Monthly Archives: March 2010

Were the CLICO pension funds segregated and managed separately as required in law?

Prior to being appointed to his regulatory position, (current Barbados Supervisor of Insurance) Carlos Belgrave was the General Manager of a local company that manufactures “flour, animal and poultry feeds” … from OffshoreAlert’s 2006 “Worst Regulator” Award

Barbados Thompson Government continues with the CLICO cover-up

“There are many persons in Barbados who owe, not so much the public, but more importantly the Policy-holders of CLICO, a complete candid set of answers, free of rhetoric and put in the simplest form.

It is being re-iterated that Mr. Leroy Parris is still Chairman so he owes the first set of explanations. It is his responsibility even if he chooses to delegate it. If you are in charge, you have to face the music at crunch time. The Board of Directors must also show that they are not asleep at the wheel. The Board should have a full investigation and someone has to be held responsible. If no-one is responsible, the members of the Board will have to answer other questions.

Mr. Thornhill and the other members of CLICO’s management team must be more candid and direct in their statements. They have to come out of their state of denial and accept responsibility for this state of events. They cannot hide behind CL Financial because managing the risk of a CL Financial failure must have been one of the contingencies they were planning against.

Mr. Parris most importantly has to speak out on the issue of Pensions. As I understand it these funds ought to be segregated and managed separately. I am yet to hear a definitive set of assurances that these various pension funds are fully intact. If they are not intact, CLICO also has to come under closer scrutiny with a view to whether or not there was any breaking of statutes on the part of the company.

The Government of Barbados also needs to provide the public a full explanation of what appears to be a systemic failing of institutions that were created to protect the public interest. Furthermore, the former Prime Minister ought for the record to explain what was happening under his watch or that of any other Minister who might have had responsibility for the Office of the Supervisor of insurance.”

… taken from an absolutely excellent article by The Devil’s Advocate over at Ian Bourne’s Bajan Reporter: CLICO Unplugged: An Insider’s Perspective

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Did Barbados Government Minister David Estwick threaten Opposition member with a gun in Parliament?

Cover Up not possible – Time for the truth

The Barbados news media has been full of coy references to an “alleged” incident where it is “rumoured” that Government Minister of Economic Affairs David Estwick threatened Opposition member Dale Marshall with a gun in Parliament.

Or so we’ve heard. Sort of.

No one, including Dale Marshall, will directly say what happened.

Opposition leader Mia Mottley is calling for a gun policy for Parliament, but won’t say why it’s needed. She says she won’t be in Parliament after April 20th if the government doesn’t implement a gun policy for members. (Nation: Gun Stand)

Some Government members privately say they are confused because they don’t think Mottley has ever seen a gun before and wouldn’t know what one looked like even if she held it in her hands.

Lawyer and journalist Stephen Alleyne skillfully wrote hundreds of words on the subject without mentioning the subject. (Barbados Advocate: Under Scrutiny: Over to you, Mr. Speaker!)

Similarly, Dale Marshall gave a press conference stating that democracy is at risk, but won’t say what happened to put democracy at risk.

“No member of Parliament should fear for his life and his safety when he is in Parliament doing the people’s business,” the former Attorney General said.

… from the Nation article Democracy at risk warns Marshall

OK… so what happened?

As Stephen Alleyne pointed out in his article, Parliament has always be a sacred place where the peoples’ representatives can often push the limits without being arrested to interfered with. But there are limits.

Was Estwick carrying a concealed handgun in Parliament? Why?

Did he threaten Dale Marshall with it? Did Estwick pull out his gun and shove it in Marshall’s face? (That would be a sight!)

Or… were they having an argument where there was no reference to a gun but Marshall saw that Estwick was carrying a handgun (or already knew he habitually carried a weapon) and decided to make something of it by making up a story?

We, the public, deserve an answer and we’re not going to put up with another protracted “investigation” that fades off to nothing in six months.

Mia Mottley says she’ll pull out of Parliament if the government doesn’t put in place a gun policy by April 20th.

That is a dishonest position on her part. Dishonest because she hasn’t the courage to let the truth be told – whatever it is. Mottley and Marshall are throwing innuendo at the public for political purposes.

If Estwick actually threatened Marshall with a gun in Parliament – that is the peoples’ business. We deserve a full explanation from everyone involved.

So far all we have is innuendo. We the people deserve more respect from Mottley and Marshall.

37 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Ethics, Police, Politics

Bajan jazz star Elan Trotman doing well – on tour and teaching

We’ve followed sax wizard Elan Trotman for more than a couple of years and were pleased to see his CD release This Time Around last summer. Yesterday we came across an article in a Boston newspaper that says when Elan is not on tour he teaches music in the local elementary schools. I wonder if those kids have any idea of just how lucky they are to be instructed by someone with so much talent.

You can visit Elan’s website here and sample his music. If you like his sounds, buy his CD and support a son of Barbados.

Further Reading

Roslindale Transcript: Call him the music man of Roslindale’s Mozart and Philbrick schools

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados, Music

Canadian news media reports “outrage” at tourist killer’s sentence. Schwarzfeld family says “Sentence made no sense.”

Canadians still following the Terry Schwarzfeld story

Adrian Loveridge interviewed by Ottawa Citizen

The sentencing of Curtis Joel Foster in the killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld and the subsequent appeal by the Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions continues to be news in Canada.

The Ottawa Citizen published a weekend article Barbados sentence ‘unduly lenient’ as did the CanWest news agency in papers across Canada. The Canadian press interviewed Schwarzfeld’s sister, Joan Schwarzfeld, and hotelier Adrian Loveridge, who chairs the safety and security committee of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

Former Attorney General Dale Marshall – Embarrassing

As well, the Ottawa Citizen focused upon the idiotic (our description) comments of former Attorney General Dale Marshall – who is quoted as saying that Foster’s sentencing should have no impact on tourism from Canada.

Judging by the articles in the Canadian press and the comments online from both Canadians and Bajans, Dale Marshall is totally out of touch with his constituents and the rest of the world on the danger to our tourism industry if Barbados is perceived to be uncaring or soft on violence against visitors and citizens.

Prospective tourists can get over the fact that a visitor was murdered while strolling on a beach in broad daylight – provided they believe it was an isolated incident and that Barbados citizens and our government and courts responded appropriately.

In our opinion, Canadians still believe that Barbados is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world – and rightly so, because Barbados still provides about as safe a vacation as can be had anywhere.

Where Barbados fell down in this case was in the initial response and incident handling, and also in our government’s poor treatment of the victims’ families who were ignored and kept in the dark throughout the process.

Court dates were set, decisions and deals were made and actions were taken by the DPP, the police and the government without basic courtesy or concern for informing the victims’ families. Often there was not even a phone call or an email to inform family members as to an important event as the case processed through our courts. The Schwarzfeld family told the Canadian press that they were not being informed of important developments by the Barbados authorities. Like everyone else, they mostly heard about the deals and delays through the news media or this blog.

Where did the law stop and politics begin?

The decision to not proceed on the murder charge against Foster may have been properly taken according to the best legal advice – but there is also a suspicion in Canada, Barbados and elsewhere that the government simply wanted to avoid the drawn-out publicity a lengthy murder trial. Undoubtedly the failure of our Royal Barbados Police Force to note and address Curtis Joel Foster’s long series of violent crimes against tourists at Long Beach would have been a central issue in any trial.

So the prosecution offered a deal and asked for 16 to 20 years. To the utter amazement of everyone, the judge gave 10 years – proving that Dale Marshall has at least one other neighbour on whatever different planet he lives on.

Had Foster received what Bajans and Canadians consider a reasonable sentence in all the circumstances, the government of Barbados would have happily seen this case fade from the public eye with the average tourist believing that justice was done. That is not to be though.

Two Lessons for Barbados

There are two main lessons that Barbados should take away from this unhappy event. Firstly, we failed to do our best to protect visitors and citizens against a known threat at a specific location. As we mentioned in our article Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away, that was basically a police leadership and competence problem that is as yet unresolved.

Secondly, we failed the family and friends of Terry Schwarzfeld and her daughter-in-law Lauana Cotsman by failing to keep them informed about court dates and decisions in the prosecution of the person who killed their loved one. Oh, our government and politicians were good for a couple of weeks after the murder, but then it all fell apart in the long run because we have no real plan or crisis handling team in place for incidents involving foreign visitors. We wing it every time with no checklist and no institutional memory of what went right or wrong last time.

This is part of a larger problem that our government shares with our news media: in a crisis we prefer cover-ups instead of acknowledging problems and implementing proper responses. We used to be able to operate like this because the government could control the flow of information both locally and abroad.

That was before YouTube and a camera in every mobile phone. That was before instant messaging, blogs, FaceBook and personal websites. That was before TripAdvisor and a host of other travel websites and forums.

We don’t seem to learn the lessons we need to. Six months after the Schwarzfeld beach murder, the British press reported British Tourist Shot, Robbed Near Sandy Lane Resort Barbados On June 4, 2009 – Victim Alleges Silence By Barbados News Media, Hotel, Tourism Authorities.

I am surprised and disappointed that as a country that relies almost exclusively upon tourism for our economy, Barbados has no crisis handling team or plan for the long term management of situations involving foreign visitors. If we did have proper management in place, members of the Schwarzfeld family would not be telling their fellow Canadians that Barbados did not care enough to keep them informed about important developments surrounding the death of their loved one.

17 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, News Media, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Reader asks: Is corruption widespread in Barbados? With no Freedom of Information, how do citizens examine the facts?

Freedom of Information is not about media freedom

“It is important to review the Freedom of Information Law. Freedom of information is not about media freedom. It has to do with access to information and disclosure which can enable public discourse.

The right to information is a crucial underpinning of participatory democracy. Promotion of open government and maximum disclosure can be the single most important step towards eliminating corruption.”

… sent by a contributor to BFP who didn’t inform us if it was OK to use his name.  🙂

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Thumbs Up for Barbados Prime Minister as he cancels Vybz Kartel, Mavado concert

Auntie Moses plants a kiss on the PM for his leadership.

David Thompson says no to violent Jamaican dance hall culture

Prime Minister Thompson just delivered an unequivocal message: We the people of Barbados don’t want the violent dance hall culture of Jamaica in our country and we sure don’t want our young people exposed to the people who promote this destructive influence.

The PM spoke in a very politic manner, giving as little offense as he could in the circumstances. One has to admire not only the statesmanship of his delivery but also the leadership he exhibited by wading into a mess that had become important enough to require the intervention of the Prime Minister.

Said the PM, “I don’t feel in this particular instance people should be demonised for a well-intentioned effort that could have gone awry, but in circumstances where there is public concern and where the State needs to intervene to protect our young people we will do it…”

Violent culture is a circle – not a linear cause and effect

We won’t re-hash the entire controversy here – except to say that Jamaican violence is a circular problem that is fed by the music of the day and the personalities associated with the music.

Folks can argue about where the circle of Jamaican cultural violence started but that doesn’t really matter – The violence inspires the music that inspires the tribalism that inspires the violence that inspires the music… and on and on and on.

The violence is not a linear problem with specific causes and effects – but a circle that feeds upon itself.

Prime Minister David Thompson just damaged that circle by removing some of the music and conflict personalities from our society – and Barbados is safer and better off for his decision.

Thanks, Prime Minister!

Now – What about the Police leadership?

Or, to be more specific: is conflict between senior police officers negatively impacting the Royal Barbados Police Force?

In the last few days the Barbados public was treated to the disgusting spectacle of Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin having to admit that his Deputy undermined his orders and authority regarding the Vybz Kartel, Mavado concert. Dottin had announced that the police would not grant a license for the show. Hinds countermanded that decision in public.

And the very worst of it was that Commissioner Dottin had to hear about it on the public radio!

The Prime Minister was forced to step in due in part to the leadership punch-up between Dottin and Hinds. That too is embarrassing for all concerned.

So… who should resign, Dottin or Hinds?

That gets complex because it is more than time for Dottin to go – but in this case Hinds was wrong to go behind the Commissioner’s back.

Perhaps the answer is to fire retire both of them and promote one of the three people we know of in the RBPF who have the right combination of professionalism and leadership talent.

Who are they? Ha! We won’t say because that would surely poison their chances. Let’s just hope that something big happens soon to provide the kind of leadership that the RBPF deserves.

Further Reading

This Nation article is a pretty good synopsis of the disgusting public quarrel between Dottin and Hinds…

Angry Chief

THE DECISION yesterday to give the green light for this weekend’s controversial Vybz Kartel and Mavado show has opened a potential row between Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin and his deputy Bertie Hinds.

In an exclusive interview, a visibly upset Dottin told THE NATION yesterday that he first learnt of the decision to grant licences for the show through a radio news flash while on his way to Grantley Adams International Airport.

“It sends a very bad image and message that the Commissioner of Police has been having discussions on these issues and nobody had the decency to consult him.

“It reflects very poorly on the administration of the force,” he added.

Confirmed reports indicated that Hinds, who acts as commissioner while Dottin is on leave, made the decision to grant the promoters requested licences for the show during a meeting yesterday.

When contacted for comment that he acted contrary to the force’s protocol, Hinds would only say: “I have nothing to say, full-stop.”

… continue reading this article at The Nation: Angry Chief

32 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Jamaica, Music, Police

Barbados Prosecutor appeals tourist killer’s ten year sentence: “unduly lenient, does not reflect public concern…”

Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock, says that the 10-year sentence handed out to Curtis Joel Foster for the killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld is inadequate. The prosecution had asked for a 16 to 20 year sentence on a plea to manslaughter rather than the original murder charge.

A formal appeal has been filed because, unlike former Attorney General Dale Marshall, DPP Leacock recognizes that the light 10 year sentence “does not reflect the gravity of the offence” and “does not reflect the public’s concern about offences of this nature.”

Too right!

Further Reading

The Nation: Not Enough

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police, Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Prime Minister emails Canadian tourist: “(Boscobel Road Toll Gang) has been investigated… I have received no other negative reports”

“I just wrote the government (about the Boscobel Road Toll Gang) and the PM responded:

I believe that this matter has been investigated and I have certainly received no other negative reports”

Mar 09, 2010, 7:43 AM comment by Ottawa-based tourist ChrisB on Trip Advisor

“My wife and I just returned from Barbados. We were shaken down by “Sean” and his friends and paid $10 to pass…

He actually jumped in the backseat of our Moke for a few minutes, which was a bit frightening. Alas we paid and moved on.

It is indeed still a problem.”

March 10, 2010 3:42pm comment by New York-based tourist jbm4130 on Trip Advisor

"The road is closed. I need ten dollars."

Prime Minister’s statement “Has been Investigated” means “No arrests. Nothing changed”

The leading travel website Trip Advisor has several forums going on the Barbados Boscobel Road Toll Gang where tourists to Barbados from around the world relate some of their stories for others. Similar Boscobel stories are carried on other travel forums as well.

Remember folks: this isn’t Barbados Free Press breaking this story. Dozens of tourists have related their experiences at Trip Advisor and other sites over the last few years and our police have done nothing. In the new world of the internet Barbados ignores this continuing gang activity at its peril. We first reported this story in September of 2008, but the tourist reports go back more than five years.

Members of the Boscobel Road Toll Gang stop tourist hired cars by standing in front of them. They inform the drivers that the road is closed, instruct them to drive another way and demand money for the “assistance”. They are big, nasty men and most of the tourists pay. It is a lucrative business for the gang.

Always seven or eight sitting at the “T” intersection and while one engages the driver in conversation another will sometimes come up behind on the passenger side, reach through an open window to grab a purse or a camera and then run like hell.

NEW REPORT: Gang members getting bolder – Entering cars, sitting in the rear seat behind driver!

A dangerous escalation…

The Royal Barbados Police Force is well aware of this bunch of thieves, but officers have apparently done nothing except take the reports from the poor tourists who are stupid enough to stop and roll down their windows. The Commissioner doesn’t seem to care and neither do the local officers who have actually been seen on occasion to wave at the gang members as they drive by on patrol.

The locals are now getting harassed as well. This, along with the gang members climbing into vehicles for “a friendly chat” are signs of a dangerous escalation. The gang is getting bolder.

On February 19, 2010 a UK tourist with family in Barbados wrote on Trip Advisor:

“I have my suspicions why this still goes on but if Barbados wants to keep it’s tourists then they need to sort it out.”

Another tourist, this one from New York city answered:

“This is a disgrace. And it’s continuance makes the police seem complicit.”

Hey, not to worry folks. Prime Minister David Thompson says “I believe that this matter has been investigated and I have certainly received no other negative reports”

I guess the PM doesn’t read Trip Advisor like the foreign tourists do.

Further Reading at Barbados Free Press

January 8, 2010 Barbados Police Helpless as hundreds of tourists extorted every month by Boscobel road toll gang

June 17, 2009 Boscobel Road Toll Gang Still Operating Freely In Barbados

September 16, 2008 Barbados Police Helpless In Stopping Boscobel Road Toll Gang

* About the photo: We are only using it to illustrate the story and have made the photo dark, blurry and sinister as a new work of art. The person in the photo is not associated with the Boscobel Toll Gang and has never been to Barbados. He is probably a nice, honest person.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police, Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

Former Barbados Attorney General to Canadians: It’s none of your business how we punish Schwarzfeld’s killer – You’ll still come here for vacations anyway

“What we have to do, from the very beginning, is respect other people’s judicial system,”

“The country has had incidents like this before, and our tourism product has withstood them. Besides, when a judge makes a decision, Barbados’ tourism product is completely extraneous to that decision…”

Former Barbados Attorney General (and sometimes punching bag) Dale Marshall gives a lesson to Canadians as he talks about foreign criticism surrounding the sentencing of a tourist-killer.

Empathy? Sympathy? Public Relations in the real world? – Dale Marshall hasn’t a clue

Dale Marshall, former Attorney General under the defeated BLP government has a message for Canadians who are critical of the 10 year sentence given to the killer of Terry Schwarzfeld: Hey Canadians: None of your business, and whatever you think it won’t impact Canadian tourism in Barbados anyway.

Yup. That pretty well sums up what Dale Marshall said to The Nation when asked to comment upon the fact that some of the Canadian newspapers are critical of the 10 year sentence handed out by Justice Worrell to the killer of tourist Terry Schwarzfeld.

A pity that Marshall didn’t say something politic like, “I am unable to comment on the particular sentence, but all Bajans grieve what happened to Terry Schwarzfeld. We were shocked at this terrible crime and we ask our Canadian friends to remember that this was done by a single individual with a history of anti-social behaviour against others. We are grateful to the personnel of the Royal Barbados Police Force who worked long and hard to arrest Curtis Joel Foster and bring him to justice. Once again, our sincere condolences to the family of Terry Schwarzfeld. I never had the opportunity of meeting this remarkable person, but it is obvious that she is sorely missed by her family, her friends and her community.”


Nope. Marshall couldn’t say something appropriate. He just had to give the Canadians a lesson in respecting the independence of the Bajan courts that was the equivalent of “bugger off”.

Freaking idiot.

