Daily Archives: February 15, 2007

Barbados Wooden Houses: Image Problem or Design Flaws?


Should We Build Wooden Houses In A Hurricane Zone?

Are the new wooden houses too hot? Are they a good design from a liveability standpoint? Are they really as cost-effective as government claims? Will they stand the test of time? Is there a hidden agenda behind why this material and this design was chosen over others?

What other designs and materials were considered? Who made the choice? What was the written design criteria? Why was the design selection process not public? Why hasn’t the supporting documentation been released for all to see?

What is the true cost differential between a hardwood house and a similar concrete block house? How much stronger and safer is a concrete block house in a hurricane?

Is there a political component to the choice of materials suppliers? Is there a political component to the decision to use hardwood and not other wood products?


Nothing Says “Poverty” Like A Run-Down Barbados Chattel House!

Are all the doubts and concerns about the new hardwood homes really just a social prejudice against the old chattel houses? Don’t be too quick to say it isn’t so.

Without Transparency and Integrity Legislation – How Can We Answer Our Questions?

Minister of Housing and Lands Reginald Farley says that critics of the new wooden houses are wrong, and that the “social stigma” of wooden houses is clouding their judgment. Maybe, maybe not – but how do Minister Farley and the government expect to change the “social stigma” against wooden houses without openness about the decision process and all the surrounding criteria?

“The critics are wrong. Trust us.” is not an acceptable response by Minister Farley.

What Do BFP Readers Have To Say About Hardwood Houses?

Our readers are a tremendous resource on any topic. There’s always someone out there who has real, hands-on experience with just about anything we talk about.

How about it, folks? Are these hardwood homes suitable for Barbados? Let’s talk about…

– The design, cost and construction materials.

– Liveability, strength, security, ease of building.

– Other designs and materials.

– The politics behind this design and the choice of hardwood.

– To whom the benefits? Who is making money? Anything unusual or suspicious about the choice?

From today’s Nation News…

Farley knocks critics of wooden homes

WOODEN HOUSES were around at the time of the Arawaks and they will still be around in the time of the astronauts.

Minister of Housing and Lands Reginald Farley made this point yesterday as he blasted some politicians and public commentators who rejected hardwood housing as a backward step.

Farley, speaking at the opening of the Hardwood Housing Factory, Six Roads, St Philip, said “some people started out selling sno-cones”, but this did not necessarily mean they would continue to do this all their lives. He said most Barbadians started out with wood, but within their own time and means converted and expanded into wall houses.

Saying he had grown up in a wooden house back in 1965, which was still standing, the minister asked those in attendance if they were aware that wood was still the main material in constructing the majority of homes in the United States – and there was no social stigma attached.

In fact, one of the main challenges in sourcing hardwood from Guyana was that China and the Europeans were now buying out “entire forests” even before the trees had matured, he added.

Farley said those who could afford more expensive homes should not cry down those who only had wooden houses, since the cost was significantly less and provided an opportunity for families to have shelter at reduced cost.

… read the original article at The Nation News (link here)

– Old chattel house photo courtesy of Barbados Photo Gallery. Fair trade for the link.


Filed under Barbados, Environment

Press Freedom In The Caribbean


Guyanese Government Squeezes Stabroek News As Punishment

Blogger Karel McIntosh has posted a well-researched piece Press Freedom In The Caribbean – about the Guyanese Government’s attempt to use advertising revenues to control the press. Karel linked to our post The Nation Newspaper Chides Guyana Government For Cutting Off Stabroek Advertising… and also notes that no one could accuse the Trinidad & Tobago media of hiding political corruption as they are leaders in this debate. (Unlike our own Barbados Advocate and The Nation News.)

Take a few minutes to read Karel’s Press Freedom In The Caribbean and some of her other posts. You won’t be disappointed.


Added To Our Links: Caribbean Public Relations Blog

Karel McIntosh describes herself as a corporate communicator with a penchant for researching public relations in the Caribbean. We found her blog to be well-written with an appeal that goes far beyond her core public relations audience  – so we have added Karel to our permanent sidebar links under Blogroll.

Here is a piece from Karel’s blog that says much about her enthusiasm for her work…

(and Cliverton… the title of Karel’s piece is “lonely blogger” – but this does not mean that you should be ringing her up to ask if you can be of assistance! 🙂 )

Lonely Blogger In The Caribbean

Blogging about public relations and communications in the Caribbean can sometimes be a lonely experience. That’s why when Paull Young invited me to participate in an interview, as a globally isolated communicator, I identified with the term.

I am globally isolated because I’m the only blogger in the Caribbean dedicated to blogging about public relations. When I started this blog my aim was to create a portal for information on the profession in the Caribbean since there is a HUGE lack of information. A glance at public relations magazines, journals and books show this very clearly. Even the Global Public Relations Handbook lacks information on the Caribbean, and its authors lament this.

Back to my blog and I. Although I do get a kick out of the fact that a search for public relations in the Caribbean lands the blog on the first page of searches on Google, there’s also a sense of disappointment that this is the only place on the web that I can go to to find information. So won’t someone join me? Actually, I’d love to interview persons from various islands to find out more about public relations in their countries. My blog statistics show that I have a few readers from Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad, and Antigua and Barbuda.

I invite you to email me at caribbeanprblog@yahoo.com to share information about public relations in your country.


Filed under Barbados, Blogging, News Media, Politics & Corruption