Barbados Advocate Lies To Bajans – Deceitfully Portrays Paid Advertisement As Independent Journalism By Foreign Affairs Magazine!!!

You Can’t Get Much More Like Propaganda Than This, Folks!

The Government of Barbados – Barbados Tourism Authority took out a paid advertisement in the prestigious magazine, Foreign Affairs Journal, published by the Council on Foreign Relations. The feature piece on Barbados quite clearly states that it is a purchased advertisement, a “sponsored publication” – yet the second largest circulation newspaper in Barbados tells Bajans that this glowing article in a widely-respected upscale magazine is just regular journalism.

Foreign Affairs readers are well aware that this “feature” article on Barbados was purchased because it says so on every page in the article – but Bajans aren’t being told the truth by their trusted news media. Instead, Bajans are told that our economic prospects are bright because one of the most respected international journals says so!

In fact, Foreign Affairs Journal hasn’t mentioned the word “Barbados” in any article for over seven years – since a 2001 article on tax havens. So our government bought an article, and now it is being held up to the citizens as hope, progress and an independent outside indicator that Barbados has a bright economic future.

What rubbish. What lies. What government propaganda by a newspaper.

It seems that the paid feature in Foreign Affairs Journal had less to do with attracting upscale investors to Barbados than making the voters feel good about the Thompson Government’s performance and leadership.

Last April, Barbados contracted with Strategic Media services to run an underground campaign to create a “brand” out of our nation. That is all well and good – but it is unethical and deceitful for the government and the news media to hold up a government advertising campaign as “independent journalism”.

What rubbish. What lies. What government propaganda by a newspaper…

Here is the (pdf) paid article Foreign Affairs Journal: Barbados: A New Approach To Excellence

Here is the global media company that is running the advertising campaign: Strategic Media

Here is the article as published in the Barbados Advocate. Read it, then read the Foreign Affairs paid advertisement and tell us if you feel deceived and abused by the Barbados Advocate…

Barbados featured as an economic success

Web Posted – Tue Jul 15 2008

THE success story that Barbados is, has been given prominence in Foreign Affairs Journal, one of the prestigious American bi-monthly magazines.

The country which is noted for its economic and political stability, enabling infrastructure, its high living standards and one of the leading actors pushing for greater Caribbean integration, is featured in the publication under the banner “Barbados – A New Approach to Excellence”.

The human resource element, the attractiveness of the country as a tourist destination, and opportunities for the discerning investor, form the core of the assessment outlined by the magazine.

Tourism Minister, Richard Sealy speaks at length about the island’s tourism industry and how nationals in key markets where the majority of visitors to Barbados originate, can add to the growth of the tourism numbers in Barbados.

The magazine also highlights the opportunities Barbados offers investors.

The survey on the island which last January changed a government with little or no fuss, makes the point up front that human resources, traditionally the countrys most valued asset, could be enhanced in an exciting new approach to promoting the island.

It quoted Mr. Sealy, as explaining that rather than having a handful of individuals run a campaign strategy, “Barbados could tap into a vast human resource pool to promote the Caribbean island nation”.
In simple terms, the basic idea consisted of taking a page from the success formulas of social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, and applying it to real life by engaging the extensive Barbadian Diaspora.

“By serving as personal ambassadors for their home country, Barbadians abroad are in an ideal position to pass the word about the beauty and attractiveness of Barbados within their own communities,” according to the publication.

“There are more Barbadians living outside of Barbados than here and many of them reside in the very countries from where we want to achieve better tourist arrivals,” the Minister was quoted as saying, with reference to the target markets of the East Coast of the USA, in Canada and in the UK.

“We want to leverage that resource much better. Tourism must be seen as being part and parcel of the whole national life and the national well being,” Sealy stated while noting they were serious about community tourism and want to see these examples become the rule and not the example.

“Many visitors equate Barbados with the word paradise,” said Foreign Affairs.

“For Sealy, this welcome association is not limited to tourism, but can be equally applied to the country’s financial services and investment climate,” it notes.

Travel and tourism in Barbados generated almost Bds$2 billion in revenue in 2007, having grown four per cent despite rising fuel and airline cost. Foreign Affairs Journal makes the point that this “is mostly due to the fact that Barbados attracts high-end clientele, a popular destination for the rich and the famous”.

Nevertheless, it went on, tourism provides employment, directly and indirectly, for 66 000 people, almost 50 per cent of the country’s population.

“The new Barbados,’ Sealy said, “will see exactly what we are saying right now: that we are making tourism everyone’s business”.

In the area of investment, the USA Magazine pointed out that there are many such opportunities for the discerning investor who wants to be associated with a quality destination.

One of the most recent is the Government’s call for an expansion and improvement of the island’s marina infrastructure.

This is in line with the country’s location in the Atlantic Ocean and being one of the first stops for yacht crossing the Atlantic.

Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Marion Williams said that when investors set up businesses here they rely on a cadre of well trained professionals. She noted in the magazine that this highly skilled excellence equally extends into the area of accounting, finance and wealth management.

Read the original article online here


Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, Offshore Investments, Politics, Real Estate

41 responses to “Barbados Advocate Lies To Bajans – Deceitfully Portrays Paid Advertisement As Independent Journalism By Foreign Affairs Magazine!!!

  1. akabozik

    Thank you again BFP. Your article is 100% right on the mark. The Barbados Advocate article is a cleverly contrived lie by that newspaper. The BTA may not have known about or had anything to do with the Advocate article and I think you should give BTA a pass on this.

    No pass for the Barbados Advocate though. That article is a lie directed at Barbadians.

  2. reality check

    “an independent outside indicator that Barbados has a bright economic future.”

    There is no brighter future to Barbados than by instituting a complete new regime of honesty and integrity and immediate implementation of the Ministerial code and ITAL, as promised.

    Continued manipulation, outright lies and failure to tell the truth will not lead us to a new promised land and future.

  3. Thomas Gresham

    What has happened to the Advocate?

    It has had its biases but in recent weeks it seems to be running a permanent campaign. I note that the owner of the Advocate is Chairman of a government board that directs a significant budget (Invest Barbados).

    Our democracy needs quality journalism, investigative journalism and scrutiny of our government’s use of our money. I was shocked at the poor coverage of the budget that offered no analysis just “he said, she said”. I was dismaying for Barbados when I saw that and reconsidering my decision to come home, but your perceptive blog has lifted my spirit.

    Quality journalism does not mean anti-govenrment, but to be merely the print arm of the government in power ill-serves our people.

  4. Hants

    Quality journalism ? you have BFP and BU.

    Mainstream media in Barbados is the unsolicited marketing division of whichever party is in power.

  5. Thomas Gresham

    Was the recent scare story on Muslims the kind of quality journalism you are happy to rely upon?

    The blogs serve a useful purpose. They add to the media biodiversity in a positive way. They have responsibilities, but not the same responsibilities of other media. They are an addition, not a replacement for the media.

  6. Tell me Why

    Based on the layout of the 2 page flyer, you can see that it was designed by the same newspaper. A collaborative effort between BTA and Invest Barbados.

  7. Equity, Trained Economist, Floyd MULTIPLE NAMES

    Are “reality check” and “akabozik” alter egos of BFP? they are both quick to agree with everything BFP says, in exactly the same words. Funny!


    BFP says,

    What is funny is that now that we look at you, we see that you have been using multiple names to have conversations with yourself.

    No, RC and akaabozik are not the same person nor anything to do with BFP… but no wonder you are suspicous of such activity because YOU have been unethically using multiple names.

    Keep it up and you will be BANNED. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  8. John


    Do you agree with the article or not, ….. and why?

    What’s your position?

  9. Equity, Trained Economist, Floyd MULTIPLE NAMES

    Which article do you mean, John? the one by BFP, the one in the Advocate or the one in Foreign Affairs? All the same!

  10. John

    Now I don’t know which personality I am talking to.

    I can understand and empathise with your problem understanding my question!!

    Consider it withdrawn.

  11. politically incorrect

    Business as usual in Barbados:

    Lies, statistics and damn lies.

  12. Rohan

    Kudos, BFP. This is the kind of stuff you guys are good at…..scratch that….GREAT AT!

  13. Red Lake Lassie

    This is getting confusin. I have to slow down an think about it to get everything straight in my mind. Let me try to figure it…

    1/ Guvment of Barbados pays Foreign Affairs to write a fake magazine article saying good things about Barbados.

    2/ Barbados Advocate writes a more fake article about the first fake article that was paid for by Guvment.

    OK. I get it. I see how it all work.

    I want to know how much the first fake news article in Foreign Affairs costed Barbados. I want to know if the Barbados Advocate did the second faker article for free or were they paid too!!!

  14. Stringer

    BFP said “tell us if you feel deceived and abused by the Barbados Advocate…”

    My answer is YES. Emphatically YES.

  15. Thomas Gresham

    I used to think that even though its unquestioning sycophantic approach to reporting was getting more and more annoying, that it was good for the soul to be aware of the other perspective.

    But now I see that the other perspective was an artificial construct: an article appear to be an article, about an article, appearing to be an article.

    Now I feel justified in just ignoring the paper completely.

    Yes, BFP, to answer your question, I do feel deceived and abused by the Advocate.

    I hesitate to echo the words of Stringer in case you think I am not really, Thomas Gresham, but just someone having a conversation with myself.

    BFP – you ought to start charging people for the free therapy you are offering some people….I would be interested to know if Trained Economist, Equity, Etc ever took opposing views with themselves or just self-reinforcing views……

  16. In Therapy

    On BU, in one thread Trained Economist wrote
    “I take Floyd’s point though…”

    What comedy! LOL.

  17. Thomas Gresham

    What you will not see in the Advocate: the truth about Barbadian Unemployment.

    Studies have shown that the most powerful poverty alleviation measure is reducing unemployment.

    The PM is suggesting that our civil servants have been doing a poor job at measuring unemployment and it is in fact far higher that the official 6.7%. It is dangerous to undermine the public’s faith in public statistics. It becomes harder to persuade the public to do the righ thing using evidence based arguments. If we explain the incidence of lunch cancer amongst smokers, but people say all government statistics are a fiddle, it will be more difficult to get smokers to stop.

    The current government announced that it is asking the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) to help revise the stats. This is a little disingenuous. It was the last government that applied to the IDB for the statistical modernisation loan. It was the last government that in 2003 collaborated with a Caricom Labour Ministries initiative to modernize the labour stats. I guess that is politics.

    Let me focus on the economics. In my previous job we used to try and reconcile official data in countries where the data was not reliable with what else was happening in the macro-economy. The idea that Barbados has a level of unemployment that is low historically, is completely consistent with every other macro-economic piece of data: (1) we are sucking in imports and we have a current account deficit, paid for by strong capital inflows (2) there has been a rise in immigrant workers (3) there is upward pressure on the cost of living. Back in 1991 when unemployment was high, the macro-signals were the exact opposite: there was a current account surplus, little immigration and downward pressure on retail prices.

    The census, which looks at unemployment from a different survey and found that the rate if unemployment was, if anything, lower than the official figures.

    To allege that unemployment is high is politics, not economics. The challenge for this government is to keep unemployment low, if it doesn’t poverty will rise. I fear it has decided that it will be easier to undermine confidence in the figures instead.

  18. Thomas Gresham

    BFP could you please release my post. Thanks

  19. Hants

    Anyone who read the Advocate before January 15th would notice that they went from 14 years supporting the BLP to The Dem’s “new best friend”.

    I will leave to my fellow bloggers to decide how credible that Newspaper is.

  20. The Devil

    to Thomas Gresham

    re, the modernisation of labour statistics: was this stated in BLP forums and to the public? If not, then Ms Mottley and the BLP shall languish in the political doldrums.

  21. Thomas Gresham

    Dear “The Devil”

    Er. I have tried my best to avoid speaking to the devil so far in ly life, but since you ask…..

    My point is on the economics of it all. That it is fanciful to say that unemployment is high when every other statistic indicates it is low, as indicated by the official statistics and validated by the most recent census. In terms of the disingenuousness of the govenrment suggesting that it is its idea alone to modernise the statistics, this is just normal partisan nonsense but I have researched the following for you:

    The IDB have on their web site the loan request for the modernisation of national statistics. The final document, which takes several months to prepare (I was involved in a IDB loan agreement once, on a different matter, but it normally takes a minimum of 3 months) is dated Jan 28, 2008. If pressed, I do not believe the government will say that they prepared this in the first week of government, but that it was prepared by civil servants before.

    The modernisation of labour statistics, as part of a wider Caricom initiaitve, is listed under Public Sector Reform initiatives in 2003. The web link is below and further information can be found by googling modernisation of labout statistics in Barbados.,+modernisation+of+labour+statistics&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6

    In my experience of Barbados and other countries, our challenge is not statistics, it is developing and modernising policies to deal with external economic challenges and to maximise the developmental/people/social aspect of our growth.

  22. J

    The Advocate is a joke and I seldom read it anymore.

    The Advocate needs to hire well educated journalists.

    And pay them well.

    And treat them well.

    And the owner of the Advocate – who is NOT a journalists needs to stay out of the newsroom and let the journalists run the newspaper.

    Then maybe the Advocate will recover.

    Then maybe people will buy the Advocate.

    Then maybe advertisers will want to buy ads in the Advocate because they will know that the Advocate has readers.

    Then maybe the owners of the Advocate will earn some real money for themselves.

    Then maybe the Advocate will not have to suck-up to whichever party is in power in the hope that government money comes their way.

    Then maybe the Advocate will become a real newspaper again.

    If I had an MBA from Harvard I would charge the Advocate $100, 000. for this advice, but as it is I offer it free.

  23. The Devil

    Mr Gresham

    I do not question your analysis nor the facts in this matter. It is that the BLP seems so inept at defending its program of governance and in countering the claims of the present administration. They make the mistake of playing to lowest common denominator. Many supporters of the DLP have been attacking the claim of low unemployment for some time now. I expect that we shall soon hear that there never was any high levels of foreign reserves in the Central Bank.

  24. The Devil

    The owner of the Advocate needs to listen to that song by Singing Sandra – “Die with my dignity”

  25. reality check

    “In my experience of Barbados and other countries, our challenge is not statistics, it is developing and modernising policies to deal with external economic challenges and to maximise the developmental/people/social aspect of our growth.”

    How can one effectively measure unemployment and poverty issues without the yardstick of real and valid statistics?

    Surely this is like having students evaluate their own homework and test papers by using their own non- objective and arbitrary ( lossey goosey ) processes to determine if they are succeeding or not?

    It may be difficult to determine what unemployment really is because some people are disinterested in working ( ie lazy ) or part of the underground market ( freelance selling, drugs, prostitution etc ) but nevertheless that can be part of the statistical information and can be a basis of a valid statistical framework.

  26. Fool me once

    Piggies at the trough is what this is.

    Use Barbados money to pay a foreign magazine that no one reads then brag about it in the Advocate which no one reads.

    Of course $ commissions and congratulations for all concerned.

    Can someone show us the cheques from Invest Barbados that paid for all this?

  27. crossroads

    J, you mean they should hire educated journalist like The Nation??
    Real journalist that know how to create gossip,…sorry I mean stories with facts.
    Lies, Gossip, Hatred it all sells papers

  28. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Devil,

    I think the current government, while in opposition, was very good at feeding on suspicion and speculation. They have carried campaigning tactic to government, but over time it will be an obstacle to government.

    There are many studies which show that a key to economic development is the level of trust in the economy. The opposition’s job, along with the media and blogs, is to scrutinise and question and perhaps give people a better sense of trust, but the govenrment’s job is not to tear down trust. It is to build it up. ITAL would help for instance.

    Well, I am familiar with Barbados statistics and the numbers are sparse and sometimes late, not sufficiently archived in a public friendly way, but they are not fiddled.

    BFP here is a scandal. Since its time in office the governemnt has not released the overdue unemployment and inflation numbers. In a poor tin pot country we would say – what are they hiding or, are they taking time to fiddle with and re-write history?

  29. Thomas Gresham

    The Central Bank of Barbados is the most independent provider of economic statistics, analysis and information in the country.

    There are statistical rules that central banks around the world follow on the dissemination of statistics which our ow bank was a little slow at following but has. You will find these on the IMF website.

    You will find that in every 6 month period going back over the past few years we have around 8-10 economic press releases covering growth, inflation, unemployment, official reserves, debt etc.

    Since January 08 we have had none. ZERO.

    If you go back over these old reports and the regular review of the economy you will find an impartial assessment of the economy up to late 2007. There is good news and difficult news, but it is a fair assessment.

    Why have there been no new releases since December 07?

    What has happened to unemployment and inflation?

    What is the government hiding from?

    If they want to change the way the figures are calculated, present the old figures alongside the new figures for a bit and let us see. (Margaret Thatcher changed the way unemployment was calculated 17 times, all with the effect of improving the picture of her government and serving to undermine confidence in figures…..just as the country experienced the biggest rise in unemployment since the 1930s).

    Check it out for yourself on:

  30. crossroads

    Mr Hoad hit “de nail on de head” check it out, lies a nessessary part of our humanity.

  31. Equity

    BFP, you are soooo wrong. I am not, unfortunately, any of those characters you name. Now am I to believe your denial? I am disgusted with your inability to countenance a different view from yours, but then it is your blog…..bye

  32. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Reality Check,

    You have bough the DLP propaganda hook line and sinker.

    You can imagine that we are not the very first country to come across the problem of how you measure such things as unemployment, debt and inflation.

    So, there are international standards on data quality and public dissemination. We have followed these standards and they are well documented on the following website:

    But this was not my pont because politicians and hacks will make tedious allegations and counter allegations.

    What I have done is pose the unpartisan economic question. Is the constellation of the trends on domesticly generated inflation (up), current account (in deficit), capital account (in rising surplus), reserves (high and rising) public debt (high, and financed privately) and legal and illegal immigration (growing in recent years) consistent with the idea that we have low, or high unemployment?

    The answer is unambiguously, unquestionably, that it is consistent with a country running at a low rate of unemployment, not a high rate.

  33. Real Ting

    Thomas Gresham ; Maybe the reason no statistics are being put out relates to the fact that Marion may no longer be able to alter or change unfavourable position papers from her technical & research staff. This may present a dilemma because you can’t go from 6.7% unemployment to 10 or 12% in six months without severely undermining public confidence in the veracity of your statistics.

  34. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Real Ting,

    I was personally heavily involved in the international debate on statistical standards and codes, when I was in the UK. I have seen our data and while it could be better, to think that it is fiddled in some deliberate way is not to understand how it is calculated.

    You may be saying that the precise rate of unemployment underestimates unemployment and underemployment, so much so, that in 1991, the rate if unemployment was not 24% but even higher. Gosh. Perhaps. Data has a margin of error of +/- . What is most interesting for the country and for poverty is the trend. It has gone down, probably to levels not seen before, but where is it going now, down or up? Data releases will give us a clue and should shape the policy response. Hiding the data helps no one.

    Of course what the partisans are saying, with very little statistical background of the process or evidence is some how the decline in unemployment has been fiddled lower. This is an attempt to rewrite history for political purposes and in the process undermine confidence in our data collection. This is dangerous becuase it undermines the effectiveness of govenrment if no one believes data. There should be a high bar of proof. Give us the proof that our unemployment rate has been fiddled.

    I have given you proof that it has not been – a low unemployment rate is entirely consistent with every, every, other bit of macro-economic data we can see around us. None of the scurrilous have dared to take me on, on that. Their story of high unemployment is inconsistent with every, every other bit of macro data. Dont play politics with what we need to govern well.

  35. Thomas Gresham

    Dear BFP, etc,

    I must say that I am feeling a little left out over this whole mulit-personality blogging thing. I am now seeing multiple personalities everywhere. I wonder if I could get permission from you to reveal the other Thomas’ that haunt the corridors of my head. Perhaps I could be Thomas Aquinas when dealing with issues of black single mothers, or maybe Mother Teresa, though that could be a personality too far.

    Could I be Thomas Jefferson, Carlye or Paine on ITAL? (It seems the House of Thomas is pretty strong on the issue.) But I would stick to Gresham on economics issues. That said, my most famous saying as Gresham was “bad money drives out good” which was really nicked from Aristophanes’ “The Frogs” which was written in 400BC-odd and is actually about corrupt politicians leading to more corrupt politicians. Sorry for the self-indulgence.

  36. reality check


    Thanks for directing me to the IMF database on statistics or better described as the “General Data Dissemination System” GDDS.

    For a moment, I thought it had been written by Mia or a bunch of lofty college professors who were trying to impress each other with a lot of words that could only be interpreted by other PHD’s. Sorry I nearly fell asleep.

    I thought with new information age ideas were to be expressed succinctly and simply. My apologies, I am not a trained economist like the last Prime Minister of Barbados.

    As to buying the DLP line hook, line and sinker. I can assure you I have no idea what the DLP position on these issues or any other issues for that matter.

    Like the last party in power they have largely gone into hiding and do not believe in communicating with the public in the new mediums.

    Maybe we will hear from them just before the next election?

  37. TskTsk

    The IMF database on statistics is written for professional economists and statisticians. It is not intended for those untrained and ignorant in that field of work. The ideas expressed at that database have been expressed simply and succintly for its target audience. There is no shame in one acknowledging when one is out of their depth.

  38. Real Ting

    Thomas Gresham; i think you misunderstood what i was trying to say. i should have stated that the unemployment figure was just an illustrative example. it was a bad example as it gave the impression that those numbers were or could have been changed. when i referred to the position papers i meant the analysis and recommendations put forward based on the statistics and trends identified. When CBB issues a report in some areas it is much more than just statistics, sometimes the interpretation of those statistics is much more important and open to subversion.

  39. reality check


    loved the comeback

    Don’t think I ever took a statistics course nor could I ever pass one—definitely out of my depth.

    Having dealt with many many professionals of different disciplines whether it be doctors, lawyers, chemists, researchers etc, those that can use their special knowledge to simply communicate to the layman to get their point across, are the ones that move their professions to a higher level. Nuff said. I have made my point and will revert to my ignorance without shame.

  40. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Real Ting,

    Sorry if I misinterpreted you.

    There is little disagreement on how to interpret the numbers at the central bank. As economists they will worry that, in fact, unemployment is too low, and is below what economists call the “natural rate” that reflects issues of skills gaps and other impediments and, that is we have cost and current account pressures.

    No economist at the central bank was worried that we are actually running large surplus capacity in the labour markets over the past few years (a heartlessly technical definition of unemployment). The worry was the exact opposite.

    Circumstances have now changed and we will only maintain our low unemployment with very careful policies that boost demand and lower disincentives to work. In raising net taxes the budget offered us the precise opposite.

  41. Tell me Why

    BFP., you keep talking about the lapdog media, but you seems to be ignoring the behaviour of the Advocate in its new journalism stance. Let’s look at the naming of people in the party monarch, the Nation brought the entire calypsonians and the Advocate failed to inform the public. Today’s Advocate failed to inform the public about the final 9 for the finals. To make journalism a joke, the paper failed to bring a concise view of the Central Bank report. Instead of the paper printing the true position of the economy, it preferred to highlight only one aspect of the report – “no economic crisis as stated by the Governor of the bank. How can the major sectors showing fall-offs, yet we are hearing ‘things good’. If this is just the 2nd quarter and things looking red or dread, I fear the last quarter results and the true economic heart aches in the new year. We are wishing in vain. We need the truth Advocate, not what you want to feed the public with.