Marshall never was very media-capable. When US authorities took down the builders of Barbados’ new prison – Alaska-based VECO – for decades of corruption and paying off politicians in exchange for contracts, Marshall met with VECO officials for 30 minutes and then announced Ever-ting’ fine here!

So… how’s the jaw doing Mr. Marshall? Rumour has it that ice works better than rum. 🙂

Here is the article from The Nation. As usual we repeat it here in full because that newspaper (like the Barbados Advocate) has a habit of erasing the past when politically expedient. You should head over to their website to read the article, but if it’s missing you’ll find it here…

Ten Rapped (link to The Nation online article)

by BARRY ALLEYNE

THE DECISION BY A BARBADIAN JUDGE to sentence a confessed killer to ten years in jail has come under serious international scrutiny. But a former attorney general says this country’s judicial sentencing system remains beyond reproach, and foreigners simply need to respect the jurisprudence and judicial system of countries outside their own. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Idiocy at The Barbados Advocate: Murderous 25 year old career criminal described as “Youth”

Headline: “Youth jailed for 10 years for killing visitor”

When Curtis Joel Foster chased down Canadian tourist Teresa “Terry” Schwarzfeld at Long Beach last year and beat her to death he was 24 years old and in the middle of a one man violent crime wave that had been going on at Long Beach for over a year. Foster committed multiple robberies, thefts, assaults and is or was charged with at least one rape of a tourist.

Foster is not a “youth” by any stretch of imagination, but that’s how the Barbados Advocate described him in their headline.

Was the paper trying to mitigate the public disgust at the light 10 year sentence by indicating that Foster is a “youth” and therefore somehow less responsible for his actions?

This is not the first time we’ve seen the term “youth” misapplied by the Barbados Advocate to describe adult men in their mid-20’s who commit violent crimes. We’ve noticed that the paper habitually refers to adult criminals as “youths” even if they are talking about a gang of not-quite 30-year-old thugs hanging out at the T.

Is it that “youths” are somehow less threatening to our image?

Words matter, so we’re calling the Barbados Advocate out for their idiocy… or their propaganda.

What do you think folks? Have you noticed this trend by the paper? Why do the people at the Barbados Advocate continue to describe 24 year old adult males as “youths”?

17 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, News Media, Police

Barbados Court: Murder of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld only worth 10 years in prison – Hunted down on beach in broad daylight

Murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

UPDATE: Victim Impact Statement as read in court

Our Take on the light sentence:

A plea bargain to dispose of the ugly situation as soon as possible. Only ten years for hunting down a tourist on the beach and beating her to death.

Barbados doesn’t want any scrutiny about robbery, rape and violence against tourists by the same accused at the same location for a year prior to the Schwarzfeld murder. Wouldn’t want the Royal Barbados Police Force to look stupid. Bad for business. “Say… what’s on TV tonight? Anything of interest happen at work today dear?”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Bajan hotel owner Adrian Loveridge comments on the lousy 10 year sentence…

‘10 years for killing visitor’

Sometimes people have to speak out and if that means there are consequences, then so-be-it.

Curtis Joel Foster had already been convicted of 8 robberies including 5 on visitors. We know that at least two of these involved extreme violence because my wife personally treated two of the victims.

Mitigating arguments by the defence lawyer included ‘The court does accept that there was no use of a firearm’, but that is NOT true according to a victim impact statement issued by the husband of the murdered Teresa Schwarzfeld, Stephen Cotsman and printed in the Ottawa Citizen on 22 March and other Canwest publications across Canada.

He stated ‘we understand that he (Foster) has not admitted to what really occured and this adds to our family’s pain. Luana Cotsman is a survivor of the attack and knows exactly what happened’.

‘First, Foster accosted them with a gun and demanded money’.

‘Then, when they truthfully told him that they did not have any (money), he ran back to the bushes and retrieved a big piece of wood (the size of a baseball bat) and chased them as they ran for safety. He caught up with Terry and hit her on the back of the head – so hard that he fractured her skull. Terry never woke up again’.

And what of the rape charge?

One has to ask if the sentence matches the crimes committed and what sort of message is Barbados sending over its concerns for the safety and security of visitors to our shores?

Our deepest sympathies go out to the grieving family with the assurance that some of us do not consider the sentence passed anywhere close to being applicable to the severity of the crimes committed.

Adrian Loveridge

(And all of us at Barbados Free Press sign on to Adrian’s position: Marcus, Shona, George, Cliverton, Robert & Auntie Moses)

32 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Google ends censorship at Chinese operations – our Tiananmen Square Massacre articles spike!

Just hours ago, Google shut down its Chinese language portal and ended “voluntary” censorship of searches from the People’s Republic of China as a response to hacking and espionage against Google that is most certainly the work of the Communist-run Chinese government. (UK Telegraph article here)

Chinese authorities are struggling to regain control of the internet searches by their citizens – but they are obviously losing the battle as our little Barbados Free Press website has started to experience a tsunami of visits to our articles about China. If the numbers hold, BFP will experience thousands or even tens of thousands of new and unexpected visitors in the next few days.

Our thousands of new Chinese friends are arriving primarily after searching for the words “tiananmen square massacre” or “tiananmen square protest” and, most revealing: “tiananmen + democracy”, “China + human rights” and “China + democracy”.

Worldwide Big Picture: Hundreds of millions of new uncensored internet searches by Chinese citizens

As Caribbean blogs and websites go, Barbados Free Press is moderately successful but we’re nothing compared with the big guys. For instance, as the 500th most popular website in the world, Drudge Report gets over 3 million unique visitors a month while BFP takes over a year and a half to reach that number. So as successful as BFP is for a Caribbean blog, we’re just a hair on a flea on the internet dragon. Well – you get the point.

Yet BFP will see thousands or tens of thousands of new visitors from China in the next day or two. Think of what that means worldwide: internet censorship is not happening right now in China and a hundred million or more Chinese citizens are seeing the world on the net without their government-imposed limitations.

The Dream of Chinese Freedom is still alive!

The democracy movement that ended with the Tiananmen Square Massacre was fed by fax machines, pagers and face to face meetings. The internet didn’t exist as it does today. Who knows what could happen if our Chinese friends have the freedom to openly share ideas with each other on the internet?

History may view this Google freedom for Chinese citizens – even if it only lasts a few days – as one of the most important events of the era for China. You can bet that the elites of the Chinese Communist Party have a little more than mere concern in their guts today. That feeling they are experiencing is the beginning of fear – because the Communists know that in a free and fair exchange of ideas… they lose.

Our welcome to the ordinary people of China

We at Barbados Free Press are happy that you can join us and we hope that your new freedom continues. Below is a list of our most popular articles being viewed by people from China.

Many of the articles contain stories of human rights violations by the Communist government of your country. As you read our stories, please remember that our intent in exposing these human rights violations is to work towards more freedom for individual citizens of China.

You and your country have so much to be proud of. In many areas, China has come further and faster than any other country in the last few decades, but your progress has not been without cost to you and your ordinary fellow citizens. You also know that the main beneficiary of your labour is an entrenched group of political elites that has brutally repressed ordinary Chinese citizens who desire to be free and to progress as individuals and families.

To the ordinary people of China, Barbados Free Press says, “Welcome. Good Luck to you, and may God bless you, your family and your country.”

Most popular China articles at Barbados Free Press (we’ll revise it as the statistics change)

Tiananmen Square Massacre 20 Years Later: Hugs and Kisses From Barbados As We Trade Our Silence For Cash

China’s Solution To Children Killed and Injured By Melamine-Tainted Milk: Arrest Parents Who Talk Too Much

Video: Chinese Soldiers Murder Tibet Civilians

Barbados Ambassador to USA and wife highlight China’s repression of Falun Dafa Religion

Thousands Riot In China Over Government Kidnapping For Forced Abortions, Forced Sterilizations

Citizen Journalist Beaten To Death By Chinese Government Officials – Filmed Waste Disposal Near Homes

Would Bussa Have Accompanied Barbados Chief Justice and Prime Minister To Chinese Embassy Celebration?

China’s Olympic Soccer Balls Made By Slave Labour – But Barbados Doesn’t Care

Chinese Police Arrest Christians For Nativity Play, Praying – But Barbados Still Loves Chinese Charity and Investment

Communist Chinese “Family Planning” Agency Still Kidnapping Pregnant Women and Forcing Abortions

To our friends from China: you can see all our China articles by entering “China” in the search box at the top. That will show you all our articles.

1 Comment

Filed under Abortion, Barbados, China, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, History, Human Rights

Part-time Member of Parliament William Duguid waiting for pension before bailing out

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I hope Barbadians understand now that most people entering politics are not motivated by an quest, as they are wont to spew, to represent the people. Most of them are motivated by a personal agenda.

A year and a half ago news broke that William Duguid was hardly attending parliament and was barely making the basic requirements to keep his seat. Oh he rushed in the paper and said that was not true etc etc.

Lo and behold the truth has come to light.

But the reason I said most candidates are personally motivated these days is that Duguid knew that if he had quit a year and a half ago he would have been short of the ten year or two term requirement for pension. So what do you do? Keep spending three weeks in Canada and rush back so that you don’t miss four sittings (which I think it is) and then rush back off to Canada  again.

What has me puzzled is that we used to hear how Duguid had a fantastic dental practice and how he was such a great dental surgeon. You think that if that was the case it would have translated into monetary gains once one is dedicated to the practice. But to give up a ‘lucrative’
dental practice to go and speculate with regard to real estate in Canada sounds very dubious. It sounds as if he is running from something. At one stage he even talked about having leadership (Prime Ministerial) ambition.

I just hope that the electors realise one thing: IT IS NEVER ABOUT THE PEOPLE.

Little Boy Bleu

BFP Editor Replies…

Hi LBB, we think you are too cynical by half – and we know cynical!

Way back in 2006 and early 2007 William Duguid was a frequent commenter on BFP – at least until the questions about his government became too direct and unanswerable. While the dear doctor might be making a strategic decision at this point based upon the fact that it is unlikely that the BLP will form the government after the next election, that doesn’t take away from his original intents upon entering politics.

We have no doubt that William sincerely thought he would be able to work within the political system to “do good” as he says. The problem we see with new politicians is that they are almost immediately seduced by their more experienced mentors to take advantage of a system that has no rules about conflicts of interest or misuse of office. Who could withstand the temptation of running wild in a candy store with no rules? You? Me?

We saw the BLP turn into a gang of thieves and we’re now watching the same thing with the current DLP government. It’s all too easy for a politician to make big money under the current free-for-all and that’s why Thompson and his gang did not implement a Ministerial Code on their first day in office as they promised to do. We also said that Thompson and the DLP would stall and sabotage the promised Integrity Legislation and that’s exactly what has happened.

As to Duguid not finishing out his term in a proper matter, we share your concern. One would think that honour would demand an MP to be on the island for the vast majority his time – not just when parliament is in session. The job that Dr. Duguid took on demands much more than just showing up in Parliament. Although Duguid has been very careful of late to orchestrate appearances in the press, he is seldom seen by his constituents anymore.

(And please, Doctor Duguid: unless you’re willing to publish your the Air Canada flight details of your coming and going – don’t waste our time with some statement full of generalities. Publish your flight information and then we’ll talk, Doc.)

Further Reading at BFP

June 17, 2009 William Duguid Re-appears In Barbados Parliament – Speaks… but not about his Canada Permanent Residency Application

June 8, 2009 Dr. Duguid Returns To Barbados – Fails To Address THE QUESTION: Did William Duguid Apply For Canadian Immigration?

June 5, 2009 Barbados Parliamentarian Dr. William Duguid Moves To Canada – Continues To Collect Salary!

14 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Canada, Corruption, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

UPDATE: Curtis Joel Foster will be sentenced Monday, March 22, 2010 in murder of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

This article first appeared on Barbados Free Press on February 17, 2010 – the day that the Bajan news media originally said Curtis Joel Foster would be sentenced. That February 17th court appearance was postponed until Monday, March 22, 2010 – when again we are told that Foster will be sentenced.

Murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

Curtis Joel Foster will be sentenced on Monday, March 22, 2010, for the “manslaughter” of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld who was walking at Long Beach at the south coast on February 28, 2009 with her daughter-in-law when Foster attacked and robbed them in broad daylight. When the women fled, Foster pursued and used a piece of wood to club them. Mrs. Schwarzfeld never recovered from her head injuries and died in Canada after she was flown back in a coma.

Most people see the event as a murder, but the lawyers and Public Prosecutor let Foster plead to a lesser charge of “manslaughter”. The Canadian news media reported that the victim’s family weren’t even notified of the plea deal or the plea. They heard the news on the radio – so said the Canadian news media back in January.

On March 26, 2009, Foster received only a two year sentence for a string of five tourist robberies that occurred at Long Beach in the year prior to the Schwarzfeld attack. These events involved visitors from the UK and Belgium. He is also charged with the rape of a German tourist at the same location in July of 2008 but we don’t know if he pleaded in that case.

Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin. Long Beach was a robbery and rape “hot spot”, but we Bajans and the tourists were never warned.

Barbados Police acknowledged that they failed to note the long series of violent offenses at Long Beach in the year prior to Schwarzfeld’s death and failed to alert the public or take pro-active measures to prevent further attacks or arrest the attacker.

It turns out that the Commissioner of Police failed to appoint staff to record and analyze crime types and locations to note “hot spots” so that sufficient police resources could be assigned to protect the public or to arrest Curtis Joel Foster and stop his reign of terror. It took the murder of a tourist before anyone paid attention, and even then the police, the government and the Bajan news media initially went into their standard “cover-up” mode that happens when a tourist is attacked. (See BFP’s article Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, National Canadian Coverage: “Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women. Feisty Barbados Free Press Only Outlet To Speak Out For Schwarzfeld”)

So we’ll see what sentence Foster receives for the murder manslaughter.

Here’s hoping he rots in jail until he draws his final breath. Then toss his body out for the crabs at Long Beach or Mount Stinkeroo. He’s not worth the trouble of a grave.

If you think that’s too harsh, maybe you should ask the Schwarzfeld family or the German rape victim how they feel about it.

Further Reading

BFP, January 21, 2010: Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away

BFP, August 30, 2009: Murdered Canadian Tourist Terry Schwarzfeld Called “White Trash” – Senior Advisor to Barbados Prime Minister Publishes Articles on Same Racist Website!

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Citizens taking action against development-at-any-cost business and political elites

A victory for Citizen Action – but the fight never stops!

Updated November 28, 2011

I write to you all today bearing good news for Environmental protection in Barbados.

It was announced yesterday in the Barbados Today online magazine that the proposed  development for Long Beach and the Chancery Lane Wetlands was “scrapped”. According to Government officials from the Town & Country Planning Department, the application for the development was pulled. This is a GREAT day in Barbados history as we constantly struggle to preserve the natural beauty of our island.

BFP reader “A” (who never said if we should use their name)

Original story first published March 20, 2010…

Chancery Lane – Long Beach movement latest sign of citizens empowering themselves

There was a time in this country, and it wasn’t so long ago, that the business and political elites could do pretty much as they wanted without encountering too much resistance from ordinary folks. As long as the land developers could pay big money in “consulting fees” and “campaign donations”, the political elites would eventually provide the land-use approvals – knowing that cowed Bajan citizens would keep their mouths shut as their island was paved over one project at a time. Continue reading

33 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Environment, Nature

Natalee Holloway skeleton photographed? Photo is “on its way to Bridgetown Barbados” FBI office.

U.S. Tourists go to media after FBI inaction

An American tourist to Aruba might have photographed Natalee Holloway’s skeleton on the bottom of the ocean in October of 2009. John Muldowney of Manheim, Pennsylvania made some photographs of the sea bottom while on vacation in Aruba but didn’t notice what appears to be a dressed skeleton until he and his wife reviewed their photos after returning home.

Muldowney turned the photos over to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) but just now went to the news media after the FBI did nothing for many months.

(Hey… was that FBI office staffed with ex-RBPF officers?)

You can see the photo above – and what is that straight striped object to the right? That looks to be man-made to me – but then again I’m a drunk, not a forensic expert. Sometimes there’s a difference, ya know!

Does the photo show the last remains of the missing Natalee Holloway? Stay tuned…

Further Reading

NBC Philadelphia: Holloway’s Dad: Speak Out About Photo

Previous BFP Natalee Holloway stories

February 4, 2008: Joran van der Sloot Says Natalee Holloway Was Dumped Into The Sea – Possibly While Still Alive

February 16, 2007: Say “Aruba” – Think “Natalee Holloway”

57 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Chancery Lane – Long Beach Development Proposal – Town Hall Meeting

Barbados wetland habitat about to become sewage treatment pond?

Chancery Lane Development Proposal and Town Hall Meeting

Public Meeting: Be There!

Thursday March 18, 2010 7:30pm

St. Christopher Primary School, Christ Church

Chancery Lane Wetland is located on the south east side of the island just below the ridge of the Old Chancery Lane development. The development proposed for the area is very dense and large scale for the 80 ACRE site consisting of;

30 to 50 residential/villa lots (10,000-15,000 sq.ft.)
200 room Hotel on the beach front
215 Condominiums on the beach front (minimum 5 storeys)
Retail shops
A Sewage treatment plant & sewage ponds
Three (3) breakwaters built in the sea running parallel to the beach (Long Beach)

For those of you interested in finding out more about the actual development and the Environmental Impact Assessment you can find many of the documents online at the Long Beach resource centre on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website.

Whether you support the commercial, hotel and residential development of the last remaining dune habitat on the south coast or not – read the documents and attend the meeting – otherwise the economic and political elites will continue to do as they please with your future.

So far all the elites have to do is throw in a few words like “sustainable” and they get to turn any wetland bird habitat into a sewage pond and pour concrete where they like.

Further Reading

BFP March 7, 2010: Barbados Environmental Protection Department slams Long Beach development proposal

BFP March 14, 2010: Yes or No? Will Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe make a clear statement against development at Long Beach?

28 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment, Wildlife

Striking British Airways staff “will lose their travel concessions permanently”

“Despite the ballot results, I wonder how many staff will actually strike. Of BA’s 13,500 cabin crew, 7,500 voted to strike. Around 1,500 commute to work by air from Europe and around Britain.

BA has said any staff who strike will lose their travel concessions permanently, making commuting very costly, and to most probably unaffordable. And for the non-commuters, those cheap holidays in Barbados will be gone for ever.”

letter to The Telegraph from John Ratcliffe, Aberdeen

Will British Airways Staff really go through with it?

Management seems to be making a point and so is the union. In the middle will be Barbados and every other tourist destination serviced by British Airways. It has been a rough decade for Bajan tourism starting with 9/11, then continuing with the economic slide and some very expensive mistakes like Cricket World Cup and the unrewarded spending of millions upon millions to tap into the US market. Couple that with the cruise lines that are squeezing the life out of every supplier and now another British Airways strike in the works.

And it doesn’t matter what you do on this rock, it’s all connected with the tourists in one way or another. You might think that you sell plumbing fixtures for a living but the truth is – you work for the tourists as much as the people behind the desk at the Hilton.

Folks: save your money and look after your family and friends, because something tells me it’s not getting a whole lot better anytime soon.

2 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism