Monthly Archives: February 2010

Political, religious, race-based agendas and fears are destroying our historical records

Our old friend and retired “Twotter” pilot Jim Lynch loves to preserve Barbados history and is a treasure-trove of information and advice for those seeking to learn about their Caribbean ancestry. He has published some very special books that will occupy you for weeks if you get one in your hands. Two years ago we covered his work in our article Old Barbados Newspapers Are A Treasure Of History.

Today Jim stopped by BFP and left the following comment that we think is worth a few minutes of your time.

Thanks, Jim! (I think the photo is about 25 years old, but you haven’t aged a bit, have you?) 🙂

I have been commended – and abused – in the past for saying what others think but refuse to put into words.

In Barbados, as in other Caribbean islands (and indeed in other parts of the world), records are destroyed – or not consciously preserved (same thing in a tropical setting) – for reasons of race, religion, or some other prejudice or irrational fear.

In this case, Barbados makes it difficult for “foreigners” to obtain genealogical information because there are some people in government who prefer to leave slavery and other unpleasant memories of the past in the dust of time. The excuses you will hear – in one of the most highly taxed populations in the world – is that they cannot afford the cost of preservation over other, more pressing, priorities.

Jordan and Walsh make it “pellucidly” clear in their book “White Cargo” that not only were the first slaves in the Caribbean – indeed, as elsewhere – white, but these men, women and children were as ripped from their English, Scottish and Irish homes and abused as much as black slaves were, and in vast numbers – hundreds of thousands were shipped to the West Indies for little or no reason. Most of the population of Ireland were being simply displaced and discarded as an English land-grab.

Present-day Caribbean governments, however, choose to remember only black slaves with white masters, hence the abuse of yesterday’s historical records.

The reason for the presence of the “RedLegs” who still exist in Barbados seems to have been conveniently forgotten – they were Scottish “indentured servants”, a class of servants who were treated worse than slaves and many of whom had their “period of service” extended indefinitely on any pretext.

So (in Barbados, at least) not only are these records becoming shoddy and insect-damaged, but in the last two decades there have been rumours of whole truckloads of historical documents being dumped into the sea late at night on the west coast. In St. Vincent there are rumours of whole cell blocks in forgotten garrisons filled with documents rotting from the damp ground up.

Once in the Barbados National Archives, however, records seem to be taken care of. But, as in other countries – as you may already have experienced – cash or money orders sent to pay incumbent workers in the various institutions for research or copies of documents manage to disappear without trace, and my understanding is that their managers refuse to take any action or even to investigate.

I do know of a reliable and knowledgeable professional researcher who does outstanding work in Barbados and charges reasonable fees. If you wish to make contact, please send me an email through this form (it is an anti-SPAM resource) and I will respond direct to you.
http://www.candoo.com/contactform/index.html

Regards,

Jim Lynch

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4 Comments

Filed under Africa, Aviation, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Race

Who is really in charge of WATER in Barbados?

Should Barbados ration water?

Perhaps we should start fixing the pipes too!

Something is fundamentally wrong with our decision-makers’ brains, there seems to be a fault in their logic and reasoning area.

It`s Tuesday Morning, 1:30am, yet sleep eludes me, because something is bothering me. I took my usual trip to the bathroom and and without much thought depressed the tank lever and the toilet was flushed; a function we take for granted and other Caribbean countries, even those with rivers cannot, because of drought caused by climate Change.

Jamaica, Trinidad and even Guyana with their rivers have being experiencing dry taps and saw it fit to ration their water supply.

People, thanks to Global Warming, droughts in one area and flooding in others will be the norm so get used to it. A Growing population, urbanisation, deforestation, global climatic changes and pollution are some reasons for the increased pressure on the existing water bodies. Population expansion is the single biggest reason behind the increased pressure on fresh water resources. Water consumption has almost doubled in the last fifty years and naturally, per capita availability of water has steadily decreased.

Broken main left running and unfixed for 5 days in 2007. Has the response improved since then?

I have heard lots of talk on Barbados not being a water scarce country so I will inform the uninformed that water is a finite commodity. If a country has less than a thousand (1,000) cubic metres (m3) per capita per year it is designated a Water Scarce Country. Barbados’ available water resources are currently rated by the FAO at (390) Cubic Metres per person. One cubic metre is equivalent to 220 gallons.  We are adjudged to be the fifteenth water scarce country in the world.

Though approximately 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5 per cent of it is fit for drinking. The rest is all salt water, which fills up the vast expanse of the oceans and seas — unfit for human consumption. Why then in 2010 are we are still flushing expensive potable water down our toilets and using it for agriculture.

Common sense also tells me that the BWA should have long ago been encouraging persons to conserve water and start water rationing.

Logic suggests to me that the BWA is leading the Minister responsible for The BWA rather than the Minister leading the BWA.

This modus operandi can only lead to poor judgment and chaos, as well as poor decision-making. Thus it’s like a case of a Private  leading a troop into battle, rather than the Commanding Officer. Will it take our Hotels, Schools and Restaurants’ taps to run dry before we act?

Deja Vu all over again: In 2008 Roshell Small hauled water to her home. In 2010: same old, same old.

Mr Lowe, this is an issue of National Security please show some leadership and stamp your authority. Our inability to imagine what we may be faced with and be proactive is because we have never experienced the stench from unflushed toilets.  Can someone tell me if the BWA management has employed an obeah man or some seer thus the delay of a water caution decision until March? Or is this another case of poor advice from technocrats to Ministers who are afraid to manage their ministers for fear of been accused of micro-managing.

Mr Lowe  can you please pilot legislation as your legacy, so that all homes can be encouraged through a tax rebate to install water tanks for water harvesting.

Finally I genuinely recommend the reading of the Biblical parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) to those responsible for the managing of our water supply.

Kammie Holder

28 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment

IMF praises Barbados Government actions, gives contradictory recommendations and says it’s all out of control anyway…

As our friend Amit at Pull! Push! blog says, “IANAE – I am not an economist”, so I’ll leave the in-depth analysis of the IMF’s latest press release and former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s recent rant to folks who know more than I do. (Like Living in Barbados who lives and breathes economics.)

That said, I’ll publish yesterday’s IMF press release about Barbados and make a few totally uninformed comments by an ordinary person who has in the last year seen their cash savings go to nothing. It didn’t take much for Shona and I to go from comfortable to living from day to day. Some serious car repairs and helping out someone in worse shape than we are for a month when they lost their business was all it took to empty the bank account. With the increases in food especially and some other must-haves, our savings aren’t going to return anytime soon.

Here are a few observations about the IMF press release…

IMF Praises Barbados Government

This is the standard opening for any IMF press release. The guys who work at the sharp end of the IMF are no fools. They know if they don’t go with this “Praise the Government” opening, the next time they stay at the Hilton someone will pee in their soup. Really.

The first rule of life is “Always treat the kitchen staff and food servers with respect.” Some folks take a long time to learn this vital life rule, but like I said – the working folks at the IMF know what it means when the waiter asks, “Sir, is the soup salty enough?”

Contradictory Recommendations

The IMF says “More taxes, more broadly applied” AND “raise the private sector’s willingness to invest in Barbados.”

Once again, IANAE, but I’ve always believed that more taxes equal less willingness to invest in Barbados.

OK, tell me I’m wrong. I can take it.

Reduce Government Spending

Easy for the IMF to say. Fact of life on this rock is that over 50% of the population is on the government payroll in one form or another.

Think about that fact, then couple it with our culture of entitlement, low productivity in both the private and government sectors and the attitude “guvmnt gon fix”.

No Sir… it’s not like the DLP government is engaging in a bunch of spendthrift mega-projects like the BLP did. The DLP Thompson government was left with a broken infrastructure because Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and the gang blew it all during the good years and ignored the basics.

Like water coming out of taps.

So the IMF can whine all it wants about reducing spending. There is only so much the PM can do and only so far that he dares to go. That’s a fact.

Owen Arthur says Barbados should spend it’s way to prosperity!

Yup, that’s pretty well what he said the other night at UWI. That’s a photo of Owen talking courtesy of Ian Bourne at the Bajan Reporter.

I’m not sure but it looks like the former Prime Minister needed a bottle of water during his speech. That is water, isn’t it?

Ian Bourne has a first person account and says that Arthur and Mottley are true lovers once more or something like that. If true, I don’t think that Owen was drinking bottled water during his speech!

The big IMF message: It’s all out of control

Ok, you go ahead and read the IMF statement below and see what the members of this great international old boys’ club have to say. Just remember: the folks who are issuing the advice are so closely connected with the ones who caused the current economic meltdown that only conjoined twins could be closer.

Irony defined: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says don’t believe things are getting better because they aren’t.

And that is the way I see things from near Grape Hall on a sleepy Saturday morning.

Statement by an IMF Mission to Barbados
Press Release No. 10/66
February 26, 2010

Marcello Estevão, chief of an International Monetary Fund Mission to Barbados, issued the following statement today in Bridgetown, following a five-day staff visit:

“Barbados has been severely affected by the global economic crisis. In particular, the deep global recession has curbed tourism, affecting related activities such as construction and trade which, in turn, depressed aggregate demand and raised unemployment. As a result, economic activity contracted significantly in 2009 after remaining broadly stagnant in 2008.

“Despite these hardships, policy moves and other developments have limited the adverse effects of the crisis. International reserves are at comfortable levels, among other things thanks to a successful foreign debt placement last year and the SDR allocation. In addition, authorities implemented measures to alleviate the impact of the crisis on the population. However, as a result of these measures and, more importantly, of the economic cycle, the fiscal deficit surged, and the public debt now stands above 100 percent of GDP. Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Offshore Investments, Politics

Chile: Massive 8.8 Earthquake This Morning

Tsunami warnings issued over a wide area as far away as Japan

SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, killing at least 78 people, collapsing buildings and setting off a tsunami.

A huge wave reached a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles (660 kilometers) off the Chilean coast, said President Michele Bachelet.
Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

“It has been a devastating earthquake,” Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma told reporters.

… from the AP article 8.8-magnitude earthquake hits central Chile

You can get your updates at Drudge Report

8 Comments

Filed under Disaster

Queen Elizabeth Hospital full-page advertisement a poor use of our tax dollars

Is this full-page advertisement a reward for paper’s editorial support of DLP government?

Dear Barbados Free Press

Last Sunday, February 21, 2010, a full page advertisement for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was printed in the Barbados Advocate newspaper. (editor’s note: click on small photo above for larger version)

This self-congratulatory AREN’T WE WONDERFUL advertisement has some positive statements by two patients in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department who were treated soon after their arrival, an assurance by the Board of Directors that more staff is being hired and some positive statements about how wonderful the nurses and doctors are.

This advertisement is not a proper use of the tax dollars and other public funds that go to health care and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. How much did the full page ad cost? Wouldn’t spending the money directly on health care have been a better use? Who decided to place this advertisement? Is it part of a larger campaign?

I noticed that the Barbados Advocate recently published a series of positive news articles about the QEH. Is this full page advertisement payment for those positive stories? Is is a way of directing government revenues to a newspaper that is generally supportive of the current government? Is the advertisement “quid pro quo” on a couple of levels?

I don’t expect any answers to my questions from the QEH board, the newspaper or the government.

Thank you to Barbados Free Press for the opportunity to vent.

Sincerely,

(name removed by BFP editor)

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Health, News Media, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Thompson delivers the fatted calf while the BLP leadership fight each other…

Message to Shona

I saw this photo of a cow in a motorcycle sidecar and just had to insert the Prime Minister delivering the promised “fatted calf”. I’m not as good as you are, but I’d love to see Thompson driving by Owen and Mia having a fist fight on the side of the road. What do you think? Can you do it?

Can any of our readers think of another version or caption?

😉

Cliverton

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Cartoons, Politics

Big excitement in Barbados over direct Brazil flights – but still no Portuguese language on Barbados Tourism Authority website after ten years

Why won’t the Barbados Tourism Authority get off it’s lazy ass and welcome BTA website visitors in Portuguese?

Sorry for the subtitle language, folks. I don’t know how to express the frustration of the entire Barbados tourism industry in any clearer manner.

Hotel owners have been asking the BTA to put up welcome pages in Portuguese and Spanish for over a decade. Tourism and Industry ministers under four different governments have talked about tapping into the huge tourism potential of Brazil and some of our other Central and South American neighbours for 17 years. Barbados spends millions upon millions of dollars every year in tourism marketing and subsidies but we haven’t got what it takes to put up a few webpages to say “Come to Barbados!” in the language that our prospective customers speak.

It just boggles the mind.

“Language is one of the strongest elements of Brazil’s national unity. Portuguese is spoken by nearly 99.9 percent of the population.”

… from Wikipedia’s entry on Brazil

Pointing out the BTA’s lack of Portuguese & Spanish website for five months

BFP started focusing on this one simple issue in our September 23, 2009 article: Idiocy! Government Minister Hutson says “Look to Latinos”, but Barbados Tourism Authority failed to establish Spanish, Portuguese language websites despite 10 years of begging by hotel owners

We followed up on November 6, 2009 with this story: Six weeks later: Still no Spanish, Portuguese language welcome on Barbados Tourism or Investment & Development websites.

“Its now over ten years since I pleaded with the BTA to place a Spanish and Portuguese language version on the national website, so at least some of those 400 million plus potential travelers could do the prior research or planning.
 Look on YouTube and you will see a Spanish version of a television ‘ad’ prepared for the BTA. Of course it was almost a waste of time and money because it contained no-call-to action (telephone number or website address).”

… Adrian Loveridge, private sector hotel owner, “Peach & Quiet Hotel” Barbados

What is it about the BTA that makes them unable to understand the importance of language in marketing?

The Barbados Tourism Authority should have established a Portuguese-language welcome page at the BTA website a decade ago. It’s a basic requirement for entering any tourism market: you have to be able to speak to your target audience. If you’re not willing to do that you are just pretending.

In the case of the BTA, they can do things ass-backwards because they’re playing with the never-ending buckets of our tax dollars and don’t have to show any measurable results. The BTA can make so many basic errors and nobody seems to call them on it.

This is just so stupid.

Our government went to the trouble and expense of lobbying for and facilitating scheduled flights between Brazil and Barbados, but can’t spend what amounts to rum-money to hire a translator to provide some basic information on the BTA website in Portuguese. We’re not even talking about hiring a Brazilian call center to answer questions by prospective tourists – but that’s pretty basic too.

Is there something I’m missing here? PLEASE tell me I’m wrong or crazy or something. Tell me I don’t understand tourism marketing. Explain to me why I should believe that our BTA people are doing the right things at the right time and they are not a bunch of idiots who are unable to make such a simple and low-cost, yet vital, addition to the BTA website.

31 Comments

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