Daily Archives: November 26, 2006

Chairman of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Says Stop “Airing Dirty Linen In Public”

From The Nation News…CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Horace Cobham, is knocking the practice of “airing everything negative about the hospital in as public a forum as possible”. Speaking at the hospital’s 42nd anniversary celebrations, he said such practices “added no value to the development of the hospital”.

If there are any areas of concern, we will be the ones who will let the public know about them . . . . We are keen to hear how you feel and what you feel should be done,” he said…

… read the rest at The Nation News (link here)

We’ve Got News For Q.E.H’s Chairman: Everybody Knows Already

Mr. Cobham’s plea for the hospital staff and public to just mind their own business doesn’t fly anymore. The “going public” by the staff is because they haven’t been able to change things without drawing public attention to the disaster that is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Simply put – staff and citizens have lost trust and faith in the hospital administration and the government.

Last month, we discovered that the premier hospital of Barbados had no working autoclaves to sterilize surgical instruments. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners described the situtation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital as A Disaster That Is Unfolding“.

A while ago, there was that major television news piece that went around the world (See Toronto TV News – Barbados Hospital ‘Squalid, Crumbling, Urine On Floor’).

This Is About A Government That Won’t Fund Hospitals, Sewers Or Water Distribution

While the Chairman at the QEH is doing the best he can with what he has, it is useless to talk about “priorities in spending” when the place has been starved to death by government neglect. It is useless to talk about the hospital administration being the ones to let the public know “if there are any areas of concern” when they have been quiet little government lap dogs for years.

No Functioning Autoclaves. Got that?

Even the hospital in Kigali, Rwanda has an autoclave.

Wonder what “The Father Of First World Barbados” has to say about that?


Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

March 25, 2007 – Two Hundredth Anniversary Of Britain’s Abolition Of The Slave Trade Act


When Murder Wasn’t A Crime – Only An Insurance Claim For Lost Cargo

Later this week, Prime Minister Tony Blair will deliver a historical expression of regret for the British state’s involvement in slavery. He will condemn Britain’s role in the slave trade as a “crime against humanity” and express “deep sorrow” that it ever happened.

Why is Blair making the statement now? The timing may, or may not, have something to do with reminding the world that while Britain was an integral part of the slave trade at the time, the British people became world leaders in the abolishment of slavery.

The timing of Blair’s statement might be no accident as it closely precedes an important anniversary in the fight to abolish slavery in the British Empire.

On March 25, 1807, Britain passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act – which prohibited British subjects from transporting slaves. This was just one of the victories leading up to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, but it was an important victory that had taken anti-slavery advocates years to push through Parliament.

The Horror Of The Slave Vessel “Zong”

Today’s Guardian features an article about the murder of slaves on the sailing vessel “Zong” – one of the horrifying cases that helped to turn the British public against the institution of slavery. Slave Olaudah Equiano was on the Zong, and his 1789 autobiography is generally acknowledged to have fueled the anti-slavery movement. The truth and horrors of Equiano’s revelations allowed good people like William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Henry Brougham, Mary Lloyd and others to win over the British public.

Whether you have heard about Olaudah Equiano and the Zong or not, you must read this article…

Slavery: The Long Road To Our Historic ‘Sorrow”

Britain is poised to come to terms with its role in the brutal trade in human lives. Here leading historian Tristram Hunt considers why, 200 years after abolition, we are finally acknowledging our wrongs…

Captain Luke Collingwood’s voyage was not going well. Poor navigation and strong headwinds meant his ship, the Zong, was taking months, not weeks, to sail from Africa to Jamaica. More worryingly, his cargo was beginning to rot. For shackled beneath the deck, pressed back to face, festering in each others’ excrement, blood and sweat, some 440 slaves lay slowly dying.

Seeing his profits slip away as the deaths mounted, Collingwood resorted to an insurance scam. With each African covered at £30 apiece (over £2,000 at today’s prices), he decided to jettison parts of the cargo to ‘save’ the rest. The Zong’s maritime insurance would cover the cost of each lost slave. Citing a lack of drinking water, the captain had 133 slaves thrown overboard. Some went to their death with arms still shackled; others jumped into the ocean themselves…

… continue reading this article (link here)

Photo by Shona “Bussa”

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Religion

Who Funds The Environmental Foundation Of Jamaica?

