Daily Archives: June 25, 2008

From What Gods Are We Born In Whose Image?

A painting, two days ago, one of the most sublime in all the world, is auctioned by Christies for 80 million dollars. It is to go into an obscure mansion, possibly never again seen, when such art should belong to the world, kept safe in an art museum for all who would see it. (Monet painting fetches $80 million)

Meanwhile, in Somalia, Ethiopia, millions, men, women and children, are dying in inhospitable near treeless deserts, swamped with the swirl of nostril and eye filling dust, exasperated by extreme heat, drought, and wars. (The story of the vulture and the child link here)

Those peoples are the strongest and most resourceful people on the face of this Earth, but every living entity has limits on what it can endure, and for Somalians and Ethiopians, death by the millions,… is their only escape. Thabo and Magabe are making sure the heat on Africa stays on, so that starvation can only spread.

How many could have been saved with 80 million US Dollars ? How many could have been spared if Zimbabwe were still the Breadbasket of Africa, instead of being Africa’s third basket case ?

From what Gods were we born in whose image?

Colin L. Beadon

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Disaster, Ethics, History, Human Rights, Religion

University Of The West Indies Construction: Caribbean Companies Squeezed Out By Chinese Government

New Barbados Flag

This story was leaked to the Nation News and CBC a week ago. Why hasn’t the Barbados news media covered this story?

Our thanks to a special friend who sent us the following letter. For the record, none of the people named in the letter had anything to do with delivering this letter to Barbados Free Press.

Will Prime Minister Thompson, the Government of Barbados and UWI award a major construction contract to the Communist Chinese under such unfair conditions?

Will the Barbados news media now be embarrassed enough to cover the story?

I guess all those free trips to China for the politicians and the press have to be paid for in some way!

Barbados Contractors’ Association
C/O Moorjani Caribbean Limited, Jackson
St. Michael, Barbados
Phone: 246-421-4027 Fax 246-424-7374 e-mail: achal@moorjanicaribbean.com

June 13, 2008

Ms. Barbara Forde,
Project Officer
Cave Hill Campus,
University of West Indies,
St. Michael.

Dear Barbara,

Ref.: Construction of School of Business

Our members are in receipt of the names of the applicants for the pre-qualification of the Cave Hill School of Business. We notice that three Chinese companies have applied to be pre-qualified. Please take note of the strong objection by this Association of the inclusion of these companies on the following grounds:

1. We believe the 3 Chinese companies are owned by the Government of China. These companies are not independent as the management of the companies is interchanged depending on the territory they are working in. The construction of World Bank funded contract for the construction of Pogson Hospital in St. Kitts was won by China Jiangsu Canada limited and the contract was signed by China Jiangsu Trinidad Limited. Both companies had tendered the project supposedly independently. It is now customary that more than 1 Chinese company bids the World Bank or CDB funded projects. It leads us to speculate the independence of the bids which is a requirement of all the Tenders.

2. In accordance with the rules of CDB, these companies are supposed to operate as if these are independent private enterprise companies. To date no such proof has been forwarded by CDB to show transparently that such is the case. The case above in item 1 clearly indicates that these companies cannot be operating as independent companies.

3. Majority of the Labour engaged by the Chinese companies is from China thus denying local workers the opportunities of employment.

4. Wages paid by the Chinese companies to their Chinese workers are 25% of the wages paid by the Barbadian contractors to their workers. The conditions, under which the Chinese workers work, violate Human rights treaty and the UN convention of the treatment of migrant Labour, to which Barbados is a signatory.

5. Majority of materials are imported from China, which denies opportunities to Caricom indigenous business enterprises.

6. The Chinese companies enjoy taxation advantages in Barbados that are not available to our members.

7. Our members cannot compete with the Chinese companies because we are not tendering on a level playing field.

8. The University of West Indies is a unifying icon of the people of the West Indies. We urge the University to come to the forefront of our struggle to create fair and equitable treatment of Barbadian citizens and our Caricom Partners.

Yours Sincerely
BARBADOS CONTRACTORS’ ASSOCIATION

Achal Moorjani
President

CC The Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon David Thompson
Minister of Labour Attn: Hon Arnie Walters. M. P.
Minister of Economic Affairs Attn: Hon. Maxine McClean.
Dr. Hillary Beckles Principal, Cave Hill campus of The University of West Indies
Caribbean Development Bank. Attn: Dr Compton Bourne, President

This story was leaked to the Nation News and CBC a week ago. Why hasn’t the Barbados news media covered this story?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Business, CARICOM, China, Freedom Of The Press, Politics

Worth Repeating – The Words Of Our Readers

A Few Select Quotes From Our Readers

On Integrity Legislation…

“From what I have seen and heard in 18 months here, public life is a bit of a free-for-all, or maybe “free for accountability for those in office”, with little real sense that ministers and public officials have a clear idea of what integrity means or how they should be accountable to the electorate and the public. Amongst the local bloggers, Barbados Free Press (BFP), has been trying to kick life into this issue–cutely acronomyized as ITAL–but holds out little hope that this will be more than another piece of fooling most of the people most of the time.

I take a different view, believing that fundamental changes such as these pieces of legislation will represent cannot, and should not, be the things that get rushed into play, just to confirm some electoral promise. But, I also hope that Bajans are getting ready to hold a government’s and its public servants’ feet to the fire, or to fire their ******, good and proper.”

BFP reader and fellow blogger Dennis Jones on Living In Barbados blog

On Land Values…

“If our image is one of stability, certainty, and rule of law we will prosper. If we become seen as just another small, remote, unstable socialist workers paradise where instant laws suddenly appear, the capital will flow away from us and we can join the ranks of Jamaica and Guyana, blessed with wonderful resources but unappealing to folks with money to invest.”

… BFP reader “the white rabbit” on Land Values In Barbados – Government Giveth, and Government Taketh Away

“What is needed is a proper Physical Development Plan that is made LAW. To restrict development in the area outlined by the government just needs it to be made a National Park. The problem has been that, over the years, governments have been reluctant to make physical development law, because it restricts their ability to grant special “favours”. I am really skeptical of any plans to restrict development or sale, without it being made law.”

… BFP reader “peltdownman” on Land Values In Barbados – Government Giveth, and Government Taketh Away

On Nurses…

“You have a situation where Barbadian nurses pursue a three-year programme in General Nursing and are hired as Nursing assistants and you bring people from the other side of the world and hire them as staff nurses with lesser qualifications, the NUPW says nothing about our local Nurses yet insists that Taxpayers’ money be used to pay out contracts that werent valid in the first place.

Its time Union members send a serious message to their executives. Our dues pay these delinquents and we get little or no representation.”

BFP reader “of interest” on SHOCKING: Hospital Nurses In Barbados Allowed To Practice Without License Or Proper Training!

On Casino Gambling…

” ‘We’ missed a golden opportunity in the Caribbean when European Vision was moored in Carlisle Bay for months. It was eventually sold for about US$250 million which means each cabin cost 50% less than the average land based hotel room.

Just think if we put in half the money that has been squandered in GEMS into our own ship and had it initially operated for us with a Caribbean crew, sourcing regional produce and consumables

Just think we might have even by now be benefiting from some of the vast profits Carnival Group and others are extracting from our doorstep.”

BFP reader “Adrian Loveridge” on Should Barbados Allow Casino Gambling On Docked Cruise Ships?

“Why allow cruise ships to reap benefits from our tourists and locals alike? Seems the opposite of what we should want.

The measure we need is to acknowledge the casinos that already exist on land and allow all major chains who come to Barbados the right to operate casinos.

This will encourage major chains and at the same time push land based businesses, including ancillary services.”

… BFP reader “Rumplestilskin” on Should Barbados Allow Casino Gambling On Docked Cruise Ships?

On Barbados Blogs And Google Searches

“It is unbelievable that two blogs from Barbados would monopolize the returns on the world’s largest web search engine. No matter what subject you search on Google, if you are searching the word “Barbados” you’ll find BFP and BU articles more often than not…

I don’t understand how Google works, but I have no doubt that the Barbados blogs have a worldwide reach and influence that far exceeds what people would expect.”

BFP reader “Jason” on Google Searches For “Mia Mottley” and “David Thompson” Are Surprising!

“What is unbelievable is that the Blogs are continuing to be ignored by the traditional Fourth Estate here in Barbados. What wasn’t stated above, but should be, is that neither of the Barbados print newspapers, nor our CBC, nor any of the radio stations, appear above the Blogs in almost all Google searches…

For anyone outside of Barbados searching for same on the Internet, the Blogs rule.

In my mind, it is absolutely incredible is that the traditional Fourth Estate continue with their head in the sand, not knowing how to react to same. Any fool knows how they could adapt, but they appear to simply be uncomfortable (unable?) to giving the People a voice.”

BFP reader “Chris Halsall” replies to Jason on Google Searches For “Mia Mottley” and “David Thompson” Are Surprising!

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Filed under Barbados

UPDATED: Barbados Government Says Integrity, Freedom Of Information and Defamation Laws In A Year Or So – Or Maybe Two Years

Almost a year after it was promised, the Thompson Government says they will have “final drafts” of ITAL legislation by the end of this year. As to when the draft legislation will become law… oh… maybe a year or two down the road.

In the meantime, Thompson’s DLP Government members and officials will be free to award government contracts to companies in which they have an interest. They will also be free to accept “gifts” from suppliers and others who are awarded government contracts.

Same old, same old for another couple of years even if Thompson is to be believed this time. (As opposed to the election where he said he would adopt a Ministerial Code immediately upon forming a government.)

Prime Minister Thompson and his government could declare immediately that government contracts will not be awarded to any company in which a government official or their spouse has an interest. The DLP Government could order that this very afternoon.

But they won’t… because they intend to take full advantage of the two year “feed at the trough” period before the integrity legislation becomes law.

So while we are encouraged by the process that is outlined in the Barbados Advocate today, we’ll not break out the champagne just yet. All this work that is just now starting should and could have been done by David Thompson and the DLP two years ago.

There is also the matter of just what the legislation will say and whether the politicians will really adopt meaningful laws or window dressing designed to placate the public but do no harm to feeding at the trough.

Some will say we are too negative, too hard on a government that promised to adopt a Ministerial Code almost six months ago and then failed to do so. Some will say that we are too hard on a government that cut and pasted integrity proposals from the internet a few weeks before the election.

All we can say is… we’ll see what happens.

A promise is a comfort to a fool… and we’ve been fooled enough, thank you.

Here is the full article from the Barbados Advocate. We reprint it in its entirety because the Advocate routinely destroys its articles and keeps no archives for some strange reason. You can look at the original for a few weeks here.

NEW GOVERNANCE LAWS COMING

By Shawn Cumberbatch

GOVERNMENT should have the outline of new laws governing integrity, freedom of information, and defamation, by August and final drafts by year-end.

This means the island should have Freedom of Information, Defamation and Integrity Legislation on the books by the first quarter of next year if not sooner, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Maxine McClean said yesterday.

The Minister, along with Senator Orlando Marville, chairman of the new Governance Advisory Board which is dealing with the laws in question and other governance issues, gave an update on its work during a news conference at Government Headquarters, Bay Street, St. Michael. Also present were other members of the board Permanent Secretary, Special Assignments Prime Ministers Office Captain Randolph Straughn; former Central Bank of Barbados Governor Calvin Springer; attorney-at-law Monique Taitt; Development Specialist Shantal Munro-Knight, and Dean of the St. Michaels Cathedral Rev. Frank Marshall. Another member, Professor Eudine Barriteau of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus was absent.

As soon as we have drafts and as soon as they have been ventilated with key stakeholders, it would go to Parliament. As soon as we can get that, and beginning next year for sure, it should be there, if not before. I think that there are pieces of it, which among the priorities will be top priorities, and we would want to get that to Parliament so that we can have it enforced, McClean told reporters.

The issues that we have put on the table certainly … would indicate that for Barbadians and certainly for the government it is a critical area. We think it is important for the functioning of every government and it is therefore a priority. As a priority, however, we want to ensure that we do all that is necessary to put on the table a range of legislation that can deliver what we are seeking to deliver, she added.

Marville said the immediate focus of the body was getting the three pieces of legislation mentioned ready by the end of the year. It has hired noted lawyer Professor Albert Fiadjoe, who has worked on similar initiations in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Belize, to help draft legislation.

The chairman said in order to get as wide input as possible, three town hall meetings will be held in addition to meetings with the media, the social partners, and other specific stakeholders in August.

We are also hoping to have the work online. We are doing this as openly and transparently as possible, largely because this is supposed to be an act in the interest of transparency, he said.

Marville said once the first three pieces of legislation were out of the way, the body intended to work on other initiatives, including looking at a constitutional amendment dealing with the power of the Prime Minister, possibly at a Contractor General, and also revisiting the role of the Ombudsman.

He anticipated considerable public participation during the discussions in August, and said that while the public expected all the things mentioned to have been done by now as you can appreciate, drafting is not the job of a board like this one, it is looking at the issues and trying to put some sort of sense together on what we would present to the Cabinet.

We therefore have engaged the services of a legal services advisor Professor Albert Fiadjoe, who is arguably the best public lawyer in Barbados if not in the region, he said.

UPDATED: Story from Caribbean Net News…

Reprinted from Caribbean Net News
caribbeannetnews.com

Governance advisory board set up in Barbados
Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS): A Governance Advisory Board has been established by the Barbados Cabinet to deal with a number of issues, including Freedom of Information, Defamation and Integrity draft Bills.

This is according to Chairman of the Board, Senator Orlando Marville, who was speaking at a press conference at Government Headquarters on Tuesday.

The other members of the Board are: The Very Rev. Dean Dr Frank Marshall; the Permanent Secretary (Special Assignments) Prime Minister’s Office; Captain Randolph Straughan; Calvin Springer; Shantal Munroe-Knight; Professor Eudine Barriteau and attorney-at-law Monique Taitt.

According to Marville, the Board would also be looking at a constitutional amendment related to the tenure and power of the Prime Minister; and examining the role of the Ombudsman and a proposed Contractor General.

He noted that Legal Services Advisor, Professor Albert Fiadjoe, had been retained to draft the legislation, and the aforementioned Bills should be ready by year end. Continue reading

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

Video: Chinese Soldiers Murder Tibet Civilians

Barbados’ New Best Friend: China

We love all that free Chinese money in Barbados. Free trips for politicians and reporters. Free equipment for the Coast Guard. New Bajan embassy in China. Prime Minister Thompson reviewing the Chinese troops and touring the Olympic venues.

Yup. What a wonderful friend Barbados has in Communist China.

And we have this very special agreement with the Chinese…

They give us money.

We keep our diplomatic mouths shut when they murder innocent men, women and children.

If you really want to see the video, click on the photo above.

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Filed under Barbados, China, Human Rights