Daily Archives: February 17, 2007

GEMS Hotels Scandal Keeps On Going And Going And Going…

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THE JUSTIFICATION behind the GEMS project (Hotels and Resorts Ltd), was we are told, ‘to raise the standard of the South Coast hotels’.

Has this mission statement become a reality?

Well we know of the three remaining hotels under GEMS management that $145 million is owed to Government plus according to the Auditor General another $37 million in yet unpaid interest.

This is before any other additional loans or grants are taken into account from the former Caribbean Commercial Bank, NIS or other sources.

So from a business viability point of view, the value of the remaining properties is substantially less than outstanding debt even after the sale of Eastry House and Silver Rock.

Where the funds from the sale of these two properties have gone has not yet been disclosed to the taxpayer.

Now have they managed to physically raise the standard of the South Coast?

Around 30 of the rooms at Blue Horizon still remain derelict and at least two of the hotels need substantial refurbishment, so the conclusion must be, no!

How do their guests rate the ‘standards’?

The world’s most viewed travel website is www.tripadvisor.com where around 5 million travellers who have actually stayed in the rated hotels post their comments.

On Barbados 104 hotels are listed and currently the GEMS properties as follows:

Savannah #55

Blue Horizon #64

Time Out at the Gap #71

You only have to view some of the actual guest’s comments to see that they are a long way off achieving their purported mission statement.

It is long overdue that the current Minister of Tourism and/or Prime Minister gives the taxpayer a clear explanation of exactly where this project is going and how Government is going to re-coup what is estimated to be in the region of between $100 million and $200 million in losses.

In simple terms what could amount to up to four times the annual marketing budget of the Barbados Tourism Authority, spent to promote the entire industry and destination.

Adrian Loveridge
17 February 2007

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

Bostic Continues To Justify His Unethical Behaviour

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Bostic’s Appointment Undermines Democracy

If “Lieutenant-Colonel” Jeffrey Bostic had even the most basic sense of what constitutes ethical behaviour, he would never have accepted the position of coordinator for that government giveaway known as the Kensington Environs Beautification Project.

Bostic had to have known that as a declared candidate for the government’s party, his job of giving away tax dollars to renovate homes would give him an unfair advantage and a head-start on his election campaign. He apparently had no question about the ethics of using tax dollars to launch his election campaign.

So ethics be damned – he took the job from the unethical government people who offered it to him, and together they continue to abuse the system while openly defending the indefensible.

Bostic Shows His Flawed Values

Either Bostic knows that his behaviour is unethical, and doesn’t care – or his values are so warped that he actually sees nothing wrong with his accepting the appointment as project coordinator.

Now Bostic is challenging those who object to “prove” that he’s doing something wrong – proving once again that Mr. Bostic has no idea of what is right and what is wrong in a free and democratic society. He fits in well with the Prime Minister – under whose office the permanent secretary is issuing millions of dollars for the program, without transparency or accountability.

Sometimes I’m just sick watching Bostic say “Nothing wrong here”, and other times I’m filled with rage at the abuse of our democracy by a group of people who long ago forgot about Barbados in order to fill their own pockets.

Bostic is learning his crooked lessons well.

Read this article in The Nation News and you’ll see what I mean…

Above Board!

ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE.

That’s how Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffrey Bostic responded yesterday to charges of political victimisation with the Kensington Environs Beautification Project.

In fact, Bostic, whose appointment as the project’s coordinator has thrown him into controversy, issued an open challenge to the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and its City candidate, Patrick Todd, to “stop the rhetoric and produce the evidence”.

Nothing to hide

“There’s nothing to hide with the project. There’s nothing political with the work being carried out for poor, working class people,” he told the SATURDAY SUN…

… continue reading what this unethical man has to say in The Nation News (link here)

Photo: BLP Candidate Jeffrey Bostic explains to DLP supporter Pearl Layne that an administrative matter and not her political affiliation was responsible for her not getting some of the government money that he is giving away. (Whether Pearl was denied because of her political affiliation shouldn’t even be an issue – and wouldn’t be an issue were it not for the fact that Bostic, the person in charge of the money giveaway, is also a BLP candidate.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

CARICOM Worries: Barbados Authorities Hold Russian With Grenada Passport

For a time, Grenada was selling citizenship to anyone who had the money. No residence requirements, no knowledge test, no time-in-country required. Simple cash for passport.

The Russian mob loved it – but Grenada’s actions cheapened citizenship for all in CARICOM and were a barrier to further integration in the region. Not to mention the security concerns.

It looks like someone in Barbados Immigration finally said “enough!” – or maybe what happened is part of a larger operation by law enforcement. Whatever the story, it is good to see something happening to remind folks that citizenship should mean something.

From Grenada Today…

Grenadian-Russian Held In Barbados

A Russian who bought a passport under the economic citizenship programme under the Keith Mitchell government in St. George’s was detained last Friday in Barbados for questioning by that island’s Police and Immigration.

Well-placed sources told GRENADA TODAY that the detained man is believed to be carrying the official name, Guorgios Simonenkov.

The Russian was travelling on an Air Jamaica flight that left the JFK International Airport for the Point Salines International Airport (PSIA) with a stop over at Sir Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados.

A passenger who was traveling on the same flight gave an account to this newspaper of what transpired at the airport on the neighbouring island. He said: “The Immigration and Police boarded the plane and asked this gentleman to accompany them off the plane. They brought him back a short while later. We were still on the ground but about thirty minutes later they came back and took him (the Russian) back off the plane.

“The pilot then made an announcement that there were some security concerns and we would have to proceed (to Grenada) without the passenger”, he added. The passenger said that the Russian man left a medical kit behind on the plane and it carried the name Guorgios Simonenkov.

Several Russians have reportedly purchased Grenadian passports under a scheme promoted by the Mitchell government to raise revenue. St. George’s was forced to scrap the programme when Canada imposed a visa restrictions on Grenadians because of security concerns over the number of questionable persons who might have ended up with Grenadian passports.

And a few weeks ago, the news broke on the island that Deputy Prime Minister, Gregory Bowen and three Russians were sued for US$500, 000.00 in a New York court by american oil investor, Jack Grynberg for allegedly conspiring to block his oil and exploration agreement signed with Grenada in 1996.

… read the original article at Grenada Today (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Crime & Law

Barbados Free Press Went Down For 30 Minutes Yesterday…

Barbados Free Press was off the net for about 30 minutes yesterday due to a programming error by our host, who sent us this note…

The good news is that this is our first major downtime since May of 2006, about 9 months ago. Before when we had problems it was due to not having the hardware and expertise to scale the system to the levels of traffic it was getting at the time. Now 9 months later, we’re more than 10x the size and the servers are humming along fine. Human error will always be an issue, but we try not to make the same mistakes twice. )

So no worries, folks – nothing sinister, just a technical issue.

Cliverton

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Filed under Blogging

Parrot Attack At Graeme Hall Nature Park! (wink, wink)

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A tourist posted a movie on YouTube – about a parrot “attack” at the Graeme Hall Nature Park in January.

Actually, the parrot is a thief and tries to take the tourist’s sunglasses. Lot’s of good times had by all, including Pretty Polly.

Get the kids and click on the photo or here to watch the fun.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

How Many Barbados Days Since… ?

How Many Days Has It Been Since…

* Caribbean Splash Waterpark Developer Matthew Kerins Said The Government Cannot Back Out Of Deal ? (222 days)

* Barbados Free Press asked “Does a written memorandum of understanding exist between the Government of Barbados and the Caribbean Splash water park developer?” (220 days)

* The Barbados Labour Party promised to introduce Integrity Legislation? (7,453 days – The year was 1976)

* Prime Minister Owen Arthur said he didn’t want to get into “instant” integrity legislation ? (297 days)

* BLP General Secretary Dr. Duguid announced he was against the Caribbean Splash Waterpark being located at Graeme Hall (242 days)

* Owen Arthur promised to get to the bottom of the GEMS Of Barbados hotel scandal? (um…. we lost count!)

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Guyana Consulate Announces Meeting For All Guyanese Legally and Illegally In Barbados

GUYANA  CONSULATE

OUTREACH MEETING

– GET  AN UPDATE FROM  OFFICIALS AT BARBADOS INSTITUTIONS  AND YOUR CONSULATE ON RECENTLY INTRODUCED POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.

– HEAR  RESOURCE PERSONS FROM CONSULATE, IMMIGRATION, NIS, CUSTOMS, TRADE UNIONS, LABOUR DEPT. AND POLICE.

Date:  Friday, 23 February 2007
Time: 7.30 pm

Place: Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Auditorium
Harmony Hall, St.Michael (Near Globe cinema).

This information sharing activity focuses on Guyanese contract workers (on work permits), newly arrived  and other interested Guyanese. Your anonymity will be respected and no journalists will be permitted at meeting.

For  more information, contact Consul Faria at the Consulate. Ph. 417 4027 , 244 6842

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law