Daily Archives: June 19, 2008

Barbados Not Prepared For New Mega Cruise Ships

Barbados Free Press received this article this morning from anonymous reader “B”. We don’t know if it is an original work or if it has been published elsewhere. (We searched but couldn’t find it.) It seems to be in reply to our June 10, 2008 article Can Barbados Cope With The New Mega Cruise Ships’ 5000+ Passengers?

Nonetheless, this is a very important article written by an obviously educated and well-informed person. We encourage everyone to read the article fully as our tourism industry is vital to our country. Our thanks to BFP reader “B”…

New Mega Cruise Ships

News about the introduction of the New Mega-Cruise Ships to the Caribbean is not new. As early as 2000, delegates attending the Cruise Ship conference in Puerto Rico, including Caribbean Private and Public sectors participants, were notified by Cruise Lines officials that the new type cruise ships could be in service within 5 -10 years. Reasons given for the change suggested mega-cruise ships would be more economical to operate and that the Caribbean as a whole would benefit from the increase passenger capacity.

The subtle inference in the Cruise Lines’ message, if anyone read between the lines, was the need for Caribbean destinations to upgrade and modernize their respective cruise ship facilities to accommodate the new vessels.

Whether all of the delegates took this information seriously is doubtful but Cayman Islands, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Maarten are moving to ensure their ports will be ready for the mega-cruise ships. Barbados on the other hand signed a three-year agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines on Oct 06/2006 (Nation News Oct 07/2006) that guaranteed the island a minimum of 400,000 cruise ship passengers annually over the contract duration plus revenues of $156 million dollars.

The need for this contract is mind-boggling when one considers the average number of cruise ship passenger arrivals for 2004 & 2005 equated to 642,429 (2004-721270 and 2005-563588). Presumably someone believed joint marketing activities would be a better investment than upgrading the Bridgetown port facilities.

The presumption Barbados will be included in the mega-cruise ships’ itinerary is somewhat speculative at this time. The mega ships will be fully equipped with supplies to cover outbound and return trips to their home bases and the only replenishments that could be required are fresh fruits, flowers and possibly water.

With the launch of the mega-cruise ships, Caribbean destinations should anticipate changes in the Cruise Lines’ modus operandi. It will not be a case of cruise passengers “becoming less interested in leaving their ships” but rather how many ports of call will the ships’ itineraries include and how much time will be spent in each location. With a captive audience of approximately 5400 + passengers, the emphasis will be on spending more time at sea and less time in ports. A seven-day cruise could entail 4 nights at sea and three days for port calls. The objective is to motivate passengers to spend money on activities and entertainment onboard ships rather than in Caribbean ports of call.

Needless to say the advent of mega-cruise ships will impact heavily not only on Barbados but the entire Caribbean’s tourism industry. Bigger is not necessarily better. Bigger means less cruise ship arrivals and the ripple effect will trickle down to port workers, tour operators, taxi drivers, duty free shops, souvenir sellers, etc to mention a few. How tourism officials react to this new developing trend will be interesting to watch.

If tourism is expected to sustain Barbados’s economy over the next two decades, destination marketing strategies and the manner in which business is conducted must be redefined. Procrastination and the tendency, as mentioned in Rowntree’s “My Barbados” book, to act as if Barbados was the centre of the universe and that tourists are lining up in numbers to spend their vacations on island, may shock tourism stakeholders when visitors go elsewhere. Tourism officials need to take note of the phenomenal growth
St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are experiencing and the stiff competition Barbados is facing in the industry.

Wanting to be classified, as a world-class destination does not happen by talking about it. Positive action is required by all concerned to achieve this status. To attract visitors, a destination has to be affordable and offer value for money. This is no longer the case in Barbados. For tourism to be a viable, productive and rewarding industry, Barbados may yet need to borrow a page from Jamaica’s Tourism Master plan and reinvent itself as a tourist destination.

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Filed under Barbados

Censorship And The Barbados Entertainment Industry

How Much Over The Line Should Barbados Allow At Live Events?

Ian Bourne is taking some flak at his Bajan Reporter Blog for his opinions and actions about censorship of live events. When even the Advocate describes a performance as “depraved” – maybe we should be talking about what we as a community should allow.

Ian has all the dirt over at Bajan Reporter: Backlash from Barbados’ Developing Spoken Word Community – Bajan Reporter Blog under heavy fire for daring to speak their own view

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Filed under Barbados, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, Music

Which “Oil Consultants” Received A Share Of The $2 Million Paid Out By Barbados?

“We spent about $2 million doing the marketing and promotion, producing literature and so on to send out to the companies, to attract them as well as in consultancy fees. We have made about BDS$8 million so far.” …former Minister Liz Thompson talking about the Oil Bidding Process in November 2007.

Where Did The “Consulting Fees” Go?

One of the methods used by crooked Barbados politicians to transfer public funds to their own bank accounts is to engage a series of “consultants” and “consulting companies” for government projects. Sometimes the “consultant” will later give a “gift” to the government official or politician who did the hiring. Sometimes the “consulting company” just happens to be owned by the spouse, son or uncle of the government official.

And here’s the best part, folks… there is no law against this unethical behaviour in Barbados!!!

That’s right… it is not illegal or against any government code for a Minister of Government or other government official to receive a “gift” from the same company they awarded a fat government contract to! We have no ITAL (Integrity, Transparency, Accountability Legislation).

Prime Minister David Thompson and the DLP promised to adopt a Ministerial Code right away, but they failed to do so mere weeks after making the ITAL promise that won them the election.

So where did YOUR $2 Million dollars get spent in the oil bidding process? Do any of the consulting firms have any association with any Barbados government official? Have any of the oil companies provided any “gifts” to any Barbados government official?

Don’t ask, folks. Under the DLP David Thompson Government, you have no right to know the details of how your tax dollars are being spent!

The Nation News Says Venezuela Oil Claim Story Wasn’t Important Enough To Print!

Do you need a chuckle this morning, friends?

Albert Brandford published a Nation News story Oil Block where he claims that the newspaper had the details of the new Venezuela claim to two blocks of Barbados offshore oil last Monday… and that he interviewed Minister Sinckler last Monday.

Seeing as how The Nation News didn’t publish the story until today, Thursday, I guess they just didn’t think it was important enough to do so!

Minister Sinckler claims he knew about the Venezuela story on Sunday – which was the day before Petroleumworld published it. Could have happened that way I guess, but the Nation News story sure seems to be going to a lot of trouble to get the point across that neither the government nor the media were asleep.

Mr. Brandford, methinks thou protesteth too vigorously!

Barbados Free Press first published our story Venezuela Claims Two Blocks Of Barbados Offshore Oil! on Monday June 16, 2008 at 5:13am (Bridgetown) and updated it with a photo at 8:10am (Bridgetown).

Gee… do you think that Albert Brandford read Barbados Free Press on Monday morning?

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Filed under Blogging, Energy, Freedom Of The Press, Oil, Venezuela