Monthly Archives: May 2010

After 10 years and 9 months of inaction Barbados Tourism Authority pays for a Portuguese language website… but we don’t own it!

We paid for it, but Barbados doesn’t own the website Domain name!

The Barbados Tourism Authority finally launched a Portuguese-language website to attract visitors from Brazil. This is in conjunction with the start of airline flights by GOL (Varig) direct from San Paulo to Barbados and a major campaign by Barbados to tap into this tourism market.

We can’t read Portuguese, but the new website (www.visitebarbados.com) looks professional, attractive and hopefully will do its part in bringing thousands of Brazilian tourists to our little paradise.

Adrian Loveridge saw Brazilian tourism potential 10 years ago

Barbados Free Press started calling for a BTA Portuguese-language website in September of 2009, but hotel owners like Adrian Loveridge have been asking for Portuguese and Spanish language Barbados tourism websites for over 10 years. (See BFP’s September 23, 2009 article here)

The Barbados Government also recently held a big event for Brazilian travel agents and industry representatives so hopefully this will be a good start in tapping into some new markets that we desperately need. (See Caribbean Net News: Barbados launches Brazilian marketing campaign)

We’d love to hand out kudos and congratulations all around to the BTA and Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson – but it really shouldn’t have taken anywhere near this long to put up a website and that takes some of the good feelings away.

We notice that the domain name of http://www.visitebarbados.com was only registered on March 31, 2010, so it took the government over 6 freaking months from the time of our September article to reserve a website name. The website itself went active a few days ago on May 24, 2010.

Oh… one more thing…

We paid for the website, so why don’t we own it?

The Barbados Government and the Barbados Tourism Authority are paying for this Brazilian marketing campaign – but our website domain name belongs to one of the BTA consultants!

Gisele Abrahao of Brazil was hired by Barbados to make the project happen, but she registered our website domain “visitebarbados.com” in her own name. She personally owns it!

So typical of Barbados politicians and bureaucrats with no real business experience and unlimited government budgets… They arrange for the Barbados tax-payers to fund the development and all operational costs of a very valuable website, but someone else ends up owning it!

posted by Cliverton after a suggestion from reader “nevermind kurt”

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Politics

Mexico’s drug gangs into politics. Is campaign financing any different where you live?

The phrase “Heads will roll” has taken a new meaning when vacationing in Mexico!

Tourist city Cancun, Mexico is in need of a new mayor after the current politician was arrested on suspicion of protecting two drug gangs. Gregorio Sanchez is charged with drug trafficking and money laundering. It is alleged that he tipped off and protected the Beltran Leyva and Zetas drug cartels — gangs known for brutal tactics including the beheading of rivals. (eTurbo News: Drug cartels tightening control over Mexico’s most important tourist resort)

Why would a politician do something so against his duty and his country? Hey… that’s easy! Money.

In Barbados we have politicians… and we have drug gangs

We also have NO campaign financing rules about who can give and how much they can give to political parties. There is no requirement for politicians or parties to account for spending or the sources of their money.

If scotch & porn were all voters had to worry about, we wouldn't need campaign financing rules!

Do drug gangs fund some Barbados politicians?

Ha! Does Owen Arthur enjoy single malt scotch? Does the sun rise over Africa? Does Donville Inniss support the porn industry?

You mek sport!

No rules about campaign financing in Barbados.

Isn’t it about time?

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

Food Slavery in Barbados: Price of one sweet potato – Four U.S. Dollars!

Is TriMart the slave master… or does the trail lead much deeper?

8oz squash – BDS$4.21

16oz sweet potato – BDS$7.87

A few weeks ago BFP’s editor Marcus wrote in an article “There was another day last month where we again had to decide between delaying the car payment for a week or buying food.”

Things aren’t supposed to be like this

Not after so many years and so much history. Not after 40 plus years of independence since we the majority finally elected our own leaders to chart our own course.

It wasn’t supposed to end up this way with a car in every driveway but no money for petrol to get to work (if you still have a full time job) and no money for food on the table. No land to grow food, and unchecked praedial larceny if you do plant a little garden.

The government’s “solution” to praedial larceny is to declare the need for stronger laws to prevent these large and small thefts from the fields and from home gardens.

That’s not a “solution” when the problem is sweet potatos at US$4 each and people are hungry.

That’s not a “solution” when G. across the way went from 5 days a week cleaning rooms at a big hotel to 2 days a week and those sweet potatos are US$4 each.

Welcome to your new Massa folks… the people responsible for the US$4 potato. It’s slavery and nothing less.

Here at Barbados Free Press we keep mentioning that the BLP and the DLP held a great half-a-billion dollar cricket party for a few weeks at Cricket World Cup – but that was only one outrageous act of many that left us on the edge as a country and as citizens and families.

Can you feel it?

Can you feel the undercurrent working its way through our country? The “us” and the “them”? Them being the political and business elites who do fine no matter what is happening to the rest of us.

Prime Minister Thompson is ill, and we wish him well and we pray for him and his family. We do pray for him, you know. We want Mr. Thompson well for himself and his family and the country – because it is not a good thing for the world to have doubts about our Prime Minister’s health, no matter how capable our Acting PM appears.

But there is another truth that has been once again highlighted by the Prime Minister’s illness. As one of the political and business elites, Mr. Thompson can afford to go to the best of the best doctors in New York City.

And several of our newly-elected DLP politicians who didn’t have a pot to pee in before they were elected in January of 2008 are driving expensive new vehicles and sporting fine Miami clothes.

The Prime Minister is in New York City for medical tests and you know damn well what would happen to your mother or brother or friend if they went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and complained about the same pains.

And sweet potatos are US$4 each.

Can you feel it friends?

Can you feel the undercurrent of realisation that is making its way into conversations at home and work and with neighbours? Do you hear the anger? Can you feel the anger in your neighbours’ talk? The pot is boiling in Barbados – and sweet potatos at US$4 each is the fuel that might cause that pot to boil over.

Cliverton

Thanks to Kammie Holder for the photo. Kammie has nothing else to do with this article. It’s mine.

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Politics, Slavery

Barbados Government announces Environment Month activities – Comic books, t-shirts, walks, but no Environmental Legislation yet

Environment Minister Denis Lowe

Environment Minister Lowe curiously absent from announced schedule

The Government of Barbados is holding several activities to observe Environment Month in June. The full press release can be found at the Barbados Government Information Service website

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version…

Wednesdays June 2, 9, 16, 23, 2010 – Lecture series

The Environment Ministry, in collaboration with the Barbados Institute of Environmental Professionals hosts a four-part lecture series to be held on consecutive Wednesdays, beginning June 2, at the Grande Salle, Central Bank.  The lectures will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Friday June 4, 2010 “Green T-shirt Day”

In observance of World Environment Day, the Ministry of the Environment will be staging an inaugural “Green T-shirt Day”, on Friday, June 4.  School children, and government officers and Barbadians everywhere are being encouraged to wear green t-shirts, green ribbons or green articles of clothing on the day.

Saturday June 5, 2010 – World Environment Day

The National Conservation Commission is sponsoring walks at 11 different routes across the island – each to culminate at various beaches or sites managed by the NCC.

There is no further information published online at the NCC website or anywhere that we found giving times and locations etc.

A recent story at Barbados Free Press announced that the National Conservation Commission and the Future Centre Trust are jointly holding a World Environment Day Parish Walk from the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph to Bathsheba. Apparently there are 10 more walks being held at the same time.

Will Environment Minster Denis Lowe show up?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 – World Oceans Day

The NCC will be staging an innovative marine simulation event aimed at highlighting the skill and fitness of its lifeguard unit. The exercise, which will take the form of a team competition, will be held at Rockley Beach, Christ Church, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

June 12, 2010 – “Green Readings” on the picturesque south coast Boardwalk.

These will take place on Saturday, June 12 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. each evening.

June 17, 2010 – World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The Ministry of the Environment, in collaboration with its partners, will host an official launch of a Land Degradation Comic Book, which seeks to educate our nation’s children about this important issue.

June 19, 2010 – “Green Readings” on the picturesque south coast Boardwalk.

These will take place on Saturday, June 12 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. each evening.

Other Events

Schools will also play an integral part in the celebrations, when the National Heritage Department and the Environmental Protection Department hosts a series of hikes, 10 K walks and runs from June 17 through 19.

A number of other activities, including plant sales, tree plantings, hikes and beach events will also be staged during the month. A full events calendar will be unveiled in the very near future.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Politics, Wildlife

Jamaican drug gangs, failed sugar economies and cheap worldwide tourism: Globalization has not been kind to the Caribbean

UPDATED: August 31, 2011

Our current article about the Barbados Tourism Authority Deputy Director, Austin Husbands, telling folks to keep quiet about bad beaches and environmental problems reminded one of our readers of this past post.

Thanks to reader “J” and yes, we think this story is worth another read…

Caribbean’s “special privileges” disappearing as our former Colonial masters push “Globalization”

Three of our readers alerted us to a newspaper article by Jorge Heine, co-author (with Ramesh Thakur) of the forthcoming book: The Dark Side of Globalization.

Although Mr. Heine focuses on the Jamaican gang situation to make his current newspaper article topical, he makes some interesting big-picture points – one of which is that our former Caribbean Colonial masters built their countries on our backs and our sugar economy. When the sugar money dried up they gave us, or agreed to, our “freedom” and “independence”. Of course our populations bought into “independence” at the time. Tourism was good and our former masters sweetened the pot with some special agreements to help our economies along.

For a time.

Now that time of “special help and consideration” is over as the new religion of Globalization (or Globalisation) becomes the mantra.

DLP & BLP politicians at work

Sadly, it can rightfully be said that for the most part our own leadership squandered over 40 years of what could have been. The BLP and DLP thought the good times would never end… or perhaps they knew the money would end and that’s why both parties adopted a piggies-at-the-trough style of government when in power.

Over the years Barbados begged for and received hundreds of millions in sugar and other subsidies, grants and forgivable loans from Britain, the USA and the EU. Did we diversify our economy? Did our leaders show fiscal restraint and prioritize spending? Did we build a good foundation of water, sewer and health care infrastructure?

Nope… we had half-a-billion dollar cricket parties while old women still carried water from the standpipe. We ended up hiring unqualified Nigerian nurses because the supply of British and North American nurses wanting to work in the tropical paradise of Barbados dried up when the toilets stopped flushing and surgical gloves became a rare commodity at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Crime & Law, History, Jamaica, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Slavery, Sugar

Land expropriation in Barbados – A history of non-payment when government takes your land!

This month’s land expropriation victim is Mr. Rawle Mason

The Barbados government has a long history of expropriating privately-owned land and then not paying the owners. Here, we call it “compulsory acquisition” but most of the world knows the process as “expropriation“. In most civilized countries there are laws and protocols in place to prevent abuse of the process through politicians coming into personal possession of, or profiting from, lands the government expropriated.

Barbados has no such laws to protect property owners.

In 2007, former Barbados Chief Town Planner Leonard St. Hill revealed that the land owners were owed almost $200 million for land the Barbados government took from them for “public purposes”. That’s 200 million dollars of land that the Barbados government expropriated but never paid for!

Don’t be mislead by the term “public purposes” because as former Government Minister Gline Clarke proved, it’s nothing for a politician to expropriate private land for “public housing” and then – POOF!!! – a year or two later the same politician is living in a house built on that same land his government expropriated!

What should have happened to Government Minister Gline Clarke!

The American or British press wouldn’t stand for such a thing. In Britain those television trucks would be camped out in front of the politician’s home, blocking his driveway and demanding answers. In Barbados, however, the regular news media hasn’t mentioned Minister Clarke’s story in four years – which tells you something about press freedom and political control of the news media in Barbados.

Yet another land owner abused by the Barbados government

This month’s victim of land expropriated by government and not paid for is Mr. Rawle Mason. The government took his land 15 years ago for a road and never paid him.

Yup… that’s right folks… the BLP took Mr. Mason’s land 15 years ago and he’s been waiting for payment ever since. They want to pay him a fraction of the true value, and the government claims he agreed to the sale and the price 15 years ago even though he never heard about it until after it was completed!

Isn’t that special?

Nope. Not in the least.

Mr. Mason’s story is just the latest in a long line of similar events. In Barbados there are no rules prohibiting politicians from profiting by their offices, so these scandals happen regularly… not that anything is done about them.

Barbados property investors beware!

Here are some Barbados land expropriation scandals from the past few years, followed by the latest story involving Mr. Mason. Once again as is our practice, we encourage our readers to not believe Barbados Free Press. That’s right… don’t believe a word we say. Go out and do your own research online and your own due diligence about land expropriations in Barbados. Read some old stories, talk to people who were mentioned in the newspapers. Call them up and see what happened. Call up the politicians and ask them.

Then make up your own mind and what happens to some poor souls on this rock. They work hard and buy a piece of land. Maybe they have foresight and purchase a lot that they think will become more valuable because of its location or features… and then along comes a few politicians who expropriate the land and personally profit from doing so.

Don’t think that happens here? Continue reading

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

Nation News removes “Barbados Free Press” from citizen’s letter

Dear Barbados Free Press,

For your information the Nation News removed all reference to “Barbados Free Press” when they published a letter from Jason Stephens.

I thought that you and your readers would be interested in that piece of information.

… signed “a friend”

Here is the letter the Nation changed with “at Barbados Free Press” inserted where they removed it:

Is Govt slacking off on the environment?

I WOULD like to offer my congratulations to The Future Centre Trust, volunteers and businesses that helped make “No Plastic Bag Day” on May 8 the success it needed to be.

Not forgetting the people who bought the reusable bags. The same good wishes cannot however be aimed at the Government for not helping in any way. I read an article AT BARBADOS FREE PRESS stating that the Environment Ministry failed to attend planning meetings claiming “more important commitments”. Reports are that Government did not waive import duty on the environmentally friendly reuseable shopping bags. The outcome of which meant the bags had to be sold at a greater than desired price.

Once again the Government reneging on an election promise – to keep the cost of living down. On what planet is the DLP government on that it cannot see the need for an effective and coherent environment policy? This is not necessarily just this administration’s fault. However, only last week Sue Springer, vice president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association was asking both the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party, where was the Environment Act that had been promised for the last 15-20 years? The world’s climate is changing and we all need to do what we can to reduce our own damage to the environment, even here in Barbados. Everyone must play their part in combating climate change, however big or small. It all makes a difference!

The Government must act and take the environment and climate change issue seriously and not pay its usual lip service.

Jason Stephens

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Freedom Of The Press, Politics, Wildlife