Daily Archives: October 9, 2006

What Happened To “BLP Blog Announces Live Online Chat With Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur” ???

A reader asks Barbados Free Press…

“What ever happened to that live online chat with the Prime Minister that was announced by the BLP Blog?”

Gosh, we don’t know what happened! Maybe we missed it? Maybe the PM has just been too busy in the past four months?

Maybe it has been scheduled for next week and the BLP just forgot to announce it!

Original Barbados Free Press article: BLP Blog Announces Live Online Chat With Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur


Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Media: Broad Street Journal Back After Month’s Hiatus

Roads To Nowhere, Billion-Dollar Kingsland Estates Battle, Over-Spending & Fast Food Fights

After a full month with no activity at all, The Broad Street Journal Online (link here) has published three new articles – and in typical BSJ style, they are well worth reading. Here’s the links, some excerpts and our comments…

Roads And Rumours Of Roads – Excerpts

At a time when the IMF staff team is urging fiscal restraint and cutbacks in capital spending by the Arthur administration, Glyne Clarke, the minister of road works and blinking lights, is announcing new highways to nowhere.

The two new highway initiatives were deemed newsworthy enough to receive the full treatment by the Nation, which splashed the story across its front page of last Thursday…

The first two sentences in the story told us that “Barbados could have another major highway by 2010, linking Christ Church, St. George and St. Thomas” and “Additionally, consideration could be given to extending the Ermie Bourne Highway across the East coast of the island all the way to Grantley Adams International Airport.”

After those stunning revelations, the story went downhill. Turns out that both of these wonderful ideas came from (surprise!) private contractors…

Much as I enjoy playing “Let’s Come up with Things to Spend Money on in Barbados”, a slight reality check might be in order here...

…The higher your existing debt, the more risky it becomes to lend you money, and so the higher your interest rate becomes for new borrowing or to refinance old debt. Hence, the government’s growing liking for BOLT (Build, Operate, Lease and Transfer) arrangements.

We are also apparently getting our horrible new flyovers this way. More and more, as government comes under pressure to find new money for projects with a national debt that is already dangerously high, it will look to go this route. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that two new highways weighing so heavily on Mr. Clarke’s mind would have been proposed by private contractors…

Finally, just a quick note about the actual idea of linking the road … it would all, or most, be built on lands owned by Kingsland Estates Ltd. Actually, it would be built through lands once earmarked for a huge golf course and residential development project which may still have permissions granted to it by the Sandiford administration.

It just so happens that the present majority shareholder in that company long ago saw the potential for opening up these lands for residential purposes. There are over 300 hundred acres of Kingsland between Highways 5 and 4, most of it Hanson Plantation. Now, if a highway, built at government’s ultimate expense, were to run through there…

… read the full article Roads and Rumours of Roads

Mission Critical View – Excerpts

…I, though, have been burning the midnight oil reading and re-reading as much of (the latest IMF Report) as I can follow…

The long and short of it is that the IMF thinks the present administration is on the wrong path.

…Here, in my simple-minded understanding, is the reason why the present administration is not seeing eye-to-eye with the IMF: The Fund thinks we are heading for a brick wall and we should slow down quickly and turn the wheel, otherwise we will either crash head-on into it…

One of the main problems is the public debt, which the IMF puts at 82 percent of GDP …

The IMF said government should raise the VAT rate and reduce exemptions to the tax, and increase the price charged by major public enterprises, including the water and bus rates, and oil prices should be fully passed on to consumers…

Further, the IMF said that after next year, when there will be a temporary boom due to the CWC tournament, more fiscal restraint would be needed, included winding down the sugar project (you know when government says a project is going to cost ‘x’ amount, it usually means multiplied by two or three)…

Now, the whole idea is to get the public debt back down to 60 percent of GDP. The IMF says Barbados needs to get this done by 2011, while the Arthur administration says it is aiming for 2015. (Paras 21, 22). Note the dynamic here: Getting the national debt “down” to 60 percent does not mean paying it down to that level. It means doing what is necessary to get the economy to expand so that the present debt, now 82 percent of the current GDP, would, in a larger economy, only be 60% of GDP…

So the question is, how much medicine can the patient take and return to health? The government thinks that the IMF’s prescription could be detrimental to the economy’s health (and, let’s get real, even more harmful to the present administration’s own survival), so it opts for the softer approach.

Question: Is this the Arthurian version of Sandi’s “You-never-had-it-so-good” approach? Are we indeed heading for that brick wall with little chance of veering off safely? …

Whichever course you think right, it is obvious that the government has a vested interest in the kinder, gentler approach, what with an election coming up. Will Hell freeze over right after the World Cup, with the government, no matter which party comprises it, having to take major corrective action?

… Read the full article Mission Critical View

The Wind Beneath Their (Chicken) Wings – Excerpts

Once again, with clockwork predictability, the debate has started over Barbados’ fast food franchise policy.

The sides are clearly drawn, as usual: In this corner, the defending champs, the main local fast food chain and a few others (sometimes one, two or three); in the other corner, Barbadian and visiting fast food consumers, which means almost everyone else.

Over the past thirty or forty years, the ref has unfortunately been in the defending champs’ corner, so no matter how good a fight is put up by the contender (the rest of us), we always lose when the final whistle is blown, which is usually after a couple of weeks of trading bloody blows (metaphorically speaking).

Why does the consumer always lose? Well, in times past, it has been because of the defending champs pleading and lobbying for virtual monopoly status, on the grounds that they would be completely annihilated in a real war for the fast food dollar with the big fellas like MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc…

… read the full article The Wind Beneath Their (Chicken) Wings

Our Take On The Broad Street Journal’s Return…

It’s great to see Patrick Hoyos back and refreshed after his vacation. Also… interesting connection between the highway proposal by Public Works Minister Gline “Still hiding behind my woman’s skirt” Clarke and the ongoing court battle over the billion – dollar Kingsland Estates lands.


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

Web Use Overtakes Newspapers and Magazines

Excerpts from the Financial Times (link here)…

The time European consumers spend online has, for the first time, overtaken the hours they devote to newspapers and magazines, a study revealed…

Print consumption has re-mained static at three hours a week in the past two years, as time spent online has doubled from two to four hours…

“The fact that internet consumption has passed print consumption is an important landmark for the establishment of the internet in Europe,” said Mark Mulligan, research director at Jupiter. “This shift in the balance of power will increasingly shape content distribution strategies, advertising spend allocation and communication strategies.”

By far most of the time Europeans spent online was devoted to e-mail and search activities. Entertainment content such as music and video still accounted for only 22 per cent of online activity.

The research found “a very clear new media/old media generational divide”, Mr Mulligan said. Under-25s now spend six hours a week online, half the time they spend watching television but three times the hours they devote to print… Their habits are going to change the face of the web as they become more mainstream,” Mr Mulligan said.

Our Take On This Story

Hey… no wonder the Nation Newspaper wants to take themselves public! They need the cash to tool up for the new media. No fools they…

Profits for stockholders? Just don’t ask – it’s going to be a while…

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados

Barbados Negotiating With Communist China For New Patrol Vessel: BFP Source


* Original Article – Must Quote Barbados Free Press *

HMBS Trident To Be Replaced – Chinese Likely Source

The Government of Barbados has been engaged in serious negotiations with Communist China for a replacement for the aging Barbados Coast Guard Patrol Vessel, HMBS Trident, a confidential source informs Barbados Free Press.

“The Trident’s engines are finished, especially the port which has shaft problems, but the vessel is generally EOL (end of life) all round” said BFP’s source over bottle of beer last week.

“Chinese chaps were out inspecting the vessel at least twice earlier in the year and they went for a cruise in May…”

Our source has no idea of what the Chinese are asking Barbados for in the way of concessions or payments as he/she is not privy to the political side of the issue.

Command Officers Asked For Names Of Core Crew

The source states that the Command Officers have been asked to submit a list of names for a “core training crew” that would presumeably become more closely involved with taking on a new patrol vessel – perhaps even undergoing training in China and then delivering the vessel to Barbados.

How urgent is the need for a replacement?

Says BFP’s source: “She (HMBS Trident) has been under RPM restrictions since last January. Given the normal lead time of several years, a new replacement will not appear overnight. There is a chance that the Chinese will offer to de-commission an existing (ie: used) coastal patrol vessel, which would be quite an acceptable proposal at this stage.”

BFP Photo by Shona: HMBS Trident Cranks Up After Time In Harbour


Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption