Monthly Archives: May 2009

Why The Barbados Labour Party Needs A Real Leadership Contest & Convention – And Why Mia Mottley Will Never Agree To A Leadership Vote

Mia Mottley Will Never Willingly Agree To A Leadership Vote

In the wreckage of the January 2008 election, defeated Prime Minister Owen Arthur resigned from the leadership of the BLP, and Deputy Leader Mia Mottley was publicly announced as the new party leader.

barbados-mia-mottley-fraudWhat most of the public didn’t see or read about in the papers – and only heard about in whispers and quiet standpipe talk – was that Mia Mottley’s “promotion” to party leader was anything but unanimous and smooth sailing. Her “confirmation” (if you can call it that) as Leader of the Opposition took place behind closed doors and must have been some battle judging by the reports.

I wasn’t there, but like many people I’ve heard the stories of screaming, shouting and banging that could be heard out onto the street until some thinking person sent a text message to one of the participants that party supporters milling about outside were hearing the disaster. Later, the rumours came around that Mia almost lost the position until her father threatened to lay waste to half the old-boys network if his little girl didn’t assume the mantle of BLP leader. Yes, Mia’s daddy – Justice Elliot D. Mottley – was at the inner-circle meeting on election night and not just to provide moral support to his daughter. Judge Mottley took a very active role in the political process – according to what was heard on the street.

Once again folks – I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard the stories and so have you. Whatever happened on election night that saw Mia Mottley emerge as BLP Leader, it sure wasn’t a unifying experience for the BLP. Nor was this a satisfactory “public” fight where a clear winner was declared by the party.

The legacy of the chaos and bullying that resulted in the “selection” of Mia Mottley is a dysfunctional party, an ineffective opposition and a hamstrung BLP leader operating without a clear publicly-achieved mandate from either the grassroots membership or the party elites.

What the Barbados Labour Party received on election night was an Interim Leader.

Whether the BLP cares to call Mia Mottley by that name or not, the public understands the reality of her position and it weakens her image and credibility in Parliament.

Mottley Wants A Coronation – Anything But The Real Leadership Contest That The Party Needs

mia-mottley-finger-1.jpgAfter a government falls, it is not unusual to have a bit of chaos in the defeated party for a time. That can be healthy because it allows the members and the leadership to work out the problems, shuffle and add personnel – and emerge in unity and with new energy.

That is only healthy though if there IS a process happening – a process that includes a public discussion of the party’s direction and leadership – early enough before the next election that there can be a true self-examination by the party faithful.

The problem facing the BLP is that if Mia Mottley continues to get her way, there will be no leadership race – only a coronation convention scheduled so near the next election that the party will have no choice but to simply confirm her as leader.

The result of a coronation is that the public will still view the Barbados Labour Party as having an interim leader without a strong mandate from the party.

Doubts About BLP’s Ability To Win An Election With Mottley As Party Leader

Mia Mottley has always been a power-house in her own area with an impressive army of dedicated supporters, but she has not been able to turn that local support into a widespread popular base throughout the party. Many BLP stalwarts simply don’t like her, and some of those who do support her as a Member of Parliament do so with reservations. They have doubts about the ability of the party to win IF Mia Mottley is leader.

In short, many BLP faithful will tolerate Mia Mottley as a Minister, but are unwilling to support her as party leader because they don’t believe she can win a national election in front of the voters.

Mottley is no fool and she knows that in a real leadership vote by the members, her victory is anything but assured. That is why she will do everything she can to engineer a coronation and to not allow a real leadership contest to develop.

But that coronation will weaken the Barbados Labour Party. No matter how many of the party faithful cheer Mottley onto the stage before the next election, if she hasn’t won the leadership fair and square – many of the voters and many BLP supporters will have doubts.

If Mia Mottley hopes to be Prime Minister, she will first have to fight a legitimate public battle for the leadership of her party. Only by truly winning her leadership position will she be able to convince the public to even consider her for Prime Minister.

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

Source: Rape-Accused Roy Morris Bought Off Girl’s Family – About To Be Re-Hired By Barbados Nation Newspaper

"Best for everyone if you take the money and forget all about it." What about the next girl? That's her problem, not yours.

"Best for everyone if you take the money and forget all about it." What about the next girl? "That's her problem, not yours."

Barbados Rapists Can Buy Their Way Out Of Jail – Larger Societal Interests Forgotten

While we compose our thoughts about the Roy Morris rape charges fading into the mist, we’ll print this letter received anonymously through an anonymous remailing service in Russia. We remind folks that the letter is anonymous and may contain falsehoods. We also remind our readers that the Roy Morris rape story was broken right here at Barbados Free Press. The oldstream Barbados news media refused to cover the story for almost a month after we printed our first article, and many believe that the police would have allowed the whole issue to drop if not for Barbados Free Press.

Take it away anonymous source…

Dear Barbados Free Press

Just when you thought it was safe to work at the Nation Newspaper as a young female reporter, it seems as though they are about to bring a sexual predator back on board.

Word is that the once feared news maguffy Roy Morris might have exhausted his cooling off period and is about to return to the Nation Family.

It is understood that Executive Editor Roxanne Gibbs has presented a proposal to the board for Morris to return as duty Editor of the Weekend nation and the Sunday Sun. This would be a slap in the face for both Sanka Price (weekend editor) and Carol Martindale (Sunday Sun editor.)

However, the moronic Gibbs has been under pressure to inject some life into the major publications. If that is not enough Gibbs will also put a case for Morris to manage the internet publication.

But hold on, wasn’t this the organisation that laid off 18 workers earlier this year? Is it now hiring again? Or were those lay-offs a guise to make way for the return of the self-style Don of newspaper journalism.

One of my friend’s nieces who attends UWI Cave Hill said she came face to face with him in one of the corridors and trembled and shivered in his presence. Oh yes it seems as though our boy Roy has been contracted by University in some way or the other.

Imagine this, putting the fox in the hen house amongst those young vulnerable female teenagers at campus.

My friend told her niece to be on her guard and if he looks at her too hard please report it to so that justice could be done. By the way could Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin say if the constabulary has returned Morris’ licence firearm.

As for the case, remember last year it was adjourned sine die (meaning without a date). It is understood that Morris paid the lass or her parents a pretty penny to done the case and and it is this back and forth negotiation which has gridlocked the case. If Ralph Thorne is wunnuh lawyer ask he. He would know more as Morris’ lawyer.

But for now they are making space in Fontabelle for the return of the DON.

No Public Court Trials Needed In Barbados: If The Accused Has Enough Money

"So tell me. Do you like your job here at The Nation newsroom?"

"So tell me young lady. Do you like your job here at The Nation newsroom?"

Question: We haven’t checked the Nation yet to see if the old Roy Morris rape stories are still online – or have they been removed? Perhaps some of our readers can do so and let us know in the comments section. This should be interesting!

54 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Human Rights

Reader Fires Broadside At Bizzy Williams’ Nation News Letter – “Xenophobic, Stupid, Intolerant”

UPDATED: Bizzy Williams’ letter added at the bottom…

Dear Barbados Free Press,

This letter is in response to Mr. Bizzy Williams’ letter to be found on page 13 of the Weekend Nation (May 29, 2009).

Dear Mr. Williams:

Let me say for starters I have not read such a xenophobic piece in a long time. I am a born and bread Bajan who is capable of accurately tracing my roots for over six generations. I am deeply embarrassed that someone with your prominence in our society can pen such utterances.

My wife of over 30 years and three children are not born and bread Bajan, however, they became naturalized citizens of my beautiful country because of my heritage; yet you want to deprive them of a right that they have earned..

If you were to get your way none of my children or my wife would be able to vote in their adopted home country Barbados. This is in spite of the fact that they all pay their taxes on time – inclusive of PAYE, VAT and NIS.

Your intolerance for “foreigners” reminds is no less repugnant than the US’ most notorious media bigots, namely Rush Limbaugh, Bill O-Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity.

Editor's Note: Any man of Bizzy's age who can party until 8am has our respect!

Editor's Note: Any man of Bizzy's age who can party until 8am has our respect!

By the way Mr. Williams, what do you mean by “a culture unlike ours”? May I remind you that culture is a set of patterns and traits exhibited by humans from the time of our existence and such characteristics are often used to define any given period, community, country, ethnic group or class within a respective society. As you can or should appreciate, culture is by no means static and actually it is a very dynamic process which will continue to undergo metamorphosis over time.

Here in Barbados we do not have a homogeneous culture, For the weekly paid construction worker with four children to support will never be able to sip Chivas Regal too regularly much less own a multimillion dollar yacht, however, both you and I are aware of those Bajans in our midst where this is an everyday part of life. There are some of us Bajans who prefer dancing to the dance hall star Buju Banton at Reggae Longue while there are others who prefer a night out taking in the classical violinist Patmore Lewis at Holder’s Plantation House. We are still Bajan in spite of the fact of our differences culturally.

Both you and I know that political parties here in Barbados seldom dance to the tune of the electorate as a matter of fact they are more likely to cow tow to major political financiers. Case in point both parties routinely break election promises following every election.

Mr. Williams I have always credited you with some intelligence, however, you went onto compromise my opinion when you state, “.. everyone (who was born in Barbados) and allowed to vote would at least have grown up in Barbados…”. Do you see the stupidity of such a conclusion? My Brother’s two kids were born in Barbados but migrated from Barbados when they were 3 and 5 respectively and have lived and are still living overseas for the last 20 years. However, if we were to follow your decree my Bajan born but overseas living nephews should be allowed to vote while my non-Barbados born but Bajan by descent kids should never be allowed to vote in the country they have called home for over 25 years. How utterly stupid!!!

Do you realise that if you were given your way most of out Prime Ministers wives (including PM Thompson) would never have been able to vote for their husband’s political party. Mr. Williams it looks as though that your brain was not in gear when you penned your harangue.  .

Mr. Williams how come we never heard a disparaging word from you regarding “foreigners” when Port St. Charles was being conceptualized and built or for that matter Apes Hill and the plethora of other similar projects. Was the conspicuous silence because these foreigners imported a culture that was similar to yours?

May be we are all foreigners for when our ancestors originally “discovered” Barbados some 550 years ago there were unsuspecting indigenous inhabitants that roamed Barbados for centuries who were a lot more welcoming to our fore parents than you are being to our neighbouring CARICOM brothers and sisters.

I consider myself much more culturally compatible to the foreigners you doth vehemently protest about. However, unlike you I am tolerant of the foreigners from both near and far for I see both these groups of people as having the potential to contribute in a positive manner to my beautiful island country called Barbados even it is no more than to diversify our stagnant gene pool.

A Bajan Forever

Letter written by Bizzy Williams… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Race

Barbados Needs Lower Intra-Caribbean Air Taxes To Help Level The Playing Field Between Cruise Ships, Air Travel And Island Hotels

barbados-cruiseship-boarding.jpgAt a time when various Caribbean Ministers of Government have recently met and agreed to levy yet another tax on intra Caribbean air travel, its time perhaps for them to contemplate exactly the effect its having on land based tourism.

A seven day cruise departing from Barbados was recently advertised with one of the largest companies, taking in St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Dominica and back to Barbados.   With a lead-in price from US$449 per person plus mandatory gratuities, Government fees and taxes, it represented what many might consider outstanding value-for-money. Especially as when you consider most meals, and other features like entertainment are included.

Of the overall total cost, an amount of US$55.42 per person is shown as Government fees and taxes.   Now let’s say you were the same person considering visiting our Caribbean neighbours and taking the cheapest published airfares between point to point, what would you pay in Government taxes and add-ons?

Barbados-St. Lucia US$61.87; St. Lucia – Antigua US$82.57; Antigua-St. Kitts US$42.10; St. Kitts – San Juan US$52.70; San Juan – St. Thomas US$34.50; St. Thomas – Dominica US$33.00 and Dominica- Barbados US$25.38!

Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport

Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport

So a massive US$332.12 per person in taxes and add-ons to visit the same number of destinations by air! In fact this figure is even higher, because some governments are not yet including the departure tax in the ticket price.

Now what about the overall contribution to the region?   Well we know many of the ships are not registered in the region. We know they largely employ extra-regional crew and officers, who as far as I am aware contribute little in national insurance contributions, income or other taxes to the Caribbean.   The overwhelming percentage of what is consumed onboard is sourced outside of the Caribbean.

And finally, where does the lion’s slice of the revenue and profit generated from the world’s largest cruise market go?   Of course, outside the region!   On the other hand, the almost dominant regional airline has been subsidised over decades by the Caribbean taxpayer. The reason we are told the departure taxes are so high is because we need to upgrade the airports, but wait a minute, don’t we, and haven’t ‘we’ upgraded the ports as well?

How can anyone reasonably argue for airports to extract more than six times the amount in taxes than our ports do?

For the ship cruise operators, when the going gets tough, all they have to do is haul the anchor and sail off to Alaska, Dubai or the Mediterranean.   Hoteliers and other land-based tourism partners sadly do not have that option.

I am not, repeat not advocating against the cruise ships and their recognised contribution. But simply asking the playing field to be levelled to a degree where we can at least think of competing and surviving in these troubling economic times.   Yes! There have been repeated calls for hoteliers to lower their rates and make them more affordable to Caribbean Nationals, while at the same time considerable pressure has been placed on them to maintain employment.   Most of recognise the desirability of having a truly pan Caribbean marketing campaign, but don’t do it at the expense of an already barely viable accommodation sector.

Adrian Loveridge

30 May 2009

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Cute Bajan Neighbour Drops In For A Nap…

Barbados sleeping-dogFor your smile and feel-good story today, you really must head over to Margaret Ashby’s Dogs In Barbados blog and read how a strange doggy decided that the neighbour’s home would do just fine for afternoon naps. We can’t wait to read the follow-up story about how things turned out after a note was pinned to the doggy’s collar.

Margaret is a dog-enthusiast in Barbados and she can’t say enough good things about her Bouvier Des Flandres friends. Whether you like dogs or not, her blog is well-written and good for a laugh if you need one.

Welcome to our sidebar links, Margaret.

Dogs In Barbados (blog)

Barbados Bouviers (website)

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Message To The U.K. News Media: British High Commissioner To Barbados Is NOT Our “Barbados’ Head Of Trade”

“During the Trade Visit, Thomas had the opportunity to outline Akome’s services to Barbados’ Head of Trade, British High Commissioner Duncan Taylor. On his recommendation, Akome approached BICO.”

… from a press release published at 24dash.com: Cool Customer! Croydon Enterprise Business Helps Ice Cream Firm Slash Energy Bills

UK Press Release: BICO Ice Cream Gets A New Roof In Barbados

The story came to us as a press release and is actually a very interesting and informative piece about how Akome Energy helped BICO slash energy bills in half with a few changes.

Barbados Head Of Trade? I Don't Think So!

Barbados Head Of Trade? I Don't Think So!

But last I heard, Barbados is no longer a British Colony. We’ve had our own government and Trade Minister for at least a couple of weeks now.  😉

A small point, but it just shows you that some folks still have the same image of Barbados that they had 50 or 100 years ago.

Am I being too sensitive here, my friends?

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Energy, Environment, Politics, Technology

BBC TV Looking For Role Model Bajan Family – For Reality Television Series

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I am a Producer in the BBC series and we are looking for a Bajan family to take part in a programme on parenting. Please can you add the information below onto your website?

Thank you

BBC TV ARE LOOKING FOR A ROLE MODEL BAJAN FAMILY

BBC TV Logo Circa Late 1930's

BBC TV Logo Circa Late 1930's

Do you believe in instilling good old-fashioned values, discipline and boundaries in your children? Can you give two British teenagers the chance to have some much-needed structure in their lives?

Following the huge success of the first series, the BBC are looking for role model families to take part in a second series of factual entertainment programmes on parenting. In each one-hour programme, two British teenagers will be sent to live with a family abroad, to experience life in their country under their rules. In the last series, the BBC sent overindulged teenagers from the UK to live with families over the world, from Jamaica to India, Alabama to South Africa. In this series we want to send two British teenagers to Barbados.

We are looking for a traditional, conservative Bajan family (with children aged 14-16) who are proud of their strong parenting and family values and who would be willing to accommodate two British teenagers for one week in July 2009 and instill in them the values and morality they demand of their own children.  The British teens will be expected to attend school, church, complete homework and help with household chores; they will not be guests in the house but new members of the family. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues

Would Barbados Be Better Off If Foreign Aid Was Linked To Government Performance Standards and Accountability Structures?

The function of aid is not to make us feel better about ourselves; it is to promote development, and if a well-informed African tells us that we are inadvertently having the opposite effect, we had better take heed…

from The Independent book review: Dead Aid, by Dambisa Moyo

What Happened To The European Union’s Sugar Grant To Barbados?

On Monday an old friend directed our attention to The Independent for an excellent book review of Dambisa Moyo’s controversial work Dead Aid. (Well, “controversial” at UWI’s Cave Hill campus, anyway!)

About a month ago we first wrote about “Dead Aid” in our article George Ayittey on “Dead Aid” To Africa – Someone The Barbados Government Should Listen To. At that time, we made the parallel between the easy-money that (according to author Moyo) is holding back Africa and our own situation in Barbados. Out of the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and forgivable loans that Barbados has received, we zeroed in on one piece of aid from the European Union and asked…

Can anyone tell us what the last $10 million European Union sugar grant to Barbados was used for? Can anyone point to a benefit or a national asset that resulted from the $10 million?

We’re Still Asking What Happened To This One Piece Of Foreign Aid To Barbados

Barbados euro_2007In January of 2007, Barbados received $5.63 million in EU aid “to transform” the sugar industry, and the funds were provided without monitoring or accountability requirements – not that the EU didn’t try!

As related in our August 20, 2007 article Secret European Union Reports Slam Barbados Ethanol Plan, in late 2005 European Union Ambassador Amos Tincani received instructions from his superiors to “explain reality” to then Prime Minister Owen Arthur about the EU’s determination to phase out sugar subsidies and also to require detailed accountability of a one-time 4 million dollar grant from the EU that was supposed to be used for re-development of our sugar industry.

The EU’s demands for accountability regarding the sugar grant millions caused a diplomatic face-off when Prime Minister Arthur and Minister of Agriculture Erskine Griffith went public in April and May of 2006 talking about callous “colonial” attitudes shown by the European Union. Our source states that Prime Minister Arthur was outraged when told about the EU’s intent to attach accountability and monitoring structures as a condition of the 4 million dollar EU sugar grant. After Arthur ignored the EU Ambassador and went directly to big-ups in Europe, the EU reversed it’s position on accountability in order to avoid a diplomatic war over Ambassador Tincani’s not-so-private comments.

So the people of Barbados the Owen Arthur – Mia Mottley Government received millions in EU sugar grants for which there has been no accountability – not a bit.

Were the EU sugar funds paid to friendly “consultants” or companies owned by BLP Ministers or supporters?

Mottley isn’t saying. Arthur isn’t saying.

And neither is David Thompson… because for all his blowhard ranting and finger waving about introducing integrity legislation, transparency, conflicts of interest rules, freedom of information and accountability laws, Prime Minister Thompson has done nothing that would limit the ability of government members to profit from their offices.

It is still legal in Barbados for an elected or appointed government official to award a government contract to a company owned by the official or a close family member. Thompson said he would change that “IMMEDIATELY” upon taking office in January of 2008. Thompson lied.

Would The People Of Barbados Be Better Off If Foreign Aid Was Conditional Upon Performance Standards and Accountability Structures?

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t read some news story about Barbados receiving yet another grant, loan or “assistance” from the international community for some purpose or other. Whether the subject is EU money for sugar, US money for anti-drug operations, UN money for “studies” or IMF money for infrastructure, our politicians control hundreds of millions of dollars without independent oversight, accountability or even reasonable rules and limits on how they spend the money.

We don’t do “accountability” in Barbados. When the Barbados Director of Emergency Management cannot account for funds for an entire missing house – nothing happens. When the Prime Minister gets caught depositing “campaign funds” into his personal bank account – nothing happens. When the new Prime Minister announces that members of the previous government stole millions and deposited the funds in offshore accounts – nothing happens.

When the international community started to make noises that there should be some changes in our offshore financial industry, Barbados said all the right words. We held press conferences where we announced the formation of an Anti-Money Laundering Authority – suitably funded by the United States, of course.

Then three years later we had to admit that Barbados never really formed such a unit.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we at Barbados Free Press believe that individual citizens and our country would be much better off if the international community only provided funds to Barbados that are conditional upon meeting performance and accountability standards.

So back to our question: Can anyone point to a benefit or a national asset that resulted from the last $10 million EU sugar grant?

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Water Off – No Answer At Barbados Water Authority “24 Hour Hot Line”

barbados-tap-water.jpgThe water has been off now for about an hour and a half “somewhere near Grape Hall”.

No one answers the phone at the BWA.

Yup.

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Two Different Messages: Barbados Ambassador To USA Sounds Alarm Over Tax Haven Crackdown – Barbados Prime Minister Says We Shouldn’t Be Concerned

One Message For Citizens, Another For The World Off The Island

Is Barbados worried about the USA’s Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act? Not according to Prime Minister David Thompson, who recently told the Bajan press that he doesn’t “feel” that the American legislation is aimed at jurisdictions like Barbados. (See our previous article US “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” Names & Targets Barbados)

But just this morning our Ambassador to the USA, John Beale, joined other Caribbean diplomats in criticizing the Obama-supported law and taking a position that it threatens the very foundations of our economy: tourism and the offshore financial industry. (See NASDAQ DJ article: Caribbean Nations Squawk At US Plans To Crack Down On Tax Havens)

David Thompson 2facedSo has the Prime Minister suddenly changed his position on the potential impact of the US legislation? Did Ambassador Beale act on his own to contradict the PM without government approval?

We doubt both scenarios.

More than likely the Government of Barbados is presenting one message to the Bajan people (“Don’t worry, every ‘ting is under control an fine!”), but at the same time telling the USA the truth: Barbados recognizes that our country is targeted by the Obama administration and if nothing changes, we will be a quote “economic victim” of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.

“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.”

“And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became the truth.”

… from George Orwell’s famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (pages 78 & 37)

Internet A Major Problem For Barbados Government Wanting To Control Information To Citizens

The issue of the Bajan public being told one thing while the world is told another is not new or unusual in Barbados.

With the exception of a small number of carefully-vetted news stories, the Government of Barbados and the cowardly Bajan news media have virtually shut down the publishing of local and national news content on the internet.

The island’s two largest newspapers have also taken steps to prevent public access to news story archives both online and at their offices.

For instance, the DLP Government-favoured Barbados Advocate newspaper publishes a daily edition online in .JPG image format so the stories cannot be discovered, cached or listed by internet search engines like Yahoo, Google and Live etc. With each day’s new edition, the previous stories disappear into the dustbin. In this way, neither the paper nor the government can later be found to be “wrong” by citizens. The historical record lasts 24 hours at the Barbados Advocate.

As well, by publishing only on paper or with disappearing .JPG image files, Barbados Advocate is able to conceal unfavourable stories from the outside world. For an example, check out BFP’s Barbados Advocate (Finally) Publishes Prof. Machel’s Investigation Of Arch Cot Cave-In Deaths or another article Barbados Government Cover-Up – No Inquest Into Codrington Family Deaths – Home Collapsed Into Known Cave.

Now try to find these major Barbados Advocate articles online at the newspaper. Then go to the office and try to research all paper-published articles about the Arch Cot collapse and purchase copies. Can’t be done!

We’ll have much more to say about this censorship and control of the Barbados news media, but for now – we citizens should know that one story is being told to us, while another is being told to the world.

Excerpts from NASDAQ article…  Caribbean Nations Squawk At US Plans To Crack Down On Tax Havens Continue reading

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Filed under Barack Obama, Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, History, News Media

Barbados Death Boat Inquest Starts – Senegal Migrants Starved When Abandoned By Smugglers

“I would like to send to my family in Bassada (a town in western Senegal) a sum of money. Please excuse me and goodbye. This is the end of my life in this big Moroccan sea,”

… victim Diao Souncar Dieme wrote his goodbyes. (Times Online: Mystery of death boat that drifted 3,000 miles off course)

barbados-death-boat2.jpg

Drifting Boat Found Off Barbados April 29, 2006

Some three years after Bajan fisherfolk made the grim discovery of a boat full of bodies off our coast, Barbados is holding an inquest into the deaths of the African migrants who perished trying to journey to Europe. Barbados Free Press followed the story at the time of the discovery and afterwards, but nothing has been heard about the case for some time. There were reports of arrests made of the smugglers who abandoned the boat, but we have been unable to find any recent updates online. None of the original links to Barbados news media websites still work as the Nation News removed all previous stories earlier this year. (So much for the historical record!)

For background, you can start with our July 23, 2006 story Barbados Death Boat Arrest, or search “death boat” in our search bar at the top.

I hope that the Barbados news media closely follows the inquest. In this day and age, there is no reason why the inquest records should not be made available online.

Here is the Nation story – at least until they take it down: Fishermen made grim discovery

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Disaster, Human Rights

Racial Hatred In Sucre Province Bolivia – An Article By Damon Gerard Corrie

Editor’s Comment: Barbados Free Press publishes this article exactly as received from the author, with the exception of a few spelling corrections. We were concerned about two references in the article, the first being the statement that the current version of Coca Cola beverage uses coca leaves in its formula and that leaves are imported into the USA for the purpose. We thought this had long ago stopped, but a little research shows that Mr. Corrie’s references are accurate.

The second point is that Mr. Corrie’s article seems to declare that all Bolivians of Spanish descent are racists and involved in the abusive activities documented in the article. When we communicate that “all” people of a certain race or ethnic background act this way or that, we are actually adopting a racist perspective ourselves.

Nonetheless we will publish this article as it stands, but we would like to hear more from Mr. Corrie about what makes a “real” Bolivan. If, in this day and age, Mr. Corrie’s position in fact is that what constitutes a “real” Bolivian is based upon race, rather than shared commitment to country and national cultural values, then Mr. Corrie’s position is essentially racist – just a different flavour.

Over to you, Mr. Corrie…

Racial Hatred In Sucre Province Bolivia

I had intended to write about my roommate Esteban Urquizu Cuellar of Bolivia tonight, some kind of insightful look into his soul, but Esteban speaks very little English, and my Spanish is quite rusty.

I know he came here to the United Nations Permanent Forum thanks to Tribal Link as I have, but not too much else about the man, nevertheless I heard him talk at length (albeit in Spanish) about the plight of Indigenous Bolivians in Sucre Province, the only part of Bolivia that cringed at the thought of an ‘Indian’ becoming the President when Evo Morales Ayma won office.

In the west – the media (mostly American) leads viewers – especially those who have never travelled to Bolivia – to believe that what is going on in Sucre Province is nothing more than a ‘Socialist Coca promoting President trying to usurp the rights of the decent hardworking Spaniard descendant business community there’.

For clarity I will refer to the Oligarchy and Plantocracy in Bolivia as being ‘Ethnic Spaniards’, let’s call a spade a spade, they maintain homes and bank accounts back in the ‘old country’ (ie Spain) and are quite proud of their Conquistador ancestors, lastly they still look every bit the Spaniard biologically speaking, and as I am fond of saying “If I take an Indian Elephant to England and it gives birth – does the offspring then become an English Elephant?”
The answer is no – it does not, it becomes merely an Indian Elephant that was born in England. A word to the wise is good enough.

Ladies and gentlemen, no better a deception could have been engineered by the CIA themselves!  I have been to Bolivia twice, I have traveled around the country, and I was the ONLY person from the Caribbean region invited to be in the audience at the Presidential Palace when President Morales Nationalised the Natural Gas Companies in Bolivia in 2007; in any fair-minded person’s opinion it was quite justified, it is obscene for a company to extract the natural resources of a poor country and pay the host nation mere cents on every dollar they earn in the process.

Concerning Coca, I chewed Coca leaves and trust me – there is nothing more ‘sinister’ gained from it than the abation of hunger pangs, it saved me some money as I did not need to eat as often, also I was one of the few members of the OAS Indigenous Caucus invited to Bolivia who did NOT suffer altitude sickness during my stay over 9,000 feet above sea level there….I attribute this to the Coca leaves I chewed daily. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights

Barbados Free Press Removes Some Sidebar Links – Looking For Additions

We’ve been a tad lazy about maintaining our sidebar links here at Barbados Free Press, so last night we had a “special meeting” (still recovering!) to decide which sidebar links should stay and which should go. Some decisions were easy, like Tamarind Tree Lime – a discussion blog that turned into an automated webpage with no original content. We de-linked that without a second thought.

A handful are simply not there any longer, having been shut down by their owner or host. That is the way it is in the blogosphere: a hot blog can die in a few weeks when the owners lose interest or have family problems.

Some blogs were more difficult decisions. Some haven’t posted new content in over a year, but the old content is excellent. Some announced that they were taking a temporary break, so we let them stand. We’ll have another look in a few months.

Barbados Underground: Say Goodbye or Not?

The big question of last night was “What do we do with Barbados Underground?

Barbados Underground: a blog that until January of 2008 was all but an equal partner with Barbados Free Press in our fight to bring Integrity, Transparency, Freedom of Information and Accountability Legislation (ITAL) to Barbados.

Barbados Underground: A blog that went silent on ITAL the moment that David Thompson and the DLP were elected in January 2008.

Barbados Underground: A blog that publishes reader comments calling a murdered Canadian tourist “white trash” and racially attacking Guyanese, Indians, Whites and Chinese.

Barbados Underground: A blog that published articles and comments calling for the stalking and firing of witnesses in the Kingsland Estates court case.

We laid it all out and read some of the comments and articles at BU, drank some more rum (an one of us tonic and gin!) – then we voted and it was a tie. As with our normal procedure, this BFP being a democracy and all, Auntie Moses was called upon to break the tie.

BFP’s Links Are An Important Endorsement

With almost 3 million visitors a year, Barbados Free Press is arguably one of the most noticed, visited and widely-read internet destinations about Barbados. We often appear in the “Top 100” WordPress blogs and articles and have on a few special days equaled or exceeded the online audience of blogs run by CNN, Fox News and People Magazine. That is public information available at WordPress: you don’t have to believe us!

Google and other search engines pay attention to BFP, and they also pay attention to the websites and blogs we link to. Perform a search for any topic about Barbados and you have a good chance of encountering one of our articles in the first few pages, if not the first page. Heck, right now if you Google search “Barbados Prime Minister”, a BFP article Clico On Life Support – Will Barbados Prime Minister Thompson Favour His Patron Leroy Parris, Or The People Of Barbados? is number six on the list of over half a million returns. Google “Barbados Offshore Banks” and our article President Barack Obama Would Destroy Barbados Offshore Banking Industry – He Said So! is number two of over one hundred thousand returns! Google “Clico”, “Barbados Politics” or “Barbados Environment” and see what the results are.

Are we tabloid? (Definitely!)

Is “Hyperbole” our middle name? (Sure!)

Do millions of people read our articles, check our sources and then decide for themselves when other Barbados media won’t publish certain stories or protects the elites? Unequivocally yes.

And that is why we should pay more attention to our sidebar links, so we promise to try harder in the future.

Dear Readers, please suggest Barbados or Caribbean blogs or websites you would like to see us link to!

The List – Links Removed From Our Sidebar

Broad Street Journal (No original articles since May 2008)
The Bystander (No activity since August 2007)
The Good, The Bad & The LOL (gone from the net)
Gallimaurfry (gone from the net)
It’s all good (No activity since January 2008)
Tamarind Tree Lime (Turned into an autoblog – no human content)
Caribpundit.com (Gone… domain for sale)
Caribbean Aviation News (dormant)
Jamaican Lifestyle (dormant over a year)
Barbados Underground (racist, threatening comments)
Living Guyana (got into a bit of trouble and gone)
The Pan Collective (Great idea for a collaborative blog – died long ago)
Windies Cricket Blog (404 gone!)

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Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry Enlists New Marketing Communications Executive

Ian Bourne

Ian Bourne

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry in meeting the current economic challenges of Barbados through effective and efficient communications with its stakeholders has announced the appointment of Mr. Ian Bourne as its new Marketing Communications Executive.

Chief Executive Officer of the BCCI, Magnus Whitehead, says that Bourne will strengthen his organisation’s ability to communicate with its members, government and local and international business partners.  We are pleased to welcome Ian as a member of our team. Following the development of a three-year Strategic Plan in 2008, Ian’s appointment brings us closer to fulfilling our restructuring process and achieving our objectives, says Whitehead.

Bourne, familiarly know as a former Anchor for CBC-TV 8’s Evening News, has several years experience in marketing communications, the most recent as Public Relations Officer with a government statutory organisation.

Bourne says that while grateful for his time with his previous employer, which he views as another family, he nevertheless looks forward to reviving certain initiatives of the BCCI and developing new ones. He says he appreciates and is looking forward to the challenge of carrying forward the directives of the BCCI during a very challenging financial period.

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Business & Banking

Contaminated Fuel At Barbados Airport – Adrian Loveridge Talks About Contingency Planning

A Bad Day At Grantley Adams International Airport

Barbados Airport JetCan we really learn some lessons from the events of the 22 May?

We had over 40 persons to meet of three different flights that day.

ZM drivers had been arranged to meet then based on scheduled and quoted arrival flight times.

Close to the original arrive times it became obvious that there were going to be delays, so the sensible thing to do was to first check with the airline.

One major carrier hadn’t even changed its local recorded flight arrival announcement since 9am that morning, despite the aircraft being diverted to St. Lucia and eventually landing at 4pm.  On checking its website, the announcement stated that both the inbound and outbound flights were canceled.

Another airline had not updated its recorded announcement since 11am that morning, again relating to a flight that should have landed at 9.50pm but finally arrived at nearly 2am the following morning.

Yes! We eventually extracted that it was a problem with fuel, but this should have not taken anyone here by surprise. Where does our A1 aviation fuel come from, and who had been having the problem with contaminated fuel for days?

Trinidad of course!

Also knowing the vast amounts of taxpayers monies invested in the various pipelines from Oistins and massive storage facilities at the airport, did we really not have two or three days supply of non-contaminated fuel?

I cannot understand why airlines the size and reputation of some of the carriers that service Barbados, seemingly do not relate that it may be one of their relatives, an ageing grandmother, wife, child or distance friend that could be on that flight.

Just for a moment, try and imagine the worry and concern of friends and relatives meeting those flights, let alone the huge loss in productivity and expenses related to the delays.

For the sake of a Manager taking the responsible of ensuring simply basic communications to the people that actually pay your salary, it reminds us that we are still a long way from making ‘tourism our business’.

Grantley Adams International is now one, if not the most expensive airport to use throughout the Caribbean, extracting over $90 million in departure taxes each year alone.

If the individual airlines are unwilling to play their part in ensuring their customers are kept informed on a timely basis, then perhaps GAIC should step up to the plate.

Adrian Loveridge

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados

Shell Oil Announces Pipeline Spill A Non-Issue – Barbados News Media & Government Ask Zero Questions Of Company Hired To “Ensure Buy-In” To Shell Strategies

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

Shell Report Issued By ERM – Environmental Resources Management – Shell’s Little Environmental Helper For 20 Years

“For over 20 years, ERM has provided a wide range of services to Shell at numerous locations world wide, including North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia Pacific…”

“Shell Haven Refinery – ERM Project Description

Maintained close liaison with UK Environment Agency and local regulatory authority, Shell, and future site developer to ensure buy-in to strategy from all parties and to expedite progress by achieving tacit up-front regulatory acceptance of phased strategy, site-specific risk-based cleanup criteria, and remedial methodology.”

“Original remedial cost estimate before ERM was contracted was $140 million; to date, cost is $14 million, representing 90% in savings with project nearly 90% complete.”

… Above from the Shell Haven Refinery case study report by ERM

Area Wells Still Filled With Jet Fuel, But Don’t Worry About It!

The front page of today’s Barbados Advocate reads “All Clear For Shell Pipeline”. The story tells how Shell Oil hired an environmental consulting company called ERM to do a “study” of the contamination caused by spilled fuel from Shell’s leaky airport pipeline.

Surprise surprise! Everything is okay, don’t you know!

Please excuse me for having my doubts — because five minutes of research on the Internet showed that Environmental Resources Management ERM has been on the Shell Oil payroll for 20 years and has made millions of dollars handling Shell Oil’s sticky wicket environmental situations.

That includes Africa too – and we all know about Shell in Africa, don’t we?

The ERM company website even brags about ensuring that government officials “buy-in to strategy” and how ERM personnel “achieve tacit upfront regulatory acceptance” – meaning that ERM are experts in getting government officials to see things to Shell Oil’s benefit. In the Shell Haven Refinery case listed in Google’s database, the UK government originally demanded a $140 million dollar site clean-up, but ERM reduced that to a far nicer number for Shell Oil: $14 million.

Please excuse me for having doubts about the independence of a company that has banked millions of dollars from Shell Oil contracts over the last 20 years and brags about its ability to have government officials “buy-in” to Shell’s plans.

Not to mention that in Barbados we have no laws that prohibit government officials from receiving gifts or benefits from corporations that need them to provide approvals. You see, it is still legal in Barbados for elected or appointed government officials to use their offices for personal gain.

So once again, please forgive me if I have some doubts.

Oh… how much in “campaign donations” did Shell Oil give to Barbados politicians? There are no laws that govern such donations and you have no right to know about it!

And then there is the little matter that neither the DLP nor the BLP government even passed a simple law compelling pipeline owners to make daily measurements and report any leakage to the government! Shell Oil never kept leakage records or filed them with the government. Meaning that nobody has any idea of the exact amount of Shell jet fuel that leaked into our water table over a ten or twelve year period!

What About Those Wells Filled With Jet Fuel?

Again, pardon me for having some doubts, but I happen to remember that before the DLP were elected they participated in a visit to a well only 500 feet from a beach where a bucket of almost pure jet fuel was raised…

Today, (Thursday 3rd January 2008), I visited Oistins at the Southern Farmers request and witnessed a bucket being lowered into a well close to the road and where an Urban Development project is taken place.

The well was about 500 feet from the beach and when the bucket was lifted it contained what appeared to be almost pure kerosene.

Also there was Mr Lashley, Mr Boyce, Mr Jones and Senator Lowe of the DLP, The PEP candidate, several members of the media including the Advocate, Nation and CBC…

… from the BFP article Barbados Shell Pipeline Jet Fule Leak – “Almost Pure Kerosene” Fills Domestic Water Well

Do You Trust Shell Oil’s “Everything Is Okay” Report?

Sorry folks, but I still have big doubts about this Shell report. How about you?

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Bajan Dream Diary – An Excellent Read

Bajan Dream Diary

As our own Robert said in a September 2007 article about Jovan Reid and his Bajan Dream Project…

“The more I read what Jovan has to say at The Bajan Dream Project blog, the more I find myself agreeing with many of his ideas – even ideas I had rejected before.

Most disconcerting.”

We wanted to mention but didn’t get around to it – that Jovan Reid’s Bajan Dream Diary blog has become a major online venue for news and commentary about Barbados society, social agendas and politics.

Although Jovan puts his name to the blog and must therefore stay within certain limits, he is articulate, educated and deeply devoted to his cause – which is social reform and policy in Barbados.

Once again, you may not always agree with what he says, but he and his stable of friends and writers will make you think.

And, as BFP’s Robert discovered, that can be “Most disconcerting.”  🙂

Check out a few of the articles at Bajan Dream Diary…

Barbados Water Quality Compromised By Squatters

The Right To Marry: Separating Religious Ries From Civil Rights

Homepage: Bajan Dream Blog

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Searching For Barbados Relatives Of Rawle Lawson Knight

Sword Beach on D-Day: The brave, the frightened, the dead

Sword Beach on D-Day: The brave, the frightened, the dead

My grandfather, Rawle Lawson Knight, who was from Barbados fought in WWII. I know that he was on the front lines, having been shot while in Europe. He met my grandmother, Catherine Phillips in Wales, where she was from, and after they got married, following the war, they settled in Toronto, ON where my father and his siblings were born. I am trying to find out more information myself and since he is now deceased I find it even more difficult to come by.

On a another note, I know that he was quite the cricket player. If anyone can help me find out more about my family I would greatly appreciate any leads you might be able to provide. Thank you!

Candice

Posted as a comment on BFP’s article D-Day in Normandy – Barbados Connections

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Filed under Barbados, Canada, History