Daily Archives: February 6, 2007

Cricket World Cup Barbados – Church Meeting Hears Of Security Curfews For Nearby Residents, No Cell Phones

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… And Forget About Business Clients Coming To Your Office If Near Cricket!

At a recent Town Hall meeting at St. Leonard’s Church…

“Then there was George Alleyne who is a bailiff that lives on Pickwick Gap – in his view, residents have been ignored for their input and this met with a thunderous wave of applause, he also stated that he has to prepare documents and see clients who visit him constantly at his residence (one wag suggested he buy a laptop), but Inspector Hugh Blades of the RBPF suggested he acquire a VAP quickly…”

Ian Bourne has the whole story with photos at Bajan Reporter…

Bajan Reporter: Any City Travels in March or April – Use Curfew of 10 ’til 4 Only!

(Hey Ian, very good piece of work! – and yes, as always, we used a double blind proxy with a twist when visiting outside sites. Just in case someone wants to hassle you about your visitor list – it is of no use to “them”)

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

Cricket World Cup – Visa Security Holes and Truths

One of our BFP readers took the time to write this thought-provoking commentary on the Cricket World Cup 2007 visa situation. We haven’t changed one word, but we have highlighted some words to provide visual breaks. Comments are open..

AT WHAT COST A LIFE TO CWC 2007 VISA ISSUANCE AUTHORITIES??

The countries and entities which collectively petitioned and won the bid to host CWC2007 made certain representations to ICC World Cup that they would, individually and severally, implement a security plan which would satisfy the ICC of their establishment and implementation of a comprehensive Master Security Plan.

To quote said Master Plan “to provide a safe and secure environment for the duration of the ICC CWC2007 “ and thereby “ensure the safety and security of players, match officials, tournament officials, spectators, sponsors, VIPs and other stakeholders” the latter category being loosely interpreted to include, but not be limited to, the citizens and nationals of the respective venues.

In planning for the safety of those persons “proximate” to the games, the aspect of “pre-examination of the incoming travelers”, is pivotal to the process of effective “profiling” of persons entering the region, (ostensibly) as viewers of the games.

A Memorandum of Intent between the Government of the United States of America and Member States of the Caribbean Community on Cooperation of the Development of and Advance passenger Information System reads, in part, “desirous of cooperating in the exchange of Information for use in the evaluation and facilitation of air and sea travelers arriving in or departing from a member State”, the signatories of the MOU expressed the intent to collaborate in the following areas (to name a few) by (a) enacting laws to mandate vessels arriving in and leaving from member states to provide passenger manifests in electronic format (b) permitting such data to be transmitted to the United States (c) denying entry to the territory of undesirables and (d) providing regional watch lists to the United States. (For those who recall the Ship Rider Agreement, It is of note that the MOI does not provide for reciprocal disclosure of API information arising from the US government)

Notwithstanding the unilateral elements of the MOI what has been proposed should, in theory, permit transmission of traveler information for background checks on manifested travelers to authorized agencies.

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Enter the VISA scam.

Mr. Michael Agostini outgoing honorary Consul to Trinidad and Tobago in Australia is quoted “It is estimated that there will be about 7,000 Australians and up to 3,000 New Zealanders needing these visas, which will take up to three weeks to be issued, after filling out the forms from an internet site, Caricomimpacs.org, of which only a few travel agents are even aware, much less ordinary travellers. Simple logistics suggest that if each visa requires only 30 minutes of handling (but more like one or even two hours if security checks are to be made, as the site states), that would mean some 5,000 total, which obviously translates to 208 days total. And even if they put 50 people on to doing them that would still mean about 41 days or more, if all worked full-time, 24 hours daily! My God! Who did their homework on this?” (see World Cup Visa Chaos A Real Possibility)

The former T&T Consul introduces a very salient point which merits further examination in light of the US$40 miillion anticipated to be collected for the visa fees from 400,000 visitors estimated to visit the region for CWC2007. (As an aside, while recent dialogue has centered around the visa and its attendant onerous cost, one should note that departure taxes for each of these venues has not been factored into these deliberations and will assuredly be another matter for discussion by cricketing spectators.) Any smart businessman, as part of their strategy to generate an additional revenue stream through subscription fees, may chose to implement this strategy to get “more money” from a captive audience.

What is of more grave import than the fee being levied is the fact that visa issuance is a measure which governments, mindful of the security of their borders and the safety of their denizens, use to assist them in effecting “back-office validations”.

Governments post 9/11 need to know the authenticity of submitted ID documents.

Commensurate with this authentication of the identity of the traveler, the “Security Risk Status” of said person, in their respective countries of origin and sometimes previous Interim Domicile, is examined at that time. This is Visa Issuance 101 Lesson 1 which any bona-fide Immigration or Border Enforcement Authority knows and employs.

This is what “true security” for CWC2007 venues should entail and this is what the entity, entrusted to ensure security in our Small island Developing States, should be doing. These states, many of which are tourism dependent, CANNOT survive an adverse incident, of any type, similar to those which terrorists continue, daily, to wreak worldwide.

The fallacy rather ineffectiveness of the CARICOM visa that Mr. Agostini alludes to in his comments about the issuing the CARICOM visa, lies mostly in…

1. the time consuming and “archaic” visa issuance system implemented by the CARICOM Visa Issuance Authority (VIA)
2. its lack of meaningful back-office checks with ID issuing authorities of respondent governments and
3. the fact that said
checks cannot or will not be effected in this compressed time.

Imagine the comments of an extra-regional government being asked by this VIA to (a) validate the ID document/passport of one of its citizens and additionally (b) provide Law Enforcement notifications and security risks statuses on the individual. One can easily hear the incredulity in their response “Who is this CARICOM which is asking my government to supply confidential information about my citizens to ….. where is it located again?

One would not even mention that even in CARICOM Member States, with regard to their intra border crossing procedures, the scrutiny which is accorded passports issued by the governments of Guyana and Antigua whose Immigration Department officials are puported to sell authentic travel documents, if the price is right.

To give a specific example on this matter, If as VIA would seek to convey, it receives a passport from a Frenchman wishing to come to the games, which authority will VIA validate the passport information with? Post World War II the French enacted into law a policy, which refuses to provide the national ID number (and associated data) to any external authority/government. This is a legacy (a word which CARICOM loves to use) of Hitler and his persecution of the Jews.

If one follows this scenario, what is going to the ID background check being conducted by VIA to (a) validate the identity and (b) security risk status of this applicant or any applicant from countires like this and other European/Asian/Continental jurisdictions which have similar non disclosure policies?

Let us provide a scenario which the United States would have used in their “sensitization of these third world countries. A potential terrorist, having secured an ID from said “non-compliant” or “regional jurisdiction of questionable passport issuance practices” would, now possessing a “non-validated, yet authentic ID document” be able to approach VIA. The CARICOM Visa Issuance Authority would asssuredly apply its Visa for US$100, a fee akin to the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received.

This terrorist, intent on staging an incident at the CWC2007 games as retribution to the support which, for example, Pakistan has given the US in its fight against terrorism, purchases this passport in this non-compliant state, a passport which is subsequently endorsed by the VIA, and proceeds to one of the venues where the Pakistan team and Pakistani supporters are playing to enact their Jihad.

It is precisely for this reason that comments that have been posted on several Cricket Websites stating that the Visa is “a farce” and cricketing spectators are paying US$100 “to fatten the pockets of Caricom” should be of concern.

The most efficient entity for visa issuance in the world is the USA. it is known worldwide how timely their visa issuance process is. It is to be noted that 75% of this superpower’s population DOES NOT have a passport. Under its Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the US now requires that all of its citizens MUST have a passport to enter the US. It is an exercise which is slated to take years for 180 million of its citizens to get a passport.

What is the reasonable expectation of the ID/passport Issuance agencies in “Less Developed Countries” ?

What will be their ability to provide timely access to ID records for extraregional sources? It takes the Government of Barbados, one of the more developed countries in the Caribbean region (and possibly among the more efficient countries worldwide, see UNDP’s development index) some 2 weeks to issue a passport and several months to issue a work permit.

Other countries in the Caribbean archipelago are even more tardy in their passport and work permit issuance processes. The travails of a person, relocating to the Caribbean from outside the region, requiring a “Certificate of Character” from the authorities of their “prior cities of domicile”, is besieged with several problems and takes upwards of a year at times!

It is vital to understand the use and importance of background security checks.

The CARICOM visa or, any visa issuance procedure MUST include these checks and their non-subscription to serious “back-office” checks weakens the security cocoon for CWC 2007 jurisdictions and support several commentators underpin the posits that the CWC2007 visa is a farce.

Couple the administrative lethargy of regional governments in processing information with the “real-time” inability of their governments to secure “validated information” from e.g. the government of India with a population of 1.1 billion people or that of Pakistan with 168 million inhabitants, and one starts to see the magnitude, nay impossibility associated with the “vetting process” of CWC2007.

To announce that the pre-vetting process and commensurate validation of ID is “now going to be done in 3 days” is highly irresponsible and should be a concern of any travelers to the region. The statement discounts the value of human life and the non-cohesiveness of this extremely sensitive procedure.

A statement of this nature should be seen as one in a series of public release statements by CARICOM officials which are “ploys, tricks, “sleight of hand practices” voiced by verbal magicians and polemicists who, thinking themselves au-fait with the public psyche, feel assured that a pronouncement of this type will allay the fears of those who know what the true issues of regional security are and the scam that the CARICOM VISA presents.

No man or woman, whether they be Minister, Prime Minister or President can “wish away” a terrorist who can use the loopholes of this poorly thought out/executed CARICOM VISA to mete out their “Holy War”.

One is certainly left to wonder if, when the pre-bid documents to host this World Cup were submitted, how did such poorly planned critical aspects of a “people-centric” security plan, pass their approval standards?

ICC World Cup was so specific on marketing a T-shirt with the word 2007 yet it has abandoned the security requirements of the region.

The discerning traveler is now cautioned and should shift their focus from the smoke screen about cost of the visa, a moot point which pales into insignificance when juxtaposed against the poor design and function of the VIA.

As a cricket lover who has traveller the world to view matches for over 15 years, I am appalled that the lives of cricketing spectators are being put at risk by VIA’s callous, financially driven action.

Travellers are already hearing the pronouncements of the United Sates Department of State on the security rating they have assigned the region prior to and during these World Cup Games. Ironically the USA signed an MOU with CARICOM Member States in the furtherance of the Advance Passenger Information System, but they will NEVER risk the lives of American citizens by misleading them into a false sense of security through misrepresenting the VISA security checks and consequently have now publicly broadcasted their security assessments for this volatile environment.

One must examine the VIA claim to ask travellers to submit their passports for it to affix a VISA for visitors to the region and not having a mechanism to effecting “all possible security checks” in what assuredly has been a “security information vacuum”.

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Lives of The Rich and Unfaithful In Barbados: Holders Plantation House and Those Wacky Kidds!

Really, Darling, I must sell the polo ponies and leave my wife for a Hollywood showgirl who is younger than our daughter …

Bye the way, Darling, we must set aside the country mansion for the weekend so members of the Royal Family can have their little trysts without those nasty people from the Barbados Free Press following their every move…… More champagne, my love?

Now Playing On An Island Near You…

The Story That Only A Vengeful Insider Could Tell!

You’ll Thrill – to the story of a family with everything: Money, Royal Breeding, Title, Polo Ponies, More Money, A Plantation Home In Barbados, Famous Friends and Yet More Money!

They even have their own Arts Festival!

You’ll Travel – to Holders Plantation Barbados, England, Australia, the Island of Mustique, Canada, America and, yes – Hollywood!

You’ll Wonder – as it all comes unglued. The mistresses, the secret hotel “naps”, the Hollywood showgirl, the betrayals, the denials!

You’ll Cringe – at the Dark Secret discovered by a Betrayed Wife as she paws through her husband’s luggage!

You’ll See – the final shocking realization that they had become …

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A FAMILY TORN APART BY VIAGRA!

STARRING…

Grandson of Lord Beaverbrook, Johnny Kidd, with his wife Wendy Kidd (daughter of Baronet Sir John Hodge doan ya know!) – and their daughters supermodel Jodie Kidd and makeup tycoon Jemma Kidd. Not to forget polo-playing son, Jack Kidd – who’s a chip off the old block in more ways than one! (and his much older wife, Be Kidd)

CO-STARRING…

The Duke of Wellington’s grandson – The Earl of Mornington, and Nick Whiting – the son from the first marriage.

INTRODUCING…

Hollywood showgirl Cindy Swenson – yet again playing her standard roll as “The Temptress”

SPECIAL DOUBLE APPEARANCE…

HRH Princess Margaret – first appearing with supporting cast member Lord Snowdon, and then with Lord Snowdon’s stand-in Roddy Llewellyn.

GUEST CAMEO

The Outrageous Actor Oliver Reed eating lightbulbs at Eaton Square. Really!

DON’T MISS THIS BOX OFFICE SMASH!

It is all sooooooo very exciting when a dumped wife craves revenge so much that she’s willing to violate the privacy and marriages of her own children just to satisfy her own selfish desires!

Tickets Available Online HERE!

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About Sir Frank Worrell’s Home Being Torn Down

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Today, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times picked up the story about Sir Frank Worrell’s home being demolished last week. We saw the article in The Nation but just didn’t have time to comment, so we’ll do that now.

Like so many physical ties with our past, Sir Frank’s home was allowed to deteriorate to where it could not be saved – and for that there is not a person on this island who cannot feel some loss. We understand from various media that the government will build a replica of the home as a museum and a tribute to the man who, like a few other famous sons and daughters of the time, came to symbolize our transition from colonial rule to the birth of a new independent nation. From blacks as subservient on their own soil in the eyes of some – to blacks as persons, as nation builders.

For the story of Sir Frank Worrell is about far more than cricket.

We can only hope that the loss of this tangible link to our history inspires Bajans and our government representatives to look at other buildings and places with new eyes – to better appreciate the importance of preserving what is left before it too slips away.

We don’t know who is really behind the push to make something of the Worrell home site, but we hope there is a quick follow-through with action. That is, real action, and not the “announcement then nothing” syndrome that has produced a certain universal cynicism of late.

According to the media, the Ministry of Public Works is leading the way, and if that includes Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke onside and really leading this effort, then we wish him success and say “thanks”.

Story Link

International Herald Tribune: Worrell’s Home To Be Replaced By Museum For Cricket Great

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Shell 2006 Profits: US$2.9 Million Dollars PER HOUR! – Offers Barbados Farmers Less Than One Hour’s Profits For A Decade Of Pollution And A Deadly Future

Shell Made US$25.36 BILLION Dollars Profit In 2006

Royal Dutch Shell declared a profit of US$25.36 Billion Dollars for 2006 – and that, my friends, works out to a profit of about 2.9 million US Dollars PER HOUR – every hour – throughout 2006. Of course, 2005 wasn’t a bad year for Shell profits either – at about 2.8 million US Dollars per hour. (Source: The Independent link here)

A good portion of Shell’s 2006 US$25.36 Billion dollars profit was made possible by the fact that Shell has been polluting Barbados and other countries for decades, but does not clean up the mess or compensate its victims. It prefers to ignore or buy off governments – which it finds is much cheaper than preventing pollution or cleaning it up.

And when the opposition gets really vocal, Shell has friendly governments like Nigeria who will murder and hang innocent people to keep those Shell profits high. (Ken Saro Wiwa hanging – link here, here and here)

Shell Thumbs Nose At Barbados For A Decade Of Soil & Water Pollution

Since the mid 90’s, Shell’s aviation fuel pipeline along the south coast has broken many times in many places. How much aviation fuel was pumped into the water table? Today, the Barbados Advocate is saying 300,000 gallons, but as we pointed out in our piece Barbados Environment Ministry Has No Shell Oil Pipeline Leakage Records!

Barbados Free Press has received information that the Barbados Ministry of the Environment does not have in it’s possession the Shell Oil daily pipeline records to show how much jet-fuel has been lost from the pipeline since leaks were first reported in 1995.

We are also informed that there is no Barbados environmental law that requires Shell Oil to keep daily pipeline leakage records, or to surrender these records for government audit.

But whatever the real amount of pollution is, Shell has been dodging, delaying, refusing, litigating, hiding and otherwise avoiding responsibility for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into our precious soil and water.

Shell Offers Barbados Families Less Than One Hour’s Profit – Crumbs To Desperate Mothers

Even five minutes on the internet is enough to show anyone that this “pollute, profit and move on” behaviour is standard operating procedure for Shell.

Where Shell can’t buy people or governments, or destroy local opponents, it litigates them to death…. Never paying, never cleaning up… or maybe paying a little and cleaning a little. (Just sign this release, folks! Shell will look after everthing!)

Shell’s disgusting behaviour is made all that much easier in countries that lack even basic environmental laws – laws that at least give citizens and their governments a chance to hold companies accountable. These laws don’t work all the time, but they can work – and the fear of such laws causes even criminally irresponsible companies like Shell to behave differently in say, California, than in our own Barbados.

In the past, why didn’t Shell care about pollution in Barbados?

Why doesn’t it care about cleaning it up now?

Why is Shell offering 2 million dollars total compensation to Barbados families and no cleanup?

Elementary, My Dear Watson…

Barbados Has No Laws To Make Shell Clean Up Or Pay For The Mess

Barbados has no environmental laws that regulate any company’s actions or liabilities and duties in the handling or mishandling of toxic chemicals – including the aviation fuel negligently pumped into the ground by Shell. (What else would you call the loss of 300,000 gallons but negligent?)

Because we have no laws, our citizens are still begging Shell to fund a $500,000 “independent” environmental study to document the extent of the contamination.

Because our Barbados government has not enacted suitable environmental laws in twelve years of power, Shell is still thumbing its nose at Barbados.

The aviation fuel that Shell spilled contains all manner of nastiness – associated with miscarriages, birth defects, low sperm counts, damaged sperm, infertility, tumors, leukemia and neurological damage. Don’t believe us – do a little Google research on your own. Start with something simple like “jp-8 jet fuel miscarriage” or “jet fuel drinking water fertility” or “aviation fuel” + “cancer clusters” or “groundwater contamination by jet fuel” + “health problems” and see what comes up.

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Jet Fuel Birth Defects, Miscarriages & Leukemia – Shell Says “Thanks!” To Barbados Environment Minister and The Government For Not Mentioning Existing Studies, and For Doing No New Studies

We wonder what the autopsy results were for the dying twins delivered by poor Sophia Kinch in December – and if there were any autopsies performed at all by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (BFP story about Sophia Kinch link here)

In over a decade since it was discovered what Shell had done and not done, the Government of Barbados performed no comprehensive studies to look at the health of those nearest the spills. No studies to look at incidence of disease or fetal abnormalities. No fertility studies.

Neither the Government of Barbados nor Shell even did a basic study to define the areas of contamination and the downslope water quality.

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Lies Of Omission: Barbados Advocate Covers Up For Corrupt, Incompetent Barbados Government

In an article posted on the web today, February 5, 2007, the Barbados Advocate continues to politely not mention the role that the Government of Barbados has played in the Shell pollution debacle. Today’s fluff piece Powerful Ally Signs On To Help Farmers In Shell Fight focuses upon a group that is taking out newspaper advertisements exposing Shell’s pollution.

That’s it – with a little background about the spills and the farmers’ quest for compensation.

Not one word about how it is that we have no environmental laws.

Not one word about what government’s failure to regulate Shell’s handling of toxic jet fuel. Not one word about the government’s “Let Shell Do Anything It Wants” policy. No investigative reporting, no mention of the studies into the long-term health effects of jet fuel in the soil and water supply.

And not one word about how the Advocate recently ran an advertising campaign for Shell gasoline. (See BFP’s Shell News Is Big News At Barbados Advocate Newspaper)

Barbados Advocate Purges The Public Record Of The Shell JetFuel Spill Story

Not so long ago – June14, 2006 – the Barbados Advocate published an article that quoted a Shell Oil mouthpiece …

Saying his organisation was committed to the protection of the environment, he dismissed reports that the remaining oil was a threat to the coastlines. He continued, “We have carried out investigations in the Gibbons area, and contrary to the recent report carried in the Press, results have indicated that the remaining oil is not an imminent threat to the coastal zone.”

On June 14, 2006, the Barbados Free Press published Burst Shell Oil Pipeline – Oil Heading For Barbados Coast and referred to that Barbados Advocate article at this online link.

The Barbados Advocate article is gone now. It was removed from the public record by a newspaper that long ago traded its duty to Barbados for filthy money.

Here are a couple of links about Shell’s behaviour that might interest our readers…

About Shell Petroleum (formerly Royal Dutch Shell)

The Inside Story Of Shell’s Sakhalin II Debacle

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Environment, Politics & Corruption