Looking At The Barbados Company “Columbus Communications”
Some time ago, I read a piece that claimed that the world is all connected in ways that are not immediately evident, and that these unseen connections have great influence over the daily lives of people everywhere. If we could just see these hidden connections, the author argued, our understanding of how the world works would receive an enormous boost.
The author’s premise seemed to make sense, so now I watch for connections. And even if I don’t understand the implications for every connection I make, there’s always somebody out there who does.
Here’s a connection. Let’s see what Barbados Free Press readers can make of it…
– Halifax-based John Risley is a Canadian fish industry gazillionaire with a contrary position on the environmental impact of bottom trawling. Surprise, surprise – this industry giant who made his gazillions bottom trawling says that “there is no proof” that bottom trawling damages the ocean and even if it does, so what… we can’t do anything about it. (That’s a pretty accurate picture of his position – If Mr. Risley disagrees, we’d love to publish his response.)
– John Risley is a key investor in the Clearwater Seafood Income fund, as well as Fishery Products International – FPL Inc. in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
– John Risley is also heavily into Barbados-based Columbus Communications – Jamaican-born Canadian billionaire Michael Lee-Chin’s little baby that is stringing fiber-optic cable throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. According to a press release, Columbus Communications has a capital expenditure budget for 2007 of $US200 million. Hey… that’s some serious coin.
– Columbus Communications is a competitor to the communications giant Cable and Wireless.
– The Government of Barbados has given Cable and Wireless pretty well exclusive rights to pick the pockets of Bajans until (I think) 2011 or so. (PDF here) There are a couple of lawsuits a-brewing over this.
– Lee-Chin and Risley are no fools, and they think ahead – way ahead.
– 2011 – the year when Cable and Wireless’ exclusive contract ends – is rapidly approaching, and before that is the next Barbados national election.
– There are no controls or transparency over election funding in Barbados.
Bearing in mind all of the above, Barbados should be asking the following questions…
1/ How much of a “campaign donation” will the Barbados Labour Party “suggest” that Columbus Communications make prior to the next election?
2/ Will a telecommunications deal with Columbus Communications – under or over the table – involve our fisheries in any way?
3/ Shouldn’t all Barbadians have a right to know how much money their political parties receive, and from whom?