Monthly Archives: April 2009

Taxes Killing Barbados Intra-Regional Travel

One Way Barbados to St. Lucia = BDS$93.73 in taxes, plus US$16.75 Fuel & Insurance Surcharge

Book a month in advance and the taxes on a ONE-WAY ticket with LIAT to St. Lucia from Barbados amount to BDS$93.73 alone, and that doesn’t include the US$16.75 fuel and insurance surcharge.

Why is it that the Government is calling on the private sector tourism industry to protect employment and safeguard jobs and yet they appear to be deaf to the overwhelming calls to reduce taxes on intra regional travel?

Despite the Caribbean currently being the third largest source of long stay visitors to Barbados, and this could well change due to restricted air travel caused by the Swine Flu epidemic, it still is treated as the ‘Cinderella’ of our major markets.

With ongoing subsidies of up to US$300 per passenger, plus all the extra costs associated with the Best of Barbados programme in the United States, the least per capita BTA marketing spend is on the Caribbean, despite it producing the highest return on investment.

Prior to being revoked as a Director of the Barbados Tourism Authority, I repeatedly asked, (and it is minuted), for empirical evidence of the economical justification for the Best of Barbados programme. Sadly it was never forthcoming.

It is also difficult to understand why any organisation would the sell a substantial percentage of a product at below cost, especially in a market that has not even kept abreast of inflation for seven consecutive years, when other markets are performing better.

Before we start to see the closure of yet more tourism partners, I urge our Minister of Tourism and his counterparts in the entire Caribbean to take a look at how a reduction in taxes could greatly assist some of them staying in business.

Adrian Loveridge
30th April 2009

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BREAKING: Swine Flu Pandemic Imminent – World Health Organisation Declares Level 5 of 6

barbados-influenza

Airline Flights Scaled Back, Some US Schools Closed, Europe Into Lockdown

We just finished watching WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan on CNN satellite and I wish we had recorded what she said. No doubt you can go to CNN.com or Drudge Report and get the latest, but here it is from memory…

The World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert to the second-highest level, indicating that a full blown pandemic is “imminent” according to Dr. Chan. Dr. Chan said that “all countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans.”

Prior to the appearance of Dr. Chan, some talking heads at CNN were speculating that the Avian flu and SARS were a “3” on the pandemic scale – so that gives you an idea of the seriousness of the threat.

In the news, we see that Air France flight crews are refusing to fly to Mexico. I can’t blame them, but truly it is so appropriate that the French crews would be the first to say “non”. I can’t help it folks — like the old joke “How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? Answer: no one knows, it’s never been attempted!”

Now for Some Good News… And a More Balanced Perspective

eTurbo News —  a global travel industry newsletter — reminds us that 35,000 people died of influenza in the United States last year alone. Yes, as Dr. Chan pointed out in the WHO briefing a few minutes ago, this new strain of swine flu has never been seen before and should be treated with respect and the utmost precautions. And, we should all take those precautions.

But we at Barbados Free Press are willing to bet that in two months time this new crisis in the travel industry will be ending. Our leaders should not only be thinking about what is to be immediately done to protect everyone, they should be planning for the recovery of our tourist industry after this swine flu passes.

Have a read of the eTurbo News article Applying Tourism’s Lessons Learned From SARS To Swine Flu and you will be reassured that the sky is not falling. This swine flu crisis isn’t the end of the world, but it is going to significantly impact our national economy and your pocketbook. In response, hopefully our leadership will cancel a few champagne brunches at the Hilton and devote themselves to more immediate concerns.

Meanwhile, as we continually remind our readers: look after your family and friends better than you ever have before — you might be the one needing help next week.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Health

Barbados Police Receive Training From China – Chinese Law Enforcement Handbook Instructs How To Beat People Without Leaving Marks (Were I’Akobi’s Cops China Trained?)

china-barbados-police

Slippery Slopes Get Very Slippery Indeed

Officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force already receive training from China’s police both in Barbados and during exchanges in China. As Barbados Free Press has pointed out on numerous occasions, we don’t believe that Barbados police officers have much to learn from a country that drives tanks over teenagers, kidnaps pregnant women off the streets to force abortions upon them and routinely trains police officers in how to shoot prisoners in the head during public executions. Our Barbados Defence Force also receives Chinese training and equipment.

And now we have to ask if the Chinese authorities will be supplying our police officers with the latest textbook for city administration law enforcement squads. The Chengguan handbook instructs Chinese law enforcement officers in how to inflict pain upon citizens without drawing blood or leaving marks…

“In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and that no people are in the vicinity.”

… From the Beijing Municipal Bureau of City Administration and Law Enforcement training textbook “The Practice of City Administrator Law Enforcement”

Did Any Barbados Police Officer Involved With The Death Of I’Akoki Receive Chinese Training?

Barbados Free Press will have much more to say about the illegal arrest of I’Akobi Maloney by Barbados police — an act that is all too common on this island as our police officers routinely exceed their authority in law and abuse the rights of citizens and members of the press.

But for now, we just want an answer from the Commissioner of Police…

Commissioner Dottin — Please inform the good citizens of Barbados whether any of the police officers involved with the death of I’Akobi Maloney, either at the scene or during the subsequent investigation, ever received training from China.

Further Reading

Global Voices – China: A practical handbook for beating street vendors

Nova Scotia Scott blog – Chinese Junior Cops Trained In Thuggery

Danwei – A practical handbook for beating street vendors

BFP: Chinese Police Arrest Christians For Nativity Play, Praying – But Barbados Still Loves Chinese Charity and Investment

BFP: Would Bussa Have Accompanied Barbados Chief Justice and Prime Minister To Chinese Embassy Celebration?

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Human Rights, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Chief Justice Testifies Under Oath: He Destroyed Business Records Evidence After Lawsuit Launched!!!

Barbados Chief Justice Simmons testified he had a man burn the corporate records for his land speculation company, S.B.G. This fellow looks like he could have done the job for the Chief Justice!

Barbados Chief Justice Simmons testified he had a man burn the corporate records for his land speculation company, S.B.G. - This fellow looks like he could have done the job for the Chief Justice!

A Sad Day For The Dignity Of The Office Of The Chief Justice Of Barbados

Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons recently gave testimony for a Canadian court in the Kingsland land fraud case. The court transcript has been posted online at Keltruth Blog here so there is really no dispute about what Sir David said while under oath.

Sir David confirmed that in 2004 he ordered the destruction of his land speculation company’s business records  — even though the business records were evidence in an ongoing lawsuit concerning US$1 billion worth of prime Barbados real estate known as Kingsland. Disgusting, but true.

According to Keltruth Blog, the Chief Justice and some other defendants were recently dropped from the Canadian lawsuit about Kingsland. We at Barbados Free Press have to wonder if the charges being dropped against Sir David had anything to do with the unavailability of evidence that he ordered destroyed. If so, it can be seen that our Chief Justice is a very intelligent man — in a cunning sort of way.

Whether cunningly destroying evidence is a quality that we want to see in our Chief Justice is, of course, another matter.

Career Politician Appointed As Chief Justice To Consolidate Political Power

Chief Justice Simmons - Career Politician Is No Independent Judge!

Chief Justice Simmons - Career Politician Is No Independent Judge!

Once again the people of Barbados are reminded what a mistake it was when then Prime Minister Owen Arthur appointed his former Attorney General and good friend as the Chief Justice of Barbados. Our country needed and deserved to have an independent, non-political person as its Chief Justice. Instead, Owen Arthur and the BLP decided to consolidate power by politicizing the office of our highest judge.

David Simmons was a career politician who had served as Attorney General and acting Prime Minister. He was also an entrepreneur, land speculator and backroom deal maker. As we have stated in the past, we believe that David Simmons should not have accepted the office of cheap justice Chief Justice, but that he wanted the job and the power more than he loved our Barbadian democracy and judicial system. He cheapened the office of the Chief Justice and made it impossible for citizens to have confidence that the highest court in the land was not a political tool. We shall never forgive David Simmons for allowing this to happen.

Further reading: click on the photo to read the original article and the court transcript at Keltruth Blog

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

Swine Flu Scare Decimates International Travel – Barbados Suffers With Other Prime Destinations

Swine Flu = Empty Airplanes

Swine Flu = Empty Airplanes

“Dear Barbados Free Press,

It has been nothing but cancellations all day at the Hilton…”

Government Implements Watch At Grantley Adams Airport – Not Much Else To Be Done

No man and no nation can control the wind, tides and the seas. And so it is with swine flu. Nothing that Barbados did contributed to the outbreak, and little that Barbados does will matter on an international scale. Our government has instituted a watch at Grantley Adams international Airport, but realistically that is about all that can be done.

Shona’s little brother works at the airport and he says that passenger pickups are down by half as of today. An anonymous reader tells us that the staff at the Hilton were on the phone all day taking cancellations — not only from individuals, but also from group bookings.

It may take a few weeks or even a month, but this will pass.

As we said before, when times are tough — be frugal, and look after your family and friends because you never know when you might need a little help yourself.

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Barbados on alert!

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Summit Of The Americas Official Group Photo!

barbados-obama-thompson-2

See our previous article…

obama-thompson-barbados

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Time For The Semi-Annual “Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital Needs A Cafeteria” Story

“For nearly 15 years now, getting a cafeteria or canteen has been an urgent matter for the island’s main health facility and has been ventilated by doctors, nurses and the board, but even now no one can say when the much-needed facility will be in place.”

From the Nation story Call for new QEH Cafeteria

Who says Barbadians don’t have a sense of humour?

Also see BFP’s Barbados News Media Refuse To Cover NUPW Press Release About Queen Elizabeth Hospital Doctors

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Pakistan On Verge Of Collapse – Taliban Heading For Islamabad and Nuclear Weapons

pakistan-taliban-nuclear-weapon

When Insurgency Becomes Civil War

If history has taught us one thing, it is that when defeat is inevitable the rush to join the victors often goes exponential before anybody realizes what is happening. We saw it in Vietnam, Cuba, Iran and when the Nazis marched into Paris in 1940. Entire countries and ways of life collapsed in a few hours as the tide turned.

If you haven’t noticed, such a thing is happening in Pakistan at this moment. The Pakistani government long ago surrendered vast areas of the country and its sovereignty to radical Islam in the form of the Taliban. Now the country and its citizens are paying the price. Taliban fighters are within 60 km of the capital and the great killing has begun in those areas newly under their control. Many police and government officials have fled the country and Sharia law is being brutally enforced.

Afghanistan used to be the problem, then it was Iraq — except that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq as countries were really the problem. So what will President Obama decide to do in relation to Pakistan?

A decision to do nothing is still a decision. The only problem is, unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan really does have nuclear weapons. God help us and the world if Pakistan as a nation turns fundamentalist Muslim.

Daily Mail Online: Pakistan on verge of collapse as Taliban surge towards Islamabad

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When Did The Director of Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit Find Religion… Or Was It Just For Earth Day?

Click On The Photo To See The New Graeme Hall Video

Click On The Photo To See The New Graeme Hall Video

Dr. Leo Brewster: “Inattention… irresponsibility” Threatens Wetlands, Recreational Areas, Reefs, Fisheries…

Here at Barbados Free Press, we really don’t know how to take the words of Dr. Leo Brewster, director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit for Barbados, as quoted in the current issue of The Nation.

Dr. Brewster’s words sound so noble

“…a national ocean policy should be based on, and guided by, fundamental principles, including: sustainability, stewardship, ocean-land-atmosphere connections; eco-system-based management; multiple use management; preservation of marine biodiversity; participatory governance; timeliness; accountability; and international responsibility.”

“Through inattention, lack of information and irresponsibility, we have indirectly depleted local reef and commercial fisheries, despoiled recreational areas, degraded water quality, drained wetlands, and on occasion endangered our own health…”

Contrast the words of Dr. Brewster with the actions of the Government of Barbados for the past year and – dare we say it – the inaction and impotence of his own agency, the Coastal Zone Management Unit. Let’s talk about the Graeme Hall wetlands, shall we?

Almost immediately after being elected in 2008, the Thompson DLP government changed the law to allow commercial development and building upon the Graeme Hall watershed — an area that had been protected in law for almost three decades. This was done so Prime Minister Thompson’s developer friends could profit from the sale of government lands at Graeme Hall and their own lands that border the nature sanctuary.

Dr. Brewster remained silent when the government committed this heinous act.

Now let us consider the fact that both the Owen Arthur and David Thompson governments have deliberately neglected to repair the sea gate at Graham Hall. As a result, the last mangrove forest on the island is slowly being poisoned as it is denied the natural ebb and flow of sea water into the mangroves. The government’s intent, of course, is to destroy the wetlands while avoiding the responsibility for doing so. When it is all done the swamp will be dead and the condo highrises will sprout in an area that should have been declared a national park.

Dr. Brewster, like so many frightened Barbadians who work in government service, speaks only in generalities. It is as if his sister is being raped within his sight, yet he does not come to her aid. He merely speaks of the general problem of abuse of women while his sister’s screams pierce the night.

So we ask Dr. Brewster: Which specific abuses were you talking about? Were you talking about the Graeme Hall wetlands? And what do you intend to do to save the last mangrove forest in Barbados from a government intent on profiting from our children’s future?

Further Reading

Graeme Hall National Park website

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website

BFP: Barbados Government Confirms Plans To Develop Graeme Hall Wetlands. Thompson’s Million-Dollar Lie

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

Prime Ministers David Thompson and Stephen Harper Working With President Obama

obama-thompson-barbados

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I’Akobi Maloney Inquest Verdict On Friday, April 24, 2009 – Coroner’s Court, Bridgetown Barbados

iakobi_tacuma_barbados

“If the Barbados government and police think that calls for an inquiry into the death of I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney will just fade away, they are very mistaken…”

From the August 28, 2008 Barbados Free Press article Harvard Law School’s Global Voices Translates I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney Articles For Major Worldwide Audience

Inquest Into Suspicious Death Of I’Akobi Exposed The Low Level Of Professionalism Of Barbados Police

I’Akobi Maloney died in the custody of Barbados police officers on June 17, 2008 when he fell to his death over a 50 foot cliff and into the sea at Cove Bay, St. Lucy. The police say he broke free and jumped willingly to his death. I’Akobi’s family and thousands of Barbadians do not believe that story. All too late, the coroner was asked to hold an inquest – but no independent investigation was conducted to gather evidence to present to the coroner. The Barbados police would be the agency to investigate its own actions!

There would not even have been an inquest into the death of I’Akobi Maloney except for the outrage of thousands of citizens who signed the petition, wrote letters to newspapers and published the case on the Internet. There would not have been an inquest except for Maloney’s grief-stricken mother angrily confronting Prime Minister David Thompson in public. There would not have been an inquest except for the fear that world attention would be focused on Barbados. There would not have been an inquest except for the fear that the Rastafarian community of Barbados would eventually turn to violence if the cover-up continued and the police were allowed to investigate themselves.

Other less-publicized incidents involving potential police wrongdoing — such as shooting unarmed people in the back of the head — are not subject to independent inquiries (or any inquiries at all) when the victim does not have the benefit of a large and tightly organized community.

The inquest into Maloney’s death is not evidence of the supremacy of the rule of law in Barbados — it is an anomaly brought about by fear, and not a sense by the government that the right thing must always be done.

Nonetheless, here we are. The verdict of the coroner’s inquest will be delivered this Friday. We at Barbados Free Press did not attend any of the hearings and we must rely, like the majority of the population, on newspaper and media reports and the reports published on the Internet by the Rastafarian community.

And judging from those reports, no matter what the findings of the coroner, the big losers in this inquest are every officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force. The police witnesses and their upper-level management were exposed at the inquest as raw amateurs in many areas of policing, including evidence gathering, community relations, general investigation, note taking, report writing, and [ of course ] lying. They couldn’t even lie with professionalism.

“It is clear to a blind man on a galloping horse that the two of you sat down and word for word wrote a single statement, and the problem is I don’t really have a corroboration,”

… Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris to Royal Barbados Police Force officers Constable Wendell Walkes and Acting Sergeant Wingrove Headley

Truly, the inquest revealed that the Royal Barbados police force are the gang who couldn’t shoot straight — except when they shoot unarmed people in the back of the head.

So far, the list of unprofessional police conduct to come out at the inquest includes…

— The failure of police to obtain timely and individual statements from the officers present at I’Akobi’s death. statements were not obtained for two weeks, and then they were almost word for word copies — showing that the officers discussed and agreed to give a common version of the incident rather than their own true recollections as to what happened. Their statements contained even the same grammatical errors.

— The resistance of the police to allowing the family to have an independent doctor present at the postmortem.

— The failure of Assistant Police Superintendent Curvant Harvey to conduct scientific forensic tests on the police officers firearms and other equipment and clothes worn by them that  day.

— The failure of police to properly photograph and document the death scene until August 6, 2008 — almost 2 months after the incident.

— The failure of police officers at the scene on the day of the death to make investigative notes, or to take photos and videos of the area and the sea state.

— Releasing evidence (I’Akoi’s shoulder bag) prior to any inquest.

— Claiming that I’Akobi was wearing his shoulder bag when he jumped into the sea, when it was obvious the bag had never been into the sea.

Once again, in a very public way, Barbados is once again seen to be a country where the police are not only in charge of investigating themselves — they are obviously incapable of doing so in a competent manner.

Further Reading

AfriKa CRY BLOOD – A blog about the circumstances surrounding the death of I’Akobi Maloney

BFP, August 1, 2008 – Suspicious Death Brings World Attention Upon Royal Barbados Police Force

BFP, July 26, 2008 – Coroner’s Inquests Can Take 25 Years In Barbados – Legalities Not A Priority With Successive Governments

BFP, July 22, 2008 – Let’s Discuss This Again: Nation News Finally Discovers That Barbados Police Don’t Give A Damn About Rule Of Law

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Freedom Of Information, Human Rights, Police, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Religion

Mass Death of 21 Venezuelan Polo Horses – U.S. Open Polo Tournament in Wellington Florida

polo-horse-deaths

The world’s polo communities are talking about nothing else today after 21 horses from the Venezuelan Lechuza Caracas polo team died on the field and in the barn at the US Open Polo Tournament in Wellington, Florida. Several agencies are investigating what might be the largest poisoning of its kind in the history of equine sports. Could it have been accidental through contaminated food or medicine… or perhaps something more sinister?

Whatever the cause, until more is known this incident should have polo, jumping and race horse owners thinking about security of the animals and their feeds and medicines.

SunSentinel.com: PBSO and state investigations launched in deaths of 21 horses in Wellington

PalmBeachPost.com: Cause of 21 polo horses’ deaths could take days, weeks to determine

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Gunman Holds Hostages On Canadian Airliner In Jamaica

canjet-jamaica-hostage

UPDATED, Monday 8:06am: CBC.ca report: Incident Is Over – Hijacker in Custody, Canadian Crew Released: Jamaican Police

Our original story…

Airliner Crew Held Hostage – Shot Fired – Most Passengers Released

A gunman stormed a Canadian CanJet airliner on the ground at Sangster international Airport in Jamaica and is still holding a number of crew members hostage. The incident started Sunday night around 10 PM local time. News reports say the gunmen forced his way through security and charged the aircraft before authorities could respond. Dozens of passengers were briefly held hostage before being released. Although a shot was fired, there are no reports of injuries in the news stories.

There are conflicting reports that two passengers are still being held with the flight crew.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is coincidentally in Jamaica for a one-day visit.

While the truth is, the situation could probably have happened just about anywhere — it didn’t. It happened in Jamaica, a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world and a gun culture that is even reflected in popular music. If any of our Canadian readers are thinking of a vacation in Jamaica, may we suggest you reconsider that Barbados is a much friendlier and safer vacation place.

For the latest on this story, Google “Jamaica airliner hostage” as we will not be updating this post for a few hours.

CBC.CA – Gunman holds Canadian plane, crew at airport in Jamaica

Sky News – Gunman Holds 7 Hostage In Jamaica

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Thousands Of New Visitors To Our Natalee Holloway Stories – Movie and Joran Van der Sloot Thailand Sex Trafficking Video Drive Interest In Natalee’s Disappearance

Renewed Interest Sparked By “The Natalee Holloway Story” Movie

natalee_holloway_aruba-barbados.jpgA new made for television movie about the disappearance of Natalie Holloway was broadcast on Sunday night. The result — a “perfect storm” on the Internet as renewed interest in the case immediately catapulted the term “Natalie Holloway” to the top of the search engine charts. Our two stories about the case received thousands of hits overnight and the visits will no doubt continue to increase as the day progresses.

As a result of this new interest we’ve learned something ourselves: the suspect in Natalie’s disappearance was recently filmed again with a hidden video camera — this time involved in human trafficking of Thai prostitutes to work in Europe. Joran Van der Sloot was caught out in Bangkok Thailand last November, 2008 by undercover reporters posing as Dutch sex industry bosses. Van der Sloot was videotaped accepting cash to arrange immigration and travel documents for the girls — who believed they were being hired as dancers in the Netherlands at $400 per month.

holloway-murder-confession

What a nasty piece of work this Joran Van der Sloot is. As related in our February 4, 2008 story (link below), Van der Sloot was befriended by an undercover reporter and confessed on hidden video that he had disposed of Natalie’s body possibly while she was still alive.

The name Natalie Holloway will be synonymous with the word “Aruba” for the foreseeable future — perhaps even decades into the future if her disappearance remains unsolved.

As a side note, we at Barbados Free Press are reminded every once in a while of the power of the Internet to give worthy stories “legs” — staying power in the public consciousness. Although public interest in a story might fade in the news cycle, when something makes the story current, all the background is instantly available to ordinary people on the Internet. As we have seen ourselves on numerous occasions, these legacy stories can result in tens of thousands of new visitors over a day or two.

In Barbados, the political and media elites still think they can effectively control information and the public consciousness. How quickly Prime Minister David Thompson and his DLP party have forgotten the lessons of the 2007 campaign — when a handful of blogs run by ordinary citizens were probably the tipping point in the fall of the Owen Arthur government and the election of the DLP.

Further Reading

Barbados Free Press: Joran van der Sloot Says Natalee Holloway Was Dumped Into The Sea – Possibly While Still Alive

Barbados Free Press: Say “Aruba” – Think “Natalee Holloway”

ABC News: Suspect in Holloway Case Allegedly Caught Arranging for Sex Workers

Daily Newscaster: Joran van der Sloot flees Thailand and possible human trafficking charges – Updated

Fox News Report: Natalee Holloway Suspect Involved in Thai Sex Trafficking

NBC News: New Natalee Holloway movie airs on Lifetime

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Indigenous Peoples Cry For Justice As Caribbean Nations Conveniently Submit To USA’s Will

Grand Chief Ed John in Panama

Grand Chief Ed John in Panama

“This ‘Human Prosperity’ theme of the OAS Heads of State Summit to follow us immediately in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago CANNOT be implemented for the benefit of the non-indigenous citizens of the OAS states at the expense of OUR Indigenous peoples – because for far too long that is EXACTLY what has been happening!”.

…Grand Chief Edward John – political executive of the First Nations Assembly (of Canada) Task Group

My Controversial Report On The 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit – by Damon Corrie

The 1st Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas was held in 2001 in Ottawa, Canada, North America, the second was in 2005 in Buenos Aires, Argentina; South America, and the 3rd was just concluded on April 15th 2009 in Panama City, Panama; Central America.

Controversy tends to follow anything that seeks to advance the long denied rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas – a Hemisphere that with the sole exception of Bolivia (which FINALLY has an Indigenous President and government) – STILL suffers to varying degrees under Colonialism & Neo-colonialism – 517 years AFTER the arrival of Columbus and the ensuing Genocide, Ethnocide and Ecocide he (and subsequent Eurocentric plunderers) unleashed in the ‘New World’.

At the opening ceremony held in a conference room at the Hotel Riande Continental in Panama City on April 14th 2009 the pre-session prayer was said by a respected elder of the local Kuna Tribal Nation.

“The Indigenous Caucus of the Americas is only being permitted one brief address to the OAS Heads of State – then like dutiful servants we must leave the room, not even being permitted to sit as official observers as we were granted in previous OAS Summits.”

The influential leader Mrs. Beverly Jacobs of the Native Womens’ Association of Canada, was the first speaker to address the 100+ Indigenous Leaders from North, South, Central America and the Caribbean gathered.

This was followed by a video address by his Excellency Jose Miguel Insulza – Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), and this was presented on his behalf by her Excellency Abigail Castro de Perez – Ambassador and representative of the OAS in Panama.

The Third speaker was her Excellency Patricia Lagan-Torrel – Ambassador of Canada to the the Republic of Panama; the governments of Canada, the USA, and Spain provided funds to make the 3rd ILSA possible and the OAS provided logistical support in no small part by tireless workers such as Mr. Luis Toro and Ms. Jessica Grebeldinger – both great friends to the cause of Indigenous rights.

Fourth to speak was the well known indigenous Lawyer Hector Huertas of the Kuna Tribal Nation of Panama, and one of the key points he raised was the fact that “Everyone must realize that the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a ‘minimum standard’ – not a be-all and end-all for the inherent and undeniable rights of Indigenous Peoples of the world; so the American declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (still being created) CANNOT fall below the rights enshrined in the UN declaration – which is global in scope.

* Readers should note that the UN declaration being referred to was passed by a vote of support of every UN member state EXCEPT the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – but soon thereafter the Australian government changed and the new administration quickly adopted the Declaration leaving 3 isolated ‘Democratic hypocrisies’ still in opposition.

Fifth and last to speak was the veteran respected Grand Chief Edward John – political executive of the First Nations Assembly (of Canada) Task Group, and he provided a wealth of information to the appreciative audience gathered, but his most memorable statement – and one that reverberated around the room to enthusiastic support was when he thundered: “This ‘Human Prosperity’ theme of the OAS Heads of State Summit to follow us immediately in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago CANNOT be implemented for the benefit of the non-indigenous citizens of the OAS states at the expense of OUR Indigenous peoples – because for far too long that is EXACTLY what has been happening!”.

The Grand chief went on to state “We have taken 40 cases against the government of Canada to the Supreme Court of Canada and we have won ALL of them, yet the government of Canada still refuses to comply with the rulings of their own Supreme Court!”

As I sat in the audience, as a Barbadian by birth of Guyanese Lokono-Arawak descent, and cognizant of the fact that I was part of the planning committee for this 3rd indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas and head of the communications sub-committee (my tenure expired as of 6.30pm on April 15th 2009 when the Summit officially ended), I was saddened to hear that the Governments of Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil – were still frustrating the efforts of the Indigenous Caucus in the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s process, when I had attended the last OAS session in Washington DC a few months ago the USA and Canada had dropped out of the process entirely – which is an act guaranteed to sabotage any progress we hope to make on that front due to the ‘Consensus’ requirement within the OAS.

Continue reading

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Ugly Fat Woman With Magic Voice Captures Britain’s And The World’s Hearts – The Susan Boyle Story

susan-boyle-talent

47 Years Old & Never Been Kissed

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, you’ve probably heard of Susan Boyle: the woman who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and brought the judges and audience to tears with her performance of I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables. Haven’t heard of her? Check out the YouTube video links at the end of the story and you’ll know why you’ll be hearing much much more of this woman who has a gift from God. At BFP we’ve each watched her video about 20 times and there is no stopping.

The YouTube videos of her performance are past 30 million views, and if you really want to hear something, check out her 1999 charity recording of Cry Me A River.

Hear Susan Boyle Sing And Be Moved…

Susan Boyle – Singer – Britains Got Talent 2009 (with lyrics)

Susan Boyle – Cry Me A River

Excellent Wall Street Journal article The Susan Boyle Bubble

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Why Is Cremation So Expensive In Barbados?

lyndhurst-funerals-barbados

Could It Be That Bajans Are Living Too Long?

A recent CNN article states that many Americans are choosing cremation over burial due to the considerable cost savings. One of our readers directed us to the article and stated,   “Too bad that doesn’t apply in Barbados.”

Yes indeed.

We can tell you from personal experience that funeral costs are considerably higher in Barbados than in, for instance, New Jersey. Our family has never used cremation so I can’t provide any comparison with a normal burial.

The folks over at Lyndhurst Funeral Home appear to have done well over the years and we shouldn’t begrudge anyone for success as a result of hard work and quality of service. You certainly won’t find any staffers at Barbados Free Press saying anything but good about the caring Lyndhurst people who performed their difficult tasks with professionalism and compassion. [Yes, we know we have had our political differences with two of the staff, but that is irrelevant for this discussion.]

Lyndhurst and Peter Griffith have looked after most of the families here in Barbados at one time or another and also some of the famous folks who have passed on in Barbados. Claudette Colbert comes to mind, and there were others too.

As to the reason why funerals cost so much in Barbados, we wouldn’t mind hearing from Mr. Griffith or someone from Lyndhurst, but we suspect it has to do with our small population not providing the opportunities for economy of scale that might be enjoyed by funeral home businesses in larger countries. We found a Dun & Bradstreet article indicating that back in 1999 the estimate for the new Barbados crematorium and cemetery was US $3.2 million. I don’t know how long it would take to amortize such an expense, but we hope that none of us help out with the amortization anytime soon!

So how about it Mr. Griffith…? Will you please comment on the high cost of funerals in Barbados, and also let us know what you can about the situation surrounding funeral expenses of the Codrington family.

Thanks!

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Filed under Barbados

President & Mrs. Obama Release Income Tax Returns – Will Barbados Politicians Do The Same?

UPDATED: April 17, 2010

ONE YEAR SINCE we published this article about President Obama and his lovely wife releasing their tax returns for public scrutiny. That’s another year passed without the integrity, transparency and accountability laws that David Thompson and his DLP promised to implement “immediately upon taking office” in January of 2008.

Transparency? More like “cover up” especially regarding the CLICO scandal and the Prime Minister’s continuing protection of his old friend Leroy Parris. Some things never change ’bout hey. Now the problem becomes “Who do we vote for in the next election?” because – really – there is only one political party in Barbados.

So how about it Prime Minister Thompson… can we see your income tax filings too?

Here’s our original story published in April of 2009…

obama-tax-returns

Bajans Got Fooled Again When They Believed David Thompson And The DLP

Barbadians were told that the David Thompson government would be “The most transparent, most accountable government Barbados has ever seen…”

Well, we all know what became of that, don’t we? We were promised integrity legislation, freedom of information, and a Ministerial code with conflict of interest rules. Instead, we are still a country without standards of conduct for elected and appointed government officials. It is still legal in Barbados for government officials to award government contracts to companies owned by themselves or their immediate family members.

David Thompson and the DLP government lied to us during their 2007 campaign. Their supporters, who so heavily criticized former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and his government for failing to introduce integrity legislation and conflicts of interest standards, remain silent one year two years and 100 days after David Thompson became Prime Minister of our country.

In the United States though, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have released six years of income tax returns.

It’s called Transparency, Accountability and Integrity.

Further Reading

TaxProf Blog: Obama Releases 2000-2006 Tax Returns

Reuters: Obama tax return reveals memoirs made millions

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption