Daily Archives: December 14, 2006

Further Proofs: Male Circumcision Cuts AIDS Risk By 50%

Way back in April, Barbados Free Press wrote that an African conference on AIDS reported that male circumcision substantially cuts the risk of HIV transmission. Now, the New York Times is reporting that clinical trials in Africa have shown a 50% reduction and more in the transmission rates of circumcised men vs. non-circumcised.

Isn’t it about time that health and educational authorities on Barbados incorporated this into their anti-AIDS campaigns?

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Filed under Barbados

Cricket World Cup – Barbados Kensington Oval Delayed, January Contests Switched To Other Venues

Barbados organizing committee chief executive Stephen Alleyne said: “Kensington is still a construction site, and there is still some work to be done.

“We cannot have any matches being played there in the lead-up to the cricket World Cup, and definitely not in January.”

… Excerpt from BBC Sport Cricket (link here

When the Olympics were on in Greece, I recall seeing painters administering the final coats to venues even as spectators were arriving, so this last minute frenzy is all the norm in big events productions.

It usually works out and I expect it will work out in Barbados. Once in a while though, you get a disaster like happened in Canada where (I think) the place still isn’t finished two decades later.

(Maybe our friend Hants can tell us that story in the comments section?) 

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cricket, Traveling and Tourism

Stabroek News: St. Lucia Election Results Reflect Citizen Anger Over Corruption, Crime & Economic Woes

Barbados Polster Peter Wickham Got It Wrong

We have been saying for almost a year now (wow!) that government corruption and waste are major issues in day-to-day conversations on Barbados.

The government and Mr. Wickham’s poll just don’t get it yet… but they will!

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As the previous St. Lucia government discovered to it’s horror – them chickens all gotta come home someday…

From Stabroek News…

Polls Got It Wrong In St. Lucia

The defeat of the St. Lucia Labour Party in elections on Monday did not come as a major shock to me although I expected the incumbent to pull off a narrow victory – not the 14-3 win that the polls predicted.

The governing party should have known that it had lost ground among voters because that is what I found when I was last on the island a year ago. If pollsters told them otherwise, then the party was misled – not that it could have done anything to save itself from defeat because voters wanted change.

I did not conduct a survey for last Monday’s elections but when I was in St. Lucia last year, voters told me they wanted change and were complaining about rising crime and corruption and a decline in revenues from the banana industry which was falling apart. I was surprised when I read that the polls forecast landslide victories because that was not the reality on the ground when I moved around the island and queried voters. Something went wrong with the normally reliable opinion polls of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) of Peter Wickham and of Jamaican pollster Bill Johnson (from Carl Stone’s Poll).

… continue reading this article at the Stabroek News (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

Piggy Reference In Post Strikes A Nerve: Pierhead Project Investors Inc.

All we asked was “Who Has Shares In Barbados ‘Pierhead Project Investors Inc.’ ?” and the hits went wild.

Out of the millions of posts and comments written yesterday on over half a million WordPress.com blogs – our post “Who Has Shares In Barbados ‘Pierhead Project Investors Inc.’ ?” stands at the #66th most viewed post! (WordPress.com Top Posts stats here)

And we can see where those hits are coming from.

Somebody out there a little worried? Did a few people in government jobs develop a little bit of perspiration on that upper lip as they read the post? Why should such a nothing little post cause sooooooo much excitement in Bridgetown?

Don’t worry folks – everything gonna be just fine! Isn’t that the way things have always been on this island?

Oink Oink!

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

When Sir Allan Fields Is In New York On Private Business, Should He Have An Embassy Car And Driver?

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At What Point Does Diplomatic Convention Become Abuse?

During a recent business trip to New York City, Sir Allan Fields was picked up at the airport by an embassy car and driver that took Sir Allan and his business companion to their hotel. After late lunch, the embassy car and driver was used again to transport the two Barbadian businessmen to a private business meeting at a lawyer’s office only 3 blocks from their hotel. The driver was told to wait, and then in the early evening transported Sir Allan and two business associates to a private club for dinner – again being told to wait.

Later that night – around 10:30pm – the embassy driver finished his assigned duties after delivering Sir Allan and his business companion back to their hotel.

According to BFP’s source, this was the first of two such days of embassy car/driver use by Sir Allan on this particular business trip – where Sir Allen never attended at any government facility and was (again according to our source) in New York City for business meetings having to do with his position on the boards of various companies.

“Standard Practice” At Our Embassies

Our source states that Sir Allen is routinely assigned an embassy car and driver just about anywhere in the world he travels where Barbados has any sort of diplomatic mission – even if he is traveling for reasons of private business.

We understand that it is rather common practice to assign an embassy car and driver to “dozens and dozens” of “A List” Barbadians who are traveling for private purposes – including many government members who travel for private reasons (like shopping trips to Miami & New York City).

BFP’s source tells us that a recent internal study showed that when embassy autos and drivers are assigned in New York City, they are being legitimately used for “official” purposes less than 10 percent of the time.

No Accountability, No Transparency – Causes Abuse Of Embassy Cars & Staff

While this article is focusing upon Sir Allan Fields’ use of government resources for private business purposes, it should be clearly understood that Sir Allan is by no means the only person involved. Nor should it be inferred that Sir Allan has personally “demanded” an embassy car and driver for private business. The system has been set up so that Sir Allan and persons like him can “request” a car and staff driver and it is simply done.

HOWEVER… it is Sir Allan that we have specific information on, so we shall focus upon his use of government resources for private purposes…

We Demand That Sir Allan Fields Account For His Private Use Of Embassy Cars and Drivers, And Repay The Costs To Barbados

In any responsible democracy, citizens are able to file requests to see specific public expense records under “Freedom of Information” legislation. Barbados has no such legislation (What a surprise!) but if it did, the Barbados Free Press would request the following…

To Accounting Department, Government of Barbados,

Dear Sir,

Please provide the following public records under Freedom Of Information rules:

1/ Costs for the past five years for embassy drivers and autos, listed by mission, in real dollars and also as a percentage of each embassy’s operating budget.

2/ Names of all persons who have used the embassy autos and drivers for the last five years – listed on a per trip basis with dates and the stated reasons for each use. (Hey… to our diplomatic staffers in New York City… the information is kept in the “drivers’ book” with the blue cover. You know where it is!)

3/ For the last five years: Records of use by Sir Allan Fields, for embassy drivers and autos – listed on a per trip basis with dates and the stated reasons for each use.

Sir Allan Sets An Example For All – But Which Example Will He Set?

Regular readers of the Barbados Free Press know that while we are opposed to opulent spending of tax dollars by elected or career public servants, we do not begrudge them the tools to do their jobs nor do we find fault with them flying business class on government duty. Traveling for work is no pleasure, and as exciting as it sounds to the uninitiated, a two week business trip abroad is demanding and can be exhausting.

So – we don’t have a problem with legitimate and reasonable use of diplomatic cars and drivers for government business. But that’s only 10 percent of the current use!

Sir Allan Fields and others have been using government resources for private business – specifically diplomatic vehicles and drivers.

That’s wrong – but only morally wrong because Barbados has no laws against such pilfering of the tax dollars that you and I pay.

Sir Allan should account in detail for his misuse of government resources and tax dollars, repay the monies, and cease using embassy drivers and cars for private purposes.

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption