Monthly Archives: November 2006

Broad Street Journal In Decline?

On October 9th, we published Barbados Media: Broad Street Journal Back After Month’s Hiatus – celebrating three new articles by prolific Bajan economic and political pundit, Patrick Hoyos.

That was then.

It is now November 23, 2006, and Patrick hasn’t published a thing in the interim. We hope everything is alright with Patrick. You are missed, friend!

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking

President Of Barbados Hotel and Tourism Blames Cricket World Cup For Low Winter Bookings… Is He Correct?

Also: World Golf Cup Bookings “Not Doing As Well As Expected”

Hey… maybe all the tourists are going to arrive all at once for the Cricket World Cup. Better hope so…

With the winter tourist season just three weeks away, slow bookings are causing concern for hoteliers and other tourism officials.

President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Alvin Jemmott, is reporting that advanced bookings are down compared to the same period last year.

This is forcing some hoteliers to offer discount rates at Christmas to try and attract business.

Mr. Jemmott says the situation has developed because of misunderstandings surrounding ICC World Cup Cricket 2007.

The BHTA president says the month of March is the critical period and if they can get business up to expectations then the winter will be as good or even better than last winter.

As far as world cup cricket is concerned, Mr. Jemmott says it is creating peaks and valleys for the local tourist industry.

The BHTA is also reporting that the industry is not doing as well as expected for World Cup Golf…

… Read the entire story at the CBC (link here).

Wave a dead fish at BFP reader Hants for the tip. Thanks, Hants!

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Traveling and Tourism

A Possible Answer To Plastic Garbage On Bajan Beaches

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Biodegradable Plastics – Can We Legislate The Solution?

The tourists at the Hilton and Accra Hotels stroll out onto pristine beaches every morning – dragging kids, sunblock and the latest John Grisham novel onto the clean sand where they plunk themselves down for another day in paradise. The Brits and Canadians always politely start their drink requests with something like “May I trouble you for…” while the friendly Yanks mostly yell a version of “Hey there, little lady. Howse about one of them there pineapple rum drinks with the little umbrellas?”

According to our friend Clive, the Germans have a very different style.

But they all share the same misperception that our tourist beaches are somehow representative of beaches throughout the island. They don’t realize that the clean up crew has been out at 5am to make everything just so – which is just good business as we want those folks to return home with memories of beautiful Barbados.

A walk on a “real” Barbados beach can be a different experience, especially after a bit of wind. In a word: Plastic. Plastic from all over the world floats onto our beaches – bottles, lines, nets, flipflops, shopping bags, Barbie dolls without heads, food containers, footballs and just about anything else made of plastic can be found at the high-water mark.

And it is not just the beaches where the plastic garbage is a problem. Even miles out to sea, it sometimes seems that we are fishing in the middle of a floating garbage dump. Last May, one of our friends lost an engine when some floating plastic line got sucked into the water impeller. Before he realized it, the cooling intake became blocked and the engine cooked. (Never mind that he should have been looking once in a while at those funny little round dials that say “engine temp”!)

Landfills Full Of Plastic Garbage

Barbados and other Caribbean countries bury tonnes and tonnes of plastic garbage at landfills, but new biodegradable plastics could take off some of the pressure. Some jurisdictions have mandated the use of biodegradable plastics, and we say that it is about time Barbados did so as well.

On Tuesday evening, the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at the Hilton heard from a manufacturer of biodegradable plastics. The Barbados Advocate carried the story Biodegradable Plastics A Solution To Overflowing Landfills, and we also found an excellent article at Wired Magazine: Two Words: Biodegradable Plastic.

How About It, Environment Minister Thompson?

Do you have the leadership necessary for Barbados to mandate biodegradable plastics in appropriate applications?

BFP Photo by Shona – Accra Beach after a storm.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

American Living In Cambodia Makes Good Point About Corruption In USA And Barbados

We love what the internet has done for the international communication of ideas – not just information.

People from all over the world visit Barbados Free Press every day. Some stumble onto BFP through a chance hit on a search engine like Google or Yahoo, while others include us in their daily rounds for some unknown reason. (Hello US Air Force at Kadena Airbase, Japan! Maybe you’re a Bajan in the USAF? We don’t know why you visit us every few days, but we loved the air-to-air photos. Thanks.)

We have a standing Google search out there for “Barbados + Corruption” and last night it returned an article from Arie Goes To Cambodia – a blog by a New Yorker who moved to Cambodia of all places.

Arie talks about different kinds and levels of corruption and chides his home country – the USA – for being “barely above Barbados and Estonia” on the Transparency International Perception of Corruption scale. He also makes a good point that corruption is the natural enemy of foreign investment in developing countries.

Will The DLP Follow Through With Promised Anti-Corruption Legislation?

The article is a good read, and Arie has me wondering if the DLP will follow through with their promised Integrity and Conflict Of Interest Legislation. We know that Prime Minister Arthur has announced that the BLP doesn’t think anti-corruption legislation is necessary in Barbados because every BLP member and politician is honest. (Hey… that’s pretty well what he said, ya know! But did you really expect anything different?)

Here’s a small sample from Arie Goes To Cambodia blog…

… In the U.S., corruption just means the government wastes half a trillion dollars a year or so on unnecessary projects, taxes are higher, schools aren’t as good, crime is a little higher, and a lot of undeserving people get rich. Here in the developing world, corruption means people are starving to death, or dying because they can’t get medical care, or that innocent people are serving life sentences in prisons.

I guess it took a long time for us to realize how serious the problem of corruption is, and now maybe we can start to do something about it.

Incidentally, shout out to a certain party that recently won a major victory in an election where voters identified government corruption as one of their top concerns, and then immediately watered down their anti-corruption bill. Most parties would have waited until they were at least actually in control of the government before selling out their supporters, but not these guys. You know who you are. Well done.

Read the full article at Arie Goes To Cambodia.

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

Shona And The Ladies Have A Thing For Magnet Man…

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Sean-One and Magnet Man Together On “BARBADIAN”

Ok, Ok… We promised Shona that BFP would try to mention Magnet Man once a month. Shona and her lady friends seem to have a thing for the Bajan artist. (Maybe its a girl thing because Clive, Robert and I just don’t get the same, uh, “feeling” when watching Magnet Man perform. We like his music, but we be talkin’ “thing” here, me ken dooa?)

BFP mentioned MM in August and September, but missed in October – for which we all paid dearly.

Like I said, its a girl thing. So for our ladies, here’s the latest on Magnet Man. (Can we have our tools back now, girls?)

Sean-One Video “BARBADIAN” To Premier At HIP HOP STARS INDEPENDENCE SHOW – November 30th

Sean – One , already well known and respected as a ‘real’ Bajan Hip Hop artist from off ‘the block’ and one of Barbados hottest young rappers, is launching his first Music Video via the Magnetic Image Records Label.

The track called ‘BARBADIAN’ , which has already been described by Radio DJ’s as a ‘Real Big Tune” is a colaboration with Magnet Man, who also produced the track.

‘BARBADIAN’ the music video is aptly premiering in Barbados on the 40th Anniversary of Barbados Independence, Nov 30th, at the ‘HIP HOP STARS INDEPENDENCE SHOW at The Jam Rock Cafe, St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church.

The show will also feature performances from the very best of Bajan Hip Hop Stars including Billy Kincaid, The Poundas, Da Maniacs, plus RnB favourite Ronnie Morris and the very talented Kimberley Innis. The headliner will be international artist Magnet Man, the versatile ‘man of many genres’ who will perform his own new rap song “Bajan Bad Man” that will feature on his 2nd album due out early 2007.

Sean-One who hails from the Silver Hill area of Barbados, is due to tour internationaly again in 2007 after his very successful European debut earlier this year.

Thanks to Tropicalfete.com for the photo and copy. Check them out for all your favourite Caribbean entertainers and styles – Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Dance Hall, Zouk, Reggaeton and Konpa.

Tropical Fete also has a MySpace spot where it posts some good tunes as background music. (link here)

****** Apparently we forgot to mention Magnet Man’s website (again). Here you go, folks…

MagnetManOnline.com 

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life

Prime Minister Owen Arthur Declares He Will Send Barbados Citizens’ Tax Money To Less-Developed CARICOM Nations

UPDATED: Yup… Looks Like Bajan Tax Dollars Are In The Pot – Scroll To Bottom

Original Posting…

Read the PM’s entire address to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly as given last Monday, and you will never come across the phrase “Barbados will transfer some of its tax revenues to other lesser developed CARICOM nations”

Then, read it again.

Ain’t nothin be free, friends…

PRIME Minister Owen Arthur says Barbados will not take part in any integration effort that is “a permanent coalition of unequals”.

He gave the commitment yesterday while delivering the feature address at the formal opening of the 12th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at Sherbourne Conference Centre.

Arthur said the Caribbean admired the model of economic integration Europe had undertaken “and we also acknowledge that it has many positive elements which can serve as a very useful benchmark in our own regional integration exercise”.

He noted that the elements aimed at ensuring social cohesion within Europe and the perspective that had been followed there were especially attractive.

“Consequently, in the Caribbean, in seeking to structure our own economic model, we have recognised the need for social and economic cohesion within our regional integration movement,” Arthur said, “and have committed ourselves to paying further attention to addressing this special need.”

He said the most tangible expression of this was the recent creation of the Regional Development Fund (RDF) to enable lesser developed members to offset any disadvantage they might face on having to become part of a single Caribbean economic space….

Read the rest of the article at The Nation News (link here).

Updated: Bajan Tax Dollars To Be Distributed To Poorer CARICOM Nations Through Regional Development Fund

Some of our readers took issue with our headline – BLP supporter “Anonymous” said…

“I was shocked at how stupid the suggestion was and was worried what Owen was doing, but I realized I’ve been baited by the sensationalism that this gossip rag (Barbados Free Press)thrives upon.”

Un-Ominous said BFP was “…spinning out of control” with our headline.

Maybe “Anonymous” will be as shocked, and Un-Ominious will reconsider who is “spinning out of control” by this

Regional Development Fund to be set up
Web Posted – Fri Dec 16 2005
By Dorian Bryan

CARICOM leaders have agreed on the finances which will be necessary to make the Regional Development Fund a reality, prior to the formal launch of the CARICOM Single Market on January 1, 2006.

That announcement came after the First Special Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) which took place earlier this week as efforts heightens ahead of January 1, to ensure that all of the measures are put in place, ahead of that date. The meeting follows another a week earlier which stressed that the Single Market will be implemented by January 1, 2006. It was revealed that Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago will be Single Market ready by December 31 2005.

That decision was announced at the conclusion of the Eleventh Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government on the status of the CSME, which was held at the Sherbourne Conference Centre. The decision of the CARICOM Heads came after they received a report on the state of readiness of the region from Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Owen Arthur, the Lead Head of Government with responsibility for the CSME.

In the Report, Prime Minister Arthur spoke of the visits to member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to discuss issues and measures which relate to implementation of the special and differential treatment provisions under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and which also related to their ability to meet the December 2005 deadline for the
establishment of the Single Market. These visits were extended to Belize, Guyana and Suriname who face particular challenges. The visits were mandated by the Conference of Heads of Government at their last Regular Meeting in Saint Lucia in July.

The meeting was mandated to determine ways of secure the financing, structure and operation of the Development Fund a critical instrument to facilitate the successful implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Fund is provided for in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Significantly, the Ministers agreed that Governments will not fit the bill alone for the Fund. It was agreed that in addition to Member States contributions, the regional private sector, international financial institutions and foreign governments would be approached to contribute to the Development Fund. The Fund will be managed by the Caribbean Development Bank.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur, stated that the establishment of the Fund was critical moving forward in the process. “We leave this meeting with the regional development fund now, not just being an abstract concept in a treaty; but it will receive resources beginning on January 1 and there will be in excess of 10 million to start it off, and we hope that we can quickly
build it once we agree on the way in which it will be funded, who will benefit from it and the criteria by which money shall be disbursed,” he stated.

It was also stated that a technical team would continue to evaluate all options to ensure the fund would be affordable and sustainable. A report from the technical team, the Prime Minister stressed, had suggested that the fund should be 250 million, of which member countries would contribute 100 million and with another 150 million coming from international donors.

“That was not the only proposal. We have had a large number of proposals. We have even had one by Professor Havelock Brewster [a member of the technical team] that we are hearing for the first time that was worthy of consideration” the Prime Minister observed.


			

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Government Backing Away From Increasing Airport Exit Tax

Apparently, someone in government stopped smoking funny cigarettes on the weekend, sobered up and discovered what everyone else knows: a higher exit tax kills tourism.

Listen carefully, and you can hear the sound of backpeddling throughout government…

Barbados’ plans to increase the departure tax at the Grantley Adams International Airport from next month may be put on hold until next year.

The Ministry of Tourism is now considering this proposal from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

BHTA President, Alvin Jemmott, says his organisation has met with tourism minister, Noel Lynch and the Barbados Tourism Authority on the issue and is hoping for a deferral…

… Read the entire article at the CBC (link here).

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

Cricket World Cup 2007 in Barbados – Money Flows Like Water To Carnival Cruise Lines – And Also To… ?

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Barbados Charters The Carnival Destiny For 19 Days – US$15 Million

Our friend Adrian Loveridge runs a small hotel called Peach and Quiet on the south coast. Although I have no need of a hotel bed or meal, I have often seen his place from the water and it looks like a nicely maintained, private little resort.

Visit Adrian’s website (link here) and you can see how pretty Peach and Quiet is and how different an experience it is than staying at the huge hotels with tourist buses coming and going.

But Cricket World Cup is almost here, and the Barbados government has taken to renting cruise ships as floating hotels to handle the crowds. All very necessary and probably a wise decision, but I’d rather stay at places like Peach and Quiet, myself. (Good crabbing all along where Peach and Quiet is and good surfing just to the east of the place. Just don’t get caught taking sea eggs or you be in big trouble for sure!)

Adrian has sent out a few “Letters to the Editor” lately, and some have been printed here and at other online venues – but I haven’t seen too many picked up by the local newspapers. Adrian sometimes asks very uncomfortable questions – at least if you are a big government supporter.

Questions like… Who is making the money and who is getting employment from the US$15 million that the Government of Barbados is paying for the Carnival Destiny?

The borrowing of US$15 million by the Barbados Tourism Authority to charter the Carnival Destiny begs a number of important questions.

1) What duration or hire will the US$15 million cover?

Barbados is actually hosting only six super eight matches and the final which take place at during a possible period of the 10th to the 29th of April allowing for bad weather days.

So a maximum of 19 days!

With a maximum cabin capacity of 1,321 spread over the entire 19 days that equates to 25,099 occupied cabin nights.

A simple division of 25,099 into US$15 million means a nightly single cabin cost of US$597.

US$597 is actually more than Carnival normally charges for a full week cruise, so I cannot believe this would be a nightly charter cost.

One media report stated that the ship will also be used for matches held in Guyana. But they are hosting only six super eight matches over a possible 13 day period including the reserve days for possible bad weather.

2) The ICC World Cup Cricket event is, if I understand correctly, meant to benefit Barbados and the region.

Of the Carnival Destiny’s officers and crew, how many are Barbadian or Caribbean nationals?

3) What value is placed on goods and services procured in Barbados or the Caribbean for items consumed on Carnival Destiny over the charter period?

4) Exactly how much in terms of taxes and port charges will Carnival pay for using the services of Bridgetown port?

5) How is the Barbados Tourism Authority recouping the US$15 million loan plus interest and any arrangement fees?

Is it selling on the ship accommodation directly or going through one or more intermediaries?

6) Finally, The Barbados Tourism Authority must be absolutely and totally convinced that every available room across all land-based accommodation providers is now fully booked (and deposited) over the entire island before it uses taxpayers monies to possibly disadvantage committed locally based industry players.

Adrian Loveridge
21 November 2006

22 Comments

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

We’re Number 63! …. Out Of Half A Million Blogs Hosted At WordPress.com

A Good Way To Start The Day

Hey, the stats go up and down and all around so you can’t live by them day to day. Also, we don’t know if the stats are based upon straight visitors or if the number of comments or other factors are taken into account…

But we do know that yesterday, November 20, 2006, out of almost half a million worldwide blogs hosted at WordPress.com, The Barbados Free Press was #63.

Thanks, folks!

WordPress.com stats page (link here)

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Filed under Barbados

Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards – BLP Blog Posts Land Registry Document

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Government BLP Blog Posts Barbados Land Registry Document

The offical blog of the majority-government Barbados Labour Party has posted an apparently genuine Land Registry document to support its nomination of DLP Leader David Thompson for the Barbados “Piggies At The Trough Award”.

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.

A cash prize of One Thousand US Dollars is up for grabs, and will be won by the nominator of the winner of the 2006 Piggy. (For contest rules see the Barbados Free Press story – link here.)

BLP Blog Reveals 1994 DLP Property Transfer Tax Waivers To Trinidad Company

The April 13, 1994 letter from the Barbados Ministry of Finance to the Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited, states…

“I am to inform you that the Minister of Finance has approved a waiver of the Purchaser’s Property Transfer Tax payable in respect of the following transactions being made by subsidiaries of Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited…”

The letter then lists thirteen properties where the transfer taxes were being waived by the Minister of Finance – who was at the time DLP’s David Thompson.

You can see the original article at the BLP Blog here… Tompy Piggy At The Trough 13 Times 

BLP Blog Raises Some Excellent Questions – Questions That Demand An Answer From David Thompson!

Here is what the BLP Blog states in part…

Again just before the 1994 election when Thompson was Minister of Finance he aproved the waiver of the Property Transfer Tax on 13 large pieces of property costing millions of dollars so Clico could save all that money rather than pay it in legitimate taxes. All belonging to Clico and immediately after the election that he lost he then went right back to working for the same company. Where is the integrity in that and yet this?piggy has the audacity to call for integrity legislation when he obviously has no integrity at all.

Waiver of Purchaser’s Property tranfer Tax when Clico bought
1 Todd Estates
2 Wakefield Plantation
3 Hothersal Plantation
4 Clifton Hall Plantation
5, 6, 7 Three lots in Wakefield Plantation Yard
8 Pool Plantation
9 Durham House
10 Star Discount now “Club Extreme Complex”
11 Rendezvous Supermarket now “Trimart Rendezvous”
12 Penrith
13 Development Land

Millions of dollars in Property Transfer Tax waived by Thompy. Lost to the Treasury. If this was for some good reason why was it not waived for the vendors as well but then only the purchaser benefited. He knows why.

Barbados Free Press Comments

What possible reason could there have been for the then Barbados Minister of Finance, David Thompson, to grant these not-inconsequential tax concessions to a corporation just before an election?

This new revelation comes shortly after the BLP Blog posted about similar 1994 pre-election concessions granted to Sandy Lane Hotel and Golf Course. (See our previous story Barbados Labour Party Blog Nominates DLP Leader David Thompson For “Piggies At The Trough” Award)

While there may have been solid reasons for the government to grant concessions to a corporation (as governments sometimes do), the fact that such concessions were granted on the eve of an election gives the appearance of a potential conflict of interest.

Did this corporation contribute to any DLP campaigns? Did any of Thompson’s friends or relatives have any association with this corporation either before or since the 1994 election?

So many questions that demand an answer.

The Most Interesting Parts Of The BLP Blog’s Post…

1/ If Barbados had Integrity and Conflict of Interest Legislation in place – and a Freedom of Information Act – the general public would be able to make short work of determining whether or not these property tax waivers were improper – or just good business in the interest of Barbados.

2/ The BLP Blog appears to have access to Official Land Registry Records.

This is wonderful as it will assist the citizens of Barbados to determine the answers to so many questions about land transfers, and the ownership histories of various properties. As well, the BLP’s access to Official Land Registry Records will allow Barbados citizens to know all the other times when the government waived land transfer taxes in 1994… and to the present time.

Perhaps our Barbados Free Press readers can provide a list of properties where the BLP Blog’s access to Official Land Registry Records would be helpful?

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Filed under Barbados, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Memories of Cliff Cottage, Barbados

The Girl Can Write

Drop in and visit Eemanee at What Crazy Looks Like blog as she remembers her childhood and her grandmother and great-grandmother at Cliff Cottage.

Cliff Cottage is no longer the same. Time changes everything. Reality changes everything. i prefer the softened, filtered, deliberately chosen images of memory. Perhaps that is why i no longer take photos. Perhaps that is why i should. My aunt asked, “Where’s the camera?” i haven’t take a photo in years.

The view of Bath from the top of the hill, of the brilliant sunlit blue of the sea is still the most amazing glimpse of the island. While in other parts of the island the sea looks a pale, polluted green, the water here is a life-affirming baptismal blue!

…read the whole thing at What Crazy Looks Like. (link here)

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Gary Sobers’ Ball Sells For BBD$100,000

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There Was No Equal…

When Garry Sobers hit the last of his six sixes out of the St Helen’s ground, the ball bounced across the road and rolled down a gutter. A schoolboy retrieved it and handed the ball to the West Indian allrounder, who autographed it. On Tuesday it fetched £26,400 at a sport memorabilia auction held by Christie’s in London.

… continue reading this article at The Times Online (link here).

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Filed under Barbados, Cricket, Island Life

Pathetic Nation News States: “SUNDAY SUN investigations have revealed…”

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Barbados Free Press Is A Kitchen-Table Outfit – But The Nation News Is Not Supposed To Be…

Folks, here at Barbados Free Press we are just ordinary citizens trying to make a difference for all of us on this island. It is obvious to our readers (sometimes painfully obvious) that we have no experience or training in journalism. We have no schedule for posting, no history of political involvement to draw upon and our writing skills are often in need of a little more practice and a dictionary (to be kind).

Each of us sometimes comes home from a long day or night at our “real” job and then sits in front of a blank computer screen wondering what the heck we can write about because it is our turn and the others are counting on us to post something.

The Blog Forum Allows You To Keep Us Honest And Accurate

Once in a while, we drop a big “clanger” – but the blog forum allows our fans and detractors alike to immediately take us to task. We allow everyone’s comments to stand and this helps to keep the blog and our work as accurate and honest as possible – certainly much more honest than a traditional newspaper where a thousand people can recognize a lie but nobody is able to communicate that publicly.

We Worry About Being Found Out…

Sometimes I am frightened to death that certain people in government will beat our proxy system and discover who we are – because I know there would be real consequences for our businesses, our jobs and our families. Not everybody is happy when BFP reveals a secret meeting between a developer and the Prime Minister – or the details behind a $100 million dollar “no tender” government contract. Not everybody is happy when we post photos of a Government Minister living on expropriated land.

But for all our mistakes, fears and amateur status, it isn’t too much to say that so far, our efforts have started to change political and social discussion in Barbados.

Ordinary people are starting to talk openly about corruption, the lack of accountability in our system – and the misspending of tax dollars on showpiece “first world” stupidities while thousands of Bajan citizens still lack running water and still squat over pit toilets.

Consider The “Professional” Journalism Of The Nation News

The journalists and editors at the Nation News are full-time news professionals with the education, experience, contacts and resources that accompany any professional media organization.

Professional journalists are supposed to be one of the checks and balances that helps to defend rights and freedoms in a democracy. The media has the resources to investigate what ordinary citizens cannot – or what ordinary citizens fear to investigate.

The media is supposed to have a public trust – a duty – to investigate and reveal what ordinary citizens cannot. That is the real news media…

… And then there is that professional government advertising agency called The Nation News…

“SUNDAY SUN INVESTIGATIONS HAVE REVEALED…”

Wow! This must be HOT NEWS!

“Investigations have revealed…”

In our minds, we picture dedicated journalists hunting down wrongdoers – watching and skillfully interviewing involved persons and witnesses. Piecing the story together at 3am and finally arguing with the editor who fears to publish the truth. Shaming the editor into doing what is right and just…

And here it is folks…

Read the whole pathetic pre-election government press release at The Nation News…

Big Shopping Plans

by Sanka Price

IMAGINE PLANELOADS OF VINCENTIANS, Grenadians, Dominicans, even Trinidadians, flying into Barbados to shop for the latest in high quality clothing, jewellery and other consumer durables.

Given the notorious high cost of living here, this may seem unrealistic. But a plan is being conceived where this seemingly improbable idea can become a reality.

SUNDAY SUN investigations have revealed that concerted efforts are under way to make Barbados the shopping hub of the Eastern Caribbean.

... continue reading this totally pathetic pre-election government advertisement at The Nation News (link here).

Photo: Editorial meeting at The Nation News

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Politics & Corruption

I Can’t Possibly Be Out Of Money. I Still Have Cheques Left!

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I Can’t Possibly Be Out Of Money. I Still Have Cheques Left!

BFP reader “Akabozzik” provided the above caption to the photo of the Father of First World Barbados, Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

Robert and I laughed till the tears came.

Thanks Akabozzik (what kind of a name is that?)

Clive

See the original BFP article and photo here.

UPDATE: BFP Readers Provide Additional Captions To Prime Minister’s Photo

See the comments section of this article for some other photo captions provided by BFP readers. Perhaps you have an idea for a caption too?

43 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Airport Exit Tax Now Hits $60 Per Person!

 

More Evidence That Barbados Is Running Out Of Money

No matter how the politicians try to hide new taxes… by breaking them down into smaller “license fees” or by setting up government corporations to construct or manage infrastructure, and then letting the corporations charge “service fees” – its really all just taxes.

And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks – because the piggy bank is empty, but the government just keeps on spending!

Our friend Adrian Loveridge isn’t fooled though – and he again questions the wisdom of a government that tries to shake-down tourists who are the very life-blood of the Barbados economy. He also questions the apparent inequity and inconsistency of government subsidies that favour large corporations over smaller, independent tourism businesses.

Take it away, Adrian…

Of course a privatised company, Grantley Adams International Airport inc., could not collect taxes, that is a Government prerogative, so the name has to be changed to a ‘service fee’.

But I wonder again if the announced increase of 140% including the additional BDS$5 (US$2.50) security charge has been thought through?

To maintain visitor arrival numbers, the Barbadian taxpayer has over the last five years been forced to pay massive subsidies of up to US$300 in the United States and UK Pounds 150 in the United Kingdom for every person booking the Best of Barbados package.

Just in the fall period of 2006 alone the 15,000 stated Brits that were expected to book this package would have cost the taxpayer BDS$8.4 million (US$4.2 million).

Based on declared average stay and spend by the Barbados Statistical Service, each subsidised Best of Barbados arrival would have had to spend more than four times what the normal visitor does for Government to recoup these subsidies in taxes.

As the mass of visitor arrival numbers are largely driven by Tour Operators or Wholesalers, I wonder if the policymakers have really thought through this massive ‘service fee’ increase?

Will those thousands of holiday makers that have already booked (and paid) for their package happily accept the departure fee increase or will they expect the tour operators to absorb it?

Based on the viability and lack of profitability of tour operators in our largest market, the UK, these companies will be very reluctant to absorb yet further costs.

And to add insult to injury, we are told this more than doubling of a departure tax is necessary to help pay for the improvements to the airport.

Huge amounts have also been spent on Bridgetown Port. Only last week a big fanfare was made over the official opening of berth number five which cost a quoted BDS$12 million (US$6 million) alone.

Will the privatised port authority also be raising ‘service fees’ to users of that facility by 140 per cent?

This would certainly assist in repaying the vast additional investment in the port and possibility help cover the recently announced additional subsidies given to the world’s largest and most profitable cruise ship company, Carnival Corporation, to prop-up passengers arrival numbers.

Adrian Loveridge

Story Links

The Nation News: From $55 To $60!
Barbados Free Press: Barbados Tourism Killer – Airport Departure Tax To Double

Photo: Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados – via MicroSoft Flight Simulator. Soon, this will be the preferred method of visiting the airport. 🙂

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

Barbados Government Double-Talk: “International Loan To Prop Up Foreign Reserves Is Not To Prop Up Foreign Reserves.” …Huh?

Like an uncontrollable spend-thrift spouse, the Government of Barbados has been a shopaholic credit addict for years. And just like a spouse who cannot resist shop signs offering “No Money Down – No Payments Until Next Year!”, the Government is having to juggle the books more and more to conceal the truth from the rest of the family.

The Truth About The New “Foreign Reserves” Loan

The Government of Barbados is borrowing money to make payments on previous loans. That is the truth.

Oh… government says this latest US$65 million dollar international loan is to “strengthen foreign reserves”, but why are the foreign reserves so low? Where did the money go?

Think about that.

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Barbados Is A Family – But Father Is Out Of Control With Chequebook In Hand

Think about your family finances – because despite all the smoke, mirrors and gobblety-gook talk of the spend-thrifts in government, managing a country’s finances isn’t much different than managing your family’s money. Yes, everything is on a larger scale, and “Father” has the ability to sign a loan that commits all family members to make payments forever, and to pledge all family assets against the loan – but in the end, it is only the scale of things and the power of the head of the family to tax all family members that is different from your family’s finances.

Foreign reserves are like the normal reserve in the family’s working account – maintained so we don’t hit a zero balance and to show the world that we have enough cash in the kitty to be credit-worthy.

But our reserve balance has been pillaged to make payments on all those previous loans that Father took out, and the bank is calling to warn that cheques will start to bounce unless we put a little more into the account.

A New Loan To Make Payments On Previous Loans

So what does Father do now? He commits the family to yet another loan on top of all the previous loans. That buys some time, but to keep up with the ever-increasing payments, the family members will have to work harder (more taxes). Father keeps borrowing and family members will have to continue making loan payments long after he retires.

Sometimes Father borrows to pay only the interest on the loans – so the family is paying interest on the interest on the interest…

If Father’s irresponsible behaviour continues, it is possible that sometime in the future, family members will even have to contribute what little savings they have (devalue the currency).

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Mommy Helps To Deceive The Rest Of The Family

From The Nation News…

Griffith: Debt under control

GOVERNMENT is properly and effectively managing its debt situation.

That point was made clear yesterday by Minister of Agriculture Senator Erskine Griffith, during debate on a resolution to approve the borrowing of BDS$130 million on the international capital markets to strengthen Barbados’ foreign reserves.

Griffith told the Senate the loan was not to prop up the reserves since they were not in a state of collapse. He suggested that those who criticised Government for its borrowing regime, simply did not understand…

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

Photos

Father of First World Barbados, Prime Minister Owen Arthur

Mother of First World Barbados, Senate Leader Erskine Griffith

Photos courtesy of The Nation News. Fair trade for the link.

29 Comments

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

New US – Barbados Tax Treaty Excellent For Barbados

After rumblings last week that the Canadian government is targeting Barbados for some tough new tax laws, we now receive news that the United States has cut the witholding tax in half for dividends.

What do I know about international investing? Nothing… but the CBC says that this is good for Barbados. Congratulations to the government and our negotiators…

From the CBC…

Barbados has been made a more attractive jurisdiction for investment by companies doing business in the United States.

That is because the US Inland Revenue Service has now deemed the island a “satisfactory” jurisdiction, allowing local firms to benefit from a reduced withholding tax of 15 per cent on dividends. That is half of what it used to be.

Barbados’ lead tax treaty negotiator, Francoise Hendy, says the outcome is a direct result of the successful re-negotiation of a 1984 Barbados/ US double taxation treaty.

… read the full story (link here).

Previous BFP Story: Canadian Government Targets Barbados Offshore Banking

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking

Stunning News Coverage By The Nation News…

Will The Nation News be nominated for this year’s Pulitzer Prize? Speculation builds that a small newspaper from a developing island nation just might be in line for journalism’s most prestigious award…

Just Kidding.

Update

BFP reader “Wondering” commented..

“I am surprised that BFP would devote time to such utter rubbish,”

BFP Answers…

The point is not that the Barbados Free Press would devote time to such rubbish – the point is that the Nation News would devote time to such rubbish. Our post is a sarcastic comment upon the state of professional journalism by “Barbados’ Leading Newspaper” – as The Nation News declares on its banner.

Was our point a bit obtuse, or does Wondering need his coffee this morning?

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Filed under Barbados