Monthly Archives: June 2008

Barbados Free Press Political Cartoons

Hi folks,

One of our readers asked us to repost yesterday’s header with all the DLP Ministers saying they wouldn’t declare their assets, and that resulted in the new tab up at the top… Cartoons!

We’ll post our political cartoons every so often and sooner or later you’ll see some of your old favourites. We’ll add a few every week in no particular order.

Enjoy!

Special thanks to BFP reader “David” for the inspiration.

Comments Off on Barbados Free Press Political Cartoons

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A Lesson For Our Country And Each One Of Us…

When You Spend More Than You Earn…

The man who used to own this 109-room, 54,000 square foot home once made US$34 million dollars in one day. That was then.

There were some fine, fine parties held here… perhaps even a Cricket World Cup party.

The parallels to be drawn between the above home and our own national situation here in Barbados are not entirely out of line.

Hopefully Prime Minister Thompson’s government will take a different approach to fiscal responsibility than the previous BLP administration.

To find out more about the little shack in the photo, you can check with our friends over at Cheese-on-bread! (link here)

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We All Listen To Juicy Barbados Gossip – And Here’s Some For You…

Did You Hear, Child?

You know how it is… sometimes you’re waiting around for coconut water (hi george!) and you hear a bit o this and a bit o that. Maybe it is true, maybe it is part true, an maybe it is nothing but a cane cutting tale.

And maybe somebody is telling the story because they have an agenda. Best think on that before you get too excited about what you hear!

But we all love the latest gossip doan matta!

Here are two gossips we received today. Make of them what you will – just you remember that half the reason you come to the side of the road in front of the new office building is because of the gossip. Good coconut water you can find anywhere… but for some fine cane stories you come ta here.

Now if you will excuse me as I get back to chopping and filling. Did you bring your own jug today? Good…

Gossip #1: Customs Officers Being Bad Boys At The Airport

Dear BFP: I’ve heard that the new airport building is actually designed to facilitate intransit passengers but the Immigration and Customs departments (having signed off on the plans in the planning phase then refused to allow the airport to use the facilities for intransit. So forcing passengers to enter Barbados then walk around to check back in.

Also I’ve heard that customs officers regularly park in the spaces for tour buses, which then get ticketed for parking in the road. (because the spaces are taken up by the customs officers)

I’ve also heard that Customs are a law unto themselves at the airport refusing to go through the scanners or any other type of security screening.

Gossip #2: Cabinet Split Over Corrupt Activities

Dear BFP: I heard that Prime Minister David Thompson is increasingly becoming cut off from his ‘elected’ Cabinet Ministers and cowering to Hartley Henry ‘appointed’ and ‘Super’ Ministers. Deals a flowin thru HH and his Super Ministers.

Elected Ministers are getting vexx and more vexx as they become more powerless by the day to the Henry chosen Super Ministers. Elected MP John Boyce, Minister of Transport, Works, and International Transport is emerging as the leader. Health Minister David Estwick his most vocal supporter.

Seven elected Ministers met last week at Boyce home and vented their frustrations. Surprise attendee at the meeting was William Layne. It is rare for public servants to be openly political.

Loud complaints were heard that Ministerial decisions being ignored and overuled. Lone lady minister Esther Byer Suckoo was heard to complain that if she had known it would be like this, she wouldn’t have accepted.

Plans were made to block Henry initiated contracts. The oil sector is one of his main targets and talk was not good about his favoured Texan. Talk was sums paid to him sounded small but the cost to the country could be big.

John Boyce is being seen as long term alternative to David Thompson who is even being sinecured in his own Cabinet. He is not seen as either decisive or powerful. Decisions are coming from the Henry appointed Super Ministers and at Boyce house it was stated that Thompson is fast becoming a nonentity in managing the Government affairs.

“David is distracted by pleasures of the flesh and leaving the running of government to Henry”, one Minister said at the meeting. Estwick said Thompson is too sly and not to be trusted. Senior Civil Servants are also beginning to more openly criticize the administration because their advice is not heeded. Rules are being severely bent daily on orders of the Super Ministers and bank accounts are startin to be filled.

Boyce is planning a press conference to reveal how and why the laws of the land are being subverted and broken. That Hartley Henry is involved in arrangements is totally true but lets also wait and hear what the elected PM has to say about the latest development before rushing to judgment.

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

Another Stunning Secret Tape Recording In The Barbados Kingsland Estates Fraud Case! Richard Cox, Sir Henry Forde, Clyde Turney… OH MY!!!!!!

It Is Difficult To Claim “That Didn’t Happen, Your Honour” When A Tape-Recording Is Played!

Keltruth Blog has revealed the existence of yet another secret tape recording made in the Kingsland Estate land fraud case.

Ten years ago Sir Henry Forde recommended that a secret tape recording be made of an “off the record” meeting between his clients – two of the Knox family – and Clyde Turney’s representatives for an “undisclosed client” who desperately wanted to get their hands on prime Barbados land owned by Kingsland Estates.

“And who should show up at the meeting but Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s bag man: Richard Cox!!!!”

This is the same Richard Cox who, with David Shorey and Prime Minister Owen Arthur, was involved in the Holders land scandal that was the winner of our 2006 Barbados Piggies At The Trough Award. (See BFP’s WINNER ANNOUNCED: Barbados Piggies At The Trough Award 2006)

Environmentally Sensitive Land Impossible To Rezone For Development – Until The Right People Stand To Make Some Money…

Owen Arthur, Richard Cox, David Shorey and other big-ups of the past BLP administration were professionals at squeezing the life out of farmers and other land-holders. The BLP government would deny permissions to develop large tracts of land for years until the owners gave up and accepted the fact that they would never be able to profit from their land. Then Cox and Shorey would be sent in to make a low-ball offer for “an undisclosed client”.

The land would then be flipped – sometimes within hours – to various companies and then MAGICALLY… the new owner was able to immediately obtain the land development approvals that had been withheld by government for a decade! Overnight, land that was barely able to support a crop became worth millions.

In this way Cox, Shorey, Arthur and a host of other government officials and big-ups were able to use other citizens’ lands as their own private bank accounts.

...

Who Else Has Been Secretly Recorded Over The Last 10 Years?

This is (I think) the third or fourth secret tape recording that has surfaced or been mentioned on Keltruth Blog. The last one was a tape-recording of Peter Simmons – the brother of Chief Justice SIR David Simmons – threatening that University of the West Indies professor John Knox would be fired from his teaching job if he continued to testify in the land fraud case involving the Chief Justice… and fired he was! (see BFP’s Justice In Barbados – Shut Up Or Else! Court Witness Fired From University Of West Indies Professorship. Brother Of Chief Justice Simmons Delivered The Threat)

In the Kingsland Estates land fraud case featured at Keltruth Blog, the prize is over a billion US$ dollars of prime Barbados land. Big stakes – with ordinary citizens trying to avoid being raped by a cabal of conspirators who regularly ate farmers for breakfast.

It looks to us like the little people knew that they didn’t stand a chance in a rigged Barbados judicial system. Heck – when you’re up against a group that includes the Prime Minister and his Attorney General, and then the AG becomes the Chief Justice… well, ordinary folks don’t stand much of a chance.

Except if you have secret tape-recordings to show the truth.

Friends, this latest secret tape-recording revealed on Keltruth Blog was made over ten years ago according to what we read. The one that shows Peter Simmons making threats was made (I think) last year. How many other secret tape-recordings were made by the little people over the last ten or so years? Who attended what meetings? Whose voices will the court hear and what did they say?

The court documents being published each week on Keltruth Blog may turn out to be the Barbados news story of the decade if the Bajan media ever decides to dig a little deeper.

Further Reading

Keltruth Blog – Kingsland, Turney and Cox: Who is this concealed purchaser?

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

June 30th Is The Nomination Deadline For The 2008 Skål International Ecotourism Awards

Back on May 3, 2008, Barbados Free Press asked Will Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Be Nominated For The 2008 Skål International Ecotourism Awards? That was a follow-up to another article we wrote about the awards in November 2007 (link here).

Now our friend Keith over at The Temas Blog is encouraging his readers to Nominate a LAC Candidate for the Skål Ecotourism Award!

Keith says he’s not going to comment on particular nominee for the Skål award, but a little birdy tells us that he’s backing a project in the Dominican Republic.

OK Keith… may the best project win – but if we had any money we’d bet on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados. They should be a shoe-in for this prestigious international award.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Traveling and Tourism

UPDATED: Can Barbados Cope With The New Mega Cruise Ships’ 5000+ Passengers?

UPDATED: Adrian Loveridge Replies At Bottom Of Article

The increasing size of cruise ships and the tendency for the ship itself to be the destination has already produced profound changes in our tourism industry. There is no doubt that Barbados will have to continually adapt to capitalise from these changes.

The next generation of Royal Caribbean mega-cruise ships will carry 5,400+ passengers, 1200 crew and be almost 1200 feet long – and that is only one of many types of huge liners that will be coming into service in the next ten years.

I was reading somewhere (can’t find it now) that cruise passengers are becoming less interested in leaving their ships than they used to be. With so much to do on the ships and the attitude of “If you’ve seen one tropical island, you’ve seen ’em all”, in the future each one of us (and I mean every citizen) will have to work harder to differentiate Barbados and keep those tourist dollars rolling in.

We haven’t heard much from Adrian Loveridge lately and I wonder if he and our readers have any thoughts as to where our tourism industry is heading in the next ten and twenty years. The previous Tourism Minister Noel “Instant Millionaire” Lynch used to brag about the number of cruise ship passengers who returned to Barbados as tourists and winter-season retirees, but I was always skeptical about Lynch and his claimed statistics.

How about it, Adrian? How do you foresee the mega-cruise ships impacting Barbados, and is there anything we should be doing as a nation to predict, read and capialize upon changes in tourist patterns?

Further Reading

World Cruise Network – Genesis Class Cruiseliners

UPDATE: Adrian Loveridge Talks About Barbados Having No Tourism Master Plan for 14 Years

First, perhaps someone can confirm that these new Genesis Class ships can actually berth in Bridgetown Port. I know the port was dredged for QM2, but is the draft deep enough?

I watched a very interesting UTube video interviewing Edmund Bartlett, the Jamaican Minister of Tourism, late last year. (YouTube video of Jamaican Tourism Minister HERE)

2008 will see 2,000 new hotel rooms, 2 million long stay visitors spending US$2.5 billion and a new port at Falmouth to take the Genesis Class ships by 2009.

During the 14 years of the BLP Government there seemingly was NO tourism masterplan. As Ambassador Kellman so accurately described it yesterday, referring to the CONCRETE COAST.

The loss of 28 hotels, the conversion to condominiums is going to have a profound effective on the long term viability of the industry. This has to be addressed. Having half your entire hotel room stock empty for 365 nights of the year too, is a challenge, especially with diminishing airlift.

And from recent analysis of the statistics, 39% of our long stay visitor arrivals do not stay in registered accommodation.

A lot is going on in the background to change exactly how we do business and I sincerely hope that it is going to be enough to bring about positive improvement.

Adrian Loveridge (posted in comments section of this article.)

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Shoddy Construction In Barbados: When Does Negligence Become Criminal Manslaughter?

UPDATE: March 11, 2010

Credit where credit is due: the DLP have erected more homes for low and middle income Bajans in the last two years than the Arthur-Mottley crew (or is that just “Mottley Crue”) did in their last 10 years in office.

(Those are my figures – I’m willing to listen to anyone who says different.)

BUT… those new DLP homes were constructed without a mandatory building code because no government has bothered to implement a building code in law for Barbados. We don’t do standards very well around this place.

So we’re going to put this past article up for a few days and let the folks consider all those new homes that the DLP built, and that fact that they were not built to any standard in law.

The government has been of late talking about earthquakes and being prepared to disasters etc etc etc – but it’s all shite talk. There are no building standards established in law in Barbados.

AS our old friend and structural engineer Grenville Phillips II says all the time: “It doesn’t cost more to build good homes, but you have to enforce a building code.”

And Grenville is correct: all you have to do is establish and enforce standards through a lawful Building Code. But as time has shown, the making of such standards is totally beyond the capability of David Thompson, Owen Arthur and Mia Mottley.

Here’s our original article…

There Will NEVER Be A Proper Inquest Into The Codrington Family Deaths

On August 26, 2007 at about 4:25am, one of the many known caves on the island collapsed under the home of a sleeping family. Donavere 30, Cassandra 27, Shaquanda 7, Shaquille 3 and Yashiro 1 were killed when their home was swallowed in the night.

Witnesses state that Donavere lived for hours after the collapse and spoke to neighbours and friends from the blackness. Nothing more was heard from Donavere after a second collapse sent tons more debris into the hole. On an island that is so small, it took five hours for the first emergency response to arrive at the scene.

According to witnesses, at least two weeks prior to the disaster there were indications that something was seriously wrong at the construction site near the Codrington family’s apartment. Cracking appeared in the ground and in nearby structures and the engineers were called in for an assessment. Any truthful inquest will reveal these and other incidents and warnings that happened at the construction site well in advance of the deadly collapse.

Despite the problems, no tests were conducted with modern ground penetrating radar – which would have shown the tremendous danger and the impending disaster. No stop-work order was issued. No precautionary order to evacuate the nearby apartments and homes was issued.

Somebody probably even used the words, “Ahhh, should be OK. Keep working guys!” (The words are a guess on our part, but the fact that somebody ordered the work to continue after the problems were known is not a guess.)

The use of ground penetrating radar would have resulted in stop work order and a precautionary evacuation of residents, but in a country full of caves and voids we didn’t have one. Why Not?

Would A Better-Built Structure Have Survived Long Enough For The Family To Escape?

After the collapse, pieces of the apartment building continued to fall into the hole for the next few days and at one point rescuers demolished the remaining building so they could continue with recovery operations in the area underneath. A few of our readers wondered whether more of the Codrington’s apartment building might have held on longer if it had of been better constructed. Some readers pointed to a distinct lack of rebar steel visible in the photos of the rubble and remaining structure.

As Bajans watched the tragedy unfold they began asking questions – most of which have never been answered, and never will be. We don’t do inquests in Barbados – we pretend to do inquests. We never assign blame or accountability to individuals in Barbados – we say it “couldn’t be helped” or that it was “an act of God”.

Poor God gets blamed for a whole lot in Barbados. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Crime & Law, Disaster, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate

Barbados Land Sold At 16 Cents Per Square Foot!

Keltruth Blog Exposes Land Fraud In Barbados

We have been following the saga of the Kingsland Estates land fraud ever since we discovered Keltruth Blog – a website apparently operated by members of a family who owned a billion dollars of prime Barbados land only to have it stolen from them by persons who represent the elite of the Bajan political, business and legal communities.

As an indication of just how high up the rot goes, some of the persons being charged in civil court with conspiracy to commit fraud include the current Chief Justice of Barbados, David Simmons, current Prime Minister David Thompson, past Prime Minister Owen Arthur and a host of similar big names. The case is rather complex, but as we at BFP have been able to decipher the court documents so far it looks like people engaged in a long-term conspiracy to strip the value of Kingsland Estates Limited – a company that at one time owned a billion dollars of prime Barbados land.

The theme that runs through the court case is that some shareholders of Kingsland Estates Limited were robbed when the Board of Directors sold company assets at a fraction of their value.

Think about it folks. You have shares in a company that owns a billion dollars of beautiful Barbados land, but you do not control the company and the Directors do as they please without producing financial records for your inspection. Even the courts are in on it, so you can sue all you like… demand all the financial records you want – you’ll NEVER see the records.

When the Chief Justice of Barbados received a piece of the action, what are your chances for justice before the Barbados courts?

One of the ways that fraud was committed was when valuable land was sold off at a fraction of it’s true value. Why would land be sold off at 16 Barbados cents a square foot?

Good question!

Who purchased prime Barbados land at 16 cents a square foot, and… MOST IMPORTANT… who purchased it later? Which big-ups own it now?

Yes folks, when an old widow owns millions and millions of dollars worth of Barbados land, she has very little chance of retaining any of it once the elites decide that she is easy-pickings.

“There has been a mammoth and far reaching conspiracy not only within Kingsland Estates Limited, but outside it as well”

Iain Deane, Executor of the Colin Deane Estate

Keltruth Blog Posts More Court Documents Online

Keltuth Blog has been posting court documents on their website for some time now, and it is stunning to read the allegations and evidence. The oldstream Barbados news media have totally ignored the court case and even ignored tape recorded threats against witnesses that were delivered by the brother of the Chief Justice of Barbados! (What did you expect… a feature article on the threats in the Nation News or the tape recording played on Brass Tacks?)

The latest installment of court documents posted at Keltruth Blog is a 1997 letter by Iain Deane alleging “a mammoth and far reaching conspiracy” in relation to Kingsland Estates Limited.

Most strange… this same Iain Deane who in 1997 alleged a massive conspiracy is now a defendant in the lawsuit. Why did he suddenly change his mind about the existence of a “massive conspiracy?”. Why did he suddenly shut up about the sale of Kingsland Estates land at prices such as 16 and 21 cents a square foot? What happened to the business records of the land sales and who purchased the land for virtually nothing?

Keltruth Blog has the court documents posted online LINK HERE.

This is one messy court case. In our opinion, the revelations so far indicate that something is deeply rotten in our fair country.

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate

Transportation Crisis: Barbados Government Showing Leadership and Innovation

The new Government of Barbados came into office to find the treasury raped bare by 15 years of borrow and spend to fund a host of costly and incomplete “super projects” that did little for the ordinary citizen or the country. These ill-considered mega-projects range from the Cricket World Cup white elephant stadium to the new flyovers being built by a company with a senior executive that admits to corruptly giving bribes on other bridge projects in the Caribbean.

The previous government seemed incapable of completing anything correctly except media releases. Remember breathaliser legislation? We have a serious problem on this island with collisions caused by drinking and driving, so once a year the Attorney General or Transport Minister would announce that the government was “considering” or “moving towards” implementing laws to stop the carnage on our roads.

But that’s all we got… an annual press conference.

Hopefully the new Thompson government will be able to translate good ideas into action, and action into successful implementation.

But the first step in the process is good ideas – and we believe that Thompson and his Transport Minister have come up with a good idea in shaking up public transit and also their proposal to provide free travel for school children and low-income workers.

In fact, we think that the government should go further and make all public transportation absolutely free to all – citizens and tourists alike.

Friends, wipe the froth from your mouths and hear us out before you start pounding your keyboards…

The BLP’s solution to transportation on Barbados has always been more vehicles on more roads. That was always a flawed philosophy, and especially so in the last few years as oil and construction costs skyrocketed. Not to mention that the more successful that the BLP was in providing new and improved roads, the worse things became as the number of vehicles increased.

This BLP philosophy of more roads and more vehicles is madness – but thank heavens, it looks like the Thompson administration is focusing upon improved and expanded public transit rather than the idea of three cars to every home.

Public transit can never totally replace the personal vehicle, but we can remove thousands of vehicles from our roads every day by providing reliable, safe, cheap and convenient public transit.

Many folks don’t like the ZRs. Aside from the “ZR Culture” that repels rather than attracts customers, there are safety concerns caused by far too many drivers racing to pick up more passengers. But what do we expect when the system is set up in such a way that the faster and more reckless the driver, the more money they make?

The government intends to bring the ZRs into a more controlled and better administered public transportation system. Kill the music, kill the speeding and overcrowding. That will be a good start in encouraging Bajans to park their private vehicles and take public transit most of the time.

By providing free bus transportation to school children and low-income workers, the government accomplishes a few goals. Firstly it provides a small but needed financial break to families and those on the low end of the income scale. Secondly, it will increase the utilisation of public transit and thereby relieve some pressure on the road system.

There is much more that needs to be done to grow the public transit system – perhaps even a light rail train around the circumference of the island.

Picture a Barbados where citizens and visitors can make 75% of their trips via free, safe, convenient and reliable public transportation.

Think about how the world would perceive such a transportation system. We could probably fund much of the cost simply through the savings of not having to continually build new infrastructure to support thousands and thousands of additional cars coming onto the roads every year.

We must make some big changes if we are to survive. Incremental changes will not work.

If Thompson and his government can stay focused on improving public transit and discouraging additional vehicles on our roads, it will benefit everyone far more than the old system of never-ending expansion that is designed to support an obsolete religion that worships the personal auto.

From the Nation News…

Free Ride

IF A PROPOSAL now being studied by the David Thompson administration is approved, thousands of schoolchildren and low-income workers will be able to travel free on the buses.

That would happen, said a highly placed confidential source close to the new Government, if the administration went ahead with a proposal to overhaul the bus transportation system from top to bottom and provide what would virtually be a travel subsidy to some sections of the public, at a time of high oil prices.

At the same time, the privately-owned mini-buses and ZR vans, the source said, would be “fully integrated” into the bus system in a way that would allow their owners to improve service, extend their route structures and make a profit at the same time.

… continue reading this story (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Energy, Environment

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?

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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

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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.

Robert

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Filed under Africa, Aviation, Barbados, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Abortion Provider Having Difficulty Finding Volunteer and Paid Staff

The Barbados Family Planning Association is struggling to staff their newly-renovated clinic. In the past few years the number of volunteers willing to assist the BFPA with clerical and other work has dwindled to the point where paid staff are now having to take on many of the tasks that used to be performed on a volunteer basis.

A recent article in the Nation News highlighted some of the problems, but according to our source, failed to cover another developing issue: the declining number of Barbados physicians and nurses who are willing to perform abortions.

This shortage of staff of all kinds – medical professionals, community volunteers and full time clerical and maintenance personnel – is becoming a reality in the abortion industry worldwide. Although community shunning of persons working in the abortion industry probably plays a large part in the decisions of many to reject employment, (as well as even fear due to the incidents of violence that have happened against clinic staff in America), for the most part the staffing shortage is because new medical technologies such as 3D ultrasound and other medical advances have changed the public perception of children in the womb.

The fact is, more and more people are now aware that even early in the womb, babies feel pain, learn and are self-aware. It is tough to get staffers for abortion clinics when the Discovery Channel shows mid-term babies playing with their feet, sucking their thumbs and responding to music and voices.

“Product Of Conception” Or “Baby” – Different Words For The Same Life

The abortion industry refers to a baby in the womb as “POC” – product of conception – at any stage of gestation. They have to do this to remain sane. They have to de-humanise what they are killing. No one who wants a baby calls their child in the womb a “POC” or a “Fetus”… they call it their baby. Only when they want to get rid of it do they call it a “fetus” or a “POC”. No mother who wants the child says “Oh Honey, come here. The product of conception just kicked me! Come feel!”

The abortion industry knows that words are important. That is why they use their particular brand of language and why the abortion industry treads ever-so-carefully when talking to the news media. Everything needs to be so carefully managed because they just can’t have the public thinking too much about the details of what they do.

That is also why the article in the Nation News didn’t mention the shortage of Bajan doctors and nurses who are willing to perform abortions.

They can’t have the public thinking too much about why highly educated medical professionals are increasingly refusing to perform abortions.

This article was co-written by Cliverton and Shona

Further Reading

The Nation News: Call For Family Planning Aides

Shona Has A Few Words For Her Friends…

When I wrote this I don’t mean to hurt or make anyone feel bad. Many women and men have regrets about things they did and choices they made. Many women and men are angry at themselfs for things they did in their lives. People pretend to themselves that everything is ok when they have doubts deep inside. I let God handle my problems mostly, but even if you don’t believe in God you should try to find a way to find peace about mistakes you make in your life. In my experience, ignoring those feelings inside and suppressing thoughts is not healthy in the long run.

Shona

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Filed under Abortion, Barbados, Ethics, Health, Human Rights

When was the last time you visited your National Museum?

Artist Ingrid Persaud Shines A Light On The Archives

The Barbados Museum has definitely moved on since that school trip you took when you were 10 years old. A great excuse to visit the National Museum in the Garrison is the new art exhibition by their artist-in-residence, Ingrid Persaud, who has made a series of works based on her research into the archives of the Museum’s collections.

The exhibition, called You Go Down The Ladder, I’ll Shine The Torch, features sound, installations, etchings and photography. You can also read the diaries of those who participated in Make Today History.

On now until 20 June.

Barbados Museum & Historical Society Website (link here)

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Filed under Art, Barbados, History

United States Regularly Drugs Deportees Against Their Will

Barbados’ treatment of the Africans recently stranded by GIA doesn’t look so bad compared with the way the United States of America deports people.

It seems that the good old US of A drugs people against their will. A disgusting story in the Washington Post.

Then again, where but America and a few other countries with a courageous news media would a newspaper have the guts to run such an article? Barbados? Cha… you mek sport!

Excerpt from the Washington Post

The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government’s forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the “pre-flight cocktail,” as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

“Unsteady gait. Fell onto tarmac,” says a medical note on the deportation of a 38-year-old woman to Costa Rica in late spring 2005. Another detainee was “dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose,” according to an airline crew member’s written account. Repeatedly, documents describe immigration guards “taking down” a reluctant deportee to be tranquilized before heading to an airport.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Ethics, Human Rights, Immigration

Thompson’s Problem: Many Of The Unethical Behaviours At Hardwood Housing Are Not Illegal

Hardwood Housing Audit Shows What Happens When There Are Few Rules

Prime Minister Thompson stood up in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon and reported that the initial forensic audit into Hardwood Housing Incorporated had revealed a multitude of “unlawful” or “questionable” actions by persons associated with the company.

Here is the way CBC wrote it up in their article Hardwood Report Raises Concerns

“Unlawful removal of equipment and materials from HHFI, rental by Hardwood Housing Factory Inc of equipment from a company controlled by the Chief Executive Officer and an employee of Hardwood Housing Factory Inc, the questionable use of Hardwood Housing Factory Inc in off book projects, the purchase of materials using Hardwood Housing Factory Inc funds for projects which cannot be identified, the use of Hardwood Housing Factory Inc materials and labour on projects where the proceeds have allegedly been paid to a company linked to the Chief Executive Officer, consistently high salaries and wages with little or no correlation in earned revenue or completed projects.”

The auditor has also suggested that government should seek legal advice.

“… with regard to the commencement of legal action against the Chief Executive Officer, specific employees and potentially others for recovery of funds, tools and equipment and related matters. It also recommended that legal advice be sought regarding possible breaches of the custom laws and violation of the Money Laundering Prevention and Control Act. “

Hardwood Housing Was A Typical BLP Government Scam: Just One Of Many In The Past 15 Years

My friends, we heard all the rumours of wrong-doing at Hardwood Housing during the run-up to the recent election. None of the allegations or the revelations of the audit are surprising to Bajans familiar with the way government projects were run during the fifteen-years of the previous BLP government.

The only difference between the debacle at Hardwood Housing and dozens of other corrupt BLP government projects is the fact that in the Hardwood case, an insider came forth with documents and other evidence.

By the looks of the CBC story, people at Hardwood committed illegal acts like theft of equipment and materials as well as money laundering and Customs offenses.

Theft is theft and if those people did it, I hope they are charged and go to jail. I also hope that the government uses every means at it’s disposal to recover the stolen money. Whether a civil lawsuit as well as criminal proceedings or seizing assets of the accused by some legal means, I support a strong response by the authorities to bring the crooks to justice and to recover OUR money from this government-supported company.

Conflicts Of Interest Are Not Illegal In Barbados – Because Politicians Want To Keep Making Money!

Here is where I’d like to focus your attention. It is the passage that is highlighted in the CBC article in red…

“Rental by Hardwood Housing Factory Inc of equipment from a company controlled by the Chief Executive Officer and an employee of Hardwood Housing Factory Inc,”

This is a typical conflict of interest scam where the people who issue contracts use their authority to award contracts and purchase orders to companies in which they have an interest. Sometimes the contracts actually at a fair price, but more often than not the price is either inflated or the products and services are not delivered.

In short, issuing contracts to companies in which you have an interest is an unethical conflict of interest – and it is not illegal in Barbados!

That’s right folks, every past Barbados government has refused to pass the integrity legislation that would make such conflicts of interest in government and government-sponsored corporations illegal.

Many Ministers and officials under the past BLP government had interests in companies that were awarded fat government contracts.

And there was big money made – so much that the two million dollars lost at Hardwood would look like nothing beside some of the scams.

The new prison at Dodds would be fertile ground for conflicts of interest audits. We’ve all heard the rumours about how some of the suppliers of materials in the United States were actually middlemen where certain Bajan big-ups owned part of the company. Hey… its easy to make money when you control the awarding of contracts. Have your USA company buy a stainless steel prison toilet in the USA for say $150, then sell it to the Barbados government for $400.

And that, friends, is how the politicians and government officials have been making money for years.

But… as I said… Conflict of Interest scams are not illegal, and no Barbados government will pass ITAL legislation to make them illegal.

Prime Minister Thompson promised that he would immediately adopt a Ministerial Code that would make such conflicts of interest scams illegal… but he lied to us.

And now as David Thompson stands there clucking his tongue at the excesses of the Hardwood Housing scam, he has a problem…

Because many of the behaviours that the Prime Minister is clucking about are conflict of interest scams that are not illegal… and the David Thompson government has deliberately left the door open so the DLP piggies can feed from the same trough.

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Barbados Government’s 140 Days Of Broken Promises – In Four Easy Steps

UPDATED: December 19, 2011

Here we are after almost four years of Democratic Labour Party government and no Integrity Legislation that the DLP promised. There’s no promised Freedom of Information law so the politicians can still do what they like and hide. No accountability. No conflict of interest rules so government officials can award contracts to their own companies. In the last four years several officials have done just that and continue in their employment.

This post was originally published in June 2008 when we decided that we had been fooled. LOOK AT THE COMMENTS by the DLP supporters calling us down to the lowest. We were called everything under the sun because that Integrity Legislation was right around the bend.

Where are these DLP apologists now? What do they have to say four years later?

The DLP lied to us. They are lying still, and so are the BLP. Who are you going to vote for? For me, my vote goes to “Anybody except the DLP and BLP”.

BFP’s original story, first published June 3, 2008…

DLP’s Broken Promises in Four easy to understand steps…

Step #1… Promise Those Foolish Bajans That You Will Deliver On Integrity, Transparency and Accountability

Step #2… When Voters Express Doubts: Act Sincere, Repeat Promises

January 3, 2008

Hello BFP folks

Apologies for not getting back to you much sooner.

DLP leader David Thompson hosted a press conference today where he distributed the attached documents dealing with a proposed legal framework to promote accountability, transparency and accountability in public life and fight corruption. Continue reading

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

Barbados Free Press Welcomes Visitor Number 3 Million!

Yesterday at about 3:14:17pm, Barbados Free Press welcomed visitor number 3 million since we started our blog in January of 2006. Our special guest visited from Barbados – unlike visitor number 2 million who arrived from Switzerland on January 1, 2008.

Interesting visitor curve: 2 years to reach 2 million visitors, but only another 6 months to reach 3 million visitors! Yes, folks… since the election that gave us worldwide exposure, things are getting rather hectic around here with visitor traffic. We keep saying that this growth just can’t continue because our blog is primarily based upon a tiny Caribbean island, but so far we’ve been proven wrong.

Even in the statistics of WordPress Blogs worldwide, Barbados Free Press continues to find itself in the “Top 100 WordPress Blogs on a regular basis. Back when there were 300,000 WordPress Blogs worldwide, we were pleased to be found in the Top 100 – but since that time many superlative blogs have come online. Nonetheless we are still to be found in the Top 100 List out of over 3.2 million WordPress Blogs world wide.

Not bad for a nothing little part-time blog from Barbados!

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