Monthly Archives: April 2010

Global Voices puts on a new face

Thanks to our friends at Global Voices, folks around the world read Barbados Free Press articles in Chinese, French, Spanish and a host of other major and minor languages including Hindi, Swahili and Italian.

Which is kind of special considering we’re a tiny little blog out of a small Caribbean island. I mean, who in Italy would be interested in what Barbados Free Press has to say? The answer is… apparently enough people are interested that Global Voices translated some of our articles into Italian!

That’s why you’ll find many articles on Barbados Free Press that deal with Bajan perspectives on a variety of international topics. It gives Barbados Free Press a far larger voice and an international readership than we would otherwise enjoy.

Big News at Global Voices

Today we’re letting our readers know that Global Voices, GV – unveiled a whole new design and look.  Although in typical modesty GV is understating the development, we’ve found their website to be more attractive, quicker and most important: GV has made it much easier to jump from topic to topic and country to country when you browse their content.

Global Voices connects people across the planet by letting each one of us talk to the world about local topics that might or might not make the international news media. If you’re not familiar with Global Voices, you should give them a try. If you’ve been there before you’re certain to be impressed with the changes.

Here’s some of what Global Voices says about their new look…

Now truly multilingual

Global Voices is one of the most multilingual online communities in the world. Our Lingua project, where people from around the world volunteer to translate Global Voices content into different languages, has experienced astounding growth since it began 3 years ago. We now have over 30,000 translations posted in a slew of different languages, some of which you’ve probably never even heard of. As a developer this growth was almost difficult to believe, and presented many challenges, but when you’re in the business of spreading citizen media as far and wide as possible, growth like that is an amazing problem to have…

… from the Global Voices article Global Voices Gets Redesigned: Welcome Back!

Further Reading

Global Voices home page

Some BFP articles with a Global Voices connection…

December 18 2009: Barbados Free Press in Swahili… Really! “Plastiki na Uchafuzi wa Mazingira”

November 9, 2009: Chinese-equipped Cuban Secret Police beat Award Winning Global Voices bloggers

August 28, 2008: Harvard Law School’s Global Voices Translates I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney Articles For Major Worldwide Audience

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, News Media

Americans angry about Obama’s health care plan… Really?

An old friend sent this to BFP and while we might dispute a word or a fact here or there, we agree 100% with the main thrust…

YOU WANT TO GET MAD?

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but now you get mad!

You didnt get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark..

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the Republicans richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no.

AND NOW YOU’RE MAD?!         LOL!!

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Health, Human Rights, Politics

Baltimore Ravens’ Ramon Harewood: CNN interview, great video

Bajan NFL player swats opposition like mosquitoes

You simply must watch the CNN video of Ramon Harewood playing American football at Moorehouse College. It’s like he’s a moving mountain of solid rock. When the charging opposition hits him at full tilt they bounce off with no visible effect upon Harewood. It’s almost hilarious.

Here is the link to the CNN video and another to a story on the Ravens’ website…

CNN Video: Ramon Harewood interview

Ravens Insider: Harewood’s unique story

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Celebrities, Sports

BBC’s Adam Mountford says “Barbados is Bringing It!” to cricket in 2010 – Much much better than disastrous Cricket World Cup 2007

Barbados and Bajans impress BBC Radio’s cricket producer

“So the big question is have the ICC and the local organisers learnt from the mistakes of three years ago? Well the first impressions are certainly good…”

… from Adam Mountford’s BBC blog article The importance of first impressions

That’s how Adam Mountford’s blog article starts talking about Twenty20 and it gets nicer and more enthusiastic as it goes along. Certainly the organisers are doing things differently, but the mood of ordinary folks is vastly different from Cricket World Cup because in 2007 we knew we were getting the royal shaft.

At Cricket World Cup 2007 we saw the empty hotels and empty harbour when Noel Lynch and Owen Arthur were announcing that every yacht in the Caribbean was heading for Bridgetown. We saw outrageous ticket prices and “no instruments” rules that were guaranteed to keep the locals away – and when they stayed away as predicted the Arthur/Mottley government tried to fill the empty stands with school children. And then there was Mia Mottley in charge of the worldwide visa disaster that saw (for instance) Australians being told at the last moment that they would need visas to attend CWC – when they didn’t need them before and many cricket fans were already on their way to Barbados! (BFP article: Cricket Visa Chaos: Mottley Worried About Legal Liability For Wrong Information and Visa Failures)

Did we all learn from Cricket World Cup? We surely did – but I have to wonder if the lesson would have been as well learned if the BLP was still in power.

4 Comments

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

Rewarding the failures of former Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch – Net visitors gain for Cricket World Cup: 44 long stay visitors over normal !!!

Cricket World Cup and the Carnival Destiny debacle

Commentary by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

‘That $14 million was supposed to have been self-liquidated, where we would have sold packages that would have more than covered that cost’!

This is the economic justification put forward by a former Minister of Tourism.

Now let’s do the maths!

The loan was actually US$14,772,000. Presumably before any interest payments and we have to assume that figure included any ‘arrangement fees’.

Carnival Destiny has a stated passenger capacity of 2,642 persons.

So! On a simple cost per person that meant that each passenger would have had to pay US$5,591.

Arguments could be made that additional revenue could reduce that figure if the ship was redeployed for the CWC 2007 semi-final in St. Lucia, but why would the Barbadian taxpayer be expected to subsidise the tourism industry in that island?

So could someone please explain to me how this amount could be ‘self-liquidated’?

We can all recall the ludicrous figures been thrown into the public and media domain right up until the now infamous ‘Down to Brass Tacks’ programme of the 25th March of that year.

“’25 cruises ships’, ‘90,000 long stay visitors in the week of the final’.”

But in reality, all that CWC did for our tourism industry was produce a net gain of just 44 long stay visitors for the first four months of 2007.

Of course, some of us spoke out about this lunacy at the time, including tour operators who knew the actual facts, but the deafening noise of the so-called ‘experts’ was overwhelming.

When it became apparent to even those that have a limited understanding of tourism, just how many hotel rooms remained empty in peak months like February and March and during the hosting of the final, it became even more difficult to justify the chartering of Carnival Destiny.

The so called ‘experts’ then went into the now customary damage limitation mode by attempting to justify the fiasco by heralding the promised contribution that would be made by the ‘legacy’ benefits.

Perhaps three years on, someone could put a Dollar figure on those legacy benefits when compared against the costs already spent on, or committed to hosting the event?

Tourism is far too important to the survival of this country to allow it to be led by poorly researched and speculative policies which cannot provide cost-effective justification.

We have to stop rewarding failure!

Adrian Loveridge
29th April 2010

BFP Editor’s note: This article is published as received from Adrian Loveridge with the exception of the main title “Rewarding the failures of former Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch – Net visitors gain for Cricket World Cup: 44 long stay visitors over normal !!!” and the sub-title “Cricket World Cup and the Carnival Destiny debacle” which were created by Barbados Free Press. The photo was also inserted by Barbados Free Press.

5 Comments

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

Turks & Caicos citizens question appointment of Barbados Chief Justice Simmons to head Integrity Commission

Prime Minister Thompson fires Chief Justice SIR David Simmons... and restores the independence of our courts.

“The current  Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson a lawyer himself said that it was unethical for David Simmons to have accepted the appointment of Chief Justice. In fact it was reported that the former Chief Justice wanted an extension of up to six years which was roundly rejected by the Prime Minister.

This is the man that the Governor of the Turks and Caicos tapped to be the chairman of a sensitive body as the Integrity Commission. People’s lives could be destroyed and certainly their reputations by rulings of this body…

No person with such a controversial past, Chief Justice or not, should sit in judgment of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I call on the Governor to reconsider this appointment.”

… from the TCIpost.com article The Governor appoints integrity commission

Barbados Prime Minister says Attorney General David Simmons should NOT have accepted Chief Justice position. What now for Turks & Caicos?

When former Barbados Attorney General and acting Prime Minister David Simmons accepted the position of Chief Justice it immediately dissolved the separation between the government and the courts.

Nevermind that bullshit about perceived judicial independence.” said Simmons… “I want the honour and the power.”

And so SIR David Simmons went from being acting Prime Minister to the person in charge of the Barbados judicial system. Anyone who can’t see a conflict or ethical problem with that is brain-dead or willfully blind.

Now the Governor of Turks & Caicos has named SIR David Simmons to head the newly-formed Integrity Commission – and T&C citizens are questioning the wisdom of Simmons’ appointment.

The internet is a marvelous tool – as David Simmons is about to discover!

5 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Silly? Ironic? BLP’s Mottley vows to protect CLICO investors after appointing “Worst Regulator” Carlos Belgrave as Insurance Supervisor

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

Reason #846 why Mia Mottley and the BLP Opposition have no credibility

The BLP Arthur/Mottley government appointed chicken-feed factory manager Carlos Belgrave as Barbados Supervisor of Insurance. In 2006 Belgrave received Offshore Alert’s “Worst Regulator” award for staunch support of three Barbados insurance companies that faked their books and had owners previously convicted of fraud. Not to mention that Belgrave approved and licensed the companies when other countries had turned them down.

If you need a little more flavour to the story, consider this…

Barbados Supervisor of Insurance Carlos Belgrave allowed a failing Reliant insurance company to continue in business by approving replacement capital with a face value of $518 million that consisted of nothing more substantial than a loan note issued by a newly-formed Panama firm that was secured by “bearer peat certificates representing the right to obtain peat, a pre-coal state organic material used as energy or for horticultural use, from the Changuinola Peat Deposit of Northwestern Panama”. (See BFP’s Carlos Belgrave, Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions in Barbados, Called “Worst Regulator” By OffshoreAlert)

Got that? Belgrave approved half a billion dollars of supporting company value based upon pieces of paper promising the right to mine peat in Panama put forth by a newly-created paper corporation!

Belgrave and successive Barbados governments obviously applied the same tough standards to regulating CLICO and valuing its assets.

For years the BLP government and Belgrave allowed CLICO and it’s associated companies to violate all kinds of rules and standards that put investors at risk.

Now that the whole house of cards collapsed Mottley is spewing off at the mouth saying that she and the BLP will protect CLICO investors!

Well, as our own Auntie Moses says – a lie is a lie and if you’re going to tell a lie, why not make it a big one!

Further Reading (make sure to take your anti-nausea pills!)

The Nation: BLP vows to protect investors

You really should read the article at The Nation, but we print it here in full because the Nation has a record of re-writing history by revising and/or deleting articles… Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

Baltimore Ravens sign Bajan Ramone Harewood

“Harewood is a huge man. I mean he’s a giant,” (Ravens’ scout Hortiz said. “You guys are going to see him – he’s massive. He can knock down his side of the line of scrimmage.”

“…new Ravens offensive lineman Ramon Harewood may be the most intriguing prospect the Ravens drafted.”

Barbados sure to watch more American NFL Football now!

We’ve been following Ramon Harewood’s NFL chances since last October when we reported that Barbados Athlete Ramone Harewood has shot at NFL so we were mightily pleased to hear that our Bajan son will be playing for the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore is the home of the famous anti-slave ship, the USS Constellation

I don’t know much about American football or the Ravens, but I love Baltimore for its waterfront and history. You’ll find the USS Constellation moored in the harbour. When it was retired in 1955 it had served for 100 years in the United States Navy!

The USS Constellation is of special interest to me because it was involved in the interdiction of the slave trade during the US Civil War, rescuing and setting free over 700 slaves.

It’s a long story, but I once walked the decks of the USS Constellation and I was surprised at how small the bunks were in the officer’s quarters. Men were smaller a hundred and fifty years ago.

Not mentioned on the web but told to me as part of the tour of the USS Constellation is that Winston Churchill used the ship as a residence and base of operations when he visited the USA early in the Second World War when times were at their worst in Britain and he came begging for help from President Roosevelt.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the ship’s anti-slave trade actions…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Constellation_(1854)

From 1855-1858 Constellation performed largely diplomatic duties as part of the US Mediterranean Squadron.

She was flagship of the US African Squadron from 1859-1861. In this period she disrupted the African slave trade by interdicting three slave ships and releasing the imprisoned Africans.

On December 21, 1859, she captured the brig Delicia which was “without colors or papers to show her nationality… completely fitted in all respects for the immediate embarcation [sic] of slaves…”

On September 26, 1860, the Constellation captured the “fast little bark” Cora with 705 slaves, who were set free in Monrovia, Liberia.

On May 21, 1861, the Constellation overpowered the slaver brig Triton in African coastal waters. It held no slaves, although “every preparation for their reception had been made.” [1]

Constellation spent much of the war as a deterrent to Confederate cruisers and commerce raiders in the Mediterranean Sea.

5 Comments

Filed under Barbados, History, Military, Race, Slavery, Sports

Oldstream Barbados news media steals Bajan Reporter gangs story without attribution

Barbados Journalist Ian Bourne

True to Ian Bourne’s prediction, The Nation newspaper has grabbed his story about the Gangs of Barbados and cashed in big time without crediting Bourne’s Bajan Reporter.

Nevermind they didn’t use a direct quote and you can’t copyright ideas – Ian did the creating and research and the old stream media of The Nation stole his work and didn’t even give his blog a nod.

The Nation = Scum of the earth, fuh sure!

Ian: you’re twice the journalist of those who stole your ideas.

Further Reading

Bajan Reporter: Gangs of Barbados

The Nation:

Parents put on gang alert

Bloods boss says he’s no longer into crime

Gang fears

10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Police

Electric Bicycle test in Barbados: Cost of traveling 176kms: US$1

Canadian supplier calls for Barbados tax exemption for Electric Bicycles

Our friend David Cameron of CameronEV (Electric Vehicles) in Ottawa Canada just completed stage two of testing an electric bicycle here in Barbados.

Last November we reported the first stage of the test where David used an EMoto™ Milano electric bike to roam around the island. Everything worked out fine until the bike couldn’t make it coming up to Sugar Hill. But as one of our readers (John Da Silva) remarked, even that “failure” showed that the e-bike could satisfy 95% of people on 95% of their journeys in Barbados.

David Cameron returned to Barbados in March and was successful with his continuing series of journeys around the island to test the e-bike’s capabilities. Here’s what he wrote to BFP…

The parish of St. Phillips has been conquered.

The red and white Milano e-bike visited the East Point Lighthouse, located at Ragged Point and made it back to town easily.

David Cameron returned the end of March and picked up the e-bike from Demario Cycle World where a customer assessment had been conducted.

Interesting to discover that the price of the e-bike at $5299BBD was considered high. Majority felt they would pay less than $4000BBD for an e-bike. The problem is the only way to get that price is for the government to let electric bicycles (e-bikes) be tax exempt.

The e-bike under test is a true electric bicycle under Canadian and international law. This type of vehicle should be granted a tax exemption.

Again a thanks to the patrons and staff at Buffy’s in Inch Marlow for assistance.”

Barbados transportation policies are unsustainable

As BFP has pointed out many times in the past, our current transportation policy has remained unchanged for 50 years. Our policy is accurately described as more cars on more roads and when those roads become jammed, increase the capacity again to allow more cars… and so on.

Many of our old roads can’t be widened or otherwise improved without destroying houses or doing some very expensive cutting into hills. When they originally laid out Bridgetown they weren’t planning on two ZR vans passing while meeting a bus!

In different and simpler times we had a railway, but that gave way to private autos and diesel powered buses. At a certain population and lifestyle that worked for a while, but Friday afternoons anywhere near the city should convince you that things aren’t working so well anymore.

Using the Toyota 4×4 or BMW to pick up some bread

Have a look around you next time you’re stuck in traffic: most of the cars have only the driver and no passengers. How far are they driving? Why are they taking this particular journey? To pick up some bread? To pick up their husband in the city?

Creep ahead for 10 seconds then sit for 30 seconds. What a waste of time, energy, fuel and money.

Now watch the odd motorcycle or scooter… ZIP! Away they go right past you. 20 minutes later you’re still siting in traffic and the bike rider is hoisting a cold Banks beer, relaxing and thinking about the day.

PM Thompson says "Conserve, make-do"

Times have changed, but people are pretending it isn’t so!

Prime Minister Thompson has been delivering a steady message of conservation and change in lifestyle for the last nine or ten months but many folks haven’t thought about what he is saying in a serious manner. The Prime Minister’s message can be boiled down to this: “Make do with less. Be satisfied with less. Don’t give up on the future, but for now the world has changed.”

The Prime Minister is telling the truth. Things have changed. Our hotels are half full. The tourists we see aren’t spending as they were even last year. Businesses are closing (Goodbye Miles! We gon miss you!)

Many Bajan homes have two vehicles sitting out front. We have to re-think this.

What do you think folks? Could you personally use an electric bicycle or motorcycle as your primary vehicle? If you have two autos in your household, could you make do with one auto and one e-bike?

Let’s hear what you have to say!

(Story suggested and partially written by BFP reader RLL. Thanks, RLL!)

Further Reading

Cameron Electric Vehicles, Ottawa Canada & Barbados

BFP: Barbados electric bicycle experience great until Sugar Hill

Electric bicycle world tour

Wikipedia: Electric Bicycle

Bramo Electric Motorcycles – USA

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Energy, Environment

CLICO Scandal: Interlocking Directorships a recipe for corruption and self-serving behaviour

CL Financial, CLICO Investment Bank & Interlocking Directorships

Our old friend Afra Raymond has written another well-researched article about the CL Financial – CLICO financial collapse. This one focuses on ‘What main event/s caused the group to fail?’ and as usual Afra is asking questions the news media should long ago have asked.

And what dirty little secrets has Afra dug up from the fetid swamp of lies and corruption where Duprey and Parris hope no one looks?

Here’s a sample…

“One of the main rumours making the rounds at the time of the bailout was that the State-owned National Gas Company had made heavy withdrawals from CLICO Investment Bank.  Those withdrawals and the requests for the return of further deposits were said to have triggered the ‘crash’ within the CL Financial group.”

… from the April 25, 2010 Afra Raymond – Trinidad Guardian article Taking In Front

Why would National Gas Company have wanted to make “heavy withdrawals” from Clico Investment Bank?

Could it be that one of the Directors of NGC also served on Clico and therefore had insider knowledge that allowed one company to profit over the other?

Afra Raymond

Read what Afra has to say…

A continuing concern, in light of the growing challenges to the old order of the commercial and financial world, is the role of inter-locking Directorships.  That is the situation in which a very small group of people control most of the major companies and activities in a society.

Critics of that situation would say that such situations are a recipe for corruption and self-serving behaviour.  The small group of people can enrich themselves, leaving the leftovers for everyone else.

Those who support that situation would say that the emergence of such a small group of leaders is natural, particularly in a small society such as ours, and the real challenge is to develop rules and norms which limit the possible negatives.

This is an issue which I am exploring in the ongoing series to examine the governance implications of the UDeCOTT fiasco.  It is not surprising that it is also a feature of the CL Financial collapse and there is an example of that in the case of National Gas Corporation and CLICO Investment Bank.

The CLICO Investment Bank Directors

At the time of the collapse, the Board of Directors of CLICO Investment Bank comprised –

Mervyn Assam (Chairman)
Amjad Ali
Anthony Rahael
Maria Thorne
Michael Callendar
Faris Al Rawi

The NGC Executive

At that time, the National Gas Corporation’s executive management included –

Ms. Olave Maria Thorne, Vice President, Legal and Corporate Management and Company Secretary – Yes, the same person.

Comment on Afra Raymond’s latest article

This comment about Afra’s article was forwarded to us, but we don’t know if the author wishes to be identified, so we’ve changed some things about and removed some details…

You are onto something here on this issue of interlocking directorships.

Did Ms Thorne know something that we haven’t yet found out? How is her position different to the Minister of Finance and the Chairman other than they seemed to have benefited directly. Would her interest have rested at that of the NGC or did she personally benefit? Did she or did she not?

For us to stay quiet on these things would only lead to more anger in our society as more and more of our people now understand what these things mean and with the human carnage that has been created by this CL Financial debacle, I don’t think we have seen the real emotional outcry as yet, but it is coming.

“The governments approach to drip feeding hope is slowly losing currency.”

As more and more people feel cheated and exposed, only time will tell whether it would remain bottled up as it has been so far or explode into something sinister and ugly.

I pray not.

Similarly, we have to focus on the role of the Auditors. Internationally they are being called to account – i.e Goldman Sacs, where Ernst and Young are being called to board. In this region we seem to be approaching their seemingly ‘gross failures’ with a sense of the untouchables.

The time has come for those of us who lead public opinion to call for a serious overhaul of our financial and business systems in light of all this.

While we are being told things are being dealt with the CL Financial issue, other companies could be doing exactly the same thing and nothing is being done to close the stable door.

Afra Raymond is a Chartered Surveyor.  This series on the CL Financial bailout can be viewed or readers’ comments made at AfraRaymond.com

21 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments

Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s corruption: classified risky investments as safe, failed to sound alarm when they knew what was happening

“Between 2002 and 2007, the top three credit rating agencies doubled their revenue, to more than $6 billion a year, the committee said. Most of that growth came from the complex investments that spread trillions of dollars in toxic debt through the financial system….

(Former managing director for Standard & Poor’s) Frank Raiter said management placed increasing pressure on analysts to earn fees by attracting business from banks…

Raiter said analysts felt they faced a choice: Keep giving inflated ratings or quit their jobs.”

… from the Association Press article: Lawmakers turn to credit raters, prepare overhaul

When investors can’t trust the “most respected ratings firms in the world”, what are they to do?

Finally we have acknowledgment in the United States Senate Committee Hearings by executives of Standard and Poor’s that their integrity and independence was bought and sold like fish at Oistins.

Standard and Poor? Yes, that is both the name and quality of independence and integrity.

Does this mean that when the The Economist says that Barbados is high on the transparency index that everyone else is that much more corrupt – or rather that The Economist’s clients can’t afford another financial meltdown? Maybe it means both!

And then there are the pronouncements of the IMF – International Monetary Fund – the body that has countries as its members. Can we believe the IMF? Can we believe Moody’s? Standard & Poor’s?

Standard & Poor's, Moody's - sold their ratings and integrity like fish at Oistins

No matter their level of experience and sophistication, how is an investor to know when the ratings organisations are shining them on?

President Obama’s critical goal next week is financial regulation and he will try and get as tough a reform bill as possible. He will have to compromise somewhat but this is realism not a sell out. Something is going to give one way or the other but if the financial community doesn’t take this medicine it will be much much worse later on. Much worse.

Article and some quotes suggested by BFP reader Reality Check.

1 Comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments

Barbados Underground Blog publishes call for terrorist Hamas & Hezbollah to target whites in Barbados

BY READER REQUEST: We are leaving this article at the top for a few more days. Scroll down for newer articles.

“The white people in this country are more powerful than Castro is in Cuba. We have two laws in this country, the extreme one which serves the blacks and not so fortunate and the other customized “we would make up as we go along one” which serves the whites and people from higher echelons. Where are the Hamas and Hezbollah when you really need them?”

…from the Barbados Underground article One Law For The Medes And Another For The Persians; The Johan Bjerkhamn Affair

More racist calls for violence from the favourite blog of Hartley Henry – DLP strategist and confidante to Prime Minister Thompson

Sharing the concerns of some other Bajan blogs, BFP long ago dropped our sidebar link to Barbados Underground Blog – the de facto active blog of the governing Democratic Labour Party – for a number of reasons including BU’s willingness to publish articles and comments that communicate support for the most foul racist positions.  Some recent immigration discussions at Barbados Underground target West Indians of Indian heritage, whites and asians as being “unacceptable” races for immigration to Barbados. The BU blog publications even go so far as complaining about the high fertility rates of Indians and calling murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld “white trash”.

The chief editor of Barbados Underground “David” has cautioned that black Barbadians should breed more as they are being left behind by Indians.

Barbados Underground published comments from readers calling for genocide. Consider these two gems…

“The elimination & extinction of sub-human, half make Europeans from this earth will undoubtedly bring about a more peaceful, stable & morally uplifting world.”

and…

“I support the call by Sir Shridath Ramphal on ethnic cleansing. This country should control the build up of any particular ethnic group outside of the Black population of Barbados. Particular emphasis must be place on the Indo-Guyanese scums & the rat catcher/mango seller Indians & Pakistani.”

Barbados Underground Blog is the venue of choice for Hartley Henry, DLP party strategist and confidante to Prime Minister David Thompson.

 

Prime Minister David Thompson with advisor & Barbados Underground writer Henry Hartley

 

Mr. Henry has used the BU blog to publish exclusive writings not published anywhere else and Barbados Underground frequently repeats Mr. Henry’s Barbados Advocate newspaper columns in full without copyright problems from that newspaper. Mr. Henry used Barbados Underground to publish an exclusive article alleging a lesbian affair between The Nation newspaper journalists and a political leader in Barbados.

Discussing the Johan Bjerkhamn shooting

When Barbados Free Press published our article Once again Barbados police use race and/or class-based decision making and allow an upper-class elite to escape justice, among the reasoned comments we had the usual crowd of racists spewing their vitriol – but we have standards here at BFP so we canned most of those comments and sent the authors packing.

We have limits here, but that is not the case at Barbados Underground where racism and calls for genocide are “free speech” … or perhaps merely the agenda. Continue reading

111 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, History, Human Rights, Immigration, Race

President Obama and the Goldman Sachs campaign funds: An impossible discussion in Barbados.

President Obama is being called upon to return the almost one million dollars that his campaign received from Goldman Sachs employees – in light of securities fraud civil charges now faced by that company. The calls to return the campaign funds also concern the fact that Goldman Sachs received big money from the Federal Government bailout program and that thought riles many Republican and Democratic voters.

In light of everything, I can see folks demanding that this money should be returned, but I can also see the point that this money was donated to the Obama campaign by individual employees – not by Goldman Sachs the company – and therefore should not be returned. The entire issue is receiving extensive news coverage as the Americans debate and discuss.

An impossible debate in Barbados

The interesting thing about this issue though is that the American voters are able to have the debate because under their election laws the parties and politicians have to keep financial records and those records are open to public scrutiny.

It helps to keep everything honest – which is why our Barbados politicians won’t stand for such a requirement.

We know from the past that Bajan politicians receive “campaign donations” and “accidentally” put them into their personal bank accounts and “forget” to inform anyone about these donations. Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur was caught red-handed corruptly putting a cheque for $75,000 into his personal bank account. If it weren’t for then Opposition Leader David Thompson waving a copy of that cheque around at an election rally, that $75,000 would never have seen the light of day from Owen Arthur’s personal expenses.

And that’s only one cheque to one politician on one day.

Barbados needs to have proper election financing laws if we are ever to break free from the current system of government that is best described as a kleptocracy, but the current Thompson DLP government isn’t about to implement an elections financing law and neither are the BLP if that party ever waddles back into power under Mia Mottley’s ah, er, “leadership”.

How much in election funding did CLICO & CL Financial group of companies give to the DLP and BLP?

How much in election funding did VECO give to the Arthur/Mottley BLP government?

Well, Prime Minister Thompson? Well… Opposition Leader Thompson?

Why can’t the Barbados public know the answers to those questions?

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Filed under Barack Obama, Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Earth Day 2010: Astro-turfing, email & press campaigns push controversial Elizabeth Thompson UNFCCC nomination by Barbados

Despite 14 years in power, Elizabeth Thompson & her government DID NOT bring environmental legislation to Barbados… They didn’t even try!

On Thursday April 15, 2010 Barbados held a press conference at the United Nations to formally announce the nomination of Senator Elizabeth Thompson for the position of Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The UN report of this conference appears at the end of this article.

The Barbados government and associated political elites believe that former Energy and Environment Minister Elizabeth Thompson has a real shot at being selected for this prestigious United Nations position – and they are pulling out all the stops in lobbying at the UN and with environmental action groups worldwide. That lobbying includes press releases and conferences, emails to environmental action groups from Elizabeth Thompson’s own law firm and on the blogs – at least at BFP – a campaign of “astroturfing”…

“Astroturfing denotes political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are formally planned by an organization, but are disguised as spontaneous, popular “grassroots” behavior. The term refers to AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.”

… from Wikipedia Astroturfing

Why would a credible candidate need Astro-turfing?

At Barbados Free Press we’ve seen some “Astro-turfing” going on as some of Liz Thompson’s supporters make supporting comments using multiple names and identities in an attempt to make it appear that Senator Thompson has a large number of supporters among Bajans. This campaign seems to be in response to our article Concerned Barbados citizens oppose Liz Thompson’s nomination to United Nations UNFCCC position.

Barbados Free Press will reveal the true identity of at least one of the ‘astroturfers’ tomorrow in a separate article.

Can any Liz Thompson supporter provide a list of her actual environmental accomplishments?

The darnedest thing is happening with the governmental elites who support Elizabeth Thompson for the UNFCCC position: the only reason they can provide for supporting her nomination is that she is “passionate about the environment and climate change” when she speaks and writes magazine articles. They point out that she received a “Champion of the Earth” award a couple of years ago, but when you read the citation it describes how Liz Thompson received the award for how she talks about climate change and the environment.

Talking… as in “a substitute for real actions and capabilities.”

Ah, okay. Other than talk and write magazine articles, what has Liz Thompson done? What has she even attempted to do? What has she accomplished or tried to accomplish for the environment in Barbados?

Has Elizabeth Thompson managed to achieve any real change or accomplishment by bringing people together to actually do something in Barbados? If she was a failure in her role as Minister of the Environment in Barbados, what makes anyone think she could succeed in bringing the world together at the United Nations?

We can’t think of any environmental accomplishments or changes that Elizabeth Thompson has delivered or even attempted to deliver on the island. We can’t even think of one failed initiative of hers – because she did nothing.

None of Elizabeth Thompson’s supporters have taken up our challenge to provide a list of her actual accomplishments for the environment in Barbados.

Okay, folks… we’re listening! Hello???

We can, however, list several environmental activities and initiatives that Liz Thompson should have attempted to make happen during her time in government – but she didn’t even try.

* Environmental legislation? Ha! Nothing. Not even a draft in 14 years. Liz Thompson didn’t even propose simple regulations about the disposal of chemicals or making it mandatory for pipeline and storage tank owners to measure quantities each day to spot leakage!

* Environmental Standards? None! We have none in law or practice after 14 years of Liz Thompson as a Minister of Government. We have no regulations or standards for the use or disposal of hazardous chemicals and waste. UNBELIEVABLE!

* Mandatory recycling on this relatively small island? Nothing. We are awash in garbage.

* Linking climate change and the environment to sustainable, responsible development? Elizabeth Thompson and her government have a clear record of wholesale, uncontrolled development without respect to the environment. Liz Thompson and her government developed any piece of coastline they could get their hands on. They ignored the water and sewage infrastructure and failed to think of the future. (All of that has been said time and time again by Prime Minister David Thompson and his DLP government members up until as recently as a few weeks ago when it became politically convenient to nominate Liz Thompson for the UN position. No wonder Bajans just laugh and shake their heads over this nomination.)

* Protecting the RAMSAR designated Graeme Hall watershed? A sick joke: Liz Thompson and her government were responsible for dumping raw sewerage into the only remaining mangrove forest on the island. Liz Thompson and her government modified the land use plan to permit residential and commercial development on the RAMSAR watershed – depriving future generations of green space and putting the wetlands at risk. Not to mention the decade-long failure to repair and maintain the government controlled sluice gate into the wetlands.

The concept of promoting someone to the UNFCCC because they have actual results in their previous endeavors seems foreign to Liz Thompson’s supporters.

Oppose Elizabeth Thompson’s nomination and save the Barbados environment!

It is our hope that homegrown opposition by many environmentally conscious Bajan citizens to Liz Thompson’s nomination may impact the choice of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his selection committee. The loss of this nomination might cause the Barbados government and political leaders to do more than talk about the environment and climate change. It may save our island. It may result in environmental legislation and standards that will protect our children.

“If the United Nations focuses not on Elizabeth Thompson’s ability as an orator, but on the level of her actual performance as Environment Minister and the environmental and corruption issues that dogged her BLP government and her personally there is no way that Thompson will be selected.”

Here is a copy of the recent UN Press Conference report as it appears on the United Nations Press Conference website… Read it and you’ll see that there is nothing of substance – it’s all about what a great talker Liz Thompson is. That’s all her supporters can say about her… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Disaster, Energy, Environment, Nature, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Wildlife

Airline pilots say “Don’t push us!” about volcano eruption flight operations

“The final and most important part of the plan is that the final “go-no go” decision must, as always, rest with the pilot in command.”

… from a shouldn’t-be-necessary-at-all press release by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA)

Zero Tolerance call by International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA)

It is a sign of the times that the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) feel they have to issue a press release to remind everyone that the “Pilot in Command” really means “IN COMMAND”. We’ve recently seen in Russia exactly what happened when a Polish pilot forgot that he was IN COMMAND and allowed himself to be bullied by his employer and/or his ego.

In case you’ve forgotten what happens when a pilot forgets about IN COMMAND, here’s few photos to remind you…

“Gotta-get-there-itis” is the name of the disease and there is only one cure for it: People in the left seat have to remember that they are IN COMMAND.

Pilots in Command have to learn to say…

“No Sir: you can’t fire me in the middle of flight. You can fire me after the flight, but I can’t be relieved while I’m sitting in the left seat and if you try my co-pilot will bash you over the head or worse. Now sit down and shut up and if you come into the cockpit again you’ll be sorry.”

Memo to all my friends still sitting P.I.C. – If you yield to the pressure and something goes wrong, you’re the only one who made the decision to fly. Been there. Done that.

And that is what I have to say about an IFALPA press release that shouldn’t be necessary at all.

Robert

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Disaster

Once again Barbados police use race and/or class-based decision making and allow an upper-class elite to escape justice

UPDATED: July 7, 2011

It has been well over a year since Johan Bjerkhamn accidentally shot his 11 year old son to death. That the shooting was accidental is an assumption on our part based on some newspaper accounts at the time and the fact that the fatal bullet passed through the father’s hand before killing Luke Bjerkhamn. I don’t think anyone on the island really believes that this was anything but another gun cleaning accident.

But what everyone believes on the basis of newspaper stories counts for nothing without a proper public process – conducted within a reasonable time.

We all feel terrible for Mr. Bjerkhamn – but that has nothing to do with things either.

Folks said this would be allowed to fade into oblivion and that is exactly what is happening. Mr. Bjerkhamn should probably be banned for life from owning weapons, but other than that we can’t see anything to be done. No penalty can be worse than the burden he already carries.

It was a tragedy, but the second tragedy is that by refusing to handle the matter in a proper and efficient manner, our so-called leaders have once again proven that there is one law for the rich, and one law for the rest of us.

Original Story first published April 20, 2010…

Johan Bjerkhamn shoots his son dead, refuses to talk with police and then escapes in a private jet!

Photo credit: Nation News – Johan Bjerkhamn (hand bandaged) at son’s funeral.

Throughout our history the Royal Barbados Police Force has shown again and again that the organization enforces the laws differently according to a person’s race, class, wealth, or political affiliations.

There have been many high-profile situations that have come to public attention, and any Bajan past the age of ten years old can recount tales of privileges or concessions granted to the elites or perceived elites on this island by our police. This behaviour pre-dates our independence and thrives on the reality that the “rule of law” in Barbados is pretty much what those in power determine it is at the time.

Consequently, even if our police officers can get their own heads around the concept of “one law for all, enforced without favour or malice”, they are never sure if the police bosses and their political masters (yes, I said “political masters”) will back them if they arrest one of the elites. So the police officers tread ever so gently and scrape and bow around the important people even when they are suspects in serious crimes.

This results in absurdities like a woman calling the police saying that she is being beaten in a domestic violence situation – and our police did not answer the call for FOUR DAYS because the victim was calling from a gated community and the security guard wouldn’t let the police enter!

Think about the reasons why our police are afraid to assist a victim of domestic violence in a gated community.

A victim of domestic abuse called screaming for help and the police would not enter “private property” because the victim lived in a rich gated community where the law doesn’t apply. Even after the senior officers arrived, the police still didn’t enter the gated community and she kept calling for help for four days! It took four days for somebody on the police force to come to the realisation that perhaps, this one time only, the police might want to enforce the law before somebody got murdered.

See BFP’s article: Beat Your Wife In Barbados? You Are Protected From The Police If You Live In A Gated Community!

“Upper Crust” isn’t all white anymore

Years ago the Royal Barbados Police Force allowed a serial murderer to get away – and many believe it was because he was “upper crust”. (See BFP’s Barbados Police Did Not Arrest Canefield Serial Killer “Because He Had A Child With Him” … Or Was It Something Else?)

In case you are unaware, “upper crust” in Barbados is a euphemism for “white with lots of money and connections” – although the usage is changing as time rolls on. In the last 40 years (and especially in the 14 years of BLP government!) many Barbados blacks have achieved wealth, power, international status and “upper crust” titles. Indeed, it can fairly be said that races other than blacks are mostly excluded from public politics in modern Barbados.

But old societal attitudes and standards die hard and even if the new “upper crust” used to be ordinary people like us until they got elected or otherwise became one of the elites – they are still treated very gently by the police. Of course, when they can get away with it the police look after their own too! (See BFP’s Secret Withdrawal Of Bribery Charges Against Barbados Cop Stinks Of Corruption At The Highest Levels)

Payoffs let rich and/or connected criminals walk free when you or I would go to jail

Money paid, rape charge dropped.

And then we have the other reality on this rock: the elites are allowed to buy their way out of criminal convictions with money or in a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” deal. Consider journalist Roy Morris of The Nation who was arrested by a very reluctant police force for the rape of a junior employee. Sure enough, (and just as we predicted at the time) he was allowed to pay off the victim with money. Coincidentally after that all the fuss about the police illegally arresting and assaulting Barbados journalists at the QEH went by the wayside never to be heard of again. (See BFP’s Barbados Government In Damage Control Mode Over Police Roughing Up Journalists At Hospital and Barbados Journalists Were Roughed Up OUTSIDE The Hospital!)

There were two victims in the Roy Morris rape case: the first was the rape victim pressured to take money. The second victim was the public’s respect for the entire justice system and the law. (See BFP’s Source: Rape-Accused Roy Morris Bought Off Girl’s Family)

Was the Bjerkhamn decision to post no guard based upon race, class, connections?

Now we come to the current situation where a rich white elite shot his 11 year old son to death, by the look of everything almost certainly in a tragic accident. We are sorry for the family, and sorry for young Luke who by all accounts was of good character, full of potential and well liked by all.

Most of all, we feel sorry for the father, Johan Bjerkhamn, who’s heart must be broken. He will carry a terrible burden for the rest of his life.

But…

… when Johan Bjerkhamn refused to talk to the police about what happened, even though he was well enough to attend his son’s funeral, that was a warning flag that should have been seen. And indeed it was seen by the police because there was a heavy police presence at the funeral and the police escorted Johan Bjerkhamn from the hospital and back again. (Bjerkhamn apparently shot his hand and the bullet continued on to hit his son in the chest.)

Although the police made a show of “escorting” Bjerkhamn to his son’s funeral – they apparently did not post a guard at the hospital, or charge him with some preliminary offense and have him released on bail after surrendering his passports. They could have done that at his hospital bedside and retained some kind of hold and control on the man.

Nope, instead the police granted Mr. Bjerkhamn the kind of consideration that is reserved for the elites and he has now fled the country. His family says he is going abroad for surgery to his hand and that might be true – but it doesn’t change a thing. He might return at his convenience, or he might not.

Firearms Dealer Licenses: A perk for the elites?

We also mention that there is a huge question about why the police issued a “firearms dealer” license to Bjerkhamn in the first place. There is talk that so many elites (some say “white elites”) are allowed dealer licenses when they are not really dealers, have no firearms dealer experience or formal training. They are given the dealer license by the police so they can freely possess many firearms as opposed to non-elites who are put through the hoops to be allowed to possess a single firearm.

The firearms dealer license issue aside, in failing to act properly to prevent Bjerkhamn from leaving the island once again the Royal Barbados Police Force has treated one of the elites with subservient deference and a double standard.

Until each one of us no longer tolerates this culture of subservience to the elites there will be no assurance of justice for ordinary folks, and no true rule of law in Barbados.

Further Reading

The Nation: Bjerkhamn is gone

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Human Rights, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Race

Kammie Holder as judge in the people’s court of Barbados

Good old Kammie Holder lays out an excellent bit of humour and truth in his latest at The Nation…

Swimming Upstream: The court is now in session

THE PEOPLE’S COURT is in session and the jury is made up of the electorate of Barbados. All judgments will be impartial, final, practical and so made to assist with nation building. This court is not a punitive court but so constructed to cause a change in behaviour by politicians. All defendants must accept every bit of advice as constructive in an effort to allow for greater governance.

The first minister to be called to dock today will be the Minister of Culture. Sir, how do you plead for considering using the sacred Emancipation Day as another Wuk-up day?

“Sir, I was not thinking straight.”

For not wasting the court’s time no conviction will be recorded against you. Moving on, I am very upset at the number of lost man-hours due to traffic congestion on the roads of Barbados. Will you ask the Minister of Transport to enter the dock? Sir, how do you plead for the failure to find workable solutions to ease or eliminate traffic congestion?

“Guilty with an explanation. I don’t have a clue, the BLP must take the blame.”

… continue reading Kammie’s column at The Nation: The court is now in session

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Filed under Barbados, Politics