Daily Archives: January 28, 2010

Needham Point = Opportunity!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner, tourism visionary

Tourism Potential

While I fully understand all the fiscal restraints Government currently has and the historical and possibly political desire to complete the recently re-named Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre, I would like to propose a second option.

There is no doubt that Trinidad and Tobago stole a march on the Southern Caribbean by constructing a new conference facility and an adjacent first class hotel.

It’s no secret that most people attending conferences, for all sorts of reasons, want to stay close to where the event is taking place. The very last thing is they wish to endure is to spend indeterminate amounts of time fighting with rush hour traffic to reach where the function is taking place.

For whatever reason, ‘we’ missed a golden opportunity with the construction of the Hilton. 354 rooms, but not one large enough space to host major exhibitors and trade or consumer shows.

In hindsight it would have been so easy to have incorporated a single meeting area on one level of at least 10,000 square feet. Whether it was rooftop, basement or even formed part of the car park!

It’s not too late!

Needham Point still offers one of the most desirable locations for further development and if we seriously want to maintain and attract further airlift year round, this is our chance, even during a recession.

The former refinery land could be used and the barracks together with other buildings currently used by the Royal Barbados Defence Force be tastefully incorporated while protecting their architectural heritage.

Even the derelict pier could be transformed to provide a spectacular waters edge restaurant.

Much discussion has taken place over the years about the proposed Pierhead development, and I am still in full support of this project to help revitalise historic Bridgetown. Not only would it to attractive to long stay visitors but also within easy walking distance of the quoted 700,000 cruise ship passengers entering the port each year.

I believe that the development of Needham Point into a major conference and event centre would provide the catalyst to ensure that Pierhead becomes a viable project. Restaurants, shops and other facilities generating valuable foreign currency!

The chairman of one of our major construction and development companies recently stated that it was time to put back.

Could his company together with others in partnership with Government make a world class conference facility a reality?

Very few of the above are new ideas. Many have been voiced before. But now is perhaps the time to turn the concept into reinforcing the viability of our entire tourism industry.

Adrian Loveridge
28th January 2010

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

C.L. Financial Bailout – Turmoil, Instability and Unanswered Questions

CL Financial bailout – The Governor speaks

by Afra Raymond

My last column on this important matter was published on 31st December, almost a month ago, with several major developments since then.  The main development in my view is that we had some truly remarkable statements from the Governor of the Central Bank.

The messages on the CL Financial group are now so confused that the most charitable phrase possible, is that the public is getting ‘mixed messages’.

The Top-level resignations – The group CEO, Steve Bideshi – a former senior manager at Citigroup – was reported on 12th January to have tendered his resignation, effective 31st January.  (See – Bideshi quits CL after 6 months or Trinidad Express article here)

We are told that his reason for resigning is the breakdown of negotiations for his compensation package.  Our governments have a serious track-record of agreeing and then secreting the terms of compensation for its high-fliers.  Just think of Caribbean Airlines, PetroTrin and UdeCOTT.  It is unbelievable that government was unable to agree terms with this one CEO.  Arguably, Mr. Bideshi was heading the largest and most complex group within the State’s control.

On 19th January, we were told that Michael Carballo, the group Finance Director, was resigning, also effective 31st January.  (See – Guardian’s Another executive leaves CL Financial or Trinidad Express article here)

Carballo had the unique position of being the only senior executive to survive the crisis at the group and keep his position.  We were not given any reason for his departure, but we were told that Carballo is to continue acting as a Director on CL Financial’s Board.

Bideshi and Carballo were the two top executives at CL Financial.  What is going on?

To date there has been no proper explanation as to the causes of these major resignations or clear statement on the way forward.  To have both the group CEO and Finance Director resign within a week of each other, effective within less than a month, speaks of turmoil and jostling.  That kind of thing would not happen if the situation was stable.  The purpose of this bailout was said to be the avoidance of systemic risk and the maintenance of confidence in our financial system.  The official silence on this startling development only adds to the impression of ‘more in the mortar than just the pestle’.

… continue reading the full article at Afra Raymond’s blog article CL Financial Bailout – The Governor Speaks

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues