Monthly Archives: November 2006

Tap Water Contamination in Vancouver Canada – 2 Million People At Risk

Just a few hours after we posted Of Low Water Pressure, Sucking Taps And Herbicide In Barbados, Vancouver Canada declared an emergency due to contamination of the city’s drinking water supply. Two million people are now at risk and have to boil their drinking water.

The circumstances of Vancouver’s contamination appear to be different from that discussed in our article, but the overall message is the same: a clean water supply is serious business that deserves serious attention and adequate funding from government.

Let’s hope the goats are now being kept away from the water reservoirs on Barbados.

Previous BFP Article: HEAT Newspaper Exposes Barbados Water Authority E. Coli Danger

News Report On Vancouver Tap Water Contamination

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Politics & Corruption

Of Low Water Pressure, Sucking Taps and Herbicide In Barbados

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Barbados Free Press reader “P” Asks A Question And Tells A Story…

Have you ever been at home and turned the tap on to hear a sucking sound and no water coming? And have you ever come home to find that the water was off during the day and all of the hot water in the solar heater has drained back out through the water meter and you have to have a cold shower? Does anyone live uphill of you?

Now just suppose that your neighbour had a lot of bush around him that he was planning to get rid of and on the day when the water went off, he had just started mixing up a 50 gallon drum of Gramoxone* and had left the hose running in the drum to fill. You can bet that when he comes back to the drum, he’s going to be wondering what happened. He left that drum a quarter full half a hour ago and when its supposed to be full, it’s now empty!

Now where did all that Gramoxone go?

* Gramoxone is a non-specific herbicide. The manufacturer claims that it breaks down rapidly in soil and does not impact the water table. So they say.

There is no information on the website about the effects of showering, drinking or cooking with Gramoxone. (link here)

Backflow In Residential Water Systems A Concern

Low water pressure is just one of the causes of “backflow” – a condition where water pipes “suck in” contaminated water and other fluids into the water supply system.

There are many of us on the island who have experienced backflow or “sucking taps” during a water shortage and never thought too much about it. In some areas, it is almost a weekly happening.

The problem is that backflow can be dangerous. Our water distribution system is, to be kind, “in need of some investment”. Some Barbados watermains are over one hundred years old.

How many of our Barbados readers have experienced this problem?

Follow are some links about water system backflow…

Top Ten Backflow News Stories Of 2005

Wikipedia – Backflow Prevention

Watts Backflow Prevention (Technology Company)

Backflow Waterline Attack Feared (New Republic)

No Backflow – Informative Website

Drinking Water and Backflow Prevention Magazine

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

Barbados Government: Total Silence On Graeme Hall National Park Proposal

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A Barbados Free Press Reader Comments…

A month has passed since the October 14 public meeting to consider the merits of a Graeme Hall National Park. Well attended and positively supported as it was, it is disappointing that there should be no official reaction from the Authorities Responsible.

Not from the Ministry of Planning and Development; nor the “owners” of most of the land concerned, BADMC; not from the Mininstry of Agriculture who would need to relocate; not from Kerins and cronies, promoters of the rival Caribbean Splash who for all we know have decamped in disgust; not even from Dr Duguid who attended the National Park meeting and seemed to be a supporter.

There has only been a stony silence like a pebble was thrown into the nature sanctuary’s lake to sink into oblivion after a few ripples.

Is this the way such a noble and creative initiative is treated? Is there nobody even to say “Nice proposal- we are studying it” or “We’re afraid it’s out of the question because…”

What a crying shame that an inspired concept of a National Park for Barbados should apparently be treated with silent disdain by the Government.

Is the only way to get official reaction these days to barricade streets or march with protest placards?

Maybe the Friends of Graeme Hall Committee have something to tell us to keep our hopes alive?

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

Cricket World Cup Director Dehring Publicly Criticizes Barbados Hospitality Providers, Citizens – Just 115 Days Before Tournament Start!

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“(Barbados) Hospitality Providers Need To Show More Professionalism”

Cricket World Cup 2007 CEO & Director Chris Dehring may have only wanted to exhort Caribbean restauranteurs, taxi drivers and hotel staff to give their best for the tourists and cricket fans heading to the region – but in doing so, he succeeded in broadcasting a highly negative message about Barbados and the Caribbean to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, when the Cricket World Cup Director speaks, the international media listens – and then instantly proclaims his message around the world in just about every language.

Also unfortunately, Dehring chose Bridgetown, Barbados to complain to the international media that – well, Caribbean hospitality providers just don’t get it.

Thanks For The International Vote Of Confidence, Mr. Dehring!

Barbados taxi drivers like Shona’s little brother really aren’t up to snuff, according to Mr. Dehring’s personal observations. Taxi drivers, restauranteurs, hotel workers and other hospitality providers don’t appreciate the tournament’s significance for the region. They need to be “more professional”, he says.

Further, according to Dehring, the “people of the Caribbean” aren’t as excited and involved in the CWC as they should be. He didn’t say if this is because we mere mortals are too stupid to pay attention, or if his organization has perhaps failed to communicate with and inspire “the people”.

Of course… it couldn’t possibly be that we are worried sick about the orgy of government spending that has accompanined the Cricket World Cup. Mr. Dehring probably wouldn’t even consider that our lack of sufficient enthusiasm by his standards might have anything to do with the fact that we can’t see any convincing proof that seven weeks of cricket will provide any lasting and quantifiable benefits… and we know that Bajan citizens will be paying for it for a decade if not longer.

“We are now just 115 days away from the start of the first portion of the cricket World Cup, and if I have any concerns it is that the people of the Caribbean are not as involved as I would like to see,” (Dehring) told The Associated Press. (link here)

Increasing Taxes, Duties, Food Costs Are Hitting Us Hard

Mr. Dehring – I’d love to be more involved with your little party, but as I write this post it is 4:15 AM and I’ve just come home after working all day and all night since 11 AM yesterday. After a few hours of sleep, I’ll be up again to help get my wife and son out the door – then I’ll grab another couple of hours of sleep before I have to go off to work again.

We are all peddling as fast as we can, but with the increasing cost of food and taxes it seems that we can never come ahead. You’ll be watching cricket from your private box, but we’ll be sitting in front of the tely… if we can make time. And I speak for more than just my little family, Mr. Dehring.

You’ll have to forgive us ordinary folk for not meeting your standards.

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

China Snubs Canada’s Prime Minister Because He Talked About Human Rights Abuses

Barbados Free Press reader “missing home” who works in a mine in Canada’s arctic (burrrrrrr!) alerted us to the following article.

It seems that the Chinese have snubbed Canada over the Canadian Prime Minister’s concerns and comments about China’s human rights abuses.

Hey…. Prime Minister Harper should get with the programme – keep his mouth shut, and he too could receive Chinese gifts of equipment, books, training. The Canadians could have it all if they would just act like good little puppy dogs and wag their tails when the Chinese massas come around.

Just like Barbados.

Excerpts from the Globe Newspaper…

China Snubs Harper

OTTAWA — China has delivered a diplomatic snub to the Canadian government by rejecting a meeting between its president and Prime Minister Stephen Harper as relations between the two countries continue to sour.

Mr. Harper and Chinese President Hu Jintao had tried to set up a meeting just before the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference that opens in Hanoi this week.

It would have been the first major get-together between the two men, although they spoke briefly last summer at a meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries…

… Mr. Hampson said he was particularly surprised that the Chinese backed out, given it was they who had requested the tête-à-tête.

… China’s decision comes amid a cooling in the bilateral relationship as Canada takes an increasingly harder line on China’s human rights record.

…Over the past few months, the Harper government has delivered a number of controversial messages to the Chinese, among them a decision by the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, to meet with the Dalai Lama, and a delay in talks over a strategic partnership to which the two countries have agreed. Canada has also complained of Chinese espionage and delayed a meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and the Chinese ambassador.

… read the entire Globe Newspaper article (link here)

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Filed under Barbados

Shell News Is Big News At Barbados Advocate Newspaper!

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Photo: Shell Rep Praying That Barbados Media Will Ask No “Difficult” Questions – He Need Not Have Worried

Shell has introduced a new formulation of gasoline to Barbados!

This is BIG NEWS!

It must be… because the Barbados Advocate published a major story on the announcement – complete with the above photo of the Shell representative from “Sol”.

The title of the Barbados Advocate piece is “Sol Bringing A Solution To Barbados Fuel Woes”

And what is “the solution” to all our fuel woes? Why, it is new improved Shell Gasoline, of course!

No Questions About Shell Fuel Spills Were Asked At Press Conference

Take a look at the article in the Barbados Advocate (link here) and then flip through the paper for the next few week or two and see if you see any Shell gasoline ads.

Then try to recall the last time you saw a quality in-depth piece at either The Barbados Advocate, The Nation News or on the tely about the ten year battle to get Shell to clean up the mess their leaking pipeline made along the south coast. (See all of BFP’s Shell articles link here)

After you have looked at the Barbados Advocate article about Shell bringing a “solution to Barbados fuel woes”… think about all the issues on this island, and ask yourself if the citizens of Barbados are being properly served by their news media.

In Other Shell News

A Barbados Free Press reader from Ireland writes…

“I would like to express my support for those in Barbados who are seeking redress from Shell Oil with regard to the pollution of your beautiful homeland, and the subsequent loss of earnings suffered by your farmers. Currently on my own Island of Ireland, Shell are attempting to build an onshore gas operation despite the objections of the local population. Friday morning 10.11.06, peaceful protestors were subjected to horrific police brutality for trying to protect their homes.

Kevin”

Links

Shell Refinery Protest – Security Uses Batons To Beat Citizens

Shell Protest in Cork, Ireland

Hanging Execution of Shell-Protester Ken Saro-Wiwa In Nigeria

You also might want to look into this…

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KEN SARO WIWA AND 8 OGONI PEOPLE EXECUTED: BLOOD ON SHELL’S HANDS

London–10 November 1995–The blood of Ken Saro-Wiwa will permanently stain the name of Shell, Greenpeace said today in response to the news that Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni were, according to widespread rumours, hanged this morning in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged today for speaking out against the environmental damage to the Niger Delta caused by Shell Oil through its 37 years of drilling in the region. Ken Saro Wiwa was campaigning for what Greenpeace considers the most basic of human rights: the right for clean air, land and water. His only crime was his success in bringing his cause to international attention,” said Thilo Bode, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

…read the entire article (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

Barbados Soup Nazis – “No Soup For You!”

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No Soup For You!

I couldn’t help it. I was looking online for a photo to illustrate Senator Eastmond’s reference to “soup kitchen politics” in our post…

BLP To St. Philip Parish: We Have Purchased Your Votes And Don’t You Forget It!

…when I came across this photo of the “Soup Nazi” from the American TV show “Seinfeld”. It must be ten years since I saw that show in New York City, but I still chuckle when I think of the “Soup Nazi” episode.

Keeping the Soup Nazi company are Barbados Government Ministers Lynette Eastmond and Anthony Wood – two leading proponents of “Soup Kitchen Politics”.

Click on the photo for the Wikipedia reference for “The Soup Nazi

Marcus

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BLP To St. Philip Parish: We Have Purchased Your Votes And Don’t You Forget It!

Government Minister Anthony Wood Lets Guard Down – Openly Shows That Government Spending In St Philip Was Intended To Unseat Opposition MPs

The BLP says that after all the “millions and millions” of tax dollars they “unleashed” throughout St. Philip Parish in the last few years, they “deserve” to represent all three parish seats, instead of just one.

The other side of that coin is the implied threat… “If St. Philip residents don’t vote BLP, government will keep on taxing but “unleash” little. Make your choice wisely, folks.”

Government Minister Refers To Tax Dollars As “Unleashed” By BLP

During a public meeting last Sunday, Government Minister and MP for for St. Philip South, Anthony Wood, listed the nitty-gritty of how much tax money the BLP government has “unleashed” in the last seven years throughout the parish and how much they were continuing to spend. Minister Wood also declared that because the spending was throughout the parish, not just in his seat, residents of St. Philip North and St. Philip West should elect BLP candidates and not return their two incumbent DLP Members – MPs David Estwick and Michael Lashley.

Candidate Lynette Eastmond Declares She And BLP Love “Soup Kitchen Politics”

At the same Sunday meeting, BLP Candidate for St. Philip West, Senator Lynette Eastmond, also reminded residents that Prime Minister Owen Arthur would make sure that St. Philip West is not neglected. While she didn’t add “if you are all good little girls and boys”, she did her part to make sure the theme of the evening was delivered loud and clear.

Eastmond also laughed and criticised Opposition MP David Estwick for declaring that he would not engage in “soup kitchen politics” – the trading of government spending for votes.

Tax Dollars Spent Strategically For Votes – Not For The Greatest Need

Obviously, Senator Eastmond, Minister Wood and the BLP government have no problem openly acknowledging what is obvious to everyone… The high level of government spending in St. Philip Parish has been part of a strategy of targeting DLP seats for the next election.

While the government was installing 700 streetlights in the parish, other constituents suffered for 12 long years with pit toilets, no running water and no streetlights in areas already represented by BLP members.

Yes… the BLP Government spent tax money strategically for votes in St. Philip rather than where the need was greatest.*

* See our previous article Barbados Government Triumph! Plastic Water Drums Are Blue, With Faucet!

Story Links

Our sources for this article were two Nation News stories published about the same BLP Sunday night meeting. Read them and let us know what you think, folks…

Eastmond: St Philip West Won’t Be Left Out

Wood Wants All Three

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Barbados News Media “Part Of The Problem”

The Barbados King of Letters To The Editor, Carson Cadogan, delivers a full broadside to the Barbados media in his latest letter to Caribbean Net News.

Well done, Carson…

To Caribbean Net News (link here)

Dear Sir:

Your reporter here in Barbados, Dawne Bennett, was quick to report “Barbados least corrupt country in the region”. That might be easy for her to report.

However any good journalist should do some digging before running with a story as she obviously did.

The Barbados government and its supporters no doubt feel good about this report, but it is my considered view that we have nothing to shout about. The country of Barbados is governed by some of the most draconian libel laws in the universe.

People at all levels of the society are afraid to speak out publicly about bad practices and corruption in Barbados. Everyone is petrified of being dragged before the law courts and being heavily fined or imprisoned for making statements, even if they are true, about individuals, government ministers, civil servants, private sector officials.

As a result, incidences of corruption are constantly being swept under the carpet because people who know about them are too afraid to speak out publicly. Practices for which people would go to jail in other countries nothing is ever done about them in Barbados. Bad practices will be discussed privately but no further than that.

As a result of more liberal libel laws in other Caribbean Islands the press highlights corruption routinely, not so in Barbados. They are silent in Barbados. The impression is then conveyed to the gullible that all is well. Hence headlines such as “Barbados least corrupt country in the region”. That is laughable!

Another point worthy of note is the fact that at all the media houses in Barbados here are riddled from top to bottom including directors with members of the ruling Barbados Labour Party which forms the current Government. That alone speaks for itself!

The Government owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation is tantamount to the public relations department of the Government and the Barbados Labour Party. Your reporter needed to point out these facts.

When the Barbados Labour Party was recently in opposition they campaigned, among other things, on a ticket that when they came to power that they would relax the libel laws. They also promised to privatise the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation because they felt that it was too much in the hip pocket the ruling Government.

They felt at the time that the libel laws were being used unfairly against them. That they was a lot of cover-up which they could not expose because of the draconian libel laws which exist here in Barbados. Of course they were in opposition then.

When in opposition you say one thing, when in government you do the exact opposite. They have now been in Government for about twelve years and they done nothing to ease the libel laws as a matter of fact they have used them with telling effect against all and sundry. That is just another reason why I have little respect for politicians!

The so-called press in Barbados should have been hammering the Government to make them keep their promise with regards to relaxing the libel laws but they too have become a part of the problem and not a part of the solution.

Please ask your reporter before writing these flowery pieces do a bit of digging and present stories with balance instead of public relations pieces for the current Government.

Carson CO. Cadogan
Eagle Hall
Barbados

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Wind Farm Question: What About Low Frequency Noise?

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Everything in life is a trade-off in one way or another, and with any new development in technology it seems that there is always some negative side-effect that surfaces – sometimes years later.

Remember DDT? Great stuff for killing all sorts of pests. When it first came along, they even used to dust children’s hair with DDT to combat lice – just as a preventative measure! A few years later though, and people were horrified at how carelessly it had been used.

Unintended Side Effects Happen Everywhere

I was doing a little searching on the net to research the newly announced Barbados windpower initiative, when I discovered an article about illnesses and disorientation caused by living too close to the low-frequency sounds of large wind turbines.

From my old days of attending concerts where music was played at outrageous volumes, I know that certain levels of bass sounds can make a person sick to their stomach or even make them fall down. Apparently, some of these windfarms have the same effect.

Lets hope that the folks who build this much needed power source in Barbados take all this into consideration when choosing their locations and technologies.

Excerpts from the Toronto Globe newspaper…

Wind farm drove us from our home, family says

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia man who abandoned his home, claiming noise from a nearby wind farm made his family sick, says a study by an audio expert proves his case, even though a new federal report concludes the exact opposite.

Daniel d’Entremont and his family left their home in the southwestern Nova Scotia community of Lower West Pubnico last February.

Mr. D’Entremont says the 17 wind turbines that tower over the community — the closest just 400 metres away — were sending low-frequency vibrations into the house.

This inaudible noise, he claims, deprived his family of sleep, gave his children and wife headaches and made it impossible for them to concentrate.

“We’ve only returned three nights, and whenever we return we feel this sensation in our body,” said Mr. d’Entremont, who now lives in nearby Abrams River with his wife and four of their children. Two other children live on their own.

But a study released this month by the federal Natural Resources Department, which oversees funding for wind farm projects, found no problems with low-frequency noise, also known as infrasound.

There is no consensus about whether low-frequency vibrations from spinning wind turbines can affect the health of nearby residents.

Some experts deny the link outright while others urge further research…

Gordon Whitehead, a retired audiologist with 20 years’ experience at Dalhousie University, conducted tests at d’Entremont’s home.

Mr. Whitehead said he actually recorded similar levels of low-frequency sounds in and around the home as listed in the federal report.

The difference, he said, is in his interpretation.

“They’re viewing it from the standpoint of an engineer; I’m viewing it from the standpoint of an audiologist who works with ears,” said Mr. Whitehead, who wrote the report on his own time and paid his own expenses.

“The report should read that [the sound] is well below the auditory threshold for perception. In other words, it’s quiet enough that people would not be able to hear it. But that doesn’t mean that people would not be able to perceive it.”

While it’s still not clear what, if anything, related to the wind farm was making the d’Entremonts sick, Mr. Whitehead says low-frequency noise can affect the balance system of the ear, leading to a range of symptoms including nausea, dizziness and vision problems.

“It’s not perceptible to the ear, but it is perceptible,” he said. “It’s perceptible to people with very sensitive balance mechanisms and that’s generally people who get very easily seasick.”

… Read the full article at the Toronto Globe Newspaper (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

Not Quite An Election Promise – Water Standpipes For Belle

Surprise, Surprise! Wouldn’t Be An Election On The Way, Would There?

After 12 years of hauling water and using pit toilets under a BLP government, Belle residents have been promised communal water standpipes – just like some parts of Barbados first had over one hundred years ago.

OH NO – WAIT A MINUTE – WE GOT THAT WRONG…

Government Minister of Social Transformation Trevor Prescod didn’t promise water standpipes to the residents of The Belle – he said that he has “urged” the government to put in three to six communal water standpipes.

Meanwhile, on the cusp of an election, the government has decided that maybe all those Barbados citizens out there who have lacked water and flush toilets for the last 12 years might not be inclined to vote for another four years of squatting over holes in the ground.

What to do? What to do?

The answer was delivered a short time ago with the announcement that the government “promises” to spend $120 million to provide Belle residents with piped fresh water and sewage treatment.

Will the residents of Belle take another bad post-dated cheque from the same scoundrels who have given them so many in the past?

Stay tuned, folks. This coming election is going to be full of surprises!

Prescod: Put temporary standpipes in The Belle

ADMITTING IT MIGHT sound like a step back in time, Minister of Social Transformation Trevor Prescod has urged Government to put a few standpipes in The Belle,
St Michael.

The measure, he said, would be a temporary one to help the many people without running water in their homes until Government launches a multi-million-dollar relief programme, he told the DAILY NATION last Saturday.

Prescod said that until the programme was launched, residents of The Belle would continue to face problems accessing drinking water and ran the risk of having water contaminated after long storage periods.

Adding three to six communal standpipes in hard-hit areas like Licorish Village, near the Barbados Landship’s office, Odessa McClean Drive and near the Belmont Primary School, would not increase the risk of contamination of the national water aquifers beneath the ground in The Belle area, he argued.

The minister spoke against the backdrop of plans by Government to invest $120 million in two projects to tackle water problems for thousands of residents in The Belle…

…Continue reading the article at The Nation News (link here).

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Prime Minister’s Brother To Protest 1 Vote Nomination Loss

Newcomer Peter Phillips Wins By One Vote Over Richard Arthur

By some accounts, the little brother of Prime Minister Owen Arthur was supposed to be a shoe-in for the Barbados Labour Party nomination in St. Lucy – but he lost by one vote to a political neophyte.

We can’t blame business owner and BLP candidate Richard Arthur or anyone for asking for a recount over one vote, especially considering that one of the ballots apparently had a voter’s name written on the back.

This Is A Healthy Sign For The BLP

No matter who now wins the St. Lucy BLP nomination after the recount, the fact that the PM’s brother didn’t walk right in can only be seen as healthy for the BLP.

Some may see this as a sign that the PM’s influence is on the wane, but we don’t. We simply see the democratic process in play, with half the electorate rejecting another Arthur family member – probably because he is the Prime Minister’s brother. Not even considering that Richard Arthur was thoroughly trounced (3 to 2) last election by the DLP incumbent Denis Kellman.

Even the most steady BLP supporters also recognize that the consolidation of power in one family base or other group is seldom healthy for a democracy.

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But About Those Family Ties…

In a transparent and accountable democratic system, both Richard Arthur and his brother, Prime Minister Owen Arthur, would have to declare any conflicts of interest and account for their assets and income streams.

There would also be checks and balances associated with say, the awarding of government contracts without tender to family members.

The one question that is on our minds is this… Has Richard Arthur’s business ever been awarded a contract without tender by a government agency or a government-funded entity?

It is a valid question and an important one that the public should have the legal right to ask – and that elected officials and candidates should have a legal obligation to answer.

As for the two brothers, Richard and Arthur – they aren’t talking.

Story Links

The Nation News – Protest As One Vote Gives Banker BLP Nod For St. Lucy

Election 2003 Candidate Profiles – Richard Arthur

photo: Richard Arthur from above website link.

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Support Windies Cricket – Buy Swiss, Or Maybe British…Possibly Chinese.

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BFP reader “Mr. Barbados” tells us that he wants to purchase some Windies sportswear, but finds that his money will be going to Britain, or maybe Switzerland, for clothing probably made in China or thereabouts.

In 2000, a quasi-British company, Admiral, became the Official Kit Supplier to the West Indies Cricket Board. According to Admiral’s website, the company is a huge supplier of soccer and cricket kit around the world – but the big business of licensing and royalty is done through a Swiss company.

I guess that is just the way of the world these days – but like Mr. Barbados, we find it too bad that our cricket teams cannot or will not find suppliers in the region…. especially since the teams are heavilly dependent upon public monies. Using regional suppliers for kit would be a way of giving something back.

Story Links

Admiral Sportswear

Windies Cricket

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Breaking News: Canadian Government Targets Barbados Offshore Banking

Minority Government Introduces Motion To Tax Offshore Profits

The “War On Terror” has put pressure on Barbados and other offshore financial centres to be more open with foreign governments in the exchange of information respecting offshore monies. The USA, Canada, Britain and other large trading partners have demanded that Barbados surrender some of the secrecy and privacy that has characterized offshore banking.

The fallout from this information exchange is that foreign governments such as Canada and the United States are now in a position to threaten the very existence of our offshore financial sector. After all, why should a resident of Canada or the United States do major financial business in Barbados except for privacy and tax avoidance (whether legal or not legal in their own country).

Make no mistake – this latest Canadian move is a direct threat to the profitability of Barbados as an international financial centre. This will not be the last assault upon our financial sector either.

Perhaps the government of Barbados has some plans to counter the move by the Canadian government – or perhaps not… but when foreign governments come looking for the financial records of ordinary citizens, Barbados had better think twice before giving them up.

Every time the Barbados government or banks allow foreign governments to access our information, it weakens a very important pillar of our island economy.

From the Montreal Gazzette…

Conservatives Target Offshore Tax Havens

OTTAWA – The Conservative government, having just shut down one costly tax avoidance scheme, income trusts, now has another in its sights, offshore tax havens.

”There’s some significant tax avoidance there,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said, after revealing to the Commons finance committee that the government is reviewing the use of offshore tax havens to avoid paying tax.

Using offshore tax havens to avoid tax, just as corporations were using income trusts to do so, is not illegal but is costly to the government, he said.

Last year, Statistics Canada revealed Canadian direct investment in offshore financial centres, including ”tax havens,” had soared eight-fold since 1990 to $88 billion in 2003.

”Canadian enterprises invested substantial and growing amounts in countries known as ‘Offshore Financial Centres’, many of them in the Caribbean,” it said. ”These centres include countries that are often referred to as ‘tax havens’, as well as those which have important financial sectors, such as Switzerland, but also Ireland,” it said.

The largest increases went into Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Ireland, the five countries being among the 11 nations with the most Canadian assets.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser has charged that multinational companies operating in Canada have avoided ”hundreds of millions” of dollars in taxes over the past decade through the use of tax havens, while one university study put the tax savings to Canadian banks alone at $10 billion over that period.

Flaherty later introduced a motion in the Commons to amend the Income Tax Act to prevent ”non-resident trusts and foreign investment entities” from using offshore tax havens to avoid tax.

”The motion will amend existing income tax rules to help ensure that income earned by Canadians through foreign jurisdictions, including tax havens, is subject to tax as if it had been earned in Canada,” he said in introducing the motion.

… read the rest of the Monteal Gazette article (link here).

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

China Leads In Reporters and Bloggers Jailed – Barbados Deputy PM Mia Mottley Says “Way To Go!”

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Reuters: China Jails 32 Reporters, 50 Bloggers

BEIJING, Nov 9 (Reuters) –

China is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with at least 32 in custody, and another 50 Internet campaigners also in prison, according to Reporters Without Borders. Chinese journalists who report crime and corruption in the newly competitive media environment face increasing incidents of violence, according to the group.

In February, it said a Chinese newspaper editor had died from injuries months after traffic police beat him for an expose about exorbitant electric bicycle licence fees.

… read the entire Reuters article (link here).

As we read about China jailing reporters and bloggers, we couldn’t help but think about Barbados Deputy Prime Minister “Mama Mia” Mottley, who has called for limits to citizens’ free speech.

Just so we don’t forget Mia’s thoughts and agenda, here’s a few of our past articles on the subject…

Mottley, Castro, Chavez All Agree – Citizen Free-Speech Must Be Stopped

Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Says Internet Blogs “Marginalize…Parliament…”

Attempted Libel Chill – Barbados Free Press Will Not Be Intimidated

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Jewish History In Barbados – Fabulous Article Online

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Jerusalem Post Article About Barbados

I really didn’t know much about the history of Jews in Barbados, but I do now. Once again, thanks to a search engine alert – this time MSN – I stumbled across a fascinating article about the Nidhei Israel Synagogue that is also a history of Bajan Jews.

Things I never knew about Jews in Barbados…

– The first Jews were Portuguese who arrived in 1627 fleeing from Brazil. They built the first synagogue in 1654.

– By 1845, only 70 Jews remained on the island as most had left for the United States.

– In 1925, the last Jew left Barbados and it seemed that that was going to be the end of Jewish history on the island.

– In 1931, Moses Altman arrived from Poland – fleeing the coming storm, and he became the first of the “new Jews” on Barbados.

There is lots more Barbados history in the Jerusalem Post article… Jewish Island Spirit.

Photo: Restored Nidhei Israel Synagogue

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Bajan In The UK – Still Teaching At 72 Years Old

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Henderson Clarke Still Teaching At 72

Better than retirement. More enjoyable than being on the beach. That’s how Henderson Clarke describes his job. And he should know, because as a 72-year-old West Indian man, brought up in Barbados, he could opt for retirement and life by the sea. Tomorrow.

Instead, he prefers a senior management position in a large London comprehensive. Mr Clarke is head of ethnic minority achievement at the Cardinal Wiseman Roman Catholic school in Ealing where he is very much the big daddy: the father of the school, the wise elder statesman…

… read the full online article (link here)

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Cricket World Cup 2007 – Where Will Visitors Sleep If They Have Not Made Reservations?

Thousands Slept In The Streets For Football World Cup Germany

A few excellent questions were raised by the Executive Director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ruall Harris, as he spoke to a forum last Wednesday…

“What if say, only 500 people were to turn up in Barbados without pre-arranged accommodation? Would they sleep for example on the beaches? What about public toilet facilities? I am told that this would not be allowed to happen, but I ask, what if?” he stated.

… read the full article at the Barbados Advocate (link here)

There is lots of time left before CWC, and it is good to see that people are thinking about worst-case scenarios and planning for the unexpected.

Fortunately, Barbados will probably not experience the situation that happened with the Football World Cup in Germany when just about half the young people in Europe decided at the last moment to hitchhike to the final game.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism