Daily Archives: June 6, 2008

Will Rayside Construction Be Awarded Barbados Government Contracts To Thank Leroy Parris For The Use Of The Bizjet?

We see Leroy Parris in the Nation News saying that the CLICO purchase of Rayside Construction is working out just fine, thank you. The company has been reinvigorated with a $50 million investment and new equipment. Rayside will be opening in St. Lucia and T&T and is ready to take on all competition.

And we think that’s wonderful for Barbados and the hundreds of Bajans who work for Rayside Construction.

What we don’t like is the LACK OF TRANSPARENCY shown by Prime Minister Thompson in his use of a private business jet on a trip to New York with Leroy Parris.

There must be rules, standards and transparency about the use of corporate jets by members of our government. There must be rules, standards and transparency about government members receiving gifts and benefits from individuals and businesses.

Corporations and individuals do not loan biz jets to governments or government members out of the goodness of their hearts. When the details of such arrangements are kept secret from the citizens, there is opportunity for abuse and corruption.

We were told that a DLP Government would act with integrity and transparency. We were told that we wouldn’t see any more of this “tit for tat” where politicians dispensed juicy government contracts to friends and supporters – with little regard for bids or a proper procurement process.

Without integrity rules, transparency and a freedom of information process as we were promised, very little has changed. Everything is still secret and the public’s right to know the normal business of government is ignored by David Thompson and his cabal.

In civilized democracies, any citizen can know how many and which government contracts have been awarded to whom. Most jurisdictions even web-post the information.

But in Barbados citizens still have to wonder how many government contracts have been awarded to Mr. Parris’ company… and whether David Thompson paid a full market price for the use of his old friend’s business jet, fuel and crew.

Same old, Same old….

Further Reading

The Nation News: Parris “Brighter Times For Rayside”

BFP: Barbados PM David Thompson’s “Private Jet” – Chartered, Owned or Loaned?


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

Margarent Knight Fights For Holetown: “So Help Me… They Will Wish To God They Were Never Born”

I see over on Barbados Underground, David has written an article concerning a proposed $5.5 million upgrade for Holetown beach. (link here)

Well, so help me God, if they (the Coastal Unit or whomever they are) so much as touch the Holetown Police Station, the Court and the Post Office and Surfside Beach Bar, in order to pave the way for condos or an hotel, I will gather up a crowd and we will kick up such a storm they will wish to God they were never born.

Sometime back in the 1970’s, there were plans to widen a dangerous corner in the road at Fitts Village, just close to where Jordan’s Supermarket is. No problem – or so they thought. Well, it was a problem for me, because their plans involved the cutting down of a tree that was over FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OLD. (The late Mr. Edward Stoute said so).

I wrote them (Ministry of whatever it was called then) and threatened to chain myself up to the tree if they did not withdraw that part of the plan. I’m happy to say that the tree survived, but was badly damaged years later during a violent storm.

So I’m now giving this lot fair warning if they have their beady eyes on Holetown Police Station. They nearly did it in Oistins a few years ago, but I think Stella (Yes – THAT Stella) made some noise and thankfully Oistins Police Station is still intact.

Margaret Knight

Comment By Barbados Free Press

Margaret, we love you dearly when you are on a rant! Don’t stop in your defense of what little of this island that we have left.

Thanks from all of us,

Marcus, Shona, George, Cliverton, Robert and Auntie Moses


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment

A City Dies: Robert Remembers Johannesburg, South Africa

The Chelsea Hotel, Hillbrow – Or What’s Left Of It

Jan Smuts International Airport is about seven miles east of downtown Johannesburg, but even in 1991 that seven miles was probably about the most dangerous road I’ve ever driven. We never took one vehicle, always two. Race didn’t matter: black, white, coloured, chinese – nobody cared. If you were a foreigner you were fair game. I am “black” in Barbados but in Jo’burg I was “coloured”.

That was in the days when I was starting third seat on 727’s and “any cargo, anytime, anywhere” was the motto. The biggest lesson I learned that year was to use far more straw than the “experts” recommended.

You say, “Straw? Boeing 727 and straw? What the devil is he talking about?”

A healthy 727-200F can carry about 300 live goats plus a few pallets and lots of fuel. It was a hell of a way to make a living, but that was how I spent most of 1991. My time there was short but full of (mostly good) memories – with the exception of a bad bad happening on 03 Left that I shall never forget. It is a long story but there was no damage and nothing was injured except our pride. Nothing that a change of underwear couldn’t cure.

Although we usually stayed close to the airport, a few times I stayed at the Chelsea Hotel in Hillbrow because one of the chaps had some pretty friends there. The former white enclave became a bit of a free-for-all zone in the early 1980’s but by 1991 the party was ending.

An old friend sent me the above photo of how the Chelsea Hotel looks now and links to a website that shows what is left of the city. He says that the Johannesburg is dead man walking. Nothing remains. Anyone who could get out has gone.

“What about you?”, I said.

“Home is home”, was the reply.

Good luck, old friend – but you’ll have to visit me because my days of travel to Jo’burg are well and truly ended.



Filed under Africa, Aviation, Barbados, Traveling and Tourism