Daily Archives: January 8, 2007

Barbados GEMS Hotel Scandal Still Costing Big Time Tax Dollars – Will It Never End?

I suppose in an ideal world controversial issues would simply die away and Governments would be left being able to herald all the good things that they had achieved during office.

Regrettably, at least for the current administration, it is just not going to happen with Hotel and Resorts Ltd or GEMS.

In a media report*, (Barbados Advocate, pg 12, Monday January 8th 2007), ‘the interest receivable on two loans made by Government now stands at $41.66 million with the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and Hotel and Resorts Limited making little movement’.

‘That is according to the report of the Accountant General for the financial year 2005 to 2006, which states that the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation holds $3.02 million of that amount while Hotel and Resorts Limited holds $38.64 million of the amount’.

This is despite the sale of two of its properties, Silver Rock and Eastry House.

Hopefully, as and when HRL accounts are made available to the public, the taxpayer will be able to see where proceeds of these sales have gone?

So, an incredible $38.64 million in unpaid interest to Government alone, or put another way a massive debt of $161,000 per room spread across the three hotels.

This is without any commercial loans and their interest obligations taken into account.

Not only has this Governments venture into hotel ownership been an unmitigated disaster, that disaster was been rapidly escalating to a situation where the value of the debt and interest can never be matched with potential earnings or property values.

It is time when the current Minister of Tourism, who shortly prior to holding office uttered the words ‘Government has no role in hotel ownership’ made a clear and precise statement of the exact financial position of the GEMS project and what is going to be done to recover this enormous loss of taxpayers monies.

Adrian Loveridge
8 January 2007

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

Cricket Visa Debacle – Now CARICOM Hits Up Australian Charge Cards But Fails To Deliver The Goods!

This just came in from Australian reader Moff’n Me …

The visa debacle gets worse. We were encouraged to pay for the Caricom Visa using the credit card facilities and then send the e-mail confirmation number along with the Caricom visa application. Problem is, our credit cards were promptly debited with the amount ($126 Aust.) but 7 days later, still no confirmation e-mail from IMPACS. I rang the Sydney Caricom Visa office and they said too bad, they cannot isssue a Visa without the confirmation e-mail – will not accept a copy of my credit card statement.

I am now faced with paying twice (this time by bank cheque and then having to let go of my passport for more than 21 days – we leave in exactly 30 days time! I organised tickets, accommodation and flights 8 months ago – and one month before we were due to leave this debacle is forced on us. Poor organisation on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobaogo and CARICOM!

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Filed under Barbados, Cricket, Politics & Corruption

Hidden Video In British Mosques – “Moderate” British Clerics Urge Muslims To Ignore British Law, Hit Women For Not Wearing Covering

‘Allah has created the woman deficient.’… Muslim Cleric during sermon, Green Lane Mosque, Birmingham

12 Month Undercover Investigation By Muslim TV Journalists Debuts January 15th

An undercover investigation has revealed disturbing evidence of Islamic extremism at a number of Britain’s leading mosques and Muslim institutions, including an organisation praised by the Prime Minister.

Secret video footage reveals Muslim preachers exhorting followers to prepare for jihad, to hit girls for not wearing the hijab, and to create a ‘state within a state’. Many of the preachers are linked to the Wahhabi strain of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia, which funds a number of Britain’s leading Islamic institutions…

… continue reading the article at The Observer UK (link here). 

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Religion

The Next Frontier: Brokered Body Parts Sales – Should Barbados Be Involved?

No Laws Prohibit Sales of Body Parts In Barbados

Before Christmas we published a few pieces concerning stem cell clinics in Barbados and what becomes of aborted fetuses from the Barbados Family Planning Association’s abortion procedures. We intend to revisit the topic in a few weeks with some new information.

Meanwhile, we remind all that Barbados does not effectively supervise offshore clinics like The Institute For Regenerative Medicine, and that no laws exist in this country to prohibit or regulate the importation and sale of human body parts. The British press has labeled Barbados the “Stem-Cell Capital Of The Developed World” and not without reason.

The Next Frontier: Brokered Body Parts Sales – Should Barbados Be Involved?

Today’s Sun has taken a tabloid look at the sale of human body parts with it’s article Desperate Waiter’s Sick Offer. Later, we’ll be looking at this issue and how it impacts Barbados, but before you discount the Sun article, we can tell you that we are shocked by some of the evidence we’ve seen while doing our research for the next few articles.

Previous Barbados Free Press Articles On This Subject

How Much Revenue Does Barbados Family Planning Association Generate From The Sale Of Aborted Fetuses?

Daily Mail – Barbados “Stem-Cell Capital Of The Developed World”

BFP – How Much Money Did Barbados Labour Party Receive From Stem Cell Clinic?

BFP – Barbados Clinic Baby Murder Scandal

The Nation Newspaper Tackles Barbados Clinic – Baby Murder Story

BREAKING – BBC Has Video: Healthy Ukrainian Newborns Murdered For Body Parts – Destination Barbados Clinic

Abortions Provider George Griffith Is Barbados Labour Party Candidate For St. Philip North

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

Guyanese Drug Trial Continues In Barbados – We Need To Send A Message To Drug Gangs And To Bajan Youth

barbados-smoking-ganja-joint.jpg

From Stabroeknews…

Six Guyanese charged in the biggest drug bust in Barbados’ history are still on trial.

Christopher Bacchus, 39, and his wife Diane, 33, of No. 30 Bay Gardens, Bayland, St Michael; Lemme Campbell, 40, and his wife, 36-year-old Somwattie Persaud, of 106 New Garden Street, Georgetown, Guyana; Gavin Wayne Greene, 34, of Bridgefield, St Thomas; and Rohan Rambarran, 39, were all charged with importing cocaine and marijuana worth Bds$7 million, between November 23 and 30, 2005. … (snip)

Barbados police discovered more than 109 packages of cocaine and 78 packages of marijuana in a shipment of lumber, which arrived from Guyana. On November 18, 2005, agents of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) had searched a consignment of timber destined for Barbados at the GNIC wharf after they received a tip off that it contained drugs.

(snip)

Campbell and his wife Somwattie made headlines locally in 2005 when the woman was kidnapped from the couple’s New Garden Street, Queenstown home… Lemme Campbell had told the local media that he had no problem with anyone and he could not think of any reason apart from robbery, for the attack on his family. He was said to be a fish exporter for a number of years.

… read the entire article at Stabroeknews (link here).

Drugs = Money, Gangs, Violence & Trouble

Last year I passed through Jakarta International Airport for the first time and if I never see Indonesia again in my life it will be too soon.

Soldiers all over the place with machine guns – just armed teenaged thugs most of them. They rudely invaded the aircraft I was on and scared everyone. Looked in every bag, every little place and then started to open access panels with electric screwdrivers and pry bars and such until the captain made a big fuss that a crew member should be present at every opened panel. In their zeal, they even climbed up on the wing and opened an inspection hatch. They made the pilot drop the rear airstair and then attacked it with a drill – taking out the pop-rivets to look inside the steps. (Apparently this is a favourite drug smuggling location on the 727. I never knew – thanks for the tip, guys!)

Had anything been found I am sure they would have taken in everybody and it would have been the old “prove you are innocent” scenario.

In Indonesia there are signs at every entry point saying “DaDa Is Death” and other very clear messages, including one poster I saw with a photograph of a drug dealer being hanged. That poster was right beside the “Welcome to Indonesia” tourism sign. Wish I had of taken a photo but there were other signs saying “No Photographing” and I didn’t feel too much like testing the mood of the teenage thug-soldiers.

Whatever my feelings about my first brief stopover in Indonesia, there was no doubt in my mind about how that society views drugs.

Barbados Society Sends Out A Different Message – Marijuana Isn’t Really So Bad

In Barbados we send out a different message than Indonesia. Sure, drugs are illegal, but especially with ganja – society and the government look the other way for end-users and small distributors.

What better proof is there of this official willingness to tolerate ganja than the appointment of Dr. Ikael Tafari as Director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs by the Government of Barbados?

Dr. Tafari is a public proponent of the use of marijuana by virtue of his choice of being a Rastafarian. Some of his public statements also confirm his position. As recently as December 4, 2006, The Nation News published one of his articles where (in context) he argued that Rastas should be accepted with mainstream religions despite the fact that marijuana is the “illegal sacrament at the heart of the Rastafari faith…”

Once again, Barbados is a free country and people should be able to say what they want – but saying what you want and receiving a government post is another. The appointment of such a proponent of an illegal drug to a Government agency is nothing more or less than a public endorsement of that person and his message – his entire public message. The appointment of Dr. Tafari sent a number of messages to Barbadian youth. One of those messages was that smoking marijuana is not so bad, and even the government doesn’t think that marijuana is a big deal.

Which brings us to the main points of this rambling missive –

1/ Foreign drug thugs and gangs have gained a foothold on this little island. Everybody knows it, but very few are speaking out for fear of injuring the tourist image. Violence is the natural partner of drugs, and we’ve seen lots of evidence lately that this is true.

2/ We as a society are sending a mixed message to our children. Marijuana is illegal and bad for individuals and society – but not so bad that the government won’t appoint the drug’s highest profile proponent to a government-supported agency. Big bad drug dealing gangs are bad, but those who purchase from these thugs or are part of their distribution network at the end-user levels are “not so bad”.

3/ Law enforcement in Barbados is not a priority of government. Simply looking at the chronic underfunding of the police is enough to confirm this.

4/ We have a year or two to turn things around – and maybe not even that long. It will take a massive injection of funds into law enforcement – but most of all a real change in the attitude and priorities of government. Fine words by the PM and AG are cheap and mean nothing anymore.

Our home and peaceful Bajan culture is under attack. Our public representatives had better start defending it.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Politics & Corruption, Religion

New Record For BFP: 577,764 WordPress Blogs – We’re Number 20

On December 19, 2006, we told our readers about Barbados Free Press reaching Number 27 out of then 540,641 WordPress blogs. Since that time, WordPress.com has added another 30,000 blogs from all over the world.

This past Saturday, Barbados Free Press was the Number 20 Most Popular Blog out of 577,764 WordPress.com blogs.

Further, on the same day our post Barbados The Nation News – Jamaica Gleaner: Two Ways Of Reporting A Knifing Death… was the 31st Most Popular Post out of the millions of posts currently online at WordPress.com.

Thanks, everyone.

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging

Khalil Campbell Murder – Victim’s Father Lennox Campbell Speaks Out

There but for the grace of God go I, or my brother, or my son, or my family.

That’s all I could think after reading what Lennox Campbell had to say about the murder of his son. God bless all who cry for what happened in Jamaica.

Read I Wouldn’t Wish This On My Worst Enemy in the Jamaican Observer.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Religion