Daily Archives: June 10, 2009

Standard & Poor’s Cuts Barbados Credit Rating Almost To Junk Status

“Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut Barbados’ credit ratings closer to junk territory, reflecting economic woes and rising debt.

The one-step downgrade to BBB comes two months after S&P took a more pessimistic view on Barbados…”

… from the Wall Street Journal article S&P Cuts Barbados’ Credit Ratings Closer To Junk Territory

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Folks!

When the Owen Arthur – Mia Mottley government loaned almost a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS to Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. without so much as the signing of a memo, the world paid attention. When Barbados “invested” two hundred million dollars in Kensington Oval without an agreement about who owned the facility, the world paid attention.

When the David Thompson DLP government “invested” millions in the CLICO – a company run by the Prime Minister’s friend and campaign supporter Leroy Parris – and then it turned out that the Florida “assets” of CLICO were so much swamp land… the world paid attention.

And so did Standard & Poor’s.

Like we said before in our article You Can Taste The Fear In Barbados – Travel Poised to “drop off a cliff” in January … bad times coming…

1/ Shun debt.

2/ Work hard. Harder than you ever have before. Make your employer and your customers regard you as invaluable and as a friend. Do it.

3/ Economise. Find new ways of saving money and not spending money. Forgo pleasures and materialistic desires. Save cash. Forge real stability in your life, relationships and finances. Reject the culture of “appearances”. Better a 10 year old auto that is paid for than a new 4×4 on the never-never.

4/ Maintain and develop the family relationships and friendships that will function in place of support from THE STATE. If you lose your job, if your company goes under, you will NOT be able to depend upon “de guvmnt.”  That day is over although most (and the government) do not realise it. Your family and friends will look after you during the bad periods. Realise this and treat them well. Look after your friends and family when bad things happen – even to your immediate detriment. (Read “Hawaii” by James Michener and focus on the Chinese lady who saved her family with hard work and wisdom.)

Things are much worse than folks let on. Take stock. Change your habits. Love your family and friends.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut Barbados’ credit ratings closer to junk territory, reflecting economic woes and rising debt.

(From the Wall Street Journal)

The one-step downgrade to BBB comes two months after S&P took a more pessimistic view on Barbados, changing its outlook to negative from stable.

Tourism is critical to the Caribbean, making up 16% of its overall economic activity, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. But the global economic downturn has reduced business and leisure travel.

Credit analyst Olga Kalinina noted in April that growing fiscal deficits and increases in the government debt burden could hurt Barbados’ long-standing commitment to maintain its currency peg. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados

What The !#$%!!!! U.S. Naval Academy Graduates Ordered To Remove Swords For President Obama’s Speech

Obama Naval Academy Sword Insult

UPDATE: Controversy Over The Veracity Of This Story

UPDATE #2: Photos Of Vice-President Cheney at Annapolis Graduation 2006 – Swords Worn

UPDATE #3: Photos Of President G. W. Bush At West Point – With Swords

UPDATE #4: Soldier Of Fortune Magazine says sword ban is routine. Midshipmen do not wear swords. No information on whether swords were banned for parade. Soldier of Fortune Magazine

One of our readers (Rohan) accuses us in comments below of running the story without additional fact checking – advising that the Washington Times “is right up there with Fox News for misinformation and straight up lies.

Rohan should also throw in Reuters faked photos, the LA Times faked stories, New York Times faked stories, CNN and 60 Minutes as each have been caught publishing lies. Heck, Reuters alone had to withdraw over 1000 faked pro-Palistinian/anti-Israel photos so Rohan is correct… Ya can’t trust anybody and that includes CBC, The Nation, Barbados Advocate and Barbados Free Press. How many times have you read a lie or a half truth in the Nation or the Barbados Advocate? (Ha… like every day at least once!)

Which is why blogs can and do serve a far higher purpose for freedom and truth than most of the regular media – in part because of the immediate feedback and fact checking by readers. Even Reuters CEO Tom Glocer said that “The blogosphere provides accountability...”

So let’s discuss this story and see what we can come up with. (A pity that DLP supporters don’t want to discuss integrity, freedom of information and corruption stories in such detail!)

Rohan claims in a comment that the story of swords being banned at Annapolis for the President’s visit is all fake and that US Naval Academy graduates don’t wear swords… but one of the links he provides indicates that swords are sometimes traditionally given to Annapolis graduates by parents and relatives. The link also indicates that swords are worn at the Academy by Midshipmen for formal parades and occasions.

Rohan’s link to the USNA.org site also indicates that the Academy provides swords to Midshipmen for ceremonial occasions…

“Swords are entirely OPTIONAL for almost all Mids and Commissioned Officers.  While at the Academy, a Mid may only need one when performing duties as a Striper at such events as Formal Parades, etc.  Swords are NOT part of the standard Midshipman uniform.  For those Mids who need swords and do not supply their own (almost all Mids fall into this category), the Academy supplies generic swords which remain property of the Academy and are used year after year by succeeding classes.”

The site also indicates that Commissioned Officers of the US Navy may wear dress swords for special occasions – and one would think that might include ceremonies, visiting dignitaries and graduations, etc. Hey… I don’t know, I’ve never been to CanoeU.

Rohan also links to one Annapolis graduation photo showing the graduating class without swords. Again, I don’t know enough about Annapolis to know if some personnel at graduation ceremonies in the past have carried swords on stage or during the opening events, etc..

So let’s research this story a little more and see what we can come up with. Obviously, a real CanoeU graduate with some photos of previous ceremonies would solve the question.



Ok folks… here are photos of the 2006 Graduation with Dick Cheney attending and swords being worn during various parts of the ceremony, so it looks like Rohan’s comments needed a little more research on his part. Nonetheless, the question still remains – can we confirm that no swords were worn during the 2009 graduation with the President in attendance? We’ll look online for some photos, but meanwhile here is the link for photos of the 2006 Annapolis graduation with swords.

Cheney AnnapolisUS Naval Academy

UPDATE #3: Photos Of President G. W. Bush At West Point – With Swords

I am not a fan of “Dubya”, but to add some gasoline to this discussion, I found photos of Bush at the 2006 West Point graduation ceremony that speak for themselves. It will be interesting to see President Obama attend the same ceremony…


Original Story as published…

Necessary or Over-Reaction By U.S. Secret Service?

I don’t know why I am so upset about this story, but I am. I missed it when it broke a few weeks ago, but some Google and Bing searches show that the story wasn’t that widely reported.

President Barack Obama spoke at the Graduation Ceremony for the US Naval Academy at Annapolis on May 22, 2009 – but before he spoke, all Naval midshipmen were disarmed of their ceremonial swords and umbrellas.

Never before in the history of Annapolis has the Commander in Chief required that all Naval officers in his presence be disarmed.

Although I haven’t sorted it all out, there are reasons why this story has so devastated me and I don’t know what to think.

A standard tonic and gin will not be enough. Perhaps a martini will assist. Better make it a double. Very dry, wave the vermouth bottle in front of the glass – no closer. (I don’t fly until Sunday so no worries, Mum!)

Robert somewhere in the Pacific


Filed under Barack Obama

Beaches Disappearing Near Mullins Bay Barbados – Why Does Government Allow The St. Peter’s Bay Condo Project To Destroy The Coast?

Mullins Beach: Going, Going...

Mullins Beach: Going, Going...

Our friends over at Mullins Bay Blog have been chiding us lately for not paying enough attention to the destruction occurring on the West Coast, and after some thought we have to plead guilty. Sometimes one gets caught up in life to the point where you forget about the basics. I think it’s called “the tyranny of the urgent over the important.”

Anyway, our thanks for the gentle reminder and we promise to pay more attention to the serious situation happening at Mullins Bay. We also promise to up the environmental stories content at BFP as we’ve let that slip lately too. In our defense, we point out that Barbados Free Press has been hammering integrity and accountability issues recently because the Barbados government’s refusal to enact and truly embrace ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation) has in large measure been responsible for the continuing CLICO debacle. (Our predictions about CLICO… You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks!)

Environmental Stories

We’ve been primarily focused upon two environmental stories from the South Coast: the Shell Oil leaky pipeline that contaminated soil and wells in the area, and the government’s changing of the law to allow their developer friends to build upon the Graeme Hall watershed – upon land that had been protected for the previous 30 years.

Both of these stories are, on the surface, all about environmental concerns – but if you look closer, you’ll find politics and money are always a big part of environmental controversies.

You know how it is folks… money changes everything.

Mullins Bay Destruction Not Just An Environmental Issue

And so you will find that the destruction of the beaches at Mullins Bay and nearby is not just an environmental issue. The story of Mullins Bay and the disappearing West Coast beaches is not a disagreement over environmental science by well-meaning people who all have the public good in mind. No sir.

The rape of our West Coast is all about corporations with money that have been allowed to do as they please by two successive governments. The St. Peter’s Bay condo developers were allowed by government to build groins to enhance their own beach — never mind the disastrous impact upon the neighboring beaches and coastline.

How much money did the condo developers provide in “campaign donations” to our two major political parties? Don’t ask! With no campaign financing laws, integrity legislation or conflict of interest laws — Barbados citizens are effectively kept in the dark.

Did the St. Peter’s Bay condo developers ever provide gifts or consulting contracts to personnel with the Coastal Zone Management Unit or the Town Planning Department? How about gifts or consulting contracts to government family members? Don’t ask! Barbados has no integrity and conflict of interest laws that prohibit government workers or elected representatives from accepting gifts from developers.

At Mullins Bay blog, the authors cannot ask such questions openly. They can and do ask why the Barbados government has allowed one developer to cause so much damage. They ask why the Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe, hasn’t shown his face in the area. They ask why two successive governments have cared so little about the disappearing West Coast beaches.

At Barbados Free Press we say, “Follow the Money”

The story of the environmental rape at Mullins Bay and elsewhere on the West Coast is not just an environmental issue. It is also about fat cats in government failing to protect the public interest. It is about a Prime Minister and an Environment Minister who were concerned about environmental issues like Mullins Bay, the Graeme Hall wetlands and Shell Oil spills — only until they were elected.

How much did the St. Peters Bay condo developers donate to the DLP campaign.. and how has that impacted the government decisions at Mullins Bay? How much did Shell Oil donate to the DLP campaign… and how has that impacted the government decision not to side with the farmers? How much did CLICO donate to the DLP campaign… and how has that impacted the government decision to change the laws to allow development on the Graeme Hall watershed?

Yes my friends, there is much more to environmental issues than appears at first glance.

mullins bay damage

Educate Yourself On The Mullins Bay Area Issues

(Adapted from Mullins Bay Blog story – link here)

It is important that concerned locals and visitors to the area know precisely what is going on vis-a-vis beach erosion in the area so that they can articulate the issues intelligently and are not confused by the nonsense and non-science being put out by St. Peter’s Bay and sanctioned by people who should know better from the Coastal Zone Management Unit and the Town Planning Department, as if St. Peter’s Bay is in its own little vacuum.

Over the last three years this blogger has watched and chronicled here the systematic destruction of the beach and private property from the time the groins were installed. If you look at the area map supplied here yesterday,  you will notice that the devastated downdrift  areas start at Kings Beach Hotel which adjoins the southernmost of the three groins.  As this blog reported and documented with photos here, rows of coconut trees, guard walls, etc., were flattened at Kings Beach and the natural headland there was completely eroded particularly during storm events by powerful currents forced off the groins smashing the walls of the mouth of the canalized storm drain on the beach in the process, which drain was once several yards from the water’s edge.   Once the headland was eroded it was open season on the sandy beaches further south culminating in the damage reported in the Sunday Sun article two weeks ago.

“Any coastal structure designed to trap or hold sand in one location will, without question, deprive another area of that sand.  In simple terms, any structure (including terminal groins) that traps sand will cause erosion elsewhere.”

“Groins can impact nearshore circulation by directing currents offshore, especially during storms.”

Armouring the beach with rocks and boulders, while necessary as an emergency measure to prevent further loss and/or damage to private property, ultimately in and of itself does not bring back a sandy beach which is the best protection for the shoreline, as clearly reiterated in the above video.  As one New Zealand coastal engineer who learned of our plight via the Internet “tweeted” recently – “if the beach is eroding in the long term. placing rocks will most likely consign your sandy beach into history.”   A long term solution would therefore require: (1) the immediate removal of the offending groins at St. Peter’s Bay to give the beach a chance to recover and undo some of the damage already done; and, (2) a beach nourishment program implemented such as the one this blog suggested three years ago before we saw all of the accerated destruction in the area.

With all the ongoing erosion on the west coast, some of it no doubt probably related to climate change, government should have never given approval for three groins at St. Peter’s Bay. To put it mildly – it was a monumental environmental mistake (if indeed it was a mistake and nothing even more sinsiter). To continue to ignore the problem (where is the Minister of the Environment who promised to visit the area two weeks ago) will in the very short term mean kissing goodbye to Mullins Beach itself and tourism in the area – not to mention the total devastation and havoc it would visit on the local and adjoining communities.

Save Mullins Bay
Road View, St. Peter


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Real Estate, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism