Who’s Next?

“Refco is a large foreign exchange and commodity broker providing clearing and execution services for global exchange-traded derivatives including futures,’..” … from the Refco website (link here)

When those international houses of cards take a tumble, the casualties and fallout usually spreads around the world and high into governments and financial communities. This collapse is no different.

The entire Guatemala banking system has been shaken… and the tremors and aftershocks are starting to arrive in Barbados.

Excerpts from Reuters…

Guatemala Suspends Bancafe Bank Operations Over Refco

GUATEMALA CITY, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Guatemala has suspended operations in Bancafe, the country’s fourth largest bank and owner of $204 million of U.S. Treasury bonds held by bankrupt commodities broker Refco Inc….

“The board unanimously resolved to suspend operations in Bancafe due to financial problems derived from the investment of $204 million in the brokerage Refco,” de Bonilla said at a press conference.

Bancafe has about $900 million in deposits, a million account holders and assets worth about $1 billion, Guatemala’s banking regulatory body says.

Bancafe is a part of financial group Grupo Financiero del Pais and is not connected to a state-run bank with the same name in Colombia.

Eduardo Gonzalez, chief of staff for Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and a pre-candidate for 2007 presidential elections, is one of the bank’s major shareholders.

Guatemala’s Monetary Board said it decided to intervene in Bancafe “to protect the liquidity and solvency of the national banking system and to secure and strengthen national savings.”

…The bank has offshore holdings in Barbados valued at around $240 million, but these deposits no longer have the backing of Bancafe and will not be covered by the government’s recovery plan, Zapata said.

The Central Bank in Barbados will be responsible for managing those funds, he said.

… read the entire article link here.

Now The Fund Starts – Politicians All Over The World Run For Cover

According to the Portland Independent Media Center (link here), the first casualty appears to be US Illinois Congressman Jerry Weller, who took Refco campaign contributions and look the other way as they ran an international penny-stock “pump and dump” fraud.

The second casualty will be US Senator George Allen, who not only took campaign contributions but actually worked with known Israeli con-artists in the Refco Xybernaut penny stock scam.

There are tons of politicians who will fall in Guatemala. Bermuda, Austria and Israel have all received honourable mention, but what about Barbados?

Did Any Barbados Politician Take Campaign Donations From Refco?

I don’t know. Its not like we publish campaign donations online here in Barbados. That would be way, way too transparent. Might cause accountability.

Can’t have that on this island!

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

The Issue Is Not Land – The Issue Is Secret Land Deals, Political Corruption And Zero Accountability

BLP Spin Machine In Overdrive – Over Land Issues

For at least the last four weeks, the Barbados Labour Party has been pulling out all the stops to head off any serious discussion of the real issues surrounding land ownership and useage in Barbados.

The BLP spin tactic is to focus upon three areas: 1/ The economic necessity and wisdom of selling land to foreign investors. 2/ That there is lots of land left for Bajans. 3/ How great a job the BLP has done, and is doing, in providing cheap (ie: subsidized with public funds) land and housing to lower-income Bajans.

We see the Prime Minister publically “kicking butt” of housing contractors who are behind schedule, other Ministers talking about how much land there is for everyone, letters to newspaper editors from government supporters – and an old Government Minister saying that all the Opposition Party concern about land is just a “political football” and hardly worth talking about.

Not mentioned at all by the BLP are the two most important and contentous factors surrounding land ownership, use and sale in Barbados:

1/ The complete lack of accountability and transparency for those public officials who make multi-million dollar land decisions in secret.

2/ The fact that Barbados has no conflict of interest laws or integrity legislation anyway – so even if public officials’ pockets benefit from their decisions, nothing can be done.

The system is corrupt, and the ruling government does not want to change it.

Don’t be fooled by all the razzle-dazzle this weekend at the BLP conference. Keep thinking about those million-dollar land deals made in secret, and the fact that neither the Prime Minister nor anyone else involved in the secret decisions has to declare their assets…

And even if they do line their own pockets, or if their family members or “special lady friends” happen to do “consulting” work for government suppliers where the payment goes into an offshore account… it is not illegal.

In 12 years of power, Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s government has failed to make such unethical behaviour illegal.

Transparency? Accountability? Integrity and Conflict of Interest Legislation?

Not on Owen Arthur’s watch.

Smoke and Mirrors from the Nation News…

BLP To Address Contentious Issues At Conference

THE current contentious issues of land, public transportation, housing and consumer protection matters will be high on the agenda when the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) holds its 68th annual general conference this weekend.

Additionally, all six party officers including chairman and political leader Prime Minister, Owen Arthur have been nominated unopposed, but BLP officials yesterday debunked suggestions the two day event at Harrison College was an “election conference”, and the last before General Elections are called.

The theme for this year’s conference, which is expected to attract between 500 and 600 delegates, is Continuing to Make Life Better in Barbados.

Speaking during a media briefing at BLP headquarters Roebuck Stress, conference chairman Senator Rudy Grant, said: “We have decided on the first day of the conference to focus on issues relating to land. On that first day there will be a video presentation, which will detail what as a party we have been doing to facilitate land and to facilitate providing that for Barbadians, so that the lives of Barbadians could be enriched and made better.”

He said day one would have presentations by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Mia Mottley, in her capacity as Minister responsible for the Urban Development Commission UDC. Also making presentations will be Minister of Housing and Lands Reginald Farley and Minister of Social Transformation, Trevor Prescod.

Grant, who is Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, said there would be range of issues presented in the form of resolutions to be discussed including public transport, housing, consumer protection issues.

As for the election of the party executive, which will take place on day one, Grant said apart from Arthur, General Secretary, Dr. William Duguid and Treasurer Senator Tyrone Barker would be unopposed. The same stood for Minister of Labour and the Civil Service Rawle Eastmond, first vice-chairman; Minister of Health Dr. Jerome Walcott; and Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development Senator, Lynette Eastmond.

The conference chairman said the issue of land was chosen to be discussed because it was one of the topics on the minds and lips of the public.

“There are individuals in Barbados who consider the issue of land to be important and it is an issue that we thought we would bring to the fore and we would discuss fully, and we would highlight for the public what we have been doing over the last 12 years of this administration,” he said.

Duguid said while individuals were free to speculate, the two day conference was not an election one.

“As far as I am aware the constitutionally due election will be…due in 2008. So that would mean that if nothing else the last election conference would be 2007 and not the 2006. Surely you are allowed to speculate as anybody else is allowed to speculate. You are entitled to your speculation but you are not entitled to your facts and the facts are at this present time that this is not an election conference,” according to him.

The first day of the event will opened with an entertainment prelude, and both days will have devotions by Reverend Angela Phillips and Pastor Anderson Kellman respectively.

While the expected “high point” of the second day will be an address by the Prime Minister, said this year would also feature a booth where people could have blood pressure and cholesterol checks. The Barbados Prison Service and UDC will also have booths.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Blogging Around On A Barbados Sunday Morning

Friends, I am sitting outdoors this morning with a cup of the best coffee I have ever had – bar none. It is called “Jamaican Blue Mountain” and was a gift from a friend. I am totally stunned to know the cost of a pound of this coffee and will not repeat it here, for fear of being called a liar.

But I must tell you, that considering everything: the coffee in combination with the Cuban cigar I am about to heat up, the tiny hummingbird hovering just a few feet away trying to keep out of the wind, and the sounds of my son playing and my woman fussing away nearby – I am as contented as any man could be on such a morning.

Thank you God.

So let’s take a look around the internet and see what we can find…

How Many Roaches & Slugs Does Barbados Export?

Apparently, quite a few… New Life For TT Spiders, Centipedes In Asia

Demise Of The Barbados Data-Entry Industry

Our photographer friend over at Focus In Barbados takes a look at the decimation of Barbados data-entry industry – sans photos this time.

Anthurium – A Caribbean Studies Journal

Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal is a bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original works by Caribbean writers and scholars worldwide exclusively in electronic form. Looks interesting and I’ll be reading a few more of their pieces. Scooped the link from Focus In Barbados.

Eemanee Criticises BFP

Clipping from Global Voices Online… Eemanee criticises Barbados Free Press for demonstrating a “knack for sensationalism” in calling the Chairman of the Barbados Family Planning Association an “abortions provider”: “Let’s not forget that the BFPA provides a range of needed services, such as pap smears, men’s health services as well as Room 246, a drop-in room for young people.” (read Eemanee’s whole post at What Crazy Looks Like)

BLP Now Calling Prime Minister Arthur “The Father of First World Barbados”

The Barbados Labour Party Blog posts an article Happy 68th Conference BLP and calls the PM “The Father of First World Barbados” like a title. To me, it sounds a bit personality-cultish and more than a bit buffoonish. Such self-proclaimed grandiose titles are common-place in African dictatorships and other tin-pot locations where the people are relatively unsophisticated. But hey, whatever the BLP inner-circle thinks will work!

(I wonder what they think of that Arthur’s new title in the many places on the island that lack proper water and sewerage disposal?)

DLP Calls “Political Mass Meeting” For Sunday Night

I see on the DLP website that there were be a meeting tonight (October 29th) at Shecker Hall (Moon Town) in St. Lucy. Speakers include “CDE” David Thompson – which I guess still means “comrade”. Yuk…. if those DLP guys knew how the rest of the world views the words “comrade” and “manifesto” as applied to politics, they would drop that Stalinesk language overnight.

Hmmm… wonder if anyone will be asking Mr. Thompson about Royalrumble’s observations that Thompson provided all sorts of favours for Sandy Lane back in the day – the obvious implication being how can Thompson now criticize Prime Minister Arthur for providing “incentives” to foreigners who purchase Bajan property?

No doubt that Thompy and the old DLP crowd fed their share at the piggy trough. Don’t smile too smuggly now, Mr. Thompson.

Hiding Cash In Barbados Through Offshore Banking

I stumbled across this website that may, or may not, be providing accurate information on how to set up your own bank in Barbados. Somehow, I don’t think its as easy as filling out a form… and I’d bet that proper “arrangements” must be made. Just a guess.

Bermuda Blogger Now Requires Commenters To Register

A Limey In Bermuda blog has now instituted a policy of requiring commenters to register with email addresses etc.. Most people have no idea of the amount of spam and profane or off-topic posts that bloggers have to contend with. BFP will not be requiring registration for the foreseeable future, but we understand The Limey five by five.

“Maximum Leader” Castro Lives! Will “The Father of First World Barbados” Send Halloween Greetings?

Michelle Malkin has the scoop about Castro’s recent television appearance – while wearing an ADIDAS track suit! (Link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Culture & Race Issues, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

December 5, 2006 is Queen Mary II Day In Barbados

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UPDATED – Oct 29, 2006 -11:09am

We notice this recent Nation News article where Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch announced that Barbados was to be “home-port” for 18 cruise ships this winter. Obviously, this will boost provisioning revenues for these vessels. See Barbados Best Home Port.

How Much Money Will How Many Passengers Spend In 10 Hours?

Tourism is such an important part of our Barbados economy that there are very few of us who are not in some way connected directly or indirectly with those reddy-pink sunburned people who wander about wearing funny hats and taking photos.

Barbados Free Press readers often discuss tourism revenues, infrastructure costs, Cricket World Cup, island environment and other subjects associated with the industry – and while there is seldom full agreement on anything, we all know that the twin blows of 9/11 and soaring oil prices hit us rather hard in the last five years. Many cruise ship operators cut back on Barbados as our island is at the end of the line from most home-ports, and frankly, from a tourist standpoint is little different than so many other islands – and maybe less attractive in terms of natural beauty than some nearer destinations.

So we should all welcome visits from cruise ships – and we do welcome them. Of late though, some of our readers have been questioning how much revenue cruise ships actually generate when compared with the infrastructure and government subsidies necessary to keep them coming to Bridgetown. Or… compared with island stay tourists who spend their entire vacation on Barbados, rather than cruising from island to island on a floating hotel.

Attracting cruise ships is a highly competitive business because, as we have pointed out, if Barbados doesn’t make it attractive for the ships to choose our nation, there is always another beautiful island that would be happy to take our place.

Queen Mary II Will Spend 10 Hours At Bridgetown on December 5, 2006

Let’s take one visit by one ship and (with BFP readers’ assistance) try to guess at the associated revenues and costs. Cunard’s Queen Mary II is scheduled to spend 10 hours in port on December 5th (link). My grandfather sailed on the original once (as a troopship just after WWII), so that is as good a reason as any for choosing QMII as our subject.

The Wikipedia encyclopedia entry for QMII (link here – Also a good read on its own) states that she carries 2,620 passengers and 1,253 officers and crew. For the purposes of our discussion, let’s assume a 100% occupancy for this new liner. Other older liners might not be at 100%, but I’d bet that QMII will be close to full.

How Many Passengers Disembark & How Many Remain Onboard?

Maybe some of our readers can assist here. On this particular seven day cruise, Bridgetown is the first stop after two days of “Cruising the Atlantic Ocean” out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As someone who knows nothing about cruise ships and the tourist industry, I’d speculate that a higher percentage of passengers would be coming ashore than if the stop was near the end of the voyage.

Is that assumption correct? (Let’s hear from some of our tourism industry readers.)

And that brings us to the next question – what is the usual percentage of cruiseship passengers who disembark at Barbados? Does anyone in tourism or the government collect these figures – and what process is used to collect the information? Do you guess, or is the ship required to file some information? If not, how can we even begin to estimate the value of a cruiseship docking?

Next question – What is the average revenue spent in Barbados by each disembarking passenger? Some will go on tours (On December 5th, the Queen Mary II is offering a group tour to a sugar plantation – and probably a few other organized tours as well), while others will wander Bridgetown on their own.

Any input on the average revenues, folks? How does the government or tourism industry calculate this?

How Much Does Queen Mary II Pay For Docking & Supplies?

What costs does the QMII pay to enter harbour, stay and then leave? My guess is that QMII would provision herself in Fort Lauderdale, as it just doesn’t make economic sense that she would take on supplies in Bridgetown. So other than port charges, I’d guess that there is probably little revenue associated with docking. (Am I correct, folks?)

Government Subsidies & Incentives

Does the Government of Barbados grant any subsidies or rebates to Cunard? I’ve heard that in other jurisdictions, sometimes docking fees are set on a sliding scale where after a certain number of visits in a year, a rebate is given. (Any input, tourism people?)

What Is The Bottom Line Profit Associated With Queen Mary II’s Visit?

The infrastructure and businesses set up to service disembarking cruise ship passengers provides direct employment to – I’d guess – thousands of Bajans. This employment has a real value even if it is difficult to put a number to it.

At the end of the day, hosting cruise ships is a national business. Are we really making money at it… or is it some type of “Loss Leader” – necessary, but not profitable in and of itself?

Let’s hear your thoughts…

Photo credit: Queen Mary II on her maiden voyage visit to Bridgetown, January 22, 2004. Photo by Theodore W. Scull (website with many beautiful photos link here)

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Saturday Night Amusement…

For some reason, we were all amused by this… LINK HERE, then hit the “play” button.

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We Could Use Less Of This In Barbados…

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ZR Attack: Does Anyone Know The Races Of The Attackers And The Victims?

On Friday, October 20, 2006, two non-national first year female students from the University of the West Indies were sexually and physically assaulted by three females onboard ZR Van #44 in full view of the driver and conductor. According to newspaper accounts, the 19 and 20 year-old students were laughed at by the driver and conductor and forced from the bus.

Barbados Free Press has received emails from four different readers all asking the same question and advising us to make enquiries. The question is… “Does anyone know the races of the attackers and the victims?”

Let us know what you’ve heard, folks.

Here are some excerpts from the Barbados Advocate detailing the original assault and the boycott of ZR Vans being organized by UWI students…

ZR Boycott Results From Sexual Assault

A boycott of ZR vans and the plan to create an alternate mode of transport for University of the West Indies (UWI) students has resulted from the recent sexual assault of two first year female students, travelling onboard ZR 44 last Friday, October 20, at the hands of a group of three unidentified young women.

The two students…are 20 and 19 years of age and are now enjoying their first semester at the UWI Cave Hill Campus…

…According to the young women, they… boarded the bus… Sitting in the second to last row, the two young women noted that what started as inappropriate hair stroking from the passengers, three young women in their early 20s, became more physical, with attempts by the perpetrators to put their hands down the young women’s pants.

The 19-year-old student complained of having her breasts fondled while she was protesting and at this point decided to attempt to leave the bus. Both students at this time were fully confronted by the young women, who violently grabbed the young women, lashing one in the head. During this skirmish, the bus driver, who along with his conductor, had been laughing at the entire situation, allegedly told the two young students, “If you don’t want to get beat, get off the… bus.”

Both students have been traumatised by this event, which they noted is highly difficult for them to understand. “Where we come from we do not have to deal with such violent and forward women.” Both young women are undergoing counselling at this time.

…read the full article (link here).

Photo by Shona: Speeding ZR

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We Could Use More Of This In Barbados…

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Yes, They Are Twins!

What can I say? I’m a sucker for cute little ones like these two from a mixed black/white (Jamaican/German) marriage. There was an old song – can’t remember the title or the tune… something about take all the people and put ’em into a big pot, churn it for a couple of hundreds years “and turn out coffee-coloured people by the score”.

Maybe that will be the answer for world racial harmony… “coffee-coloured people by the score”

(Don’t worry folks, I’m not going John Lennon on ya!)

Here’s the original story on these two mixed-race Australian cuties…

A BLACK mother with a white husband has given birth to twin girls of different colours in a million-to-one medical miracle.

In what is believed to be an Australian first, mum Natasha Knight, 35, of Jamaican-English heritage, and father Michael Singerl, 34, of German heritage, conceived the girls, one black and one white, naturally.

The couple also has a five-year-old daughter Taylah, who is blue-eyed with blonde hair and a light olive complexion…

… read the entire story (link here).

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Cricket World Cup Under Threat From “Those Whose Name Cannot Be Said Aloud”

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UPDATED: Threats Of Violence Against BFP Over This Post

“BFP, the pompus attitude you have and your blatant ignorance (even to Christianity) is sad. I really can’t wait til one of you gets killed over this site.”

… anonymous comment on this article from Amsterdam, NL.

“… insult to Islam and the Prophet. Say lies here you will be died…”

… anonymous email to BFP with a Belgium IP source.

BFP Replies

Thanks for your input gentlemen. We understand that you might be upset by any discussion of religion or culture that involves self-examination or critical analysis in classic or western liberal academic tradition. We also understand that even within your own religion, many believe that violence is the proper discussion strategy to settle matters of theological differences.

And… thanks for proving our point.

Cheers!

Original Article…

New York Times, Reuters & US Homeland Security Secretary Refuse To Say The Words “Muslim Terrorists”

As we stated in a previous Barbados Free Press article…

A Refusal To Name The Enemy – Empowers Only The Enemy

It is this refusal to identify the enemy – this pretense – that is most disturbing. Until we start to use the words Jihad, Islamic and Muslim to accurately describe the Jihadists as they describe themselves, and unless we attribute their violence to religious motivation as they describe their own motivations, then Islam will never feel pressure to reform itself as a religion.

… from BFP article Barbados Under Muslim Jihadist Terrorist Threat

In medieval Europe, and even to this day in some cultures, people refuse to say aloud the name of the devil or satan for fear of attracting or offending him. They talk of “the old one” or “that sly fellow” or generalize even more and say “something bad”.

They say anything to avoid having to mention the specific name of the feared entity.

Shhhhh! Careful!!!!

THEY, THEM, THOSE might hear you!

U.S. Urges Tight Security for Cricket World Cup

Reuters – October 26, 2006 6:26pm E.T.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Reuters) – The United States called for tight security and safeguards against terrorism on Thursday, as nine Caribbean nations prepared to host next year’s world cricket championship in the West Indies.

The request came from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who spoke after talks with regional security officials about possible extremist threats during the 55-day Cricket World Cup.

There is an “international ideology that uses terrorist means to promote its aims,” Chertoff told reporters. “There is no reason to believe any part of the world is off limits, that includes this area as well.”

Chertoff said that although cricket was not a sport in which the United States participates, large groups of U.S. spectators were likely to visit the Caribbean during the international championship that begins next March.

He said Washington would provide support for the cricket host countries, especially in the area of advance information about transatlantic air passengers.

Britain and Interpol have also been involved in security plans for the event.

The countries hosting the tournament are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

Some 16 teams from around the world including Australia, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will take part in the games that will end with a final in Barbados in April.

from the New York Times (link here – free account needed)

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Filed under Barbados, Cricket, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Politics & Corruption, Religion

Cricket World Cup 2007 in Barbados – Alarm Bells Going Off At Cost vs Income Balance Sheet

Government Borrowing Hundreds Of Millions For CWC Projects – How Much Income Will This Expenditure Produce?

Trying to add up Barbados Government expenditures and borrowing associated with Cricket World Cup is quite a challenge. With no freedom of information legislation mandating the public’s right to access specific government expenditure records or business agreements, Barbados citizens and even the Opposition party are forced to analyze and guess based on the little snippets of information that the government allows to become public.

CWC Expenditures Are A Moving Target…

What spending is truly linked with CWC and what is not? The government’s official “cost estimates” move with the wind.

Which suppliers have agreements to do work now but not invoice until the next year so as to conceal the true cost of CWC?

Do we include the new flyovers? We were originally told that the flyovers were vital to traffic flow during Cricket World Cup, but when it became evident that the project would not be ready and costs skyrocketed, all talk of the flyovers being associated with CWC was dropped like a slippery fish.

You can bet on one thing though… one great truth: Whatever the government says is the cost of the Cricket World Cup, they have done their best to juggle the books to keep the number as low as possible.

The government may have deferred payments, borrowed money against predicted revenues for future years or transferred monies already marked for other projects. They may have side deals where suppliers supposedly work for less on CWC projects, but are then allowed to invoice more for non-CWC work. They may have suppliers working on CWC projects and invoicing for other work so there is no record of a CWC expenditure at all!

So many ways to hide, cheat, duck and dodge – and the government and their accountants know them all!

How Much Income Will All These CWC Expenditures Produce?

Adrian Loveridge digs out his calculator, sharpens his pencil and decides that the balance sheet for Cricket World Cup is decidedly a little short on the “Income Generated” side. Here is Adrian’s look at just how little income will be produced by the massive expenditures of public funds in the Barbados Cricket World Cup Spending Orgy…

Cricket World Cup – Barbados Tourist Income Estimate

by Adrian Loveridge

Since the revelation by Minister Noel Lynch was made last Monday that only a maximum of 8,000 fans would be accommodated in our land based accommodation providers for the finals of the ICC 2007 World Cup Cricket, someone has to question the economics.

Based on the following criteria and previous published data the average visitor stay is 6.8 nights.

The highest average spend (across all markets) is US$146 per day.

Therefore is you look at the period where Barbados hosts games from the super eights (11 April until 22 April) and then include the final (28 April) and include two days post and the days before the final (23-27 April) to allow for guests arriving early, there are a total number of 20 days.

8,000 fans x 6.8 nights (total 23,529 pax) each spending US$146 per day equals total revenue of just US$23,359,591

Are ‘we’ really spending all this money to drive just an additional US$23.36 million in revenue?

The overwhelming number of fans will now be accommodated in up to 14 cruise ships. They will probably walk to Kensington Oval and return to the ship at nights for meals.

As the cruise ship passengers will be at cricket all day it limits their spending ability.

But even if you allow for the normal cruise ship passengers average spend of US$65 per day and say the all 12,000 people will be berthed for every one of the twenty days, that still only a total contribution of US$15.6 million.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Cricket, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

BFP Fan Mail – Containing The Word “Bull****”

Time to open our mailbag and see what tricks and treats we’ve received at our Yahoo.com email address (barbadosfreepress (AT) yahoo.com). An average of twenty or so emails arrive daily at Barbados Free Press and they are a mixed-bag of tips, fan letters and hate mail. The proportion of tips to fan letters to hate mail varies with our recent articles. Hate mail spikes when we really strike home with an article.

Under normal circumstances, we cannot directly answer your emails as they have been relentless in their efforts to discover just who we are. For months, they have been sending us emails dangling information and inviting a response. (Sorry to disappoint!)

But even if we don’t respond to your email directly, you can be sure that we read every one – whether offering information, encouragement or hate. And we really appreciate those tips, folks!

Last time, we looked at a sampling of hate mail, so to balance the budget (Ha, didn’t think that could be done in Barbados, did you!) today we’ll take a peek at some fan mail.

Just for laughs, here is a sampling of some fan mail from the last few weeks – grouped together because each contains the word “bull****”…

From Australia…

Hi

I just wanted to say that i think your website is amazing.
I grew up in Barbados, but now live in Australia. While I miss the beauty that is the tiny island, I don’t miss the bull**** that you seek to highlight through your writing and reporting.

It is people like yourselves that make the world a better place. Long live Democracy and Truth.

Peace be with you forever.
Chris Rollitt

(Thanks, Chris!)

From “GentleGiant” in Newfoundland, Canada…

“You are great. Keep it up you must be driving the establishment crazy… Where were you eight years ago when I tried to open a business in Barbados? I love the country and the wife and I travel there every winter but the bull**** involved in immigrating was too much…”

(Thanks for the encouragement, GG. Sorry you couldn’t immigrate to start your business here. Try re-applying as a labourer from Jamaica. They just might give you your papers!)

From Ruth Denning, Church Lane, Eccles On Sea UK…

“…You are the first website I visit every day. I was born in Barbados… your stories cut through all the bull**** printed by those cowards at the island newspapers…”

(Thanks Ruth.

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Luxury Auto Dealership Opens At Barbados Courts!

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Barbados Courts Now THE PLACE For Luxury Auto Shopping – No Duty Payable On These Babies, Folks!

Yes, we have them all down here at Court House Auto Sales.

You want a 5 or 7 Series BMW? No Problem!

S Series Mercedes? Done!

All Vehicles Equipped With The “Paid For With Public Tax Dollars” Option

Most of these low-mileage luxury models come with special Green License Plates and a government-issued driver. Duty and taxes on these babies are all looked after (a wink is as good as a nod to a blind man, ya know!) so when they are depreciated in their current service, you can sell ’em to your kids or your “special lady friends” without too much trouble.

Traffic tickets? Parking offense charges? Ya gotta be kiddin me!

It be all looked after, doan ya know!

SO GET YOURSELF ELECTED OR APPOINTED TO SOME CUSHY GOVERNMENT JOB AND COME ON DOWN FOR A TEST DRIVE!

Easy financing. Low payments.

For all the details on the web, head over to our friends at Zhaust.com (link here)

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