Daily Archives: February 25, 2007

Buying Land In Barbados? Welcome To The Crap Shoot!

land-scandals-barbados.jpg

Foreign Buyers Should Beware Lack Of Rules, No Oversight And A Chaotic & Corrupt Land Titles System

Your Land Might Not Be Yours

The stories are legion in Barbados…

– The same lands are sold to two or more different buyers, each holding title documents in their name.

– An archaic land titles system that is fertile ground for abuse and theft.

– Lawyers selling estate lands without informing beneficiaries.

– No conflict of interest rules for the legal profession, and an “old boy” club atmosphere in the courts.

– Documents missing at the Land Registry Office that surface only when certain parties need them and then disappear again into the void.

– Foreign landowners who return to Barbados after a few years to find a house built upon “their” land. Then after an expensive legal battle, a court that blames the landowner and will not return the land – instead ordering the interloper to pay a modest amount to “purchase” the land – with the crooked lawyer who arranged everything protected by the court and walking away free and unnamed. (Can’t take down one of “the club” don’t ya know?)

– Government officials use the law to expropriate privately held land for “the public good” – a few years later the land is sold to private interests and a Minister of Government ends up living on expropriated land. Barbados has no conflict of interest or integrity laws to prevent such abuse. It is actually legal for government officials to expropriate private land and then sell it to friends, relatives or even themselves! (Nice trick, eh? See Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke – House and Mercedes On Expropriated Land)

Good Luck and May God Bless – Suckers!

Thinking of buying land in Barbados? It is not as risky as purchasing land in Nigeria – but neither is it the same as buying land in New York or Leeds.

Land Order

A CIVIL SUIT dealing with the sale of nearly 10 000 square feet of disputed land has ended with a High Court judge criticising attorneys who handle both ends of the deal.

In addition, Justice Christopher Blackman wants overseas owners of local land to pay greater interest in their affairs here.

His comments came as he handed down a judgement in No. 6 Supreme Court to determine who was the
rightful owner of a parcel of land at Clapham Heights, Christ Church.

“In determining the matter,” said Justice Blackman, “it has become apparent that unfortunate consequences may occur when the same attorney-at-law acts for the vendor and the purchaser on a sale or purchase, or the parties to a loan transaction.

Lack of vigilance

“This is particularly so,” he added, “in the context of this case, as the firm of attorneys for the plaintiff at the time of the purchase of the land, the subject of this action, also act in these proceedings.”

The judge said a lack of vigilance by absentee landowners made it difficult for a court to “fashion a remedy providing the minimum equity to do justice” to either party.

“This action also indicates that resolute vigilance must be exercised on the part of absentee land owners to actively protect their interest and so avoid the dismissive appellation and the consequences of being classified ‘a paper title owner’.”

The lot in question was sub-divided into two lots – 2 (19 155 sq. ft) and 2A (9 730 sq. ft) in May 1973.

Maria De Los Angeles Arambarri Nicholls claimed she purchased the entire lot of land at Lot 2, Clapham Heights, by conveyance, which was dated November 3, 1999, from Antoinette Denna Chen, who acquired the land on May 15, 1987.

However, Fitzgerald Ramsay claimed he was the owner of a portion of that land, called Lot 2A (9 730 sq. ft), after he bought it by conveyance dated August 12, 1975. He wanted to sell his portion.

However, Nicholls brought an action, claiming she owned all of the land and received an interim injunction restraining Ramsay from transferring, encumbering or trespassing on the property.

The judge ordered Chen to pay Nicholls $195 000, which was the assessed value of Lot 2A (9 730 sq. ft).

He further ordered Chen to indemnify Nicholls but ordered Nicholls to pay her own costs.

Justice Blackman added: “The issue of rectification of the November 3, 1999 conveyance to [Nicholls] to reflect the correct area of land to which she is entitled must be addressed.”

He, however, granted a six-week stay of execution.

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

50 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Former Barbados Tourism Authority Chairman Arranges Security Breach For Strangers At Cricket World Cup – Financial Express Reports Everything – Says Barbados Ill-Prepared For Cricket World Cup

hudson-husbands-barbados-cricket-world-cup.jpg

UPDATED – Scroll to Bottom

Hudson Husbands Arranges To Smuggle Unknown Indian Journalists Past Security!

Indian Journalists Had No Accreditations – Could Have Been Jihadist Terrorists!

Barbados Tourism Authority Employee Gregory Armstrong Also Involved

HAVE NO DOUBT: the police and security officials at CWC will be livid when they hear of this breach. The Muslim terrorists only have to get lucky once – whereas the good guys have to be perfect all the time.

But what good is even the most well-executed layered security system if some big shot politician or official foolishly uses his knowledge and authority to violate security procedures for strangers?

This is the best thing that could have happened.

Folks, despair not. This is the best thing that could have happened to us in the public run-up to the Cricket World Cup. Heads may roll, and there will be public worldwide embarrassment – but you can bet that senior police and security leaders will now assert their authority and kick the behinds of any politician or official who tries anything like this again.

Muslim terrorists will also be aware that an embarrassed and alerted security force will now be unlikely to sidestep procedures for anyone.

This is the best thing that could have happened.

From the Financial Express…

Three Weeks To Go, Barbados Seems Ill-Prepared For The Big Day

by Boria Majumdar

Our reasons for coming to Barbados last week (there were three of us in all) was to watch and be part of the opening ceremony of the Kensington Oval, the venue for the World Cup final. In fact, central to travelling half the world to be in the Caribbean was yet another opportunity to see the great Sir Vivian Richards in action. And when he was to be preceded by the legendary Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes and followed by Carl Hooper and Richie Richardson, the occasion had to be special. Add to the privilege of watching these greats the opportunity to interview

Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes and Reverend Wes Hall and the trip seemed more than justified.

However, it is not always that things go according to plan. In fact, on most occasions they don’t. At the press briefing on the eve of the match it suddenly transpired that our accreditations had been goofed up and there was a possibility that we might not make it to the game despite reaching Barbados a couple of days early. We had had enough to press the panic button. Efforts in making our way seemed to come to nothing when on the morning of the match we were left stranded at my hotel, The Accra, without accreditations or even match tickets…

It was time to put our aggressive Indian caps on.

On reaching the accreditation room at the venue, we were greeted by a long queue of more than a hundred journalists waiting to collect their passes. When we finally made our way to the counter and met the media coordinator of the local World Cup organising committee, it was less than an hour for the match to start. Members of my team had almost given up by then and the tripods and lenses were being folded back to shoot some other local sights.

Repeated explanations that we were journalists who had come specifically for the game did finally register and we were told that something would indeed be arranged before the match started. Finally, about a quarter of an hour before the start, our local Barbados tourism authority guide, Gregory Armstrong, landed up with four complimentary tickets. That was the best under the circumstances he said and we were to watch the game from the stands and not from the media centre.

While this was indeed a step forward, it was hardly enough. We couldn’t film the game, nor could we attend the post-match press conference, things Gregory fully understood. And when Hudson Husbands, yet another influential member of the local media, took up our cause we were once again in with a chance.

The final fifteen minutes leading up to the match were individual capsules of hectic activity. Failing to make headway, Hudson finally came up to me and suggested that the best he could do was to escort me once to the media box. It was then on me to get something out of it. In an event billed as the final dry run leading up to the World Cup, this wasn’t a route we wanted to take. On the other hand, prospects of watching the match from the stands and finishing up with no work done seemed even worse.

And so we were forced to go down the unscrupulous path. It was a classic Bollywood case of the system forcing you to turn corrupt! Hudson took me into the media box, I met some of my colleagues from the British press, explained to them our plight and asked for their media passes to smuggle my team in. This wasn’t something I hadn’t done before. Rather, as a child we had repeatedly done this to watch Mohun Bagan’s matches in the local Calcutta football league, when most of us did not have the required membership.

And once we had all made our way into the media box and had settled into writing the opening lines in our laptop, we were all stunned by the nature of the act. So much for the tight security before the World Cup! Even more bizarre was the claim from the media coordinator that he had taken personal initiative in getting us in. “I could not sleep a wink last night”, he said on seeing us in the press box. “It was acutely embarrassing that members of the media, after having travelled half the world were being treated like this. But please understand that we were determined to get you in.” Indeed we did.

The moral of this incident is that Barbados is still not fully prepared to host the tournament, the biggest cricketing extravaganza in Caribbean history. If people can break the security cordon this easily, the World Cup might easily turn into a field day for the Mukesh Kochars, men who will surely relish the idea of making a fast buck. With three weeks still to go before the start of the tournament, here’s wishing the World Cup organising committee and the thousands of volunteers all the luck in the world. They will need every bit of it just like we did while in Barbados.

… read the entire article at The Financial Express (link here)

Updated

We originally incorrectly identified Hudson Husbands as still being Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority. He stepped down in July of 2006 to pursue his business with Tourism Global Inc.

Tourism Global Inc. is a professional services and consulting firm specializing in the hospitality and tourism industry throughout the Caribbean. Tourism Global Inc. currently provides consulting services to various Barbados Government agencies including Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.

It is unclear from the news report whether Hudson Husbands was acting at the time as an official media representative for Cricket World Cup or a government agency or whether Cricket World Cup security is so bad that it was bamboozled by an ordinary person with absolutely no official position.

45 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cricket, Crime & Law, Traveling and Tourism

Nation News Article About Political Blogging And Websites Ignores Barbados’ Most Popular Political Blog

With over 100,000 visitors a month and still growing strong, Barbados Free Press is the most popular politically-focused website in the country – maybe even in the entire Caribbean. Our readers include the Prime Minister, Members of Government and politicians of all stripes. Dr. Duguid, Member of Parliament and Secretary General of the governing BLP, credits Barbados Free Press with being the catalyst that caused his party to start the BLP Blog.

Barbados Free Press is in the Top 100 most popular blogs out of over 700,000 WordPress blogs worldwide, and we are consistently featured in the first and second page of Google Search Engine returns on pretty well any subject involving Barbados… usually ahead of The Nation News and the Barbados Advocate newspapers and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s news website.

Despite all this, the country’s largest newspaper has never seen fit to remark about BFP – the website that has taken Barbados politics on the internet to an entirely new level and inspired both major political parties to ramp-up their internet offerings.

The Nation News has just published an article by Carol Martindale exploring the internet political activities of the two major parties. A Political Web They Weave features interviews with BLP’s Dr. William Duguid and DLP’s Ronald Jones, and is actually a well written and interesting article…

…Even if it totally ignores Barbados’ most popular politically-focused website. Just not newsworthy, I guess! 😉

Here’s a few excerpts from The Nation News…

A Political Web They Weave!

POLITICS IN BARBADOS has gone hi-tech.

From blogs to live videos of mass meetings, web cams and digital manifestos, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) plan to rev up their electioneering with the help of the Internet.

With speculation rife that elections are set for this year, both political parties will be taking their messages, party news and events online given the widespread access to computers in Barbados.

General secretary of the BLP, Dr William Duguid, and DLP Member of Parliament Ronald Jones said they wouldn’t be relying solely on traditional media, the political platforms or mass meetings to reach voters.

Already both parties have revamped interactive websites up and running, maximising the mass reach offered by the Net, as well as the cheap costs.

Duguid, who also manages the party’s website, told the SUNDAY SUN one of the attractions of online politics was that it was cheap.

“When you have to get your message out to the masses in the broadcast or print media, for example, like if you have to print leaflets, it is expensive.

“Whereas you can have things on a blog, you can change it daily, and get your information out to people, and it is very, very cheap.

“There is a lot of information technology and the use of information technology will continue to improve how people canvass, get their message out to constituents,” he said.

Meantine, Jones, who is responsible for coordinating the DLP website… said with more people having access to the Internet, they would be using that medium to help spread their message.

Both politicians also said they got to deal with issues on their websites which the mainstream media did not highlight.

Jones, MP for Christ Church East Central… said very shortly all 30 DLP candidates would be online with their profiles. In the BLP camp four candidates already have theirs posted.

Both parties also disclosed plans to place their respective manifestos online, which would supplement the hard copies to be circulated.

Duguid said no effort would be spared next elections to use the technology.

“The Internet is going to play a greater and greater part in politics all over the world and Barbados is no exception. There is a lot of potential in information technology and electioneering in the modern day,” he said.

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

39 Comments

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

Best Of Barbados Travel Programme Brings In The Least Desirable Tourists And Minimal Profits

Discount Travelers Least Likely To Return To Barbados

For the sixth consecutive year, despite the hype regarding just how well tourism is doing in Barbados, the discounted Best of Barbados programme has been resurrected for 2007.

Let us just compare the differential in net yield for bookings with this programme and direct bookings based on a typical US$100 per night per room (two persons) accommodation cost for a 7 night stay.

All figures shown in US$.

Example ONE (Best of Barbados)

7 nights accommodation (one free) at $100 = $600

less taxpayer airline subsidy of $200 per person

Daily free breakfast and 50% discount on activities etc.

Net revenue to the country = $100 per person

Example TWO (direct booking)

7 nights accommodation at $100 = $700

Daily paid breakfast (average cost) for two persons $210

No airline subsidy (best to attract some of the 200 million people who have acquired Air MILES) and no discount of activities etc.

Net revenue to the country = $455 per person

To grasp the financial implications of the above, multiply the examples by 50,000 visitors.

Example ONE – net revenue to the country = $5 million

Example TWO – net revenue to the country = $22.75 million

In addition to the simple economics, it is widely accepted that the discount market is the least destination loyal and less likely to return.

They are looking for a bargain and wherever that bargain is to be had, that’s where they will travel.

Adrian Loveridge
24 February 2007

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism