Daily Archives: February 12, 2008

LIAT Chief Makes A Valid Point: Adrian Loveridge

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LIAT chief: Blame heavy taxes

In a Nation news story today (Tuesday 12th February) under this heading, the Chief Executive Officer of LIAT is blaming regional Governments, including the three principal shareholder’s for the high intra Caribbean airfares. (Nation News link here)

Mr Darby has in my humble opinion a valid point.

Departure taxes, handling fees and other user fees have climbed to an all time high.

But let us examine an example of these fares.

Booking a month ahead and looking at the cheapest option on LIAT’s website for return flights from Barbados to St. Lucia, the fare is US$240.24.

Of this, the outward taxes and add-ons are US$55.87 and on the return leg, US$57.37.

So a total of US$113.27 or 47% of the overall airfare is made up of taxes and additional charges.

What Mr Darby fails to mention is that of the US$113.27 in add-ons, some US$28 is made up of LIAT’s own fuel and insurance surcharge.

There is no doubt that the new Minister and Tourism and all the associated agencies involved will currently be grappling with ways to redress the decline in intra regional travel.

Already many tourism industry leaders have spoken out passionately about the overall effect the decline in intra Caribbean travel is having on tourism revenue earnings and hotel occupancy especially in the critical eight long summer months.

No-one yet appears to have calculated this total loss in tourism income to each Caribbean nation, both in terms of lost Government taxes and private sector revenue against the monies generated through increased airport fees.

Clearly, if airfares are perceived as being too high as to deter people from travelling within the region, then Government’s must balance this against revenue that would have been generated by additional visitor arrivals.

Adrian Loveridge
12 February 2008

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

Dwight Eisenhower, Changing Diapers and Our New Barbados Parliament

Daddy On Duty…

I worked nights yesterday – or was it today? The human body is not naturally set up to handle these kinds of changes in our daily sleeping schedule. The only reason I know it is Tuesday is because I have been looking forward to the Thrown Speech. 😉

Sleep will have to wait because I’m doing the diaper changes this morning while my woman takes a much-needed break. (Side note to all the guys out there – make sure that mommy gets enough time off for herself. You think that work is stressful? Try staying at home with a house full of stinky diapers all the time!)

While the girls left early this morning to do the rounds, the little one and I played a few games like “Daddy pick up whatever I throw on the floor” and “Watch how many times I can fill my diaper in an hour!”

Yup, I fully understand why some women go crazy.

Cruising The Internet

I love random surfing… just following the links and discovering little tidbits that you wouldn’t normally see. The zombie at the keyboard (that’s me!) stumbled upon the January 17, 1961 “Military-Industrial Complex” speech of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

President Ike’s words are well worth reading because although we don’t have a “Military-Industrial Complex” in Barbados, we do have a few groups that come together in a nexus of political and economic power that often thinks about power and money first, and what is good for Barbados and Bajans second.

On the day that our new Parliament opens, Bajans would do well to consider who these groups are in Barbados and how we citizens need to be ever vigilant – no matter how we voted or our faith in the folks we elected.

Here’s a few lines of wisdom from Dwight D. Eisenhower…

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present * and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

… taken from Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 Military-Industrial Complex speech (link here)

China’s Rising Military-Industrial Complex

The last Barbados government kept silent about Communist China’s human rights abuses – which include slave labour camps with millions of slaves. I have no doubt that this new DLP government will do much the same.

Continue reading

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Filed under China, History, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Slavery

Blogger As Journalist – Barbados Underground Moves Up A Notch…

David at Barbados Underground has interviewed the Chief Marketing Officer from Barbados Light & Power about their policies, price structure and plans for the future.

This is just one more incidence showing that Barbados blogs are not ignored by those who wish to communicate ideas to a wider Barbados audience.

Good work, David.

Barbados Underground: Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) Educate The Bajan Blogosphere~National Energy Policy Needed

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Energy, Environment

Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips III Knows Construction – But Little About Laws And The Rule Of Law

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Quotes From Grenville Phillips III

“Yet, for some inexplicable reason, the Government has not required that builders follow the national building standards. In my opinion, requiring builders to follow the minimum building standards does not require the proclamation of any new laws…

“Whenever I am driving through a new housing development, I habitually stop and inspect the building construction work. Sometimes I photograph what I observe. I have yet to observe a house being constructed to the minimum structural standards of the Barbados National Building Code.

“The new DLP administration has promised, in their manifesto, to build 500 houses in 500 days. Will they be as sub-standard as the ones built by the last administration? I have inspected houses being built for the Government last week and can confirm that so far, nothing has changed…

Our Construction Industry Is Creating Dangerous Structures Throughout Barbados

Our friend Grenville Phillips III is a structural engineer who obviously knows his stuff. Grenville is upset about the low quality of construction in Barbados – and rightly so. In the past few days he has put up some detailed articles and photographs that should frighten Barbados homeowners and prospective homeowners to death. If you are even thinking about purchasing a home in Barbados you need to read Grenville’s articles. (here and here)

But like many Bajans who have never lived off the island in a society that is governed by the rule of law, Grenville doesn’t understand that without proper laws, and adherence to the rule of law, a society cannot enforce compliance to standards of any kind. He doesn’t understand that without laws that formally set the standards and provide mechanisms for enforcement and penalties – there are no real standards.

Successive Barbados Governments Have Failed To Enact Proper Laws In Many Areas

This problem is at the root of many of our frustrations on Barbados. We can’t enforce environmental responsibility if we don’t have standards set in law and penalties to hammer the worst offenders with. That’s one of the reasons why the previous BLP government allowed Shell Oil to get away with the toxic disaster at the airport jet fuel pipeline: there was no law against what Shell did! (Shell story here, here and here)

That’s why corrupt members of the previous BLP government could get away with unethical behaviours that would have seen them thrown in jail in the United States, Canada or the UK: their behaviours were not against the law of Barbados.

There was no law against former Public Works Minister Gline Clark building a house on land that his government expropriated. There was no law against Minister Clark withdrawing “campaign donations” cash from his personal bank account at the ScotiaBank and then using the cash to pay his house contractor. (Gline Clark’s story is here)

We have more road deaths than murders, yet we still don’t have the breathalyzer laws and the equipment that would reduce drunken driving and save lives. With no effective laws and without the deterrence provided by roadside testing by police traffic officers, drunken driving remains a national weekend pastime. (story here

Without proper laws – anything goes.

So having laws is the first requirement for setting standards, and Barbados does not have a Building Code that is law. We have a draft Building Code that has never been proclaimed as law.

Our “Barbados Building Code” should rightly be called “Unenforceable Suggestions For Building In Barbados”.

Rule Of Law Lacking In Barbados

The second requirement for an effective Barbados Building Code is societal adherence to the Rule of Law: a concept that is sadly lacking in Barbados. The rule of law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. (Wikipedia explanation here)

Any Bajan can tell you that the law is not applied equally in Barbados. If you are rich or one of the political elites you can get away with pretty well anything on this island. Heck, you can even beat your wife and the police will not answer her call for help for four days if you have money and live in a gated community. (BFP story here)

Grenville missed this point about the rule of law when he wrote his anti-corruption piece Protecting Barbados From A Culture Of Corruption.

Grenville has done a magnificent job highlighting the dangerous chaos in our construction industry, but unless the new DLP Government proves itself capable of passing effective laws and returning our society to the Rule of Law – foreign investors and domestic home buyers in Barbados will remain at grave risk.

* The above photo is courtesy of Grenville Phillips III and illustrates one of his articles that we linked to. The wall is apparently not safe and Grenville or another competent engineer can know this merely by looking at the photo. I think that the new DLP Government had better pay attention to Grenville. Were I David Thompson, I’d offer him a position right away and pair him with other competent professionals and lawmakers so we can get Barbados construction up to the standards that our citizens and foreign investors deserve.

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption