Daily Archives: February 16, 2010

Barbados government continues to pour good money after bad into GEMS Hotels fiasco

The Nation newspaper says the Government of Barbados now has $150 million into Hotels and Resorts – otherwise known as the GEMS scandal – after pouring in another $3 million.

I’m not sure I believe the Nation. I think it’s a lot more than $150 million of our tax money has been poured down that hole in the ground – and that’s not counting all the “free” marketing and subsidies that have been thrown at GEMS over the years through the Barbados Tourism Authority budget. (Oh… they thought we stupid taxpayers missed that trick for hiding the expenditures!)

Wouldn’t it be nice (or at least useful) if citizens could put in a freedom of information request to learn how much of our money has been put into this failed business model?

What do you think folks? Is $150 million a believable figure for how much we’ve lost through GEMS Hotels or is there more to it?

Nation News article: $1.1 million Arch Cot bill

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government

Barbados Advocate accurately reports Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary press release!

Watchers of news media and political elites stunned as one of Barbados’ major newspapers apparently ceases censorship of story.

For years the oldstream Barbados news media has censored and politically-spun stories about the environmental and foreign investment disaster at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and the Canadian eco-tourism investor who is claiming mistreatment by two successive Barbados governments. This censorship and agenda-driven reporting by the Barbados news media includes…

– completely ignoring major story developments, including the launching of an international treaty complaint.
– re-wording nature sanctuary press releases to remove references to government incompetence or wrongdoing.
– failure to fairly report the central issues being contested between the government and the sanctuary and how these issues impact the Bajan public.
– failure to report the government’s removal of environmental protections for Graeme Hall lands so developers can profit from a national public treasure.
– false reporting designed to conceal the public support for the sanctuary and the proposed Graeme Hall National Park. (For instance, reporting that “hundreds” attended special Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary free day when TEN THOUSAND supporters attended.)
– re-writing history: falsely reporting that the new shorebird sanctuary project is a “first” for Barbados (Ya. Right) while not mentioning Graeme Hall.
– refusing to confront elected and appointed government officials for their agenda of putting corporate profiteering before the long-term interests of our country.

News Media Agenda of Deceit

This news media agenda of deceit in support of the interests of business and political elites was interrupted yesterday when the Barbados Advocate published a fair and accurate report of a press release issued by the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. (Press release and Barbados Advocate story both shown below.)

Frankly, we were surprised and incredibly pleased to see the Barbados Advocate story “Ministry not supportive of Nature Sanctuary”, but we don’t know if this is a major change in policy by the Barbados Advocate – or perhaps the mistake of a junior editor on the weekend who didn’t know the “official” position of silence on this story.

I guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks what happened to cause the Barbados Advocate to print … (gasp!) the truth! We’ll also see if any reporters ask Barbados Environment Minister Lowe about the total disconnect between his version of events and that being claimed by Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

Here’s the Barbados Advocate article… (240k to download)

and here’s the original press release from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary…

The Future of Graeme Hall:  Setting the Record Straight
[ Christ Church , BARBADOS , February 14, 2010]

The Government of Barbados has not responded to requests for constructive meetings with the owner of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to discuss the future of Graeme Hall in over a year.

“Except for an introductory meeting in January 2009 with Minister Denis Lowe of the Ministry of Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, nobody from government has called back and agreed to substantive meetings,” said Stuart Heaslet, the owner’s representative for the Sanctuary.  “This is despite our outreach efforts and multiple trips to Barbados .” Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Offshore Investments