Through a friend, we heard about some of the good work being done by the Environmental Foundation Of Jamaica. The group has a reputation for doing rather than talking. The current project list as shown on their website is a little behind, but here it is…

Current Projects – Environmental Foundation Of Jamaica

The programme includes projects under the following themes:
– Watershed Management
– Urban Parks & GreenSpaces
– Child Development
– Biodiversity
– Waste Management

Projects currently being worked on are:

Dunn’s River Upper Watershed Project

The Dunn’s River is located in St. Ann, Jamaica. The falls which cascade into the Caribbean Sea are world famous as a tourist attraction The falls are fed by three rivers which start in areas in the upper watershed above the falls.

In order to secure water quality and sustain the streamflows, management of the watershed is critical.

The project will also address the following tasks:

1. Water Resource Monitoring of surface and ground water quality, streamflow volumes and groundwater levels.
2. Reforestation of 230 hectares of trees in the watershed.
3. Baseline Environmental Assessment
4. Sustainable Watershed Management and Development Plan
5. Solid Waste Management
6. Public Education in surrounding communities and Schools
7. Training

Who Funds This Good Work? … The USA

The United States of America entered into an agreement with the Government of Jamaica in which Jamaican debts to America are forgiven, and the payments that are otherwise due to America are re-invested into Jamaica for the good of Jamaican citizens.

“The Foundation promotes, supports and implements activities designed to conserve the natural resources and the environment of Jamaica and fosters the well-being of our children.

To this end the Foundation will give the highest priority to those activities from which benefits are sustainable and/or replicable.”

…From the foundation’s website (link here).

Will The United States Assist Barbados In The Same Manner?

As we noted in a previous article United States Eats Crow Responding To China In The Caribbean, the United States wants to kiss and make up with Barbados – so perhaps our government could make enquiries to see if the USA would be agreeable to an arrangement for watershed aid like it has with Jamaica.

Then again, it always takes some time for an old friend to forget they were slapped in the face.


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Developer Says “Goodbye Hotels – Hello Condos”


Managing Director of the Caribbean Tourism Investment Management Company predicts that condominiums will replace hotels in Barbados in the not too distant future.

Timothy Boyce says the trend is already taking place in other destinations across the globe.

He argues that research has found the return on investment from hotels is not as great as from condominiums.

Boyce dismissed the argument that hotels generate more employment than the condominium market.

… continue reading the rest at CBC News (link here).

Mr. Boyce and his clients obviously believe that whatever is good for their pocketbooks must be good for Barbados and Bajans – and, seeing as the present Government of Barbados hasn’t bothered with any overall development plan or public debate on development, the condos are coming.

On the eve of our 40th anniversary as an independent nation, don’t we owe it to ourselves and to our children to hold a public debate about where we want this country to be in the years ahead? Should we not have the right as citizens to be fully aware of how today’s decisions will impact the character of our country in the future?

Extensive high-rise condo development will change more than just the view. On such a small island, there must be social, economic and environmental impacts that will result from the fundamental re-structuring that Mr. Boyce is talking about.

So far, our government is approving condo developments on a piecemeal basis, with no overall plan – and with zero public dialogue about where this will take Barbados or if the citizens want this to happen.

What are the social, cultural, environmental and economic changes that will result from more extensive condo development? Bajans can only guess.

Mr. Boyce and his friends say that condos are a good investment.

We should all be asking, “Good for whom?”

* Story Links *

CTIM Inc. – Caribbean Tourism Investment Management Inc. (website here)


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

“Endless Death Threats” Against Barbados Author – We Believe It!


HISTORIAN PROFESSOR HILARY BECKLES has revealed for the first time that he wrote the first edition of his book: The History Of Barbados, “in the midst of endless death threats”.

The principal of the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus made this disclosure on Thursday night at the launch of the second edition of the book, which was originally published in 1990…

…”We were told we were manufacturing history; we were told we were racist,” stated Beckles, explaining how his position on Barbadian history was received at that time.

…In the late 1980s, he was embroiled in public controversy over what he termed the economic disenfranchisement of Barbados’ majority black population, fiercely criticising a number of local companies for excluding Blacks from their boardrooms.

… read the entire article at The Nation News (link here).

Actually, Professor Beckles’ book is titled “A History of Barbados – From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State” and to read it is to understand why there is always a racial undercurrent and class-consciousness about everything in contemporary Barbados.

To read it is also to understand that while we may be coming up on 40 years as a nation, it will take a lot longer than that to establish a political morality where duty to one’s fellow citizens is more important than the achievement and maintenance of political power at any cost.

Piggies At The Trough should read Professor Beckles’ book again some fifteen years after it was first published – if only to remind themselves of the noble intents that caused them to seek public office in the first place.



Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Island Life