Monthly Archives: June 2008

Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai Flees To Dutch Embassy – Chaos


HARARE, Zimbabwe – The Dutch Foreign Ministry said that Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare.

Dutch television reported that Tsvangirai entered the embassy shortly after a police raid Monday on his party’s headquarters. (photo above is an old one found by BFP)

… report from MSNBC (June 23, 2008 10:45am Bridgetown) link here

Election Run-Off Canceled – Butcher Mugabe Secure

“Africa’s Breadbasket” is what they used to call Zimbabwe – or, should I say, Rhodesia.

After decades of the world and especially other African neighbours ignoring and even supporting the butchery of Robert Mugabe, it is too late to save the people of Zimbabwe as the country has already descended into a violent hell of a wasteland.

No agriculture and no industry. Despite being blessed with a treasure trove of natural resources, Zimbabwe has developed a national economy where the main products are fear and chaos. Iron rule enforced by intimidation, violence and murder.

This past weekend the Nation News printed an editorial A Conspiracy of Silence, that criticises Barbados and our CARICOM nations for remaining mum on Zimbabwe.

But this is the same Nation News that still referred to Mugabe as a “freedom fighter” as recently as last January!

Africa’s pleasure at seeing the whites, coloureds and indians being thrown out of Zimbabwe was such that it was willing to ignore and even support the most despotic abuses by Mugabe.

Now it is way too late for regrets by Barbados and all the nations who remained silent for so long.

20 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Human Rights, Zimbabwe

Google Searches For “Mia Mottley” and “David Thompson” Are Surprising!

Suppose You Google “Mia Mottley” While In Dubai Or China…

… or in San Francisco, Zurich or Madrid – it all comes back the same and the result was a big surprise to me.

Out of over twelve thousand returns on Google, articles from Barbados Free Press are #1 and #2. (!)

Wikipedia is #3, while articles from Barbados Underground are #4 and #5.

Searches for “David Thompson”, “Barbados Prime Minister” and other politicians and government ministers produce similar results.

What it means is that when other governments, international financiers and business people use Google to research the political leadership in Barbados, more often than not the world’s premier search engine directs them to one or more Barbados blogs in the “top ten” first page of returns.

How the world has changed.

Special thanks to BFP reader Jason for writing this article and sending us the graphic.

21 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of The Press, Politics

British Foreign Office Says Prime Minister Thompson’s “100 Days” Integrity Promise Was A Deciding Factor In Barbados Election

“Although the BLP under Owen Arthur had run the country effectively for almost 14 years, helping Barbados become one of the most affluent developing countries in the world with low unemployment and relatively low crime rates, there was a strong desire for change. Concern had also been expressed about Owen Arthur’s increasingly autocratic style, and there were allegations of property fraud and of backhanders being paid in relation to government contracts.

This gave David Thompson the opportunity to win over voters with a strong campaign, which built up his credibility as a leader. Thompson also pledged to introduce integrity legislation within 100 days. Other priorities include making life better for ordinary Barbadians: reducing the cost of living; giving people access to affordable housing; and improving public services, especially health and education.”

… from the website of the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (link here)

Prime Minister Thompson: Barbados Elites Cannot Hide Wrong-Doing From The World Any Longer

The internet has empowered ordinary people. We now have access to information and source data that was once censored from mass distribution by various political, business and media elites. As well, the ordinary citizen can communicate with the world on a mass basis without the costs and gatekeepers that previously limited this ability.

True, there is a whole lot of junk, lies and errors out there in cyberspace, but citizens of the world are increasingly saying “We prefer to sort the good from the bad for ourselves. No government or media gatekeepers wanted, thank you.”

As we have seen with fictional news published by Reuters and by the L.A. Times and the New York Times, much of what appears in the “mainstream” press is agenda-driven and often outright lies. Not to mention what doesn’t appear in the news media – and especially in the local Barbados news media. (Think about the failure of the Barbados news media to publish stories about a Minister of Government building a home on expropriated land, the Director of Public Prosecutions misusing his position to collect back rent and the failure of the Barbados Media to cover a story of corruption surrounding the flyover project until they were shamed into it by the blogs.)

So ordinary Bajans are quite capable of sorting out the information for themselves. What is in the news media is not necessarily true, and what is on the blogs is not necessarily any less reliable than stories in the news media. We’ll decide for ourselves, thank you.

Prime Minister Thompson… You Can’t Control Information

Mr. Prime Minister, the British Foreign Office is officially on the record saying that there were allegations of fraud in the Owen Arthur Government and that your “100 days” Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation (ITAL) promise was a big part of the DLP election win.

How long will it be before the British Foreign Office reports that you’ve done nothing with your “100 days” ITAL promise?

How long will it be before the British Foreign Office reports that your Royal Barbados Police Force is refusing to investigate politically-motivated threats with racial overtones against a British investor who purchased a hotel in Barbados?

How long will it be before the British Foreign Office reports that the new DLP Government failed to charge even one person with corruption-related activities when the evidence in several cases is overwhelming?

Google Me This…

Prime Minister Thompson, try a few Google searches on the internet and you’ll see what a billion people all over the world can access instantly when they are curious about Barbados – or perhaps want to do business with your government.

Try a few of these Google searches, Sir, and then think very carefully about what you and your government’s priorities should be for the next few years. Out of the millions of hits returned with the following Google searches, articles by Barbados citizens on this and other blogs are in the top ten on the first page…

“David Thompson integrity”

“Barbados government integrity”

“Foreign investment in Barbados”

“DLP Government Barbados”

“Justice in Barbados”

“investment Barbados”

“Barbados stock exchange”

“corruption in Barbados”

“Barbados aviation”

“Barbados Prime Minister”

“Prime Minister David Thompson”

“Prime Minister Owen Arthur”

“Owen Arthur”

“DLP Barbados”

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Filed under Barbados

COVER-UP: Royal Barbados Police Force Ignores Violent Threats To Businessman

Personal attention of Mr Darwin Dottin

Commissioner
The Royal Barbados Police Force

Subject: Death Threats

Once again, death threats, against myself and my wife, are appearing openly on one of the popular blogs, Barbados Free Press.

As you are aware, I have formally reported these and other threats in writing to you personally. The last contact I had from the Royal Barbados Police Force, was several months ago was when a gentleman identifying himself as Superintendent Jedder Robinson, telephoned me.

I understand from two senior managers at Cable and Wireless, one in London and one here in Barbados, that the source of these threats can be traced.

I am therefore at a loss why action appears to have not been taken.

Perhaps you could advise of any progress, and if you do not have the resources to actively pursue the investigation into these death threats, perhaps it might be advisable for me to contact the British High Commission here in Barbados?

I would also respectfully remind you of the larger picture here.

The United Kingdom is our largest single tourism market. British Nationals are also among, if not the largest single investors on Barbados.

And clearly it does not send a reassuring message that legal permanent residents holding British passports can so blatantly have their lives threatened, seemingly without any consequence or resolve.

I look forward to your response.

Thank You.

Adrian Loveridge
22nd June 2008

Faxed to the Administration office of the Commissioner of Police (429 8755) and copied by fax and email to Donald Austin – President – Cable and Wireless (Barbados) Ltd and John Pluthero Executive Chairman of Cable and Wireless International in London.

Barbados Free Press Comments

Barbados Free Press, Barbados Underground, Keltruth Blog and other Barbados-based blogs have for the last year or so seen threatening comments left by a group of persons who are rabid supporters of the previous BLP government. These threats are serious. There were threats to burn down Mr. Loveridge’s business, and these threats were followed by arsons against his hotel.

As you will read in our May 25, 2008 article re-printed below Barbados Police Continue To Cover-Up Threats Against Adrian Loveridge, Court Witnesses, Blogger – the Royal Barbados Police Force are engaged in a cover-up because there are big names involved, and the object of the threats was to intimidate political and media opponents of the Barbados Labour Party government.

Many of the threats came from a computer at the Barbados Parliament that is used by MP William Duguid. This was confirmed by none other than the Secretary General of the Barbados Labour Party, Doctor William Duguid, himself. (Dr. Duguid’s comments are here)

Reprint of BFP’s May 25, 2008 article…

Barbados Police Continue To Cover-Up Threats Against Adrian Loveridge, Court Witnesses, Bloggers

Online Threats Continue…

“There is only one solution.

K__i__l__l

s__t__i__n__k__i__n__g

L__o__v__e__r__i__d__g__e

l__i__k__e

r__a__s__s__h__o__l__e.

BFP… constant defender of w_h_i_t_e_s and h_o_m_o_s_e_x_u_a_l_s, constant attacker of b_l_a_c_k_s.”

The above comment was left by someone calling themselves “Bana” from IP: 69.73.251.222 on 2008/05/25 at 2:49 AM (GMT)

“KILL LOVERIDGE”

Comment left by someone calling themselves “The Verdict” from IP: 69.73.210.227 on 2008/05/07 at 12:36 AM (GMT)

Violent Threats Continue – Barbados Police Do Nothing

A friend who knows I write for BFP asked if all those threats to murder Adrian Loveridge stopped when the new government took power. The short answer is “No, the threats continue and the police continue to do what they do best – cover-up crimes likely to involve political elites.”

My friend then defended the police saying that they can’t do anything without witnesses willing to testify, and seeing as how BFP and Barbados Underground blogs are written anonymously, Mr. Loveridge cannot expect the police to do anything.

I explained that the police had received IP numbers from bloggers and witnesses who were willing to testify and that they had a victim in Mr. Loveridge who had already filed reports with the police. In fact, Cable and Wireless informed Adrian Loveridge that they had already provided the information about who was doing the threats to both the police and the former Attorney General. (See HERE)

“Oh, I see what you mean then.” said my friend.

Regular visitors to the Barbadian blogs are well aware that a person or persons have been making threatening comments for the last ten months or so on various blogs. Victims of the death threats include hoteliers Adrian Loveridge and his wife Margaret, bloggers Ian Bourne (Bajan Reporter blog), Kathy Davis (Keltruth blog) and lawsuit defendant Marjorie Knox.

Of particular interest is that threats were also made to burn down the Loveridge’s hotel, and that two arsons did happen. When someone threatens to burn down a hotel, and then there is an arson, one should expect some reaction from the police, don’t you think?

The threats were properly reported to the Royal Barbados Police Force along with the IP information that would enable the police to find the culprits, but seeing as how the main suspect(s) are BLP government supporters – perhaps even linked to the BLP government itself – we didn’t expect that the police would do anything more than pretend to investigate.

And that’s pretty well what happened with the police… Nothing.

And with the police unwilling to do anything, of course the threats like those above continue even to today.

BFP Is Going To Publish All The Threats And The IP Information

We don’t know if this will ever shame the police or the government into revealing or charging the person(s) who is doing the threats but we will publish the details of a selection of threats in this article – including the IP information and date etc..

We’re not sure how long it will take us to go back in our records, but we will try to post a few every day for the next week or two. I think we’ll start back last year at the beginning and then work forward to the present. That way readers can appreciate how the threats developed. Also, readers will see that while some of the comments might not be considered threatening by themselves, they are threatening in context of other comments left by the same people.

Readers should also be aware that on occasion the people posting the threats will do so using the handles of known and responsible BFP readers, so don’t pay too much attention to the name of the poster… it is the IP Internet number that counts!

It will be a long list that develops every day as we have time. If you want to have a look, you can click on the next link… Continue reading

54 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, Corruption, Crime & Law, Human Rights, Offshore Investments, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Ian Bourne Changes Mind… or Gets Caught

You Can’t Always Believe Everything You Read Or See Folks!

It looks like our old friend Ian Bourne of Bajan Reporter Blog is getting along just smashingly with (as Ian refers to her) the curvaceous Rhona Fox“.

Hmmmmm. No argument from me, Ian!

Of course, it might be that Shona is having a little fun with PhotoShop this morning too! Thats why she left the little bad area by Ian’s face so he could deny everything when his womany hits the roof. 😉

So some things aren’t always what they seem.

Like last year when Barbados Free Press lamented the fact that the Barbados news media ignored the visit of the Royal Navy warship HMS Southhampton. Ian went on a bit of a rant about BIM not being under Britain’s thumb anymore saying

“I knew about the warship, I couldn’t make it – so it was like “big frigging deal”…. BTW: we should be a republic, no flippin monarchy, just leave Nelson alone as I do not want MY tax-paying bucks to move the old geezer”

and then in a following comment…

If a UK group want to drop off their pounds while here and so forth, I would not refuse it…

But does this mean I have to genuflect and scrape as a warship tips ashore or when the grandson of a hereditary leader whose type of rule no longer applies to Britain and its FORMER colonies decides to snog/shag at a West Coast hotel? Bloody hell, NO! As a calypso from Tony “Commander” Grazette says – “Tell dem, slavery done”

Visit all you like & remember your days of glory, but if you expect a spit-shine like the old days? Tek a long walk off a short pier, dearie – Doan let um hit ya where da Good Lord split ya! Peace

That Was Then – This Is Now

Good old Ian is at heart an honest man, so today he had to admit that last year’s rant was a bit of “sour grapes” for him. It appears that Ian is as fascinated with the warships of the Royal Navy as we are. 🙂

And like most of us, Ian is probably still conflicted about history, the Monarchy and our current relationship with “them-they” over the pond.

Then again… we haven’t seen too many folks ’bout hey turn down the title of “Sir” when offered – no matter what they bravely say about Bajan independence with a rum in one hand on a Wednesday night!

Anyway, Ian has written a good piece about the visit of the Royal Navy warship HMS Iron Duke. You can check it out at Bajan Reporter Blog…

IRON DUKE RETURNS TO BARBADOS – or the Bajan Reporter turns into Charlie Brown

10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Politics, Slavery

Barbados Accounting Firm Price Waterhouse Coopers Pays BDS$56,000 For One Phone Call!

That Was One Expensive Phone Call…

I can’t figure it out – maybe you can.

Peter Simmons, the brother of the Chief Justice of Barbados Sir David Simmons, made one little phone call and ran into a wee bit of legal trouble because he threatened a lawyer on the other side of a legal case he is embroiled in.

So who pays for his lawyer and the fancy “psycholinguistics” expert to say that dear old Peter didn’t really mean to threaten anyone when he made the threatening phone call?

Accounting firm Price Waterhouse Cooper – that’s who!

Huh?

What the devil is going on here? Why would PWC pay the legal bills for someone who supposedly has nothing to do with their firm?

I can’t figure it out. Maybe you can…

Keltruth Blog publishes the court documents that prove it: Peter Simmons’ phone call – Part III – Why did PwC pay a “Psycholinguistics expert” Big Bucks to defend Simmons?

18 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law

Prime Minister Thompson: Some People Better Go To Jail

UPDATED – January 18, 2009

This article was first published on June 20, 2008. Since then, the following people have been charged with fraud…

(Are you kidding? Thompson and the DLP will never charge anyone with any corruption offense. The DLP don’t want to start that kind of war with the BLP because they are so busy feeding at the public trough themselves. Same old, same old ’bout hey!)

Has Mr. Barrow, the victim, had his house repaired in the seven months since this article was written?

Original story…

“If Thompson and the DLP can’t put anyone in jail with the circumstances surrounding this case, they had better stop pretending that they intend to do a damn thing about corruption on this island.” … BFP’s George on a rant

Barbados Hurricane Disaster Money Fraud

It seems that when Hurricane Ivan went by here in 2004 the home of Theophilus Barrow was destroyed. Our illustrious government soon created a $4 million dollar emergency fund and money was paid out so that Mr. Barrow’s home would soon be rebuilt. Self-congratulations were spread all around with politicians bragging, civil servants strutting and “aren’t we all wonderful taking care of those who have trouble taking care of themselves” was the prevailing word.

FOUR YEARS LATER it finally comes out. The money that was paid out for Mr. Barrow’s new home is missing. He never got it, Ministry of Home Affairs have no clue, and Judy Thomas of the Central Emergency Relief Organisation doesn’t want to talk about it even now, four years later. Hmmmm…. I wonder why?

.

Thomas said: “I don’t think I need to shed any light in the media on that matter.”

No surprise here. What did we expect with a government regime that was corrupt from the top down? Public money, emergency money for a poor defenseless man, stolen in broad daylight and him left homeless.

Does the Government of Barbados pay for an entire house and never look at the finished product before handing out money? Who signed the inspection off? Who signed the cheque? Who was in charge? Was Director of Emergency Management Judy Thomas (red circles above) in charge? Who knew and kept quiet? Put them all in jail.

Five or six people and a few big-ups in jail for corruption would fundamentally change our society. People would actually start to believe that there was RULE OF LAW for all.

Somebody Stole That Money

That is fraud Mr. Thompson, pure and simple. It is disgusting. It is happening on your watch. Sure, we know that you can blame it all on the last bunch, the Barbados Larceny Party, but now YOU are in charge. YOU promised transparency, YOU promised a new regime of honesty and integrity. And here is your chance to show us that you mean it.

How about you cancel one of your jet set appointments in Toronto, New York, Miami and go and visit Mr. Barrow and get the construction started? While you are at it tell us who got the money and have everyone involved either charged or fired – preferably both. There are no innocent persons here. Those that handed out the money and did not follow up and institute checks and balances then they are complicit.

And then Mr. Thompson, when you are visiting Mr. Barrow – apologize to him. Then apologize to all other Bajans who are not able to help themselves and have continually been the victims of the scams, the larceny, the fraud and thefts perpetrated or allowed by the very people who are elected to lead and protect them.

Mr. Thompson it is time for you to pay attention to this problem of corruption that has infected our government and civil service, and the policing, legal and business communities. You promised to introduce integrity, transparency and accountability laws and standards within 100 days. Do it now and begin the process of ending the disgraceful abuses that hurt people like Mr. Barrow.

The Nation Newspaper is to be lauded for finally doing some investigative journalism. Given the shocking nature of the story Maria Bradshaw’s reporting was somewhat lightweight and about three years overdue – but, hey, it is a step in the right direction.

Continue reading

50 Comments

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

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

5 Comments

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?

11 Comments

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

Citizens Of Barbados: Oil Is A National Treasure – Demand Full Disclosure About Oil Bidding!

Who Are The Consultants, Negotiators and Middlemen? How Much Is Being Stolen Or Bargained Away?

The one thing that is certain about the oil that might be off our coast is that Barbados as a country has just about zero serious experience in the oil resources industry.

Unlike many nations, we have no experienced team of negotiators with a track record of success in dealing with huge multi-national oil companies. If the truth be known, we probably have only a handful of Bajans who have any oil resource management experience at all.

Our previous BLP government and the current DLP government are ill-equipped for the task of securing the best possible oil deals for our country. The very confidence that our leaders must exude to retain credibility with the citizens and with the oil-companies is their weakness – because it blinds them to the fact that they know so little that they are probably setting Barbados up like a chicken for plucking.

Oil Industry Is Famous For Corruption – And Rightly So

“Exxon/Mobil and other leading oil companies are to face an investigation into how up to $500,000,000 (£310m) came to be paid into a private US bank account, said to be solely controlled by the President of Equatorial Guinea.” … from Exxon-Mobil Caught In Secret Payments Scandal

If there is one thing that the history of oil has taught us, it is that well-meaning leaders everywhere have been corrupted or thwarted in their desire to see their citizens receive full and rightful benefits of their oil natural resources.

The way these oil companies work is they go to the government members and bribe them to put aside their loyalties to their country. How many government officials would refuse millions of dollars in offshore cash to write a “sweetheart” deal between their country and the oil company? Most… some? How many?

Whether it is a US oil firm like Baker Hughes paying US$4.1 million in bribes in Kazakhstan, Barbados prison builder and oil service company VECO pleading guilty to bribing elected US officials, Exxon Oil Company bribing judges, or Shell Oil bribing witnesses to testify against activists in Nigeria (who were executed) – the standard operating procedures of the oil industry are corrupt.

And these oil companies that are so experienced in the art of corrupting local politicians are now negotiating with the Barbados government.

Get this one fact straight in your mind: oil companies will be attempting to bribe our elected and appointed government officials during the current process.

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No Conflict Of Interest Laws In Barbados

In Barbados it is not against the law for an elected or appointed government official to receive gifts from an oil company that is bidding for our offshore oil – even if that government official is directly involved in the process.

Think about that.

It is not against the law for an oil company to hire a Member of Parliament’s spouse, son or daughter as a “consultant” during the process.

Think about that too.

It is not against the law for an oil company to hire a Member of Parliament’s spouse as a “consultant” once they have secured a deal with Barbados. And… if that spouse is such a great consultant that they are paid a percentage of oil profits every year of the contract… That is not illegal in Barbados either.

We have no laws to prohibit the types of direct and indirect corruption that the oil companies excel in.

We have no transparency in process of awarding the contracts. We have no requirement for government officials to refuse a conflict of interest or to reveal it. We have no Freedom of Information laws that would allow citizens to monitor the process and examine source documents, reports and financial transactions.

Where Is The Transparency? Where Are The Safeguards?

Barbados’ offshore oil is a national treasure – made all the more precious by the continuing deterioration in our tourism industry. The deals being negotiated right now will impact our island for generations – yet our country lacks even the most basic laws to prohibit government officials from indirectly profiting from side-deals with the oil companies.

You can bet that when the BLP government fell, certain oil companies lost a few dollars – but you can also bet that they are prepared to do business with the new DLP government officials.

The oil companies are very aware that under the new DLP Thompson government, there are no laws to prohibit the giving of “gifts” to Barbados government officials. The oil companies are also aware that the Thompson government reneged on its promise to adopt a Ministerial Code from day one.

We Remember David Thompson’s Speech About “Sharing The Fatted Calf”

How about it, Prime Minister Thompson… why haven’t you adopted the Ministerial Code as you promised?

Perhaps it is something to do with your “sharing the fatted calf” speech?

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

The GEMS Hotel Scandal Continues Under New Barbados Government

How much longer is the economic folly of GEMS going to continue?

Recently the Barbados Advocate carried an article in which the Auditor General stated that Hotels and Resorts Ltd owed Government, (the taxpayer), $48 million in unpaid interest.

He also reported that the then Government had agreed a loan of $145.3 million.

Hotels and Resorts Ltd, currently comprises of just three hotels, Blue Horizon, the Savannah and Time Out at the Gap, with a total of 241 rooms. This does not include the 30 rooms that have remained derelict since Blue Horizon was acquired.

Also must be mentioned is the sale of Silver Rock Hotel and Eastry House and exactly where the proceeds of these properties have gone.

But let’s stick with the remaining operating properties.

According to the Barbados Statistical Service, our registered accommodation providers (Hotels, Guest Houses and Apartments) achieved an annual average occupancy of nearly 51 per cent in the last recorded year available. If we therefore take this an indicator for the GEMS properties, that means they reach around 44,862 in total, occupied room nights per year.

To service the $48 million interest alone, that means each occupied room would have to charge an additional BDS$1,070 per occupied room per night.

Even at full published rack rates, I somehow doubt that overall they are achieving at average room rate of US$150 per night. Take into account, all the tour operator discounting and years of predatory pricing, and that figure could be closer to US$80.

Add the latest loan just revealed, but made in July 2002 of BDS$145.3 million and you are compounding the debt by over $10 million per annum in interest alone.

So in addition to the $1,070 per occupied room night already needed to repay the interest (not capital) debt, another $223 for each and every night a room is occupied is required as the interest due and payable climbs by over $10 million per annum.

How much longer is this madness going to continue?

Adrian Loveridge
17th June 2008

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

Venezuela Claims Two Blocks Of Barbados Offshore Oil!

Why Hasn’t The Barbados Media Reported This?

Barbados Free Press came across an article published today in an oil industry trade paper – detailing how the Government of Venezuela is claiming that two of the blocks of oil rights being offered by Barbados are in Venezuela’s waters.

The article speaks as if this fact is well known and also says that the Venezuela government will be filing a diplomatic note with Barbados and alerting the offshore oil exploration companies that are involved in the Barbados bidding process. We at BFP can’t recall ever hearing about this in the Barbados news media.

Here is the story…

Barbados’s Trouble Waters

The new government of Barbados opened the bidding process for rights to offshore blocks for oil & gas exploration on Monday and will close it on September 30. The winner announcement will be made on Nov 20th. More than 20 companies were present this week in the bid kick off, including among others, Exxon, Gazprom, Lukoil Shell, BHP Billiton of Australia, Hess Oil Company, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Marathon Oil and Murphy Oil, all of the United States, StatoilHydro, Petro-Canada, and Petrobras from Brazil. However, there is an issue that the IOC’s perhaps have not taken in account, that is that two of the block are in venezuelan waters, the Bottom Bay blocks Ad I and Ad II. We expect that the venezuelan government will issue a diplomatic note to the government of Barbados asking for clarification and the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA will issue a warning to the OIC’s on the issue.

from Petroleumworld News 06/16/08

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Energy, Venezuela

Wanted For Barbados West Coast Rape

Barbados Underground has the story LINK HERE

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Air Jamaica “Bankrupt” – Government Support Of Airlines Will Never Be Profitable, Why Not Try An Island Ferry?

Air Jamaica is bankrupt – again. Like all small island “national” airlines, it was and is a black hole that will suck in as much money as can be thrown at it.

But maybe that is just the way things are with airlines in the Caribbean. Governments and people are reluctant to let them go because we would then be at the mercy of the larger carriers with no loyalties to the area.

So we continue to pay and pay – one way or the other. And it doesn’t seem to matter how much money Caribbean governments put into airlines, ticket prices remain so high that average folks are hard-pressed to fly.

If we accept that Caribbean island governments are going to be subsidizing inter-island travel anyway, shouldn’t we try something different? You know that old saying about doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result? That’s all about Caribbean governments bailing out airlines with a promise that this time a reorganisation will “lead to profitability”.

Sure. Right.

So let’s take our next airline bankruptcy and do this…

1/ Let the airline fail.

2/ No bailout.

3/ Let the Americans or the Brits provide whatever airline service the market will support.

4/ Take the money that would have been used to bail out the airline and set up an inter-island ferry service for cargo and passengers.

Further Reading

Jamaica Gleaner – Air Jamaica Bankrupt

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

Barbados Sesame Street – Both Of These Things Are Like The Other…

I was updating our Cartoons! section this evening when I came across this October 2007 cartoon and was reminded that both leaders promised integrity legislation during the recent election.

Remember? Back in October of 2007, election fever was heating up and the Democratic Labour Party assured us that integrity legislation was just around the corner if we would only vote DLP.

What a joke!

Have a look at what the DLP were saying in October and then make up you own mind as to what happened between then and now…

Here is how our October 29, 2007 article started…

Promises By Thompson And Arthur Are Worth Nothing – Bajans Demand Real Actions

We don’t believe that either Prime Minister Owen Arthur or Opposition Leader David Thompson are serious about introducing integrity legislation….”

Read the whole article here.

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

Canadian Judge On Peter Simmons’ Testimony: “This Court Does Not Accept These Self-Serving Explanations” About Threats Of Violence!

“Peter Simmons also says that the words “watch your back” is innocuous and “means to be careful.” This court does not accept these self-serving explanations. In the Heaslet-Simmons August 10, 2007 “walk good” was certainly not used in the context of a “sending off phrase.” Likewise the words “watch your back” in the context of the conversation is not innocuous.”

… A Canadian Judge comments on the credibility of Peter Simmons’ denial of making threats against a Canadian lawyer involved in the Kingsland Estates trial.

Former Barbados Diplomat Politely Called A Liar By A Canadian Court

Canadian Judge Also Documents Unethical Actions By Sir David Simmons – Chief Justice Of Barbados

Folks, we at Barbados Free Press have been following the Kingsland Estates trial with great curiosity (or trials – were not sure how many people have how many lawsuits happening). When Keltruth Blog posts court documents we have a good look because they contain stuff the likes of which you just don’t read in the Barbados newspapers… not to mention tape-recordings and transcripts of big-ups talking!

Who would have thought that the Chief Justice of Barbados would threaten political action to kill a National Park for the people of Barbados unless a personal lawsuit against him was dropped!

Who would have thought that a former Barbados diplomat would make a threatening phone call saying that a Canadian lawyer should “watch his back” if he came to Barbados for a trial?

Who would have thought that the Chief Justice of Barbados and his brother would threaten that a witness would lose his job as a University of the West Indies professor if he testified at a trial!

All this and more is currently detailed in court documents published at Barbados Underground blog. (link here)

Why The Kingsland Estates Case Is Probably The Most Important Barbados Legal Happening In The Last 20 Years

Barbados Free Press has followed the Kingsland Estates matter because it goes right to the heart of what is wrong with our country: the news media, the courts, the legislature and business are controlled by a small group of elites who are not afraid to corruptly misuse their powers to gain wealth and retain control.

The legal disputes over a billion US dollars of Kingsland Estates’ land have been going on for over a decade but until blogs came along, we the citizens of Barbados never heard about how many big-ups have a personal interest in that billion dollars.

We were NEVER be allowed to know that the man in charge of our courts – the highest judge in our nation – felt so threatened by court testimony that he demanded a private meeting where he threatened to use political connections to get what he wanted. THAT, my friends, is exactly what happens when a Prime Minister stacks the courts with political crones including his own former Attorney General.

Barbados citizens are NEVER allowed to know the details of any “contentious” court case where big-ups might be embarrassed. Our broadcast and print news media regularly censor stories so as not to offend the political elites. And that is not just us at BFP talking… the news media says so themselves. (See here and here)

Now that the Keltruth Blog is publishing unedited evidence, tape-recordings and legal documents about a case that the Barbados media has refused to cover, the elites must be going crazy at their inability to control the flow of information to the Bajan public!

Nothing like this has happened before in Barbados… The elites have lost the ability to use their control of the news media to censor information from the public!

“Black Woman Who Reads” Publishes Article At Barbados Underground Blog

A reader who uses the handle “Black Woman Who Reads” (BWWR) has been leaving comments at Barbados Free Press concerning the Kingsland Estates matter. We believe that this person is involved closely with a defendant in the court case or is a defendant themselves, but as is our policy, we are happy to see them posting at Barbados Free Press. With the exception of a few “conspiracy theories” surrounding 9/11 etc., there is very little that is off-limits here.

We see today that “Black Woman Who Reads” has published an article at Barbados Underground called The Other Side Of The Kingsland Estates Court Matter.

The writer claims that BFP refused to publish this article, but the truth is that we were never sent the article for publication. IF we had received the article, we surely would have published it because some of the statements by the Canadian Judge that are quoted in the article are of tremendous interest to anyone who is interested in the Barbados justice system – as we at BFP are.

Hey… the Canadian Judge politely calls Peter Simmons a liar. You think we wouldn’t have jumped at that headline?

Anyway, it looks like both sides (or some of the many sides) in the Kingsland Estates court case are now publishing court documents online for all Bajans to see.

My friends: there has never been a better development for freedom and democracy in Barbados than the internet – because even if we disagree, nobody can stop us from talking about anything publicly.

Massa day is truly done!

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Tourism Authority’s Taylor and Loveridge Go Stark Raving Mad… Or Are Misquoted and Misunderstood

The trouble with sound-bite reporting in the newspapers, broadcast media (and yes, blogs too) is that, of necessity, journalists have to reduce two-hour speeches to a few paragraphs – and they often get it wrong. The speaker later discovers that he or she wasn’t understood at all, or that an out of context phrase is wrongly chosen to represent their entire message.

Let’s hope that is the case with the recent Nation News articles quoting Barbados Tourism Authority chairman Ralph Taylor and board member Adrian Loveridge.

On the good side, whether they were accurately quoted or not, the articles may act as a catalyst to discussion about a real plan for our #1 industry.

It is unbelievable but true that after 15 years of BLP government, Barbados has no master plan for tourism, and no master plan for development.

(AS an aside, the previous Tourism Minister Noel Lynch is substantially richer than when he came into (ahem) “public service”. Too bad the job didn’t pay on the basis of results achieved. You know… like the real world.)

What Did Taylor And Loveridge Say?

According to a sound bite in The Nation News, Ralph Taylor addressed the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association’s annual general meeting and said…

(Barbados should) “earmark what is left of its existing coastline” for tourism development.

“This creates an opportunity to target American hotel brands, regional, indigenous and local brands capable of attracting the United States consumer… That will help to drive additional marketing muscle, create greater awareness to American consumers and would help to increase airlift from the USA.”

Taylor said Barbados could learn from Cuba, which has “earmarked every square foot of its coastline for tourism development and has clearly recognised that tourism is its best economic resource”.

Then Adrian Loveridge is reported in a second Nation News article as saying…

He supported a call by Taylor at the annual general meeting of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association for Barbados to “earmark what is left of its existing coastline” for tourism development.

Many Were Outraged… But Missed The Context Of Both Men’s Comments

On its own, the phrase “earmark what is left of its existing coastline for tourism development” brings to mind the horrendous situation on much of the West Coast where the sun is blotted from the sky by condos. Even when developers reluctantly leave a tiny little path to the beach that they call “access”, there is no place to park. (And don’t get me going about how the St. Charles developers strategically blocked off their beach so it is effectively private. Crawl under the jetty to access it and the security guards are all over you in a second.)

But is that what Ralph Taylor and Adrian Loveridge really mean? I don’t think so!

Adrian goes on to say the following in his Nation News interview (Ha… the Nation News interviewing Adrian Loveridge… how times do change!) Anyway, here is what Adrian says…

However, he said construction had to be pleasing to the eye, had to make allowances for green areas and recreational areas, and must not block out views of the sea.

He complained that the West Coast was turning into a “concrete coast” with huge condominiums blotting out the view of the sea.

“People do not want to come to Barbados and see every inch of the coastline under concrete,” he told the WEEKEND NATION. “They want to see some green areas, areas for recreation, jogging and so on.”

Loveridge Disagrees With Some Of Taylor’s Comments

We at Barbados Free Press fought long and hard when the previous government tried to push the Caribbean Splash waterpark slated for the Graeme Hall watershed, but we are not against water parks or tourist traps er… “tourist attractions” in general as long as they are properly situated and operate in the most environmentally responsible manner. Barbados needs more than sun and sand and we have to be much better than our Caribbean competition because we are at the very end of the North American flight routes and are more expensive to get to.

Barbados will never be a “mass destination” like Florida or the Bahamas. We are simply too far away from the major market areas – so we have to focus our tourism product on those market sectors where we can realize the best success. Young families with children will always love Disney World, and they will always want a cheaper destination. Barbados cannot compete in that market.

Mr. Taylor thinks that a water park is just the thing for Barbados, but we’ll have to disagree on that one. We don’t want to re-hash the whole waterpark discussion here, but there are dozens of abandoned or non-operational water parks in North America and dozens for sale. They don’t usually sell them if they’re making money, you know!

So… if Mr. Taylor can find an investor to build an environmentally responsible water park in Barbados – no problem. Just don’t ask taxpayers to fund such a risky proposition.

As far as major hotel brands go… I think we need them. But the whole thing must be done with a NATIONAL PLAN – not willy-nilly as we have seen for the last 15 years.

Adrian Loveridge has his own thoughts about some of what Mr. Taylor said, and he posted them on Barbados Free Press.

Here’s what Adrian had to say…

I think maybe (Ralph Taylor) was reflecting his personal views, because I certainly do not share the theme and waterpark philosophy, nor does it fit in with our tourism profile.

I really feel we have to go back to the basics of tourism and understand WHY visitors come back!

Its down to the level of service they receive, the surroundings, a feeling of safety and security and well being.

Get those basics right and almost everything else will follow.

We also have to look VERY carefully at our rapidly ageing target market.
5 years from now, what will they want to do?

10 years from now, again what will they want do?

Bearing this in mind, if I had the choice of turning Graeme Hall into a National Botanical Gardens or building a waterpark, guess which I would choose?

We have drifted, as the late Peter Morgan, so accurately described it, without a tourism rudder for nearly fifteen years.

Its time now, to stop, seriously consider and evolve a 10 to 20 year plan of EXACTLY where our tourism product is going.

… Adrian Loveridge post on Barbados Free Press

Further Reading

Nation News…

World-class ideas from Taylor

Loveridge: Surcharge Wrong Move

Barbados Free Press

June 6, 2007 – Our Barbados Waterpark Trusted Source Was Correct… (Will Matthew Kerins Go Ballistic?)

Oct 20, 2006 – Caribbean Splash Waterpark Developer Kerins – Ugly American, Or Just Losing It?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism