Daily Archives: March 8, 2008

Barbados Government Ministers Free To Accept “Gifts” From Persons Wanting Government Approvals Or Contracts

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Prime Minister David Thompson Fails To Have His Ministers Adopt His Promised “Ministerial Code”

On January 3, 2008, the DLP declared in writing a promise to adopt a “Ministerial Code” – that they described as a “code of ethics and procedural guidance for persons who assume ministerial office in a new DLP government. Its purpose is to clearly define the framework within which the bond of trust between the Government and the people of Barbados should be established…”

The DLP also declared in writing that “The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected.”

“Immediately” was in contrast to some other integrity initiatives that were promised within a 100 day time frame. It is also important to note that the Ministerial Code does not have to be passed as a law, and could simply be adopted and declared by the Cabinet to say “This is what is expected of Government Ministers. We declare this code to be our standard of conduct.”

In some jurisdictions where such Ministerial Codes are in place, Government Ministers are required to sign a copy of the code to show their acknowledgment and acceptance of the standards.

Prime Minister Thompson And His DLP Goverment have failed to adopt their Ministerial Code as promised.

When There Are No Rules – Anything Is Acceptable

You can view the promised Ministerial Code at the end of this article, but one of the standards it sets concerns the important issue Government Ministers receiving gifts from persons who do business with the government…

“g. Ministers should avoid accepting any gift or hospitality which might, or might reasonably appear to, compromise their judgement or place them under an improper obligation;”

This standard is of vital importance as it recognizes that even the appearance of possible wrongdoing is grounds for dismissal from a Ministerial post. If adopted as the standard, never again will a corrupt politician be able to say “You lack the hard evidence to show that I took a gift in exchange for other consideration.”

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If this “appearances count” standard is adopted, there will be no more government ministers borrowing a corporate jet for a shopping trip to Miami or New York.

No more land sold to politicians for a fraction of the real value. No more year-old Mercedes auto showing up in a Cabinet Minister’s driveway and the neighbours saying, “Didn’t that used to be owned by a construction company executive? Don’t they do work for the government?”

There are no integrity standards because Prime Minister David Thompson, his Cabinet and the Democratic Labour Party have not done what they said they would do.

Government Ministers Operating With No Code Of Conduct, No Standards

When David Thompson and the DLP introduced their integrity promises at the last moment of the campaign – cut and pasted from an online source only days before – we were skeptical and we said so. (See BFP’s David Thompson Reveals DLP’s Integrity and Freedom Of Information Plans – Much Cut and Pasted From The Internet Only A Few Days Ago)

Then we heard David Thompson speak and he told us that he meant what he said. We believed him, and on January 6, 2008, Barbados Free Press endorsed Thompson and the DLP by publishing our article Dear Mr. Thompson, We Believe You Will Do It…

Yet, here we are almost two months after David Thompson became Prime Minister. The government is operating at full steam. Cheques are being written and corporations are lining up to obtain government work. Contracts are being signed… And still the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and all Government Ministers are operating without the Ministerial Code and standards that they promised to adopt “immediately”.

Now that they have achieved power and hold the country’s cheque book in their hands, David Thompson and the DLP government refuse to implement standards that will prevent them from using their office for personal profit.

Prime Minister Thompson and others have also made statements indicating that the promised “100 days” deadline for integrity and freedom of information legislation may not happen and that revamping the defamation law is no longer a priority.

If Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP Government continue down this path, they will totally discredit themselves in a matter of a few weeks.

Here is the promised Ministerial Code…

Continue reading

64 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

US Military Aircraft Formations Off Barbados?

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Dear Barbados Free Press,

I had the most interesting sighting of military aircraft off Barbados on Friday night around 8.30pm.

I was in Gibbs in St. Peter when I saw planes flying approximately 5 miles off our west coast.

The formation was coming from the north of the island and around the point off of Gibbs Bay these aircraft started heading west southwest. The were quiet and had no flashing lights, just had a constant red light which the military use.

From the moment at first I saw one then another, then another: like they were a squadron of military aircraft flying in formation. From the first one that I saw, I counted at least 30 planes. No joke guys, and maybe there were more that passed before I noticed them.

I have never seen anything like it. I’m just wondering if anybody else saw these aircraft last night.

I believe these were American military planes heading for South America, but strangely enough on the internet you heard on Friday night that they have used the diplomatic approach in South America, so why were all of these planes heading that way? Very interesting!

“Jason”

BFP Comments…

Thanks for the report, Jason. 

Thirty aircraft! That was no training or reconnaissance mission. I wonder if they were C-17 Globemasters? If so, they may have been bringing troops or equipment to Colombia. Just speculation.

Perhaps the guys in the tower at Grantley Adams can answer this one? 

26 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Columbia, Military

The Great African Tourist Scam Of 2008 – Ghana International Airlines Knew They Weren’t Returning To Barbados!

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Ghana International Airlines Has ONE Leased Airplane…

… And It Was Not Available On February 15, 2008!

Ladies and gentlemen, there is an excellent argument to be made that when Ghana International Airlines flew 149 charter passengers from Africa to Barbados on February 1, 2008 – both the airline and the charter company already knew the airline probably wouldn’t be returning to Barbados on February 15th.

It turns out that an aircraft exchange was to take place – and did take place – during the time when Ghana International Airlines was to pick up passengers in Barbados. (Read on for the details.)

And here we are over five weeks later and still no aircraft in sight.

Let’s review all the pieces of this puzzle, and then you can make up your mind as to whether or not you agree that it should have been no surprise when Ghana International Airlines didn’t show up to take those 149 passengers back to Africa.

There are five areas we can think of that should have warned authorities in advance that this specific African flight was going to be a disaster…

1/ Poor financial condition of Ghana International Airways (GIA)

2/ GIA’s scheduling & aircraft limitations and their poor service record.

3/ Incomplete paperwork filed by GIA prior to the flight.

4/ Lack of visa requirements for visitors from Nigeria and Ghana.

5/ Demographics and luggage load of the passengers.

I’ll cover points one and two now, and then get to the others later after our staff meeting this afternoon.

1/ Poor financial condition of Ghana International Airways (GIA)

2/ GIA’s scheduling & aircraft limitations and their poor service record.

Ghana International Airlines has been having a rough time of it lately. They are down to a single leased aircraft, and, as any pilot can tell you – no airline can operate with just one aircraft. There is no time for maintenance and when something breaks (a normal happening with any machine) it totally destroys the flight schedule. Sure, you can always lease a back-up aircraft for a week or so… if you can find one available exactly when and where you need it.

Until the replacement aircraft shows up though, passengers who are stranded in some far-off place like (for instance) Barbados, have to, well, remain stranded. Such is the business of running a one-airplane “International Airlines”.

But it is not like the folks at GIA don’t have experience running a dying airline. The company was largely reincarnated from the ashes of their failed predecessor: “Ghana Airways”. During the last gasps of Ghana Airways in late 2004 and early 2005, all but one of their aircraft were seized by creditors.

So how did Ghana Airways operate with only one aircraft back in 2005? Apparently not very well. As Dr. Richard Anane put it on GhanaWeb…

“With only one DC10 in service, delays and cancellation of flights took its toll on the entire Airline and it became common sight to find passengers demonstrating at the airport or vandalising Ghana Airways property.” (link here)

Ghana – Last Stop For Airliners Before The Seats Are Ripped Out To Haul Freight

According to all the research I’ve managed (assisted by Robert, thanks) Ghana International Airlines – GIA currently operates a single 14-year-old Boeing 757-256 (Boeing serial number 26245) registration TF-FIS – on lease from Icelandair since February 20, 2008.

The aircraft that brought the Africans to Barbados on February, 1, 2008 was an eight-year-old Boeing 757-256 registered TF-FIY (Boeing serial number 29312). This was leased from Icelandair in August of 2007 and formally handed back about February 18, 2008 in exchange for the much older TF-FIS that is the current aircraft.

We are told that Ghana International Airlines had no aircraft available for almost a week in February – when they were supposed to return to Barbados.

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In the last few years the airline has gone through a few aircraft – to the point where they don’t even bother to paint them in the airline colours anymore. All those pretty photos in the promotional materials and on the Ghana International Airlines website are of two aircraft that are long gone.

Now, GIA simply tapes over the “IcelandAir” name on the tail and throws the word “Ghana” on the fuselage. It isn’t pretty, but it is all an airline on its last legs can manage. The top photo is how TF-FIY appeared in September, 2007 and the bottom photo is how the same aircraft appeared on February 1, 2008 when it was at Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Classy tape job on the tail, don’t you think?)

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Up until November 1, 2007, GIA leased a seven-year-old Boeing 757-256 from Iceland Air (Registration TF-FIA). Prior to TF-FIA, Ghana International Airlines was flying a 20-year-old clapped out 757-225F (Boeing serial number 22210) with US registration N930RD. (That’s it in the GIA colours at the top of the article) The aircraft went back to Ryan International in April, 2006 and has since been converted to a freighter and sold to Varig Logistica out of Brazil. According to an industry source, at least one of GIA’s leased aircraft was temporarily seized in early 2007 for payment problems.

GIA also used to lease an Icelandair Boeing 767-366ER – Boeing serial number 24541 (TF-LLA), but this was given up around September, 2007 when, to put it kindly… “Passenger growth did not meet expectations.”

Ghana International Airlines: A Flight Experience You Will Remember!

If you want to fly on Ghana International Airlines, you might want to read some opinions from previous victims, ah… passengers. If you need some humour in your life, trying reading these passenger reports.

Which is all to say that Barbados was not dealing with a world-class operation when it permitted Ghana International Airlines to carry passengers into Bridgetown.

Next In This Article: The Economics Of Flying Empty Aircraft From Africa To Barbados – and – Alarm Bells At Grantley Adams: “As Strange A Planeload Of People As I’ve Ever Seen”

The Economics Of Flying Empty Aircraft From Africa To Barbados

According to our aviation expert, Robert, passenger load factors influence fuel use and costs on big jets, but not as much speed and altitude. (ie: a jet with a full passenger load flying high and at a slower speed can use less fuel than an empty jet flying faster and at a lower altitude.) The bottom line is this: costs are not significantly different whether flying full or empty, and the cabin crew has to come along anyway – so flying back with an empty airplane to retrieve these Africans is going to double the cost of the original flight.

If the original tickets were say, US$3000 each to get 130 people or so from Ghana to Africa, it will cost that much again to get them back.

And that, my friends, is why the plane never returned empty to pick up the Africans. The people who organised this mess had to have known that from the start.

At the end, it doesn’t matter who is responsible… Barbados is probably going to have to pay US$400,000 or so to fly these “guests” back to Africa. That’s your money and mine, friends.

Ok… time to join the others for a Banks (or maybe a dozen.)

I’ll try an finish this tomorrow.

Cliverton (with Robert)

114 Comments

Filed under Africa, Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Immigration, Traveling and Tourism