Daily Archives: January 14, 2010

Haiti destroyed, Airport closed to rescue flights, seaport unusable – How many new Haitian Immigrants is Barbados willing to take?

Anarchy as machete-wielding gangs fight to establish turf, loot.

Obama pledges US$100 million “to start”

US Special Forces Teams seize and secure airport

Two days after the earthquake, current aerial photographs of Haiti show a country a place so utterly destroyed that one wonders if any buildings will be found worth preserving when some assessment is done years from now.

There is no Haitian government emergency response worth talking about. The government and infrastructure were never worth talking about anyway, and I’d bet that the government no longer exists as a real entity. That is the situation being reported from the rubble. Haiti right now is not a country in the organised sense of the word.

Haiti is a place where eight or nine million people are sitting out in the open as aftershocks make it dangerous to seek shelter in any of the damaged buildings still left standing. Most of those who are still alive and trapped deep in the rubble will never see the sun again because it will be weeks before “rescue” teams with heavy equipment and hydraulic jacks make it to them. That’s not me talking, that’s rapidly becoming the message from those in charge of the relief efforts.

Remember how Barbados struggled when one house collapsed into a cave?

We couldn’t rescue five people with everything we had on the island and a special team in from the United States. Now think about Haiti.

(See BFP’s March 17, 2009 article Expert: Arch Cot Cave-In Victims May Have Been Killed By Wrong Decisions, Actions and Inaction By Barbados Emergency Officials)

Reports state that clean water and food are simply not available. Soon even relatively healthy and uninjured people will begin to succumb. If you think that is not what is going to happen, I hope you’re correct. But when I consider what it would take to give every man, woman and child just one bottle of water and a disaster cookie starting tomorrow and every day thereafter… Well, that isn’t going to happen for a few weeks anyway.

The world couldn’t (or wouldn’t) supply every Haitian man, woman and child with a drink of clean water and one meal a day before the earthquake. What makes you think it will happen within a few days now?

Don’t forget: it’s not as if there are warehouses and stores that have adequate supplies if the people could only get to them and dig out what they need. Haiti is was a country were dirt cookies were sold as food right up to the day of the earthquake. Haiti was a country where tons of food aid sat rotting in the sun every day because the charity organisations didn’t have enough money to bribe the government officials to release the containers so the poor could eat. (See BFP’s March 7, 2008 article Tons of food aid rotting in Haiti)

Haiti’s Airport now Closed to Rescue & Aid Flights

(As of Thursday, January 14, 2010 – 22:00 hours local time)

Airport Closed – Port-au-Prince cargo docks “unusable”

“Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — Rescuers from around the world poured into Haiti, overwhelming its only international airport as the Haitian Red Cross estimated as many as 50,000 people died in the country’s Jan. 12 earthquake.

With little time left to find those still buried in the rubble, rescue teams were stuck at the Port-au-Prince airport and civilian relief flights couldn’t land after its ramps filled with craft, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a notice. The airport also lacked fuel for planes to fly home.”

“…the U.S. Coast Guard said cargo docks in Port-au-Prince were unusable.”

… from Business Week article: Global aid pours in as Haiti searches for survivors

How many new Haitian immigrants is Barbados willing to take?

Alright folks, it’s time for Barbados to put up or shut up.

After the world (read “Primarily the United States of America”) saves as many Haitians as can be saved in the next few weeks, then what?

Haiti wasn’t a country that worked to begin with. At this point, it doesn’t really matter why it didn’t work, but merely shipping in food and shelter isn’t going to solve much in the long run. It may take decades to physically rebuild something from the rubble, but unless Haiti and Haitians develop new cultural and social values and skills along the way – unless they learn to be a workable society – the country will continue to be as close to hell on earth as we have in the Western Hemisphere. (And that was before the earthquake)

So here’s a suggestion: The Caribbean community should agree to take 10% of Haiti’s population from the island and to sponsor the immigrants for five years. The number of Haitian immigrants arriving in each country would be based upon that country’s abilities and space, but in total the Caribbean community would see about a million Haitians immigrating to the various member countries for five years.

During those five years, the Caribbean countries would try to teach the Haitians skills and the cultural values that work. This would relieve significant pressure upon the rebuilding of Haiti, and in five years the 10% of the population would return and hopefully be in a better position to move Haiti forward.

If someone has a better suggestion for rebuilding Haiti, I’d like to hear it.

Meanwhile, let’s ask the question of our fellow Bajans…

How many new Haitian immigrants are you willing to bring to Barbados if that’s what it takes to save people and rebuild Haiti as a working society?

Further Reading

You must read this New York Times op/ed: The Underlying Tragedy

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Disaster

Barbados Government takes new steps to destroy foreigner’s US$35 million eco-tourism investment on South Coast – Part 1 in a series

Constructive Expropriation happening as Bajan political & business elites look to grab Canadian’s investment and prime land

As a successful business person, Canadian Peter Allard always tries to give something back to the world. Whether it is funding medical research into cancer, diabetes and HIV/Aids, establishing University scholarships, rebuilding the coastal reefs in Barbados, saving endangered species in St. Vincent, helping to form a National Park in Dominica, promoting social justice causes or working to save children and families devastated by HIV/Aids in Africa – Peter Allard is there.

“Two decades ago, Peter Allard fell in love with the Caribbean country of Barbados and the Bajan people who make this such a special place. As he had in other countries both rich and poor, he thought he could work with those in government to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people.

Boy, was he wrong!”

A chicken for the plucking comes to Barbados

New foreign investor arrives in Barbados!

By the time Canadian philanthropist and businessman Peter Allard arrived in Barbados more than twenty years ago, a huge section of Graeme Hall swamp on our south coast was little more than a festering garbage dump waiting to be filled in and paved over. I remember as a child riding by the swamp and seeing men tipping an old refrigerator and other rubbish at the eastern pathways. What a stinking mess the place was with piles of household rubbish, construction demolition materials and rusting chemical barrels everywhere. Not to mention hundreds of plastic bags blowing in the tall grasses like little flags!

But mess or not, property developers had their eyes on the shrinking Graeme Hall wetlands and watershed because it was the last large tract on the southern coast. There was talk of condominiums and a golf course, a gated community and an industrial section in the north end. As still happens all the time throughout the island, certain political and business cartels that have no concern for the public good or the need for green space decided that Graeme Hall would be developed and with the help of their friends in government they would make a fortune.

Land Permissions: Money in the bank for the government and special friends!

Land permissions are everything in Barbados. If the developers purchase land for cheap because development is prohibited, but they already have agreed with their government friends to change the law to allow development – well, fortunes are made overnight!

That’s the way it is here. Always has been that way and if you are among the privileged Bajan political and business elites who have an “in” this is how millions are created out of nothing – often overnight on the basis of one signature with authority to allow development.

Of course, if you’re the poor farmer who sold your land for nothing because you were denied permission to develop for 30 years and then the permissions are given the week after you sold out to one of the big shot BLP or DLP lawyers – well, that’s tough for you!

Welcome to the “soft corruption” of the Barbados elites that makes millions overnight for those with “friends” and keeps the ordinary people down where they belong.

Graeme Hall wetlands - the last major green space between the airport and the city

Government assurances to a Foreign Investor really said “Welcome sucker!”

The last remaining mangrove wetlands in the island would surely have been developed and met the same fate as all the other Bajan mangrove swamps had not the environmentally-minded Peter Allard in conjunction with like-thinking Barbadians believed that this precious natural treasure was worth saving for the Bajan people.

This wasn’t done in a vacuum. Allard didn’t just arrive one day and say “I think I’ll impose my will on the Barbados people and save that swamp and wetlands.” (Although if it was possible for Allard and others to force the Barbados elites to save some green space for the citizens, it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing I think.)

Nope, Allard didn’t act alone. Hundreds and then thousands of good Bajan citizens welcomed the plan to save some natural heritage and provide some green space, as did many of the politicians and other community leaders at the time. Allard and the citizens and the planners met with the government and received assurances that if the mangrove swamp and wetlands were restored and saved by Allard’s cash, it would be protected for all time for Bajans as the natural treasure it is.

“Allard was assured that the 1988 National Physical Development Plan protected the entire area, so he started writing cheques and employed hundreds of people as work progressed to restore the area and to build the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.”

The nature sanctuary was the showpiece that made the Graeme Hall area a national tourism asset. It provided the organisational base to perpetuate knowledge and made resources available to continue to restore and protect Graeme Hall wetlands as a natural public treasure. In later years the nature sanctuary became almost self-supporting through tourism and hosting special events, but the shortfall as well as the development and construction costs came out of Allard’s pocket.

Later, the Government of Barbados had part of the area designated as protected under the RAMSAR treaty – apparently showing a commitment to preserve the last mangrove swamp on the island…

Ahhhh…. but leaving parts of the wetlands out of the RAMSAR treaty was a deliberate strategic move by the elites who knew all along what their goals were.

The government’s apparent commitment to preserve the natural area lasted only until Allard had spent US$35 million or so saving the Graeme Hall watershed and wetlands – and establishing the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary as a world-class eco-tourism facility.

“Thanks Sucker!” said the Barbados political and business elites, “Now that you’ve cleaned the place up, provided a showpiece, enhanced the area and made it more valuable for development, what fine condos we’ll be able to build.”

After assuring Allard and the thousands of Bajans who supported saving our wetlands that this area was protected in law, and after Allard invested tens of millions, the elites decided to CHANGE THE LAW TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT!

That change was proposed under the BLP government of Owen Arthur and Mia Mottley – but it was the new DLP David Thompson government that acted and changed the law to allow development at Graeme Hall. That change was actually the Thompson government’s first legislative priority upon assuming power in January, 2008. And if that isn’t proof that BLP = DLP = “The Elites”, I don’t know what is. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Environment, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Tourism, Wildlife

Barbados coastal fishing: Big fun, big fish at a small price

Barbados open boat fishing is the best of all!

Folks, there is nothing like fishing in Barbados – sharing good times with friends, washing down some sandwiches with a few Banks beer and hauling in some yellow fin tuna or kingfish (mmmmm! tasty… I love grill kingfish best of all!).

Lots of tourists head to fisherman’s row in Bridgetown and hire themselves one of the many deep-sea boats for a part or full day – and that is all very well for those who have US$900 to spend. Plus the fact that there are no guarantees with fishing. No one can guarantee the wind and the waves and the fish. The captains do their best to provide a good day of fun and a good catch, but there have been many a charter come home “bare bum” (as we call it) back into harbour with nothing to show but the empty beer bottles and empty wallets.

True, the captain will usually take a bit less when it’s been an unusually bad day, but it’s still an expensive boat ride.

Now, nothing against our friends who run the big charter boats (except when they ruin our night tree fishing), but one can hardly tell the difference from deep sea fishing out of Miami, Nassau, BVI or Bridgetown. Half the time your “captain” is a Brit or American early retiree who struck it rich at some investment firm before the collapse, came to the Caribbean, bought heself a 50 foot Bertram Sportfisher and started calling heself “captain”.

That’s not always the case, but there’s enough truth in that statement that a few of the big boat owners in B’town will read it an wince.

Barbados fishing guide Shaun Sandiford

Barbados fishing guide Shaun Sandiford

Want an authentic Bajan fishing trip with a good captain at a reasonable price?

That’s easy. Hire Shaun Sandiford out of Holetown on the west coast to take you and your friends for an open boat coastal fishing experience… and what a good time you will have!

Always within sight of the coast, and always lots of other friendly boats around. Shaun’s boat is safe, well equipped and you’ll catch the same fish that you’re likely to catch on most of the big charter trips: Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Wahoo, Kingfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Trevally, Jacks, Snapper and Tarpon. Have a look at the photos here and on Shaun’s website and you’ll get the idea; the fish doan care whether the hook is dropped from Shaun’s 18 foot fiberglass boat or a new million-dollar 60 foot Hatteras.

Bring your own tackle or Shaun will supply you for free. If you like, he’ll teach our traditional hand-line fishing or take you and the young ones to some of his secret holes in close where the children will yell with delight because them smaller fish are always hungry!

But if you want to head a little further out Shaun will show you that you don’t need to pay US$900 to pull in good sized fighting fish – and he won’t steal your catch on you either. (Many first time charter boat tourists are surprised to learn that they don’t own what they catch! Your motto should be “Ask, don’t assume”)

So give Shaun a call and you’ll see that you don’t have to pay big dollars to have big fun and big fish!

Website: FishBarbados.net

Shaun Sandiford

Cell: (246) 249 8646
Home: (246) 432 0634
infernos170@hotmail.com

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Filed under Barbados